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Ancient celestial map found at Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo

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Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo is an ancient hillfort, located in the Province of Trieste, Italy.

The hillfort housed a fortified settlement that emerged during the Middle Bronze Age, with archaeological evidence indicating that occupation continued through the Iron Age until the site was abandoned around the 5th century AD.

In a press announcement by the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), two large circular stones measuring 50 centimetres in diameter were recently discovered at the entrance to the hillfort.

According to Paolo Molaro from INAF, and researchers from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and ICTP, one of the stones is a representation of the sun, while the other is a carved celestial map dated to the 4th century BC.

Image Credit : INAF

A study of the stones has been published in the German astronomy magazine, Astronomische Nachrichten, in which the study authors have identified that the celestial map depicts the sky above Rupinpiccolo from around 2,500-years-ago, making the discovery one of oldest known celestial maps founds in Italy.

The team have identified 29 engravings on the stone, which correspond precisely to the constellations of Scorpius, Orion, the Pleiades and Cassiopeia. Based on the angle of the cut marks in the stone, the researchers suggest that the carvings were likely made by the same individual using a hammer and a rudimentary metal chisel with a 6-7 mm tip.

A specific star engraved on the stone, identified as Theta Scorpii, has become obscured from sight at Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo due to its low position on the horizon. However, upon using the Stellarium program to simulate the night sky, researchers discovered that this star was observable from the ancient hillfort around 400 BC.

The 29th engraving is of particular interest as it has no correlation with celestial models. Instead, the study authors propose that it could actually be a representation of a supernova, a transient phenomenon that appeared suddenly in the night sky in ancient times for days or months, and then fade away and disappear.

If this is indeed the case, the researchers suggest that tracing the focal point in the night’s sky by correlating with the 29th engraving, this could potentially reveal a black hole left behind by the supernova explosion.

Header Image Credit : INAF

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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