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Archaeologists find altar in ancient Segesta

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According to an announcement by the Sicilian Region Institutional Portal, archaeologists excavating in ancient Segesta have discovered an altar from the Hellenistic period.

Segesta was one of the major cities of the Elymians, a people of Italic origin that shared the island of Sicily with the Phoenicians and Greek settlers. Although the origins of Segesta are obscured, the first recorded mention dates to around 580 BC which describes a conflict between Segesta and Selinus (modern Selinunte).

Culturally, Segesta exhibited Greek influences, and inscriptions on pottery show that the local dialect was written in the Greek alphabet. During the 5th century BC, the city was allied with Athens, and lured the Athenians to embark on the failed Sicilian Expedition during the Peloponnesian War between Athens on one side and Sparta, Syracuse and Corinth on the other.

The ruins of Segesta are located on the northwestern part of Sicily near the summit of Monte Bàrbaro, consisting of a Doric temple, an agora (central public space), an amphitheatre, and several remnants of the city walls.

Image Credit : Sicilian Region Institutional Portal

Archaeologists excavating a building known as Casa del Navarca have uncovered two architectural elements made of stone, which upon closer examination have been identified as an altar from the Hellenistic period.

The altar would have been placed in a domestic dwelling for worship, with the first element featuring decorative moldings and small ovals reminiscent of necklace beads, a relief with baskets overflowing with flowers and fruits, and a carved slot for inserting a metal hook. The second element shows a chiseled surface on three sides which suggests that it was plastered, however, very little of the decorative features survive except for a molded cornice.

Francesco Paolo Scarpinato, the Regional Councillor for Cultural Heritage, said: “The excavations continue to bring to light ever-changing remains, which add new perspectives and interpretations to a site where multiple civilizations are stratified.”

Sicilian Region Institutional Portal

Header Image Credit : Sicilian Region Institutional Portal

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Archaeology

Excavation of medieval shipbuilders reveals a Roman head of Mercury

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Excavations of a medieval shipbuilders has led to the discovery of a Roman settlement and a Roman head of Mercury.

The discovery was made at Smallhythe Place, a late 15th or early 16th century property managed by the National Trust near Tenterden in Kent, England.

Prior to the decline of the port and shipyard at Smallhythe during the 16th century, the local community played a crucial role in the shipbuilding industry, crafting vessels for notable figures, including members of royalty.

As part of a project funded by several UK institutions, over 60 volunteers from the National Trust participated in the excavation, along with professional archaeologists, students, and members of the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group.

The excavation has revealed traces of a Roman settlement that was occupied between the 1st and 3rd centuries, including an incredibly rare figurine made of pipeclay that depicts the god, Mercury.

Mercury was a major god in the Roman pantheon and was associated with financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery, and thieves. He also served as the guide of souls to the underworld and was the messenger of the gods.

According to a press announcement by the National Trust: “This complete figurine probably would have depicted Mercury standing, either draped with a chlamys (a short cloak), or naked, holding a caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes).”

The team also unearthed thousands of artefacts, providing evidence of the evolution of Smallhythe Place from a Georgian farm to a midden dump, a shipbuilding site, and a brickworks.

The National Trust said: “To support our investigations, we received grants from the National Trust’s Inclusive Archaeology, Robert Kiln and the Roman Research Funds and from the Royal Archaeological Institute. During 2023, our project has received funding from the Society of Antiquaries and the William and Edith Oldham Charitable Trust.”

Header Image Credit : James Dobson

Sources : National Trust – Exploring Smallhythe Place: Archaeological Investigations by the River Rother

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

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Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

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

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