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Recent findings shed light on the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke



Ongoing excavations by archaeologists from The First Colony Foundation have revealed new findings on the historical narrative of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke.

The Roanoke Colony refers to two colonisation attempts in North America by Sir Walter Raleigh during the 16th century.

Raleigh’s aim was to stake England’s claim to the largely unknown (to Europeans) landmass of North America, and from which he could launch raids on the Spanish West Indies and annual treasure fleets.

The first attempt was made in 1585 on Roanoke Island, located in present-day Dare County, North Carolina.

According to accounts by the returning expedition leaders, the colonists had established friendly relations with the indigenous people (the Secotan), describing the land as “pleasant and bountiful.”

In reality, the colony was troubled by a lack of supplies and poor relations with the Native Americans, resulting in the colony being abandoned in 1586.

A second attempt was made in 1587 in the area of Chesapeake Bay, however, upon returning to the colony in 1590, it was found fortified with a palisade and that the settlers had vanished without a trace.

The search for what happened to the English settlers has recently focused on the Elizabethan Gardens in the town of Manteo, where archaeologists have uncovered evidence of a farmstead belonging to the “Algonquian village of Roanoke” (also spelled Roanoac), an Indigenous community that hosted the settlers in 1584.

Excavations in March 2024 have uncovered shards of Algonquian pottery dating back to the 1500s, along with a ring of copper wire (made of drawn copper) likely worn by an Algonquian warrior.

Archaeologists speculate that the ring was brought to North America by the English settlers and traded with the indigenous people who believed that copper had spiritual significance.

“Finding domestic pottery—the type used for cooking—in close proximity to an apparent piece of Native American jewellery strongly confirms we are digging in the midst of a settlement,” said Dr. Eric Klingelhofer, the First Colony Foundation’s Vice President of Research. “And Roanoac is the only known village at that site. The copper ring indicates contact with the English,” added Klingelhofer.

Previous excavations suggest that the village had a palisade with around nine internal houses for the elite warrior class. Those of a lower status or working class lived outside the palisade on farmsteads where they worked the land raising crops.

“The new findings confirm a theory that matches what we know of the village,” added Klingelhofer. “It was described as a palisaded village because the explorers came here and recorded it. And these findings add to our story.”

Another exploration is scheduled for the summer of 2024 at nearby Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The goal is to find evidence of the colonists’ original settlement.

Header Image Credit : John Parker Davis – Public Domain

Sources : The First Colony Foundation

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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