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Archaeologists find an assemblage of petroglyphs alongside dinosaur tracks in Brazil

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A study of the Serrote do Letreiro Site (meaning “Signpost Hill”) in Brazil’s Paraíba State has led to the discovery of an assemblage of petroglyphs alongside dinosaur tracks.

The Serrote do Letreiro site has three rock outcrops covering an area of 15,000 square metres. The site is situated in the Vale dos Dinossauros Natural Monument (Known as Dinosaur Valley), located on the periphery of the Sousa Basin in the Sousa municipality.

A recent study, published in the journal scientific reports, reveals that the outcrops have fossilised footprints from the Early Cretaceous Period, left behind by theropods, sauropods, and iguanodontian dinosaurs.

The earliest mention of dinosaur tracks from the Sousa region date back to the early 20th century, with the first palaeontological study conducted in 1975.

A later publication in 1979 gave reference to the existence of petroglyphs (referred to as “Cariri Indian carvings”), however, no further investigations were carried out to document the findings.

In a recent study at Serrote do Letreiro, archaeologists have found a series of petroglyphs alongside the dinosaur tracks, which according to the researchers are mainly characterised by circular motifs similar to petroglyphs found in the states of Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte.

Image Credit : Scientific Reports

The petroglyphs have been described as low relief geometric circles filled with radial lines, which were created by carving an abrasive instrument against the rock surface.

According to the study authors: “Despite the profusion of identified petroglyphs, no overlap was observed between these inscriptions and the fossilised footprints. In none of the cases was it found that the creation of a petroglyph resulted in damage to the existing footprints, suggesting thoughtfulness by the makers.”

Archaeologists have determined that the petroglyphs belong to a broad set of motifs, either pure or abstract, and of similar or identical execution techniques found in other archaeological rock art sites in the Brazilian Northeast region.

Based on radiocarbon dating of burials found at these associated sites, the researchers suggest that the petroglyphs date from a period spanning 9400 to 2620 years BP.

“Further research utilising new methods of direct dating of petroglyphs, such as X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, will certainly shed light on the chronology issue. In the absence of applying absolute dating methods to the petroglyphs, the proposed dating here remains restricted to iconographic inferences, as well as extrapolation from the temporal horizons identified in the few dated sites in the region,” said the study authors.

Header Image Credit : Scientific Reports

Sources : Scientific Reports – A remarkable assemblage of petroglyphs and dinosaur footprints in Northeast Brazil. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-56479-3

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

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Archaeology

Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill

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Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

Construction of the early Romanesque Merseburg Cathedral was begun by Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015.

It was consecrated in 1021 in the presence of Emperor Heinrich II (Henry II), however, following a series of collapses in the eastern part of the structure, the cathedral wouldn’t be formally consecrated and opened until 1042 by Bishop Hunold.

The Merseburg Cathedral of St. John and St. Lawrence is today considered one of the most important cathedral buildings in Germany.

The LDA team were excavating the basement of the so-called Martinikurie, a two-story residential building from the Baroque period. Excavations revealed the remains of the first bishop’s palace, dating from from the time of the second consecration of Merseburg Cathedral.

According to the LDA: “We found the almost completely preserved basement-like lower floor of a hall building, whose 1.75 metre thick foundation walls are still preserved up to a height of 3.40 metres. Steps in the masonry and a pillar from the time of construction inside the building prove that at least one hall-like upper floor once stood on top of this.”
The palace was constructed by Bishop Hunold, who headed the diocese of Merseburg between 1036 and 1050.

“This finding makes it possible to locate one of the most important buildings of the episcopal see in Merseburg – a building that, with its location and size, clearly expresses the self-confidence of the diocese, which was re-founded in 1004 by King Henry II of Germany” added the LDA.

Header Image Credit : LDA

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA)

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

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Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

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Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

The papyri were discovered in Berenice Troglodytica, an ancient seaport of Egypt on the western shore of the Red Sea. The city was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC), who named it after his mother, Berenice I of Egypt.

During the Roman period, Berenice Troglodytica was one of the main waystations for the trade in war elephants and exotic goods, imported from India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and Upper Egypt.

Excavations of an animal cemetery located on the western outskirts of the city have uncovered an accumulation of ceramics originating from the Mediterranean, Africa and India.

Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Among the accumulation, the team found Roman coins, a fibula, ostracons (fragments of texts on ceramics), and several papyri.

The papyri contains the correspondence of centurions, naming Haosus, Lucinius and Petronius. Centurions were soldiers who were promoted to command a centuria or “century”, a military unit consisting of between 80 to 100 men.

“In the correspondence, Petronius asks Lucinius (stationed in Berenice Troglodytica) about the prices of individual exclusive goods. There is also the statement: “I am giving you the money, I am sending it by dromedarius (a unit of legionnaires moving on dromedaries). Take care of them, provide them with veal and poles for their tents.”

Dr. Marta Osypińska from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław, said: “For Egyptologists and other scientists dealing with antiquity, this is an extremely rare and high-calibre discovery.”

“In this part of the world, there are very few sites from the Roman period. The Egyptians tend to leave little historical accounts from this time in history, because it is the moment when they were conquered.” added  Dr. Osypińska.

Header Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Sources : PAP

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

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