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Rare statue of Maya lighting god found in Mexico

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Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered a rare statue of Kʼawiil, the Maya lightning god.

Kʼawiil is associated with lightning, serpents, fertility, and maize, and is often represented having a zoomorphic head with large eyes, a long, upturned snout, and an attenuated serpent foot which represents a lightning bolt.

From descriptions of the Maya New Year rituals, written by Diego de Landa Calderón, a Spanish Franciscan bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatán, and depictions of these rituals in the Dresden Codex, it can be inferred that Kʼawiil was called Bolon Dzacab during the 16th century.

Although depictions of Kʼawiil can be found in Maya reliefs and the Dresden and Maya codices of Mexico, only three statues of Kʼawiil have been previously discovered, all of which come from the city of Tikal in Guatemala.

The latest statue was discovered during the construction of the Maya Train project, in section 7 on the route from Bacalar, in Quintana Roo, to Escárcega, in Campeche. The Maya Train is a 1,525-kilometre intercity railway that will traverse the Yucatán Peninsula, with construction scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The statue is part of an urn, whose body shows the face of a possible solar deity, with the head of K’awiil represented on the lid.

Prieto Hernández, Director General at INAH, said: “This finding is very important because there are very few representations of the god K’awill; Up to now, we only know of three in Tikal, Guatemala, and this is one of the first to appear in Mexican territory.”

Excavations in section 7 also revealed structures, including platforms and vaulted buildings, which the archaeologists plan to preserve and document.

INAH

Header Image Credit : INAH Campeche Centre

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Archaeology

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

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Archaeologists from ARKIKUS have announced the discovery of a Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia, a former Roman town in Hispania, now located in the province of Álava, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain.

The town was an important transit centre on the Ab Asturica Burdigalam (Roman road), with a peak population of around 10,000 inhabitants.

In a recent study using aerial photography and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), archaeologists have found a Roman circus and previously unknown urban areas of Iruña-Veleia.

A Roman circus was a large open-air venue used mainly for chariot races, although sometimes serving other purposes. Chariot racing was the most popular of many subsidised public entertainments, and was an essential component in several religious festivals.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

Chariot racing declined in significance in the Western Roman Empire following the fall of Rome, with the last known race held at the Circus Maximus in AD 549, organised by the Ostrogothic king, Totila.

According to a press statement by ARKIKUS, the circus is an elongated enclosure that accommodated up to 5,000 spectators, and measures 280 metres long by 72 metres wide.

Until now, only a handful of Roman circus’s are known in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, emphasising the importance of Iruña-Veleia during the Roman period.

The study also revealed a Roman street system, evidence of buildings with porticoed areas, and a linear feature indicating the route of the Ab Asturica Burdigalam.

Header Image Credit : ARKIKUS

Sources : ARKIKUS

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

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Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

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Bodbury Ring is a univallate hillfort, strategically located at the southern tip of Bodbury Hill in Shropshire, England.

Hillforts in Britain are known from the Bronze Age, but the main period of hillfort construction occurred during the Celtic Iron Age.

Hillfort fortifications follow the contours of a hill and consist of one or more lines of earthworks or stone ramparts, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Archaeologists from Time Team and the Universities of Chester and York, recently conducted a study of Bodbury Ring using light detection and ranging (LiDAR).

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technique that employs pulsed laser light to measure distances to the Earth. By analysing variations in the return times and wavelengths of the laser pulses, this method can generate a detailed 3-D digital map of the landscape.

The study has revealed that Bodbury Ring is six times larger than previously thought and is part of a much larger hillfort which enclosed the entirety of the ridgetop on Bodbury Hill. This larger hillfort shares some characteristics with examples known to have originated in the Late Bronze Age.

Professor Ainsworth from Time Team said: “The earthworks of Bodbury Ring, it seems, were constructed to form a small, more easily defended fort at the southern tip of the original hillfort, possibly in the Middle Iron Age.”

“This prehistoric ‘downsizing’ may have resulted from increased tension in the region, reflecting possible changes in the geopolitical landscape of the times. Close by, on the northern side of Bodbury Hill, the remains of a probable Roman Iron Age enclosed settlement have also been identified for the first time,” added Professor Ainsworth.

Header Image Credit : University of Chester

Sources : University of Chester

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

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