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Rare discoveries from Nottingham’s historic caves

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Objects excavated in Nottingham’s historic caves will be unveiled to the public for the first time as part of a new exhibition at the University of Nottingham Museum.

Over the centuries, more than 800 man-made caves were dug in the soft sandstone beneath the streets of Nottingham, England.

The caves served a diverse range of purposes, from storage areas and cellars, to workshops for leather tanning and grain malting for brewing beer. Additionally, some were dug to be used as garden follies or exclusive drinking dens for the Nottingham elite.

The earliest caves date from the medieval period, described as Tigguo Cobauc (meaning “House of Caves”) in the Life of King Alfred, a biography written by Asher, a Welsh monk from St David’s who visited the area around AD 900.

Objects excavated by the Nottingham Historical and Archaeological Society, and from the collections of the University Museum, Nottingham City Museums and Galleries, and the National Justice Museum, will be presented as part of the new exhibition called “Fascinating Finds from Nottingham’s Caves”.

According to a press announcement by the University of Nottingham: “The objects on display include evidence for tanning leather and manufacturing objects from bone, as well as brewing beer, and a rare survival of a medieval ceramic ‘alembic’ or distilling apparatus.”

A notable highlight of the exhibition is a collection of decorative Venetian drinking glasses from the 17th century, which were discovered in a rock-cut well on the former site of the Castle Inn, now the location of Shire Hall.

Dr Chris King, Associate Professor in Archaeology at the University of Nottingham’s Department of Classics and Archaeology, said: “There is a long history of people excavating inside Nottingham’s caves, including both professional archaeologists and voluntary community groups – so it is wonderful to see this variety of fascinating objects brought together for the first time.”

“They range from humble clay pipes and storage jars to exotic imports like the Venetian goblets. Together these objects tell the story of the city and connect us to the multitude of people who once lived and laboured in and around the city’s underground spaces,” added Dr King.

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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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