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PAS reports on wealth of archaeological treasures found in UK

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The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has released its annual report on the wealth of archaeological treasures found in the UK.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a project managed by the British Museum to address the lack of provision for metal detectorists (and the general public) to be able to notify relevant authorities of archaeological discoveries and document objects in a curated database.

Sir Mark Jones, Director of the British Museum, recently said: “The British Museum is supportive of responsible metal-detecting, where detectorists follow the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales, which has been endorsed by the main metal-detecting, archaeological, and landowner organisations. As such, the degree to which the PAS has brought archaeologists and metal detectorists closer together for the benefit of our heritage cannot be overestimated.”

Image Credit : PAS

The PAS collaborates with 119 national and local partners, who have collectively documented more than 1.5 million objects. These records are accessible to the public through an online platform.

In the latest annual report that covers 2022, the PAS has documented 53,490 new submissions, 94% of which have been submitted by metal detectorists, and of which 1,384 have been reported as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

Image Credit : PAS

Bronze Age: 1,210 objects were recorded, which include a stone wrist-guard, a gold hoard containing a decorated bracelet and two gold strips or ‘ribbons’, a copper-alloy sword in the Ewart Park-type tradition, a faceted socketed axe, and a 3,000-year-old gold dress or cloak fastener.

Iron Age: 1,345 objects were recorded, including an extremely rare ‘mask brooch’, a complete copper-alloy strap mount, Gold quarter stater coins of the Belgae, high-tin copper-alloy ‘potin’ (coins), and 26 coins found hidden inside a flint container.

Roman Period: 18,495 objects were recorded, including a copper-alloy figurine of a satyr, a hoard of copper-alloy vessels, a silver openwork brooch, and numerous coin hoards.

Early Medieval: 2,774 objects were recorded, including a rectangular copper-alloy mounts, a Gold disc pendant, gold strap-ends, and a buckle plate decorated with champlevé enamel.

Medieval Period: 13,200 objects were recorded, which include a copper-alloy figurine, a gold locket in the form of a miniature padlock, and a carved bone rosary bead of memento mori type, showing the face of a young woman (possibly intended to represent the Virgin Mary) on one side and a skull (representing mortality) on the other.

Header Image Credit : PAS

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

New findings at world-famous Mesolithic site of Star Carr

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A recent study by archaeologists from the University of York and the University of Newcastle has revealed new insights into the domestic activities of the Mesolithic inhabitants of Star Carr.

Star Carr is one of the most significant and informative Mesolithic sites in Europe, which during prehistoric times was situated near the outflow at the western end of a palaeolake known as Lake Flixton.

Today, Star Carr lies at the eastern end of the Vale of Pickering near Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England.

Using microscopic evidence from the use of stone tools, the researchers found that a range of domestic activities took place in three previously excavated structures. This includes activities related to working with bone, antler, hide, meat, and fish.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, used a combination of spatial and microwear data to provide different scales of interpretation: from individual tool use to patterns of activity across the three structures.

Dr Jess Bates, from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology said: “We found that there were distinct areas for different types of activity, so the messy activity involving butchery, for example, was done in what appears to be a designated space, and separate to the ‘cleaner’ tasks such as crafting bone and wooden objects, tools or jewellery.

“This was surprising as hunter-gatherers are known for being very mobile, as they would have to travel out to find food, and yet they have a very organised approach to creating not just a house but a sense of home.

“This new work, on these very early forms of houses suggests, that these dwellings didn’t just serve a practical purpose in the sense of having a shelter from the elements, but that certain social norms of a home were observed that are not massively dissimilar to how we organise our homes today.”

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : Bates J, Milner N, Conneller C, Little A (2024) Spatial organisation within the earliest evidence of post-built structures in Britain. PLoS ONE 19(7): e0306908. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0306908

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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