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Stone glyph with spiral representation found beneath Mexican church

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Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered a stone glyph with a spiral representation in the church of the Lateran Parish of San Pedro Apostol.

The church is located in the city of Zacapoaxtla in the Mexican state of Puebla, where experts from the INAH Puebla Centre were supervising floor levelling works in the church nave.

Very little archaeological evidence survives to build the historical founding of Zacapoaxtla, however, one reference records that in AD 1270, an eruption of the Apaxtepec volcano buried the town of Xaltetelli, possibly giving rise to Zacapoaloyan, now known as Zacapoaxtla.

The glyph dates from before the Spanish conquest when the region was inhabited by the Totonac and Nahua cultures, and may have been part of the façade of a pyramid platform with a symbolic association to water. Spirals have been used by many cultures across Mexico, most notably by the Aztecs, which used spirals to mimic natural forms such as water.

The discovery was made in the foundations of an early Christian hermitage and appears to have been symbolically placed under the hermitage’s altar.

The hermitage is likely the same recorded by contemporary chroniclers, whom describe how Jacinto Portillo, a Spanish conquistador, built the first hermitage at Zacapoaxtla in the 16th century, and would later become a missionary of the Order of Friars Minor of St. Francis, known as Fra Cintos.

Project supervisor, Alberto Diez Barroso, said: “the glyph contains the representation of a spiral and measures 40 centimetres tall by 16 centimetres wide, and still has the preserved stucco coating.”

Given the importance of the hermitage and stone glyph, the director of the INAH Puebla Centre, Manuel Villarruel Vázquez, is currently in discussions with the church parish with the aim of preserving the discovery and installing a viewing window for the public.

INAH

Header Image Credit : INAH

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Archaeology

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

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Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

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

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Archaeology

3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

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Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

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

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