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Traces of Khan al-Tujjar caravanserais found at foot of Mount Tabor

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During excavations near Beit Keshet in Lower Galilee, Israel, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have uncovered traces of a market within the historic Khan al-Tujjar caravanserais.

Khan al-Tujjar, meaning “merchants caravanserais”, was a resting and meeting place for merchants travelling on the trading routes between Damascus and Cairo, and between Transjordan and Acre.

Typically, a caravanserais functioned as a hostel and market, supporting the flow of commerce, information, and people as they journeyed across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, most notably the Silk Road.

The caravanserais at Khan al-Tujjar was founded during the late 16th century by Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha, an Albanian-born statesman who served five times as Grand Vizier until his death.

Describing Khan al-Tujjar, the Ottoman traveller, Dervish Mehmed Zillî, said: “It is a square, perfect fortress, built of masonry in the midst of a large, verdant meadow. It has a circumference of six hundred paces. The garrison consists of a warden and 150 men. It has a ‘double’ iron gate facing north.”

Located within Khan al-Tujjar was the Mosque of Sinan Pasha, an ornately decorated structure decorated with light blue glass enamel and rock crystal. Towering above the mosque was three minarets and seven tall domes.

Recent excavations have uncovered a compacted layer of soil containing numerous finds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (15th–18th centuries). According to IAA archaeologists, the finds provide a rare glimpse into the merchant market that functioned for centuries in the area between an adjacent fort and the khan.

The team found traces of animal bones belonging to dogs, horses, camels, sheep and cattle,  indicative of the livestock industry and animal trading which is corroborated in a mid-19th century account by W. M. Thomson, an American Protestant missionary who worked in Ottoman Syria.

In addition, a large number of ceramic smoking pipes were found, which historical sources recount on how merchants would sit at shop entrances drinking coffee and smoking pipes.

Edna Amos-Dalali, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: “The excavation also uncovered a variety of pottery vessels, some made locally, and others imported from regions such as Syria, Turkey, Italy, and China, alongside finds such as rings and jewellery. These finds provide material evidence of the large market that operated at the site.”

Header Image Credit : Internet Archive Book

Sources : IAA

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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