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Archaeologists find forum from unknown Roman city

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Archaeologists from the University of Zaragoza have uncovered a Roman forum at the La Cabañeta archaeological site in the Zaragoza municipality of El Burgo de Ebro, Spain.

The forum was the civic centre of a Roman city (the name of which is unknown), however, the researchers suggest that it may have been Castra Aelia that the Roman historian, Titus Livy, cites when recounting the 77 BC campaign of General Quintus Sertorius through Hispanic lands.

In a brief fragment of book XCI of the History of Rome, Titus Livy describes Castra Aelia as being an oppidum where Sertorius installed his winter quarters after the successful siege of the Celtiberian city of Contrebia during the Republic Era.

Castra Aelia was founded around 200 BC and was destroyed during the Sertorian War, a military campaign undertaken against Sertorius, loyal to Gaius Marius, by the generals Metellus Pius and Pompey the Great.

Speaking to exibart, Borja Díaz, said: “It was a city laid out according to a clear orthogonal urban planning. Furthermore, a significant number of Latin inscriptions made on ceramics and stone were found. which demonstrates that the people who lived there wrote and spoke in Latin.”

Situated in a strategic position, the city at La Cabañeta may have been an entry and redistribution point for goods arriving across the river, however, around the year 70 BC (corresponding with the period of the Sertorian War), the city was raised to the ground, evidenced by a context layer of burning and destruction.

According to the researchers, very few Roman cities from the Republic Era offer a clear image of Roman urban planning, however, the forum discovery at La Cabañeta provides valuable insights into the formative phase of the urban model that would later become the standard for Roman cities.

Header Image Credit : University of Zaragoza

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Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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