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Merovingian ship burial found in Norway

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During 2023, archaeologists conducted an investigation at Leka in the northern region of Trøndelag County, Norway, revealing the presence of a ship burial within the Herlaugshaugen burial mound.

The burial mound has a diameter of over 60 metres and was thought to be the ultimate resting site of King Herlaug, a Norse king who, as legend has it, opted to be interred alive along with eleven companions instead of yielding or fleeing from the advancing King Harald.

Excavations of the mound were conducted in the late 1700s, yielding reports of discoveries  such as iron rivets, a bronze cauldron, and a seated skeleton accompanied by a sword. However, conflicting narratives arise, and both the tangible evidence and human remains have since disappeared without a trace.

“Unfortunately, these finds disappeared in the early 1920s. The skeleton was exhibited for a while at Trondheim Cathedral School as King Herlaug, but no one knows what happened to it. All the other finds have also disappeared. It is said that the bronze cauldron was melted down and made into shoe buckles,” said Geir Grønnesby from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) University Museum.

A recent study has revealed that the mound contains the remains of a ship burial which actually dates from around AD 700 during the Merovingian period, predating the Viking Age and also King Herlaug by centuries.

The discovery has also pushed back the accepted tradition of ship burials in Norway and aligns with early ship burials like those at Vendel and Valsgärde in Sweden, known for their ornate weapons and elaborate burials.

“Moreover, the burial mound itself symbolises power and affluence, not derived from farming in Ytre Namdalen. It’s plausible that the region’s inhabitants engaged in extensive trade, possibly across vast distances,” added Lars Forseth, an archaeologist from Trøndelag County Authority.

Header Image Credit : Hanne Bryn

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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