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Excavation of Artemis temple reveals evidence of animal sacrifices

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Archaeologists excavating a temple complex at the Artemis Amarynthos sanctuary have uncovered evidence of animal sacrificial rites and new insights into the temple configuration.

The Artemis Amarynthos sanctuary is located in Amarynthos on the Greek island of Euboea.

During antiquity, the sanctuary was the centre of worship in dedication to Artemis (the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, and nature) in Northern Greece, and served as the annual pilgrimage destination from Eretria during the Amarysia festival procession.

Excavations at the sanctuary have been ongoing for the past four years, with this season’s dig uncovering further remains of a temple dated to the 7th century BC during the Archaic Period.

Altar – Image Credit : ESAG

According to the researchers, the temple has an apsidal floor plan and measures 34 metres in length, which coincidentally corresponds to 100 feet in the Greek metric system. Archaeologists found hearths or altars where animals were sacrificed to honour Artemis, in addition to layers of ash and calcined animal bones.

In traditional animal sacrifices, the animal was led in procession to the altar and slaughtered. The carcass would then be butchered and the internal organs, bones and other inedible parts burnt as the deity’s portion.

Image Credit : ESAG

Excavations also found a large number of offerings consisting of vases, weapons, jewellery, and a finely chiseled ivory head with Egyptian features.

Evidence of burning indicates that the temple was partially destroyed by fire during the 6th century BC but was restored with mud-brick walls, before being entirely demolished for a new structure by the end of the century.

Deep trial trenches also uncovered a building from the 9th or 8th century BC, in addition to bronze animal figurines and a terracotta bull’s head from the late Bronze Age, suggesting that the site held ceremonial significance dating back to prehistoric times.

Header Image Credit : ESAG

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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Archaeology

New findings at world-famous Mesolithic site of Star Carr

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A recent study by archaeologists from the University of York and the University of Newcastle has revealed new insights into the domestic activities of the Mesolithic inhabitants of Star Carr.

Star Carr is one of the most significant and informative Mesolithic sites in Europe, which during prehistoric times was situated near the outflow at the western end of a palaeolake known as Lake Flixton.

Today, Star Carr lies at the eastern end of the Vale of Pickering near Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England.

Using microscopic evidence from the use of stone tools, the researchers found that a range of domestic activities took place in three previously excavated structures. This includes activities related to working with bone, antler, hide, meat, and fish.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, used a combination of spatial and microwear data to provide different scales of interpretation: from individual tool use to patterns of activity across the three structures.

Dr Jess Bates, from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology said: “We found that there were distinct areas for different types of activity, so the messy activity involving butchery, for example, was done in what appears to be a designated space, and separate to the ‘cleaner’ tasks such as crafting bone and wooden objects, tools or jewellery.

“This was surprising as hunter-gatherers are known for being very mobile, as they would have to travel out to find food, and yet they have a very organised approach to creating not just a house but a sense of home.

“This new work, on these very early forms of houses suggests, that these dwellings didn’t just serve a practical purpose in the sense of having a shelter from the elements, but that certain social norms of a home were observed that are not massively dissimilar to how we organise our homes today.”

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : Bates J, Milner N, Conneller C, Little A (2024) Spatial organisation within the earliest evidence of post-built structures in Britain. PLoS ONE 19(7): e0306908. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0306908

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

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