Archaeologists from the Jagiellonian University and the University of St. Mark in Lima have excavated a pre-Columbian temple complex near the city of Barranca in Peru.
Excavations are part of the Programa de investigacion “Los valles de Barranca” project, which is exploring four large mounds on the Cerro Colorado hill.
Research conducted on two of the mounds revealed human burials and monumental architecture made of dried bricks and stone blocks. This has led to a widescale excavation of the site where the project has uncovered destroyed burials in the form of burial bundles, placed within the remains of a temple complex built of dried brick.
One of the destroyed burials contains the remains of a young boy whose skull was intentionally deformed. He was originally placed in a 3-metre-long fabric which is decorated with totally unique zoomorphic representations and was buried with decorated textiles suggesting that he came from a high-status family.
Image Credit : Łukasz Majchrzak
A physico-chemical analysis and carbon dating of organic remains has placed the construction of the temple complex to around 2500-2200 BC, while the same technique applied to the burials suggests that they were interred between AD 772 and 989.
Bioarchaeologist, Łukasz Majchrzak, said: “Andeans used to set up necropolises in abandoned places of worship. This was also the case here, because the graves were dug into structures that were several thousand years older.”
Samples used for dating the structure were taken from grass mixed with mortar, which was used to hold together blocks that formed a small pyramid. During the 3rd millennium BC, settlements with monumental architecture were established in the Andes, and agriculture became widespread as a result of contacts with communities living in the Amazon.
The examined graves come from the period when the region was part of the Wari Empire. One of the most important sites of this culture, Castillo de Huarmey, is located only 70 km north of Barranca.
Header Image Credit : Łukasz Majchrzak
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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