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Underwater survey reveals new discoveries in sunken town of Baia

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Underwater archaeologists have been conducting ongoing research at the sunken Roman town of Baia, revealing new discoveries in the Terme del Lacus area.

Baiae is an archaeological park consisting of a partially sunken town from the Roman period, located on the shore of the Gulf of Naples in the present-day comune of Bacoli in Italy.

Baiae developed into a popular Roman resort which was visited frequently by many notable Roman figures, such as Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (also known as Pompey the Great), Julius Caesar, Gaius Marius, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Hadrian, and Septimius Severus.

The town would never attain a municipal status, but instead gained a reputation for a hedonistic lifestyle. This is supported by an account by Sextus Propertius, a poet of the Augustan age during the 1st century BC, who wrote that Baiae was a “vortex of luxury” and a “harbour of vice”.

Image Credit : NAUMACOS

Due to the position of the town on the Cumaean Peninsula in the Phlegraean Fields, an active and volatile volcanic region (which the Romans believed was the home of the Roman god of fire, Vulcan), local volcanic bradyseismic activity raised and lowered the geology on the peninsula that resulted in the lower parts of the town being submerged.

Underwater archaeologists from the Campi Flegrei Archaeological Park and Naumacos, have been conducting a survey of the Terme del Lacus area, revealing a block of structures covering 60 metres in length. The team also found stone colonnades, marble columns, and a portasanta marble column, which was imported during antiquity from the island of Chios in Greece.

A large piece of marble opus sectile flooring has also been identified, still rendered with portasanta and white marble in a chromatic alternating pattern. This currently appears as the most indicative dating element, being the typology and implementation referable to the Late Antiquity age.

Previous surveys of the area in 2013 uncovered an ornate statue representing Apollo, the Greek/Roman god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the Sun and light, poetry, and more.

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Header Image Credit : NAUMACOS

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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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