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Archaeologists excavate Kom el-Dikka in Alexandria

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A Polish-Egyptian team of archaeologists have recommenced excavations at Kom El-Dikka in Alexandria, Egypt.

Alexandria (as the new capital of Egypt) was founded by its namesake – Alexander the Great in 332 BC, who drove the Persians from Egypt.

The Ptolemaic dynasty, which was founded by one of Alexander’s generals, contributed to the development of the city into a major cosmopolitan metropolis. By the time of Augustus during the Roman period, the city grid encompassed an area of 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi), and the total population was around 500,000–600,000.

Kom El-Dikka was a high-status residential district, and later it became a major civic centre with a bath complex (thermae), auditoria (lecture halls), and a theatre. Today, Kom el-Dikka is the largest and most complete above ground archaeological site in Alexandria. It provides large amounts of evidence of urban life in Roman Egypt, including early villas and their mosaics, and late Roman public works.

The researchers are excavating several 1st to 3rd century AD dwellings from the Roman period, in addition to several antique cisterns and an artificial hill created as a result of human activity between the thermal baths and the theatre.

Dr. Grzegorz Majcherek, from the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, said: “Excavations are underway in ancient cisterns supplying water to the nearby Imperial baths. Our primarily goal is to identify the subsequent construction phases and determine the chronology of this unique site. It is the only example of this type of building in Egypt, rising high above the surrounding area and acting as a water tower”.

Previous excavations of the dwellings have revealed multi-coloured mosaic flooring, including a mosaic with depictions of lotus flowers that indicates the high status of the occupants. A recent survey suggests that further mosaics are waiting to be uncovered despite the destruction of the 3rd century and robbing of the Roman building material.

In 2004, Dr. Grzegorz Majcherek, announced the discovery of a large complex of well-preserved lecture halls from the late antiquity (5th-7th centuries AD). These are the only material remains of the ancient university known from the Mediterranean area.

PAP

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

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Excavation of medieval shipbuilders reveals a Roman head of Mercury

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Excavations of a medieval shipbuilders has led to the discovery of a Roman settlement and a Roman head of Mercury.

The discovery was made at Smallhythe Place, a late 15th or early 16th century property managed by the National Trust near Tenterden in Kent, England.

Prior to the decline of the port and shipyard at Smallhythe during the 16th century, the local community played a crucial role in the shipbuilding industry, crafting vessels for notable figures, including members of royalty.

As part of a project funded by several UK institutions, over 60 volunteers from the National Trust participated in the excavation, along with professional archaeologists, students, and members of the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group.

The excavation has revealed traces of a Roman settlement that was occupied between the 1st and 3rd centuries, including an incredibly rare figurine made of pipeclay that depicts the god, Mercury.

Mercury was a major god in the Roman pantheon and was associated with financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery, and thieves. He also served as the guide of souls to the underworld and was the messenger of the gods.

According to a press announcement by the National Trust: “This complete figurine probably would have depicted Mercury standing, either draped with a chlamys (a short cloak), or naked, holding a caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes).”

The team also unearthed thousands of artefacts, providing evidence of the evolution of Smallhythe Place from a Georgian farm to a midden dump, a shipbuilding site, and a brickworks.

The National Trust said: “To support our investigations, we received grants from the National Trust’s Inclusive Archaeology, Robert Kiln and the Roman Research Funds and from the Royal Archaeological Institute. During 2023, our project has received funding from the Society of Antiquaries and the William and Edith Oldham Charitable Trust.”

Header Image Credit : James Dobson

Sources : National Trust – Exploring Smallhythe Place: Archaeological Investigations by the River Rother

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

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Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

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

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