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Votive offering of figurines found at the Valley of the Temples

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Archaeologists conducting excavations at the Valley of the Temples have uncovered a collection of votive offering figurines.

The Valley of the Temples forms part of the ancient city of Agrigentum, situated in the province of Agrigento, Sicily. According to the Greek historian, Thucydides, Agrigentum was founded around 582-580 BC by Greek colonists from Gela in eastern Sicily, with further colonists from Crete and Rhodes.

Since 1997, the Valley of the Temples (covering 3212 acres) has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and is noted for having some of the most finest edifices of the Ancient Greek civilisation. The most notable temples includes the Temple of Concordia, Temple of Juno, Temple of Heracles, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Temple of Castor and Pollux, Temple of Hephaestus (Vulcan), and the Temple of Asclepius.

The Valley is also home to the so-called Tomb of Theron, a large tuff monument of pyramidal shape; scholars suppose it was built to commemorate the Romans killed in the Second Punic War.

Image Credit : Sicilian Region Institutional Portal

Recent excavations have uncovered over 60 figurines, protomes (a type of adornment that takes the form of the head and upper torso of either a human or an animal), female busts, oil lamps, small vases, and bronze fragments.

In an announcement published by the Sicilian Region Institutional Portal: “The findings allow us to understand the dynamics of the destruction of Agrigentum in 406 BC by the Carthaginians, when the inhabitants had to flee in exodus towards the city of Gela.”

The discovery was made in House VII b, which forms part of the housing complex north of the Temple of Juno. The votive offering was found above the destruction layers of the house, suggesting that the city inhabitants deposited the objects after the sacking by the Carthaginians.

Sicilian Region Institutional Portal

Header Image Credit : Sicilian Region Institutional Portal

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Archaeology

Archaeologists may have discovered the lost city of Tu’am

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Excavations in the Umm Al Quwain area of the UAE have revealed 6th century ruins that could be the lost city of Tu’am.

The ruins are situated on Al Sinniyah Island, part of a collection of small islands on the western part of the Khor Al Bidiyah peninsula.

Previous studies on the island have revealed a pearling village and monastery, which has been the focus of the latest season of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a larger settlement, with the earliest signs of occupation dating back to the 4th century AD and peaking in the 5th or 6th century.

The team uncovered traces of large semi-urbanised tenement buildings measuring 30 square metres, which are tightly packed around narrow walkways. According to the researchers, the settlement could be the lost city of Tu’am as described in Ancient Arab texts.

Tu’am was a regional capital on the Gulf coast that was famed for its pearl fishing industry and trade in precious gems.

The population went into decline following a plague and regional tensions, and subsequently was abandoned. Mass graves in the vicinity support the historical account of plague, as the skeletal remains show no evidence of trauma or a violent death.

“Our archaeological work has discovered the largest settlement by far ever found on the Gulf coast of the Emirates,” said Prof Tim Power of UAE University.

“And it’s exactly the right period for the city described in the early Islamic geographical sources. It’s clearly a really important place. No one has ever found it.”

Professor Power explained that while they have not found irrefutable evidence (such as an inscription bearing the town’s name), no other major settlements from this period have been discovered on the coast, strengthening the argument that the settlement is Tu’am. “It’s a process of elimination,” he explained.

Header Image Credit : Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology

Sources : NUAE

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

New findings in North America’s first city

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Cahokia was the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, a mound-building pre-Columbian civilisation that emerged in the Midwestern, Eastern, and South-eastern United States.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was founded around AD 1050 along the banks of the Mississippi River, located near present-day St. Louis, Missouri.

The city covered an area between six to nine square miles (notably larger than many contemporary European cities such as London) and was home to up to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Following the tradition of the Mississippian culture, the people of Cahokia constructed large earthen mounds – ranging from raised platforms, conical, and ridge-top designs – involving the movement of 55 million cubic feet of earth over a period that lasted several decades.

The largest mound is known as “Monks Mound,” named after a group of Trappist monks, which rises to a height of 290 metres and was once the tallest building construction in North America.

Image Credit : MattGush – iStock

Archaeologists and students from Saint Louis University (SLU) have recently conducted a series of excavations on the western periphery of the Cahokia Mounds.

The team unearthed 900-year-old ceramics, microdrills, structures, and wall trenches dating from around AD 1100 to 1200, during the Sterling Phase of the Mississippian Period. According to the archaeologists, the finds offer new insights into a crucial period in the chiefdom’s development, coinciding with Cahokia’s rapid population growth.

The excavations follow an aerial survey by SLU and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to conduct Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to determine whether further mounds or archaeological features lie within the acres of thick forests and swampy land near the site’s main complex.

Header Image Credit : Alamy

Sources : KSDK

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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