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Archaeologists find lost stronghold of Únětice Culture

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Archaeologists have found the remains of a fortified stronghold belonging to the Únětice Culture, situated on an island in a former lake.

The Únětice culture, named for a type-site cemetery in the village of Únětice, was a Bronze Age culture that first emerged around 2300–1600 BC.

The culture is distinguished by its characteristic metal objects, including ingot torcs, flat axes, flat triangular daggers, bracelets with spiral ends, disk- and paddle-headed pins, and curl rings, which are distributed over a wide area of Central Europe and beyond.

One of the most important discoveries attributed to the Únětice Culture is the Nebra sky disc, found buried on the Mittelberg hill near Nebra in Germany. The Nebra sky disc is made from bronze and has a blue-green patina inlaid with gold symbols, that archaeologists have interpreted to represent the Sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and the stars.

Archaeologists from the Adam Mickiewicz University have discovered a fortified Únětice Culture settlement, located near the town of Śmigiel, in the Kościan County of Poland.

The settlement was situated on an island promontory, where 4,000-years-ago there was a lake on the edge of the Samica Kościańska valley, which today is a flowering meadow. The promontory was cut off from the mainland by a deep moat or ditch, with at least two rows of wooden palisades creating a fortified enclosure.

The settlement occupied an area of 3.7 acres and supported a population of up to 100 people, which the researchers suggest was a metallurgical centre and a stronghold of power in the northern reaches of the Únětice Culture.

The results of the study, published in the “Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports” reveals that the settlement was discovered after a geoarchaeological analysis of the former lake which was formed when a glacier retreated around 18,000-years-ago. Based on core samples obtained by drilling, the lake started to shrink around 800 BC, eventually turning into a large bog at the turn of the era.

Dr. Jakub Niebieszczański, from the Faculty of Archaeology at Adam Mickiewicz University, said: “During field research in the central part of the former lake, we noticed an elongated hill. At its top there were numerous molehills with various monuments, mainly broken fragments of prehistoric vessels. It was quite a surprising discovery, considering that in prehistory the settlement would have been at the centre of the lake.”

PAP

Header Image Credit : Studio Galimatias

 

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

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Archaeology

Revolutionary war barracks discovered at Colonial Williamsburg

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Archaeologists excavating at Colonial Williamsburg have discovered a barracks for soldiers of the Continental Army during the American War of Independence.

Colonial Williamsburg is a living-history museum that forms part of the historic district in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia colony from 1699 until 1779, founded by English settlers during the Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622–1632).

Tensions with England mounted over fundamental civil and economic rights for the colonists, resulting in the American Revolution and the American War of Independence.

Image Credit : Colonial Williamsburg

Archaeologists excavating next to the museum’s visitor’s centre uncovered foundations of a barracks that could accommodate up to 2,000 soldiers from the Continental Army and up to 100 horses.

“We have horseshoes,” said Jack Gary, Colonial Williamsburg executive director of archaeology. “We also have this object here which is a snaffle bit, so it’s part of a horse bit that goes in the mouth to control the horse. And this object here is part of a curry comb for brushing down the horse’s coat.”

Excavations have so far unearthed only a small part of the complex, but experts suggest that it covered roughly three to four acres.

The barracks were known from Eighteenth-century maps and other historical documents, but until now, the exact location of where it existed within the colony interior was unknown.

According to the historical sources, the barracks were built between 1776 and 1777, and were later destroyed by fire in 1781 by soldiers of the British Army under the command of General Cornwallis.

Excavations also uncovered mid-1700 chimney bases, ceramics, gun flint, coins, musket balls, military buckles, and items of decorative jewellery worn by high-ranking officers as cufflinks.

An interesting discovery are examples of lead shot with indications of tooth-marks, suggesting that the soldiers chewed on the lead shot because it tasted sweet.

Header Image Credit : Colonial Williamsburg

Sources : Colonial Williamsburg

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

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Pleistocene hunter-gatherers settled in Cyprus thousands of years earlier than previously thought

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Archaeologists have found that Pleistocene hunter-gatherers settled in Cyprus thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

An analysis of the oldest archaeological sites on the island suggests that the first human occupation occurred between 14,257 and 13,182 years ago.

This analysis, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used archaeological data, climate estimates, and demographic modelling.

The demographic modelling indicates that these early groups consisted of hundreds to thousands of people, who arrived in two to three main migration events over a period of only 100 years. Within just a few centuries, 11 generations – the population of Cypris had expanded to up 4,000 to 5000 inhabitants.

According to the study authors, these findings refute previous studies that suggested Mediterranean islands would have been unreachable and inhospitable for Pleistocene hunter-gatherer societies. “This settlement pattern implies organised planning and the use of advanced watercraft,” says Professor Bradshaw.

The climate estimates suggest that these early settlers arrived at a time during an increase in temperature and precipitation, also enabling an increase in environmental productivity that could sustain large hunter-gather populations.

Dr Moutsiou, said: “It has been argued that human dispersal to and settlement of Cyprus and other eastern Mediterranean islands is attributed to demographic pressures on the mainland after abrupt climatic change saw coastal areas inundated by post-glacial sea-level rise, forcing farming populations to move to new areas out of necessity rather than choice.”

Our research, based on more archaeological evidence and advanced modelling techniques, changes that”, adds Dr Moutsiou.

The research – “Demographic models predict end-Pleistocene arrival and rapid expansion of pre-agropastoralist humans in Cyprus” by Corey Bradshaw, Christian Reepmeyer, Frédérik Saltré, Athos Agapiou, Vasiliki Kassianidou, Stella Demesticha, Zomenia Zomeni, Miltiadis Polidorou and Theodora Moutsiou – has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Header Image Credit : Michalakis Christoforou

Sources : Demographic models predict end-Pleistocene arrival and rapid expansion of pre-agropastoralist humans in Cyprus. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2318293121

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

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