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New type of amphora found on Roman shipwreck

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A study of a Roman shipwreck off the coast of Mallorca has identified a new type of amphora.

The shipwreck, known as the shipwreck of Ses Fontanelles, was discovered 65 metres from the coast of a tourist beach near Mallorca’s capital of Palma.

According to a paper published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, the ship dates from the 4th century and likely departed from Cartagena in southeastern Spain while navigating the trade routes of the western Mediterranean.

Archaeologists found in the hold a cargo packaged in amphorae, some of which have painted inscriptions (tituli picti) on the exterior. The inscriptions provide information such as the origin, destination, type of product, and the owner of the goods – identified as “Alunnius et Ausonius.”

The amphorae have been classified into four main group types. The most abundant is the Almagro 51c type amphorae, for which the tituli picti indicate a contents of fish sauce which derives almost exclusively from a single species: the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus)

The other groups consist of the flat-bottomed amphorae, the Keay XIX type, and a new type of amphora named Ses Fontanelles I, which is larger and heavier than most other amphorae types and was used for carrying plant oil.

According to the study authors: “All the analytical data suggest that Alunnius et Ausonius prepared a trade enterprise fleeting, a merchant ship with a cargo composed mainly of fish sauce (Liquaminis flos), in Almagro 51c amphora, oil transported in Ses Fontanelles I amphorae (probably an imitation of Dressel 23 type), and grape derivates or fruits preserved in those substances in flat-bottomed amphorae.”

Header Image Credit : Arqueomallornauta – Consell de Mallorca

Sources : Cau-Ontiveros, M.Á., Bernal-Casasola, D., Pecci, A. et al. Multianalytical approach to the exceptional Late Roman shipwreck of Ses Fontanelles (Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain). Archaeol Anthropol Sci 16, 58 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-024-01952-3

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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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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