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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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Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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