Category Archives: WORLD

Archaeologists uncover Celtic smelting furnace in Poland that pre-dates Jesus

Archaeologists uncover Celtic smelting furnace in Poland that pre-dates Jesus

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of twelve iron smelting furnaces used by the Celts 2,400 years ago.

According to the archaeologists, the find in the village of Warkocz near Strzelin in southwest Poland is the oldest of such furnaces in Poland.

Excavation head Dr. Przemysław Dulęba from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław said: “The iron smelting furnaces that we discovered in Warkocz most probably come from this earliest phase of their stay in the lands of modern-day Poland.”

The Celts spread across almost all of Europe, north of the Alps, in the mid 1st millennium BC. They reached the areas of modern-day Silesia and Małopolska at the turn of the 4th century BC.

The furnaces were dug deep into the ground, and their interior lined with pugging (an insulating layer containing clay). Only a very small part protruded from the surface of the earth. Inside, single pieces of melted iron and slag were found.

Bird’s eye view of an archaeological excavation, in which a Celtic metallurgical workshop is visible.

Very similar clusters of furnaces, in terms of both form and spatial arrangement, are known from Czechia.

Objects dating back to the 4th century BC found alongside the furnaces, including fragments of ceramic vessels, metal ornaments, and clothing items as well as garment clasps, convinced the archaeologists that they were used by the Celts.

Dr. Dulęba said: ”Interestingly, bloomeries (metallurgical furnaces – PAP) from the Roman period, i.e. a few hundred years later, were single-use installations,” adding that this is proof of the Celts` great proficiency in the field of metallurgy,

For now, researchers have opened only one small archaeological excavation but Dr. Dulęba says he believes there could be more furnaces in the area.

The archaeologists chose the excavation site after using a magnetic method that registers traces of old buildings and structures that were once strongly exposed to high temperatures.

Dr. Dulęba said: ”If expert research in the form of analyses and radiocarbon dating of burnt wood residues from furnaces confirm our assumption, we will be able to state with certainty that this is the first well documented Celt metallurgical workshop in modern-day Poland,” The oldest artefacts found in the settlement come from the second half of the 3rd century BC.

Archaeological excavation with relics of a metallurgical workshop discovered in Warkocz in Lower Silesia. 

The Celts introduced knowledge of the potter`s wheel and advanced iron metallurgy, with shears, axes, cutters, files, and hammers in a similar form being used in Poland until the end of the pre-industrial era at the turn of the 19th century.

The research project was funded by the National Science Centre.

La Doncella: The Best Preserved Child Mummy in History

La Doncella: The Best Preserved Child Mummy in History

A team of Johan Reinhard ‘s expedition carried out an archaeological excavation in Argentina in 1999, near the summit of the highest active volcano in the world, Mount Llullaillaco. The crew set their camp 6,600 meters above sea level where the temperature dropped to -40 ° C.

A shock arose when a group member shouted “Mummy!” And so they discovered the “best burial site” in the world and, above all, the most preserved mummy in history.

On the site archeologists found 3 child mummies (the other two are La niña del rayo and El niño). However, the child mummy La Doncella (translated as The Maiden) was the most notable one.

500-year-old La Doncella

La Doncella is the mummy of a 15-year-old Incan girl. Over 500 years ago, she was offered as a sacrifice to the Incan God of Sun. Scientists determined that before La Doncella was taken high up in the Andes Mountains, she was given chicha, a corn beer that made her fall into a deep sleep.

Coca leaves were found on her lips, which was used by the Incans to decrease the effects of altitude sickness. Furthermore, coins were found in La Doncella’s palm, alluding to her status as a messenger to heaven.

The Inca Empire and the Incan culture were wiped out by the Spanish conquerors. There exist such few traces of this civilization that once dominated South America.

As a result, the well-preserved ceramics and artefacts found alongside La Doncella carry vital importance. They illuminate the past and tell us a lot about the vanished Incan culture.

The site where the mummies were found / Johan Reinhard

Virgins of the Sun

Virgins of the Sun were young girls who, around the age of 10, were chosen, or in some cases endowed by their families, to become servants or sacrifices to the Incan God of Sun.

The Virgins of the Sun had minimal duties, such as preparing offerings to the God. At a certain age, most of these virgin girls would be selected as concubines to the royal Incan court. Only a few of them would be selected as human sacrifices to the Sun God.

On the contrary to how people may react to this proposition today, back then, to be chosen as a sacrifice to the Sun God was a great honor. It was documented by the Incans that the virgins who were given the privilege to be sacrificed were treated as demi-god princesses.

A depiction of La Doncella as a Virgin of the Sun

Hair Samples from La Doncella

White Hair: Genetics or Stress?

Upon examining the body of La Doncella, scientists were struck by the fact that the young girl had strands of white hair. A highly unusual case for a 15-year old, this was thought to be on account of two possible factors: genetics or a high number of stressors in the girl’s life.

Her diet was changed to prepare her for the sacrifice

Scientists from University of Bradford, England, found out about La Doncella’s diet after examining her hair samples.

A year before her death, La Doncella’s diet consisted of vegetables and potatoes, a diet typically consumed by those in the lower class. However, later on her diet had changed to maize and meat, which was considered as the food of the upper classes.

As the research suggests, this shift in her diet dates back to the start of her life as a Virgin of the Sun, during which La Doncella was being prepared for sacrifice.

Her hair was braided right before she died

Where is La Doncella exhibited?

As of September 2007, La Doncella has been exhibited at the High Mountain Archeological Museum in Salta, Argentina. A special display was built for her keeping true to the conditions in which she was found.

Child mummy La Doncella in display

Sandstorm in Iran unearthed an ancient city

Sandstorm in Iran unearthed an ancient city

A new sandstorm in Iran has uncovered a number of ruins that have been thought to be in the old city or necropolis. Initial analyses suggest it dates back to the early Islamic Middle Ages (661-1508 AD), but it could also be much older or even more recent. Iranian authorities are taking no chances as armed military guards are keeping the site safe from looters.

The Mohammad Vafaei of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and the Tourism Organization said in the Tehran Times, “A team of archaeologists was sent to Fahrraj to determine whether the site was a necropolis or an inhabitance.”

The CHHTO archaeologists will examine the site’s artifacts and survey the ruins of the structures to get a better idea of the age of the complex. It measures about 5,000 square meters (53,820 square feet).

Archaeologists are examining a possible historic site in an arid area of Iran that was exposed by sandstorms in late March. The team is doing surveys, excavating structures, and examining earthenware vessels.

After initial examination members of the team have refused to speculate about how old the site may be, says the Financial Tribune of Iran.

The sandstorm struck in late March, exposing ancient ruins and broken earthenware and adobe, according to the governor of Fahraj in Kerman Province, Nejad Khaleqi.

Mr. Vafaei demurred, saying, “One cannot claim that an area is historical as soon as several objects appear from under the ground after storms and floods since they might have been carried from other regions by water or storm.”

Tentative conclusions are being drawn, however, as Hamid Rouhi, the deputy chief of the provincial CHHTO estimated that the site dates from the Islamic Middle Ages of 661 to 1508 AD.

“It is the first time that such ruins have emerged so there is no precise data on their age and history,” Mr. Rouhi told the Financial Tribune. He said officials will release more information as soon as it is available.

The site does not appear to be rich in artifacts, but so far researchers have found earthenware and broken adobe along with some structures.

The CHHTO has called in the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism. They hope the site can be added to the National Heritage List after studies confirm its age, the Financial Times says.

It would not be unprecedented to find old sites in the Kerman area, as both Fahraj and Rigan have multiple ancient sites. New ones that were discovered with floods in the past few months are being excavated in Rigan and Negin Kavir.

Big, sprawling Kerman Province is something of a cultural melting pot, blending various regional cultures over the course of time. It is also home to rich tourist spots and historical sites including bazaars, mosques, caravanserais, and ruins of ancient urban areas.

The Islamic Middle Ages were termed the Islamic Golden Age because of Muslim scholars’ study, preserving and expanding knowledge in the areas of engineering, technology, geography, law, sciences, and medicine.

The scholars also explored the arts, poetry and literature, philosophy, economics, navigation, and sociology, says the site IslamicHistory.org.

From the mid-7th century through the mid-13th century, the Islamic World was the center of world learning and scientific development.

The Islamic Golden Age gave rise to countless inventions and innovations, while Islamic scholars were key to preserving the knowledge of the Greeks and other ancient civilizations.

The Abbasid Caliphate was heavily Persian-influenced and some of its greatest scholars were indeed Persians.

177,000 Roman artifacts found under the A1

177,000 Roman artefacts found under the A1

A number of exciting road works on a major road is not the first place you would expect to find a trove of Roman treasures, but that is exactly what people have discovered in a £ 380 million upgrade to a 12-km stretch of the A1 between Leeming Bar and Barton in Yorkshire have discovered. Archaeologists have now unearthed a staggering 177,000 artifacts from a Roman settlement dating back to 60AD that was on the site.

Archaeologists have unearthed a haul of more than 177,000 Roman artefacts under the A1 in Yorkshire. The discoveries have been described as ‘re-writing history’. Pictured is Dr Elizabeth Foulds a selection of the treasures

They have said the discovery is helping to rewrite history and providing new insights into life in Britain during the Roman occupation. And archaeologists have described the new discoveries as ‘re-writing history’.

Among the finds to have been recovered are a rare Roman brooch and a decorative miniature sword.

Archaeologists have also found the remnants of the town close to Scotch Corner, North Yorkshire, which could prove to be the earliest Roman settlement in the region. The Romans are thought to have only come to York a decade later than the settlement is thought to have been built.

Dr Steve Sherlock, who has led the archaeological project, said: ‘We’re effectively re-writing the history books because we didn’t know it was there or that there was anything so early.

‘Conventional wisdom tells us that in AD71 the Romans came over the Humber and settled in places like York and near Boroughbridge – but this site is even earlier.’

Dr. Sherlock described discovering traces of timber buildings, glass vessels, beads, and even remnants of crops as ‘quite spectacular’.

Among the finds to have been recovered is a rare Roman brooch (pictured) which would have been worn by Roman settlers in the area almost 2000 years ago
The Romans are thought to have only come to York a decade later than the settlement is thought to have been built. The dig site revealed ornamental as well as functional objects, such as this ornamental sword (pictured)

He said: ‘We didn’t just find one building, but a sequence of buildings going back hundreds of years, that nobody knew existed.

‘We can understand the impact of the site because of the amount of time it was occupied – over 300 years.’

Over the past two years, over 60 archaeologists have been working along the old Roman route known as the Great North Road, which ran adjacent to the current A1.

Dr Sherlock explained that, although they expected to find Roman deposits the ‘quality, quantity and extent went beyond expectations’.

Further discoveries have also been made at Catterick, North Yorks., which was occupied by the Romans around AD80.

Some of the larger pottery pieces were from broken vessels, such as large jugs for carrying olive oil (pictured)

Here a Roman town called Bainesse, just south of Catterick, has previously been found and much knowledge has now been gained following the excavation of a cemetery with 246 burials dating back to the first and third century.

Some people were buried with pots, beads, jewellery and even hobnail boots.

The bones will now be analysed to determine their age, sex and cause of death which archaeologists hope will reveal a number of exciting things.

The team are due to leave Catterick later this month but will continue to study and verify the findings – some of which will go to the York Museum Trust.

Dr. Hannah Russ, from Northern Archaeological Associates, said: ‘The quality and preservation of the artifacts and environmental remains from this scheme is outstanding.’

Further discoveries have also been made at Catterick, North Yorks., which was occupied by the Romans around AD80