🧐 Ancient Beat #12: Underground stone circles, the dawn of farming, and the Incense Route
ROTA has a new name! Also, underground stone circles, the dawn of farming, and the Incense Route
Hi folks, welcome issue #12 of… the Ancient Beat! Yep, as I mentioned last week, I decided to change the name. Everything else will remain the same.
One other note before we get into the latest news. My wife and I will be on vacation next week so you won’t hear from me for two weeks. I imagine we’ll have a lot to talk about in issue #13! 🏝
Now let’s get into this week’s ancient news 👇
🗞 Ancient News
Unknown stone circle found inside Cornwall Neolithic henge — A previously unknown stone circle was found inside Castilly Henge in England using ground-penetrating radar. The stone circle is comprised of seven stones. And it, “has given us a deeper understanding of the complexity of this site and its importance to Cornish history over thousands of years." The henge surrounding it is a 225’ by 205’ oval which is thought to have been built between 3,000 and 5,000 BCE.
Ancient DNA maps ‘dawn of farming’ — Geneticists sequenced genomes from the remains of hunt-gatherers and early farmers in southwest Asia along the migration route of the Danube River, and in western Anatolia. The study found that Anatolian farmers came from the mixing of European and Middle Eastern hunter-gatherers. Then, 8,000 years ago, farmers spread from Anatolia into Europe, little by little, bringing farming west. And they occasionally mixed with European hunter-gatherers. “It’s really the spread of people, of farming communities, that brought farming further west.”
Ukrainian soldiers find ancient amphorae whilst digging defenses — While digging trenches, Ukrainian soldiers found large, two-handled jars with slender necks known as amphorae. Amphorae, in general, go all the way back to the Neolithic period and were used to transport goods. These particular amphorae date back to the 3rd or 4th century CE. Archaeologists can’t document the site currently, but the soldiers successfully moved the pieces to the Odessa Archaeological Museum.
Ancient trash a treasure in mapping first steps to globalization on Incense Route — It has long been thought that camel merchants carried goods one way on the Incense Route: east to west. But by studying ancient midden heaps at inns along the Incense Route in the Negev Desert, researchers now know that they brought goods both ways, in what they call a “process of pre-modern globalization.” Finds included shellfish from the Nile and Mediterranean, as well as various types of fruit. This is the first time that these midden heaps have been investigated thoroughly. From them, we can learn where everything came from, how it was packed, how it was cooked, and so forth. The researchers hope that what they find will help to build “more sustainable arid-land economies” in the future.
Analysis of ancient incense found at Famen Royal Temple reflects importance of incense trade along the Silk Road — Here’s a little more on the incense trade. Researchers analyzed incense found at the Famen Royal Temple in China, which was built between 499 and 532 CE to house Sakyamuni’s (founder of Buddhism) finger bone. Results showed the earliest known example of a blending process called Hexiang. Interestingly, most of the ingredients were likely sourced from thousands of kilometers away, the researchers concluded that the transport of incense was extremely important and may have been a major catalyst for the development of the Silk Road.
Well-Preserved Iron Age Arrow Discovered in Norway — A remarkably well-preserved arrow was found recently in a Norwegian glacier. Dating to between 300 and 600 CE., the find includes an iron arrowhead, sinew, tar, thread, and feather fletching. It is thought to have been lost by a hunter who went into the mountains to hunt reindeer.
Decorative terracotta bowl found in Vembakottai archaeological site — A tiny 2-centimeter bowl was found at the Vembakottai archaeological site in India. The purpose is unknown but it is in excellent condition and has intricate designs. It is believed to be about 2,000 years old. An ivory pendant was also recently found at the site.
Archaeologists hail find of 'Seleucid satrap tomb’ in west-central Iran — Archaeologists have found a tomb which may hold a satrap (governor). It is located on a small hill in the Iranian city of Nahavand, which is now believed to go back to prehistoric times. Few Seleucid works have been found to date, so little is known about the architecture or burial customs. This discovery may change that.
Archaeologists Find Unexpected Source of Stone for King Herod’s Bathtubs — Until now, it was assumed that the fine calcite alabaster used in King Herod’s bath facilities came from Egypt, as no quarries had been found in the Levant. But in recent years, two have been found, and a new study showed that the bathtubs were, in fact, quarried in Israel. This suggests that the Judean calcite-alabaster industry was well-developed in the first century BCE. A little context: King Herod hoped to introduce Roman culture to Judea, hence the introduction of Roman bathing.
Study Suggests Herds Fueled Changes in Ancient Mongolia — By analyzing the Bronze Age consumption of dairy products in the Altai Mountains, researchers found that the consumption of dairy from sheep, goats, and cattle led to population growth. Then, around 1350 BCE, horse dairy began, and this coincides with the development of complex social systems and monumental constructions. The study shows that the spread of herds had significant impact on cultural development in the region.
Ancient Reliefs and Engravings Discovered During Restoration in Egypt’s Temple of Esna in Luxor — A restoration project at Esna Temple in Egypt revealed a painting depicting 46 vultures — 20 have the head of the Upper Egypt goddess Nekhbet, and 26 have the head of the Lower Egypt goddess Wadjet. While the temple’s engravings had been previously documented, this artwork (along with a Roman engraving) was covered in salt calcifications, debris, etc., and had not been seen in nearly 2,000 years. The article has photos.
❤️ Recommended Content
This article titled “How fear, sex and power shaped ancient mythology” discusses ancient goddesses, how they were perceived, and how they affected early cultures.
If you’d like to learn about the oldest archaeological sites on the planet, check out this article.
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to make olive oil like the ancient Egyptians did, look no further than this article.
This article isn’t archaeological, but some of you may find it interesting. Geologists have found remnants of prokaryotic and algal life trapped inside halite crystals. The crystals were dated to 830 million years, and the organisms within may actually be alive.
While the Minoan language called “Linear B” was translated in the 1950’s, “Linear A” has been a puzzle. And translating Linear A would help us get a much better understanding of the Minoan civilization going back to 1800 BCE. This article discusses an “extraordinary piece of detective work” that has brought us one step closer to understanding the language.
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(newish twitter: @jamesofthedrum)
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