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Archaeologists conduct project to conserve Costa Rica’s stone spheres

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A team from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), and the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography (ENCRyM), have undertaken a project to conserve Costa Rica’s stone spheres.

Over 300 stone Petrospheres, often referred to as the Diquís Spheres, have been found on the small island of Isla del Caño and the Diquís Delta in Costa Rica.

The spheres are attributed to the now extinct Diquís culture, a people that first emerged in the Valley of the Rio Grande de Térraba during the Synancra period around 1,500 to 300 BC.

Between AD 800 to 1,500, the culture reached its apex of cultural development – with Diquís artisans creating elaborate ceramic, bone, and gold objects, and sculpturing stone spheres that were placed in important zones and places of alignments in public plazas.

The Diquís Spheres vary in size, spanning from a few centimetres to over 2 meters in diameter. The spheres are predominantly crafted from gabbro, a phaneritic mafic intrusive igneous rock resembling basalt, but there are also instances where limestone and sandstone are used.

The process of sculpting these spheres involved hammering boulders into a rough spherical shape using denser rocks, then meticulously polishing using sand to achieve a smooth finish.

According to the researchers: “The importance of these spheres constitutes elements of identity for many indigenous communities in Costa Rica, and are the only cultural asset that the country has inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).”

Based on studies carried out on the largest stone spheres, experts from the ENCRyM and the National Museum of Costa Rica have investigated the materiality of these cultural assets to optimise their conservation treatments, assess the cultural significance of the sites, and to protect the cultural heritage for future generations.

INAH

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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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