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Police seize dozens of clay pavement bricks with imprints of the Legio X Equestris



Israeli Police in Jerusalem have seized dozens of clay pavement bricks with imprints of the Legio X Equestris during a raid against antiquities smugglers.

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.

By around AD 70, the majority of Roman rule had been reinstated in Judea, with the exception of a few fortresses and the significant city of Jerusalem. The Legio X Fretensis, joined by the V Macedonica, XII Fulminata, and XV Apollinaris legions, lay siege to the city, and after several battles, Jerusalem and the Second Temple was destroyed.

According to contemporary historian, Titus Flavius Josephus, “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.”

An operation by police in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood in East Jerusalem has led to the discovery of several cartons in a car trunk containing the pavement bricks. The bricks were likely part of a public building such as a bath house, which has since been looted in modern times for sale in the illegal antiquities trade.

The bricks date from roughly 2,000-years-ago and show the stamp of the Legio X Fretensis from when the legion built a military camp after Jerusalem’s destruction.

Amir Ganor, Director of the Theft Prevention Unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: ” After the uprising, soldiers of the legion settled in the greater Jerusalem area where they constructed workshops to make bricks. The seals of the legion – “LXF” – were imprinted on them to mark the movements of the legion’s units throughout the country. The bulk of the distribution of bricks was identified in the Jerusalem area and in the Roman colony built on its ruins – ‘Aelia Capitolina’.”

Eli Escusido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority: “Discovering ancient bricks in the trunk of a car with fresh dirt and being displaced is heart-breaking. If archaeologists had found the bricks on the site itself, we would have been able to gain information for archaeological research as well as add another archaeological site on the historical map of our country. Now, we are left to try and find out through investigative operations where the bricks were dismantled and looted from.”


Header Image Credit : Theft Prevention Unit, Israel Antiquities Authority

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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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