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Archaeologists search for King John’s lost treasure

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Archaeologists from the West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeological Society (WNKLAS) are conducting a search for King John’s lost treasure.

John was born in 1166 at Beaumont Palace in Oxford, England, and was the youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

He ascended to the throne in 1199, however, his turbulent reign has led to John being described as “one of the worst kings ever to rule England”.

The ensuing wars with Philip II of France led to a growing tension between John and his barons, resulting in a resistance movement emerging in the north and east of England.

The barons renounced their feudal ties and marched on London, Lincoln, and Exeter, forcing John to negotiate a peace settlement at Runnymed (which would later become known as Magna Carta).

John failed to honour the terms of Magna Carta and begun raising an army of mercenaries. The barons responded by offering the crown to Prince Louis of France and eventually forced John into retreat.

While John was crossing the tidal estuaries that empty into the Wash on the east coast, it is said that his baggage train containing the English Crown Jewels was swallowed up by quicksand and whirlpools.

A new study by archaeologists from the West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeological Society (WNKLAS) are now hoping to uncover John’s lost treasures in Norfolk.

The researchers will be excavating an area of land next to Walpole Marsh in the Fenlands, located 8 km’s from the present-day coastline. During the Medieval period, the region was a large natural marshland often prone to flooding.

According to the researchers, the excavation site was chosen based on an aerial survey using LiDAR, a method of remote sensing using light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.

Clive Bond, chairman of the West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeological Society (WNKLAS), said: “It’s an opportunity to take a glimpse into the landscape. When you’re looking at something this big it’s quite exciting.”

“There could be something there, absolutely, but actually getting to where it’s been deposited in a changing, dynamic river system – you’re looking a million to one”, added Mr Bond.

Enso Energy is planning to develop the site in late 2024 into a new solar farm to power 10,150 homes. However, according to a report by Enso Energy, “there are no statutory landscape, heritage or ecological designations on site”.

In 1216, John contracted dysentery and died in October at Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire. He was buried in Worcester Cathedral in front of the altar of St Wulfstan.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeological Society (WNKLAS)

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

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Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

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Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of Roman objects linked to ritual feasting at Ostia antica.

Ostia Antica is an ancient harbour town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The harbour served as the main port for Rome, transporting goods and people from the coast along the Via Ostiensis.

Archaeologists recently excavated the area of Regio I – Insula XV, a “sacred area” or precinct housing several temples and sanctuaries. At the centre is the temple of Hercules,  a 31 x 16 metre monument which dates from the Republican Era.

Excavations have revealed a substantial well situated at the base of the temple of Hercules. Upon draining the well, it was discovered to hold a significant collection of objects dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD.

Among the objects are various ceramics, miniatures, lamps, glass containers, fragments of marble, and burnt animal bones (pigs and cattle). According to the archaeologists, the trove corresponds with ritual feasting associated with cult at the temple.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Culture: “The discovery of burnt bones confirms that animal sacrifices were carried out in the sanctuary, while the common ceramics, also bearing traces of fire, indicate that the meat was cooked and consumed during banquets in honour of divinity. The remains of one or more ritual meals were thrown into the well, the last ones probably when their function had ceased.”

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

Sources : Ministry of Culture

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

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Archaeology

Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

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Archaeologists have discovered a monumental labyrinthine structure on the summit of Papoura Hill in Crete.

The discovery was made during the installation of a radar system in preparation for the construction of a new airport in the area.

According to experts, the structure dates from between 2000 to 1700 BC shortly before or at the start of the palaeopalatial Minoan period.

The Minoan civilisation was a Bronze Age culture that emerged on the island of Crete around 3100 BC. The culture is known for the monumental architecture and energetic art, and is often regarded as the first civilisation in Europe.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

The chronology of the Minoans is characterised into three distinct phases – Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM).

The palaeopalatial structure is part of the MMI – II grouping in the Middle Minoan, a period in which the first palaces were built and saw the development of the Minoan writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A.

The structure comprises of 8 concentric stone rings that converge on a central circular building. The entire diameter of the complex measures 48 metres and covers an area of approximately 1800 square metres.

Within the central structure are four designated zones in which radial walls intersect vertically and form a labyrinthine structure. Zones A and B appear to be have the main concentration of human activity, evidenced by the presence of large amounts of animals bones.

According to the experts, this residential area likely had a truncated cone or vaulted appearance and is the first monument of this type excavated in Crete. It can perhaps be paralleled with the elliptical MM building of the Chamezi Archaeological Site, as well as with the so-called circular proto-Hellenic cyclopean building of Tiryns.

The Minister of Culture, said: “This is a unique and highly significant find. Solutions are in place to ensure the completion of the archaeological research and the protection of the monument.”

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

Sources : Greek Ministry of Culture

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

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