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Tomb of 3,000-year-old priest found at Pacopampa



Archaeologists have found a tomb containing the burial of a 3,000-year-old priest in the Pacopampa Archaeological Zone, located in the department of Cajamarca, Peru.

Excavations have been conducted as a collaboration between the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and the National Museum of Ethnology of Japan.

Pacopampa is a large ceremonial centre associated with the Chavín culture, an extinct pre-Columbian civilization that emerged in the northern Andean highlands of Peru during the Early Horizon period.

This era is distinguished by a heightened focus on religious practices, the emergence of ceramics closely tied to ceremonial sites, advancements in agricultural methods, and significant progress in metallurgy and textile production.

Image Credit : Peru Ministry of Culture

In a press announcement by the Peru Ministry of Culture, archaeologists excavating within the framework of the Pacopampa Archaeological Project have discovered the burial in a large circular pit beneath layers of ash mixed with black earth. The funerary context corresponds to the Pacopampa I phase and dates from around 1200 BC.

Within the burial is a funerary deposit of decorated spherical ceramic bowls and a collection of decorated seals, indicating that the burial belonged to an important priest of the Chavín culture.

One of the seals depicts an anthropomorphic face design, while another has a jaguar design. Chavín art is known for its complex iconography and its “mythical realism”, with the jaguar having a sacred significance which was worshiped as a deity to reflect the surrounding landscape.

Previous excavations in 2009 uncovered a tomb known as the “The Lady of Pacopampa” which dates from 900 BC. This later tomb contained a female burial with an artificially deformed skull and funerary deposits consisting of gold earrings, ceramic pots and seashell necklaces.

Peru Ministry of Culture

Header Image Credit : Peru Ministry of Culture

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Maya tomb with funerary offerings found during hotel construction




A tomb with funerary offerings has been uncovered during the construction of the Tren Maya Hotel, in Palenque, Mexico.

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conducted rescue excavations following the discovery, revealing skeletal remains associated with the Maya city of Palenque.

Palenque, also known as Lakamha in the Itza Language (meaning “Flat-Place-River”), is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

The city dates from 226 BC to AD 799, with most of the major construction works representing a rebuilding effort in response to attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states in AD 599 and AD 611.

The population declined during the 8th century AD, instead becoming an agricultural population that led to the abandonment of the city zone. By 1520 following the Spanish conquest, contemporary Spanish accounts record the entire region being sparsely populated.

Excavations uncovered a stone lined funerary space sealed with limestone slabs, in which the researchers found the remains of a high-status individual who likely lived in the periphery of Palenque in a small settlement.

The burial is located at a depth of four metres, and also contained ceramic vessels and beads deposited as funerary offerings.

“The individual was placed face up with his legs extended and his head facing north,” said Diego Prieto Hernández from INAH.

The discovery was announced in a press conference reporting on the progress of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza) in Palenque, Moral-Reforma and El Tigre, the three heritage sites that are served within Section 1 of the Mayan Train Project.


Header Image Credit : INAH

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Archaeologists unearth possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle




Archaeologists from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust may have discovered the possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Pembroke Castle was founded during the 11th century by Roger de Montgomerie, the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury.

In 1452, Jasper Tudor was presented both the castle and the earldom by his half-brother, King Henry VI. In 1457, Henry VII was born at the castle, the only child of Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond.

Following Edward IV’s ascension to the throne in 1471, Henry VII endured 14 years of exile in Brittany. He eventually claimed the throne after his forces, with backing from France, Scotland, and Wales, emerged victorious over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, marking the climax of the Wars of the Roses.

Henry VII’s reign is credited with many administrative, economic, and tax reforms, having ruled for nearly 24 years until his death in 1509 at the age of 52. Henry VII was succeed by his second son, Henry, Duke of York, who ascended to the crown as Henry VIII.

Historians have long assumed that a 13th century tower on the outer ward (known today as Henry VII Tower) was the birth place of Henry VII. However, a recent study by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust has uncovered evidence of a late-medieval winged hall-house, broadly dating to the 15th century.

The walls of the structure extend to around 25 metres, with comparisons being drawn to medieval buildings found in England and East Wales, such as Penallt Mansion in Kidwelly. Historically, Pembroke Castle was situated in the English-speaking portion of Pembrokeshire, often referred to as “Little England beyond Wales.”

Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Neil Ludlow, a consultant to Pembroke Castle, said: “All our indications are pointing to a late-medieval building which was clearly of high status within Pembrokeshire, and it looks as if it was at least two-storeys, which possibly makes it a better candidate for the birthplace of a king rather that the tower that currently bears his name.”

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