Remains of Graeco-Roman Senate Building Unearthed in Egypt
With a history as rich as Egypt’s, there’s really no limit to the type of discoveries that can be unearthed between Sinai to Siwa and down to Aswan.
North Sinai holds the remains of the ancient Egyptian city of Pelusium – an area now known as Tell Farama, which dates back to the Greek, Roman, and Ptolemaic ages.
Remains of a huge Graeco-Roman building, believed to have been the Roman Empire’s main senate, has been unearthed at the Pelusiam archaeological site near North Sinai.
The building was found by the Egyptian archaeological mission working on location in Tel al-Farma in cooperation with the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
The 2,500 sqm building consists of bricks and limestone and contains three main amphitheaters covered with marble.
With the remains of three 60 cm-thick circular benches found at the third amphitheater made of red brick.
“The building was most probably used as a headquarters for the Senate Council of Pelusium, one of the North Sinai’s old cities,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The initial studies conducted on architectural planning and the construction of the building indicated that it was used to hold meetings for the citizens’ representatives.
During the rule of the Ptolemies and Romans for taking important decisions about the public affairs of the city and its citizens, Waziri said.
Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said the 2,500-square-metre building shaped from outside as a rectangular, with circular terraces and the main gate located on the eastern side.
He pointed out that the interior design of the building consists of the remains of three 60 cm-thick circular benches which were built of red brick and covered with marble.
The mission also uncovered the main streets of Pelusium city, Ashmawy added.
He explained that during the fifth and sixth century AD, the building was used as a quarry where the stones, bricks, and columns were extracted from their original places for use in the construction of other buildings in the city.
Mysterious 4,000-year-old grave reveals boy and girl buried face to face
In a cemetery dating back about 4000 years, in Kazakhstan, the bodies of a young man and women were discovered buried face to face, probably in their twenties. You might be in a romantic connection they were a couple.
The bodies of a man and woman who died 4,000 years ago have been found buried face-to-face in a grave in Kazakhstan.
Archaeologists discovered the burial in an ancient cemetery that has remains of humans and horses, Kazakhstan archaeologists said in a Kazakh-language statement.
The man and woman were buried with a variety of grave goods that includes jewelry (some of which is gold), knives, ceramics, and beads. The remains of horses were also found near the burial.
While some media reports claim that the archaeologists also found the burial of a priestess nearby, the archaeologists made no mention of this in their statement.
While the statement says that the pair is “young” it doesn’t give an age range.
It’s not clear what killed the man and woman or their exact relationship to each other, including whether they were romantically involved.
The rich burial goods suggest that the man and woman came from wealthy families, archaeologists said in their statement.
Archaeological remains found at other sites in Kazakhstan suggest that the pair lived at a time when fighting and conflicts occurred frequently in the region, archaeologists also said.
Excavation of the cemetery and analysis of the remains are ongoing. The archaeological team is led by Igor Kukushkin, an archaeology professor at Saryarka Archaeological Institute at Karaganda State University in Kazakhstan. Live Science was unable to reach Kukushkin at the time this story was published.
Numerous archaeological remains have been uncovered in Kazakhstan. In 2016, a team led by Kukushkin found the remains of a 3,000-year-old, pyramid-shaped mausoleum.
In 2014, a different team of archaeologists identified 50 geoglyphs with various shapes and sizes, including a massive swastika, that appear to date as far back as 2,800 years.
Archaeologists Have Finally Found Greece’s Lost City Of Tenea
The story goes, that Tenea was founded by the survivors of the Trojan War in the 12th or 13th century BC, Until now, its location (and very existence) was entirely reliant on the words of historical text.
But the Ministry of Culture of the country announced the discovery of jewelry, pottery and even infrastructures by a team of archeologists, seemingly confirming where it was on a site near the village of Chiliomodi in southern Greece.
It’s a city that the ancient Greeks thought was settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy in the 12th or 13th century BC and up to now showed up only in texts.
Also found were household pottery, a bone gaming die, and 200 coins dating from the 4th century BC and up to later in the Roman era.
Specifically, coins discovered were dated to the era of Roman emperor Septimius Severus, who ruled from 193 to 211.
Past digs have found clues near the city, but the most recent excavation uncovered the “city’s urban fabric,” including floors, walls and door openings, the culture ministry said, according to USA Today.
An unsettling discovery was a pottery jar containing the remains of two human fetuses, within the foundations of a building. Usually in Greek culture, the dead were buried in cemeteries.
Legend says the city thrived until the end of the Roman Empire, at which point it seems to have been damaged in a Gothic invasion. According to the Ministry, the city may have been left deserted in the 6th century CE during the Avar and Slavic raids.
Lead archaeologist Elena Korka told the Associated Press that the discoveries indicated the citizens of Tenea had been “remarkably affluent.”
The city would have been located on a trade route between the cities of Corinth and Argos in the northern Peloponnese.
“(The city) had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west… and had its own thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies,” she told the AP.
Throughout history, not much was known about Tenea, apart from ancient references to the reputed link with Troy and to its citizens having formed the bulk of the Greek colonists who founded the city of Syracuse in Sicily.
Korka said more should emerge during the excavations, which will continue over the coming years.
″(The city) had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west … and had its own way of thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies,” she said.
According to Reuters, among the findings was a golden coin to pay for the journey to an afterlife and an iron ring with a seal that depicted the Greek god Serapis sitting on a throne, Cerberus, which is a three-headed mythical dog that guards the gates of Ades, beside him.
The Trojan War is believed to have taken place near the end of the Bronze Age, around 1200 B.C. It took place around the time that a civilization called Mycenaean was active in Greece. They built palaces and developed a system of writing.
The earliest accounts of this war come from Homer, who lived around the eighth century B.C., several centuries after the events that took place. They do not appear to have been written down until even later, likely during the sixth century B.C.
The site of Hisarlik, in northwest Turkey, has been identified as Troy. It was inhabited for almost 4,000 years starting around 3000 B.C. After one city was destroyed, a new city would be built on top.
“There is no one single Troy; there are at least 10, lying in layers on top of each other,” writes University of Amsterdam researcher Gert Jan van Wijngaarden in a chapter of the book Troy: City, Homer, and Turkey.
4,000-Year-Old Ancient Babylonian Tablet is Oldest Customer Service Complaint Ever Discovered
People lived, worked and spent time in old Mesopotamia, just as we live with our families today. They also had daily issues, and clay tablets discovered at the site of the ancient city of Ur, today Tell el-Muqayyar in southern Iraq, show some of them.
Nanni, probably a man of business or a craftsman, wrote a letter to Ea-Nasir about four thousand years ago, according to Quartz, complaining that the ingots he bought were of lower quality and that Ea-Nassir had treated him poorly by not reimbursing his cash.
To collect his cash in individual Nanni would have had to cross enemy land. The following was written by him:
“How have you treated me for that copper? You have withheld my money bag from me in enemy territory; it is now up to you to restore (my money) to me in full.
Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.”
The tablets were inscribed in cuneiform, one of the first written languages in the Middle East. According to Britannica.com, Europeans first learned of ancient writings that were not in languages such as the Arabic, Egyptian, Hebrew or Greek usually found on tablets in 1602.
In 1700, Thomas Hyde, a British Professor of Arabic, Regius chair of Hebrew, and author of Historia religion is veterum Persarum (The History of the Religion of Ancient Persia), called the new language “cuneiform.”
It took until the 19th century to decipher cuneiform, and the practice still goes on in the form of “Assyriology” so named because the earliest cuneiform writing to be found came from Nineveh, the largest city of the ancient Assyrian empire.
The area of Mesopotamia was located in modern-day Iraq, eastern Syria, and southeast Turkey, in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It lasted until about the 7th century AD, approximately three thousand years, and their civilization affected the entire world.
Mathematics, the division of time into sections, astronomy, architecture, and astrology were practiced by the Mesopotamians at this time, as was a basic legal system.
Literature flourished with historical tales, myths of kings and queens, and fantastic animals, birds, and fish. Art and sculpture grew during the Mesopotamian years starting with simple terracotta statues and gradual improvement to finely detailed carvings.
Another set of tablets written in cuneiform from old Babylon was found in 1976 by Jacobus van Dijk, Professor Emeritus of Archeology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
While the actual tablet is now missing, van Dijk made a copy of the tablet, with a short translation. Because of the unpolished style of writing, he assumed the message was written by a student.
The writings were studied by Michael P. Streck, Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Head of the Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Leipzig in Germany, and Nathan Wasserman, Professor of Assyriology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
They call the tablets “wisdom literature” due to the riddles and metaphors. They could be compared to Benjamin Franklin’s Silence Dogood essays published in his own newspaper, the New-England Courant in 1722.
The tablets were made from soft clay bricks and either written or stamped characters were added before the clay was completely dry. They were used for letters, proclamations, stories and just about everything we currently put on paper.
Streck and Wasserman reported that there are political jokes, riddles, and toilet humor, just like today. They even found the earliest form of “yo’ mama” jokes written on the tablet. It goes to show that people have always been much the same anytime and anywhere.
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 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 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 condition, making it a valuable find.
Kristina Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist, wrote for Forbes that the ornamentation on the artifacts found in the tomb suggest 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 the 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.
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.
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 into the research on Minoan and Mycenaean origins.