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Mosaic depicting lions found at ancient Prusias ad Hypium

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Archaeologists have uncovered a mosaic depicting lions during excavations at ancient Prusias ad Hypium, located in modern-day Konuralp, Turkey.

Prusias ad Hypium was a city in ancient Bithynia which was annexed by the Roman Republic in 74 BC. The city flourished as a significant trading hub, maintaining autonomy in its local governance and even issuing its own currency.

The city was rediscovered during the 19th century, with recent excavations being conducted by the archaeology department of Düzce University under the patronage of the Konuralp Museum, and supported by the Municipality of Düzce.

Excavations indicate that the city exhibits characteristics of a Hellenistic polis. Among the surviving remains are remnants of the city walls, a gate within the fortifications, an open-air theatre, an aqueduct, and a Roman bridge.

A recent archaeological study has focused on the theatre, known locally as the “The Forty Stairs”. The theatre was built during the Hellenistic period (300–30 BC) and was expanded in the Roman period.

The study has uncovered the remains of a mosaic depicting a pair of lions, which was found in a room of the portico in the middle of the theatre axis.

The room has a rectangular shape and is adorned with a mosaic covering the entire floor with a geometric floral pattern. At the centre is a mosaic frame depicting the pair of lions either side of a pine tree. Hanging from the tree is a tympanum (a drum or tambourine), and on the left branch is a pan flute.

According to the researchers, the room was dedicated to the cult of Dionysus. During Dionysian processions, it was common to observe Silenus and maenads participating by playing musical instruments such as the tympanum and pan flute.

Header Image Credit : Konuralp Museum

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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