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Archaeologists find network of hidden megastructures using satellite imagery

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Archaeologists have found a network of codependent communities in Central Europe – the largest prehistoric constructions seen prior to the Iron Age.

A study analysing satellite imagery and aerial photography was conducted by researchers from University College Dublin, working with colleagues from Serbia and Slovenia. The team found over 100 previously unknown sites belonging to a complex society in the landscape of Central Europe’s south Carpathian Basin.

Assoc Professor Molloy, said “We tested the findings from satellite images on the ground using survey, excavation, and geophysical prospection. The vast majority of sites were established between 1600 and 1450 B,C and virtually all of them came crashing down around 1200 BC, being abandoned en masse.”

The use of defensible enclosures by early societies served as a forerunner and probable influence for the renowned hillforts of Europe, which were constructed to safeguard communities during the latter stages of the Bronze Age.

Map of TSG sites:



Some of the larger sites were already known, such as Gradište Iđoš, Csanádpalota, Sântana, and Corneşti Iarcuri, however, the analysis indicates that these mega-forts were part of a network of closely related and codependent communities that may have numbered into the tens of thousands.

In a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE, over 100 sites identified in the hinterlands of the Tisza river lead to these communities, which have been collectively called the Tisza Site Group (TSG). A majority of these TSG sites are within 5km’s of each other, suggesting that the network was a cooperative community.

According to the paper, the TSG played a significant role as a centre of innovation in prehistoric Europe, serving as a central network hub during the peak periods of the Mycenaeans, Hittites, and New Kingdom Egypt around 1500-1200 BC.

This revelation offers new insights on the interconnections within Europe during the pivotal 2nd millennium BC, often regarded as a significant turning point in European prehistory. However, during the TSG decline in 1200 BC, the sophisticated military techniques and earthwork technologies of this society disseminated throughout Europe, evidenced in the spread of their material culture and iconography.

Assoc Professor Molloy, said: “Our understanding of how their society worked challenges many aspects of European prehistory. We are able to do more than identify the location of a few sites using satellite imagery, and have been able to define an entire settled landscape, complete with maps of the size and layout of sites, even down to the locations of people’s homes within them. This really gives an unprecedented view of how these Bronze Age people lived with each other and their many neighbours.”

University College Dublin

Header Image Credit : Goethe University

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

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Archaeology

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

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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