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Radiocarbon dating reveals new insights into Tel Gezer

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Archaeologists have conducted radiocarbon dating of Tel Gezer, one of the most important Bronze and Iron Age sites in Israel.

Tel Gezer is located in the foothills of the Judaean Mountains at the border of the Shfela region.

The site was first occupied towards the end of the 4th millennium BC, when large caves were cut into the rock to be used as dwellings.

Major settlement occurred during the first half of the 2nd millennium BC, with the construction of a fortified Canaanite city surrounded by a massive stone wall and towers.

The city evolved into a significant religious centre, characterised by the presence of prominent standing stones named massebot. These massbot stones were erected alongside an altar-style construction and a substantial stone basin, possibly used for ceremonies involving libations (a ritual pouring of a liquid, or grains such as rice, as an offering to a deity).

The Canaanite city was devastated by a fire, likely resulting from a military expedition led by the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III (reigning from 1479 to 1425 BC). The earliest documented mention of the city dates back to an inscription listing conquered territories found at Thutmose’s temple in Karnak.

The city continued to hold significant strategic importance until the Roman period due in thanks to the advantageous location at the intersection of the ancient coastal trade route connecting Egypt to Syria, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia, as well as the pathway leading to Jerusalem and Jericho.

In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, archaeologists have used radiocarbon dating to investigate what extent of archaeological findings correspond to historical events from written sources.

The chronology of each phase of Tel Gezer has been based primarily on the comparison of ceramic styles and their connection to the political history of Egypt and Assyria.

Lyndelle Webster, an archaeologist from the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the ÖAW, said: “We took more than 75 measurements on charred seeds from several layers of settlement and destruction. The results of the 35 measurements from the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age strata published in our study date from the 13th to 9th centuries BC. “This allows us for the first time to place the history of Gezer on a fixed timeline.”

The results have been cross-referenced with historical events, such as instances of destruction, construction of new buildings, or fortification development, providing additional context.

The radiocarbon dates indicate that the city saw a period of destruction around 1200 BC, possibly in relation to a campaign of conquest by the Egyptian pharaoh Merenptah, or as a result of the Late Bronze Age collapse that brought a sharp economic decline to regional powers.

The study also contributes to the dating of the “Philistine” culture, which arose in the nearby coastal plain and is now believed to influence the region around Tel Gez in the middle of the 12th century BC.

According to the study authors: “Another discussion covers the transition to monumental public architecture and centralised administration at Tel Gezer. This change can now be dated to the first half of the 10th century BC and not just the 9th century BC as previously thought.”

OAW

Header Image Credit : Lanier Center for Archaeology

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

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Archaeologists from ARKIKUS have announced the discovery of a Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia, a former Roman town in Hispania, now located in the province of Álava, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain.

The town was an important transit centre on the Ab Asturica Burdigalam (Roman road), with a peak population of around 10,000 inhabitants.

In a recent study using aerial photography and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), archaeologists have found a Roman circus and previously unknown urban areas of Iruña-Veleia.

A Roman circus was a large open-air venue used mainly for chariot races, although sometimes serving other purposes. Chariot racing was the most popular of many subsidised public entertainments, and was an essential component in several religious festivals.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

Chariot racing declined in significance in the Western Roman Empire following the fall of Rome, with the last known race held at the Circus Maximus in AD 549, organised by the Ostrogothic king, Totila.

According to a press statement by ARKIKUS, the circus is an elongated enclosure that accommodated up to 5,000 spectators, and measures 280 metres long by 72 metres wide.

Until now, only a handful of Roman circus’s are known in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, emphasising the importance of Iruña-Veleia during the Roman period.

The study also revealed a Roman street system, evidence of buildings with porticoed areas, and a linear feature indicating the route of the Ab Asturica Burdigalam.

Header Image Credit : ARKIKUS

Sources : ARKIKUS

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

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Bodbury Ring is a univallate hillfort, strategically located at the southern tip of Bodbury Hill in Shropshire, England.

Hillforts in Britain are known from the Bronze Age, but the main period of hillfort construction occurred during the Celtic Iron Age.

Hillfort fortifications follow the contours of a hill and consist of one or more lines of earthworks or stone ramparts, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Archaeologists from Time Team and the Universities of Chester and York, recently conducted a study of Bodbury Ring using light detection and ranging (LiDAR).

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technique that employs pulsed laser light to measure distances to the Earth. By analysing variations in the return times and wavelengths of the laser pulses, this method can generate a detailed 3-D digital map of the landscape.

The study has revealed that Bodbury Ring is six times larger than previously thought and is part of a much larger hillfort which enclosed the entirety of the ridgetop on Bodbury Hill. This larger hillfort shares some characteristics with examples known to have originated in the Late Bronze Age.

Professor Ainsworth from Time Team said: “The earthworks of Bodbury Ring, it seems, were constructed to form a small, more easily defended fort at the southern tip of the original hillfort, possibly in the Middle Iron Age.”

“This prehistoric ‘downsizing’ may have resulted from increased tension in the region, reflecting possible changes in the geopolitical landscape of the times. Close by, on the northern side of Bodbury Hill, the remains of a probable Roman Iron Age enclosed settlement have also been identified for the first time,” added Professor Ainsworth.

Header Image Credit : University of Chester

Sources : University of Chester

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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