Connect with us

Archaeology

Exotic horses used for jousting tournaments were buried in Westminster

Published

on

An animal cemetery found 30 years ago in Westminster, London, was used for burying exotic horses during the medieval and Tudor period.

Horses were akin to modern-day supercars and were imported for use in jousting tournaments by London’s elite.

The cemetery is located under Elverton Street, which was excavated by archaeologists in the 1990’s in advance of building works.

During the medieval and Tudor period, the cemetery was located outside of the walled City of London, but was in close proximity to the royal palace complex at Westminster.

Using advanced scientific techniques, researchers from the University of Exeter have analysed the chemical composition of the several horse burials to identify the origins and the routes they travelled to British shores during their formative years.

“The chemical signatures we measured in the horse’s teeth are highly distinctive and very different to anything we would expect to see in a horse that grew up in the UK,” said Dr Alex Pryor, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and lead researcher.

“These results provide direct and unprecedented evidence for a variety of horse movement and trading practices in the Middle Ages,” added Dr Pryor.

According to the researchers, the King and London’s elites had representatives scouring Europe’s trading markets for the best quality horses to bring to London, which were likely used in the jousting contests held in Westminster.

In the first experiment of its kind to be conducted on medieval horse remains, the researchers took 22 molar teeth from 15 individual animals and drilled out portions of the enamel for isotope analysis.

By measuring isotope ratios of the elements strontium, oxygen and carbon present within the teeth and comparing the results with known ranges in different geographies, the team was able to identify the potential origin of each horse – and accurately rule out others, including prime European horse-breeding centres such as Spain and southern Italy.

The study revealed that half of the horses had origins in Scandinavia, the Alps, and other northern and eastern European locations. This is consistent with breeding patterns of royal stud farms from the period.

“Physical analysis of the teeth revealed wear suggestive of heavy use of a curb bit, often employed with elite animals, especially those groomed for war and tournaments after the 14th century. Bit wear on two of the mares also suggested they were used under saddle or in harness and for breeding. And analysis of the skeletons revealed many of them to be well above average size, with several instances of fused lower thoracic and lumbar vertebrae indicative of a life of riding and hard work,” said the study authors.

Header Image Credit : The 1511 Westminster Tournament Roll – Thomas Wriothesley – College of Arms (Public Domain)

Sources : University of Exeter – Isotopic biographies reveal horse rearing and trading networks in medieval London. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adj5782

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

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Excavations uncover traces of Kraków Fortress

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Excavations at Sheffield Castle uncover city’s industrial heritage

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading

Trending

Generated by Feedzy