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New discoveries at Abydos

Posted by [email protected] on November 26, 2016 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

The head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector, Mahmoud Afify, announced Wednesday the discovery of a cemetery and a residential city dating back to 5,316 BCE, the beginning of an important dynastic period.

The discovery was made during excavations conducted by an Egyptian archaeological mission belonging to the Ministry of Antiquities, 400 meters south of King Seti I Temple at Abydos city in Sohag governorate.

The cemetery and residential city most probably belonged to senior officials who were responsible for building the cemeteries of the royal family in Abydos city.

Remains of huts and daily life tools were found in the site, including the remains of pottery and stone tools, which indicates that the residential city supplied the labor force engaged in the construction of royal tombs with food and drink, according to Afify.

Afify stressed the importance of this discovery, saying it could lead to new information on the history of Abydos city and on ancient Egyptian history in general.

He praised the fact that the discovery had been made by an archaeological mission that belongs to the Antiquities Ministry, and not a foreign mission.

As for the head of the Central Administration of Upper Egypt Antiquities, Hany Aboul Azm, he commented that the mission has so far discovered 15 huge cemeteries made of mudbrick.

Aboul Azm said that the huge size of the tombs underlines the importance of their owners, their influence and social status during that early period of ancient Egyptian history.

The cemeteries are distinguished by many mastabas -- a type of ancient Egyptian tomb made of mudbrick, rectangular in plan with sloping sides and a flat roof -- up to four in some cemeteries, said Yasser Mahmoud Hussein, the head of the mission which made the discovery.

The oldest known mastabas were all located in Saqqara, before this discovery was made in Abydos, he pointed out.

Hussein explained that the mission comprises a group of young Egyptian archaeologists specialized in excavations, pottery, paintings and human bones.

Jarlshof Prehistoric Complex

Posted by edwinswagger on June 5, 2016 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)




Jarlshof is the best known prehistoric archaeological site in Shetland, Scotland. It lies near the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland and has been described as "one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles". It contains remains dating from 2500 BC up to the 17th century AD.


Landowner John Bruce initially investigated the site between 1897 and 1905. Over the next 50 years Jarlshof attracted the attention of some of the most eminent archaeologists of the early 20th century, including Dr A.E. Curle, Professor V.G. Childe, Dr J.S. Richardson and finally J.R.C. Hamilton, who published the excavation results in 1957.


The earliest remains on the site are late Neolithic houses, followed by Bronze Age houses, two of which have underground passages attached, known as souterrains. These may have served as cold stores. A third souterrain curls beneath the hearth of one of the buildings and might have been for keeping grain dry. Smithing also took place in one of these. A broch was built in the Iron Age: today half of it has been eroded into the sea. The broch was subsequently modified and when it went out of use, at least four wheelhouses were built, partly using stone from the higher levels of the broch. One of these wheelhouses is almost complete and has corbelled cells surviving which demonstrate skilled drystone work.

Jarlshof boasts an impressive Norse settlement possibly originating in the 9th century. The earliest longhouse was in use for several generations, being modified and lengthened over time. The settlement expanded with the construction of further longhouses, barns and byres, but by the 13th century this had been replaced by a Medieval farmstead, comprising a farmhouse, barn and corn-drier.

From 1592 Sumburgh was leased to William Bruce of Symbister. Between 1604 and 1605 the estate fell into the possession of Earl Patrick but soon reverted back to the Bruce family. The property was ransacked by Earl Patrick in 1608 and reduced to ruins by the end of the century. The stones in the courtyard are believed to mark the graves of shipwrecked sailors.


The Bronze Age settlers left evidence of several small oval houses with thick stone walls and various artefacts including a decorated bone object. The Iron Age ruins include several different types of structure including a broch and a defensive wall around the site. The Pictish period provides various works of art including a painted pebble and a symbol stone. The Viking age ruins make up the largest such site visible anywhere in Britain and include a longhouse; excavations provided numerous tools and a detailed insight into life in Shetland at this time. The most visible structures on the site are the walls of the Scottish period fortified manor house, which inspired the name "Jarlshof" that first appears in an 1821 novel by Walter Scott.

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