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Archaeologists unearth tomb of elite figure from the Chancay culture



Archaeologists excavating in Peru’s Huaral province have unearthed a tomb belonging to an elite figure from the Chancay culture.

The Chancay were a pre-Hispanic civilisation which developed in the later part of the Inca Empire on the central coast of Peru from around AD 1000 to 1470.

The culture created large urban centres with pyramid-shaped mounds and complex buildings, organised within different types of settlements or ayllus that were controlled by leaders or curacas.

Archaeologists from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, led by Pieter Van Dalen Luna, discovered the tomb in a cemetery in the Chancay valley which dates from AD 1000 to 1400.

Image Credit : Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos

The tomb is a sunken pit measuring six metres deep and contains the remains of a Chancay elite protected by a large bundle. Also found are the remains of five other individuals that the team suggest could be sacrificed relatives, children, or servants.

A unique find in the tomb is the discovery of a wooden oar, for which no other examples have been found to date during the excavations of over 80 other Chancay burials in the cemetery.

Alongside the burials are the remains of four sacrificed llamas to honour the deceased, and 25 ceramic vessels containing offerings of food to serve the dead on their journey to the afterlife.

Further studies are yet to be conducted to determine the age, sex and possible causes of death for the individuals in the tomb, which the researchers hope to determine through an anthropological analysis.

Excavations at the cemetery previously discovered a tomb containing the remains of two adults and one child buried alongside ceramic vessels filled with the remnants corn, fruit and cotton seeds, as well as the remains of guinea pigs sacrificed as part of a funeral ritual.

Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos

Header Image Credit : Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos

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Clusters of ancient qanats discovered in Diyala




An archaeological survey has identified three clusters of ancient qanats in the Diyala Province of Iraq.

A qanat, also known as a kārīz, is a system for transporting water from an aquifer or water well over long distances in hot dry climates without losing water to evaporation.

Qanats use a sequence of vertical shafts resembling wells, linked by a gently inclined tunnel that serves as a conduit for channelling water. Qanats efficiently transport substantial volumes of underground water to the surface without requiring pumps.

The water naturally flows downhill by gravity, with the endpoint positioned at a lower level than the origin. When the qanat is still below ground, the water is drawn to the surface via water wells or animal driven Persian wells.

Image Credit : State Board of Antiquities & Heritage

Some Qanats are divided into an underground network of smaller canals known as kariz, functioning similarly to qanats by staying beneath the surface to prevent contamination and evaporation. In certain instances, water from a qanat is stored in a reservoir, usually with nighttime flow reserved for daytime usage.

The technology for qanat’s first emerged in ancient Iran around 3,000-years-ago and slowly spread westward and eastward.

A recent survey within the Diyala Province has discovered three clusters of qanats stretching between the areas of Jalulaa and Kortaba. Initial studies dates the clusters to around AD 1000, a period known as the “Iranian Intermezzo”, when parts of the region were governed by a number of minor Iranian emirates.

The first cluster consists of 25 wells on a linear alignment connected to an adjacent 10 metre deep water channel. The second cluster also has 25 wells and is connected to a 13 km long hand dug channel, while the third cluster consists of 9 wells connected to water canals dug on both sides.

Header Image Credit : State Board of Antiquities & Heritage

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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16,800-year-old Palaeolithic dwelling found in La Garma cave




Archaeologists have discovered a 16,800-year-old Palaeolithic dwelling in the La Garma cave complex, located in the municipality of Ribamontán al Monte in Spain’s Cantabria province.

The La Garma cave complex is a parietal art-bearing paleoanthropological cave system on the southern side of the La Garma Hill.

The cave complex is noted for one of the best preserved floors from the Palaeolithic period, containing more than 4,000 fossils and more than 500 graphical units.

A project led by Pablo Arias and Roberto Ontañón from the University of Cantabria has recently announced the discovery of a Palaeolithic dwelling within the cave system, described as “one of the best preserved Palaeolithic dwellings in the world.”

The dwelling is an oval space and is delimited by an alignment of stone blocks and stalagmites that supported a fixed structure of sticks and skins leaning against the cave wall. The total area of the space is around 5 square metres that centred on a camp fire.

Archaeologists also found vestiges of various daily activities associated with Magdalenian hunters and gatherers at the dwelling, including evidence of stone manufacturing, bone and antler instruments, and the working of fur.

In total, over 4,614 objects have been documented, such as dear, horse and bison bones, 600 pieces of flint, needles and a protoharpoon, shells of marine mollusks, as well as numerous pendants worn by the cave dwelling inhabitants.

Additionally, the researchers also found a number of decorated bones, including a remarkable pierced aurochs phalanx engraved with a depiction of both the animal itself and a human face—a distinctive artefact unique to the European Palaeolithic era.

Due to the national importance of the discovery, the team used innovative non-intrusive techniques in their study of the dwelling. This includes continuous tomography of the soils, 3D cartography, the molecular and genetic analysis of soils and Palaeolithic objects, mass spectrometry, and hyperspectral imaging.

Header Image Credit : University of Cantabria

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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