Connect with us

Archaeology

Magnetic fields could provide the key to studying submerged civilisations

Published

on

A study by the University of Bradford could provide the key to studying submerged civilisations by looking for anomalies in magnetic fields.

According to Ben Urmston from the University of Bradford, magnetic fields could indicate the presence of archaeological features without the need for exploratory underwater excavations.

Magnetometry has previously been used by terrestrial archaeologists but has not been used extensively to examine submerged landscapes.

The pioneering technique could be applied in Doggerland, a submerged land mass beneath what is now the North Sea, that once connected Britain to continental Europe.

The landscape of Doggerland was a diverse mix of gentle hills, marshes, wooded valleys and swamps during the later Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.

Small groups of hunter-gatherers took advantage of Doggerland’s rich migrating wildlife, with evidence of ancient animal bones and tools being brought to the surface by fishing trawlers operating in the North Sea.

Doggerland – Image Credit : Francis Lima – CC BY-SA 4.0

Over time, the area was flooded by rising sea levels after the last glacial period around 6,500 to 6,200 BC. Melting water that had been locked away caused the land to tilt in an isostatic adjustment as the huge weight of ice lessened.

Doggerland eventually became submerged leaving only Dogger Bank, a possible moraine (accumulation of glacial debris) which also succumbed to the sea around 5000 BC.

According to Urmston: “Small changes in the magnetic field can indicate changes in the landscape, such as peat-forming areas and sediments, or where erosion has occurred, for example in river channels. As the area we are studying used to be above sea level, there’s a small chance this analysis could even reveal evidence for hunter-gatherer activity.”

“We might also discover the presence of middens, which are rubbish dumps that consist of animal bone, mollusc shells and other biological material that can tell us a lot about how people lived,” added Urmston.

Such features could be analysed closer by taking samples of the seabed which are then sent for carbon dating and a microscopic analysis.

Professor Vince Gaffney, academic lead for the project, said: “Exploring the submerged landscapes beneath the North Sea represents one of the last great challenges to archaeology. Achieving this is becoming even more urgent with the rapid development of the North Sea for renewable energy.”

University of Bradford

Header Image Credit : Cloudinary – CC BY-SA 4.0

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading

Trending

Generated by Feedzy