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Divers explore 5,000-year-old stone piles submerged in alpine lake

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Members of the Bavarian Society for Underwater Archaeology are conducting a study of 5,000-year-old man-made stone piles submerged in Lake Constance, an alpine lake that borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Most of the piles (cairns) are located at a depth of four to six metres between the municipalities of Romanshorn and Altnau, which upon the announcement of their discovery in 2019 were dubbed the “Swiss Stonehenge”.

A previous study by the Archaeology Office of the Swiss Canton of Thurgau determined that the stone piles were man-made, as the piles were placed on the post-glacial banded lake deposits and were not transported as a result of glacial debris.

Based on estimates, around 80,000 tons of rock were transported to build over 200 stone piles, making the monuments one of the largest prehistoric construction sites in Europe.

One of the piles between Lindau and Wasserburg has so far been dated to between 3500 and 3200 BC during the Neolithic period, however, the purpose of the monuments is speculated.

Upon consulting with the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation, the dive team, consisting of technical specialists and underwater archaeologists, photographed a cluster of stone piles near Reutenen, with the intention of creating a photo mosaic for a photogrammetric analysis.

Tobias Pflederer, the leader of the exploratory team suggests that the monuments could be platforms in connection with a cult of the dead on the lakeshore, a hypothesis shared by several Swiss researchers.

Urs Leuzinger from the Office for Archaeology Thurgau, said: “It is conceivable that there would be platforms protruding from the water as artificial islets along the lake shore, on which ritual activities took place as part of a burial ceremony. The transition from land to water would have been a central element of the ritual.”

Header Image – Lake Constance – Image Credit : Shutterstock

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

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Archaeology

Elite Petén style structures found near Kohunlich

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Construction works for a road in Section 7 of the Mayan Train have uncovered elite Petén style structures near Kohunlich in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Kohunlich is a large Maya polity that served as a regional centre along the trade routes through the southern Yucatán.

The site was first settled around 200 BC, with the majority of its monuments being built between AD 250 to AD 600 during the Early Classic Period.

The city features elevated platforms, plazas, pyramids, and citadels, all enclosed by palace platforms. The layout of Kohunlich was carefully arranged to direct drainage into a network of cisterns and a massive reservoir for rainwater collection.

Construction works for a road on the periphery of Kohunlich have resulted in the discovery of elite structures in the Petén style, a distinct type of Maya architecture and inscription style.

Archaeologists have identified seven structures in total, interpreted to be elite homesteads of a domestic nature that were used for agricultural activities.

Most of the structures have a rectangular plan and vaulted rooms adorned with decorative Petén style elements.

Given their archaeological importance, experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have registered the monuments for protection.

Consequently, the planned route of the road has been redirected to preserve the structures in situ, where they will be preserved and open to the public in the near future.

Excavations also unearthed various archaeological materials, including ceramics, shells, fragments of human bone, and objects intentionally buried as offerings likely during the construction of the homesteads for protection.

Header Image Credit : Maya Train

Sources : National Institute of Anthropology and History

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

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

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

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