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Major findings at Roman Magna excavation

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Volunteer archaeologists have made several major findings during this season’s excavation of Roman Magna.

Magna, also known as Carvoran, is a Roman fort situated at the edge of the Whin Sill in Northumberland, England. The fort predates the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, strategically located on the Stanegate frontier to protect the junction of the Maiden Way with the Stanegate.

The fort was garrisoned between AD 85 and AD 122, which included the First Cohort of Syrian Archers, the Second Cohort of Dalmatians, the First Cohort of Batavians, and legionaries from the Second Augusta and the Twentieth Valeria Victrix.

Magna is under the care of the Vindolanda Trust and operates yearly outreach excavations open to the public. In the 2024 season, volunteer archaeologists have unearthed several major findings, including squamae scales, a Roman altar, ceramics, and the remains of Roman sandals.

Four squamae belonging to a Lorica Squamata were uncovered, a type of armour made from small metal scales sewn to a fabric backing. The squamae would have been wired or laced together in horizontal rows, and then laced or sewn to the backing of mail.

Lorica Squamata was generally worn by auxiliary infantry, but can also be seen on Roman depictions of signiferes (standard bearers), aeneatores, centurions, and cavalry troops.

Squamae – Image Credit : The Vindolanda Trust

The volunteer archaeologists also found the remains of five roman sandals in anaerobic (oxygen free) deposits. The discovery includes a mix of both soles and uppers from different shoe sizes, some of which likely belonged to children.

According to the Roman Army Museum & Magna Fort: “Part of reason that the anaerobic deposits have such good archaeological preservation conditions is due to a number of microorganisms living inside the soil. These microorganisms are very picky about the environment they live in, and thus the soil needs to have a suitable pH and geochemical makeup in order for them to survive.”

Header Image Credit : The Vindolanda Trust

Sources : Roman Army Museum & Magna Fort

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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