Monthly Round-Up - March 2022

Lost Ship Found! Scientists Find Endurance

One of the biggest news stories to start off the month, scientists have found and surveyed the lost ship Endurance. A video of the ship has been released, where you can view the almost pristine preserved remains of the ship. 

 

The ship was used by the British explorer Ernest Shakleton. The ship has been found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea at the Antarctic. It sank in 1915, after it was crushed by sea-ice, but the crew managed to escape! Shakleton and the crew set out on expedition in 1914 from London, they were planning to be the first to sail across the whole Antarctic continent. 

 

The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust have been searching for the lost ship, which was difficult due to the moving sea-ice, freezing temperatures and even blizzards! It was found 3,000 metres deep, using modern technology to survey and explore the area. 

Pictish Symbol Stone Found in Scotland

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Image source: The University of Aberdeen

A rare Pictish stone has been found in near Dundee, Scotland. It was found in a farmers field, as part of a geophysical survey by Aberdeen University. Often these stones have been found by farmers as they plough their fields. The University of Aberdeen have been studying this area, and excavating test pits but they didn’t expect to find such a spectacular stone!

 

The stone, which dates to the 5th or 6th Century CE, is covered in carved symbols – triple ovals, a cmob and mirror, a crescent and V rod and double discs. There are only 200 other symbol stones known in Scotland. 

 

 

The stone was found near the site of the Battle of Nechtansmere, an important site for the formation of Scotland. Professor Noble, from The University of Aberdeen, hopes that the stone will help us understand more about the area of Angus, and its importance to the kingdoms of Alba and Scotland.

 

The stone is now in a conservation lab, where it will be studied and hopefully researchers will understand its symbols! Historic Environment Scotland have funded radiocarbon dating. 

Sacred Pool Aligned With The Stars

Archaeologists have been excavating a site on Motya, a Phonecian Island which is near to Sicily. The project, led by Professor Nigro, have been excavating the area since 2010. 

 

The site is a 2500 year old man-made basin. It was originally thought to be a military harbour, called Kothon. At the centre of the basin is a pool, which was built in 550BC. Archaeologists drained the basin and discovered that it was man-made – and therefore couldn’t be a sea harbour! The project have surveyed the area around the pool, and found religious temples, stele and altars. 

 

Archaeologists have mapped the religious sites and remains, and discovered that they are aligned with the stars! This helps archaeologists understand some of the beliefs of the people that lived on ancient Motya. 

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Image Source: Antiquity

Resting Place of British Monarchs Discovered! 

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Professor Ken Dark, from the University of Reading and the University of Nevarra has discovered the burials of 60 Kings, at 20 different sites in England and Wales. The burials date from the 5th to 6th century AD, around the time of the legend of King Arthur. Until now, only one royal grave has been found. 

 

Prof. Dark has surveyed and studied 1000s of burials and looked at patterns in the graves. He found that only some of the graves were surrounded by a ditch – which may be a marker of the elite & special graves. He believes that this must be the missing graves of British monarchs! 

 

The graves have been found around Wales, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. Prof. Dark has also identified 11 sites that may be royal burial complexes. 

 

This study is helping archaeologists and historians to understand this period of history, which we don’t have a lot of information about.  

Image Source: Ken Murphy/Dyfed Archaeological Trust (via. livescience)

Temples Discovered in Mexico

Archaeologists have been excavating the archaeological zone of Tehuacán Viego, Puebla, Mexico, and shared in March that they have found two pre-Hispanic temples! Archaeologists have been excavating the temples since 2019, but work was paused until 2021.  

Tehuacán Viego was the political centre of the region from AD1000- AD1456. Archaeologists have already discovered buildings, squares and housing at the city, as well as pyramidal bases (bases for temples). It it thought that only 12% of the site has been excavated so far. 

The temples were dedicated to Mesoamerican gods. One of the newly found temple bases also has an altar dedicated to Xipe Totec (meaning ‘Our Lord the Flayed One’ in Nahuatl) which was the Mesoamerican god of spring. The other temple was dedicated to Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl, the Mesoamerican god of air and winds. 

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Image Source: Mauricio Galvez Rosalez - INAH

Ancient Ship with Trade Goods Found!

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An ancient ship has been found, which sunk 1,700 years ago! The ship sunk in Mallorca, most likely on a journey from Spain to Italy. The ship ( known as the Ses Fontanelles Wreck) has sat in the shallow sands off the bay, and has been known for 3 years after a storm revealed the ship. However, only recently have archaeologists been able to explore the trade goods which sunk with the ship. 

Amongst the trade goods are hundreds of amphora filled with wine, olives, oil and garum. Archaeologists have been able to recover 300 amphora, as well as some other items, including a leather shoe, rope shoe, cooking pot, oil lamp and a Roman carpenter’s drill! The sands have helped to preserve organic material, like textiles and the wood of the hull.  This is one of the largest amounts of traded items found on board a wreck!

 

The Arquemallornauta project has been preserving and exploring wreck and its cargo. They have analysed the minerals in the amphoras clay to find that it was setting sail from the Cartagena region of Spain. 

Image Source: ose A Moya/Arqueomallornauta - Consell de Mallorca, Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad de Cádiz, Universitat de les Illes Balears

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