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Underwater archaeologists recover HMS Erebus crew belongings

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A team of underwater archaeologists from Parks Canada have recovered personal objects belonging to the crew of the HMS Erebus.

The HMS Erebus was constructed in 1826 by the Royal Navy in Pembroke dockyard, Wales. The ship was a refitted Hecla-class bomb vessel, that was used to explore both the Arctic and Antarctic during the Ross expedition of 1839–1843 (Antarctic), and the failed Franklin expedition of 1848 (Arctic).

The Franklin expedition was assigned to traverse the last un-navigated sections of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic, however, the expedition met with disaster after the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror became icebound near King William Island.

After a year trapped in the ice, the crews abandoned their ships and planned to walk across the sea ice to the Canadian mainland, but died on the long 250 mile trek. In 2014, the sunken remains of the HMS Erebus was discovered by the Canadian Victoria Strait expedition in Wilmot and Crampton Bay, located to the west of the Adelaide Peninsula.

In a recent press announcement by Parks Canada, underwater archaeologists have conducted 68 dives to investigate the HMS Erebus wreck site, recovering hundreds of objects and taking thousands of high-resolution imagery.

According to the announcement: “Carefully excavated artefacts were retrieved to help piece together more information about the 1845 Franklin Expedition, including naval technology, scientific work, and life aboard the vessel.”

The researchers recovered items relating to navigation and science, including a parallel ruler, an intact thermometer, a leather book cover, and a fishing rod with a brass reel. The team found the objects in the officer’s cabin, and believe that they belonged to Second Lieutenant Henry Dundas Le Vesconte.

Also found is a leather shoe or boot bottom, storage jars, and a sealed pharmaceutical bottle from what is thought to be the Captain’s Steward’s pantry. Ongoing excavation efforts took place in a cabin attributed to Third Lieutenant James Fairholme, revealing a collection of unidentified fossils that complement findings from the 2022 season.

Excavations in the forecastle area (where most of the crew lived) yielded a treasure trove of historical items such as pistols, military gear, footwear, medicinal bottles, and coins.

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault – Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, said: “The Franklin expedition remains one of the most popular mysteries from the nineteenth century. However, thanks to the important work of Parks Canada and Inuit partners, pieces of this mysterious puzzle are being retrieved allowing us to better understand the fascinating events of this incredible expedition.”

Header Image Credit : Parks Canada – Brett Seymour

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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