Dr Wojciech Filipowiak, a Polish archaeologist with the archaeology and ethnology section of Poland’s Academy of Sciences, working with the support of the city of Wolin and the Wolin Archaeology Museum, suggests that he may have found the lost Viking settlement of Jomsborg near the island of Wolin in the Baltic Sea.
Jomsborg was a semi-legendary Viking stronghold whose inhabitants were known as Jomsvikings, purportedly an order of Viking mercenaries that appears in some of the Icelandic sagas from the 12th and 13th centuries.
According to the Knytlingasaga and Fagrskinna sagas, Jomsborg was built by the Danish king, Harold Bluetooth during the 960s, while the Heimskringla saga, describes how Jomsborg was destroyed in 1043 by Dano-Norwegian king Magnus the Good.
Jomsborg’s exact location, or its existence, has long been the subject of debate, though it is often maintained that Jomsborg was located on the eastern outlet of the Oder River.
Nazi archaeologists searched for evidence of Viking remains until the outbreak of WW2, hoping to find proof of what they believed would support their fantasy of the superiority of the Nordic race and its dominance over local Slavic peoples.
Recent excavations in an area known as Hangmen’s Hill (where public executions were carried out between the 8th and 17th centuries), have led to the discovery of various burials and the charred traces of wooden structures, which the researcher states are the traces of a burnt rampart from the 10th century.
According to Dr Filipowiak, the ramparts indicate the location of the Jomsborg stronghold, which is supported with the discovery of a wooden pier that would have served a trading post during the Viking era.
The findings are yet inconclusive, but the locality to Wolin and the supporting evidence does suggest a possible fortified settlement. Whether this is Jomsborg is yet to be determined, however, Dr Filipowiak told the New York Times: “The debate over Jomsborg’s location — or if it really existed — has been a very long discussion. Hopefully, I can help end it.””
Header Image Credit : Shutterstock
Maya tomb with funerary offerings found during hotel construction
A tomb with funerary offerings has been uncovered during the construction of the Tren Maya Hotel, in Palenque, Mexico.
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conducted rescue excavations following the discovery, revealing skeletal remains associated with the Maya city of Palenque.
Palenque, also known as Lakamha in the Itza Language (meaning “Flat-Place-River”), is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
The city dates from 226 BC to AD 799, with most of the major construction works representing a rebuilding effort in response to attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states in AD 599 and AD 611.
The population declined during the 8th century AD, instead becoming an agricultural population that led to the abandonment of the city zone. By 1520 following the Spanish conquest, contemporary Spanish accounts record the entire region being sparsely populated.
Excavations uncovered a stone lined funerary space sealed with limestone slabs, in which the researchers found the remains of a high-status individual who likely lived in the periphery of Palenque in a small settlement.
The burial is located at a depth of four metres, and also contained ceramic vessels and beads deposited as funerary offerings.
“The individual was placed face up with his legs extended and his head facing north,” said Diego Prieto Hernández from INAH.
The discovery was announced in a press conference reporting on the progress of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza) in Palenque, Moral-Reforma and El Tigre, the three heritage sites that are served within Section 1 of the Mayan Train Project.
Header Image Credit : INAH
Archaeologists unearth possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle
Archaeologists from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust may have discovered the possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Pembroke Castle was founded during the 11th century by Roger de Montgomerie, the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury.
In 1452, Jasper Tudor was presented both the castle and the earldom by his half-brother, King Henry VI. In 1457, Henry VII was born at the castle, the only child of Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond.
Following Edward IV’s ascension to the throne in 1471, Henry VII endured 14 years of exile in Brittany. He eventually claimed the throne after his forces, with backing from France, Scotland, and Wales, emerged victorious over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, marking the climax of the Wars of the Roses.
Henry VII’s reign is credited with many administrative, economic, and tax reforms, having ruled for nearly 24 years until his death in 1509 at the age of 52. Henry VII was succeed by his second son, Henry, Duke of York, who ascended to the crown as Henry VIII.
Historians have long assumed that a 13th century tower on the outer ward (known today as Henry VII Tower) was the birth place of Henry VII. However, a recent study by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust has uncovered evidence of a late-medieval winged hall-house, broadly dating to the 15th century.
The walls of the structure extend to around 25 metres, with comparisons being drawn to medieval buildings found in England and East Wales, such as Penallt Mansion in Kidwelly. Historically, Pembroke Castle was situated in the English-speaking portion of Pembrokeshire, often referred to as “Little England beyond Wales.”
Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Neil Ludlow, a consultant to Pembroke Castle, said: “All our indications are pointing to a late-medieval building which was clearly of high status within Pembrokeshire, and it looks as if it was at least two-storeys, which possibly makes it a better candidate for the birthplace of a king rather that the tower that currently bears his name.”
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