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Chemical imaging technology reveals hidden details in Ancient Egyptian paintings

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Archaeologists from the Martinez of Sorbonne University, working in collaboration with the University of Liège, have used portable chemical imaging technology to review hidden details in Ancient Egyptian paintings.

Ancient artwork in Egypt are commonly thought to be the result of highly formalised workflows that produced skilled works. However, most studies of these paintings and the process that created them take place in laboratory conditions or in museums.

According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers used portable devices to perform chemical imaging on paintings in their original context, allowing the team to identify the alterations, layering and composition of paint while in the field.

Two paintings from the Ramesside Period were analysed as part of the study from tomb chapels in the Theban Necropolis. The first painting showed alterations made to the position of a figure’s arm, although the reason for this small change is uncertain.

On the second painting, the analysis uncovered numerous adjustments to the crown and other royal items depicted on a portrait of Ramesses II, a series of changes that most likely relate to some change in symbolic meaning over time.

According to the study: “In both cases, the precise and readable imaging of the physical composition of the painted surface offers a renewed visual approach based of chemistry, that can be shared through a multi- and interdisciplinary approach.

However, this also leads to a more complex description of pigment mixtures that could have multiple meanings, where the practical often leads towards the symbolic, and from there hopefully to a renewed definition of the use of colours in complex sets of ancient Egyptian representations.”

PLOS

Header Image Credit : David Strivay, University of Liege, CC-BY 4.0

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Archaeology

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

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Archaeologists from ARKIKUS have announced the discovery of a Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia, a former Roman town in Hispania, now located in the province of Álava, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain.

The town was an important transit centre on the Ab Asturica Burdigalam (Roman road), with a peak population of around 10,000 inhabitants.

In a recent study using aerial photography and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), archaeologists have found a Roman circus and previously unknown urban areas of Iruña-Veleia.

A Roman circus was a large open-air venue used mainly for chariot races, although sometimes serving other purposes. Chariot racing was the most popular of many subsidised public entertainments, and was an essential component in several religious festivals.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

Chariot racing declined in significance in the Western Roman Empire following the fall of Rome, with the last known race held at the Circus Maximus in AD 549, organised by the Ostrogothic king, Totila.

According to a press statement by ARKIKUS, the circus is an elongated enclosure that accommodated up to 5,000 spectators, and measures 280 metres long by 72 metres wide.

Until now, only a handful of Roman circus’s are known in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, emphasising the importance of Iruña-Veleia during the Roman period.

The study also revealed a Roman street system, evidence of buildings with porticoed areas, and a linear feature indicating the route of the Ab Asturica Burdigalam.

Header Image Credit : ARKIKUS

Sources : ARKIKUS

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

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Archaeology

Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

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Bodbury Ring is a univallate hillfort, strategically located at the southern tip of Bodbury Hill in Shropshire, England.

Hillforts in Britain are known from the Bronze Age, but the main period of hillfort construction occurred during the Celtic Iron Age.

Hillfort fortifications follow the contours of a hill and consist of one or more lines of earthworks or stone ramparts, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Archaeologists from Time Team and the Universities of Chester and York, recently conducted a study of Bodbury Ring using light detection and ranging (LiDAR).

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technique that employs pulsed laser light to measure distances to the Earth. By analysing variations in the return times and wavelengths of the laser pulses, this method can generate a detailed 3-D digital map of the landscape.

The study has revealed that Bodbury Ring is six times larger than previously thought and is part of a much larger hillfort which enclosed the entirety of the ridgetop on Bodbury Hill. This larger hillfort shares some characteristics with examples known to have originated in the Late Bronze Age.

Professor Ainsworth from Time Team said: “The earthworks of Bodbury Ring, it seems, were constructed to form a small, more easily defended fort at the southern tip of the original hillfort, possibly in the Middle Iron Age.”

“This prehistoric ‘downsizing’ may have resulted from increased tension in the region, reflecting possible changes in the geopolitical landscape of the times. Close by, on the northern side of Bodbury Hill, the remains of a probable Roman Iron Age enclosed settlement have also been identified for the first time,” added Professor Ainsworth.

Header Image Credit : University of Chester

Sources : University of Chester

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

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