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970-metre-long prehistoric megastructure found submerged in Baltic Sea

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Geologists have discovered a 970-metre-long megastructure of linear arranged stones, located at a depth of 21 metres on the seabed of Mecklenburg Bight in the Baltic Sea.

The megastructure consists of approximately 1,500 stones and large boulders, which was constructed around 11,000-years-ago during the early Mesolithic period.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the megastructure was built by Stone Age hunter-gatherers for hunting herds of the Eurasian reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), which migrated seasonally through the sparsely vegetated post-glacial landscape.

Similar constructions, which are known as drive lanes, are used for manipulating the movement direction of the animals so that they can be easily trapped in a bottleneck and killed. In the example at Mecklenburg Bight, this bottleneck would be between the  adjacent lakeshore and the wall, or even into the lake.

Marcel Bradtmöller from the University of Rostock, said: Excluding natural processes and a modern origin, the stonewall could only have been formed after the end of the last ice age, when the landscape was not yet flooded by the Baltic Sea.”

“At this time, the entire population across northern Europe was likely below 5,000 people. One of their main food sources were herds of reindeer, which migrated seasonally through the sparsely vegetated post-glacial landscape,” added Bradtmöller.

According to the researchers, the discovery holds immense scientific significance, being not only the oldest known human structure found in the Baltic Sea, but also for providing new insights into the subsistence patterns of early hunter-gatherer communities.

A further study of the stonewall and the seabed will involve using side-scan sonar, sediment echo sounder, and multibeam echo sounder devices. In addition, underwater archaeologists from the University of Rostock and archaeologists from the LAKD M-V, are scheduled to explore the stonewall and its environs in search of archaeological artefacts that could aid in further understanding the structure’s significance.

Header Image Credit : P. Hoy, 3D Model : J. Auer

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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