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Rare basilisk dragon badge found in Poland

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A rare medieval pilgrim’s badge depicting a basilisk has been found in the village of Wólka Nieliska, located within Zamość County, Poland.

The pilgrim’s badge, also known as a “pilgrim’s sign”, is an openwork pendant cast from an alloy of lead and tin. It has a depiction of a basilisk, a reptile reputed to be a serpent king.

According to legend, the basilisk is hatched by a cockerel from the egg of a serpent or toad and was reputed to cause death to those who look into its eyes. In medieval depictions they often take on characteristics of cockerels, and in some versions of the myth had the ability to breath fire.

The basilisk appears in the English Revised Version of the Bible in Isaiah 14:29 in the prophet’s exhortation to the Philistines reading, “Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of thee, because the rod that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a basilisk, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.”

According to the Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments, the pendant has a circular shape with a diameter of 2.8 cm’s. “It represents a ‘basilisk’ dragon enclosed in a circle. Such badges served as a kind of talisman, intended to ensure the wearer’s success in travel and to protect such a person against all kinds of evil, i.e. assault, theft, disease and other random accidents”.

Such finds in Poland are incredibly rare, but they are generally found in Western Europe and date from the early Middle Ages. Pilgrim’s badges can come in all forms of shapes and sizes, depicting images of saints, knights, zoomorphic figurines, as well as human forms and figures.

The oldest examples date from the 11th century and are connected with the Way of St. James, also known as the Camino de Santiago. The Way of St. James is a network of pilgrims’ ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle James in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain.

Header Image Credit : Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments

Sources : PAP – Medieval pilgrim’s badge found in the Zamość district

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

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Archaeology

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

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Archaeologists from ARKIKUS have announced the discovery of a Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia, a former Roman town in Hispania, now located in the province of Álava, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain.

The town was an important transit centre on the Ab Asturica Burdigalam (Roman road), with a peak population of around 10,000 inhabitants.

In a recent study using aerial photography and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), archaeologists have found a Roman circus and previously unknown urban areas of Iruña-Veleia.

A Roman circus was a large open-air venue used mainly for chariot races, although sometimes serving other purposes. Chariot racing was the most popular of many subsidised public entertainments, and was an essential component in several religious festivals.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

Chariot racing declined in significance in the Western Roman Empire following the fall of Rome, with the last known race held at the Circus Maximus in AD 549, organised by the Ostrogothic king, Totila.

According to a press statement by ARKIKUS, the circus is an elongated enclosure that accommodated up to 5,000 spectators, and measures 280 metres long by 72 metres wide.

Until now, only a handful of Roman circus’s are known in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, emphasising the importance of Iruña-Veleia during the Roman period.

The study also revealed a Roman street system, evidence of buildings with porticoed areas, and a linear feature indicating the route of the Ab Asturica Burdigalam.

Header Image Credit : ARKIKUS

Sources : ARKIKUS

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

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Archaeology

Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

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Bodbury Ring is a univallate hillfort, strategically located at the southern tip of Bodbury Hill in Shropshire, England.

Hillforts in Britain are known from the Bronze Age, but the main period of hillfort construction occurred during the Celtic Iron Age.

Hillfort fortifications follow the contours of a hill and consist of one or more lines of earthworks or stone ramparts, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Archaeologists from Time Team and the Universities of Chester and York, recently conducted a study of Bodbury Ring using light detection and ranging (LiDAR).

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technique that employs pulsed laser light to measure distances to the Earth. By analysing variations in the return times and wavelengths of the laser pulses, this method can generate a detailed 3-D digital map of the landscape.

The study has revealed that Bodbury Ring is six times larger than previously thought and is part of a much larger hillfort which enclosed the entirety of the ridgetop on Bodbury Hill. This larger hillfort shares some characteristics with examples known to have originated in the Late Bronze Age.

Professor Ainsworth from Time Team said: “The earthworks of Bodbury Ring, it seems, were constructed to form a small, more easily defended fort at the southern tip of the original hillfort, possibly in the Middle Iron Age.”

“This prehistoric ‘downsizing’ may have resulted from increased tension in the region, reflecting possible changes in the geopolitical landscape of the times. Close by, on the northern side of Bodbury Hill, the remains of a probable Roman Iron Age enclosed settlement have also been identified for the first time,” added Professor Ainsworth.

Header Image Credit : University of Chester

Sources : University of Chester

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

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