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Operation to prevent looting has led to discovery of burial caves

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A joint operation to prevent the looting of antiquities by the Kafr Kanna Police and the Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit has led to the discovery of a burial caves near Kafr Kanna in Galilee, Israel.

The team investigated a plot near the village of Mashhad where they recovered stone ossuary’s (small burials chests) and found a burial cave from the Roman period that was entirely destroyed by large scale construction works.

Upon further inspection of the site, the removal of earth revealed a second rock-hewn burial cave with niches and decorated stone ossuary’s, although the cave has also been partially damaged by the construction works. The ossuary’s were found empty and moved from their original location, suggesting that the cave had recently been looted.

The ossuary’s are small rectangular chests carved in soft limestone that were used for the secondary burial of human bones after the body tissue decayed. The custom of secondary burial in stone ossuary’s was a Jewish practice carried out in Judea and the Galilee area in the Early Roman period from around the first century BC.

Image Credit : Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority

A closer inspection of one of the ossuary’s shows an inscription depicting a mausoleum in Greek or a “nefesh” in Hebrew. Another ossuary is carved with a circular wreath in which holes were drilled, thought by some to symbolise the victory of the deceased over death.

All construction work has been stopped and several workers have been summoned to the local police station on suspicion of damaging antiquities and failing to report the discovery to authorities.

In Israel, there is a legal obligation to report chance finds of antiquities to the Israel Antiquities Authority, and damaging antiquities is a criminal offense punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

According to Amir Ganor, Director of the Theft Prevention Unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority: “The original details of the destroyed cave cannot be reconstructed, and almost two-thousand-year-old cultural assets are lost forever. Thanks to the vigilance and determination of the Kafr Kanna Police, and the successful cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, one of the caves was mostly saved.”

IAA

Header Image Credit : Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority

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Archaeology

Excavations uncover traces of Kraków Fortress

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A team of archaeologists conducting archaeological works at the S52 construction site have uncovered traces of the Kraków Fortress in the Polish city of Kraków.

S52 is a Polish highway being constructed in the Silesian and Lesser Poland voivodeships, which upon completion will connect the border of the Czech Republic in Cieszyn with Kraków.

Kraków Fortress refers to a series of Austro-Hungarian fortifications constructed during the 19th century. The fortress included the 18th century Kościuszko Insurrection fortifications, the medieval Wawel Castle, and the Kraków city walls. Of the over 50 post-Austrian forts in Krakow, 44 structures have been preserved in their entirety or with minor changes.

Excavations in the area of ​​the northern bypass of Krakow have revealed the remains of earthen structures related to the network of military units being established around the city, whose task was to turn Krakow into a modern border fortress.

The team also uncovered traces of earth embankments and moats, as well as the infrastructure for draining rainwater from the infantry entrenchment area and a wooden shelter from a dugout measuring 25 by 7.5 metres.

A press statement by the Republic of Poland, said: “During the research, objects related to the everyday life of soldiers were discovered. These include a tin enameled mug with a signature on the bottom depicting a double-headed imperial eagle with the inscription Austria and the initials H&C 1/2.”

“The preserved marking allowed us to determine that the mug is a product of the Haardt & Co. factory located in Knittelfeld, Austria. Enamellierwerke und Metallwarenfabriken AG. Founded in 1873 by Friedrich Wilhelm Haardt, the factory produced embossed enamelled dishes, including orders for the then Austrian army.”

Header Image Credit : Republic of Poland

Sources : Republic of Poland

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

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Archaeology

Excavations at Sheffield Castle uncover city’s industrial heritage

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A team of archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology have uncovered the industrial heritage of Sheffield during excavations at Sheffield Castle.

Sheffield Castle was constructed following the Norman Conquest of England (1066) at the confluence of the River Sheaf and the River Don.

Throughout April and May of 2024, Wessex Archaeology is conducting a series of excavations to uncover and preserve the foundations of the circular towers of the castle’s gatehouse, and explore the destruction deposits from the razing of the original motte and bailey castle by John D’Eyvill in the 13th century.

The team will also be investigating areas never before excavated, finally reaching the remains of the 11th to 17th-century castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned.

Following the removal of the modern concrete foundations and backfill deposits, excavations have already uncovered traces of structures from the 19th century.

The team found remnants of a vaulted ceiling, which upon further inspection has been revealed to be a crucible furnace, a type of foundry furnace used for melting and casting metals such as steel, in addition to ‘rake out’ pits below the furnace.

A press statement by Wessex Archaeology, “This cellar would have been a hot, unpleasant place when the crucible furnaces above were working. Reaching temperatures of 1200 degrees centigrade, the firing process was hot and efficient, but it also produced lots of ash which needed to be cleared. The ash would fall into the ‘rake out’ pits below, where a worker, perhaps a young boy, had the back-breaking job of removing it.”

Throughout April and May 2024, the Sheffield community is invited to experience and discover the site’s archaeology firsthand, through open days and opportunities to participate in the excavation for a day. Attendance is FREE with booking required. For more information and to book, visit www.wessexarch.co.uk/events

Header Image Credit : Wessex Archaeology

Sources : Wessex Archaeology

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

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