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Study of the Cañada Real dolmen reveals existence of other underground structures



A recent study of the Cañada Real dolmen has revealed evidence of further underground structures using geophysical prospecting.

The Cañada Real dolmen is an ancient funerary monument found in a Neolithic necropolis, located in the city of Los Molares in the province of Seville, Spain.

The dolmen has an “L” plan gallery that measures 8 metres in length, while the other side measures approximately 3.5 metres. It was first discovered in 1968 and was excavated by professor D. Juan de Mata Carriazo. Further studies in 1980 revealed a second funerary monument, the El Palomar dolmen, which was excavated by the Archaeological Museum of Seville.

Both sites date from the Neolithic period around 4000-3500 BC, when the region saw the arrival of the first agriculturalists that started the tradition of burying their dead in dolmen tombs.

A recent survey commissioned by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) from Extremadura, has revealed evidence of additional underground structures using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). GPR is a non-intrusive geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface to investigate underground anomalies and archaeological features.

The GPR survey has identified at least two other dolmens in the vicinity of the Cañada Real dolmen, located at a depth of several metres deep. According to the director of the archaeological investigations: “the underground anomalies reflect a figure of similar dimensions to those of the Neolithic dolmen with an L-shaped plan, the typical local architecture of the prehistoric megaliths of Los Molares.”  In addition, “there is another large structure buried very close to the Cañada Real dolmen that looks like a corridor-type dolmen with a chamber.”

The survey has also revealed the outline of circular features that could correspond to Neolithic type roundhouses used by the early tribal societies living near the necropolis. According to the researchers, little is known about the domestic spaces of the dolmen builders, so the discovery from future excavations could give archaeologists new information about the ancient people that lived in the Los Molares area from their material culture left behind.

Header Image Credit : Turismo de la provincia de Sevilla

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Maya tomb with funerary offerings found during hotel construction




A tomb with funerary offerings has been uncovered during the construction of the Tren Maya Hotel, in Palenque, Mexico.

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conducted rescue excavations following the discovery, revealing skeletal remains associated with the Maya city of Palenque.

Palenque, also known as Lakamha in the Itza Language (meaning “Flat-Place-River”), is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

The city dates from 226 BC to AD 799, with most of the major construction works representing a rebuilding effort in response to attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states in AD 599 and AD 611.

The population declined during the 8th century AD, instead becoming an agricultural population that led to the abandonment of the city zone. By 1520 following the Spanish conquest, contemporary Spanish accounts record the entire region being sparsely populated.

Excavations uncovered a stone lined funerary space sealed with limestone slabs, in which the researchers found the remains of a high-status individual who likely lived in the periphery of Palenque in a small settlement.

The burial is located at a depth of four metres, and also contained ceramic vessels and beads deposited as funerary offerings.

“The individual was placed face up with his legs extended and his head facing north,” said Diego Prieto Hernández from INAH.

The discovery was announced in a press conference reporting on the progress of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza) in Palenque, Moral-Reforma and El Tigre, the three heritage sites that are served within Section 1 of the Mayan Train Project.


Header Image Credit : INAH

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Archaeologists unearth possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle




Archaeologists from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust may have discovered the possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Pembroke Castle was founded during the 11th century by Roger de Montgomerie, the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury.

In 1452, Jasper Tudor was presented both the castle and the earldom by his half-brother, King Henry VI. In 1457, Henry VII was born at the castle, the only child of Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond.

Following Edward IV’s ascension to the throne in 1471, Henry VII endured 14 years of exile in Brittany. He eventually claimed the throne after his forces, with backing from France, Scotland, and Wales, emerged victorious over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, marking the climax of the Wars of the Roses.

Henry VII’s reign is credited with many administrative, economic, and tax reforms, having ruled for nearly 24 years until his death in 1509 at the age of 52. Henry VII was succeed by his second son, Henry, Duke of York, who ascended to the crown as Henry VIII.

Historians have long assumed that a 13th century tower on the outer ward (known today as Henry VII Tower) was the birth place of Henry VII. However, a recent study by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust has uncovered evidence of a late-medieval winged hall-house, broadly dating to the 15th century.

The walls of the structure extend to around 25 metres, with comparisons being drawn to medieval buildings found in England and East Wales, such as Penallt Mansion in Kidwelly. Historically, Pembroke Castle was situated in the English-speaking portion of Pembrokeshire, often referred to as “Little England beyond Wales.”

Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Neil Ludlow, a consultant to Pembroke Castle, said: “All our indications are pointing to a late-medieval building which was clearly of high status within Pembrokeshire, and it looks as if it was at least two-storeys, which possibly makes it a better candidate for the birthplace of a king rather that the tower that currently bears his name.”

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