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Ancient Egyptian discovery rewrites history of Sudanese kingdom

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Polish archaeologists excavating at the ruins of Old Dongola in Sudan have discovered Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics inscribed on sandstone blocks.

Old Dongola was the capital of the Nubian kingdom of Makuria, located on the eastern banks of the River Nile in Northern Sudan.

The Kingdom of Makuria emerged during the 5th century AD following the collapse of the Nubian Kingdom of Kush. At its peak during the 9th–11th century AD, the kingdom stretched from the area along the Nile from the Third Cataract, to south of Abu Hamad, and parts of northern Kordofan.

The kingdom saw cultural and religious reforms, referred to as “Nubization”, that sought to counter the growing influence of Arabic in the Coptic Church, and introduced the cult of dead rulers and bishops, as well as indigenous Nubian saints.

Image Credit : Dr. Dawid F. Wieczorek

Recent excavations at Old Dongola have uncovered over 100 blocks of white sandstone, inscribed with Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics from the period of the 25th dynasty of Egypt, also known as the Nubian Dynasty.

The 25th dynasty was a line of pharaohs who originated in the Kingdom of Kush that reigned in part or all of Ancient Egypt for nearly a century, from 744 to 656 BC. The 25th Dynasty’s reunification of Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and Kush, created the largest Egyptian empire since the New Kingdom. They assimilated into society by reaffirming Ancient Egyptian religious traditions, temples, and artistic forms, while introducing some unique aspects of Kushite culture.

The blocks found at Old Dongola were originally part of a structure, possibly a temple, built in the first half of the 1st millennium BC, the earliest example of human activity on the site identified so far.

Egyptologist Dr. Dawid F. Wieczorek said: “This is a huge discovery, because despite the 60-year Polish archaeological presence in Old Dongola, no evidence of such early construction activity on the site has been identified so far. It is impossible to say whether this material is local or was brought from some other site. Nevertheless, it is surprising that there are so many of these blocks, and from different parts it seems of the same temple.”

Some of the blocks are from the flooring, outer walls, and from a pylon (a tower flanking the entrance to the temple). “This would push back the known history of this city by over 1000 years,” said Dr. Wieczorek.

Within a radius of more than 100 kilometres from Old Dongola, there are no other known examples of sites with Egyptian-style architecture. The closest are Gebel Barkal (about 150 km up the Nile), and Kawa (about 120 km down the Nile). Both were leading urban and religious centres established during the New Kingdom in the 16th and 14th centuries BC.

PAP

Header Image Credit : Dr. Dawid F. Wieczorek

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

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Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

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Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of Roman objects linked to ritual feasting at Ostia antica.

Ostia Antica is an ancient harbour town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The harbour served as the main port for Rome, transporting goods and people from the coast along the Via Ostiensis.

Archaeologists recently excavated the area of Regio I – Insula XV, a “sacred area” or precinct housing several temples and sanctuaries. At the centre is the temple of Hercules,  a 31 x 16 metre monument which dates from the Republican Era.

Excavations have revealed a substantial well situated at the base of the temple of Hercules. Upon draining the well, it was discovered to hold a significant collection of objects dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD.

Among the objects are various ceramics, miniatures, lamps, glass containers, fragments of marble, and burnt animal bones (pigs and cattle). According to the archaeologists, the trove corresponds with ritual feasting associated with cult at the temple.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Culture: “The discovery of burnt bones confirms that animal sacrifices were carried out in the sanctuary, while the common ceramics, also bearing traces of fire, indicate that the meat was cooked and consumed during banquets in honour of divinity. The remains of one or more ritual meals were thrown into the well, the last ones probably when their function had ceased.”

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

Sources : Ministry of Culture

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

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Archaeology

Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

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Archaeologists have discovered a monumental labyrinthine structure on the summit of Papoura Hill in Crete.

The discovery was made during the installation of a radar system in preparation for the construction of a new airport in the area.

According to experts, the structure dates from between 2000 to 1700 BC shortly before or at the start of the palaeopalatial Minoan period.

The Minoan civilisation was a Bronze Age culture that emerged on the island of Crete around 3100 BC. The culture is known for the monumental architecture and energetic art, and is often regarded as the first civilisation in Europe.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

The chronology of the Minoans is characterised into three distinct phases – Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM).

The palaeopalatial structure is part of the MMI – II grouping in the Middle Minoan, a period in which the first palaces were built and saw the development of the Minoan writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A.

The structure comprises of 8 concentric stone rings that converge on a central circular building. The entire diameter of the complex measures 48 metres and covers an area of approximately 1800 square metres.

Within the central structure are four designated zones in which radial walls intersect vertically and form a labyrinthine structure. Zones A and B appear to be have the main concentration of human activity, evidenced by the presence of large amounts of animals bones.

According to the experts, this residential area likely had a truncated cone or vaulted appearance and is the first monument of this type excavated in Crete. It can perhaps be paralleled with the elliptical MM building of the Chamezi Archaeological Site, as well as with the so-called circular proto-Hellenic cyclopean building of Tiryns.

The Minister of Culture, said: “This is a unique and highly significant find. Solutions are in place to ensure the completion of the archaeological research and the protection of the monument.”

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

Sources : Greek Ministry of Culture

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

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