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Royal tombs found in Cyprus full of precious artefacts



Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have uncovered royal tombs near the Bronze Age city of Dromolaxia Vizatzia, located at Hala Sultan Tekke on the south eastern coast of Cyprus.

The tombs date from the around 1500 to 1300 BC during a period when the city was a centre for the copper trade, which according to the researchers are among the “richest” tombs ever discovered in the Mediterranean region.

Professor Peter Fishcher from the University of Gothenburg said: “It is a reasonable assumption that these were royal tombs, even though we do not know much about the form of government practiced in the city at the time.”

The site was discovered using magnetometers, a device used for measuring the Earth’s magnetic field in geophysical surveys to detect magnetic anomalies of various types, and to determine the dipole moment of magnetic materials.

Image Credit : Professor Peter Fishcher

“We compared the site where broken pottery had been ploughed during farming with the magnetometer map, which showed large cavities one to two metres below the surface. This led us to continue investigating the area and to discover the tombs,” said Professor Fischer.

The tombs consist of underground chambers each measuring up to 4 x 5 metres, which are accessed via a narrow passageway from the surface. Inside two of the chambers the team found over 500 complete artefacts, consisting of precious metals, gems, bronze weapons, ivory, high-status ceramics, and a gold-framed seal made of haematite.

Around half of the tomb contents were imported from neighbouring cultures and civilisations. Gold and ivory came from Egypt, precious stones were imported from Afghanistan, India and Sinai, while  amber objects came from the Baltic region.

Excavations also revealed several well-preserved skeletons, including a burial containing a woman who was found surrounded by dozens of ceramic vessels, jewellery and a round bronze mirror.

Professor Fishcher, said: “Several individuals, both men and women, wore diadems, and some had necklaces with pendants of the highest quality, probably made in Egypt during the 18th dynasty at the time of such pharaohs as Thutmos III, and Amenophis IV (Akhenaten) and his wife Nefertiti.”

University of Gothenburg

Header Image Credit : Professor Peter Fishcher

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Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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