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Byzantine plaque carved from bone found in Suzdal

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Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology RAS have discovered a Byzantine plaque, intricately carved from animal bone, within the historic walls of Suzdal, Russia.

The square plaque measures 45 x 46 mm and features an intricately carved image of a semi-naked warrior wielding a sword and shield. The detailed depiction includes finely crafted facial features and flowing hair, in addition to six asymmetrical mounting holes around the raised exterior border.

Experts suggest that the plaque is a decorative overlay from a casket crafted by artisans in Chersonesus or Constantinople during the Byzantine period. These caskets were common from the 10th to 12th centuries and featured small plaques attached using bone nails or pins.

Initially, the plaque overlays were made from rare materials such as ivory, but from the 12th century the tradition turned to using bone from domestic or wild animals.

According to a press statement by the Institute of Archaeology RAS: “Bone plaques from boxes decorated with artistic relief carvings are an extremely rare and valuable find in the territory of Ancient Rus’.”

Image Credit : RAS

The plaque was discovered among the remains of historic dwellings from the 12th to 14th century, alongside stone crosses, an encolpion (a medallion worn by Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic bishops), a glass vessel with an enamel painting, an iron key, and Drahičyn type seals from the Brest Region of Belarus.

“The discovery indicates that the inhabitants of medieval Suzdal embraced not only the traditional Christian worldview and elements of material culture, but also had exposure to ancient images and mythology through such objects, which were integral components of Byzantine art,” said the Institute of Archaeology RAS.

Header Image Credit : RAS

Sources : Institute of Archaeology RAS

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

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Archaeology

Elite Petén style structures found near Kohunlich

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Construction works for a road in Section 7 of the Mayan Train have uncovered elite Petén style structures near Kohunlich in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Kohunlich is a large Maya polity that served as a regional centre along the trade routes through the southern Yucatán.

The site was first settled around 200 BC, with the majority of its monuments being built between AD 250 to AD 600 during the Early Classic Period.

The city features elevated platforms, plazas, pyramids, and citadels, all enclosed by palace platforms. The layout of Kohunlich was carefully arranged to direct drainage into a network of cisterns and a massive reservoir for rainwater collection.

Construction works for a road on the periphery of Kohunlich have resulted in the discovery of elite structures in the Petén style, a distinct type of Maya architecture and inscription style.

Archaeologists have identified seven structures in total, interpreted to be elite homesteads of a domestic nature that were used for agricultural activities.

Most of the structures have a rectangular plan and vaulted rooms adorned with decorative Petén style elements.

Given their archaeological importance, experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have registered the monuments for protection.

Consequently, the planned route of the road has been redirected to preserve the structures in situ, where they will be preserved and open to the public in the near future.

Excavations also unearthed various archaeological materials, including ceramics, shells, fragments of human bone, and objects intentionally buried as offerings likely during the construction of the homesteads for protection.

Header Image Credit : Maya Train

Sources : National Institute of Anthropology and History

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

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

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

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