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Archaeologists find rock carved face at Benidorm’s Roman fort

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Archaeologists from the University of Alicante have discovered a rock carved face at the Tossal de La Cala, a roman fort in Benidorm on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

Tossal de La Cala was a fort or “castellum” built by General Quinto Sertorio around the year 77 BC during the Sertorian Wars, a civil war fought from 80 to 72 BC between a faction of Roman rebels (Sertorians) and the government in Rome (Sullans) on the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania).

The fort was part of a chain of coastal military enclaves which monitored maritime trade and protected the shore from enemy ships.

Excavations by archaeologists from the University of Alicante have discovered a 2,000-year-old rock carved “inscultura” face consisting of three artistic representations showing a human face, a cornucopia, and a phallus.

The carving measures 57 x 42 centimetres, however, the researchers suggest that parts of the carving are incomplete with the upper right section being missing.

The intention of the carving is unknown, it may have been graffiti or had a ritualistic purpose. The inclusion of a phallus suggests that it may have served to provide protection, as the Roman’s believed that the phallus was the embodiment of a masculine generative power, and was one of the tokens of the safety of the state (sacra Romana) giving protection and good fortune.

Phallic imagery can be found across the Roman world in sculptures, mosaics, and frescoes, and portable objects such as pendants or bulla, to ward off evil that may prey on children (in particular, young boys), or from the wandering evil eye (malus oculus) of men.

The depiction of a cornucopia “horn of plenty” suggests the possibility that the face could represent a god or goddess, as many deities from the Roman pantheon associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance are often shown carrying a cornucopia in Roman reliefs and coins.

University of Alicante

Header Image Credit : University of Alicante

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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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