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Neolithic finds at Cambridgeshire quarry

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Archaeologists have made several new discoveries from the Neolithic period during excavations at the Needingworth quarry in Cambridgeshire, England.

The quarry is one of the largest sand and gravel extraction sites in the UK, managed by Hanson UK, a supplier of low carbon heavy building materials to the construction industry.

The site covers an area of approximately 975 hectares, which overtime will be phased to create Britain’s biggest reedbed along with open meres, wet scrub and grassland, all within a 700-hectare nature reserve.

A team of archaeologists from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, part of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, have uncovered several clusters of Neolithic pits with datable material such as flint and pottery.

Image Credit : Cambridge Archaeological Unit

Some of the clusters contained Peterborough Ware, a decorated pottery style from the early to middle Neolithic that dates to roughly 3500 to 3000 BC. Peterborough Ware is known for the impressed pits made by bone or wood implements in its sides or circular ‘maggot’ patterns made using whipped cord.

One of the most notable discoveries is a decorated complete Grooved Ware pot (header image) from 2900 to 2400 BC. The vessel was found in a pit and was likely deposited whole, which overtime has collapsed from the weight of the soil above.

Since many Grooved ware pots have been found at henge sites and in burials, it is possible that they may have had a ritual purpose as well as a functional one.

Excavations at the Needingworth quarry site are ongoing, and the team plan to publish more information on their latest findings over the next week. You can follow the excavation by clicking here.

The Cambridge Archaeological Unit is the same team behind the famous Must Farm excavations, a Bronze Age settlement at Must Farm quarry near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridge Archaeological Unit

Header Image Credit : Cambridge Archaeological Unit

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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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Archaeology

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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