Chimú vessel found in Biłgoraj county, eastern Poland

A Facebook post published on the 16th of July described an unusual find in Biłgoraj county in eastern Poland. In the 2nd half of 2020, a very fragmented and destroyed pottery vessel, found in the attic, was delivered to the Biłgoraj Region Museum. After the initial analysis, this pottery artifact was identified as the product of the Peruvian Chimú culture, a strange find indeed. The vessel has a characteristic incised and anthropomorphic decoration as well as an iconic form of the stirrup spout bottle. The dark color of the surface is the result of low oxygen reduction atmosphere in which the pot has been fired.

 

 

Naczynie kultury Chimú odnalezione w okolicach Biłgoraja © K. Grochecki
Chimú vessel found in the Biłgoraj county
© K.Grochecki

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Poles on the Fringes of Mesoamerica

Archaeologists from the University of Warsaw have commenced archaeological excavations at a pre-Hispanic site in El Salvador. Apart from a few mentions in the literature and sporadic, mostly informal, visits by local and foreign archaeologists, the site of San Isidro remained hitherto uninvestigated.

Wykopaliska na El Cerrito – największa struktura San Isidro © J. Szymański / PASI, zdjęcie na licencji CC BY 4.0
Excavations at El Cerrito – the largest structure at San Isidro
© J. Szymański / PASI, zdjęcie na licencji CC BY 4.0

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[INTERVIEW] Rolling in the deep – emerald mines in the desert

Some time ago we wrote about the ancient port of Berenike on the Red Sea coast. This time we had an opportunity to talk with dr Joan Oller Guzmán from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, who in 2020 and 2021 conducted an archaeological survey in the Mons Smaragdus region of the Egyptian Eastern Desert. This region was known in Antiquity as the only source of emeralds within the borders of the Roman Empire! 

We invite you venture further into this article, where dr. Guzmán tells us about exploring underground galleries and what they have found in the dungeons deep.

“Świątynia południowa” w Wadi Sikait, Egipt © J. O. Guzman
“South temple” in Wadi Sikait, Egypt
© J. O. Guzman

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Animal dung as a strategic resource in the kingdom of Mari

Kings of Mari controlled an important trade route in the valley of the Euphrates River in the 3rd and early 2nd millennium BCE. Although their country was situated in an area with unfavourable conditions for agriculture, the economy of the kingdom of Mari could support a big population. The key to understanding this paradox is animal dung.

The kingdom of Mari was the most powerful country of north Mesopotamia in the 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. Its power is reflected both by the size of its capital (modern archaeological site of Tell Hariri), which occupied an area of more than 60 hectares – more than Cracow in the 13th century – and by the fact that six of its rulers were included in the Sumerian King List, that is a record of the dynasties that were regarded as those holding superior power in Sumer. The dynasty from Mari was the only dynasty from north Mesopotamia on this list. 

Sala tronowa w pałacu Zimri-Lima, ostatniego króla Mari fot. Herbert Frank (opublikowano na licencji CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The throne room in the palace of Zimri-Lima, the last Mari king
Photo: Herbert Frank
(Published under CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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Eneolithic Travelers of the Bell Beakers in north-east Poland

In Supraśl, on the Polish-Belarusian border, unique objects of Bell Beaker communities were discovered. They might have been linked to distant regions of the Atlantic coast and the British Isles. Is it possible that the artefacts would be the traces of the Eneolithic travelers, who like Marco Polo, travelled thousands of miles in search of new, valuable and exotic raw materials and objects?

Obiekt rytualny ze stanowiska 3 w Supraślu © A. Cetwińska
Ritual feature from site 3 at  Supraśl
© A. Cetwińska

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Newly discovered cathedral in Dongola – Polish research in Sudan

Archaeologists working in Old Dongola (Sudan) found the remains of what may be the largest church known from medieval Nubia. Newly discovered cathedral could have been the seat of an archbishop governing the church hierarchy over a 1000 km-long stretch along the Nile, between the 1st and 5th cataracts. The archbishop of Dongola oversaw the bishop of Faras, whose cathedral with its famous wall paintings was discovered by Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski 60 years ago.

Trójwymiarowa wizualizacja nowoodkrytego kompleksu il. CAŚ UW - A. Wujec
3D visualisation of the newly discovered complex
il. PCMA UW – A. Wujec

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Suffocated with smoke. Massacre in Kan-Gohar Cave, Iran

The cruel commander Malek Ashraf attacked the town of Bavanat in 1342, during the civil war in Iran. The inhabitants of the town had hidden in a cave located nearby. Since their shelter was difficult to access the soldiers made a great fire at the entrance to the cave. The refugees could try to jump over the fire, straight into the hands of the attacking forces, but most were suffocated with the smoke. Modern archaeologists reveal tragic mysteries of the massacre by analysing burned bones found in the Kan-Gohar Cave.

Szczątki ludzkie (i kość zwierzęca) z irańskiej jaskini Kan-Gohar, obecnie w Ośrodku Medycyny Sądowej Prowincji Fars Fot. Mahsa Nadżafi
Human remains (and animal bone) from Iran’s Kan-Gohar cave,
currently at the Forensic Medicine Centre of Fars Province
photo: Mahsa Najafi

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New opening

Nearly 15 years ago, in June 2006, I decided to experiment, set up a blog and published my first post on the just-announced probable location of an ancient Indian port reached by Roman traders. I assumed that I would publish some archaeological news every day and if, after a month, there were dozens of visits a day, I would continue.

The information was to be given fairly lightly to make it accessible to non-specialists, but at the same time based on the most direct sources I could reach to avoid the distortions and misrepresentations that stick to every piece of information travelling through the media and the internet.

To my surprise, after a month the blog had several hundred visits a day, so Archeowieści became a part of the Internet for good. Quite soon the interest and reactions (including many very nice opinions and gestures from the scientific community) exceeded my wildest imagination and finally I decided to transform the blog into a service.

In total, I wrote ArchaeNews for 10 years. Eventually, however, due to financial reasons I had to devote my time to other activities.

Today Archeowieści is back. New life will be given to them by archaeologists from the University of Warsaw. I only share the domain and the profile on Facebook. The fact that they decided to blog under the brand I created is another very nice and totally unexpected result of my experiment from almost 15 years ago.

I sincerely wish you good luck and many readers!

Wojciech Pastuszka

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From the very beginning of the creation of Archeowieści we have been following the information appearing there with interest. We ourselves have also had the opportunity to pass on news of our discoveries. Sometimes Archeowieści was the first place where you could read about the current research of Polish archaeologists and take part in often very lively discussions about them. It is not without a reason, that Wojciech Pastuszka was awarded twice for the popularisation of archaeology: in 2011 with Krzysztof Dąbrowski Award and in 2010 in the competition “Populizer of Science” of PAP’s Science in Poland service, in cooperation with Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

It is a great honour for us that we can continue the activity of Archeowiesta, although we realise that the bar has been set very high. We hope, however, that the whole team, consisting of the staff, PhD students and Archaeology Department students of the University of Warsaw will be able to come at least close to the level of Archeowiesta from the times when the blog was run by Wojciech Pastuszka and popularize archaeology in a reliable, but at the same time light and comprehensible way. We want the blog created by professional archaeologists to be a friendly place for all readers interested in knowledge about the past.

We invite you to read it!

Julia M. Chyla, Miron Bogacki, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak