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Carbonised Herculaneum papyrus reveals burial place of Plato

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An analysis of carbonised papyrus from the Roman town of Herculaneum has revealed the burial place of Plato.

Plato (427 – 348 BC), was an ancient Greek philosopher of the Classical period and taught the doctrines that would later become known as Platonism.

Plato’s most famous contribution is the theory of forms (or ideas), which has been interpreted as advancing a solution to what is now known as the problem of universals.

The scroll is one of many examples recovered at Herculaneum, a Roman town in the present-day comune of Ercolano in South-West Italy.

Along with the nearby city of Pompeii, Herculaneum was destroyed during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, burying the town under thick layers of ash and pumice.

Image Credit : CNR – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Numerous scrolls and parchments made from papyrus were carbonised under the intense heat, however, as part of an ongoing project by archaeologists, a scroll containing the History of the Academy of Philodemus of Gadara (110-40 BC) has been partially deciphered.

The team used modern imaging techniques such as infrared, ultraviolet optical imaging, molecular and elemental imaging, thermal imaging, tomography, and optical microscopy digital.

Approximately 1,000 words have been identified (around 30% of the text entirety) which includes new details about Plato, the development of his Platonic Academy, and information that identifies his place of burial.

Archaeologists already knew that Plato was buried somewhere in the Platonic School in Athens, however, this latest revelation has pinpointed his burial to a private garden near the so-called Museion or sacellum sacred to the Muses.

Furthermore, the text has revealed that Plato was sold as a slave following the conquest of the island of Aegina by the Spartans sometime around 404 BC to 399 BC.

Header Image Credit : CNR – Image Credit : iStock

Sources : CNR – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerchenrc

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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