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Chambered Mixtec-Zapotec tomb found in San Juan Ixcaquixtla



Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered a Mixtec-Zapotec tomb in San Juan Ixcaquixtla.

San Juan Ixcaquixtla, located on a hill overlooking a valley in the Mexican state of Puebla, was built on a funerary complex of burial mounds known as “teteles”.

In pre-Columbian times, the Mixtec were one of the major civilizations of Mesoamerica, which lasted from around 1500 BC until 1523.

The term Mixtec comes from the Nahuatl word mixtecah, meaning “cloud people”. Important ancient centres of the Mixtec include the ancient capital of Tilantongo, as well as the sites of Achiutla, Cuilapan, Huajuapan, Mitla, Tlaxiaco, Tututepec, Juxtlahuaca, and Yucuñudahui.

During the zenith of the Aztec Empire, numerous Mixtec communities offered tribute to the Aztecs, yet not all Mixtec towns yielded as vassals. These towns resisted Spanish domination until they were eventually conquered by the Spanish forces under the command of Pedro de Alvarado.

Image Credit : INAH

The discovery was made during public works in the town square, revealing two 4 by 2 metre chambers which are part of a larger funerary complex. The researchers have identified three burials deposits containing the skeletal remains of at least 20 individuals that correspond to the Classic Mesoamerican period (AD 100 to 650).

Within the chambers are funerary offerings of 150 ceramic vessels, a carved human bone, a votive axe, and three yokes in a “U” shape often associated with ceremonial ball games.

According to the researchers, “the burials are part of a tradition mortuary, in which spaces were created for the deposition of multiple individuals who were possibly part of some lineage of merchant-warriors.”

The tomb is the third recorded in the town square, with previous excavations in 2004 uncovering a three chambered tomb, and another tomb in 2013.


Header Image Credit : INAH

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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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