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Study finds evidence of Legio X Fretensis in Georgia

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Archaeologists conducting excavations at the Roman fort of Apsaros in Adjara, Georgia, have uncovered evidence of the Legio X Fretensis.

The Legio X Fretensis “Tenth legion of the Strait”, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army formed around 41/40 BC.

The legion was centrally involved in the Great Jewish Revolt (AD 66–73), the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire.

Around AD 70, most of Roman rule was restored in Judea except for several fortresses and Jerusalem. The city was placed under siege by the X Fretensis, in conjunction with the V Macedonica, XII Fulminata, and XV Apollinaris.

After several battles, Jerusalem and the Second Temple was destroyed, with contemporary historian, Titus Flavius Josephus, stating: “Jerusalem…was so thoroughly razed to the ground by those that demolished it to its foundations, that nothing was left that could ever persuade visitors that it had once been a place of habitation.”

The X Fretensis was also the primary force in the assault on the Herodium, and the famous siege on one of the last strongholds of resistance at Masada.

According to contemporary historical text, the X Fretensis was garrisoned in Judaea (20 BC), Syria (AD 6-66), Jerusalem (AD 73 to late 3rd century AD), and Aila (late 3rd century AD). However, excavations at the Roman fort of Apsaros in Adjara, Georgia, have uncovered evidence of the X Fretensis through the discovery of hundreds of bronze coins.

Image Credit : Piotr Jaworski

Most of the coins come from Syrian Antioch and Judea, for which many have been stamped in a practice known as countermarking. A coin that is countermarked has additional marks or symbols punched into it after it was originally produced while in circulation.

Countermarking can be done for a variety of reasons. One such scenario arises when a currency undergoes a reform, rendering existing coins obsolete. To address this, coins already in circulation can be marked with the updated value based on the new currency system.

This practice serves to prolong the lifespan of the existing coins, presenting a potentially more cost-effective solution in certain situations compared to recalling, melting, and producing replacement coins.

Dr. Jaworski from the Faculty of Archaeology at the University of Warsaw said: “They were used to ‘extend the life’ of coins when the original stamps were almost invisible after several decades of use. In this case, the countermarks belonged to the Legio X Fretensis.”.

The coins likely originate from the treasury of Judea and were transported by the X Fretensis on their way to campaign against the Parthians during the reign of Emperor Trajan at the beginning of the 2nd century AD.

“Local coins were not minted at Apsaros, so the legionnaires used their own coins when purchasing wine or bread. They were small denominations used every day to buy food or services,” said: Dr Jaworski.

PAP

Header Image – Apsaros – Image Credit : კოლხი

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Archaeology

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

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Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

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

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Archaeology

3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

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Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

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

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