Archive for the ‘Ancient’ Category

London’s largest Bronze Age hoard found

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

A Bronze Age hoard discovered at a site overlooking the River Thames in east London is going on display for the first time at the Museum of London Docklands. Containing 453 assorted bronze objects, the hoard dates to between 900 and 800 B.C. Objects in the hoard include axe heads, spearheads, tools and fragments of blades from swords, daggers and knives. There are two very rare and unusual pieces in the assemblage: decorated terret rings from horse harnesses. This is the third largest Bronze Age hoard ever discovered in the UK and the largest found in London.

The hoard was found during an archaeological survey of a site slated for gravel extraction in Rainham in the London Borough of Havering on September 21st, 2018. The site was known to have Bronze Age features from aerial photographs taken in the 1960s. Earthworks, field systems and an enclosure could be identified in the shots, and archaeological excavations confirmed the presence of numerous Bronze Age sites. It was a crop marking on the site that spurred the archaeological investigation in advance of development.

Almost all of the objects are damaged. Only 77 of the 453 are intact, most of them axe heads. There is no indication of why they were assembled and buried together in a pit.

“We do have quite a few weapons, a lot of tools that relate to woodworking, so gouges, chisels, things like that, [and] we have a lot of objects that are used in metal working – like ingots that would be melted down to be able to cast the bronze tools and weapons,” said [Kate Sumnall, curator of the exhibition], adding that while the hoard included bracelets there was otherwise little jewellery. Intriguingly some items, including a number of woodworking axes, are more typical of elsewhere in Europe.

“Our site is not a little isolated site, it is much part of a bigger European connection, with a lot of trade, a lot of movement, a lot of communication of ideas and also of goods as well,” said Sumnall, adding that the axes appeared to have crossed the Channel. “Either it is trading or it is people coming across, bringing their own stuff with them.”

According to Sumnall there are myriad possible explanations for the hoard, ranging from it being an offering to gods to being a rubbish pile of bronze goods that were thrown away as iron took over as the metal of choice. Another suggestion is that it could have been the stash of a travelling metalworker who travelled from settlement to settlement.

The hoard was declared treasure at a coroner’s inquest in July of this year. The age and number of artifacts guaranteed that outcome. The Museum of London then acquired the hoard.

It will go on display in a dedicated exhibition at the Museum Of London Docklands from April 3rd through October 25th, 2020. After that, it will move to the Havering Museum, a cool community-focused museum that opened in 2010 in a renovated historic brewery near the hoard’s find site.

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World’s oldest pearl found in Abu Dhabi

Monday, October 21st, 2019

The oldest pearl in the world is going on public display for the first time at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It was discovered in 2017 at the site of a Neolithic settlement on Marawah Island off the western coast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The pearl was radiocarbon dated to between 5800 and 5600 B.C. The lustrous natural pearl is less than three millimeters in diameter and is a pink in tone. It was found on the floor of a stone structure.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of [Department of Culture and Tourism] Abu Dhabi, said, “The Abu Dhabi Pearl is a stunning find, testimony to the ancient origins of our engagement with the sea. The discovery of the oldest pearl in the world in Abu Dhabi makes it clear that so much of our recent economic and cultural history has deep roots that stretch back to the dawn of prehistory. Marawah Island is one of our most valuable archaeological sites, and excavations continue in the hope of discovering even more evidence of how our ancestors lived, worked and thrived.” […]

Collapsed stone structures from Neolithic era on Marawah Island archaeological site. Photo courtesy Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi.The Neolithic sites on the island of Marawah were first identified in 1992 during a survey carried out by the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey, ADIAS. Subsequent excavations have shown them to include numerous collapsed stone structures, the earliest architecture yet discovered in the UAE. Aside from the priceless Abu Dhabi Pearl, significant finds from the key Marawah site have included an imported ceramic vase from the ‘Ubaid civilisation in Mesopotamia (Iraq), beautifully worked flint arrowheads and shell and stone beads. Numerous painted plaster vessel fragments were also discovered and represent the earliest known decorative art yet discovered in the UAE. At the beginning of 2020, a major new excavation will take place to uncover more of the settlement.

To be clear, it’s not the oldest pearl ever formed. There are fossils of pearls dating back to the Cretaceous (145-65 million years ago). It’s their interaction with humans that is comparatively young, and little wonder given how well-concealed they are. The Abu Dhabi is the oldest known pearl found in an archaeological context and therefore the earliest known evidence of pearling anywhere in the world. The previous record-holder for oldest archaeological pearl, unearthed at a Neolithic site in Umm Al Quwain (also in the UAE) was radiocarbon dated to ca. 5500 B.C. That pearl was even smaller — about 1.7 mm in diameter — and was found in a burial placed above the upper lip of the deceased. 

Diving for pearls was dangerous and difficult work, but pearls and mother-of-pearl objects have been found at multiple Neolithic sites on the Arabian Peninsula. The former had ritual and aesthetic value; the latter was necessary to make fish hooks to catch large fish. Archaeologists believe they were also important trade items, bartered, for example, with Mesopotamia in exchange for decorative ceramics like the one found at Marawah. Pearling remained a crucial element of the economy of Arabian Gulf communities for thousands of years. Abu Dhabi was a center of traditional pearl diving and trade well into the 20th century.

The pearl will be part of the 10,000 Years of Luxury exhibition, the first museum exhibition dedicated to the history of luxury in the Middle East. It runs from October 30th through February 18th, 2020.

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30 painted wooden coffins found in Luxor

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

A cache of 30 exquisitely painted wood coffins have been unearthed at the ancient necropolis of Asasif on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The sarcophagi were found one meter (3.2 feet) under the surface. They had been carefully stacked in two rows and are in excellent condition, the colors vivid, the lids still sealed and the contents well-preserved.

Asasif necropolis, located in the ancient site of West Thebes, includes tombs dating back to the Middle, New Kingdom and the Late Periods (1994 B.C. to 332 B.C.). This was not a tomb, however. This is a cachette of coffins, meaning the group was deliberately hidden (cacher means “to hide” in French) to deter grave robbers. It is only the fourth large cachette ever discovered, and the previous three were found over a century ago. They were buried in the mountain beneath a cliff in Deir al-Bahari, not in a tomb, and obviously it was an excellent choice of location because the sarcophagi were never looted and the dry environment has kept them pristine.

The coffins are believed to date to the 22nd Dynasty, some 3,000 years ago, and belonged to a single family of important priests to the gods Amun and Khonsu, the chief deities of Thebes (modern-day Luxor). There are men, women and children, each individually mummified, wrapped and placed in elaborately carved and painted coffins. The sarcophagi are richly decorated with hieroglyphics, figures of people and deities, birds, snakes, lotus flowers in vivid white, yellow, red, green, blue and black. There are scenes from the Book of the Dead, offerings to pharaohs and inscriptions identifying the deceased including one named individual who was a singer to the god Amun.

“It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century,” the Egyptian antiquities minister, Khaled El-Enany, was quoted as saying during a ceremony in Luxor.

It’s also the first sarcophagus cache ever unearthed by a team of Egyptian archaeologists. The other large chachette finds — one discovered Deir al-Bahari in 1881, one in the tomb of King Amenhotep II “KV35” in 1898 and one at Bab al-Gusus in 1891 — were made by foreign missions.

The sarcophagi will be transferred to the  Grand Egyptian Museum, the new museum near the pyramids of Giza scheduled to open next year.

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Herculaneum and its papyri live on video

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

During the first excavation of the Villa dei Papyri in Herculaneum, the team unearthed the villa’s entire library, more than 1,800 scrolls still tightly rolled and neatly stacked in shelves. That was in 1754, 1,675 years after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius instantly carbonized organized material in clouds of superheated gases and ash and then buried the city in 60 feet of hard volcanic rock. The volcano destroyed the city, and at the same time preserved the only complete ancient library in the world.

Naturally scholars were desperate to read those scrolls which could contain a wealth of long-lost texts. Early attempts at unrolling the scrolls did identify a few Epicurean texts, but unrolling carbonized papyrus almost certainly results in its destruction, and the vast majority of the villa’s scrolls were left to the hopefully more tender mercies of the future. Non-invasive technology like X-rays and CT scans were deployed, but with little success.

Ultrabright synchroton X-rays has been successful where other imaging techniques have failed, reading erased works by Galen, virtually opening a 17th century mystery box and recovering the image of a hopelessly tarnished daguerreotype. In 2015, the power of the synchroton particle collider was first deployed on Herculaneum papyri. It was a test of the possibilities and the results were very encouraging, albeit limited. The work proceeds apace, however, and two scrolls from the L’Institut de France are now being scanned by the Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchroton science facility.

The use of carbon ink is one of the main reasons these scrolls have evaded deciphering, according to [University of Kentucky’s Professor Brent Seales]. Unlike metal-based inks, such as the iron gall used to write medieval documents, carbon ink has a density similar to that of the carbonized papyrus on which it sits. Therefore, it appears invisible in X-ray scans.

“We do not expect to immediately see the text from the upcoming scans, but they will provide the crucial building blocks for enabling that visualization. First, we will immediately see the internal structure of the scrolls in more definition than has ever been possible, and we need that level of detail to ferret out the highly compressed layers on which the text sits. In addition, we believe strongly—and contrary to conventional wisdom–that tomography does indeed capture subtle, non-density-based evidence of ink, even when it is invisible to the naked eye in the scan data. The machine learning tool we are developing will amplify that ink signal by training a computer algorithm to recognize it–pixel by pixel–from photographs of opened fragments that show exactly where the ink is—voxel by voxel—in the corresponding tomographic data of the fragments. The tool can then be deployed on data from the still-rolled scrolls, identify the hidden ink, and make it more prominently visible to any reader.”

You can learn more about the study of the carbonized scrolls, past, present and future, in a live-streamed discussion from the Getty Villa. It will be shown on the Getty’s YouTube channel from 4-6PM PST (7-9 PM EST).

Speaking of Herculaneum and the Getty, Buried by Vesuvius: Treasures from the Villa dei Papiri, the seminal exhibition at the Getty Villa, ends a week from Monday. For those of us who haven’t been able to make it to Malibu to visit this extraordinary assemblage of statuary, frescoes, mosaic floors and more than a thousand of those famed carbonized papyrus scrolls, the Getty will be broadcasting a special curatorial tour of the exhibition live on its Facebook page on Thursday, October 24th, at 9:15 AM PST (12:15 PM EST).

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Roman chariot burial unearthed in Croatia

Friday, October 18th, 2019

In a first for the country, archaeologists have unearthed an extraordinary complete chariot burial with two harnessed horses near Vinkovci in eastern Croatia. The metal parts of the two-wheeled chariot and the horses’ fittings date the burial to the 3rd century A.D. and it must have belonged to an extremely wealthy individual with a prominent position in the Roman administration of Pannonia. It was discovered in a tumulus about 130 feet in diameter but only three feet high due to centuries of erosion.

This is not only the sole chariot burial ever archaeologically excavated in Croatian soil, but it’s also the easternmost burial mound. It was located along one of the most important Roman roads in the empire connecting the Italy to Pannonia and the Balkans to Asia Minor and has been documented in archaeological literature for 100 years. The family interred there built it to as a monument that conveyed their wealth and importance to all who passed on that busy thoroughfare.

The Roman town of Cibalae (modern-day Vinkovci) was an important one in imperial Rome. Founded as part of the Roman push to secure the Danube border, it was granted municipium status under Hardrian (r. 117-138 A.D.) and the status of colony (Colonia Aurelia Cibalae) under Caracalla (r. 196-217 A.D.). In the 4th century it was the birthplace of not one but two Roman emperors, brothers Valentinian I (321-375 A.D.) and Valens (328-378 A.D.).

It is no surprise that such an unmistakable feature on the landscape was struck by looters, but thankfully by lazy ones who never got to the exceptional chariot burial. They contented themselves with pillaging the two central graves which contains the skeletal remains of a man and a woman and were surely replete with valuable grave goods. The remains of a cremation and inhumation burials were also found in the embankment of the tumulus.

”This is a sensational, unique discovery in Croatia, as this is the first time in our country that this complex funeral custom from the times of Antiquity has been archaeologically investigated and documented.

Now, the long process of restoration and conservation follows, but so does the complete analysis of what’s been found. I hope that in a few years we’ll know more about the family whose members were buried in this area all that time ago, 1,800 years ago.

We’re also more interested in the horses themselves, that is, whether they were bred here or came from other parts of the empire, and what will tell us more about the very importance and the level of wealth of this family. We will achieve this through cooperation with domestic as well as numerous European institutions,” said Marko Dizdar, Director of the Institute of Archeology.

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Gold jewelry recovered from Elgin’s shipwreck

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

When Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, tore half the sculpted marbles off the Parthenon starting in 1801, he also helped himself to tons of sculptures from other temples and a vast array of antiquities around Athens.

(He did not have permission of Ottoman authorities for this brutal act of pillage, just for the record. The so-called Ottoman firman he claimed had granted him permission does not exist even though all imperial firmans BY LAW were meticulously archived and can be accessed to this day, and the almost-certainly fictional “translation” that does exist does not authorize the removal of pediments, metopes, friezes, caryatids or anything else attached to the Parthenon, only to inscriptions and loose marbles from the area around it. In fact, a local Ottoman official went to stop him when word got out that Elgin was prizing marbles off the structure. Elgin simply bribed him to let him get away with it, just like looters do today.)

His loot was packed into 17 crates and loaded on to his ship, the Mentor, which set sail from Piraeus on September 15th, 1802. Two days later, the ship began to take on water and headed for the nearby Ionian island of Kythera. While attempting to drop anchor off the coast, the ship collided onto the rocks of Cape Avlemonas and sank.

The 12 people on board were rescued by a passing vessel. The 17 crates of priceless ancient treasures  took a little more effort to rescue. Elgin spent large sums organizing a salvage mission performed by local sponge divers that eventually succeeded in raising the Parthenon marbles. They weren’t able to recover all of Elgin’s loot, however, and Greek archaeologists have returned to the Mentor several times over the years to look for lost artifacts. Maritime archaeologists have found amphorae, stone vessels, Egyptian statuary, coins and a number of British objects including bullets, pistols, watches and a compass.

This year’s excavation of the site focused primarily on cleaning, documenting and conservation of the wreck itself. The team cleaned the surviving section of the ship’s hull and took high-resolution photographs of the entire wreck site that were then stitched together digitally to create a photomosaic that will aid in the long-term preservation of the ship’s remains.

The moveable objects recovered from the wreck include small parts of the ship — wooden pulleys complete with surviving sections of rope — and artifacts it carried like remarkably intact glazed kitchenware and a section of a wooden leg. The two stand-out artifacts are exquisitely crafted jewels: a gold granulation ring and a pair of gold filigree earrings.

Gold granulation ring. Photo by P. Vezyrtzis, courtesy the Greek Ministry of Culture. Gold filigree earrings. Photo by P. Vezyrtzis, courtesy the Greek Ministry of Culture.

Section of wooden leg. Photo by P. Vezyrtzis, courtesy the Greek Ministry of Culture. Wooden pulley with mooring rope remains. Photo by P. Vezyrtzis, courtesy the Greek Ministry of Culture.

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Exceptional Roman necropolis unearthed in Narbonne

Monday, October 14th, 2019

An ancient Roman-era necropolis has been unearthed at the gates of Narbonne in Occitaine, southwestern France. Archaeologists from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) excavated the site prior to development and discovered a burial ground covering half an acre that was in active use during the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. So far they have unearthed 300 tombs of an estimated 1,000.

Colonia Narbo Martius was the first Roman colony in Gaul, founded in 118 B.C. along the Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul which linked Italy to the Iberian peninsula. They made a deal with the Greek colony of Massalia (modern-day Marseille) to acquire the land for the road and the new city founded at the important crossroads would prosper through trade, eventually eclipsing Massalia, which was conquered by Caesar in 49 B.C., and becoming the capital of the province of Gallia Transalpina. Indeed, the province would be renamed Gallia Narbonensis after its prosperous capital city.

The necropolis was located at the crossroads of two Roman roads just over a third of a mile east of the ancient city’s perimeter. It was designed in parcels, with masonry enclosures structured in specific groups. The groups, some of which border each other openly, others of which are divided by service roads, are characterized by small funerary monuments decorated with painted plaster and inscribed plaques. The inscriptions provide names and status — free or enslaved — of the deceased and attest to the largely Italian origin of the city’s residents. This was the cemetery of Narbo’s urban population, not the tombs of the elite, but the layout, construction and fine grave goods are evidence of widespread prosperity.

Most of the remains are cinerary, burned bones and ashes on pyres or enclosed in ceramic vessels placed on tiled or paved platforms.  They are often accompanied by delicate glassware — small bottles, unguentaria — and ceramic jugs and lamps. Charred organic remains from burned offerings have been identified, including of figs and dates. Personal items like jewelry and protective phallus amulets were discovered among the ashes.

The condition of the graves is exceptional. A tributary of the Aude river used to run nearby and layers of silt from regular flooding protected the remains. Archaeologists dug through 10 feet of alluvial silt, each successive flood sealing different burial phases and giving the team the chance to establish a chronology of the stages of use of the burial ground, the evolution of funerary rites and religious beliefs.

The state of preservation allows us, for once, to understand some of the ritual gestures; at the time of the funeral, at the pyre or in the grave, as well as in the context of the memorial practices, through offerings in honor of the deceased or meals consumed in the enclosures.

Rarely attested in Gaul, libation conduits were used in one out of three graves at Narbonne. Extending above the ground, these conduits are ceramic, sometimes amphorae, driven into the tomb to get closer to the deceased. They allowed the introduction of offerings. Some still contain cups used for libations and shells. The studies of them focus on identifying the libation practices through organic chemistry analyses.

The diversity of the funerary structures, their state of preservation, and the superimposition of floors and tombs make this a unique site in Gaul, which can be compared with sites in Italy, such as Pompeii and Rome. It offers a very rare opportunity to understand funerary practices in time and space. The Narbonne necropolis is already considered as a main source in the study of funerary practices in Roman Gaul, as well as for our knowledge of the working class in Antiquity.

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Bloody gladiator fresco found in Pompeii

Friday, October 11th, 2019

A gripping fresco of gladiatorial combat has been discovered in the excavation of Pompeii’s endlessly awesome Regio V neighborhood. The scene depicts two gladiators at the very end of what must have been a vigorous battle as the loser is a veritable fountain of blood.

On the left is a murmillo-class gladiator kitted out with a gladius (a double-edged short sword), a manica (a segmented arm guard) on his right arm, a scutum (long rectangular shield), an ocrea (shin guard) on his left leg, and a richly beplumed or horsehaired cassis crista (full-coverage helmet with face grill and crest). He stands tall, holding his shield aloft and sword at the ready.

On the right is his opponent, clearly defeated. His is a Thraex or Thracian type gladiator. Thracians were often pitted against murmillos as they were similarly armed with a short sword, a shield (albeit a shorter one) and full-coverage crested helmet. This Thracian has high shin guards on both legs and his shield is on the ground behind him. Blood pours from wounds on his chest, groin and wrist. He isn’t on his knees quite yet, but they are bent. His left arm is outstretched with his finger pointing in what looks like the adlocutio gesture, customarily done with the right arm by a general, the emperor or magistrate running the games to concede grace. Clearly the murmillo has won this bout; the Thracian’s gesture was likely a plea for mercy. Whether our Thraex friend was dealt a final blow or was granted grace for a fight well-fought, we’ll never know.

Another Pompeiian depiction of a battle between murmillo and Thracian is helpfully labeled. The graffiti stick-drawing tells us that the murmillo, a first-time fighter named M. Atillus, defeated the Thraex, L. Raecius Felix, but that Felix, who was previously undefeated with a record of 12 fights and 12 victories, was granted missio (ie, his life was spared).

The fresco was found in a building at the back of the intersection between the Alley of the Balconies and the Way of the Silver Wedding. The wall is trapezoidal and was located under a staircase. The steps are gone, but you can see the impression of where they used to be on the wall above the fresco. On the adjoining wall is a  fragment of another fresco depicting a man in a yellow tunic.

It was probably a shop or a tavern frequented by gladiators — the gladiators’ barracks were nearby — with the second floor either housing the owners’ living quarters or rooms where prostitutes took in customers. Sex workers were often associated with gladiator haunts.

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Unique Bronze Age gold ring found in Cumbria

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

A metal detectorist has discovered a unique Bronze Age gold ring in West Cumbria. Billy Vaughan was scanning a field near his home of Whitehaven when he unearthed the ring. A novice metal detector who has only been at it for six months, Vaughan had already scanned this field dozens of times and only found a few silver coins, buttons and small odds-and-ends. This time the alert was strong, so he dug down five inches below the surface where he found the gold.

He had no idea it even was gold. At first he thought the circular piece with a slightly flattened side was a climber’s carabiner or maybe a tractor coupling. When he took a second look, he realized that was no carabiner. He sent a photo of his find to a metal detecting enthusiast friend with more experience and the response from “Spud” was apparently unprintable. Spud encouraged him to take it to a local jeweler who confirmed that it was indeed gold, 22-carat gold, in fact, and a solid 310 grams (11 ounces) of it.

The ring is tubular, intact and bent into a loop so its terminals overlap. It is covered in decorative dimples all over the surface with only a thin section along the inside of the ring left smooth. Vaughan reported his discovery to the local Finds Liason Officer Lydia Prosser.

“I personally haven’t seen anything like this in my years and I have worked across Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.  At first, there didn’t seem to be any parallel with the unique decorations and it presented a lot of questions.

But experts have started looking into it and Neil Wilkins, who is the Curator of the Bronze Age artefacts at the British Museum, came across a similar arm ring of Irish origin.  So the latest thinking is it was brought over, or traded, in Ireland.  That may place it as late Bronze Age, around 1800BC.”

The only other Bronze Age gold ring discovered in Cumbria listed in the Portable Antiquities Scheme database is a broken pennanular ring with a smooth surface that was made by rolling a sheet of gold into a tube. It is .67 inches long and weighs just 1.8 grams. That’s less than a half a gram more than the weight of the 1/4 teaspoon of salt I put in a two-egg omelette, just to give you an idea. It was dated to the middle Bronze Age, about 1300-1150 B.C.

The only Bronze Age decorated gold object discovered in Cumbria recorded in the PAS database is the terminal of a lunula (a large collar necklace shaped like a crescent moon). It is decorated with engraved concentric rectangles. The outermost rectangle was enhanced with small square dents that were punched in along the incised line giving it a dashed and dotted effect. It dates to around 2200-1700 B.C. and is believed to have been made in Scotland or Northern England in imitation of Irish originals.

The ring will now be studied by a experts who will advise a coroner’s court whether it qualifies as treasure under the Treasure Act (it does twice over as it is more than 300 years old and is more than 10% precious metal content). A valuation committee will determine its market value — the jeweler assessed its value in gold weight alone at £11,000 ($13,500) — and a local museum will be offered the chance to acquire the artifact for the determined amount which will then be awarded 50/50 to the finder and landowner. Whitehaven’s Beacon Museum would love to have it if they can raise the funds.

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Intact grave of Minoan woman found on Crete

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Archaeologists excavating the ancient settlement of Sisi in the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, eastern Crete, have unearthed the intact grave of a woman from the Late Minoan era (1490-1360 B.C.). These types of tombs are extremely rare in Crete. They have only been found before in Knossos and Chania.

The artfully crafted box tomb, built in a rectangular shape with high stone walls, was discovered inside an earlier building from the Neopalatial period ( 1750-1490 B.C.) which was built for funerary purposes and used as such in later periods as well. Inside the tomb was the articulated skeleton of an adult woman buried with elegant grave goods: a bronze mirror with an ivory handle, bone and bronze accessories and a necklace of 15 large olive-shaped gold beads alternating with 15 small gold beads.

Built around 2600 B.C., the Early Minoan settlement was abandoned for mysterious reasons. The people left everything behind, but shortly thereafter a monumental building was constructed east of the village. It burned down in 2500 B.C. Its remains were incorporated and reused 800 years later in the construction of a monumental courtyard.

This is the 10th season of excavations in Sissi, led by the Belgian School of Athens and fielding more than 100 archaeologists from many countries. With such a deep bench, the team was able to work in several important areas of the site, including the central monumental courtyard complex and the west wing of the complex. Excavations have revealed a decorated mortar floor and a 109-foot long clay pipe that drained water away from the central courtyard to the eastern slope of the hill.

In the surrounding area, remains were found from other periods that are less known to archaeologists. Among them are the ruins of a house from the Meso-Minoan IIIA period which were destroyed, perhaps in an earthquake, and a rich layer of Late Minoan pottery that was heavily influenced by the Knossian style.

Gold bead necklace from the tomb. Photo courtesy EBSA, M. Anastasiadou.

Edit: This was supposed to have been posted on Friday, but something went awry with the scheduling ’cause I just found it hanging out here in drafts filing its nails and eating bon bons. OFFENSIVE. Even though I hate gaps in my calendar with the fire of a billion hot suns, I can’t in good conscience backdate it to fill in the gap three days later, so I am submitting it now. But I do so under protest!

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