Archaeologists conducting reconstruction works at the Saxon Palace have made new discoveries into palace life.
The Saxon Palace is located in Warsaw, Poland, with construction beginning in 1661 by Jan Andrzej Morsztyn. Over the centuries, the palace was remodelled and extended many times, but was destroyed in WW2 by the German army during the planned systematic destruction of Warsaw
Only parts of the central arcade remained, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which today is a symbolic grave commemorating the nameless soldiers who died in the defence of Poland. After the war, the Soviet-backed government removed the palace ruins and transported it across the Vistula River, where it was used to reconstruct parts of the city.
Excavations of the palace have revealed the 17th century foundations, wells and latrines, with nearly 46,000 artefacts being uncovered. These include coins, ornaments, medallions, and vessels with decorations or manufacturer’s marks. The team also found fragments of sculptures, most notably a baroque putto that likely came from the palace gardens or from the royal chapel of Saint Anne.
While excavating the palace latrines, the team found a ring made from silver and gold that is set with a diamond. Speaking to PAP, PL scientific coordinator Maria Wardzyńska said: “The wells and latrines are where the largest number of objects for research were obtained. They were used as a garbage dump, into which everything was thrown in”.
The preservation and reconstruction of Saxon Palace was announced in 2021 by Polish President Andrzej Duda, who submitted a bill to parliament to rebuild the palace as a symbolic completion of the city’s reconstruction from the ruins of World War II.
Header Image Credit : PAP
This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily
Archaeologists uncover tomb of Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou
In a press announcement by the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), archaeologists have discovered the tomb of Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou near Xianyang City, China.
Emperor Xiaomin (birth name: Yuwen Jue), was the founder of the Xianbei-led Northern Zhou dynasty of China that lasted from AD 557 to 581. One of the Northern dynasties of China’s Northern and Southern dynasties period, it succeeded the Western Wei dynasty and was eventually overthrown by the Sui dynasty.
Rather than take the title of emperor, Xiaomin instead used the Zhou Dynasty title of “Heavenly Prince”, however, a power struggle occurred between Xiaomin and the his cousin, Yuwen Hu, who deposed Xiaomin and had him killed.
Archaeologists conducting excavations adjacent to the Airport Expressway in Xianyang City have uncovered the tomb of Emperor Xiaomin, designated Tomb M655.
Image Credit : CASS
Excavations have revealed a 147 long ditch, leading to a tomb oriented on a north to south axis. The tomb contains a single chamber at a depth of 10 metres, containing disturbed funerary offerings such as ceramic vessels and figurines depicting warriors, cavalry units, a camel, and indiscernible creatures.
The team also discovered an epitaph stone with an inscription loosely translated as: “Renshen in October of the second year of the tomb of Gongyu Wenjue, Duke of Lueyang, Zhou Dynasty” – referring to the birth name of Yuwen Jue.
According to the press announcement: “The archaeological discovery of Yuwen Jue’s tomb from the Northern Zhou Dynasty is of great significance. It is the second Northern Zhou emperor’s tomb that has been excavated after the Xiaoling Mausoleum of Emperor Wu of the Northern Zhou Dynasty.”
Header Image Credit : CASS
Viking trade connections stretched to Arctic Scandinavia
An analysis by researchers from the University of York has revealed Viking trade routes between northern Scandinavia and the edges of continental Europe.
The study focuses on trade connections from the town of Hedeby, an important trading settlement during the Viking Age near the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula in Germany.
Hedeby is first mentioned in the Frankish chronicles of Einhard (who was in the service of Charlemagne), but was probably founded around AD 770.
Hedeby’s prominence as a primary trading hub can be attributed to its strategic geographical positioning along the pivotal trade routes connecting the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia in the north-south direction, as well as the Baltic and the North Sea in the east-west direction.
The town was also a major centre of antler-working, with 288,000 antler finds recorded to date, most of which are waste material from the production of hair combs.
A ZooMS analysis of the collagen in the combs has revealed that 85-90% of the combs were made from reindeer antler during the 9th century AD. The combs or antlers were imported from northern Scandinavia, indicating new evidence for contact between Hedeby and the northern outlands in central and northern Scandinavia.
Dr Steven Ashby, from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, said: “The work at Hedeby is particularly interesting, as it tells us about connections between the mountains of upland or arctic Scandinavia and this large town at the gateway to continental Europe, and points to a window in the 9th Century when these northern links must have been particularly strong.”
The paper ‘In the footsteps of Ohthere: biomolecular analysis of early Viking Age hair combs from Hedeby (Haithabu)’ is published in Antiquity Journal.
Header Image Credit : Mariana Muñoz-Rodriguez
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