The so-called Elephant’s Tomb in the Roman necropolis of Carmona (Seville, Spain) was not always used for burials. The original structure of the building and a window through which the sun shines directly in the equinoxes suggest that it was a temple of Mithraism, an unofficial religion in the Roman Empire. The position of Taurus and Scorpio during the equinoxes gives force to the theory.
The Carmona necropolis (Spain) is a collection of funeral structures from between the 1st century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D. One of these is known as the Elephant’s Tomb because a statue in the shape of an elephant was found in the interior of the structure.
The origin and function of the construction have been the subject of much debate. Archaeologists from the University of Pablo de Olavide (Seville, Spain) have conducted a detailed analysis of the structure and now suggest that it may originally not have been used for burials but for worshipping the God Mithras. Read more.
Rome - The temple built by Romulus to celebrate the hand of Jupiter giving Roman troops their unstoppable force has been found at the foot of the Palatine Hill, Italian archaeologists say. The ruins of the shrine to Jupiter Stator (Jupiter the Stayer), believed to date to 750 BC, were found by a Rome University team led by Andrea Carandini.
“We believe this is the temple that legend says Romulus erected to the king of the gods after the Romans held their ground against the furious Sabines fighting to get their women back after the famous Rape (abduction),” Carandini said in the Archeologia Viva (Living Archaeology) journal. Read more.
Wooden tablets aren’t the only priceless treasures to dot this desert oasis. Temple One of the Toop Baruch Mound may be the smallest temple in the world. It was discovered in Damagou Township. As a stop on the famed Silk Road, the little temple has been an astonishing discovery to the world.
Measuring 2 meters long, and 2 meters wide. It’s just enough space for one monk to perform his prayers.
Toop Baruch Mound means ’big mound’ in the Uygur language. Before it was excavated in 2000, it was indeed a big mound with rose willows growing on it.
Yet today, it’s considered one of the best preserved Buddhist temple relics in Taklamakan. Read more.
British archaeology has enjoyed a surge of interest of late, with the recent unearthing of Richard III in a certain Leicester car park. However, one London archaeological site remains in limbo: the Temple of Mithras is still waiting for its new home, as one of the City’s biggest ever digs continues.
The temple, dating from 240AD, has been dismantled and is currently in storage with the Museum of London. It’s awaiting a permanent home in the rebuilt Bucklersbury House on Queen Victoria Street, which is set to be the European headquarters of media giant Bloomberg LP.
Bloomberg was granted planning permission in 2010 to uproot the temple’s remains and incorporate them into its new corporate base. Read more.
One of the buildings excavated in the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Sozopol appears to have been a temple to Poseidon, going by the discovery of a large and relatively well-preserved altar to the Greek god.
This is according to Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of Bulgaria’s National History Museum.
Archaeologists found the building in front of the medieval fortified wall of the seaside town, Dimitrov said.
He said that the numerous pieces of marble found during excavations indicate that after the declaration of Christianity as the office religion of the Roman empire in 330 CE, the emperor’s order to destroy the temples of other religions was carried out, followed by the building of houses of worship dedicated to Christian saints, with iconography with features similar to that of the ancient gods. Read more.
Archaeologists working at the site of Bulgaria’s ancient sacred site of Perperikon have uncovered a third century CE temple as well as 10 portable altars originally used for animal sacrifices by pagans but into which Christian crosses were carved – and the altars then buried as the new religion sought to eradicate the old.
Perperikon, in Bulgaria’s eastern Rhodopes region, about 15km from the town of Kurdjali, has been the site of various forms of religious activity from about 7000 years ago, having first been used by the Thracians. The site is a popular tourist attraction and long-term archaeological work continues to unveil new discoveries. Read more.
Hampi is a village in the northern Karnataka state of southern India. Located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire (from 1336 to 1565), its history hails back to the 1st century C.E. It has been identified with the mythical kingdom of Kishkindha, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the hindu epic, Ramayana. Ruled by King Sugriva, the Vānara were ape-like humanoids described in the epic as possessing supernatural powers, able to change their shapes.
Today, Hampi lies within an area that boasts over 500 monuments dispersed across approximately 26 square kilometers of forested natural scenery. Years of research have uncovered a much larger area of settlement surrounding this Hampi urban core, a broader area that supported a large population over a region of about 650 square kilometers, including forts, walled settlements, temples and religious sites, mortuary sites, canals, fields, trade routes, the remains of industrial production sites, all within a scenic watershed featuring massive boulder outcrops. Read more.
Beijing, May 8 : Ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back to 1,500 years ago have been discovered in China’s largest desert, offering valuable insight for historians studying Buddhism’s spread from India to China, Xinhua news agency reported.
The temple’s main hall has a rare structure based around three square-shaped corridors and a huge Buddha statue.
“The hall is the largest of its kind found in the Taklimakan Desert since the first archaeologist came to work in the area in the 20th century,” said Wu Xinhua, the leading archaeologist of the excavation project. It is so far the best Buddhist site for scholars to study how the religion arrived in China from India, and its early development in the country, Wu told Xinhua.
Wu, who also heads the Xinjiang archeological team of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, said it could be uncovered after two months of hard work in China’s Xinjiang Uygur region.
The ruins are located in the south of the Taklimakan Desert, in the Tarim Basin, known as the Damago Oasis in the ancient kingdom of Khotan, a Buddhist civilisation believed to date back to the 3rd century BC. Read more.