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Traces of marketplace from Viking Age found on Klosterøy

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Archaeologists from the University of Stavanger have announced the possible discovery of a Viking Age marketplace on the island of Klosterøy in southwestern Norway.

The 1.7-square-kilometre island lies on the south side of the Boknafjorden in the Rennesøy island group.

Using ground penetrating radar, the team have found evidence of pit houses and the foundations of a three pier-or boathouse near the Utstein Monastery.

Speaking to ScienceNorway, Associate Professor Håkon Reiersen at the Museum of Archaeology, said: “We have received numerous metal detector finds from Utstein in recent years, including items associated with trade such as weights and coins.”

“One of the things we wanted to investigate with the ground-penetrating radar was whether there could be additional traces of trade activity. I am therefore not surprised that the results now indicate that Utstein was indeed a marketplace in the Viking Age and early Middle Ages,” added Reiersen.

Kristoffer Hillesland from the University of Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology suggests that pit houses often served as workshops for craftsmanship, with similar examples being found at Tønsberg and Bjørkum in Lærdal.

Excavations have also uncovered burial mounds, cooking pits, layers of soil indicative of agriculture, and traces of settlement.

According to the researchers, when considering the findings of the pit houses and adjacent structures, in conjunction with the presence of burial mounds and numerous objects associated with trade, it further reinforces the probability of a Viking Age marketplace at Utstein.

“While many indicators suggest that this may be a marketplace, we cannot be 100 per cent certain until further investigations are conducted in the area to verify the findings,” Grethe Moéll Pedersen says.

The ground-penetrating radar surveys were carried out in collaboration with the landowners at Utstein Gard. The landowners said: “We find it exciting that discoveries were made on our farm. We know we live in a historically interesting area. There has been farming here at Utstein since at least the Viking Age. We have a great interest and respect for the history that we are a part of.”

Header Image Credit : Grethe M. Pedersen, AM / University of Stavanger

Sources: Partner.Science.Norway

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

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Archaeology

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

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Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

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

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Archaeology

3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

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Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

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

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