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New discoveries at Great Pyramid of Cholula

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Archaeologists conducting restoration works have made exciting new discoveries at the Great Pyramid of Cholula.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl (meaning “made-by-hand mountain” in Nahuatl), is an archaeological site and temple complex in the San Andrés Cholula, Puebla municipality of Mexico.

The pyramid is dedicated to the Aztec/Nahua version of the feathered-serpent deity, Quetzalcoatl, an important god in the Aztec pantheon who is associated with the wind, Venus, dawn, merchants, arts, crafts, knowledge, and learning.

Cholula is one of the largest pyramids by volume in the Americas, covering an area of 300 by 315 metres, compared to the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán, that measures 220 by 230 metres, and the Great Pyramid of Egypt, measuring 230 by 230 metres.

Occupation of the ceremonial precinct began in the Late Formative period, and the first building stage of the pyramid dates to the Terminal Formative. The Great Pyramid was built in four major construction stages and at least nine further phases of minor modifications.

Restoration works led by archaeologist, Catalina Castilla Morales, and supervised by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), have uncovered an adobe core on the eastern side of the pyramid that dates from the end of the Classic period.

Brazier ceramics and the statue of Tlaloc – Image Credit : Mariana Toledo, INAH

The team also found an unusual accumulation of broken ceramics, which a closer analysis has determined were pre-Hispanic braziers. Whether the braziers had a ritual function or were simply used to illuminate the pyramid is unclear. What is apparent, is that there was a sustained use of fire at the pyramid, indicated by multiple deposits of ceramics placed in layers after they were discarded.

Excavations also found a 30cm cylindrical sculpture in white stone, representing the Aztec god, Tlaloc, the supreme god of the rain, earthly fertility and of water, depicted with his “goggle eyes” and fangs.

As part of the restoration works, the team have conducted archaeological surveys on the surface, as well as studies of the underground level and cleaning of 24 tunnels beneath the pyramid.

INAH

Header Image – Pyramid of Cholula – Image Credit : Kit Leong – Shutterstock

 

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

New findings at world-famous Mesolithic site of Star Carr

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A recent study by archaeologists from the University of York and the University of Newcastle has revealed new insights into the domestic activities of the Mesolithic inhabitants of Star Carr.

Star Carr is one of the most significant and informative Mesolithic sites in Europe, which during prehistoric times was situated near the outflow at the western end of a palaeolake known as Lake Flixton.

Today, Star Carr lies at the eastern end of the Vale of Pickering near Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England.

Using microscopic evidence from the use of stone tools, the researchers found that a range of domestic activities took place in three previously excavated structures. This includes activities related to working with bone, antler, hide, meat, and fish.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, used a combination of spatial and microwear data to provide different scales of interpretation: from individual tool use to patterns of activity across the three structures.

Dr Jess Bates, from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology said: “We found that there were distinct areas for different types of activity, so the messy activity involving butchery, for example, was done in what appears to be a designated space, and separate to the ‘cleaner’ tasks such as crafting bone and wooden objects, tools or jewellery.

“This was surprising as hunter-gatherers are known for being very mobile, as they would have to travel out to find food, and yet they have a very organised approach to creating not just a house but a sense of home.

“This new work, on these very early forms of houses suggests, that these dwellings didn’t just serve a practical purpose in the sense of having a shelter from the elements, but that certain social norms of a home were observed that are not massively dissimilar to how we organise our homes today.”

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : Bates J, Milner N, Conneller C, Little A (2024) Spatial organisation within the earliest evidence of post-built structures in Britain. PLoS ONE 19(7): e0306908. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0306908

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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