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Archaeology

High status Iron Age burial found in Hallstatt

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Archaeologists from the Vienna Natural History Museum have uncovered a high status Iron Age burial in the town of Hallstate, located in the district of Gmunden, Austria.

Hallstatt is known for its production of salt dating back to prehistoric times, and gave its name to the Hallstatt culture, a people that emerged during the Late Bronze. Material from Hallstatt has been classified into four periods, designated “Hallstatt A” to “D”. Hallstatt A and B are regarded as Late Bronze Age, while C and D relate to the Iron Age.

The burial is situated in an Iron Age cemetery first discovered in 1846, where archaeologists excavating the site in 1863 found over 1,000 graves and numerous grave goods.

Recent excavations have found a burial pit containing a cremation grave and well-preserved bronze objects. Finds include a ribbed arm ring, spirals of thin wire (possibly from a fibula brooch), a bronze blade with traces of the wooden handle, and a piece of iron lead that has been identified as a belt fitting.

Image Credit : NHM Vienna, Stefan Krojer

All the artefacts were found intentionally broken or bent and placed alongside the remains of animal bones and food residue. According to the researchers, the intentional damage of metalwork was a ritual offering and may have been an expression of the death of the buried individual.

Several spiral discs were also discovered, where upon closer examination the team have found traces of preserved fabric. The researchers suggest that the burial was placed in a textile bag and the spiral discs deposited on top, revealing for the first time a new distinct burial practice of the Hallstatt culture from the Iron Age.

NHM

Header Image Credit : NHM Vienna, Andreas W. Rausch

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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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Archaeology

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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