Connect with us

Archaeology

Painted Aztec snake carving found in Mexico City

Published

on

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered a painted Aztec snake carving in the Mexica capital of Tenochtitlan.

Tenochtitlan was situated on a raised islet in the western side of Lake Texcoco, which is now the historic part of present-day Mexico City.

The altepetl (city) was founded by the Mexica, a Nahuatl-speaking indigenous people of the Valley of Mexico, who entered the Basin of Mexico after the decline of the Toltec civilisation. The Mexica transformed the islet using the chinampa system, creating rectangular areas of fertile arable land to grow crops on the shallow lake beds.

The settlement experienced rapid growth, evolving into a formidable city-state and becoming an integral part of the Triple Alliance alongside Texcoco and Tlacopan.

Upon the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the year 1519, Tenochtitlan had reached its zenith, boasting an estimated population ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 residents.

The inhabitants were swiftly exposed to diseases for which they had no natural immunity. This devastating outbreak led to a significant population decline, with estimates indicating that over 50% of the region’s people fell victim to smallpox.

Recent excavations at the former School of Jurisprudence of the UNAM, located in the Historic Centre of Mexico City, have uncovered an Aztec snake carving at a depth of 4.5 metres beneath current street level. The carving measures 1.8 metres long by 1 metre tall, which according to the researchers was found outside its original context along with numerous architectural elements.

Due to the conditions in the soil, the stucco and polychromy traces of ochre, red, blue, black and white pigments have survived which cover over 80% of the carving. The researchers have used a humidity chamber to stabilize the pigments, which will undergo further sophisticated methods of preservation into 2024.

Barajas Rocha, who led the colour conservation work on the monolith of the goddess Tlaltecuhtli, explained that the process is crucial for the preservation of the polychromy, since, “these pigments , which represent a typical example of the colour palette that the Mexica used to decorate their cult images and their temples, are extremely fragile due to the mineral and plant materials from which they were obtained.”

INAH

Header Image Credit : LANCIC. UNAM

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading

Trending

Generated by Feedzy