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Archaeologists find earliest evidence of mass weapon production in Southern Levant

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Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority have uncovered the earliest evidence of mass weapon production in the Southern Levant.

In a study published in the journal Atiqot 111, the researchers have found hundreds of identical slingstones from ‘En Esur in the northern Sharon plain and ‘En Zippori in the Lower Galilee.

Dr. Gil Haklay, Enno Bron, Dr. Dina Shalem, Dr. Ianir Milevski, and Nimrod Getzov from the Israel Antiquities Authority examined 424 slingstones dating back to the Early Chalcolithic period (circa 5800–4500 BC).

The study revealed that almost all the slingstones were identical in size, with an average length of 52 mm, a width of about 321 mm, and an average weight of 60g. According to the researchers, this indicates that there was mass production of weapons as far back as 7,200 years ago.

Image Credit : Israel Antiquities Authority

“The stones, that were intended to be projected from a sling, are smoothed with a specific biconical aerodynamic form, enabling exact and effective projection,” say the archaeologists. “Similar slingstones have been found at other sites in the country, mainly from the Hula Valley and the Galilee in the north to the northern Sharon, but this is the first time that they have been found in excavations in such large concentrations.”

“These stones are in fact, the earliest evidence of warfare in the Southern Levant. The similarity of the slingstones points to large-scale industrial production. The effort put into the aerodynamic form and the smoothing of the stones’ surfaces indicate that they were intended to be exact and deadly weapons,” said the researchers.

The abundance of slingstones and the considerable effort invested in their production suggest a deliberate readiness for conflict, potentially indicating a communal endeavour to create munitions. If so, it seems that in the Early Chalcolithic period, there was an escalation in preparations for warfare, involving a change from individual to large-scale production.

Header Image Credit : Israel Antiquities Authority

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

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Archaeology

Archaeologists may have discovered the lost city of Tu’am

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Excavations in the Umm Al Quwain area of the UAE have revealed 6th century ruins that could be the lost city of Tu’am.

The ruins are situated on Al Sinniyah Island, part of a collection of small islands on the western part of the Khor Al Bidiyah peninsula.

Previous studies on the island have revealed a pearling village and monastery, which has been the focus of the latest season of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a larger settlement, with the earliest signs of occupation dating back to the 4th century AD and peaking in the 5th or 6th century.

The team uncovered traces of large semi-urbanised tenement buildings measuring 30 square metres, which are tightly packed around narrow walkways. According to the researchers, the settlement could be the lost city of Tu’am as described in Ancient Arab texts.

Tu’am was a regional capital on the Gulf coast that was famed for its pearl fishing industry and trade in precious gems.

The population went into decline following a plague and regional tensions, and subsequently was abandoned. Mass graves in the vicinity support the historical account of plague, as the skeletal remains show no evidence of trauma or a violent death.

“Our archaeological work has discovered the largest settlement by far ever found on the Gulf coast of the Emirates,” said Prof Tim Power of UAE University.

“And it’s exactly the right period for the city described in the early Islamic geographical sources. It’s clearly a really important place. No one has ever found it.”

Professor Power explained that while they have not found irrefutable evidence (such as an inscription bearing the town’s name), no other major settlements from this period have been discovered on the coast, strengthening the argument that the settlement is Tu’am. “It’s a process of elimination,” he explained.

Header Image Credit : Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology

Sources : NUAE

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

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Archaeology

New findings in North America’s first city

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Cahokia was the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, a mound-building pre-Columbian civilisation that emerged in the Midwestern, Eastern, and South-eastern United States.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was founded around AD 1050 along the banks of the Mississippi River, located near present-day St. Louis, Missouri.

The city covered an area between six to nine square miles (notably larger than many contemporary European cities such as London) and was home to up to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Following the tradition of the Mississippian culture, the people of Cahokia constructed large earthen mounds – ranging from raised platforms, conical, and ridge-top designs – involving the movement of 55 million cubic feet of earth over a period that lasted several decades.

The largest mound is known as “Monks Mound,” named after a group of Trappist monks, which rises to a height of 290 metres and was once the tallest building construction in North America.

Image Credit : MattGush – iStock

Archaeologists and students from Saint Louis University (SLU) have recently conducted a series of excavations on the western periphery of the Cahokia Mounds.

The team unearthed 900-year-old ceramics, microdrills, structures, and wall trenches dating from around AD 1100 to 1200, during the Sterling Phase of the Mississippian Period. According to the archaeologists, the finds offer new insights into a crucial period in the chiefdom’s development, coinciding with Cahokia’s rapid population growth.

The excavations follow an aerial survey by SLU and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to conduct Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to determine whether further mounds or archaeological features lie within the acres of thick forests and swampy land near the site’s main complex.

Header Image Credit : Alamy

Sources : KSDK

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

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