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Archaeologists uncover Celtoiberian city

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Archaeologists excavating in the province of Soria, Spain, have uncovered a previously unknown Celtoiberian city.

The Celtiberians were a tribal people that inhabited an area in the central-northeastern Iberian Peninsula. In 195 BC, part of Celtiberia was conquered by the Romans, and by 72 BC, the entire region had become part of the Roman province of Hispania Citerior.

Excavations conducted by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) have found the ruins of a Celtoiberian city that dates from more than 2,000-years-ago. According to the researchers, the site could be the lost city of Titiakos, a Celtoiberian stronghold from during the Sertorian War.

The Sertorian War was a civil war fought from 80 to 72 BC between a faction of Roman rebels (Sertorians) and the government in Rome (Sullans) in the Iberian Peninsula. The war takes its name from Quintus Sertorius, the leader of the opposition, a Roman general and statesman.

“Despite its relevance, this site has never been studied and has remained ignored. To date no systematic study has been carried out that has tried to discover its historical importance”, says Vicente Alejandre, mayor of Deza.

Part of the reason why the ruins have been left unexplored, is due in part to the site being camouflaged by an adjacent quarry where the city stone was sourced.

To the north east at an elevated position, the researchers also discovered the remains of a large Roman military camp.

The team suggest that the fort was likely built to protect the city mint by allied Sertorians, as excavations have revealed warlike elements and evidence of conflict such as projectiles, and also coins that came from the mint.

According to the researchers: “The results obtained are relevant for the advancement of scientific and historical knowledge of the Celtiberian and Roman world in the context of the Sertorian Wars. On the one hand, it points to the existence of the capital of the Titiakos ethnic group and of a Roman military camp of considerable importance. Further studies would be necessary to confirm this statement with a systematic geophysical survey of the battlefield in order to increase the monetary record.”

PAP

Header Image Credit : UPM

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Archaeology

Maya tomb with funerary offerings found during hotel construction

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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.

INAH

Header Image Credit : INAH

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Archaeologists unearth possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle

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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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