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Rare cherubs made by master mason discovered at Visegrád Castle

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A pair of cherubs made by the Renaissance master, Benedetto da Maiano, have been discovered in the grounds of Visegrád Castle.

Visegrád is a castle town in Pest County, north of Budapest in Hungary. The town contains the remains of an Early Renaissance palace commissioned by Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and a medieval citadel.

Recent excavations of a church linked to a Franciscan monastery near the royal palace have revealed an ornately carved pair of cherub heads with angelic wings.

According to the archaeologists, the cherubs date from the 15th century and were part of an altar likely made by the Renaissance master, Benedetto da Maiano.

Benedetto da Maiano was an Italian Early Renaissance sculptor who designed the Strozzi Palace in Florence, the marble pulpit in the Santa Croce, the framework of the doorway of the Palazzo Vecchio, and a shrine dedicated to San Savino for the cathedral of Faenza.

This discovery was confirmed by Professor Francesco Caglioti from the University of Pisa, who said: “The excavated carvings, in particular the almost intact cherubic heads, show many of the characteristics of the feathers, hair, and facial features, as well as the drapery of the fragmentary angel statues, which are exact copies of those found on Benedetto da Maiano’s mature works.”

Historical accounts indicate that King Matthias commissioned Maiano to create a pair of inlaid coffers. However, the works were damaged during transit, prompting Maiano to shift from working with wood to stone.

The discovery confirms Matthias’s intention for Hungary to became the first country to embrace the Renaissance from Italy.

Excavations also unearthed the remains of three individuals, possibly monks, in the remains of crypt among broken statues and debris. According to the researchers, they were likely the victims of the 1540 siege by King Ferdinand’s (1556-1564) that resulted in the monastery’s abandonment.

Header Image Credit : Hungary Today

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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