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Researchers find evidence of an advanced material culture 45,000 years ago

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A multinational team of researchers have published a new paper in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, presenting findings that indicate the existence of an advanced material culture in China around 45,000 years ago.

The paper centres on the Shiyu Upper Palaeolithic site in Shanxi Province, where previous archaeological excavations during the 1960’s uncovered evidence of human occupation in the lower context layers.

Among the discoveries were more than 15,000 stone tools, numerous animal remains, and a fragment of a hominid skull, identified as belonging to the Homo sapiens species.

Part of this archaeological assemblage was relocated to the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, however, the remaining materials, including the cranial fragment, were lost when left in local facilities.

Under the direction of Dr. Shixia Yang, the researchers examined the remaining assemblage by using modern radiometric techniques that enabled them to accurately establish the chronological timeline. The results of their study revealed that the cultural layer at Shiyu dates to a period between 45,800 and 43,200 years ago.

According to the study authors, the finding provides new information to understand the expansion of Homo sapiens on the Asian continent and the arrival of the first modern humans in northern China. In addition, the type of material culture that the first settlers utilised.

According to Professor Yang, “This is an Early Upper Palaeolithic assemblage, which includes laminar technology, but also Levallois points, projectile points with evidence of handling and impact fractures, tools made with obsidian from hundreds of kilometres of distance, projectile points made of animal bone, as well as a small perforated graphite disk.”

The material culture indicates that these early settlers had a capacity to supply themselves with resources from large distances and use a cultural hybridization of materials to gain a technological advantage.

Header Image Credit : Xiaocong GUO

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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