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Archaeologists have uncovered a 4,000-year-old solar sanctuary in the Netherlands

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The discovery was made during excavations of the Medel industrial estate in Tiel, revealing a large 4000-year-old sanctuary dedicated to the sun.

The sanctuary consists of several raised mounds, the largest of which has a diameter of 20 metres and has a shallow ditch with several passage openings which are aligned with the sun on the summer and winter solstices.

The alignment of the sanctuary with the movements of the sun indicates the significant importance placed on tracking celestial patterns by its ancient builders. The site is comparable to Stonehenge in England, where according English Heritage: “Midsummer and midwinter may have been important times of year to remember the dead or to worship a solar deity.”

Excavations also found ritual offerings of animal skeletons, human skulls, and a bronze spearhead, which were deposited in the openings at the precise spot where the sun shone during the solstices.

Image Credit : Municipality of Tiel

According to the researchers: “The sanctuary must have been a highly significant place where people kept track of special days in the year, performed rituals and buried their dead. Rows of poles stood along pathways used for processions.”

In the vicinity of the sanctuary are numerous burial mounds, in which archaeologists have found the remains of more than 80 individuals either as cremated burials or inhumation burials. The largest of these mounds contained the remains of men, women and a large concentration of children, and appears to have been an active site for burying the dead for around 800 years.

Previous studies in the vicinity of the sanctuary have uncovered a glass bead from Iraq (suggesting that the inhabitants of the region had some level of contact with people almost 5000 kilometres away some 4000-years-ago), as well as more than a million finds from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman Age and the Middle Ages.

Municipality of Tiel

Header Image Credit : Alexander van de Bunt / Municipality of Tiel

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Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

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Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of Roman objects linked to ritual feasting at Ostia antica.

Ostia Antica is an ancient harbour town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The harbour served as the main port for Rome, transporting goods and people from the coast along the Via Ostiensis.

Archaeologists recently excavated the area of Regio I – Insula XV, a “sacred area” or precinct housing several temples and sanctuaries. At the centre is the temple of Hercules,  a 31 x 16 metre monument which dates from the Republican Era.

Excavations have revealed a substantial well situated at the base of the temple of Hercules. Upon draining the well, it was discovered to hold a significant collection of objects dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD.

Among the objects are various ceramics, miniatures, lamps, glass containers, fragments of marble, and burnt animal bones (pigs and cattle). According to the archaeologists, the trove corresponds with ritual feasting associated with cult at the temple.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Culture: “The discovery of burnt bones confirms that animal sacrifices were carried out in the sanctuary, while the common ceramics, also bearing traces of fire, indicate that the meat was cooked and consumed during banquets in honour of divinity. The remains of one or more ritual meals were thrown into the well, the last ones probably when their function had ceased.”

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

Sources : Ministry of Culture

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

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Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

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Archaeologists have discovered a monumental labyrinthine structure on the summit of Papoura Hill in Crete.

The discovery was made during the installation of a radar system in preparation for the construction of a new airport in the area.

According to experts, the structure dates from between 2000 to 1700 BC shortly before or at the start of the palaeopalatial Minoan period.

The Minoan civilisation was a Bronze Age culture that emerged on the island of Crete around 3100 BC. The culture is known for the monumental architecture and energetic art, and is often regarded as the first civilisation in Europe.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

The chronology of the Minoans is characterised into three distinct phases – Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM).

The palaeopalatial structure is part of the MMI – II grouping in the Middle Minoan, a period in which the first palaces were built and saw the development of the Minoan writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A.

The structure comprises of 8 concentric stone rings that converge on a central circular building. The entire diameter of the complex measures 48 metres and covers an area of approximately 1800 square metres.

Within the central structure are four designated zones in which radial walls intersect vertically and form a labyrinthine structure. Zones A and B appear to be have the main concentration of human activity, evidenced by the presence of large amounts of animals bones.

According to the experts, this residential area likely had a truncated cone or vaulted appearance and is the first monument of this type excavated in Crete. It can perhaps be paralleled with the elliptical MM building of the Chamezi Archaeological Site, as well as with the so-called circular proto-Hellenic cyclopean building of Tiryns.

The Minister of Culture, said: “This is a unique and highly significant find. Solutions are in place to ensure the completion of the archaeological research and the protection of the monument.”

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

Sources : Greek Ministry of Culture

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

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