Topic: Archaeology

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🔗 Burned house horizon

🔗 History 🔗 Europe 🔗 Ukraine 🔗 Archaeology 🔗 Romania 🔗 Moldova

In the archaeology of Neolithic Europe, the burned house horizon is the geographical extent of the phenomenon of presumably intentionally burned settlements.

This was a widespread and long-lasting tradition in what is now Southeastern and Eastern Europe, lasting from as early as 6500 BCE (the beginning of the Neolithic) to as late as 2000 BCE (the end of the Chalcolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age). A notable representative of this tradition is the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, which was centered on the burned-house horizon both geographically and temporally.

There is still a discussion in the study of Neolithic and Eneolithic Europe whether the majority of burned houses were intentionally set alight or not.

Although there is still debate about the why house burning was practiced, the evidence seems to indicate that it was highly unlikely to have been accidental. There is also debate about why this would have been done deliberately and regularly, since these burnings could destroy the entire settlement. However, in recent years, the consensus has begun to gel around the "domicide" theory supported by Tringham, Stevanovic and others.

Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements were completely burned every 75–80 years, leaving behind successive layers consisting mostly of large amounts of rubble from the collapsed wattle-and-daub walls. This rubble was mostly ceramic material that had been created as the raw clay used in the daub of the walls became vitrified from the intense heat that would have turned it a bright orange color during the conflagration that destroyed the buildings, much the same way that raw clay objects are turned into ceramic products during the firing process in a kiln. Moreover, the sheer amount of fired-clay rubble found within every house of a settlement indicates that a fire of enormous intensity would have raged through the entire community to have created the volume of material found.

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🔗 Ur

🔗 Ancient Near East 🔗 Bible 🔗 Iraq 🔗 Archaeology 🔗 Cities

Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar (Arabic: تل ٱلْمُقَيَّر) in south Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now well inland, on the south bank of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) from Nasiriyah in modern-day Iraq. The city dates from the Ubaid period circa 3800 BC, and is recorded in written history as a city-state from the 26th century BC, its first recorded king being Mesannepada.

The city's patron deity was Nanna (in Akkadian, Sin), the Sumerian and Akkadian moon god, and the name of the city is in origin derived from the god's name, UNUGKI, literally "the abode (UNUG) of Nanna". The site is marked by the partially restored ruins of the Ziggurat of Ur, which contained the shrine of Nanna, excavated in the 1930s. The temple was built in the 21st century BC (short chronology), during the reign of Ur-Nammu and was reconstructed in the 6th century BC by Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. The ruins cover an area of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) northwest to southeast by 800 metres (2,600 ft) northeast to southwest and rise up to about 20 metres (66 ft) above the present plain level.

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  • "Ur" | 2022-11-12 | 509 Upvotes 103 Comments

🔗 List of oldest continuously inhabited cities

🔗 Archaeology 🔗 Cities 🔗 Dacia

This is a list of present-day cities by the time period over which they have been continuously inhabited as a city. The age claims listed are generally disputed. Differences in opinion can result from different definitions of "city" as well as "continuous habitation" and historical evidence is often disputed. Caveats (and sources) to the validity of each claim are discussed in the "Notes" column.

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🔗 Göbekli Tepe

🔗 Ancient Near East 🔗 Turkey 🔗 Archaeology

Göbekli Tepe (Turkish: [ɟœbecˈli teˈpe], "Potbelly Hill") is an archaeological site in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa. The tell (artificial mound) has a height of 15 m (49 ft) and is about 300 m (980 ft) in diameter. It is approximately 760 m (2,490 ft) above sea level.

The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt, dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE. During the first phase, belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive "T-shaped" stone pillars were erected – the world's oldest known megaliths.

More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys. Each pillar has a height of up to 6 m (20 ft) and weighs up to 10 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the bedrock. In the second phase, belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), the erected pillars are smaller and stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime. The site was abandoned after the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). Younger structures date to classical times.

The details of the structure's function remain a mystery. The excavations have been ongoing since 1996 by the German Archaeological Institute, but large parts still remain unexcavated. In 2018, the site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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🔗 Onfim

🔗 Russia 🔗 Archaeology

Onfim (Old Novgorodian: онѳиме, Onfime; also, Anthemius of Novgorod) was a boy who lived in Novgorod in the 13th century. He left his notes and homework exercises scratched in soft birch bark (beresta) which was preserved in the clay soil of Novgorod. Onfim, who was six or seven at the time, wrote in Old Novgorodian; besides letters and syllables, he drew "battle scenes and drawings of himself and his teacher".

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  • "Onfim" | 2020-05-06 | 322 Upvotes 49 Comments

🔗 The Diolkos: an ancient Greek paved trackway enabling boats to be moved overland

🔗 Classical Greece and Rome 🔗 Greece 🔗 Trains 🔗 Archaeology

The Diolkos (Δίολκος, from the Greek διά, dia "across" and ὁλκός, holkos "portage machine") was a paved trackway near Corinth in Ancient Greece which enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth. The shortcut allowed ancient vessels to avoid the long and dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula. The phrase "as fast as a Corinthian", penned by the comic playwright Aristophanes, indicates that the trackway was common knowledge and had acquired a reputation for swiftness.

The main function of the Diolkos was the transfer of goods, although in times of war it also became a preferred means of speeding up naval campaigns. The 6 km (3.7 mi) to 8.5 km (5.3 mi) long roadway was a rudimentary form of railway, and operated from c. 600 BC until the middle of the 1st century AD. The scale on which the Diolkos combined the two principles of the railway and the overland transport of ships remained unique in antiquity.

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🔗 Guédelon Castle

🔗 France 🔗 Military history 🔗 Architecture 🔗 Military history/Fortifications 🔗 Military history/French military history 🔗 Archaeology 🔗 Military history/Medieval warfare 🔗 Metalworking 🔗 Military history/European military history 🔗 Woodworking

Guédelon Castle (Château de Guédelon) is a castle currently under construction near Treigny, France. The castle is the focus of an experimental archaeology project aimed at recreating a 13th-century castle and its environment using period technique, dress, and material.

In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin, chief architect for the project, designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France.

Construction started in 1997 under Michel Guyot, owner of Château de Saint-Fargeau, a castle in Saint-Fargeau 13 kilometres away. The site was chosen according to the availability of construction materials: an abandoned stone quarry, in a large forest, with a nearby pond. The site is in a rural woodland area and the nearest town is Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the northeast.

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🔗 Silurian hypothesis

🔗 History 🔗 Philosophy 🔗 Palaeontology 🔗 Geology 🔗 Archaeology

The Silurian hypothesis is a thought experiment which assesses modern science's ability to detect evidence of a prior advanced civilization, perhaps several million years ago. In a 2018 paper, Adam Frank, an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester, and Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute, imagined an advanced civilization before humans and pondered whether it would "be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record". They wrote, "While we strongly doubt that any previous industrial civilization existed before our own, asking the question in a formal way that articulates explicitly what evidence for such a civilization might look like raises its own useful questions related both to astrobiology and to Anthropocene studies." The term "silurian hypothesis" was inspired by a 1970s Dr Who serial Doctor Who and the Silurians which featured a species called the Silurians.

According to Frank and Schmidt, since fossilization is relatively rare and little of Earth's exposed surface is from before the quaternary time period, the chances of finding direct evidence of such a civilization, such as technological artifacts, is small. After a great time span, the researchers concluded, we would be more likely to find indirect evidence such as anomalies in the chemical composition or isotope ratios of sediments. Objects that could indicate possible evidence of past civilizations include plastics and nuclear wastes residues buried deep underground or on the ocean floor.

Prior civilizations could have gone to space and left artifacts on other celestial bodies, such as the Moon and Mars. Evidence for artifacts on these two worlds would be easier to find than on Earth, where erosion and tectonic activity would erase much of it.

Frank first approached Schmidt to discuss how to detect alien civilizations via their potential impact upon climate through the study of ice cores and tree rings. They both realized that the hypothesis could be expanded and applied to Earth and humanity due to the fact that humans have been in their current form for the past 300,000 years and have had sophisticated technology for only the last few centuries.

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🔗 Heslington Brain

🔗 Anthropology 🔗 Archaeology 🔗 Yorkshire

The Heslington Brain is a 2,600-year-old human brain found inside a skull buried in a pit in Heslington, Yorkshire, in England, by York Archaeological Trust in 2008. It is the oldest preserved brain ever found in Eurasia, and is believed to be the best-preserved ancient brain in the world. The skull was discovered during an archaeological dig commissioned by the University of York on the site of its new campus on the outskirts of the city of York. The area was found to have been the site of well-developed permanent habitation between 2,000–3,000 years before the present day.

A number of possibly ritualistic objects were found to have been deposited in several pits, including the skull, which had belonged to a man probably in his 30s. He had been hanged before being decapitated with a knife and his skull appears to have been buried immediately. The rest of the body was missing. Although it is not known why he was killed, it is possible that it may have been a human sacrifice or ritual murder.

The brain was found while the skull was being cleaned. It had survived despite the rest of the tissue on the skull having disappeared long ago. After being extracted at York Hospital, the brain was subjected to a range of medical and forensic examinations by York Archaeological Trust which found that it was remarkably intact, though it had shrunk to only about 20% of its original size. It showed few signs of decay, though most of its original material had been replaced by an as yet unidentified organic compound, due to chemical changes during burial.

According to the archaeologists and scientists who have examined it, the brain has a "resilient, tofu-like texture". It is not clear why the Heslington brain survived, although the presence of a wet, anoxic environment underground seems to have been an essential factor, and research is still ongoing to shed light on how the local soil conditions may have contributed to its preservation.

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🔗 Berlin Gold Hat

🔗 Germany 🔗 Archaeology 🔗 Visual arts 🔗 Fashion

The Berlin Gold Hat or Berlin Golden Hat (German: Berliner Goldhut) is a Late Bronze Age artefact made of thin gold leaf. It served as the external covering on a long conical brimmed headdress, probably of an organic material. It is now in the Neues Museum on Museum Island in Berlin, in a room by itself with an elaborate explanatory display.

The Berlin Gold Hat is the best preserved specimen among the four known conical golden hats known from Bronze Age Europe so far. Of the three others, two were found in southern Germany, and one in the west of France. All were found in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is generally assumed that the hats served as the insignia of deities or priests in the context of a sun cult that appears to have been widespread in Central Europe at the time. The hats are also suggested to have served astronomical/calendrical functions.

The Berlin Gold Hat was acquired in 1996 by the Berlin Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte as a single find without provenance. A comparative study of the ornaments and techniques in conjunction with dateable finds suggests that it was made in the Late Bronze Age, circa 1,000 to 800 BC.

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