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Fragments of large wall painting found in Cartagena’s Roman theatre

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Archaeologists have discovered fragments from a wall painting that decorated a portico in Cartagena’s Roman theatre.

Cartagena was founded as a Carthaginian city in 228 BC in south-eastern Iberia, Spain. The city was called Qart Hadasht, meaning “new city”, and served as a staging point for Carthaginian incursions into Spain.

The Roman general, Scipio Africanus, conquered the city in 209 BC, and renamed it as Carthago Nova, emerging as the capital of the Roman province of Carthaginensis.

Between 5 and 1 BC, the Romans constructed a large, monumental theatre, which had a cavea that could hold up to 7,000 spectators for public performances and ceremonies.

Image Credit : Felipe G. Pagan

The theatre was discovered in 1988 during the construction of the Centro regional de artesanía, resulting in a long-term project of restoration and reconstruction, turning the theatre into an open-air museum.

Recent excavations by a team of archaeologists have discovered over 2,000 fragments from a large mural painting. The painting decorated the walls of a portico (porticus post scaenam) with a double porticoed gallery, revolving around a central room housing a garden at the back of the stage in the western section of the theatre complex.

The discovery adds to 1,500 fragments previously uncovered in 2006, allowing the researchers to continue the process of restoring the painting to its original design with more accuracy.

Although restoration is still in its early stages, depictions of ornate Roman figures are beginning to emerge, in addition to linear artistic features.

Excavations are planned to explore the central garden, where the researchers hope to find evidence of flower beds, piping that fed water to fountains, as well as understand how water was used to maintain the flora in the open space.

Cartagena City Hall

Header Image Credit : Felipe G. Pagan

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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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