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Watermill uncovered with Anglo Saxon origins

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Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology have uncovered a watermill as part of the HS2 archaeology program.

Excavations were conducted in conjunction with partners from CA and COPA, near the town of Buckingham in Buckinghamshire, England.

Historical records in the 1086 Domesday book, a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales at the behest of King William I (known as William the Conqueror), show that the site was part of an earlier Anglo-Saxon estate that developed after the year 949.

Excavations revealed that the site was first occupied during prehistory, with the discovery of a possible ring ditch and a Mesolithic mace head found in a post-medieval quarry pit. The mace head possibly originated from a truncated deposit internal to the putative ring ditch.

The first depiction of a watermill can be found in 17th century historic maps, which fell in disuse by 1825 and was repurposed until eventually being demolished in the 1940’s.

Archaeological remains suggest that the watermill came into use during the 13th century, evidenced by partially exposed remains of three timber beams set in a substantial clay packing deposit, possibly forming the corner of a timber structure. Features relating to the watermill, bypass channel, mill race and outflow pond were still extant on site at the start of the archaeological works.

Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology

The final phase of mill structures was constructed in the late post-medieval period, indicated by substantial structures designed to funnel water to the mill wheel. The height of the walls and the wide funnel suggest the potential for a large volume of water to be flowing; however, the surviving mill race has a very gentle gradient, possibly as a result of modern management of the ditch following the mill’s disuse.

Excavations also revealed an associated building that contained two rooms constructed predominantly with stone. A series of postholes formed an internal partition within the northern room, which enclosed a stone rubble surface. A brick floor surface survived in the southern room, which (along with material recovered from the walls) are dated to the 18th century onwards.

Cotswold Archaeology

Header Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology

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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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