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Melting glaciers reveal archaeological treasures

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Archaeologists from the Secrets Of The Ice project are uncovering archaeological treasures left by melting glaciers in the mountains of Norway.

The team have found remnants of reindeer hunts dating back 1,500 years in a survey of melting glaciers in the Breheimen National Park.

The archaeologists discovered a perfectly preserved flag made from radially split pine wood in the melting Spørteggbreen glacier, a 28-square-kilometre (11 sq mi) glacier located between the Jostedalsbreen and Harbardsbreen glaciers.

Ancient hunters attached the flag to scaring sticks placed in lines to direct herds of reindeer to predetermined locations. According to the researchers: “Reindeer are very sensitive animals and tend to shy away from human-like silhouettes or moving objects.” The sticks would scare the reindeer, directing them toward archers lying in wait.

Scaring sticks are known from Oppland and Møre and Romsdal counties in Norway. The Oppland finds have been dated to the Iron Age, with the majority of scaring sticks dated to the Migration Period (AD 400-570).

Image Credit : SECRETS OF THE ICE

The team also discovered an arrow at a site in Lauvhøe, which was found broken at both ends in a deposit of glacial silt. Most finds from the melting glaciers generally date from the Iron Age, however, the arrow is the first prehistoric find which dates from around 4,000-years-ago.

According to the researchers: “Length of exposure plays a major role in the preservation of artefacts found at an ice patch. This factor often correlates with the distance of the find spot from present day ice – the further away from the ice, the poorer the preservation. This may appear self-evident, but sometimes local conditions around the find spot may also be beneficial to artefact survival. This could, for example, be a large boulder that collects extra snow, and provides shade.”

“The prospect of making new discoveries from the retreating ice in the coming years is exiting and sad at the same time. As glacial archaeoogists, there is little we can do to stop global warming and ice melt. Our priority is to record the history of a melting world. The task is to rescue the artefacts, preserve them for the future and try to unlock the stories they can tell about the past.”

SECRETS OF THE ICE

Header Image Credit : SECRETS OF THE ICE

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Archaeology

Elite Petén style structures found near Kohunlich

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Construction works for a road in Section 7 of the Mayan Train have uncovered elite Petén style structures near Kohunlich in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Kohunlich is a large Maya polity that served as a regional centre along the trade routes through the southern Yucatán.

The site was first settled around 200 BC, with the majority of its monuments being built between AD 250 to AD 600 during the Early Classic Period.

The city features elevated platforms, plazas, pyramids, and citadels, all enclosed by palace platforms. The layout of Kohunlich was carefully arranged to direct drainage into a network of cisterns and a massive reservoir for rainwater collection.

Construction works for a road on the periphery of Kohunlich have resulted in the discovery of elite structures in the Petén style, a distinct type of Maya architecture and inscription style.

Archaeologists have identified seven structures in total, interpreted to be elite homesteads of a domestic nature that were used for agricultural activities.

Most of the structures have a rectangular plan and vaulted rooms adorned with decorative Petén style elements.

Given their archaeological importance, experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have registered the monuments for protection.

Consequently, the planned route of the road has been redirected to preserve the structures in situ, where they will be preserved and open to the public in the near future.

Excavations also unearthed various archaeological materials, including ceramics, shells, fragments of human bone, and objects intentionally buried as offerings likely during the construction of the homesteads for protection.

Header Image Credit : Maya Train

Sources : National Institute of Anthropology and History

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

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

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

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