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Archaeologists are rediscovering the medieval manor of Court De Wyck



Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology are conducting a project to rediscover the medieval manor of Court De Wyck.

The researchers are excavating on the outskirts of the village of Claverham in North Somerset, England. During the medieval period, a settlement recorded in the Domesday Survey of AD 1086 consisted of two hamlets: Claverham and Week.

The latter was primarily centred around the manor of Court De Wyck, named after the De Wyck family, which was founded in the 12th century by the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

According to several historical accounts, remnants of the manor persisted in some form until 1815, when it was ultimately demolished due to a fire leaving only a chapel and the tithe barn and stables.

19th century drawing plan by Mrs Betts

Little contemporary evidence survives regarding the layout of the manor, however, the researchers have been able to use a hand-drawn sketch plan by a Mrs Betts from the 19th century to aid in their excavations.

According to an announcement by Cotswold Archaeology: “The plan shows a range of buildings, including the chapel, positioned along the north, east, and west sides of a large courtyard, with an entrance to the south, and the chapel and other rooms to the north. From this plan, which turned out to be impressively accurate, we were able to use the location of the extant chapel to orient ourselves on the ground.”

During their excavations, the archaeologists uncovered a north/south orientated stone wall on the same alignment as the courtyard wall of the manorial complex (as shown on the 19th century drawing plan), and potentially representing the remains of one of the western walls of the manor or its chapel.

To the south, the researchers discovered the remnants of a significant east-west stone wall, which stood at nearly 2 meters in height. This wall seems to indicate a later development of what was originally thought to be a “moat.” In reality, this “moat” is more likely a substantial boundary ditch and could have served as a precursor to the boundary wall identified in the southern section of the excavation site.

In the northern part of the excavation area below the north/south wall are the foundations of an even earlier building, evidenced by ceramics that indicate a potential date from the 13th–14th century.

Excavations also found two perpendicular Roman ditches with Southeast Dorset and Southwest Black Burnished Ware ceramics, a fragment of boxed flue tile which was an essential part of the heating system of Roman buildings.

Cotswold Archaeology

Header Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology

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Archaeologists find 22 mummified burials in Peru




A Polish-Peruvian team of archaeologists have uncovered 22 mummified burials in Barranca, Peru.

The discovery was made on the Cerro Colorado hill, where the researchers unearthed the burials in one of four mounds located in a cluster.

Bioarchaeologist, Łukasz Majchrzak, said: “The bodies are wrapped in fabrics and plant material known as burial bundles. Between the layers of the fabrics we found ceramics, tools, and cult objects placed as funerary offerings.”

The team also found corn cobs and unidentified plant materials, which were likely placed as food for the deceased on their journey to the afterlife.

Six of the burial bundles contain the remains of adults placed in the fetal position, with their upper and lower limbs tucked under their chests.

According to the researchers, the adult burials are arranged vertically, which makes them appear as if they were sitting. They all have a similar external appearance, wrapped in thick fabric and entwined with rope.

One of the adult bundles is decorated with geometric patterns, while the remaining bundles – as Majchrzak suggests – may contain representations of animals and deities.

The other 16 burial bundles mostly contain the remains of children no older than 2 years old who were placed in a horizontal position.

The team plan to use computed tomography to examine completely preserved burial bundles that have no visible damage to allow for a non-invasive anthropological analysis. In further stages, they plan to carry out a chemical and isotope analysis, including the strontium isotope, which will determine whether the burials are from a local population.

Header Image Credit : R. Dziubińska

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Oldest prehistoric fortress found in remote Siberia




An international team, led by archaeologists from Freie Universität Berlin has uncovered an ancient prehistoric fortress in a remote region of Siberia known as Amnya.

According to a study, published in the scientific journal “Antiquity”, the fortress is a complex system of defensive structures around an ancient settlement, dating from 8,000 years ago.

The fortress is spread across two settlement clusters, Amnya I and Amnya II. Amnya I consists of extant surface features such as banks and ditches, which enclose the tip of a promontory, and 10 house pit depressions. Ten further house pits, located approximately 50m to the east, comprise the open settlement of Amnya II.

Excavations have uncovered approximately 45 pottery vessels within the wider complex, including pointed and flat-based forms that reflect two distinct typological traditions.

The Amnya settlement complex signifies the start of a distinctive, enduring trend of defensive sites among hunter-gatherers in northern Eurasia—an almost continuous tradition that persisted for nearly eight millennia until the Early Modern period.

Tanja Schreiber, archaeologist at the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology in Berlin and co-author of the study, explains, “Through detailed archaeological examinations at Amnya, we collected samples for radiocarbon dating, confirming the prehistoric age of the site and establishing it as the world’s oldest-known fort.

“Our new palaeobotanical and stratigraphical examinations reveal that inhabitants of Western Siberia led a sophisticated lifestyle based on the abundant resources of the taiga environment,” added Schrieber.

The construction of fortifications by foraging groups has been observed in different parts of the world, primarily in coastal regions during later prehistoric periods. However, the early in inland western Siberia is unparalleled.

According to the researchers, the discovery transforms how we perceive ancient human communities, questioning the notion that the establishment of permanent settlements with grand architecture and intricate social systems began solely with the rise of agriculture.

Header Image Credit: Nikita Golovanov

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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