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Seal depicting St George among finds found near Suzdal



Archaeologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences have uncovered a seal depicting St George during excavations of a 12th–13th century AD settlement south of the Russian town of Suzdal.

The settlement was first discovered in 2017 by the Suzdal Expedition, with ongoing research being conducted in 2022 to 2023. The team have found a rare lead seal depicting St George carrying a spear in his right hand and his left hand leaning towards a shield. Left of the figure is an inscription showing “GEOR”, while surrounding the head is a punched halo.

According to tradition, St George, also called George of Lydda, was a soldier in the Roman army and a member of the Praetorian Guard for the Roman emperor Diocletian. After being sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith, he was venerated as a Christian saint.

Historically, the countries of England, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and Georgia, as well as Catalonia and Aragon in Spain, and Moscow in Russia, have claimed George as their patron saint. The heraldic emblem of Moscow depicts Saint George slaying a dragon, which has been an integral part of the coat of arms of Russia since the 16th century.

Excavations of the settlement have uncovered 150 items made of metal, glass, stone, bone and ceramics, in addition to ordinary household items such as iron knives, a key, a whorl, lead weights, a whetstone, and a clay fishing sinker.

Image Credit : Russian Academy of Sciences

The team have also found decorative items such as a rings, beads, buttons, fragments of bracelets, belt buckles, and pendants depicting a cockerel, duck and a two-headed horse, as well as a rare fragment of an encolpion depicting the Virgin Mary and Child.

According to the researchers, the bulk of the objects date from the 12th to the first half of the 13th century and indicate the sphere of power relations and princely administration of the lands of North-Eastern Rus’.

Russian Academy of Sciences

Header Image Credit : Russian Academy of Sciences

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Early medieval carved stone of a warrior figure found in Glasgow




Archaeologists excavating the grounds of Govan Old Church in Glasgow, England, have discovered an early medieval carved stone figure dubbed the “Govan Warrior”.

Govan Old Church is the home of the Govan Stone Museum, a collection of early medieval and Viking-Age sculptures found in the grounds, including 30 sculptures from a lost kingdom of Old Welsh-speaking Britons known as the Ystrad Clud who dominated the Clyde valley from the 5th to 11th centuries AD.

Excavations have been conducted by the University of Glasgow and Clyde Archaeology, in which a carved stone of a warrior was uncovered during a community fun day organised as part of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival.

The carved stone depicts a man standing side on and carrying a round shield and a shaft. According to the researchers, the discovery dates from around 1,000-years-ago and is unlike any of the other carved stones found at Govan Old.

According to a press statement by the University of Glasgow: “The Govan Warrior is unique within the existing collection due to its stylistic characteristics, which has drawn parallels with Pictish art and carvings from the Isle of Man. Unlike the other stones in the Govan collection, whose chunky style of carving is so distinctive that it has been described as a school of carving in its own right (the ‘Govan School’), the Govan Warrior is lightly incised, which may bring parallels with famous Pictish stones like the Rhynie Man from Aberdeenshire.”

Professor Stephen Driscoll said: “It’s a style that makes us think both about the Pictish world and also about the Isle of Man and it’s interesting that we are halfway between these two places. Govan is the ideal place for these two artistic traditions or styles to come together.”

University of Glasgow

Header Image Credit : Govan Heritage Trust

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Iron Age port discovered on Baltic Sea island of Gotska Sandön




An excavation project, in collaboration with archaeologists from Södertörn University, Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, Gotland Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Board, has led to the discovery of an Iron Age port on Gotska Sandön.

Gotska Sandön is an island and national park in Sweden’s Gotland County, situated 24 miles north of Faro in the Baltic Sea.

Earlier in 2023, archaeologists found two 2,000-year-old Roman coins on one of the island’s beaches. Both coins are made of silver, with one coin dating from AD 98-117 during the reign of Emperor Trajan, and the other coin dating from AD 138-161 during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius

In the latest excavations, archaeologists have now discovered evidence of twenty hearths on the same beach as the Roman coins discovery.

According to Johan Rönnby, a professor of marine archaeology at Södertörn University, the site is an Iron Age port, not in the sense of quays we imply in the modern era, but instead a place where Iron Age people regularly landed their boats and formed an encampment.

Although the purpose of the encampment is speculated, the researchers suggest that it may have been linked to an emerging seal hunting industry.

“Seal hunters may have come from the island of Gotland and landed on Sandön to boil seal blubber. This could have been what the hearths were used for, but we don’t yet know – there may be other reasons why the site looks like it does, such as it being a trading post,” said Rönnby.

Excavations and carbon-14 dating of one of the hearths has indicated that they also date from 2,000-years-ago, suggesting a possible link between the encampment and the Roman coins.


Header Image Credit : idw

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