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Archaeologists analyse remains of Roman purse found in Merida

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A team of archaeologists from the University of Granada (UGR), the Consortium of the Historical-Artistic and Archaeological Monumental City of Mérida, and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), have analysed the remains of a Roman purse found at Casa del Mitreo in Merida, Spain.

Merida, known during the Roman period as Emerita Augusta, was founded as a colony in 25 BC under the order of the emperor Augustus to serve as a retreat for the veteran soldiers (emeritus) of the legions V Alaudae and X Gemina.

The purse was discovered at the Casa del Mitreo archaeological site, a high status domus that dates from the end of the 1st or beginning of the 2nd century AD. The domus consisted of peristyles or courtyards with columns, and numerous ornate mosaics that decorated the interior rooms. Excavations found the purse remains in the balneum area (private baths), specifically in room no. 44, which served as a service area for the domus.

According to a study published in the journal Arqueología, the purse (known as a bursa), is the second only example discovered in the entire Iberian Peninsula.

Image Credit : University of Granada

Textile fragments from the purse were identified by conducting a microscopic analysis of coins, revealing that the textiles were made from Egyptian linen.

Whether the purse remains originate in Egypt or the orient, or the flax materials were imported and then woven locally is unknown. Egypt produced linen with a high reputation, but by the Roman period, the big centres of production had moved to Syria and Palestine.

An examination of the coins and the archaeological context they were found in situ places them to the end of the 3rd century AD. This coincides with the phase of abandonment of the domus which occurred during the late 3rd century and early 4th century AD.

University of Granada

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Archaeology

Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill

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Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

Construction of the early Romanesque Merseburg Cathedral was begun by Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015.

It was consecrated in 1021 in the presence of Emperor Heinrich II (Henry II), however, following a series of collapses in the eastern part of the structure, the cathedral wouldn’t be formally consecrated and opened until 1042 by Bishop Hunold.

The Merseburg Cathedral of St. John and St. Lawrence is today considered one of the most important cathedral buildings in Germany.

The LDA team were excavating the basement of the so-called Martinikurie, a two-story residential building from the Baroque period. Excavations revealed the remains of the first bishop’s palace, dating from from the time of the second consecration of Merseburg Cathedral.

According to the LDA: “We found the almost completely preserved basement-like lower floor of a hall building, whose 1.75 metre thick foundation walls are still preserved up to a height of 3.40 metres. Steps in the masonry and a pillar from the time of construction inside the building prove that at least one hall-like upper floor once stood on top of this.”
The palace was constructed by Bishop Hunold, who headed the diocese of Merseburg between 1036 and 1050.

“This finding makes it possible to locate one of the most important buildings of the episcopal see in Merseburg – a building that, with its location and size, clearly expresses the self-confidence of the diocese, which was re-founded in 1004 by King Henry II of Germany” added the LDA.

Header Image Credit : LDA

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA)

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

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Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

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Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

The papyri were discovered in Berenice Troglodytica, an ancient seaport of Egypt on the western shore of the Red Sea. The city was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC), who named it after his mother, Berenice I of Egypt.

During the Roman period, Berenice Troglodytica was one of the main waystations for the trade in war elephants and exotic goods, imported from India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and Upper Egypt.

Excavations of an animal cemetery located on the western outskirts of the city have uncovered an accumulation of ceramics originating from the Mediterranean, Africa and India.

Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Among the accumulation, the team found Roman coins, a fibula, ostracons (fragments of texts on ceramics), and several papyri.

The papyri contains the correspondence of centurions, naming Haosus, Lucinius and Petronius. Centurions were soldiers who were promoted to command a centuria or “century”, a military unit consisting of between 80 to 100 men.

“In the correspondence, Petronius asks Lucinius (stationed in Berenice Troglodytica) about the prices of individual exclusive goods. There is also the statement: “I am giving you the money, I am sending it by dromedarius (a unit of legionnaires moving on dromedaries). Take care of them, provide them with veal and poles for their tents.”

Dr. Marta Osypińska from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław, said: “For Egyptologists and other scientists dealing with antiquity, this is an extremely rare and high-calibre discovery.”

“In this part of the world, there are very few sites from the Roman period. The Egyptians tend to leave little historical accounts from this time in history, because it is the moment when they were conquered.” added  Dr. Osypińska.

Header Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Sources : PAP

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

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