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Iron Age town discoveries displayed 50 years after first dig

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Fifty years after the commencement of an archaeological excavation led by the University of Reading, a forthcoming exhibition will present the remarkable discoveries unearthed from digs at the ancient Roman site of Silchester in Hampshire.

Attendees of “Becoming Roman – Silchester, a Town of Change” will be transported two millennia into the past, delving into the life of the Gaulish tribe that founded the settlement and exploring the transformations that occurred following the Roman Conquest of Britain.

Professor Michael Fulford, of the University of Reading, is the Director of the Silchester Town Life Project. He said: “It is wonderful to contribute to an exhibition which showcases some of the great discoveries from the University of Reading’s excavations at Silchester. The objects on display range from those illustrating the international contacts of the Iron Age town beneath the Romans to those that show how life changed after the Roman conquest.

“I am extremely grateful for the huge contribution that generations of our students and local volunteers have made to the success of the excavations over the past 50 years.”

The exhibit, featuring 150 items, will include terracotta floor tiles preserving footprints of animals and children, a large Roman grain storage jar undergoing its first display post-restoration, intricately carved gemstones, and a Roman roof tile stamped with Nero’s mark. Additionally, visitors will get an insider’s view of the ongoing archaeological dig that continues to unveil the secrets of Silchester’s inhabitants.

Silchester, once a prosperous capital with its Iron Age mint, engaged in trade not only with neighboring tribes in Britain but also with the broader Roman Mediterranean world. The exhibition sheds light on their trading prowess and metalworking skills, showcasing chariot fittings and a discovered smithy. Emotional glimpses into Iron Age life include the skeleton of what is believed to be Britain’s first lap dog, imported from across the Channel.

With the arrival of the Romans came inevitable changes. The exhibition explores how the Iron Age settlement, known for its round houses, evolved with the introduction of a Roman street grid, a forum, and a bathhouse. Visitors will learn about the functioning of a Roman bathhouse, complete with a complex underfloor heating and gas system, and view personal items like hairpins and jewelry left behind by bathhouse users.

Nick Suffolk, Head of Heritage Experience at Hampshire Cultural Trust, highlighted the emotional connection fostered by “Becoming Roman – Silchester, a Town of Change,” where everyday artifacts offer a glimpse into the daily lives of individuals living thousands of years ago.

Becoming Roman – Silchester, a Town of Change, will tour the Red House Museum in Christchurch, Andover Museum, The new exhibition begins its tour at the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery in Basingstoke on Saturday 10 February and will close on Sunday, 28 April.

Header Image Credit : University of Reading

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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