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.”
Header Image Credit : Studio Galimatias
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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