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Archaeologists uncover votive altar on Mount Arriaundi



Archaeologists from Aranzadi have uncovered a votive altar while excavating the medieval monastery of Doneztebe on Mount Arriaundi, Spain.

The monastery was founded during the 11th century AD in dedication to Saint Stephen (Doneztebe). Previous studies have revealed the preserved foundations and its original plan of three semicircular apses.

In a recent study, archaeologists from Aranzadi excavated a medieval well linked to the monastery which revealed a deposited votive altar dating to the 1st century AD from the Roman period. Experts believe the altar is dedicated to Larrahe, an ancient Basque deity.

Image Credit : Aranzadi

Roman altars typically feature a dedication inscribed on the central body, while the upper part has a crown with a small hole known as a focus, used for sacrifices of wine or burning of incense.

The altar is an offering of gratitude written in Latin from Valeria to Larrahe. Only three other altars within the Basque territory have been found attested to this indigenous god or goddess, with the altar from Doneztebe being the only example recovered in the context of an archaeological excavation.

The inscription on the altar reads:

VAL(eria) V[i]
M(erito?) LA R
A HE VO(tum)
L(ibens) S(olvit)

And is translated as: “Valeria Vitella fulfills her vow to Larrahe freely and deservedly.”

The altar discovery also extends the territorial writings of the Basque language and provides new insights into the origins and evolution of the Basque people and cultural beliefs.

According to Aranzadi: “Arriaundi constitutes an important archaeological site, since it allows us to learn about the evolution of a cultural enclave with various phases ranging from the Roman era, through Late Antiquity, and continuing practically throughout the Middle Ages to the Modern Age.”

Header Image Credit : Aranzadi

Sources : Aranzadi

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Elite Petén style structures found near Kohunlich




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs




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 – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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