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Study uses satellite imagery to identify over 1,000 Andean hillforts

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A new study, published in the journal Antiquity, uses satellite imagery to survey hillforts known as pukaras in the Andean highlands.

Pukaras, meaning fortress in both Quechua and Aymara, were predominantly built on natural barriers such as hills and ridges during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 1000–1450).

Previous studies suggest that the necessity for these fortified sites arose from social and environmental circumstances, precipitating a period of conflict during the LIP.

What remains unanswered is the full extent and intensity of pukaras construction and distribution, which in part is limited by the difficult terrain and large spatial coverage. In addition, details on their size, defensibility, and density of residential and non-residential occupation are vague due to a bias towards studying the large, densely occupied pukaras.

The study authors used the results of three complementary systematic satellite survey projects, supplemented with targeted ground-checking and previous field research to reveal new insights into the pukaras phenomenon.

The study area covered 151 103km2 of the southern Andean highlands and identified 1249 high-confidence pukaras in the satellite imagery.

According to the researchers: “Pukaras coded as non-residential are surprisingly frequent; they are present throughout the study region in only slightly smaller numbers (n = 567) than residential pukaras (n = 682).”

The results also indicate that pukaras are densely concentrated in places such as the Lake Titicaca Basin and the Colca Valley, but also in substantial concentrations in parts of the south-central Andes.

In contradiction to the accepted narrative of defence, pukaras were also found in extremely high-elevation zones and areas where defensible land forms are absent.

The authors conclude that the survey demonstrates significant variation in the density of pukaras, raising important questions about the underlying social, political, economic, geographic or environmental contexts that propelled pukara construction in some regions and deterred it in others.

Header Image Credit : Antiquity

Sources : Antiquity – A new view of hillforts in the Andes: expanding coverage with systematic imagery survey. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2023.178

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

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Archaeology

Excavations uncover traces of Kraków Fortress

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A team of archaeologists conducting archaeological works at the S52 construction site have uncovered traces of the Kraków Fortress in the Polish city of Kraków.

S52 is a Polish highway being constructed in the Silesian and Lesser Poland voivodeships, which upon completion will connect the border of the Czech Republic in Cieszyn with Kraków.

Kraków Fortress refers to a series of Austro-Hungarian fortifications constructed during the 19th century. The fortress included the 18th century Kościuszko Insurrection fortifications, the medieval Wawel Castle, and the Kraków city walls. Of the over 50 post-Austrian forts in Krakow, 44 structures have been preserved in their entirety or with minor changes.

Excavations in the area of ​​the northern bypass of Krakow have revealed the remains of earthen structures related to the network of military units being established around the city, whose task was to turn Krakow into a modern border fortress.

The team also uncovered traces of earth embankments and moats, as well as the infrastructure for draining rainwater from the infantry entrenchment area and a wooden shelter from a dugout measuring 25 by 7.5 metres.

A press statement by the Republic of Poland, said: “During the research, objects related to the everyday life of soldiers were discovered. These include a tin enameled mug with a signature on the bottom depicting a double-headed imperial eagle with the inscription Austria and the initials H&C 1/2.”

“The preserved marking allowed us to determine that the mug is a product of the Haardt & Co. factory located in Knittelfeld, Austria. Enamellierwerke und Metallwarenfabriken AG. Founded in 1873 by Friedrich Wilhelm Haardt, the factory produced embossed enamelled dishes, including orders for the then Austrian army.”

Header Image Credit : Republic of Poland

Sources : Republic of Poland

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

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Archaeology

Excavations at Sheffield Castle uncover city’s industrial heritage

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A team of archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology have uncovered the industrial heritage of Sheffield during excavations at Sheffield Castle.

Sheffield Castle was constructed following the Norman Conquest of England (1066) at the confluence of the River Sheaf and the River Don.

Throughout April and May of 2024, Wessex Archaeology is conducting a series of excavations to uncover and preserve the foundations of the circular towers of the castle’s gatehouse, and explore the destruction deposits from the razing of the original motte and bailey castle by John D’Eyvill in the 13th century.

The team will also be investigating areas never before excavated, finally reaching the remains of the 11th to 17th-century castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned.

Following the removal of the modern concrete foundations and backfill deposits, excavations have already uncovered traces of structures from the 19th century.

The team found remnants of a vaulted ceiling, which upon further inspection has been revealed to be a crucible furnace, a type of foundry furnace used for melting and casting metals such as steel, in addition to ‘rake out’ pits below the furnace.

A press statement by Wessex Archaeology, “This cellar would have been a hot, unpleasant place when the crucible furnaces above were working. Reaching temperatures of 1200 degrees centigrade, the firing process was hot and efficient, but it also produced lots of ash which needed to be cleared. The ash would fall into the ‘rake out’ pits below, where a worker, perhaps a young boy, had the back-breaking job of removing it.”

Throughout April and May 2024, the Sheffield community is invited to experience and discover the site’s archaeology firsthand, through open days and opportunities to participate in the excavation for a day. Attendance is FREE with booking required. For more information and to book, visit www.wessexarch.co.uk/events

Header Image Credit : Wessex Archaeology

Sources : Wessex Archaeology

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

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