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Study establishes revised radiocarbon dating of the Kyrenia shipwreck

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A new study, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, has applied new radiocarbon calibration techniques to date the Kyrenia shipwreck.

The Kyrenia is an ancient Greek merchant ship discovered off the coast of Cyprus in 1965. The wreck was found preserved with more than half its hull timbers intact, providing a unique insight into ancient Greek shipbuilding during antiquity.

Underwater excavations uncovered 391 amphorae at the wreck site, containing cargo such as wine, olive oil, and almonds. Archaeological evidence suggests that the ship’s final voyage took place around 300 BC. However, this date does not align with radiocarbon dating of samples taken from the wreck site.

According to the study authors, this discrepancy is due to outdated radiocarbon calibration data that can be distorted due to variations in atmospheric carbon over time. As radiocarbon dating techniques have improved, some time periods within the current Northern Hemisphere calibration curve have yet to be updated.

In this new study, the researchers applied new samples and modern dating techniques to revise the calibration date. This has revealed a new date of the ship’s last voyage to 280 BC, corresponding to around the same period that the archaeological evidence indicates.

“We are excited to apply scientific techniques to date the famous Kyrenia Ship a little over 2300 years ago. Central to the history of ship technology and maritime trade in the classical Mediterranean, the methods we use to date the ship – and solutions to various technical challenges we had to overcome – will now help date other shipwrecks and better inform the history of ancient seafaring,” said the study authors.

The authors also applied the new radiocarbon calibration curve to radiocarbon dates from another Greek ship, the Mazotos ship, and estimated an age around 370 BC for the last voyage, again slightly later than indicated by previous research.

Header Image Credit : Kyrenia Ship Excavation team – CC-BY 4.0

Sources : Manning SW, Lorentzen B, Bridge M, Dee MW, Southon J, Wenger M (2024) A revised radiocarbon calibration curve 350–250 BCE impacts high-precision dating of the Kyrenia Ship. PLoS ONE 19(6): e0302645. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0302645

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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New findings at world-famous Mesolithic site of Star Carr

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A recent study by archaeologists from the University of York and the University of Newcastle has revealed new insights into the domestic activities of the Mesolithic inhabitants of Star Carr.

Star Carr is one of the most significant and informative Mesolithic sites in Europe, which during prehistoric times was situated near the outflow at the western end of a palaeolake known as Lake Flixton.

Today, Star Carr lies at the eastern end of the Vale of Pickering near Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England.

Using microscopic evidence from the use of stone tools, the researchers found that a range of domestic activities took place in three previously excavated structures. This includes activities related to working with bone, antler, hide, meat, and fish.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, used a combination of spatial and microwear data to provide different scales of interpretation: from individual tool use to patterns of activity across the three structures.

Dr Jess Bates, from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology said: “We found that there were distinct areas for different types of activity, so the messy activity involving butchery, for example, was done in what appears to be a designated space, and separate to the ‘cleaner’ tasks such as crafting bone and wooden objects, tools or jewellery.

“This was surprising as hunter-gatherers are known for being very mobile, as they would have to travel out to find food, and yet they have a very organised approach to creating not just a house but a sense of home.

“This new work, on these very early forms of houses suggests, that these dwellings didn’t just serve a practical purpose in the sense of having a shelter from the elements, but that certain social norms of a home were observed that are not massively dissimilar to how we organise our homes today.”

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : Bates J, Milner N, Conneller C, Little A (2024) Spatial organisation within the earliest evidence of post-built structures in Britain. PLoS ONE 19(7): e0306908. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0306908

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

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