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Remains of Roman fortlet discovered next to Antonine Wall

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Archaeologists from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) have discovered the remains of a Roman fortlet next to the Antonine Wall in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

The Antonine Wall, known as the Vallum Antonini, was a defensive wall built by the Romans in present-day Scotland. The wall ran for 39 miles between the Firth of Forth, and the Firth of Clyde (west of Edinburgh along the central belt), and was protected by 16 forts and around 41 fortlets.

Construction of the wall commenced during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 142 in Caledonian territories previously held by the Damnonii, Otadini, Novantae, and the Selgovae tribes. The wall was intended to extend dominion over lands conquered by Governor Quintus Lollius Urbicus, cementing a new frontier 100 miles north of Hadrian’s Wall.

A recent geophysical survey using gradiometry has revealed the remains of a fortlet in the area around Carleith Farm in West Dunbartonshire. Gradiometry measures small changes in the earth’s magnetic field to detect archaeological features otherwise invisible from the ground surface.

Riona McMorrow, Deputy Head of World Heritage at HES, said: “Archaeology is often partly detective work, and the discovery at Carleith is a nice example of how an observation made 300 years ago and new technology can come together to add to our understanding.”

The fortlet was first was mentioned in 1707 by antiquarian Robert Sibbald, however, archaeologists searching for physical evidence of its existence have been unable to determine the exact location until now.

A small garrison of up to 12 soldiers occupied the fortlet in rotation from the larger fort at Duntocher. Within the interior would have been two small buildings, protected by the Antonine wall on the northern side and a surrounding wall around the perimeter of the buildings.

According to the researchers: “The geophysical survey will help to better understand and protect the Antonine Wall. While up to 41 fortlets may have lined the Wall when it was built, only nine have previously been found. This discovery marks the tenth known fortlet and shows that there is still more to be discovered about this important Roman monument and its functions even after centuries of enquiry.”

HES

Header Image Credit : Harald Lueder

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Archaeology

Study indicates that Firth promontory could be an ancient crannog

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A study by students from the University of the Highlands and Islands has revealed that a promontory in the Loch of Wasdale in Firth, Orkney, could be the remains of an ancient crannog.

A crannog is a partially or entirely artificial island, typically built in lakes and estuarine waters of Scotland from the prehistoric period onward.

Crannogs were used as dwellings, taking advantage of the natural surroundings that may have served to provide a defensive purpose.

Despite significant variations in methodology, most crannogs on mainland Scotland were built by driving timber piles into the loch bed and filling the interior with peat, brush, stones, or timber to create a solid foundation.

In largely treeless regions like the Western Isles, these island dwellings utilised a diverse mix of natural, artificially enlarged, or entirely artificial islets.

The discovery was made by students from the UHI Archaeology Institute, who were conducting test-pitting on a promontory at the northern end of the Loch of Wasdale.

According to a press statement by UHI: “It appears as an islet on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map. Little is known about the site, but the fact the shoreside edges appear to show the remains of walling led to the suggestion it may be a crannog.”

In his Reminiscences of an Orkney Parish, John Firth (1838-1922) wrote that this islet was once home to a kirk: “During the Middle Ages several chapels existed in the district now known as the parish of Firth – one on the island in the Loch of Wasdale.”

The test-pitting revealed large quantities of cairn-like rubble, in addition to more structural remains or a stone surface, indicating that the entire promontory/islet is artificial.

Martin Carruthers, a lecturer at UHI, said: “A structure made up of some very large masonry seems to lurk at the heart of the cairn makeup. Constructing this ‘monument’ must have been a very substantial undertaking.”

“In terms of artefacts, apart from some later post-medieval glazed pottery, we recovered a single worked flint, probably a ‘thumbnail’ scraper, which is most likely later Neolithic in date,” added Carruthers.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : UHI

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

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Archaeologists identify the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II

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Archaeologists from Sorbonne University have identified the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II, otherwise known as Ramesses the Great.

Ramesses II was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty during the New Kingdom period.
His reign is often regarded as the most celebrated in Egypt’s history, marked by several major military campaigns and numerous monument construction projects.

Based on supporting historical accounts, most Egyptologists suggest that Ramesses II assumed the throne in 1279 BC and reigned until his death at the age of around 90 in 1212 or 1213 BC.

His remains were interred in a tomb complex (designated KV7) in the Valley of the Kings, located opposite the tomb of his sons (KV5), and near the tomb (KV8) of his son and successor, Merenptah.

During the reign of Ramesses III during the 20th Dynasty, the tomb of Ramesses II was looted by grave robbers. Ancient texts record that priests moved his remains to the tomb of Queen Ahmose Inhapy, and then to the tomb of the high priest Pinedjem II.

His final resting place was a tomb (designated TT320), located next to Deir el-Bahari, in the Theban Necropolis opposite Luxor. The tomb is a Royal Cache containing the mummified remains of more than 50 kings, queens, and other royal family members of the New Kingdom period.

The mummy of Ramesses II was discovered in TT320 during excavations in 1881. He was found placed in a simple wooden coffin, suggesting that this was meant as a temporary measure until a more permanent resting place could be determined.

A new study, published in the Revue d’Égyptologie, suggests that a fragment of a sarcophagus discovered in 2009 at Abydos was part of the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II.

The sarcophagus fragment was found in a Coptic monastery and has recently been re-examined by Egyptologist Frédéric Payraudeau from Sorbonne University.

According to the study author, the decoration and texts on the sarcophagus fragment indicate that it was first used by Ramesses II (evidenced by the cartouche of Ramesses II), and later reused by a high priest of the 21st Dynasty, Menkheperre (around 1000 BC) who likely had the sarcophagus transported to Abydos after KV7 was looted.

Header Image Credit : Sarcophagus fragment – Kevin Cahail

Sources : cnrs | Le sarcophage de Ramsès II remployé à Abydos – Published in the Revue d’Égyptologie.

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

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