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Large public baths found in Augusta Emerita

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Archaeologists excavating in Augusta Emerita, a Roman colony in Mérida, Spain, have uncovered a large bathing complex next to the city’s Theatre and Amphitheatre.

Augusta Emerita, also called Emerita Augusta, was founded in 25 BC by Augustus to resettle Emeriti soldiers from the veteran legions of the Cantabrian Wars.

The city emerged into one of the largest Roman centres in Hispania and the capital of the province of Lusitania, covering an area of over 20,000 square kilometres.

Augusta Emerita was strategically positioned at the convergence of several crucial routes, closely located near the crossing of the Guadiana river. It was linked by Roman roads in various directions: westward to Felicitas Julia Olisippo (Lisbon), southward to Hispalis (Seville), northwestward to the gold mining area, and also connected to Corduba (Córdoba) and Toletum (Toledo).

Excavations conducted by the Emeritense Consortium, and students from the University of Granada, found the remains of a bathing complex in an area first studied during the 1940’s at the Casa del Amphitheatre, a large domus built around a porticoed, trapezoidal courtyard with a garden in the centre.

According to Ana María Bejarano, an archaeologist from the Consortium responsible for the excavations, the team uncovered preserved public baths in the excavation area, suggesting that the Casa del Amphitheatre was not a typical domus, but a public complex linked to the shows of the Meritense amphitheatre.

Félix Palma, Director of the Consortium, said: “We are excavating the continuation of the Casa del Amphitheater whose limits are unknown to complete its chronology, but the most important thing is that they have found some fantastic baths of an enormous size for what is a standard Roman house.”

Merida City Hall

Header Image Credit : Merida City Hall

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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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