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Roman villa complex found at Miseno

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Archaeologists have uncovered a Roman villa complex on the shoreline of Miseno in the northwestern end of the Bay of Naples.

During the Roman period, Miseno was a large port known as Misenum (named after Misenus, a companion of Hector and trumpeter to Aeneas), later serving as the primary port for the Classis Misenensis, the senior fleet of the imperial Roman navy.

It was from here that Pliny the Elder (the author of the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia) was the praefect in charge of the naval fleet at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

The volcano released a deadly cloud of super-heated tephra and gases to a height of 33 km (21 mi), ejecting molten rock, pumice, and hot ash at a rate of 1.5 million tons per second. The resulting pyroclastic surges and heavy ashfall enveloped Pompeii and Herculanium, with large parts of Stabiae buried in thick tephra and ash.

Pliny organised and led a rescue mission across the bay, yet tragically succumbed to asphyxiation resulting from the noxious gases emitted by the volcano.

Recent excavations at Miseno have uncovered a villa complex dated to the 1st century AD during the period of the eruption, which according to the archaeologists may have been the residence of Pliny the Elder, however, at this time this is merely conjecture.

The villa consists of 10 large rooms dated to different periods of construction, and has opus reticulatum walls – a form of Roman brickwork consisting of diamond-shaped bricks of tuff referred to as cubilia.

The complex extends from the shore without interruption to the beach, with parts now becoming partially submerged likely due to local volcanic bradyseismic activity that has raised or lowered the geology on the peninsula.

Header Image Credit : Soprintendenza Archeologia

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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