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War in Ukraine sees destruction of cultural heritage not witnessed seen since WW2

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The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has resulted in a significant loss of human lives and the national and international displacement of many Ukrainian people.

The conflict has also seen the destruction of Ukraine’s cultural heritage, intent on erasing the public history and memory to install the Russian narrative.

In a statement issued on March 3 2022, UNESCO said it underlines the obligations of international humanitarian law, notably the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its 1954 and 1999 Protocols, to refrain from inflicting damage to cultural property, and “condemns all attacks and damage to cultural heritage in all its forms in Ukraine”.

As part of joint operation between a team of investigators from several Ukrainian and US institutions, an archaeological survey is being conducted to assess the level of destruction, the results of which are published in the journal Antiquity.

“Given the ongoing conflict, it is not yet possible to assess the damage to the cultural heritage along the frontlines”, say the authors. “However, since the de-occupation of the Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv and Mykolaiv regions in June 2022, a preliminary understanding of the scale and nature of destruction in some areas has developed”.

Many historic buildings have suffered damage at the hands of the Russian military, including the UNESCO-listed Children’s (Youth) Regional Library (former Vasyl Tarnovsky Museum of Ukrainian Antiquities), the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, the Church of the Ascension, and the 11th-century church, citadel and graveyard at Oster.

Collections from museums in occupied areas such as Kherson, Melitopol, and Mariupol have been confiscated and sent to Russia, and in some instances, Russian soldiers have looted artefacts to keep or sell.

According to the study, the archaeological heritage is also being destroyed at an alarming rate. Extensive trench systems and missile strikes are causing significant damage to burial mounds and cemetery sites, resulting in the destruction of human burials at historically important locations such as Boldyni Hory – one of the largest 11th century necropolises in Ukraine.

“In this static ground war that is characterised by military trenches used at a scale similar to the Second World War, Ukrainian cultural heritage is being destroyed at a rate not seen since 1945,” state the authors.

Header Image Credit: Serhii Tarabarov

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

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Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

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Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of Roman objects linked to ritual feasting at Ostia antica.

Ostia Antica is an ancient harbour town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The harbour served as the main port for Rome, transporting goods and people from the coast along the Via Ostiensis.

Archaeologists recently excavated the area of Regio I – Insula XV, a “sacred area” or precinct housing several temples and sanctuaries. At the centre is the temple of Hercules,  a 31 x 16 metre monument which dates from the Republican Era.

Excavations have revealed a substantial well situated at the base of the temple of Hercules. Upon draining the well, it was discovered to hold a significant collection of objects dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD.

Among the objects are various ceramics, miniatures, lamps, glass containers, fragments of marble, and burnt animal bones (pigs and cattle). According to the archaeologists, the trove corresponds with ritual feasting associated with cult at the temple.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Culture: “The discovery of burnt bones confirms that animal sacrifices were carried out in the sanctuary, while the common ceramics, also bearing traces of fire, indicate that the meat was cooked and consumed during banquets in honour of divinity. The remains of one or more ritual meals were thrown into the well, the last ones probably when their function had ceased.”

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

Sources : Ministry of Culture

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

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Archaeology

Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

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Archaeologists have discovered a monumental labyrinthine structure on the summit of Papoura Hill in Crete.

The discovery was made during the installation of a radar system in preparation for the construction of a new airport in the area.

According to experts, the structure dates from between 2000 to 1700 BC shortly before or at the start of the palaeopalatial Minoan period.

The Minoan civilisation was a Bronze Age culture that emerged on the island of Crete around 3100 BC. The culture is known for the monumental architecture and energetic art, and is often regarded as the first civilisation in Europe.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

The chronology of the Minoans is characterised into three distinct phases – Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM).

The palaeopalatial structure is part of the MMI – II grouping in the Middle Minoan, a period in which the first palaces were built and saw the development of the Minoan writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A.

The structure comprises of 8 concentric stone rings that converge on a central circular building. The entire diameter of the complex measures 48 metres and covers an area of approximately 1800 square metres.

Within the central structure are four designated zones in which radial walls intersect vertically and form a labyrinthine structure. Zones A and B appear to be have the main concentration of human activity, evidenced by the presence of large amounts of animals bones.

According to the experts, this residential area likely had a truncated cone or vaulted appearance and is the first monument of this type excavated in Crete. It can perhaps be paralleled with the elliptical MM building of the Chamezi Archaeological Site, as well as with the so-called circular proto-Hellenic cyclopean building of Tiryns.

The Minister of Culture, said: “This is a unique and highly significant find. Solutions are in place to ensure the completion of the archaeological research and the protection of the monument.”

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

Sources : Greek Ministry of Culture

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

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