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Maya ritual offerings discovered at Uxmal

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Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered ritual offerings in the Maya city of Uxmal.

Uxmal was a Maya polity, located in the Puuc region of the eastern Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Most of the city’s major construction works took place while Uxmal was the capital of a Late Classic Maya state around AD 850 to 925.

The architectural features of Uxmal embody the distinctive Puuc style, characterised by smooth low walls that open on ornate friezes inspired by traditional Maya dwellings. These are represented by columns (symbolising the reeds used for the walls of the huts) and trapezoidal shapes (representing the thatched roofs).

Excavations have found ritual offerings from the Late Classic Period (AD 750 to 900) consisting of a tripod bowl and four vessels, where archaeologists recently discovered a stela depicting a god and a goddess that signified the duality between life and death.

Image Credit : Centro INAH Yucatán

The discovery was made in Structure 26 of the architectural group known as El Palomar (House of the Doves) during conservation works led by site archaeologist, José Huchim Herrera.

According to Herrera, the arrangement of the four vessels evokes the four corners of the universe and the four cardinal points, which contained a sacred liquid for the gods.

The vessels include a fluted pot with a short neck that corresponds to the Late Classic Period, while the remainder are from the Muna ware type from the Terminal Classic (AD 900 to 1100). The polychrome tripod bowl served as a container that may have symbolised the cosmos and the harmonic continuity of the universe.

The offerings have been removed to conduct micro-excavations to determine if they still contain any food residue or organic materials for dating when the offering was deposited.

INAH

Header Image Credit : Centro INAH Yucatán

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Archaeology

Archaeologists may have discovered the lost city of Tu’am

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Excavations in the Umm Al Quwain area of the UAE have revealed 6th century ruins that could be the lost city of Tu’am.

The ruins are situated on Al Sinniyah Island, part of a collection of small islands on the western part of the Khor Al Bidiyah peninsula.

Previous studies on the island have revealed a pearling village and monastery, which has been the focus of the latest season of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a larger settlement, with the earliest signs of occupation dating back to the 4th century AD and peaking in the 5th or 6th century.

The team uncovered traces of large semi-urbanised tenement buildings measuring 30 square metres, which are tightly packed around narrow walkways. According to the researchers, the settlement could be the lost city of Tu’am as described in Ancient Arab texts.

Tu’am was a regional capital on the Gulf coast that was famed for its pearl fishing industry and trade in precious gems.

The population went into decline following a plague and regional tensions, and subsequently was abandoned. Mass graves in the vicinity support the historical account of plague, as the skeletal remains show no evidence of trauma or a violent death.

“Our archaeological work has discovered the largest settlement by far ever found on the Gulf coast of the Emirates,” said Prof Tim Power of UAE University.

“And it’s exactly the right period for the city described in the early Islamic geographical sources. It’s clearly a really important place. No one has ever found it.”

Professor Power explained that while they have not found irrefutable evidence (such as an inscription bearing the town’s name), no other major settlements from this period have been discovered on the coast, strengthening the argument that the settlement is Tu’am. “It’s a process of elimination,” he explained.

Header Image Credit : Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology

Sources : NUAE

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

New findings in North America’s first city

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Cahokia was the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, a mound-building pre-Columbian civilisation that emerged in the Midwestern, Eastern, and South-eastern United States.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was founded around AD 1050 along the banks of the Mississippi River, located near present-day St. Louis, Missouri.

The city covered an area between six to nine square miles (notably larger than many contemporary European cities such as London) and was home to up to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Following the tradition of the Mississippian culture, the people of Cahokia constructed large earthen mounds – ranging from raised platforms, conical, and ridge-top designs – involving the movement of 55 million cubic feet of earth over a period that lasted several decades.

The largest mound is known as “Monks Mound,” named after a group of Trappist monks, which rises to a height of 290 metres and was once the tallest building construction in North America.

Image Credit : MattGush – iStock

Archaeologists and students from Saint Louis University (SLU) have recently conducted a series of excavations on the western periphery of the Cahokia Mounds.

The team unearthed 900-year-old ceramics, microdrills, structures, and wall trenches dating from around AD 1100 to 1200, during the Sterling Phase of the Mississippian Period. According to the archaeologists, the finds offer new insights into a crucial period in the chiefdom’s development, coinciding with Cahokia’s rapid population growth.

The excavations follow an aerial survey by SLU and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to conduct Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to determine whether further mounds or archaeological features lie within the acres of thick forests and swampy land near the site’s main complex.

Header Image Credit : Alamy

Sources : KSDK

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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