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New study changes assumptions of Roman backwater town



A new study by researchers from the University of Cambridge has revealed that Interamna Lirenas, traditionally written off as a failed backwater, continued to thrive during the Roman Crisis of the Third Century AD.

Interamna Lirenas was founded in 312 BC as a colonia of Latins in the present-day province of Frosinone, central Italy. The town was situated at the confluence of the Liri and Rio Spalla Bassa rivers, whence the name “Interamna” (meaning “between the rivers”).

Julius Caesar become patronus of Interamna Lirenas, using the strategic position of the town as he sought to consolidate support across Italy during the civil wars.

In AD 235 to 284, the Roman Empire came near to collapse in a period known as the Crisis of the Third Century, also known as the Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis.

Over the ensuing five decades, the empire grappled with a confluence of challenges, including barbarian invasions and migrations penetrating Roman lands, internal strife marked by civil wars, uprisings among peasants, and a tumultuous political landscape characterised by numerous usurpers competing for power.

These events culminated in the devaluation of the Empire’s currency, economic turmoil, and the exacerbation of disorder due in part to the Plague of Cyprian.

Despite these upheavals, a new study published in the edited volume Roman Urbanism in Italy has revealed that Interamna Lirenas continued to thrive during the 3rd century AD. The town’s abandonment only occurred around the 6th century AD, attributed to its location along a direct route frequently used by marauding armies.

A GPR survey carried out by the researchers has also revealed the presence of a large warehouse, a temple and a three bath complexes, which served a river port between the late 1st century BC and the 4th century AD.

Dr Alessandro Launaro, the study’s author and Interamna Lirenas Project lead at Cambridge’s Faculty of Classics, said: “This river port enabled Interamna Lirenas to profit from trade between Aquinum and Casinum, key centres to the north, and Minturnae and the Tyrrhenian coast to the southeast. It would have been crucial to the town’s success.”

Image Credit : University of Cambridge

On the town’s northwestern perimeter, archaeologists unearthed the remains of a roofed theatre measuring approximately 45 metres by 26 metres, that accommodated an audience of 1,500 individuals.

“The fact that this town went for a roofed theatre, such a refined building, does not fit with a backwater in decline. This theatre was a major status symbol. It displayed the town’s wealth, power and ambition,” said Dr Launaro.

The team also found nineteen substantial courtyard buildings, which they suggest functioned as indoor marketplaces (macella), guildhouses (scholae), residential complexes, and notably, public warehouses (horrea).

This impressive infrastructure indicates that the town served as a pivotal trading centre, connecting to larger hubs like Aquinum and Casinum. Historical records affirm that Interamna Lirenas hosted two distinct markets, further supporting its significance in trade networks.

In addition, archaeologists uncovered a sizable open area that operated as a livestock market for sheep and cattle, playing a crucial role in facilitating the prosperous wool trade within the region.

Header Image Credit : University of Cambridge

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold




Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest




A rare copper dagger from over 4,000-years-ago has been discovered in the forests near Korzenica, southeastern Poland.

Piotr Gorlach from the Historical and Exploration Association Grupa Jarosław made the discovery during a metal detector survey in Jarosław Forest.

Upon realising the significance of the find, Mr Gorlach contacted the Podkarpacie conservator of monuments in Przemyśl and the Orsetti House Museum.

The dagger dates from over 4,000 years ago, a period in which objects made from copper were extremely rare in the Central European Plain.

A preliminary study indicates that the dagger may originate from the Carpathian Basin or Ukrainian steppe, and predates the development of bronze metallurgy for the region.

This transition is traditionally known as the Copper Age and marked a gradual incorporation of copper while stone remained the primary resource utilised.

Dr. Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt from the museum in Jarosław, said: “This is a period of enormous change in the main raw materials for the production of tools. Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age.”

Daggers during this era were a universal attribute of warriors, however, being made from copper suggests that the owner held a high social status. This is further supported by its size measuring 10.5 cm in length, which for this period is actually very large when compared to other metal objects from the same era.

The dagger has already been added to the collection of the Orsetti House Museum in Jarosław.

Header Image Credit : Łukasz Śliwiński

Sources : PAP – A dagger from over 4,000 years ago found in the forest.

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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