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Archaeologists discover fortified settlement from the Datuotou Culture



Excavations administered by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage have discovered a fortified settlement complex from the Datuotou Culture in the Fengtai District of Beijing, China.

The Datuotou Culture, named after the type-site of Datuotou, was an ancient culture that emerged during China’s Bronze Age. The culture was roughly distributed in the south of the Yanshan, reaching the Zhangjiakou region and Huliuhe Valley to the west, the Yanshan to the north, Bohai to the east, and the Laishui and Jumahe in the south.

Since 2021, excavations have revealed a large, fortified settlement designated as Xingong, which dates from between 1500 BC to 1300 BC, in addition to archaeological remains from the late Shang Dynasty (1600 BC–1045 BC) and the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC – 771 BC).

The settlement consists of numerous dwellings which are protected by an outer ring moat and inner ring ditch. To the southeast of the settlement are 27 vertical high-status pit tombs, where archaeologists have found painted ceramics, boot-footed pottery, jade rings, turquoise necklaces, gold earrings, and red agate beads.

An isotope analysis conducted on the human remains has revealed that the settlement inhabitants mainly lived on a diet of millet, with little variation in the dietary habits between the low status and high-status individuals.

According to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage: “The Xingong site is an important Datuotou cultural site, and it is also one of the earliest Bronze Age settlement sites found in Beijing. It represents the cultural and human exchanges, and the blending between the north and south of Yanshan Mountain and the northern grasslands in the Bronze Age.”

The cemetery also provides a unique insight into the dietary habits and burial customers of the Datuotou culture, and how they changed into the Shang Dynasty and the Western Zhou Dynasty.

State Administration of Cultural Heritage

Header Image Credit : State Administration of Cultural Heritage

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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

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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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