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Archaeologists find remnants of Tewkesbury’s medieval past

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A team of archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology have uncovered a medieval farmhouse at Cowfield Farm, located in Tewkesbury, England.

The site is located at a former 18th-century brick farmhouse which is being developed following a fire in 2004.

According to the researchers, the origins of Cowfield Farm lie in the 12th/13th centuries when a farmhouse occupied the site surrounded by a rectangular enclosure. The earliest documentary reference to Cowfield dates to 1535 when it was part of a freehold estate belonging to Tewkesbury Abbey.

To the south was a sheepcote: a long, narrow building for housing sheep, but documentary research carried out as part of the project suggests the main role of the farm was as a specialist cattle establishment known as a vaccary.

Vaccaries typically encompassed meadows, drier pasture, hayfields, and the home farm which would have included the farmhouse, a cowshed, and other buildings. During this period, cattle were primarily for dairying, but older animals and bullocks from Cowfield would have been driven to Tewkesbury to provide meat for the urban population and the abbey monks.

The original farmhouse was demolished, and a new one was built with stone foundations surrounded by a substantial rectangular moat measuring 65 metres by 35–55 metres across.

Very little of the new farmhouse survived, however, a large corner stone suggests it was a rectangular building divided by a central passage, with service rooms to one side and a hall and sleeping chamber to the other. North of the moat, a large aisled building built over the original farmhouse was probably a cowshed and may have included rooms for dairying.

Some of the finds uncovered include a ceramic dripping tray used for roasting meat, and a pilgrim badge depicting the archangel Michael defeating the Devil in the form of a dragon, possibly originating from Mont St Michel in France.

Header Image Credit : Cotsworld Archaeology

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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