Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences have uncovered a seal of the Archbishop of Novgorod Spiridon during excavations at St. George’s (Yuriev) Monastery.
St. George’s (Yuriev) Monastery was an important religious centre of the Novgorod Republic, a medieval state that existed from the 12th to 15th century AD and stretched from the Gulf of Finland in the west to the northern Ural Mountains in the east.
The monastery is situated on the banks of the Volkhov River in Russia’s Novgorodskaya oblast, where today it is recognised as a world heritage site for Orthodox spirituality and Russian architecture. The site is also an important source for historical information on medieval Novgorod, as part of the Novgorod First Chronicle (the Synodal text) was compiled in the monastery.
Recent excavations in the monastic layers have led to the discovery of a residential building that dates from the 13th to 15th century AD. The structure appears to have been burnt during several phases of destruction, but in the upper layers, a lead hanging seal used to fasten important documents was uncovered, the fifth example of a seal discovered during ten years of archaeological research of the site.
Image Credit : Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the seal bears the name of the Archbishop of Novgorod Spiridon (1229-1249), who ruled the Novgorod diocese during the Tatar-Mongol invasion of Rus’ in the mid-13th century AD. Most Rus’ principalities were forced to submit to Mongol rule and became vassals of the Golden Horde, however, the Novgorod Republic resisted and maintained their independence.
On one side of the seal there is an inscription in five lines with the name of Spiridon, Archbishop of Novgorod, and on the other side is a depiction of Mary, which in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, describe her as the Mother of God.
Header Image Credit : Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Maya tomb with funerary offerings found during hotel construction
A tomb with funerary offerings has been uncovered during the construction of the Tren Maya Hotel, in Palenque, Mexico.
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conducted rescue excavations following the discovery, revealing skeletal remains associated with the Maya city of Palenque.
Palenque, also known as Lakamha in the Itza Language (meaning “Flat-Place-River”), is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
The city dates from 226 BC to AD 799, with most of the major construction works representing a rebuilding effort in response to attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states in AD 599 and AD 611.
The population declined during the 8th century AD, instead becoming an agricultural population that led to the abandonment of the city zone. By 1520 following the Spanish conquest, contemporary Spanish accounts record the entire region being sparsely populated.
Excavations uncovered a stone lined funerary space sealed with limestone slabs, in which the researchers found the remains of a high-status individual who likely lived in the periphery of Palenque in a small settlement.
The burial is located at a depth of four metres, and also contained ceramic vessels and beads deposited as funerary offerings.
“The individual was placed face up with his legs extended and his head facing north,” said Diego Prieto Hernández from INAH.
The discovery was announced in a press conference reporting on the progress of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza) in Palenque, Moral-Reforma and El Tigre, the three heritage sites that are served within Section 1 of the Mayan Train Project.
Header Image Credit : INAH
Archaeologists unearth possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle
Archaeologists from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust may have discovered the possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Pembroke Castle was founded during the 11th century by Roger de Montgomerie, the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury.
In 1452, Jasper Tudor was presented both the castle and the earldom by his half-brother, King Henry VI. In 1457, Henry VII was born at the castle, the only child of Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond.
Following Edward IV’s ascension to the throne in 1471, Henry VII endured 14 years of exile in Brittany. He eventually claimed the throne after his forces, with backing from France, Scotland, and Wales, emerged victorious over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, marking the climax of the Wars of the Roses.
Henry VII’s reign is credited with many administrative, economic, and tax reforms, having ruled for nearly 24 years until his death in 1509 at the age of 52. Henry VII was succeed by his second son, Henry, Duke of York, who ascended to the crown as Henry VIII.
Historians have long assumed that a 13th century tower on the outer ward (known today as Henry VII Tower) was the birth place of Henry VII. However, a recent study by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust has uncovered evidence of a late-medieval winged hall-house, broadly dating to the 15th century.
The walls of the structure extend to around 25 metres, with comparisons being drawn to medieval buildings found in England and East Wales, such as Penallt Mansion in Kidwelly. Historically, Pembroke Castle was situated in the English-speaking portion of Pembrokeshire, often referred to as “Little England beyond Wales.”
Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Neil Ludlow, a consultant to Pembroke Castle, said: “All our indications are pointing to a late-medieval building which was clearly of high status within Pembrokeshire, and it looks as if it was at least two-storeys, which possibly makes it a better candidate for the birthplace of a king rather that the tower that currently bears his name.”
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