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Archaeologists search for traces of the “birthplace of Texas”



As part of a $51 million project, archaeologists have conducted a search for traces of Washington-on-the-Brazos, also known as the “birthplace of Texas”.

Washington-on-the-Brazos was a small town along the Brazos River in Washington County, Texas.

The town is best known for being the site of the Convention of 1836 and the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico in the Texas Revolution.

The declaration officially established the Republic of Texas, however, no other government or nation recognised the newly declared nation.

The town went into decline due to poor transport links and competition from surrounding towns and cities. This resulted in Washington-on-the-Brazos being mainly abandoned by the townsfolk in the late 1800s who relocated to Brenham or Navasota.

Archaeologists have recently completed a $51 million excavation along the La Bahia Road, the main highway through the town that carried goods and travellers across the state from Goliad to Nacogdoches.

Researchers used tax records and official documents to identify where former buildings were situated, followed by geophysics to detect anomalies beneath the ground in preparation for exploratory excavations.

Image Credit : Texas Historical Commission

This led to the discovery of where the Houston’s presidential office once stood, revealing the footprint of a 16-by-16-foot building along with objects such as nails, buttons, ceramics, and window glass.

Archaeologists also uncovered the brick floor of a house from the 1830’s, in addition to the remains of an old brick fireplace.

Over 10,000 artefacts have been recovered during the project, which include the key to a gold pocket watch, gun flints, buttons from a soldier’s uniform, and an 1831 U.S. dime.

According to a press statement by the Texas Historical Commission (which manages the site), several buildings from the town will be faithfully (partially or fully) recreated to enable visitors to visit the buildings that once lined the La Bahia Road.

Header Image Credit : Texas Historical Commission

Sources : Texas Historical Commission

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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