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Nationally important treasure hoard from the medieval period unveiled

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A large hoard of gold jewellery and silver coins has been unveiled to the public as part of a new exhibition at the National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands.

The hoard was discovered by a metal detectorist back in 2021 near Hoogwoud, a small city in the Dutch province of North Holland.

After the initial discovery, the finds were reported to the intermunicipal organisation, Archaeology West Friesland, which were then transferred to the National Museum of Antiquities for examination and preservation.

Metal detecting in the Netherlands requires a license and permission from landowners. It is illegal to use a metal detector on known historical and archaeological sites, with any finds considered “treasure” or of historical importance requiring the finder to notify local authorities.

The hoard consists of four decorated gold earring pendants in the shape of a crescent moon, along with two pieces of gold leaf that fit together, and 39 small silver coins from the medieval period.

Dating of the coins places them to a period between AD 1200 to AD 1250, suggesting that they were deposited in the ground around the middle of the thirteenth century AD.

Small pieces of textile found with the coins indicate that they were wrapped in a cloth or small bag. The 39 coins come from the Diocese of Utrecht, from various counties (Holland, Guelders and Cleves), and from the German Empire. The youngest coins were struck in AD 1247 or AD 1248 and depict William II of Holland.

Image Credit : Archeology West-Friesland/Fleur Schinning

The gold jewellery is much older and dates from the 11th century AD. They were likely family heirlooms and were handed down through generations until they were hidden during a period of conflict.

At the time, the region saw a series of wars between West Friesland and the county of Holland. “This makes the treasure find of great significance for the archaeology and history of North Holland and West Friesland – and even of national and international importance,” said the National Museum of Antiquities.

The earring pendants are decorated on one side and have fragile suspension brackets, suggesting that they were probably not pierced through the ears but were instead worn on a hood or a headband. One of the pendants has an engraving of a man’s head surrounded by rays of sunlight, which has been interpreted as a portrait of Sol Invictus, the “Unconquered Sun.”

National Museum of Antiquities

Header Image Credit : Archeology West-Friesland/Fleur Schinning

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Archaeology

Archaeologists may have discovered the lost city of Tu’am

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Excavations in the Umm Al Quwain area of the UAE have revealed 6th century ruins that could be the lost city of Tu’am.

The ruins are situated on Al Sinniyah Island, part of a collection of small islands on the western part of the Khor Al Bidiyah peninsula.

Previous studies on the island have revealed a pearling village and monastery, which has been the focus of the latest season of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a larger settlement, with the earliest signs of occupation dating back to the 4th century AD and peaking in the 5th or 6th century.

The team uncovered traces of large semi-urbanised tenement buildings measuring 30 square metres, which are tightly packed around narrow walkways. According to the researchers, the settlement could be the lost city of Tu’am as described in Ancient Arab texts.

Tu’am was a regional capital on the Gulf coast that was famed for its pearl fishing industry and trade in precious gems.

The population went into decline following a plague and regional tensions, and subsequently was abandoned. Mass graves in the vicinity support the historical account of plague, as the skeletal remains show no evidence of trauma or a violent death.

“Our archaeological work has discovered the largest settlement by far ever found on the Gulf coast of the Emirates,” said Prof Tim Power of UAE University.

“And it’s exactly the right period for the city described in the early Islamic geographical sources. It’s clearly a really important place. No one has ever found it.”

Professor Power explained that while they have not found irrefutable evidence (such as an inscription bearing the town’s name), no other major settlements from this period have been discovered on the coast, strengthening the argument that the settlement is Tu’am. “It’s a process of elimination,” he explained.

Header Image Credit : Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology

Sources : NUAE

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

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Archaeology

New findings in North America’s first city

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Cahokia was the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, a mound-building pre-Columbian civilisation that emerged in the Midwestern, Eastern, and South-eastern United States.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was founded around AD 1050 along the banks of the Mississippi River, located near present-day St. Louis, Missouri.

The city covered an area between six to nine square miles (notably larger than many contemporary European cities such as London) and was home to up to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Following the tradition of the Mississippian culture, the people of Cahokia constructed large earthen mounds – ranging from raised platforms, conical, and ridge-top designs – involving the movement of 55 million cubic feet of earth over a period that lasted several decades.

The largest mound is known as “Monks Mound,” named after a group of Trappist monks, which rises to a height of 290 metres and was once the tallest building construction in North America.

Image Credit : MattGush – iStock

Archaeologists and students from Saint Louis University (SLU) have recently conducted a series of excavations on the western periphery of the Cahokia Mounds.

The team unearthed 900-year-old ceramics, microdrills, structures, and wall trenches dating from around AD 1100 to 1200, during the Sterling Phase of the Mississippian Period. According to the archaeologists, the finds offer new insights into a crucial period in the chiefdom’s development, coinciding with Cahokia’s rapid population growth.

The excavations follow an aerial survey by SLU and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to conduct Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to determine whether further mounds or archaeological features lie within the acres of thick forests and swampy land near the site’s main complex.

Header Image Credit : Alamy

Sources : KSDK

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

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