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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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Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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