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Forgotten tombs found on British military base

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Archaeologists from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services have rediscovered forgotten tombs on a British military base in Cyprus.

The researchers surveyed archaeological sites initially documented in the 1960s for the construction of the Dhekelia Sovereign base and the Kingsfield Airstrip, the locations of which had been lost over the following decades.

The Dhekelia Sovereign base covers a large area on the east side of Larnaca Bay and has a varied topology of steep limestone cliffs, hills, rocky outcrops, and a broadly flat plateau on the interior.

The survey has revealed 51 sites in total, including 5 historic buildings, ancient quarries, and numerous tombs that date from the Bronze Age, the Hellenistic period, the Roman period, and the Byzantine period.

In order to identify the sites, the researchers undertook a ‘walkover survey’ – a systematic surveying and recording of visible archaeological remains using Geographic Information System (GIS) records. The team then conducted a ground inspection of each possible monument, which were then photographed and properly recorded with a GPS position.

Matt Beamish from University of Leicester Archaeological Services, who led the survey, said: “Our GIS and survey methods had worked well when used for a similar survey of the Akrotiri peninsula in 2019. Many of the sites we were planning to survey had been last visited over 20 years ago, and in many instances had been reported as no longer existing or being unfindable.”

Ancient quarry – Image Credit : ULAS, University of Leicester

According to a press statement, large areas of rock cut tombs extended over several hectares in one part of the inland plateau. Most of these tombs were in a very poor state and some bore clear signs of looting in the form of adjacent mounds of earth. One tomb, part of a substantial cemetery surrounding a monastery to the west of Xylotymbou village was being used for caging cats.

Alex Sotheran, Archaeology Advisor, DIO, said: “The work carried out by Matt and the team has really improved our knowledge and understanding of the archaeology across the Dhekelia area and will allow for an improved system of management of these vital and important heritage assets going forward.”

Header Image Credit : ULAS, University of Leicester

Sources : University of Leicester – Lost tombs and quarries rediscovered on British military base in Cyprus

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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