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Submerged architectural element found in Blue Grotto

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Recent underwater surveys, led by the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Metropolitan Area of Naples, have discovered a submerged worked stone block resting on the seabed in the Blue Grotto.

The Blue Grotto is a sea cave on the coast of the island of Capri, famous for the blue glowing water created by sunlight that shines through the narrow arched entrance way and an underwater cavity.

The grotto measures 60 metres in length and 25 metres in width. The entrance is two meteres wide and approximately one metre high during low tide, allowing safe access only when tides are low and the sea is calm.

During antiquity, the grotto served as Emperor Tiberius’s private swimming spot (reigning from AD 14 to 37). He commissioned the construction of an Imperial nymphaeum within the cave, adorned with various statues, including depictions of the Roman gods.

Image Credit : Mediaset N.V.

Underwater excavations during the 1960’s, found three statues of the Roman sea gods, Neptune and Triton, which are now on display at a museum in Anacapri. Seven bases of statues were also recovered from the grotto floor in 2009.

The nymphaeum is also linked with the Villa di Gradola, situated directly above the Blue Grotto. This villa is believed to be one of the twelve villas of Tiberius on the island, as documented by the Roman historian Tacitus.

In a press announcement by the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for the Metropolitan Area of Naples, archaeologists have identified a worked stone block at a depth of 3 metres beneath the water surface, suggested to be a sculptural furnishing of the imperial nymphaeum.

Using balloons, divers carefully maneuvered the stone block through the cave opening, which has been sent to the port of Capri for further study.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

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

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Archaeology

Giant catapult shots discovered from siege of Kenilworth Castle

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Archaeologists have uncovered eight 13th century catapult shots from the 1266 siege of Kenilworth Castle.

Kenilworth Castle, located in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England, is both a semi-royal palace and historic fortress.

Founded in the 1120s, the castle was the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne and the Earl of Leicester’s reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.

During the First Civil War (1642 to 1646), Kenilworth formed a useful counterbalance to the Parliamentary stronghold of Warwick. Following the defeat of royalist forces, Parliament ordered the slighting of Kenilworth 1649, leaving the castle a romantic ruin and popular tourist attraction over the centuries.

Recent works to improve a pathway on castle grounds has led to the discovery of eight giant catapult shots. According to the archaeologists, the shots date from the Siege of Kenilworth (1266), a six-month siege of the castle during the Second Barons’ War.

The conflict was between a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort (who had custody of Kenilworth Castle) against the royalist forces of King Henry III, and later his son, the future King Edward I.

Image Credit : English Heritage

According to historical accounts, the siege was the largest to occur in Medieval England and involved numerous “turres ligneas” (wooden towers), trebuchets, and catapults which fired the giant shots.

The shots are of varying sizes, with the largest weighing 105 kg and the smallest just 1 kg. “’These would have caused some serious damage when fired from war machines. Records show that one of Henry III’s wooden siege towers, containing around 200 crossbowmen, was destroyed by just one well-aimed missile,” said Will Wyeth, English Heritage’s Properties Historian.

Header Image Credit : English Heritage

Sources : English Heritage

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

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Archaeology

Sappers clear over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII

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A team of sappers under archaeological supervision have cleared over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII on the Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdańsk, Poland.

Situated at the mouth of the Dead Vistula on the Baltic Sea coast, the peninsula was the site of the Battle of Westerplatte, one of the initial clashes between Polish and German forces during the invasion of Poland in WWII.

The Polish garrison held out for seven days, repelling thirteen German assaults. The battle became a symbol of Polish resistance, tying up substantial German forces at Westerplatte and preventing over 3,000 German soldiers from providing fire support in the nearby battles of Hel and Gdynia.

Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk led the clearing of the Westerplatte area, working in conjunction with soldiers from the 43rd Naval Sapper Battalion, the Engineer Battalion Sapper Company from the 2nd Sapper Regiment from Kazuń Nowy, and a team of archaeologists to supervise and document any archaeological material.

The clearance works have uncovered over 4,700 dangerous objects in the duration of the project along with 180 historical artefacts.

“To date, specialists have penetrated an area of ​​over 13.5 hectares, resulting in the discovery of over 4,700 dangerous objects, including 3 air bombs, one of which weighing 500 kg was located only 30 cm below the ground surface ” – said the head of the Archaeological Department of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, Filip Kuczma.

Some of these objects include almost 200 artillery shells, mortar and hand grenades, and small arms ammunition. Other WWII objects include elements from the soldier’s uniforms, lead seals, and parts of the railway infrastructure in Westerplatte.

The team also uncovered cannonballs, musket shells, coins, decorative stove tiles, and ceramics from the time of the War of the Polish succession (1733 to 1738) and the Napoleonic period (1799 to 1815).

Header Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

Sources : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

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

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