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Cult temples found at Haltern Roman Camp

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Archaeologists from the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe (LWL) have uncovered the foundations of two small temples at the Haltern Roman Camp, located in the town of Haltern am See in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

During the Roman period the site was a major military fortress and civilian colony, which according to historians was likely built by the Emperor Augustus who named it Aliso. This was confirmed in 2010 by excavations conducted by the Archaeological Commission of Westphalia, who determined that the site corresponds to the one described in ancient literature as Aliso.

Recent excavations by LWL have found the foundations of two cult temples, one of which was constructed of wood with a rectangular plan measuring 30 square metres and accessed via a 5 metre wide entrance way marked by two wooden columns on either side.

Both temples are located in a 2,000 square metre complex previously examined in 1928, which Westphalian chief archaeologist Prof. Dr. August Stieren, initially identified as meeting house for military personnel. In later years the complex was converted to hold a military workshop, evidenced by numerous tools found in situ.

“The two rectangular cult temples consisted only of clay frameworks,” says LWL Roman expert Dr. Bettina Tremmel. “But they were based on the typical large podium temples made of stone that could be found in numerous Roman cities at the time of Emperor Augustus.”

According to the researchers, the discovery is unique as there have been no other examples of cult buildings previously unearthed in Roman military installations.

Adjacent to the cult temples is a circular ditch which has been preserved as a discoloration in the oil. The depth and the Roman finds it contains are comparable to the Roman burial ground in Haltern, however, the practice of burials within such settlements was forbidden under Roman law.

LWL

Header Image Credit : LWL/C. Hentzelt

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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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