Underwater archaeologists from the CSR Restauro Beni Culturali are conducting restoration works of a recently rediscovered mosaic in the submerged remains of Roman Baia.
Baiae is an archaeological park consisting of a partially sunken town from the Roman period, located on the shore of the Gulf of Naples in the present-day comune of Bacoli in Italy.
Baiae developed into a popular Roman resort which was visited frequently by many notable Roman figures. The town would never attain a municipal status, but instead gained a reputation for a hedonistic lifestyle. This is supported by an account by Sextus Propertius, a poet of the Augustan age during the 1st century BC, who wrote that Baiae was a “vortex of luxury” and a “harbour of vice”.
Due to the position of the town on the Cumaean Peninsula in the Phlegraean Fields, an active and volatile volcanic region, local volcanic bradyseismic activity raised and lowered the geology on the peninsula that resulted in the lower parts of the town being submerged.
Image Credit : Parco Archeologico Campi Flegrei & NAUMACOS
The mosaic, known as the “mosaic of the waves”, was first discovered over 40 years, but due to sediment changes on the seabed, its location was lost until an announcement of its rediscovery by the Campi Flegrei Archaeological Park in January 2023.
The mosaic would have been part of a high-status building in the Portus Julius area of Baiae and shows a pattern of waves surrounded by borders of pink and black tesserae on a white background.
Underwater archaeologists from the CSR Restauro Beni Culturali are currently removing incrustations from the mosaic and repairing missing tessera by using coloured mortar to match the colour of the original tiles.
The Campi Flegrei Archaeological Park intends for the mosaic to be an underwater attraction after restoration works have completed. The park is a protected area established in 2002 as a unique example in the Mediterranean of archaeological and natural protection underwater.
Header Image Credit : Parco Archeologico Campi Flegrei & NAUMACOS
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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