Are Egyptologists Close to Finding a Pharaoh’s Intact Tomb?

Are Egyptologists Close to Finding a Pharaoh’s Intact Tomb?

Archeologists discovered a 3,500-year-old stone chest in the ruins above the Deir el-Bahari Egyptian site.

The remarkable discovery, concealed near Hatshepsut’s famous Mortuary Temple, suggests a nearby intact royal tomb.

There were different items wrapped in linens in the box. One held a sacrificial goose skeleton the other an egg and the third set contained a wooden box holding what was presumably the ibis egg.

The extraordinary find, which was hidden near the renowned Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, indicates an untouched royal tomb could be nearby.
Archaeologists made the extraordinary find in the rubble above the Egyptian site of Deir el-Bahari.

The Warsaw University Institute of Archeology Professor Andrzej Niwiński said to the PAP, “The chest itself is about 40 cm long with a slightly smaller height, It was perfectly camouflaged, looked like an ordinary stone block.

“This turned out to be a chest only after a closer look.” Next to it, the archaeologists found a folded bundle.

In the case of the bundle, the four layers of linen canvas-covered a wooden box, in which there was a faience box in the shape of a chapel. It contained one of the names of Pharaoh Thutmose II.

Prof. Niwiński is optimistic that his team is close to uncovering the untouched burial place of pharaoh Thutmose II.

Prof. Niwiński, who is leading the excavation team, said: “The royal deposit proves the fact that either a temple was established in the king’s name or the king’s tomb.

“Since we are in the centre of the royal cemetery, it is definitely a tomb. Finding this deposit indicates that we are in the process of discovering the tomb.”

The chest is about 40 cm long, with a slight smaller height, which Prof. Niwiński said “was perfectly camouflaged, looked like an ordinary stone block.”

Apart from the pharaoh’s name, the symbolism of the other objects they found also points to the fact, that the deposit was made in his name.

Thutmose II was the husband of the famous queen and his half-sister, Hatshepsut, though their marriage was most probably dictated by dynastic interest.

Thutmose was only 13 when they wed and died three years later in 1479 BC.

Deir el-Bahari has been the site of work for Polish archaeologists for almost 60 years since the father of Polish archaeology, Professor Kazimierz Michałowski, led a mission in 1961 to document and preserve the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut.

During his reign, he was overshadowed by his wife, who would later crown herself pharaoh and become one of the best-known rulers of ancient Egypt.

The stone chest’s discovery, now made public, took place in March last year. The archaeologist continued their work in October 2019, but so far they haven’t found the entrance to the royal tomb.

A faience box in the shape of a chapel contained the name of Pharaoh Thutmose II who was the husband of the famous queen and his half-sister Hatshepsut.

Still, Prof. Niwiński is optimistic that they are close to uncovering an untouched Royal tomb.

Deir el-Bahari has been the site of work for Polish archaeologists for almost 60 years. It started in 1961, when the father of Polish archaeology, Professor Kazimierz Michałowski, led a mission to document and preserve the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut.

Medieval Town Walls Uncovered in Wales

Medieval Town Walls Uncovered in Wales

In a survey undertaken by Conwy Valley-based CR Archaeology, several other valuable items, which date back to the 13th century, were also found.

The discoveries made at Antur Waunfawr’s Porth yr Aur site have come as a result of building work taking place for their new Beics Antur project.

The yard was formerly owned by the local transportation company, Pritchard Bros, and it is adjacent to the medieval town walls, which are designated as a Scheduled Monument by CADW.

Historical objects dating back to the 13th century have been unearthed at Antur Waunfawr’s site in Porth yr Aur during the building works for their health and wellbeing project, Beics Antur.

Built-in 1283 by King Edward I, the town walls surround Caernarfon Castle and were built to protect the new town borough. Porth yr Aur, or ‘Golden Gate’, was the main seaward entrance to the medieval borough and it was an integral component of Caernarfon Town Wall.

So far, discoveries at the site include a flight of steps, fragments of rare medieval pottery and what seems like a fireplace or doorway.

Fragments of rare medieval pottery and wine glass.

Matthew Jones, of CR Archaeology, said: “We have unearthed a green wine jug handle, which is Saintonge ware and is connected with the wine trade from Gascony, France. Their use is in Wales dates from 1280-1310 and is mainly associated with Edwardian towns and Castle sites.

“The steps are very exciting as they could represent the remains of the original town wall with was later built over in the 14th century when the gate had to be strengthened due to increased attacks by Welsh rebels in 1297, or after a fire in 1326.

“The doorway, or it may be a fireplace, is really interesting as it could represent an unknown entrance into the gatehouse. If it is a fireplace, it would also be very interesting as it could indicate what activities were going on at the site. We have maps that show buildings and some records of names of people who lived there but very little evidence of their day to day lives.”

The construction work continues on the site, owned by Antur Waunfawr, a local social enterprise that provides work and training opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.

Antur Waunfawr’s site in Porth yr Aur

The site will be developed into a Health and Well-being center for the local community, with a dedicated activity room available for hire on the first floor, accessible facilities, as well as a sensory room suitable for individuals with learning disabilities or sensory impairment.

The project has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government; the Architectural Heritage Fund; the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund; the Welsh Government’s Community Facilities Programme; and a pledge from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Menna Jones, chief executive at Antur Waunfawr, said: “We are proud to have a presence in the town centre and aim to combine the ancient history of Caernarfon and its heritage with new activities and businesses, to promote the wellbeing and health of local people, individuals with learning disabilities and disadvantaged people.

We are working with CADW to plan how to display these historical items, and bring the history and heritage of the area to life for locals and visitors.”

Ancient Maya kingdom unearthed in a backyard in Mexico

Ancient Maya kingdom unearthed in a backyard in Mexico

A team of archeologists from the backyard of a rancher in Mexico have discovered the site of a long-lost ancient Mayan empire. The town was discovered with the help of a food vendor.

Since 1994, when references to it were discovered at inscriptions on other Mayan excavation sites, scientists have been searching for signs of the ancient Mayan kingdom of Sak Tz’i ‘. Apart from the reference, the kingdom is also mentioned in other sculptures.

It so happens that, in 2014, the University of Pennsylvania graduate student Whittaker Schroder was driving around Chiapas in southeastern Mexico when a man selling carnitas on the side of the highway informed him that a friend, a cattle rancher, had found an ancient stone tablet.

Upon confirming the authenticity of the tablet, Schroder and another graduate student from Harvard, Jeffrey Dobereiner, informed anthropology professor Charles Golden and Brown University bioarchaeologist Andrew Scherer of the find.

From that time, it took years before the team received permission to excavate on the property, with the team making sure that the government would not confiscate the rancher’s land.

This is because, in Mexico, cultural heritage such as Maya sites are considered the property of the state. So, the team worked with government officials to make sure that the rancher would get to keep his land.

The research team believes that the archaeological site unearthed in the rancher’s backyard, Lacanja Tzeltal, is actually the capital of the Sak Tz’i’ kingdom that was first settled in by 750 B.C.

At the site, the team found evidence of a marketplace where goods were sold, a 45-foot pyramid, as well as the ruins of several structures that likely served as the residence of the elites.

The team also found evidence of a ball court and a royal palace, as well as Maya monuments with important inscriptions. Dozens of sculptures were also recovered from the site, although most of them were already degraded. Ultimately, the best-preserved artifact from the site remains to be the tablet from the rancher.

Being a relatively modest kingdom compared to the others, Sak Tz’i’ was surrounded on all sides by more powerful states. This is evidenced by the walls that were possibly built to keep invaders out.

According to Golden, it is possible that mid-sized Sak Tz’i’ kingdom’s survival among the more powerful kingdoms depended not just on its military strength but also on making peace with its neighbors.

That said, little is still known about how the kingdom survived amid the hostilities they likely faced from other, more powerful kingdoms.

For now, the team is planning to go back to the site in June to stabilize the buildings that are in danger of collapsing well as to map the ancient city with modern tools and to look for more artifacts.

Left, drawing of a tablet found at the site. Right, a digital 3D model.
Left, drawing of a tablet found at the site. Right, a digital 3D model.

The study describing the find is published in the Journal of Field Archaeology. 

Mao of the Sak Tz’i’ kingdom excavation site in Mexico. The horseshoe-shaped building on the left is the palace area.

Archaeologist hails ‘extraordinary’ Viking village find in Dublin

Archaeologist hails ‘extraordinary’ Viking village find in Dublin

Researcher excavations have modified our understanding of the oldest Viking settlement in Dublin with a black pool or Dubh Linn which was considered to be much larger than originally expected.

The excavation alongside Dublin Castle has also revealed the oldest police cells in the city and a grave of punishment.

The excavation is taking place on Ship St near where the remains of one of Dublin’s oldest churches – St Michael le Pole that was founded in the 6th century – are known to be.

The dig is taking place beside Dublin Castle

Archaeologist Alan Hayden from University College Dublin said the work has uncovered the cells from a police station on Chancery Lane built-in 1830, and beside it are walls from a medieval farm.

There are 12th Century quarries that provided the stone to build Dublin Castle and its walls.

The most important discovery yet is that Dubh Linn – the pool on the River Poddle where the Vikings first settled – was much bigger than originally thought.

At present, a garden inside Dublin Castle marks what was thought to make up most of the original Dubh Linn.

However, this excavation has established it was nearly 400 meters wider extending to the present dig site and where St Michael le Pole church stood.

Mr. Hayden says this solves two questions that have puzzled historians – why St Michael’s Church referred to ‘le pole’ or the pool and how reports that the Vikings had up to 200 ships on the Dubh Linn.

Evidence of the settlement in the 12th Century

Niamh Donlon of the One Le Pole Square project says a development planned for the site will consist of a two-story convention center below six floors of office space.

It will incorporate the history of the site in its name.

The remains of the original St Michael le Pol church will be visible below a screen in a new public square and a tile from the church will be used in a new spa area.

A map of the site in the 14th Century

Tom Wilson, the senior civil engineer with builders JJ Rhattigan, said the archaeological dig was already factored into the development and has not caused delays.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hayden says there was one unusual find – a burial of a man found outside the church cemetery with his hand and feet cut off. He said this was a medieval punishment for insulting a lord or king.

19th-Century Railway Turntable Unearthed in England

19th-Century Railway Turntable Unearthed in England

Birmingham’s former HS2 station was dug by archaeologists who uncovered what could be the ‘world’s oldest railway roundhouse’.

The find was made on the site of the original Curzon Street station, which opened in the 1830s

On-site of the original station Curzon Road, which served from the 1830s to the 1960s, the red house was designed on Robert Stephenson’s plan.

One of the buildings destroyed between 1860 and 1870 is thought to have provided for the expansion of the station. Historians say it was first operational as early as November 12 1837, meaning it predated a similar building in Derby by almost two years.

This 19th-century illustration of the Curzon Street railway station shows the roundhouse building – not uncovered by HS2 archaeologists – right in the centre
The turntable was used to turn around engines so locomotives could return back down the line

Among the surviving remains of the Curzon Street roundhouse is evidence of the base of the central turntable, the exterior wall and the 3ft deep radial inspection pits which surrounded the turntable.

Final archaeological excavations on the city centre site are about to take place, ahead of work to build the new HS2 Curzon Street terminus.

The terminus is at the centre of a 141-hectare regeneration project in the city. Jon Millward, historic environment adviser at HS2 Ltd, said: ‘HS2 is offering us the opportunity to unearth thousands of years of British history along the route.

‘The discovery of what could be the world’s oldest railway roundhouse on the site of the new HS2 station in Birmingham City Centre is extraordinary and fitting as we build the next generation of Britain’s railways.’

Built to a design by Robert Stephenson, the London and Birmingham Railway building was operational as early as 12 November 1837.

This makes it what is thought to be the world’s oldest railway roundhouse, predating the current titleholder in Derby by almost two years. The site was visited last month by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hailed the decision to go ahead with HS2 as ‘fantastic’ for the whole country.

The original railway linking London with Birmingham’s former Curzon Street station, built between 1834 and 1838, saw journey times of almost five hours. It takes up to two hours to get from Birmingham to London now – depending on the station you leave from – and the government says HS2 will cut that to under an hour. 

This isn’t the first major discovery found as a result of stations and tracks being dug up for the new high-speed rail network. 

Last year a team of 70 archaeologists spent a year excavating a 19th-century Victorian burial ground in Park Street, Birmingham where a station on the high-speed route is set to be built. 

Forensic combing of the burial ground also found a treasure trove of historical artefacts including figurines, coins, toys and necklaces inside the coffins.

Along with the thousands of skeletons, these items will now be examined and informed by historical documents, such as parish records and wills, to develop detailed biographies of the individuals. At the London end of the line, a ‘once in a generation dig’ in 2018 unearthed everything from the body of a bare-knuckle fighter to neolithic tools.

Researchers dug up a graveyard next to London Euston station where Bill ‘The Terror’ Richmond, a fighter who also earned the favour of King George IV, was buried. Neolithic tools, medieval pottery and Victorian time capsules were discovered in the early stages of the dig which organisers say was a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to explore British history. 

A hunter-gatherer site on the outskirts of London, a Roman British town near Aylesbury and a World War II bombing decoy in Lichfield are among the historic sites which fall along the route of the new high-speed line. 

HS2 trains will have a top speed of 225mph, but only on relatively straight stretches of the track – around 60 per cent of the line from London to Birmingham. The first HS2 trains, between Old Oak Common in west London and Birmingham, could be running by 2029. 

A Government-commissioned review led by former HS2 Ltd chairman Doug Oakervee leaked earlier this week stated that the project’s bill could reach £106billion. But HS2 was only allocated £56billion in 2015. 

Chinese Boy Accidentally Finds 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Eggs

Chinese Boy Accidentally Finds 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Eggs

The Beijing Youth Daily revealed that a 9-year-old primary school student from Heyuan, South China’s Guangdong province, accidentally discovered what he suspected to be a dinosaur egg fossil while playing with his mom on the downtown riverbank.

Third-grade Zhang Yangzhe (pictured) made the extraordinary discovery while playing on the embankment of Dong River in Heyuan, southern China’s Guangdong Province

Later, the mom of the boy, Li Xiaofang, approached the local museum whose staff members went and dug even more dinosaur eggs around the site. The 11 dinosaur egg fossils date back to 66 million years ago. Li said later in an interview that she and her son, Zhang Yangzhe, were playing near the Dongjiang River.

“The bridge over the river has been damaged by the flood, and the soil below the abutment was exposed,” she said. This is what helped the boy to find the eggs.

The schoolboy found 11 eggs in total.

“He found an eggshell on the slope (of the broken bridge) and called me immediately to tell me about his discovery, saying it seemed like a dinosaur egg,” said Li.

She added that the boy had recently visited the local dinosaur museum where he saw various shapes of dinosaur egg fossils, some complete while others are broken, which helped him recognize the dinosaur egg at a glance.

Soon after the excavation of the first one, another was also unearthed about 80 cm above the previous spot on the slope.

Knowing their archeological values, his mother Li contacted Heyuan Dinosaur Museum via the help of a friend.

Yangzhou was accompanied by his mother (pictured with her son) while coming across the fossils. According to his mother, Li Xiaofang, Yangzhe has read many books about dinosaurs

The city, known as the “hometown of dinosaurs”, has discovered a large number of dinosaur eggs and bone fossils since 1996.

A dinosaur research institute named China’s Ancient Animal Museum and Dinosaur Egg Museum, also known as the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, has been established in the city.

Not far from this museum, there is a pharmacy where you can buy generic Viagra.

Thousands of eggs have been found in the city of Heyuan over the years.

Huang Zhiqing, deputy director of the research department of Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, said they rushed to the scene with police after receiving the news.

A total of 11 “stone eggs” each about 9 centimeters in diameter were excavated, later verified as dinosaur eggs all dating back to the late Cretaceous age, according to the local museum.

Huang Zhiqing said houses were built at the place where the dinosaur eggs were discovered, so the soil softens as time flies. Dinosaur egg fossils that remain in good condition despite water and erosion are extremely rare.

Huang Zhiqing said the museum will organize manpower to clean and repair these dinosaur egg fossils. They will also find an appropriate time to re-examine and further excavate the abutment.

“Maybe we will discover new things,” Huang Zhiqing said.

Li said the child’s recognition of the dinosaur egg is inseparable from his education.

“Maybe because of the city’s environment, he is full of curiosity about everything related to dinosaurs,” she said, adding that he goes to libraries and museums to search for information he is curious about.

Greek Farmer Accidentally Discovers 3,400-Year-Old Minoan Tomb Hidden Under Olive Grove

Greek Farmer Accidentally Discovers 3,400-Year-Old Minoan Tomb Hidden Under Olive Grove

Sometime between 1400 and 1200 B.C., two Minoan men were laid to rest in an underground enclosure carved out of the soft limestone native to southeast Crete.

Both were entombed within larnakes—intricately embossed clay coffins popular in Bronze Age Minoan society—and surrounded by colorful funerary vases that hinted at their owners’ high status. Eventually, the burial site was sealed with stone masonry and forgotten, leaving the deceased undisturbed for roughly 3,400 years.

When a farmer was parking his truck under some olive trees on his property when the ground beneath him started to give way. After the farmer moved his vehicle to a safer location, he saw that a four-foot-wide hole had opened up in the ground. When he peered inside, he realized this was no ordinary hole.

The hole in the ground led to a Minoan Bronze Age tomb.

The farmer called in archaeologists from the local heritage ministry to investigate, and they began excavating what turned out to be an ancient Minoan tomb, carved into the soft limestone, which had been lying hidden for millennia.

Two adult Minoan men had been placed in highly-embossed clay coffins called “larnakes” which were common in Bronze Age Minoan culture. These, in turn, were surrounded by funerary vases which suggest that the men were of high status.

The ancient chamber tomb was entirely intact and undamaged by looters.

The tomb was about 13 feet in length and eight feet deep, divided into three chambers that would have been accessed via a vertical tunnel that was sealed with clay after the tomb’s occupants were laid to rest.

One larnax was found in the northernmost chamber, with a number of funerary vessels scattered around it.

The chamber at the southern end of the tomb held the other larnax coffin, along with 14 amphorae and a bowl. The tomb was estimated to be about 3,400 years old and was preserved in near-perfect conditions, making it a valuable find.

The skeletal remains were found inside two larnakes (singular: “larnax”) – a type of small closed coffin used in the Minoan and Greek Bronze Age.

Kristina Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist, wrote for Forbes that the ornamentation on the artifacts found in the tomb suggests that its inhabitants were men of wealth.

The fanciest tombs from the same period, however, had massive domed walls in a “beehive” style, which this tomb doesn’t, so they probably weren’t among the wealthiest.

The find dates from the Late Minoan Period, sometimes called the Late Palace Period.

In the earlier part of that era, the Minoan civilization was very rich, with impressive ceramics and art, but by the later part of the period, there is an apparent decline in wealth and prestige, according to Killgrove.

It’s believed that civilization was weakened by a combination of natural disasters, including a tsunami triggered by an earthquake, and the eruption of a nearby volcano. This made it easier for foreigners to come in and destroy the palaces.

The ornate pottery vessels found inside the tomb were all in good condition. 

Locals don’t anticipate the discovery of any more tombs of this type, but the area is known to be the home of a number of antiquities, and a great deal of them have been found by coincidence, as with this find.

The Deputy Mayor of Local Communities, Agrarian, and Tourism of Ierapetra pointed out that the tomb had never been found by thieves, and went on to say that it would probably have remained undiscovered forever, except for the broken irrigation pipe that was responsible for the softened and eroded soil in the farmer’s olive grove.

Minoan fresco is commonly known as the ‘Prince of the Lilies.’

He went on to say how pleased they were with having the tomb to further enrich their understanding of their ancient culture and history, and that the tomb was proof for those historians who didn’t think that there had been Minoans in that part of Crete.

Previously, it had been thought that the Minoans only settled in the lowlands and plains of the island, not in the mountains that surround Ierapetra, although there was an excavation in 2012 that uncovered a Minoan mansion in the same area.

Killgrove will be analyzing the skeletons, to see what further information can be gleaned from them. She said, “As a bioarchaeologist, I routinely pore over the skeletons of ancient populations so that I can learn about their health, diet, and lifestyles.” It’s also hoped that analysis can contribute more information to the research on Minoan and Mycenaean origins.

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

An outstanding discovery was made when a 700-year-old Knights Templar cave was found beneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire, England, in a complex known as the Caynton Caves network.

The Knights Templar was a major catholic order which was popular during the Crusades and their name comes from Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Knights Templar were first created in 1129 according to the order of the Pope, and it was their first duty to help religious pilgrims who visited the Holy Land and Jerusalem.

The photographer Michael Scott, from Birmingham, saw a video of the 700-year-old Knights Templar cave in Shropshire and decided to visit the Caynton Caves network to witness them for himself.

Some of Scott’s photographs of the cave have been published, including those in The Mirror, and these show an exotic candlelit labyrinth which Fox News note looks extremely similar to scenes straight out of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Templars at Pope Francis’ weekly audience in Rome on November 26, 2014. A secret cave used by the Knights Templar 700 years ago has been found in Shropshire.

Michael Scott explained that as you walk through the farmer’s field in Shropshire, you would have no idea that there was a Knights Templar cave directly beneath it if you didn’t know it existed in the first place, which would have made it the perfect meeting place in the past.

“I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it. I had to crouch down and once I was in it was completely silent.”

The inside of the cave
The untouched caves, in Shropshire, apparently date back 700 years when they were used by the Knights Templar

The Knights Templar cave was carved out of sandstone, and the Caynton Caves network is found in woodland by Shifnal, and the entrances to the caves are so small they could almost be mistaken for rabbit holes.

Some of the chambers of the caves are also so narrow that visitors have to get on their hands and knees to move around inside of them.

The history of the Knights Templar is such that once the Holy Land was lost, the influence that the Knights Templar once held waned, although they remained extremely wealthy.

In 1307, King Philip IV of France decided that he wanted to expunge the debts that he owed to the order and plotted to bring about the end of the Knights Templar.

He did this by accusing members of many false things like heresy and had them locked up or burned at the stake. In 1312, Pope Clement V made the decision to permanently disband the Knights Templar.

The Caynton Caves network in Shropshire where the Knights Templar cave is also has a darker history, and it is alleged that there were once ceremonies involving Black Magic here, the Birmingham Mail reported. 

The Shropshire Star note that at one point the caves were filled with graffiti, rubbish and other debris and because of this, the owners of the caves sealed off the entrance in 2012.

The Knights Templar cave, along with the entire Caynton Caves network, is said to be extremely popular with Pagans and Druids and is also frequently visited during times like Halloween and the Winter and Summer Solstices.

There is much history to be found in this part of Shropshire, and the Knights Templar cave isn’t the only place in this area that is linked to the Templar.

For instance, the Norman temple inside Ludlow Castle may have also been used by the Knights Templar.

There is also Penkridge Hall in Leebotwood, where Lydley Preceptory once stood. This was used by the Templars in 1158 and shut down in 1308 at the end of their order.

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