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Submerged prehistoric site discovered with remains of extinct species

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Archaeologists from the University of Chile and the Millennium Nucleus Ocean Heritage and Culture (OHC), have discovered a submerged prehistoric site with remains of an extinct species.

The discovery was made in the Quintero Bay on the central Chilean coast, where the researchers have been excavating a site designated GNL Quintero 1 (GNLQ1).

During the last Ice Age (approximately 24,000 to 17,000-years-ago), the marine space that Quintero Bay occupies was a large esplanade of wetlands which stretched several miles from the current coastline. The esplanade was home to various extinct fauna such as paleolamas, mylodones, American horses and deer, as well as species of rodents, foxes and coypus.

With the thawing of the ice sheets, a rise in sea levels caused the esplanade to become submerged, providing the only known end-of-Pleistocene submerged site on the Pacific coast of South America.

A study of GNLQ1 by archaeologists and palaeontologists have uncovered deposits of camelidae, cervidae, equidae, mylodontidae, xenarthra, canidae, myocastorinae, and octodontidae, in addition to numerous remains of mylodon, all of which are similar to types of animals found at sites of Paleoindian hunter-gatherers in similar environments in central Chile.

The underwater field work consisted of an excavation by strata, vacuuming the sediments that were cleared to later recover the faunal assemblages in blocks, together with the sediment that contained skeletal remains.

“We have also recovered medium-sized species such as foxes, a large number of microfauna made up of various species of rodents, very small marsupials and even remains of reptiles”, said Professor Isabel Cartajena, Director of the OHC and an academic at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chile.

In total, the researchers have found more than 7,000 skeletal remains, of which 8 have been identified as extinct fauna and dozens of individuals corresponding to minor fauna. “The high taxonomic diversity is especially striking, since the group is made up of more than fifteen species,” Cartajena emphasises.

“Until now, the GNLQ1 site has not reported cultural evidence supporting the presence of early human groups. However, this site demonstrates the existence of a landscape available for the occupation and mobility of extinct fauna and early human groups along the Pacific coast of South America”, comments the director of OHC and academic at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the U of Chile.

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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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