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Ornate brick-chambered tomb from the Jin Dynasty discovered in China

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Archaeologists have uncovered an ornate brick-chambered tomb from the Jin Dynasty in the Shanxi province of China.

Excavations were conducted by the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology near the village of Dongfengshan in Yuanqu County as a result of construction works for a new pipeline.

The tomb dates from the Jin Dynasty, a period officially known as the Great Jin that existed from AD 1115 until AD 1234. The Jin dynasty was created in modern Jilin and Heilongjiang by the Jurchen tribal chieftain, Aguda. The dynasty continued to rule until the last emperor, Aizong, committed suicide by hanging himself to avoid being captured by the Mongols.

Archaeologists uncovered a square-shaped brick-chambered tomb constructed with carved bricks that imitates wood. The tomb consists of the main burial chamber which is accessed by a stepped passageway leading through a corridor from a sealed doorway.

Image Credit : Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology

The length of the burial chamber measures roughly 2 metres on each side and reaches a height of 3.4 metres to form an octagonal roof with 13 stacked inclining layers of bricks.

The north wall of the chamber shows a gatehouse flanked on either side with a depiction of a man and woman sitting behind tables on ornately carved chairs. The man is shown with a goatee and is wearing a gown with a belt around his waist, while the woman is wearing a double-breasted gown with her hands folded in the sleeves.

On the west and east walls are lattice panels or doors which are carved with flowers on the lower partition. The upper parts of the panels show varying patterns of concave, octagonal, or uniform square shapes.

Image Credit : Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology

Three burials were placed in the chamber consisting of a young child and two adults who died at the age of between 50 and 60 years old. Placed alongside the burials were porcelain bowls, jars, a lamp, and glazed pots.

Also uncovered is a land purchase certificate made from brick with an inscription in calligraphy that roughly translates as “Wang Village” with the names of “Gongcao and Mingchang.” An examination of the certificate dates it to around AD 1190 to AD 1196 during the reign of Emperor Zhangzong of Jin.

Speaking on the discovery, the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology said: “The excavation of this tomb has enriched our understanding of the Jin Dynasty in the southern Shanxi area. The land purchase certificate has a clear date which provides an accurate basis for the dating of other tombs in the same period.”

Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology

Header Image Credit : Shanxi Provincial Institute of 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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