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Underwater archaeologists search for lost civilisations beneath Baltic and North Sea

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Underwater archaeologists from the University of Bradford and key partners are conducting a study of the Baltic and North Sea region thanks to funding from the European Research Council.

The project, SUBNORDICA, is hoping to uncover the secrets of ancient landscapes and civilisations, which were submerged by rising sea levels at the conclusion of the last ice age.

Around 15,000 years-ago, the sea level was around 130 metres lower than today, with an extra 3 million square kilometres of land in the North and Baltic Seas, such as coastal plains, lakes, river valleys, shorelines, and offshore islands.

According to the study authors: “Now lost to the sea following global climate change, these landscapes remain almost entirely unexplored. Today, these landscapes are under threat as the world develops the coastal shelves to meet net zero goals.”

To facilitate research on Stone Age landscapes and the remnants of ancient settlements in the North and Baltic Seas, the European Union has allocated €13.2 million in funding to SUBNORDICA. This research collaboration is hosted by the University of Bradford in partnership with Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus University, and the Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research in Wilhelmshaven.

Geoff Bailey, Anniversary Professor of Archaeology (Emeritus) at the University of York, Professor of Archaeology at Flinders University Australia and a member of the SUBNORDICA team, said: “The submerged landscapes of the continental shelf are a major gap in our understanding of human history and their investigation is a world-wide challenge.

“This project will bring together the necessary concentration of resources and expertise to make decisive advances in knowledge, especially in exploring the more deeply submerged landscapes that were drowned by postglacial sea-level rise”.

University of Bradford

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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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