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Well-preserved 3,000-year-old sword found in Germany

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Archaeologists from the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments have announced the discovery of a well-preserved Bronze Age sword in the town of Nördlingen, Bavaria, Germany.

Most Bronze Age remains around Nördlingen belong to the Urnfield Culture (often divided into several local cultures within a broader Urnfield tradition) which emerged around 1300 BC. The Urnfield Culture grew from the preceding Tumulus Culture and developed advanced metal working skills in Bronze weaponry and armour.

The sword was found among a deposit of grave goods and weaponry, alongside the remains of a man, woman and child. The discovery is extremely rare for this part of Germany, as most burial mounds have long been looted during antiquity or opened during the 19th century.

The sword is similar to the Bronze D type Rixheim swords, in that it uses a solid hilt made by overlay casting of the handle over the blade, although the sword type has been described as “octagonal”.

Image Credit : Dr. Woidich

The hilt is ornately decorated, while the blade shows no indication of impact marks. This suggests that the sword had a ceremonial function or was a symbol of high status. However, according to the researchers, it would still have served as an effective weapon as the centre of gravity on the front part of the blade indicates that it would be used predominantly for slashing.

Mathias Pfeil, head of the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments, said: “The sword and the burial still have to be examined so that our archaeologists can classify this find more precisely. But it can already be said: the condition is exceptional! A find like this is very rare!”

Whether the sword was locally crafted or was imported is currently being investigated. There are three main distribution centres during the bronze age for octagonal swords of this type, one in Southern Germany and the others in Northern Germany and Denmark.

A comparison of the casting techniques and the decoration shows that some of the octagonal swords in the North are apparently replicas of South German forms, while other pieces could be genuine imports or the product of “wandering craftsmen”.

Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments

Header Image Credit : Dr. Woidich

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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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