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Wolf skull deposited in grave to protect against deceased’s spirit

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Archaeologists excavating a burial mound in Romania’s Dobruja region have suggested that a wolf skull was deposited by grave robbers to protect them against the deceased’s spirit.

The mound dates from around 2,000-years-ago and has been mostly ploughed out, however, a geophysical study indicates that it originally had a diameter of up to 75 metres.

A burial at the centre of the grave had a pit covered with wooden boards where the deceased was cremated inside a wooden structure. This is evidenced by small amounts of bone, a fragment of a clay lamp, and partially burnt wooden remains from the structure which was joined with nails and decorated with bronze fittings.

Excavations also revealed a large number of burnt walnut seeds, pine cones and other plant remains, which is common in cremation burials from the early Roman period. Barrows with similar cremation burials were discovered in the town of Hârșova, known in the Roman period as Carsium on the lower Danube.

The grave was robbed during antiquity, with the grave robbers depositing a wolf’s skull on a pile of stones which closed their robbery ditch. Dr. Bartłomiej Szymon Szmoniewski from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, said: “It was probably a ritual aimed at closing the looted space in order to prevent exit and the revenge of the plundered spirit.”

According to Dr Szmoniewski, the burial was likely robbed by the Getae, a Thracian-related tribe that once inhabited the regions to either side of the Lower Danube.

A second burial was also discovered in the barrow, where the researchers found a skeleton inside a wooden structure. Placed upon the skeleton is a glass unguentarium, a container for holding fragrances and perfumes, and a bronze coin from the reign of Hadrian (issued in AD 125-127) that was placed in the deceased’s mouth.

“Placing a coin in the mouth refers to the ancient custom of Charon’s obol, when a coin was used as payment to Charon for transporting the deceased’s soul across the River Styx in Hades,” said Dr Szmoniewski.

PAP

Header Image Credit : BSSzmoniewski & Șt. Georgescu

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Archaeology

Excavations uncover traces of Kraków Fortress

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A team of archaeologists conducting archaeological works at the S52 construction site have uncovered traces of the Kraków Fortress in the Polish city of Kraków.

S52 is a Polish highway being constructed in the Silesian and Lesser Poland voivodeships, which upon completion will connect the border of the Czech Republic in Cieszyn with Kraków.

Kraków Fortress refers to a series of Austro-Hungarian fortifications constructed during the 19th century. The fortress included the 18th century Kościuszko Insurrection fortifications, the medieval Wawel Castle, and the Kraków city walls. Of the over 50 post-Austrian forts in Krakow, 44 structures have been preserved in their entirety or with minor changes.

Excavations in the area of ​​the northern bypass of Krakow have revealed the remains of earthen structures related to the network of military units being established around the city, whose task was to turn Krakow into a modern border fortress.

The team also uncovered traces of earth embankments and moats, as well as the infrastructure for draining rainwater from the infantry entrenchment area and a wooden shelter from a dugout measuring 25 by 7.5 metres.

A press statement by the Republic of Poland, said: “During the research, objects related to the everyday life of soldiers were discovered. These include a tin enameled mug with a signature on the bottom depicting a double-headed imperial eagle with the inscription Austria and the initials H&C 1/2.”

“The preserved marking allowed us to determine that the mug is a product of the Haardt & Co. factory located in Knittelfeld, Austria. Enamellierwerke und Metallwarenfabriken AG. Founded in 1873 by Friedrich Wilhelm Haardt, the factory produced embossed enamelled dishes, including orders for the then Austrian army.”

Header Image Credit : Republic of Poland

Sources : Republic of Poland

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

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Archaeology

Excavations at Sheffield Castle uncover city’s industrial heritage

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A team of archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology have uncovered the industrial heritage of Sheffield during excavations at Sheffield Castle.

Sheffield Castle was constructed following the Norman Conquest of England (1066) at the confluence of the River Sheaf and the River Don.

Throughout April and May of 2024, Wessex Archaeology is conducting a series of excavations to uncover and preserve the foundations of the circular towers of the castle’s gatehouse, and explore the destruction deposits from the razing of the original motte and bailey castle by John D’Eyvill in the 13th century.

The team will also be investigating areas never before excavated, finally reaching the remains of the 11th to 17th-century castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned.

Following the removal of the modern concrete foundations and backfill deposits, excavations have already uncovered traces of structures from the 19th century.

The team found remnants of a vaulted ceiling, which upon further inspection has been revealed to be a crucible furnace, a type of foundry furnace used for melting and casting metals such as steel, in addition to ‘rake out’ pits below the furnace.

A press statement by Wessex Archaeology, “This cellar would have been a hot, unpleasant place when the crucible furnaces above were working. Reaching temperatures of 1200 degrees centigrade, the firing process was hot and efficient, but it also produced lots of ash which needed to be cleared. The ash would fall into the ‘rake out’ pits below, where a worker, perhaps a young boy, had the back-breaking job of removing it.”

Throughout April and May 2024, the Sheffield community is invited to experience and discover the site’s archaeology firsthand, through open days and opportunities to participate in the excavation for a day. Attendance is FREE with booking required. For more information and to book, visit www.wessexarch.co.uk/events

Header Image Credit : Wessex Archaeology

Sources : Wessex Archaeology

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

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