What is a River Terrace?
River terraces are either raised sections of land next to a river, or areas where a river once existed but, over time, has dried up. They are formed by erosion when a river cuts through a flood plain. The terraces can range from only one, to many. River terraces can also be formed through tectonic plate movements, degradation and human activity.
The cutting of the river channels were affected by the differences in sea level changes. When the sea levels were low, the rivers ran faster which meant the channels were cut deeper; at times of high sea levels the rivers ran slower and therefore there was a build up in silt and other deposits, including archaeological ones.
Archaeologists use the information relating to the periods of high and low sea levels to assist with the dating of artefacts and remains – mainly through Relative Dating – however, this does have its limits and the dating of some findings are debatable.
River terraces are found throughout the world and are especially known in Africa where, due to climate change, there have been many wet and dry periods.
Archaeology Wow!! – The Arthur Stone, Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
The Arthur Stone is a relatively small piece of slate that was found during excavations at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall – a site linked with the legendary King Arthur.
Tintagel Castle is beleived to be have once been held by Outher Pendragon, Arthur’s father, according to legend. With myth, magic, legend and its imposing setting upon the craggy cliffs of the turbulent Cornish coast Tintagel has attracted a lot of attention through the years – including historians and archaeologists.
During the 1990’s excavations were carried out at part of the site and it was during this time that a small piece of slate was found. The context in which the slate was uncovered showed it had been used as a drain cover during the 12th century.
The lettering carved upon the slate immediately drew interest with Arthurian enthusiasts as they believed the lettering ARTOGNOV to be that of the famed King Arthur.
The slate measures 297 mm x 192 mm across and diagonally 348 mm x 228 mm, and the material is local to Tintagel, so it was quarried and made within the area.
The slate was examined by the University of Glasgow through microscopic analysis and it was found that there were many natural lines and scratches upon its surface and natural wear, as well as the inscribed lettering.
The Roman lettering IIAVG or HAVG is beleived by experts to relate to the word Augustus or Augusti – the Imperial title and date from the 3rd – 4th centuries. The Romans are believed to have been in Cornwall around that time and it is concluded that the inscription possibly relates to Legio II AUGUSTA, with the piece of slate having been a label for either a store, dwelling, or tax office.
The lettering PATERN (I) dates to the 5th century and is beleived to represent St Paternus, a 5th-6th century Saint with links to King Arthur.
ARTOGNOV is beleived to be the name Arthur and dates to c.550. This date is given through linguistic elements and beleived to represent a Celtic-British name. Arthur was a popular name for the time and as there is no regal prefix, it is thought to just be an inscription of the name but no definite representation for King Arthur.
Tintagel Castle is known to have been a place of trade and exchange during the 5th – 6th centuries, distributing goods as far afield as Cadbury Castle in Somerset and to the kingdom of Wessex. Although a place of great importance in its time, the castle ruins that remain date from the 12th century. There is still no definite proof of it being associated with King Arthur – and isn’t Arthur a fictional character??
Archaeological Site Guide – Edessa, Turkey
Edessa is an ancient city, founded in 304 BC in Upper Mesopotamia, part of which is modern day Turkey. Edessa has been known by several names, including Adma, Orhay, Osroe, and Antiochia.
Edessa began its life as a small Bronze Age settlement. In 304 BC Seleucus I Nicator founded the site as a new Greek city. Its origins date much earlier than this as cuniforms from 7th century Assyria mention it. It was ruled by kings and was the capital of the Abgar Dynasty.
During the 4th Century BC the city was walled, and therefore this suggests it was defended. It had a reputation of social and economic importance and was a center for trade and exchange.
The city came under Roman rule between 115-118 when it was occupied by Trajan, and a temple dedicated to the Roman God Zeus has been uncovered from this date. Edessa was once again occupied by the Romans between 216-224.
The residents of Edessa adopted the Christian faith and in 609 it was rebuilt by Emperor Justin and renamed Justinopolis.
In 1956 mosaics were uncovered in the city’s ruins and excavations have been ongoing since 1967. Large sections of the city walls remain which still stand to 5 m in height in some places. The paved main street, which stretched across the whole of the city, still survives and is faced by the remains of the old shops.
Edessa is an incredible sight and certainly going on my bucket list!!
Great Books to Read…….
Activity – Word Search 5 June 2015