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Chimú Culture constructed 10 km wall to protect capital against El Niño events

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Archaeologists conducting a study of the Muralla La Cumbre, a 10 km wall in northern Peru, have concluded that the Chimú Culture constructed the wall to protect the capital of Chan Chan against El Niño events.

The Chimú culture emerged around AD 850-900 and controlled a territory encompassing 1,000 km (620 mi) of coastline from Piura in the north to Paramonga in the south.

The Kingdom was centred on Chan Chan, a large adobe city located at the mouth of the Moche Valley in an arid area of coastal desert. The city reached its peak during the 15th century AD, where it is estimated to have had a population of around 40,000 to 60,000 inhabitants.

The Chimú constructed the Muralla La Cumbre, a large trapezoidal stone wall during the 13th or 14th century AD, which runs from Cerro Cabras to Cerro Campana over a distance of 10 km.

Various theories for the purpose of the wall have been proposed, with the most prominent being as a territorial delimitation of the Chimú capital, to protect the city from Inca invasion, or as a ceremonial causeway.

Excavations led by archaeologist, Gabriel Prieto Burméster, Director of the Huanchaco (Pahuan) Archaeological Project, has suggested that the wall was instead built to protect Chan Chan from El Niño events.

El Niño events may have led to the demise of the Moche and other pre-Columbian Peruvian cultures. A recent study, titled “Global impact of the 1789-93 El Niño”, even suggests that a strong El Niño event caused poor crop yields in Europe, which in turn helped spark the French Revolution.

The researchers found an accumulation of almost two metres of sediment with multiple interstices of sand and mud which only occur on one side of the wall. There are 12 interstices detected, suggesting 12 climatic events.

A radio carbon analysis of roots found in one of the sediment layers has revealed a date of AD 1400-1450. This period coincides with a large sacrifice of 250 children and 40 warriors discovered near Chan Chan in 2019, which experts at the time suggest was to appease the gods for protection against natural catastrophes linked to El Niño events.

Header Image Credit : Gabriel Prieto / Huanchaco Archaeological Project

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Archaeology

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

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Archaeologists from ARKIKUS have announced the discovery of a Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia, a former Roman town in Hispania, now located in the province of Álava, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain.

The town was an important transit centre on the Ab Asturica Burdigalam (Roman road), with a peak population of around 10,000 inhabitants.

In a recent study using aerial photography and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), archaeologists have found a Roman circus and previously unknown urban areas of Iruña-Veleia.

A Roman circus was a large open-air venue used mainly for chariot races, although sometimes serving other purposes. Chariot racing was the most popular of many subsidised public entertainments, and was an essential component in several religious festivals.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

Chariot racing declined in significance in the Western Roman Empire following the fall of Rome, with the last known race held at the Circus Maximus in AD 549, organised by the Ostrogothic king, Totila.

According to a press statement by ARKIKUS, the circus is an elongated enclosure that accommodated up to 5,000 spectators, and measures 280 metres long by 72 metres wide.

Until now, only a handful of Roman circus’s are known in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, emphasising the importance of Iruña-Veleia during the Roman period.

The study also revealed a Roman street system, evidence of buildings with porticoed areas, and a linear feature indicating the route of the Ab Asturica Burdigalam.

Header Image Credit : ARKIKUS

Sources : ARKIKUS

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

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Archaeology

Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

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Bodbury Ring is a univallate hillfort, strategically located at the southern tip of Bodbury Hill in Shropshire, England.

Hillforts in Britain are known from the Bronze Age, but the main period of hillfort construction occurred during the Celtic Iron Age.

Hillfort fortifications follow the contours of a hill and consist of one or more lines of earthworks or stone ramparts, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Archaeologists from Time Team and the Universities of Chester and York, recently conducted a study of Bodbury Ring using light detection and ranging (LiDAR).

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technique that employs pulsed laser light to measure distances to the Earth. By analysing variations in the return times and wavelengths of the laser pulses, this method can generate a detailed 3-D digital map of the landscape.

The study has revealed that Bodbury Ring is six times larger than previously thought and is part of a much larger hillfort which enclosed the entirety of the ridgetop on Bodbury Hill. This larger hillfort shares some characteristics with examples known to have originated in the Late Bronze Age.

Professor Ainsworth from Time Team said: “The earthworks of Bodbury Ring, it seems, were constructed to form a small, more easily defended fort at the southern tip of the original hillfort, possibly in the Middle Iron Age.”

“This prehistoric ‘downsizing’ may have resulted from increased tension in the region, reflecting possible changes in the geopolitical landscape of the times. Close by, on the northern side of Bodbury Hill, the remains of a probable Roman Iron Age enclosed settlement have also been identified for the first time,” added Professor Ainsworth.

Header Image Credit : University of Chester

Sources : University of Chester

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

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