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Study reveals new insights into Siberia’s Por-Bazhyn

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A new study by the Russian Geographical Society has revealed that Por-Bazhyn was a Manichean monastery.

Por-Bazhyn, meaning “Clay House” in the Tuvan language is located in the Sengelen mountains of southern Siberia, Russia.

Approximately 30 buildings stood within the interior, centred on a central complex consisting of two pavilions that likely served a ceremonial and religious purpose, with various one or two chamber structures located in each of the smaller enclosure courtyards.

The lack of archaeological material has led to various interpretations as to the function of Por-Bazhyn, including a border fortress, a fortified palace, and an astronomical observatory.

Por-Bazhyn has been known since the 18th century and was first explored in 1891. Radiocarbon dating and dendrochronological studies indicate that Por-Bazhyn was built around AD 777, with previous excavations associating the site with the Uyghurs based on comparisons with the palace complex of Karabalgasun (the capital of the Uyghur Khaganate).

A Chinese influence has also been suggested as the layout of the central complex of the site appears to be in the Tang style. This interpretation was further supported by the use of Chinese construction methods, such as the hangtu technique and dougong ceilings, and the presence of Chinese-type building materials.

According to an announcement by the Russian Geographical Society, Por-Bazhyn was built to serve as a Manichean monastery for the study of Manichaeism, a former world religion founded in the 3rd century AD by the Parthian prophet, Mani (AD 216–274).

During the AD 770s, the Uighur Empire under the rule of Bögü Khagan, embarked on a religious transformation to embrace Manichaeism. However, this reform was halted in AD 779 with a counter-Manichean uprising, resulting in Por-Bazhyn being abandoned following the death of Bögü Khagan.

“If the monastery was built on the eve of the coup, then the previous rulers simply did not have time to use it, and for the new one it was no longer needed,” said Andrei Panin, deputy director of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Header Image : Replicated with kind permission – Copyright – Philipp Chistyakov

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Archaeology

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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