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“Magic mirror” to ward off evil found at ancient Usha



Excavations led by the Israel Antiquities Authority have uncovered a fragment of a “magic mirror” meant to ward of the “evil eye” at the site of Usha, located near Kiryat Atta in the western Galilee area of Israel.

Usha was a city that rose to prominence when the seat of the Patriarchate moved to Usha under the presidency of Gamaliel II in AD 80. In AD 116 it moved back to Yavneh, and then again back to Usha.

During the Byzantine Period, Usha became a centre for the production of glassware and metallurgy, in addition to the large-scale production of wine and olive oil.

The mirror was discovered during the Shelah Project run by the Ministry of Education, where 500 high-school pupils participated in archaeological excavations across the country

A study of the mirror has dated the find to the Byzantine period around 1,500-years-ago, which was found between the walls of a building from the 4th to 6th centuries AD.

Image Credit : Emil Eljam

According to Navit Popovitch from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the mirror was meant to provide protection against evil spirits such as demons that would see their reflection. Similar mirrors have been found in sites as funerary gifts deposited in tombs in order to protect the deceased in their journey to the next life.

Another theory suggests that the mirror could have been used in catoptromancy, the art of divination by means of mirrors which was practiced by the Greeks and Romans.

Eli Escusido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: “During the week-long trek, the young leaders discovered additional finds, including ceramics, coins, decorated stone fragments, and even a water aqueduct. History, usually taught in the classroom, comes to life from the ground. A pupil who uncovers a find during an excavation will never forget the experience. There is no better way to attach the youth to the country and the heritage.”


Header Image Credit : Clara Amit

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Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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