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Archaeologists uncover large Roman complex in gravel quarry



A team of archaeologists from the Office for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology have uncovered a large Roman complex during excavations in a gravel quarry near Cham-Oberwil, located in the canton of Zug, Switzerland.

The site is situated on an elevated position in the Äbnetwald region, where previous excavations have found evidence of settlements and graves from the Bronze Age and Iron Age periods.

Rescue excavations have been conducted in the quarry by the Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology since the 1990’s, with a recent study finding a series of large Roman buildings and rooms which belong to a complex that extends over an area of ​​at least 500 m2.

Archaeological evidence indicates that the complex dates from around 2,000-years-ago, giving researchers new insights into large-scale Roman occupation of the pre-Alpine region of Central Switzerland for the first time in almost 100 years.

Image Credit : David Jecker

Christa Ebnöther, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bern, said: “Only a few structural buildings of this size are known from the Roman period in the pre-Alpine region – in contrast to other regions. What is also astounding is the relatively good preservation of the remains.”

The overall size of the complex and the function is yet to be determined. Archaeologists theorise that it may be a large villa, or possibly a temple.

Image Credit : Res Eichenberger

In addition to the complex’s foundation walls, the team have found everyday objects and high status finds – such as imported Roman tableware (terra sigillata from Italy and Gaul), a gold fragment, coins, glass vessels, pieces of amphorae, and large numbers of iron nails from a wooden construction.

“Thanks to this exemplary cooperation, we have been able to document numerous findings and save valuable finds in recent years,” says Karin Artho, head of the Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology. “These pieces of the puzzle make it possible to trace the life of our ancestors and to better understand our history.”

Kanton Zug

Header Image Credit : David Jecker

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Excavation of medieval shipbuilders reveals a Roman head of Mercury




Excavations of a medieval shipbuilders has led to the discovery of a Roman settlement and a Roman head of Mercury.

The discovery was made at Smallhythe Place, a late 15th or early 16th century property managed by the National Trust near Tenterden in Kent, England.

Prior to the decline of the port and shipyard at Smallhythe during the 16th century, the local community played a crucial role in the shipbuilding industry, crafting vessels for notable figures, including members of royalty.

As part of a project funded by several UK institutions, over 60 volunteers from the National Trust participated in the excavation, along with professional archaeologists, students, and members of the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group.

The excavation has revealed traces of a Roman settlement that was occupied between the 1st and 3rd centuries, including an incredibly rare figurine made of pipeclay that depicts the god, Mercury.

Mercury was a major god in the Roman pantheon and was associated with financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery, and thieves. He also served as the guide of souls to the underworld and was the messenger of the gods.

According to a press announcement by the National Trust: “This complete figurine probably would have depicted Mercury standing, either draped with a chlamys (a short cloak), or naked, holding a caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes).”

The team also unearthed thousands of artefacts, providing evidence of the evolution of Smallhythe Place from a Georgian farm to a midden dump, a shipbuilding site, and a brickworks.

The National Trust said: “To support our investigations, we received grants from the National Trust’s Inclusive Archaeology, Robert Kiln and the Roman Research Funds and from the Royal Archaeological Institute. During 2023, our project has received funding from the Society of Antiquaries and the William and Edith Oldham Charitable Trust.”

Header Image Credit : James Dobson

Sources : National Trust – Exploring Smallhythe Place: Archaeological Investigations by the River Rother

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold




Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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