The Stolen Nostradamus manuscript is returned to the library in Rome

The Stolen Nostradamus manuscript is returned to the library in Rome

An ancient manuscript by the French astrologer Michel de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus, stolen from a library in Rome has been returned to the Italian capital.

The Stolen Nostradamus manuscript is returned to the library in Rome
The 500-page Nostradamus manuscript is about 300 years old.

The manuscript, entitled Nostradamus M Prophecies and dating back about 500 years, was rediscovered last year when it was put up for sale by a German auction house.

It is unclear exactly when the 500-page manuscript was stolen from the historical studies centre of the Barnabite fathers of Rome, but it is believed to have been in about 2007.

The book passed through flea markets in Paris and the German city of Karlsruhe before an art dealer tried to sell it through an auction house in Pforzheim, Baden-Württemberg, at a starting price of €12,000 (£10,200).

In April last year investigators from Italy’s cultural heritage protection squad came across the book on the auction house’s website. They identified it as originating from the library in Rome via a stamp dated 1991 on one of the pages.

Rome’s public prosecutor contacted his counterpart in Pforzheim, who began an investigation.

German experts established the book was an original work of Nostradamus, who was famous for his cryptic prediction of world events, and was the one trafficked from Rome.

The manuscript was returned to the library on Wednesday.

Italy’s cultural heritage protection team was established in 1969 and has retrieved more than 3m stolen artefacts.

In December 2021 the US returned about 200 antiquities, including an ancient Roman sculpture that almost ended up in possession of Kim Kardashian West, that had been stolen and smuggled out of Italy.

 The text and picture caption was amended on 10 May 2022. An earlier version said the manuscript dated about 300 years; we should have said nearly 500 years.

Traces of Hyde Abbey Found in England

Traces of Hyde Abbey Found in England

Remains of the core of a medieval wall have been found just 80cm below the garden of a house near Winchester in a major archaeological discovery this week. The excavation at Hyde Abbey, the burial place of Alfred the Great, also discovered a huge foundation, for what believed to be the north wall of a church.

Most stonework from the abbey has been robbed over time for reuse. Hence the archaeological team was delighted that the trench revealed some intact stonework to the north and floor surfaces to the south. This is the first discovery of the church nave of Hyde’s medieval abbey, according to the archaeologists.

Dig organiser David Spurling said the nave of the huge church under the gardens of Hyde had never been found before despite being the burial place of Alfred the Great. Over 80 metres long, it has remained hidden beneath the houses, gardens and roads in Hyde.

The latest dig, known as Hyde900, has now located the north wall for the first time, only some 80cm below the garden of 6 King Alfred Place.

Householders, Paul and Kat McCulloch had already had their garden dug during the 2020 Hyde900 Community Dig, but no remains of the abbey were found apart from demolition materials left over after the destruction of the abbey.

However, that dig, and the subsequent dig in 2020 at four other gardens in the vicinity, indicated that the trench in number 6 King Alfred Place missed the north wall of the nave by only two or three metres.

Mr Spurling said: “When we put together the new information from previous digs and had the results from the University of Winchester’s ground-penetrating radar survey done by David Ashby, we talked it over with Paul and Kat who jumped at the offer that we could once again dig the garden again – but to avoid Kat’s peony.

“Consequently, Hyde900 organised a limited scale single trench dig, to be staffed by some of our experienced volunteers, as it was expected that any remains would be at least 1.5 metres below the grass. As ever Professor Martin Biddle took a keen interest in the plans, and visited the dig at an early stage, being in Winchester for the launch of a further volume in the Winchester Excavations series.

“After an early find of a Morris Minor bumper and plenty of demolition rubble left over from the Bridewell, the prison built in 1793 over the site of the church, the team were delighted to see the remains of the core of a medieval wall, amazingly only 80cm below ground level.

“Further digging revealed a huge foundation, for what can only be the north wall of the church, no less than 2.7 metres in width.”

Prof Biddle expressed his pleasure at the results and said: “What a tremendous amount of new and important information from one trench.

“It’s a really vital addition to what we know about this important abbey.”

Paul and Kat McCulloch were also delighted at the discovery.

They said: “This dig has achieved results far beyond our expectations.

“To find intact stonework from the 12th-century abbey is rare; the excavation now confirms the exact location of the abbey nave.

“In addition, the find of a rare sculptured beakhead, perhaps representing a mythical beast, such as a Griffin, was a bonus. It is most likely to be a fragment of a voussoir (the wedge-shaped stone which is part of an arch) forming one of the orders of the arch over the doorway to the church. This will shortly be on display in Winchester Museum.”

The results of the dig have helped the Hyde900 expert cartographer Dave Stewart to redraw the north wall abbey church with certainty – but the west end is perhaps for the next annual Hyde900 Community dig scheduled for August 18-21.

Two more Giants were discovered at Mont’e Prama

Two more Giants were discovered at Mont’e Prama

The powerful torsos of two boxers, a large flexible shield that covers the stomach and envelops an arm; then ahead, legs and other body parts – just days after the resumption of the latest excavation campaign, the Mont’e Prama Nuragic necropolis at Cabras has yielded the remains of two new monumental statues. 

They are two giants that join the army of warriors and boxers that are still shrouded in mystery and have made the Sardinian archaeological site famous all over the world.

Superintendent Monica Stochino told ANSA that the discovery was truly “important” and bodes well for more surprises in the coming weeks.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini expressed enthusiasm too and recalled that the find has taken place just under a year after the birth of a foundation for the site featuring the culture ministry, the Cabras town council and the Sardinian regional government.

“It’s an exceptional discovery and others will follow,” he commented.

The field study, which began on April 4, has confirmed that the necropolis stretches southwards and there is a major burial road flanking the tombs.

“It is evidence for us that we are on the right road,” stressed Alessandro Usai, the archaeologist who has been the scientific director of the excavation since 2014.

The two new giants have different characteristics from the boxers uncovered at the site in the middle of the 1970s after the accidental discovery of this incredible place, Usai explained.

He said they are of the “Cavalupo” type, like the last two uncovered in 2014, not far from the current dig, distinguished by their very distinctive curved shield.

“It is a rare figure in the model of the Nuragic bronze statuette conserved in the Etruscan Museum in Villa Giulia in Rome,” said the archaeologist, referring to the little masterpiece that came from a tomb at the Cavalupo necropolis at Vulci, in Lazio.

Careful examination, cleaning and the removal of the two large torsos – which will take time due to the particular fragility of the limestone they are sculpted from – is certain to provide new elements of study.

Stochino said that the new intervention, financed by the archaeology, fine arts and landscape superintendency for the metropolitan city of Cagliari and the provinces of Oristano and South Sardinia with a gross figure of 85,000 euros, comes ahead of an another bigger one of 600,000 euros involving the regional secretariat of the culture ministry.

This is on top of the 2.8-million-euro project to restore everything that was discovered between 2014 and 2016 in order to put the new statues on show along with the others at the Cabras Museum.

It is a team effort that involves a variety of professional figures and universities working alongside the superintendency and the foundation – anthropologists, restorers and architects, as well as archaeologists. They will all work together to find answers to the historical problems raised by this special cemetery from 3,000 years ago, built along a burial road and reserved almost exclusive for young men, said Usai, explaining that “elderly and children are almost completely missing” and there are very few women in the 170 tombs studies so far.

A great deal of mystery remains about this site, which was started around the 12th century BC, and the giants, which experts date between the 11th and 8th centuries BC, as well as about their end.

Who were these colossal, two-metre-high pieces of stone – ancient custodians of a sacred area, representations of the social functions of the buried, heroes, ancestors or identity symbols of a community? And why had they fallen down and been reduced to rubble on the tombs they were meant to watch over? Was their end the consequence of a fight between local communities or was it down to the Carthaginians? Usai said that he was inclined towards another hypothesis, that of “natural” destruction.

“My opinion is that the giants fell down one at a time on their own, as the way they were made was overbalanced forwards,” he said The passage of time, the movements of the earth and the cultivations of this stretch of land, which has always been precious for wheat crops, would have done the rest, The archaeologist concluded that it is necessary to go beyond stereotypes.

“Here we are seeking answers based on facts,” he said.

Who knows? Perhaps the new period of research will produce decisive discoveries.

The Face of the Earliest Human Ancestor, Revealed

The Face of the Earliest Human Ancestor, Revealed

Nearly 25 years after scientists described the first fossil traces of Australopithecus anamensis, this unsung human ancestor is finally having its moment.

The Face of the Earliest Human Ancestor, Revealed
Australopithecus anamensis. Credit: Dale Omori and Liz Russell (photograph); Jennifer Taylor and Cleveland Museum of Natural History (composite image of hands holding “MRD”)

Researchers working in Ethiopia have found a nearly complete cranium of this long-vanished member of the hominin group, which includes Homo sapiens and its close extinct relatives.

The fossil, dated 3.8 million years ago, reveals the never before seen face of A. anamensis, a species previously known mainly from jaws, teeth and a smattering of bones from below the head. Traits evident in the specimen hint that our family tree may need revising.

By some accounts, A. anamensis is the oldest unequivocal hominin, with some fossils dating from as far back as 4.2 million years ago.

For years it has occupied a key position in the family tree as the lineal ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis, which is widely viewed as the ancestor of our own genus, Homo.

Based on the ages and characteristics of the available fossils, paleoanthropologists thought A. anamensis gave rise to A. afarensis through an evolutionary process termed anagenesis, in which one species transforms into another. The new fossil throws a wrench into the works of that theory.

Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his colleagues recovered the cranium from an area in northeastern Ethiopia’s Afar region known as Woranso-Mille. Features of its teeth and jaws link it to the previously known fragmentary remains of A. anamensis.

The fossil shows a creature with a projecting face, large canine teeth, flaring cheekbones, a crest atop its head that anchored strong jaw muscles, and a long, narrow braincase that held a brain the size of a chimpanzee’s.

The discovery team suspects the cranium belonged to an adult male A. anamensis.

Here is how it could upend the conventional wisdom: on the basis of the more complete A. anamensis anatomy seen in the newly discovered cranium, Haile-Selassie and his colleagues argue that an enigmatic 3.9-million-year-old forehead bone from the site of Belohdelie, also located in Ethiopia’s Afar region, belongs to A. afarensis. If this supposition is right, A. anamensis, which is known from fossils spanning the time between 4.2 million and 3.8 million years ago, and A. afarensis, which apparently lived from 3.9 million to 3.0 million years ago, actually overlapped for at least 100,000 years in the Afar. And that overlap would imply that A. anamensis could not have evolved into A. afarensis by means of anagenesis. Instead A. afarensis split off from A. anamensis, which continued to exist for a time alongside its daughter species.

This branching model of evolution, known as cladogenesis, can occur when populations of a species become isolated from one another and are thus able to evolve in different directions.

But the case for cladogenesis over anagenesis hinges entirely on that 3.9-million-year-old forehead bone from Belohdelie belonging to A. afarensis—no other A. afarensis remains recovered thus far are that old. Problematically, with only one A. anamensis forehead bone to compare it with—the one in the new fossil—one cannot exclude the possibility that other A. anamensis individuals might have had foreheads that looked like the Belohdelie one. Only the discovery of more fossil faces can resolve that unknown.

The 40,000-Year-Old log is found underneath New Zealand’s swamp

The 40,000-Year-Old log is found underneath New Zealand’s swamp

A 45,000-year-old log discovered during excavations for a new power station could explain a mysterious global event which may have dramatically changed the Earth’s climate. 

Scientists in New Zealand believe the 60-tonne log could hold the answers to the ancient Laschamp Event – where the earth’s north and south poles switched with each other 40,000 years ago. 

The 60-tonne Kauri log was found nine metres beneath the surface in Ngāwhā on New Zealand’s north island in February and was handed over to local Maoris on Wednesday after a major excavation operation. 

Top Energy, the company building the power station, began earthworks in 2017 and had excavated 900,000 cubic metres of the soil before stumbling across the 16-metre log.  

On Wednesday 60-tonne tree had sections cut off either end so it could be moved using two large mobile cranes and transporter vehicles, to then be loaded onto a truck and be taken five kilometres down the road, where it was handed over to the local Maoris

Scientist Alan Hogg, from Waikato University, determined the tree dates back to 40,500 years ago, NZ Herald reported

The mammoth log’s age sparked an interest in scientists studying the Laschamp Event – a ‘magnetic reversal’ where the Earth’s north and south magnetic poles switched places.

It was not known exactly when the reversal occurred but it was thought to have been about 41,000 years ago.

Scientists hope that studying the level of radioactive carbon in the tree’s rings would allow them to determine when the reversal occurred and for how long. 

Kiwi scientists believe the magnetic reversals — and the accompanying drop in the Earth’s magnetic field strength, which allowed more solar radiation to reach the Earth’s surface — could have a major effect on climate.

‘This tree is critical, we’ve never found one of this age before,’ Mr Hogg says finding the tree was a stroke of luck which will play a huge role in future research.

The 40,000-Year-Old log is found underneath New Zealand's swamp
Scientists in New Zealand believe the 60-tonne log could hold the answers to the ancient Laschamp Event – where the earth’s north and south poles switched over 40,000 years ago

Going by its size the tree was likely to have been 1500-2000 years old when it died, Mr Hogg said. 

The 16-metre log was transported to nearby Ngāwhā Marae (sacred place) on Wednesday, where a ceremony was held to welcome the ancient tree to the hapū’s care (a division of Maoris).    

Ngāwhā Trustees committee chairman Richard Woodman said it was a ‘fantastic acknowledgement’ from Shaw that the tree was being returned to its rightful owners rather than gifted.  

Transporting the tree was a major operation, with sections of about 1.5m long needing to be cut off either end so it could be moved, with the stump alone weighing 28 tonnes. 

The three sections were lifted by two 130-tonne cranes, then taken by truck five kilometres down the highway, with the whole operation taking four hours.

In a burial ground full of Stone Age men, one grave holds a ‘warrior’ woman

In a burial ground full of Stone Age men, one grave holds a ‘warrior’ woman

The mysterious 6,500-year-old burial of a woman and several arrowheads in northern France may reveal details of how women were regarded in that society during the Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, a new study finds.

In a burial ground full of Stone Age men, one grave holds a 'warrior' woman
Scientists tested the ancient DNA of 14 people interred at the monumental cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne and found that only one individual buried there was female.

The researchers investigated giant graves known as “long barrows” — large earthen mounds, often hundreds of feet long and sometimes retained by wooden palisades that have since rotted away. Of the 19 human burials in the Neolithic cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne in Normandy, the team analyzed the DNA of 14 individuals; but only one was female.

The woman was buried with “symbolically male” arrows in her grave, and the researchers argue that she may have had to be regarded as “symbolically male” to be buried there.

“We believe that these male-gendered artefacts place her beyond her biological sexual identity,” said study lead author Maïté Rivollat, an archaeologist and geneticist at the University of Bordeaux. “This implies that the embodiment of the male sex in death was necessary for her to gain access to burial in these gigantic structures.”

Archaeologists attribute the barrows at Fleury-sur-Orne to the Neolithic Cerny culture. Several other Cerny cemeteries have been found hundreds of miles away in the Paris Basin region to the southeast, but Fleury-sur-Orne is the largest yet found in Normandy.

The first monumental graves at Fleury-sur-Orne in Normandy were built in the early Neolithic period about 6,500 years ago. They consist of earthen mounds or “long barrows” up to 1,200 feet long.

But while the two regions shared the common Cerny culture, there seem to have been local differences about who could be buried in high-status graves. While both men and women were buried in almost equal numbers in the Paris Basin, the cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne was almost exclusively male, so it was surprising to find a woman in one of the barrows, Rivollat told Live Science in an email.

However, it’s challenging to know what kind of life the woman led. “I don’t think we can speculate anyhow about her status — we don’t have enough elements for that,” she said.

More might be revealed about the mysterious Neolithic woman by ongoing scientific work, such as isotopic analysis — an examination of elemental variants in her remains — that could reveal details about her diet and geographical origins, Rivollat said. 

Women were buried at other cemeteries attributed to the same Cerny culture elsewhere in northern France. But the researchers suggest that societal rules that only symbolically male “hunters” might have been buried at Fleury-sur-Orne.

Neolithic cemetery

The Neolithic cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne near Caen was discovered in aerial photographs taken in the 1960s, and the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) has led a major “rescue excavation” there since 2014.

The latest excavations have been huge, covering more than 60 acres (24 hectares) and have revealed several Neolithic barrow graves and other monuments, including the longest barrow ever discovered in Europe, measuring 1,220 feet (372 meters) long. 

Rivollat’s team had access to samples of the human remains in the Fleury-sur-Orne barrows; the new studies of their ancient DNA revealed which remains were male — with an X and a Y sex chromosome — and which were female, with two X chromosomes.

The team also used the samples of ancient DNA to determine any family links between the people buried there, and the scientists found that almost all the barrow occupants were unrelated, except for a father and a son who had been buried in the same barrow.

This clue, as well as other aspects of the DNA analysis, suggested the barrow burials at Fleury-sur-Orne were from a patrilineal community — in which social authority was inherited along the male lineage — while the daughters of a family left to live with the families of their mates, the researchers suggested. 

However, the woman buried alongside arrows at the site “questions a strictly biological sex bias in the burial rites of this otherwise ‘masculine’ monumental cemetery,” the researchers wrote in the study. It’s not known if only the flint arrowheads were placed in the woman’s grave, or if they were originally attached to wooden shafts that have since rotted away. 

Replicas of the arrowheads and other flint objects found in the barrows at Fleury-sur-Orne. A burial with arrows, quivers, or bows is thought to distinguish the symbolically male “hunter” class of people in Cerny culture.
The Neolithic cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne was discovered by aerial photographs in the 1960s. The French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) has led a major “rescue excavation” there since 2014, ahead of planned construction work.
The only woman at the Fleury-sur-Orne cemetery was buried with flint arrowheads, which may have indicated she was “symbolically male,” researchers say.

Individuals of power

Earlier studies of Cerny cemeteries in the Paris Basin distinguish one particular category of “individuals of power” by burying them with arrows, quivers and possibly bows — perhaps thereby identifying them as “hunters.”

Those studies showed that such hunters were always men, with stress markers on their bones that were consistent with drawing bows, the researchers of the new study noted, writing that. “Together, the recognition is given to the masculine, to archery or to hunting, or even more broadly, to the wild world, characterizes the Cerny ideology in the Paris Basin.” 

It’s not known whether the woman buried at the Cerny cemetery at Fleury-sur-Orne was formally regarded as a “hunter” by her community, but “she was buried with four arrowheads, a type of artefact that is considered to be exclusively male in its associations in the Cerny culture,” the researchers wrote in the study.

This, in turn, implied that her burial at the site was an absolute necessity; and that her gender was “presented as masculine, which has granted her access, through the funerary rites, to this monumental cemetery,” they wrote. 

Chris Fowler, a senior lecturer in later prehistoric archaeology at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom, who wasn’t involved in the latest study but who’s led investigations of Neolithic tombs in the UK, noted the woman buried at Fleury-sur-Orne seemed to have been held in the same regard as the men buried there.

He added that the individuals buried in different barrows were unrelated and that not all members of the much larger community were buried in the barrows.

“It is fascinating that so many lineages shared the same burial ground while selecting if you like, just one or two representatives from their lineage to be buried at the cemetery marked by these extensive mounds,” he told Live Science in an email. “This raises further questions about the social and political dynamics among these lineages.”

The study was published on April 21 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

85 ancient tombs unearthed in Egypt

85 ancient tombs unearthed in Egypt

A total of 85 tombs, dating back to the period from the Old Kingdom of Egypt some 4,500 years ago until the Ptolemaic dynasty spanning from 305 BC to 30 BC, were unearthed in the southern province of Sohag, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.

The remains of many mummies have been found inside these tombs, which span an impressive range of time. The earliest burials contain the remains of people who lived in Egypt’s Old Kingdom 4,500 years ago, while the most recent can be traced to the era of the Ptolemaic dynasty, the Hellenistic kingdom that ruled the nation from 305 to 30 BC.

This noteworthy discovery was made by an archaeological mission from Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquity, which had been dispatched to the Gabal El Haridi region about 220 miles (350 kilometres) south of Cairo.

A funerary permit, written in Greek and hieroglyphics, found in one of the 85 new Egyptian tombs in Sohag province. Funerary permits included the dead individual’s name, parents’ names, age, and occupation.

The Amazing Artifacts Of The New Egyptian Tomb Area

This is not the first archaeological mission to be deployed in this area. However, the scope of what the archaeologists discovered, 85 new Egyptian tombs spanning nearly 2,500 years of history, has made this one of the more dramatic excavation seasons at Gabal El Haridi in recent memory.

In addition to the mummies they found, the archaeologists also recovered approximately 30 written certificates from inside the tombs that contained personal information about the deceased. These funerary permits included the dead individual’s name, parents’ names, age, and occupation. The information was written in Greek, but some of the permits also included Egyptian hieroglyphics that offered prayers to ancient Egyptian gods.

Many of the new Egyptian tombs unearthed at Gabal El Haridi were dug into the side of a local mountain. Some of the more elaborate tombs had one or more wells that had corridors leading to burial rooms.

Along with the 85 new Egyptian tombs, the archaeologists also uncovered the ruins of a sturdy tower house made from mudbrick. This imposing edifice was constructed during the reign of King Ptolemy III, who served as the third pharaoh of the Ptolemaic line. He ruled Egypt for 24 years, from 246 to 222 BC, under the auspices of a dynasty that was established in 305 BC by its first king Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian general who was a close confidant of Alexander the Great.

The tower house was an official structure of the government and would have served as a combination checkpoint and surveillance post. Government functionaries stationed at the tower house would have been responsible for monitoring the comings and goings of people passing over the border, by boat on the Nile River or by foot. They would have also collected taxes from travellers and merchants, plus insurance payments from the owners of ships sailing on the Nile.

This sturdy mudbrick tower house overlooking the Nile River, was found along with the 85 new Egyptian tombs.

The Egyptian archaeological mission also reported on their continued excavation of a Ptolemaic-era temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. In its time the temple would have been extravagant and impressive, not to mention gigantic. It was 450 long and 650 feet wide (140 by 200 meters) when first constructed, with an interior that featured thick columns and large gathering halls. Among the relics found inside the temple were 38 coins from the Roman era, and animal bones that revealed information about the diet of temple priests.

These ruins of an ancient Isis temple were originally discovered during previous excavations at the Gabal El Haridi site, but more and more of the buried building is coming to light.

The ruins of the ancient Isis temple were originally discovered during previous excavations at the Gabal El Haridi site. More and more of the buried building has been slowly revealed over the past few years, and archaeologists continue to be impressed by the size and span of this massive religious shrine that was built for worshippers of ancient Egypt’s most famous goddess.

Another noteworthy find during the most recent digs was a house that once belonged to a supervisor of workers. Among the ruins of this structure, the archaeologists salvaged the paper remains of some worker records, which included these individuals’ names, job duties, and salaries. This type of data is highly treasured by historical researchers since it gives them valuable insights into how average people lived long ago.

In Egypt, an Archaeologist’s Job is Never Finished

The archaeologists from the latest Supreme Council mission to Gabal El Haridi have found many important ruins and relics connected to the Ptolemaic dynasty period in particular. This transformational time in Egyptian history saw the nation develop one of the most substantial centres of Greek culture in the ancient world. This represents a remarkable evolution, given everything Egyptians accomplished within the boundaries of their own distinctive culture.

Egypt’s history is colourful and cosmopolitan, and because the land is so rich in ancient artefacts it is a history the world has gotten to know quite well.

No matter how long archaeologists keep digging in Egypt, they keep finding fantastic reminders of the country’s ancient glory. The Gabal El Haridi region in Sohag is just one of many sites that have produced a treasure trove of revealing ruins from an ancient culture that continues to fascinate the world.

Aztec House and Floating Gardens Discovered Under Mexico City

Aztec House and Floating Gardens Discovered Under Mexico City

Archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a dwelling that was built up to 800 years ago during the Aztec Empire in the Centro neighbourhood of Mexico City, Mexico, during works to modernize the area.

Aztec House and Floating Gardens Discovered Under Mexico City
Excavated walls of the Aztec house, and one of the funerary vessels.

The centuries-old abode was discovered by archaeologists and construction workers ahead of an initiative to update electrical power substations.

The dwelling is believed to date from the late Postclassic period (A.D. 1200 to 1521) and would have been located on the border of two neighbourhoods in the city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, according to a statement from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). It spans over 4,300 square feet (400 square meters), or about half the size of a baseball diamond.

During the Late Postclassic, the area that is now being excavated was a residential and agricultural centre, and archaeologists at the site also found the remains of channels and a jetty (a platform where boats stop to load or unload) used in the Aztec chinampa method of farming.

The chinampa technique involved growing crops on small areas of artificial land (sometimes referred to as floating gardens) on shallow lake beds.

Archaeologists found more Aztec artefacts in the residential area of the excavations. Under the Aztec building’s thick adobe floors, the excavation team found a pair of funerary vessels that contain the bone remains of infants, as well as several burials associated with an offering of censers (vessels in which incense is burned), whorls (a spinning machine or spindle) and spinning tools.

The researchers also unearthed a stone statue that stands just over 23.5 inches (60 centimetres) tall. The statue, also from the late Postclassic period, depicts a man wearing a loincloth who looks as if he is throwing something.

Archaeologists believe that the statue may have been unfinished, as it lacks polish on the body, and they speculated that it may have been hidden at the time of Spanish intervention in the Aztec Empire, which began around A.D. 1521 according to the statement.

Investigations into the remains of the dwelling also show evidence of saddlery and ceramic workshop, which existed on the site in the colonial era of the 16th and 17th centuries. 

During the 19th century, it’s possible that part of this site was used as public baths, archaeologist Alicia Bracamontes Cruz, who is involved with the excavation, said in the statement.

Researchers uncovered remnants of these baths, including bathroom tile floors and a drainage system. It’s likely that wealthy people used these baths, according to descriptions in the chronicles of José María Marroquí, a 19th-century Mexican physician and historian.

Archaeological work is expected to continue in the area as a pipeline bank is constructed to go inside the new substation.

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