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Study rewrites history of human settlement on Curaçao

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A study co-led by Simon Fraser University and the National Archaeological Anthropological Memory Management (NAAM has re-written the history of Curaçao by extending the earliest known human settlement by centuries.

Curaçao is an island and constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea and Dutch Caribbean region.

The first inhabitants of the island were the Arawak and Caquetio Amerindians, whose ancestors likely migrated from the mainland of South America.

The first Europeans to the Island were members of a Spanish expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. Most of the native islanders were enslaved to work as labour in the Spanish colony on Hispaniola, with all the remainder islanders transported as slaves in 1515.

In a recent study, published in the Journal of Coastal and Island Archaeology, archaeologists have determined that Curaçao was first settled as far back as 5735 to 5600 cal BP, up to 850 years earlier than previously thought.

The revised timeline was established through radiocarbon dating of charcoal found at an Archaic period site situated at Saliña Sint Marie.

Christina Giovas, an associate professor in SFU’s Department of Archaeology, said: “What this new information does is push the initial exploration in this region back to a time where other islands to the north of Curaçao are also being settled. This suggests that the movement of people from the continental mainland into those more northern islands might have entangled with some of the movement of the people into Curaçao.”

According to a press statement by SFU: “The team plans to return to Curaçao again in 2025 as part of another SFU international field school to dive deeper into how humans have transformed the island throughout time, and the lessons we can learn for future conservation efforts.”

Header Image Credit : Christina Giovas

Sources : Simon Fraser UniversityRadiocarbon dates from Curaçao’s oldest Archaic site extend earliest island settlement to ca. 5700 cal BP. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564894.2024.2321575

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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