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Inscription on Naxian-style Sphinx deciphered

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The portrayal of Sphinxes first emerged in Egypt and then expanded to the Near East and Greece in the Bronze Age, followed by Central Asia during the Iron Age.

In contrast to the Egyptian sphinxes, examples of Naxian sphinxes depict a winged lion with a female face that became a common form in the Greek and Roman times.

One such example of a Naxian-style Sphinx was uncovered in the Roman provincial town of Potaissa, located in present-day Romania, which was lost during the War of Independence of 1848-1849 from the art collection of Count Kemény.

This sphinx was likely associated with an Isis sanctuary at Potaissa and has an inscription with twenty letters around its pedestal that uses a variant of the Greek alphabet unlike the Pannonian dedicatory plaques, which use the Latin alphabet.

The study authors said: “The sphinx inscription alphabet has many archaic features that remind one of the Dipylon alphabet. On the other hand, it has some features that are closer to the Megara and Naxos alphabets.”

This suggests that the sphinx alphabet lies somewhere between the archaic Dipylon and the Megara alphabets. The I, R, S, and T letters in the sphinx inscription more closely resemble the Dipylon forms, whereas the A and M letters bear greater resemblance to the Megara forms.

It is conceivable that this transitional phase existed during the establishment of the Megara colonies in history, and that is the form that spread to Potaissa and appears on the Potaissan sphinx statue.

An examination of sketches depicting the sphinx revealed that the inscription constitutes a metric poem composed in dactylic hexameter. This intricate poetic meter originated from ancient Greek verses and was subsequently embraced by Latin literature. Dactylic hexameter employs a recurring rhythmic structure of six metric feet per line, accentuating certain syllables over others.

According to the study, the poem is written in a proto-Hungarian language and welcomes visitors approaching the sphinx: Íme imádd: itt híres oroszlán (“Lo, behold, worship: here is the holy lion”).

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

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest

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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 www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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