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High-status tombs from Lijiaya Culture discovered in northern Shaanxi



In a press announcement by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, archaeologists have discovered a large number of high-status tombs in Qingjian, northern Shaanxi, China.

The Lijiaya Culture emerged during the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC – 1045 BC), named for the type-site of Lijiaya, a fortified settlement in the wider Lijiaya area.

Archaeologists under the direction of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage have been excavating the Zhaigou archaeological site, a Lijiaya settlement in Qingjian County.

A study of the surrounding hills, an area covering 3 million square metres, has led to the discovery of rammed earth buildings, high status tombs, cemeteries, and hundreds of artefacts.

Zhaiyuangai rammed earth building area – Image Credit : State Administration of Cultural Heritage

Sun Zhanwei, an associate researcher at the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, said: “9 high-status cemeteries from the late Shang Dynasty were discovered, in addition to 7 “A”-shaped tombs that are distributed in the north-south direction. They are the largest and most numerous high-status tombs discovered in northern Shaanxi so far.”

A total of 4 Shang Dynasty tombs were also found in the Changliang cemetery of Houliujiata, arranged in a north-south direction. A tomb, designated M1, is a “jia”-shaped tomb, which is located at the northernmost part of the cemetery.

Tombs, M2, M3, and M4 are earth pit tombs with vertical pits, where the researchers found more than 200 burial offerings, a complete set of bronze chariots and horses, a swallow-shaped copper belt buckle inlaid with turquoise, a turquoise-inlaid animal-faced bone casket, gold earrings, seashells, jade artefacts, various funerary vessels, and axes and arrowheads made from copper.

According to the researchers, the excavations have increased our understanding of the political territory and geographical structure of the Shang Dynasty during the Yin Ruins period, and the exchange and interaction between the core area of ​​Shang culture and the territories to the north.

State Administration of Cultural Heritage

Header Image Credit : State Administration of Cultural Heritage

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Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill




Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

Construction of the early Romanesque Merseburg Cathedral was begun by Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015.

It was consecrated in 1021 in the presence of Emperor Heinrich II (Henry II), however, following a series of collapses in the eastern part of the structure, the cathedral wouldn’t be formally consecrated and opened until 1042 by Bishop Hunold.

The Merseburg Cathedral of St. John and St. Lawrence is today considered one of the most important cathedral buildings in Germany.

The LDA team were excavating the basement of the so-called Martinikurie, a two-story residential building from the Baroque period. Excavations revealed the remains of the first bishop’s palace, dating from from the time of the second consecration of Merseburg Cathedral.

According to the LDA: “We found the almost completely preserved basement-like lower floor of a hall building, whose 1.75 metre thick foundation walls are still preserved up to a height of 3.40 metres. Steps in the masonry and a pillar from the time of construction inside the building prove that at least one hall-like upper floor once stood on top of this.”
The palace was constructed by Bishop Hunold, who headed the diocese of Merseburg between 1036 and 1050.

“This finding makes it possible to locate one of the most important buildings of the episcopal see in Merseburg – a building that, with its location and size, clearly expresses the self-confidence of the diocese, which was re-founded in 1004 by King Henry II of Germany” added the LDA.

Header Image Credit : LDA

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA)

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions




Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

The papyri were discovered in Berenice Troglodytica, an ancient seaport of Egypt on the western shore of the Red Sea. The city was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC), who named it after his mother, Berenice I of Egypt.

During the Roman period, Berenice Troglodytica was one of the main waystations for the trade in war elephants and exotic goods, imported from India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and Upper Egypt.

Excavations of an animal cemetery located on the western outskirts of the city have uncovered an accumulation of ceramics originating from the Mediterranean, Africa and India.

Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Among the accumulation, the team found Roman coins, a fibula, ostracons (fragments of texts on ceramics), and several papyri.

The papyri contains the correspondence of centurions, naming Haosus, Lucinius and Petronius. Centurions were soldiers who were promoted to command a centuria or “century”, a military unit consisting of between 80 to 100 men.

“In the correspondence, Petronius asks Lucinius (stationed in Berenice Troglodytica) about the prices of individual exclusive goods. There is also the statement: “I am giving you the money, I am sending it by dromedarius (a unit of legionnaires moving on dromedaries). Take care of them, provide them with veal and poles for their tents.”

Dr. Marta Osypińska from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław, said: “For Egyptologists and other scientists dealing with antiquity, this is an extremely rare and high-calibre discovery.”

“In this part of the world, there are very few sites from the Roman period. The Egyptians tend to leave little historical accounts from this time in history, because it is the moment when they were conquered.” added  Dr. Osypińska.

Header Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Sources : PAP

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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