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Archaeologists use LiDAR to identify features from the Battle of the Bulge



In a study published in the journal Antiquity, archaeologists have used LiDAR to reveal WWII features within the forested Ardennes landscape.

The Battle of the Bulge marked the final significant German offensive on the Western Front. The battle lasted for five weeks from the 16th of December 1944 to the 28th of January 1945 in the Ardennes region between Belgium and Luxembourg.

The Wehrmacht’s code name for the offensive was Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (‘Operation Watch on the Rhine’). The primary military aims were to disrupt Allied access to the Belgian Port of Antwerp and to create a division in the Allied front, a move that had the potential to encircle and dismantle the four Allied forces.

Archaeologists have conducted a study on an area between St Vith and Schönberg using drone-mounted 1m-resolution LiDAR and very high-resolution simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM).

Extent of the study area with 1m-resolution mapped features, with detail of the areas of Herresbach (A); Prümerberg (B); and Schlierbach (C) (base layer: OpenStreetMap; orthophoto: Open Data WalOnMap) – Image Credit : Antiquity

The researchers have identified more than 940 features, which include artillery emplacements, bomb craters, dugouts with an entrance, dugout shelters or storage places, fox holes, trenches, and undefined features.

According to the study authors: “Our study of the landscape and material remains of the Battle of the Bulge through the lens of very-high and low-resolution LiDAR data has identified a rich archaeological landscape associated with US Army defensive lines and both ground combat and aerial bombing in late 1944 and early 1945 in the central sector of the Ardennes Offensive.”

This new layer of information will contribute to heritage considerations around the Second World War landscapes of the Ardennes and complements the existing collection of commemorative monuments.

“Our results indicate that the combination of heavily wooded landscapes and the complexity and large scale of the Ardennes Offensive offer great research potential at St Vith and elsewhere across the region’s former battlefields, in Belgium and neighbouring Luxembourg and Germany. Our work also prompts debate on managing the region’s heritage and the need for a more comprehensive archaeological survey and analysis of this important theatre of operations in north-western Europe,” said the study authors.


Header Image Credit : Public Domain

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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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