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Archaeology

3500-year-old ritual table found in Azerbaijan

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Archaeologists from the University of Catania have discovered a 3500-year-old ritual table with the ceramic tableware still in situ.

The discovery was made at Tava Tepe, a Late Bronze Age site situated in the Caucasus region near the borders of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

According to the researchers, Tava Tepe likely served as a resting point for nomadic people travelling between the Kura River basin and the Caucasus Mountains.

Excavations have revealed a concentric-circle earthen structure featuring a kitchen area and ritual table, complete with ceramic utensils still in place, as well as housings for the braziers used for cooking.

Image Credit : University of Catania

Traces of burning indicate that food was cooked inside ceramic containers, evidenced by the remains of bowls and glasses in black burnished ceramics scattered across the excavation area.

According to the researchers: “The structure featured a monumental entrance with wooden columns and a thatched roof, likely covering the entire complex. Numerous post holes, accentuating the circular design, indicate that the structure had a diameter of approximately 15 metres.

The exterior of the circular area is marked by a large number of animal bones (cattle, sheep, and pigs), in addition to ceramic pottery deposited as rubbish. The deposit provides new insights into the type of meals consumed at Tava Tepe, which was part of a shared ritual meal among the members of nomadic communities.

The ritual nature is suggested by the discovery of human figurines placed in votive pits, and the fact that the ceramics on the ritual table appear to be intentionally sealed in a thick layer of compacted earth.

Archaeologists plan to present additional findings on Tava Tepe at a festival in mid-July. An exhibition hosted by the University of Catania in Sicily, Italy, is scheduled for December.

Header Image Credit : University of Catania

Sources : University of Catania

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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