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Archaeologists make new discoveries at site of University of Gloucestershire’s new City Campus

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Archaeologists from Cotswold archaeology have uncovered a section of an 18th century church’s external wall and porch during excavations at the University of Gloucestershire’s new City Campus in Gloucester, England.

The team have been excavating at the former location of a Debeham’s department store between Eastgate Street and Northgate Street, which during the Roman period was the north-eastern quadrant of Roman Colonia Glevum.

Colonia Glevum was an early fort established around AD 48 at an important crossing of the River Severn, and near to the Fosse Way, the early front line after the Roman invasion of Britain. The fort grew to become a “colonia” of retired legionaries and housed an administrative basilica, a forum market-place, and high status dwellings with mosaic floors.

Excavations have revealed an eight-metre-long footing of the Western elevation and porch of the post-medieval St Aldate’s Church, built around 1750. Thought to be named after a bishop of Gloucester who died in battle in 577, the post-medieval church replaced a medieval church of the same name that may have pre-dated the Norman Conquest.

Historians believe the medieval St Aldate’s Church was demolished in the mid-17th century after it sustained damage during the English Civil War (1642-1652).

Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology

Cliff Bateman, Senior Project Officer at the City Campus site, said: “The footing we have discovered is only 20cm to 30cm below the current ground surface and it has survived very well. It’s an interesting discovery in that, although the post-medieval St Aldate’s Church was built in the mid-18th century, photographs taken in later years very clearly show that it was a brick church, almost neoclassical in its design.”

“The footing is made up entirely of very well-dressed limestone blocks, some of which I presume may have come from the earlier medieval church and possibly from the nearby Roman and medieval defensive town wall that was razed after the Civil War,” added Bateman.

Although the location of the medieval church is uncertain, the researchers believe that the 18th century church used the footprint of its predecessor which will enable archaeologists to determine the location of the church burial ground.

Within the same location, the team have discovered 12 burials, the vast majority of which are associated with the medieval St Aldate’s Church. All the remains are being sensitively and respectfully transferred for assessment and analysis, before being reinterred.

Cotswold Archaeology

Header Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology

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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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