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Bronze Age burial objects indicate ritual deposition of metal

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Archaeologists excavating at the Papowo Biskupie archaeological site have uncovered new evidence linking burial rituals with metal depositions.

Papowo Biskupie is located at a dried-out lake in northern Poland, where excavations have uncovered Bronze Age burials containing a deposited assemblage of over 550 bronze artefacts.

The burials are associated with the Chełmno group, one of the northernmost communities from the Lusatian culture. The Chelmo lived in Central Europe during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age from 1200 to 450 BC.

Unlike other Lusatian groups, the Chelmo group left limited examples of hoard deposition in the archaeological record, suggesting that the group placed little ritual significance to metal.

“Traditionally, the Chełmno group people are thought to have been largely unaffected by the social and economic developments of the Urnfield period and the subsequent Hallstatt culture. In contrast with the widespread metal-hoarding seen in more southerly Lusatian regions, metal does not appear to have featured prominently in the social and ritual activities of the Chełmno community,” said the archaeologists.

This narrative was called into question when excavations uncovered the skeletal remains of at least 33 individuals in the Papowo Biskupie lakebed. The results of the excavation, now published in the journal Antiquity, recovered over 550 bronze artefacts which are mostly jewellery items worn around the neck or the arms.

Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

According to the study: “Radiocarbon dating suggests that the placement of human remains in the lake occurred before the deposition of the metal, portraying the possibility that the Chełmno community initially buried their dead in lakes before transitioning to metal votive depositions.”

These discoveries underscore a possible connection between the placement of human remains and metal objects in lakes during the later prehistoric period in Central Europe.

Significantly, the correlation of human remains with metal deposits implies that, although the Chełmno group initially diverged from the broader Lusatian culture in their ritual practices, their belief system eventually aligned with the prevailing practices in the region.

Header Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

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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