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Sculpted head of serpent warrior found at Chichén Itzá



Archaeologists have found the sculpted head of a serpent warrior at Chichén Itzá during excavations of the Chichanchob.

Chichén Itzá was a Maya city that gained regional prominence in Mexico’s Yucatan during the Late Classic and early Terminal Classic periods. At its zenith, the city spanned an area of approximately 4 square miles and was home to up to 35,000 inhabitants.

Chichen Itza means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza”, possibly in reference to the cenotes that made the location attractive for settlement. The city structures are organised into various architectural groupings, each originally demarcated by low walls.

The three most renowned complexes are the Great North Platform, encompassing landmarks such as the Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo), Temple of Warriors, and the Great Ball Court; the Osario Group, featuring the pyramid of the same name, and the Central Group.

Chichanchob – Image Credit : Shutterstock

Excavations were conducted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) to remove construction filling at the Chichanchob, also known as the Casa Colorada Complex. The Chichanchob is a rectangular-shaped platform/temple built in the Puuc style near the El Caracol (ancient observatory).

Within the interior of the temple is a chamber containing carved hieroglyphs that describe a chronology of rulers of Chichen Itza and possibly of the nearby city of Ek Balam, and contain a Maya date inscribed which correlates to AD 869.

In a press statement by Diego Prieto Hernández from INAH, archaeologists have uncovered the sculpted head of Maya warrior during their excavations of the Chichanchob. The head is clad in a serpent helmet with a feather headdress, which despite being fractured stands at around 33 cm’s tall.

According to the researchers, the sculptural parameters suggest that the head was carved during the Late Classic period, which measures 33 centimetres in height by 28 centimetres in width.


Header Image Credit : INAH

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Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill




Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

Construction of the early Romanesque Merseburg Cathedral was begun by Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015.

It was consecrated in 1021 in the presence of Emperor Heinrich II (Henry II), however, following a series of collapses in the eastern part of the structure, the cathedral wouldn’t be formally consecrated and opened until 1042 by Bishop Hunold.

The Merseburg Cathedral of St. John and St. Lawrence is today considered one of the most important cathedral buildings in Germany.

The LDA team were excavating the basement of the so-called Martinikurie, a two-story residential building from the Baroque period. Excavations revealed the remains of the first bishop’s palace, dating from from the time of the second consecration of Merseburg Cathedral.

According to the LDA: “We found the almost completely preserved basement-like lower floor of a hall building, whose 1.75 metre thick foundation walls are still preserved up to a height of 3.40 metres. Steps in the masonry and a pillar from the time of construction inside the building prove that at least one hall-like upper floor once stood on top of this.”
The palace was constructed by Bishop Hunold, who headed the diocese of Merseburg between 1036 and 1050.

“This finding makes it possible to locate one of the most important buildings of the episcopal see in Merseburg – a building that, with its location and size, clearly expresses the self-confidence of the diocese, which was re-founded in 1004 by King Henry II of Germany” added the LDA.

Header Image Credit : LDA

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA)

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions




Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

The papyri were discovered in Berenice Troglodytica, an ancient seaport of Egypt on the western shore of the Red Sea. The city was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC), who named it after his mother, Berenice I of Egypt.

During the Roman period, Berenice Troglodytica was one of the main waystations for the trade in war elephants and exotic goods, imported from India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and Upper Egypt.

Excavations of an animal cemetery located on the western outskirts of the city have uncovered an accumulation of ceramics originating from the Mediterranean, Africa and India.

Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Among the accumulation, the team found Roman coins, a fibula, ostracons (fragments of texts on ceramics), and several papyri.

The papyri contains the correspondence of centurions, naming Haosus, Lucinius and Petronius. Centurions were soldiers who were promoted to command a centuria or “century”, a military unit consisting of between 80 to 100 men.

“In the correspondence, Petronius asks Lucinius (stationed in Berenice Troglodytica) about the prices of individual exclusive goods. There is also the statement: “I am giving you the money, I am sending it by dromedarius (a unit of legionnaires moving on dromedaries). Take care of them, provide them with veal and poles for their tents.”

Dr. Marta Osypińska from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław, said: “For Egyptologists and other scientists dealing with antiquity, this is an extremely rare and high-calibre discovery.”

“In this part of the world, there are very few sites from the Roman period. The Egyptians tend to leave little historical accounts from this time in history, because it is the moment when they were conquered.” added  Dr. Osypińska.

Header Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Sources : PAP

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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