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Martberg Archaeological Park

Martberg Archaeological Park

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National Archeological Park of Tierradentro

Several monumental statues of human figures can be seen in the park, which also contains many hypogea dating from the 6th to the 10th century. These huge underground tombs (some burial chambers are up to 12 m wide) are decorated with motifs that reproduce the internal decor of homes of the period. They reveal the social complexity and cultural wealth of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andes.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Parc archéologique national de Tierradentro

Le parc regroupe des statues monumentales de personnages humains et contient de nombreux hypogées construits entre le VI e et le X e siècle. Ces vastes tombes souterraines (certaines chambres mortuaires atteignent 12 m de large) sont ornées de motifs reproduisant les décorations intérieures des habitations de l'époque. Elles témoignent de la complexité sociale et de la richesse culturelle d'une société préhispanique du nord des Andes.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

منتزه تييرادينترو الوطني الأثري

في هذا المنتزه تماثيل عن شخصيّات بشريّة كما العديد من السراديب المشيّدة بين القرنين السادس والعاشر. تتزيّن هذه المقابر الواسعة القائمة تحت الأرض (ويبلغ عرض بعض غرف الموتى حوالى 21 متراً) بالرسوم التي تعكس الزينة الداخليّة لمنازل تلك الحقبة. وهي خير تجسيد للتعقيد الاجتماعي والثروة الثقافيّة لمجتمع شمال الآنديز السابق للحقبة الإسبانية.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Национальный археологический парк Тьеррадентро

На территории парка можно увидеть несколько монументальных человеческих статуй, а также много подземных захоронений «ипогеев», датируемых VI–X вв. Эти огромные подземные гробницы (некоторые погребальные камеры имеют ширину до 12 м) украшены изображениями, воспроизводящими внутреннюю отделку жилых домов того периода. Они указывают на социальную развитость и культурное богатство доиспанского общества в районе Северных Анд.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Parque Arqueológico Nacional de Tierradentro

Este parque agrupa estatuas monumentales prehispí¡nicas de personajes humanos y contiene numerosos hipogeos que datan de los siglos VI a X. Estas vastas tumbas subterrí¡neas de enormes dimensiones (algunas cí¡maras mortuorias tienen 12 metros de anchura) estí¡n ornamentadas con motivos que reproducen la decoración interior de las viviendas de ese periodo. Los monumentos del parque atestiguan la complejidad social y la riqueza cultural de una sociedad prehispí¡nica de la región andina septentrional.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Nationaal archeologisch park van Tierradentro

In het nationaal archeologisch park van Tierradentro zijn verschillende monumentale standbeelden van menselijke figuren te zien. Het park bevat ook veel hypogea uit de 6e tot de 10e eeuw. Deze enorme ondergrondse graven (sommige grafkamers zijn tot 12 meter breed) zijn versierd met motieven die de interne inrichting van woningen in die periode weergeven. Ze onthullen de sociale complexiteit en culturele rijkdom van een pre-Spaanse maatschappij in de noordelijke Andes, waarvan de economie onder andere bestond uit het maken van hypogea. Daarnaast werd er textiel en aardewerk vervaardigd. Hulpmiddelen als bijlen en schoffels maakte men van harde steen.

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Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

The National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro is located in the south-western of Colombia in Andean's central cordillera, in the municipality of Inzá, department of Cauca. Four areas, dispersed over a few square kilometres, make up the archaeological park: Alto de San Andrés, Alto de Segovia, Alto del Duende, El Tablón and as a site of importance but outside the park boundary the Alto del Aguacate. The park contains all known monumental shaft and chamber tombs of Tierradentro culture, the largest and most elaborate tombs of their kind.

The area holds the largest concentration of pre-Columbian monumental shaft tombs with side chambers--known as hypogea—which were carved in the volcanic tuff below hilltops and mountain ridges. The structures, some measuring up to 12 m wide and 7 m deep, were made from 600 to 900 AD, and served as collective secondary burial for elite groups. The degree of complexity achieved by the architecture of these tombs with chambers that resemble the interior of large houses is evident in the admirable carving in tuff of the stairs that give access to a lobby and the chamber, as well as in the skilful placement of core and perimeter columns that required very careful planning. The tombs are often decorated with polychrome murals with elaborate geometric, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic designs in red and black paint on a white background, and the chambers of the more impressive underground structures were also decorated with elaborate anthropomorphic carvings. The smaller hypogea vary from 2.5 m to 7 m in depth, with oval floors 2.5-3 m wide, while the chambers of the largest examples may be 10-12 m wide. Most impressive of the latter are those with two or three free-standing central columns and several decorated pilasters along the walls with niches between them.

The symbolic symmetry achieved between the houses of the living above ground and the underground hypogea for the dead, by means of a limited but elegant number of elements, not only conveys an aesthetic sensation but also evokes a powerful image of the importance of a new stage into which the deceased has entered and the continuity between life and death, between the living and the ancestors.

The present state of archaeological and anthropological knowledge suggests that the builders of the hypogea (underground tombs) lived in the mountain slopes and valleys in the area. In the valleys they established small settlements whereas on the hillsides settlement was dispersed, close to the fields. The oval-plan residential sites were built on artificial terraces, with rammed earth floors. The wooden frames were filled with wattle-and-daub and the roofs were thatched. There were no internal divisions and there was a single combustion zone, with wooden benches for sleeping. The magnitude of the underground works and the way in which human remains were disposed inside the hypogea indicate the existence of a hierarchical social and political structure based on chiefs with priestly functions. The stone statues of the Tierradentro region are of great importance. They are carved from stone of volcanic origin and represent standing human figures, with their upper limbs placed on their chests. Masculine figures have banded head-dresses, long cloths and various adornments whereas female figures wear turbans, sleeveless blouses and skirts. There are feline and amphibious representations manifested in sculptures.

Underground tombs with side chambers have been found over the whole of America, from Mexico to north-western Argentina, but their largest concentration is in Colombia. However, it is not only the number and concentration of these tombs at Tierradentro that is unique but also their structural and internal features.

Criterion (iii):The archaeological area of Tierradentro, with its complex of hypogeal, are a unique testimony to the everyday life, ritual and the singular conception of burial space, of a developed and stable society. It also reveals the social complexity and cultural wealth of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andean region of South America. The site provides a unique testimony to the high level of artistic and social culture of the region over its long prehispanic history.

The National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro was specifically delimited to include and preserve all known monumental hypogea of the Tierradentro culture. These 162 in situ pre-Columbian subterranean tombs are protected inside 4 sites: Alto de San Andres with 23 hypogea, the Alto de Segovia with 64 tombs, the Alto del Duende, with 13 burials, and the Alto del Aguacate with 62 hypogea arranged along a 250 meter long ridgeline. The park also includes the site of El Tablón where stone sculptures associated to tombs of earlier periods are also protected and placed on display. The hypogea are located inside areas than also contain undisturbed archaeological remains of all periods. Thus, the park, by including all monumental tombs and also their surrounding sites adequately preserves the attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the Tierradentro ceremonial complex.


The main attributes of Tierradentro hypogea are the architectural features of the tombs, including the stairs and chambers, and the internal decoration including carvings and mural paintings. Those features have retained their original characteristics. The sites were abandoned before the 13 Th century AD and modern occupation gradually uncovered the tombs, many of which were opened and looted during the 18 th and 19 th centuries. During the early 20 th century the Colombian government created the park, protecting them and starting inventory and scientific research. The architecture of the tombs has been preserved in most cases and interventions have been limited to those required for protecting the carvings or paintings from further natural deterioration or in few cases for reconstruction of structural columns and stairs. Natural erosion and earthquakes have affected a number of tombs but human interventions have not caused any significant change in the original layout and features of the tombs, although authenticity has been modified in some cases by inappropriate earlier interventions.

Protection and management requirements

The National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro was created in 1945 and declared a National Monument and National Archaeological Park in 1993 (Decree 774). The Colombian Constitution established that the properties of the archaeological heritage (including National Archaeological Parks) are a national and inalienable property. State provisions on the protection of Colombian archaeological heritage, in place since 1918, are applied effectively in the Tierradentro Park. Current regulations, including the General Law of Culture (No. 397 of 1997, modified by Law 1185 of 2009) prohibiting excavations or other archaeological interventions without a license issued by the ICANH are strictly enforced and strong measures are taken to prevent the looting and trafficking of cultural property. Research and preventive conservation measures called for in the legislation are continually carried out.

The park is a national property under the administration of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History-ICANH, the only national authority in archaeological heritage. The ICANH designs and executes annual plans to ensure the effective preservation and conservation of Tierradentro Archaeological Park. These include preservation, research, environmental studies, analysis of social contexts and management systems. These include also identifying and managing the main threats to the funerary structures and minimizing damages caused by earthquakes, which added to the high levels of interior relative humidity and the intrinsic characteristics of the volcanic tuffs from which they were excavated, can alter both the structural elements and decorative paint and carvings.

The open air public exhibition of 80 of the hypogea, 9 statues as well as related archaeological materials at the site´s museum serves to increase public awareness and support for cultural conservation efforts.

Using the annual plans as a basis, the master management plan for the World Heritage property will meet the following objectives: provide continuity to the preventive actions and interventions contemplated by the plan, strengthen opportunities for involving wider sectors of the community of the park's area of influence, particularly from the neighbouring indigenous resguardo of San Andrés de Pisimbalá, build strategic alliances to ensure the protection, continuity, and integrity of the site, identify the existence and distribution of site structures (excavated and unexcavated) using non-intrusive archaeological techniques and improve our understanding of the characteristics of each set of structures, including loads, resistance and vulnerability. To achieve these goals, the ICANH continually seeks additional resources for strengthening the interdisciplinary team of researchers and advisers, and to give continuity to the required actions and interventions, thus ensuring the integrity and sustainability of National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro.


Seat of the Khmer Empire Edit

The Angkorian period may have begun shortly after 800 AD, when the Khmer King Jayavarman II announced the independence of Kambujadesa (Cambodia) from Java. According to Sdok Kok Thom inscription, [6] : 97 [7] : 353–354 circa 781 Indrapura was the first capital of Jayavarman II, located in Banteay Prei Nokor, near today's Kompong Cham. [8] After he eventually returned to his home, the former kingdom of Chenla, he quickly built up his influence, conquered a series of competing kings, and in 790 became king of a kingdom called Kambuja by the Khmer. He then moved his court northwest to Mahendraparvata, in present day Kulen mountains, far inland north from the great lake of Tonle Sap. He also established the city of Hariharalaya (now known as Roluos) at the northern end of Tonlé Sap. Through a program of military campaigns, alliances, marriages and land grants, he achieved a unification of the country bordered by China to the north, Champa (now Central Vietnam) to the east, the ocean to the south and a place identified by a stone inscription as "the land of cardamoms and mangoes" to the west. In 802, Jayavarman articulated his new status by declaring himself "universal monarch" (chakravartin) and, in a move that was to be imitated by his successors and that linked him to the cult of Siva, taking on the epithet of "god-king" (devaraja). [9] Before Jayavarman, Cambodia had consisted of a number of politically independent principalities collectively known to the Chinese by the names Funan and Chenla. [10]

In 889, Yasovarman ascended to the throne. [11] A great king and an accomplished builder, he was celebrated by one inscription as "a lion-man he tore the enemy with the claws of his grandeur his teeth were his policies his eyes were the Veda." [12] Near the old capital of Hariharalaya, Yasovarman constructed a new city, called Yasodharapura. [13] : 350 In the tradition of his predecessors, he also constructed a massive reservoir called baray. The significance of such reservoirs has been debated by modern scholars, some of whom have seen in them a means of irrigating rice fields, and others of whom have regarded them as religiously charged symbols of the great mythological oceans surrounding Mount Meru, the abode of the gods. The mountain, in turn, was represented by an elevated temple, in which the "god-king" was represented by a lingam. [14] In accordance with this cosmic symbolism, Yasovarman built his central temple on a low hill known as Phnom Bakheng, surrounding it with a moat fed from the baray. He also built numerous other Hindu temples and ashrams, or retreats for ascetics. [15]

Over the next 300 years, between 900 and 1200, the Khmer Empire produced some of the world's most magnificent architectural masterpieces in the area known as Angkor. Most are concentrated in an area approximately 15 miles (24 km) east to west and 5 miles (8.0 km) north to south, although the Angkor Archaeological Park, which administers the area, includes sites as far away as Kbal Spean, about 30 miles (48 km) to the north. Some 72 major temples or other buildings are found within this area, and the remains of several hundred additional minor temple sites are scattered throughout the landscape beyond. Because of the low-density and dispersed nature of the medieval Khmer settlement pattern, Angkor lacks a formal boundary, and its extent is therefore difficult to determine. However, a specific area of at least 1,000 km 2 (390 sq mi) beyond the major temples is defined by a complex system of infrastructure, including roads and canals that indicate a high degree of connectivity and functional integration with the urban core. In terms of spatial extent (although not in terms of population), this makes it the largest urban agglomeration in recorded history prior to the Industrial Revolution, easily surpassing the nearest claim by the Mayan city of Tikal. [4] At its peak, the city occupied an area greater than modern Paris, and its buildings use far more stone than all of the Egyptian structures combined. [16]

Construction of Angkor Wat Edit

The principal temple of the Angkorian region, Angkor Wat, was built between 1113 and 1150 by King Suryavarman II. Suryavarman ascended to the throne after prevailing in a battle with a rival prince. An inscription says that, in the course of combat, Suryavarman leapt onto his rival's war elephant and killed him, just as the mythical bird-man Garuda slays a serpent. [17]

After consolidating his political position through military campaigns, diplomacy, and a firm domestic administration, Suryavarman launched into the construction of Angkor Wat as his personal temple mausoleum. Breaking with the tradition of the Khmer kings, and influenced perhaps by the concurrent rise of Vaisnavism in India, he dedicated the temple to Vishnu rather than to Siva. With walls nearly half a mile long on each side, Angkor Wat grandly portrays the Hindu cosmology, with the central towers representing Mount Meru, home of the gods the outer walls, the mountains enclosing the world and the moat, the oceans beyond. The traditional theme of identifying the Khmer devaraja with the gods, and his residence with that of the celestials, is very much in evidence. The measurements themselves of the temple and its parts in relation to one another have cosmological significance. [18] Suryavarman had the walls of the temple decorated with bas reliefs depicting not only scenes from mythology, but also from the life of his own imperial court. In one of the scenes, the king himself is portrayed as larger in size than his subjects, sitting cross-legged on an elevated throne and holding court, while a bevy of attendants make him comfortable with the aid of parasols and fans.

Martberg Archaeological Park - History

The NPS History Electronic Library is a portal to electronic publications covering the history of the National Park Service (NPS) and the cultural and natural history of the national parks, monuments, and historic sites of the U.S. National Park System. The information contained in this Website is historical in scope and is not meant as an aid for travel planning please refer to the official NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Website for current/additional information. While we are not affiliated with the National Park Service, we gratefully acknowledge the contributions by park employees and advocates, which has enabled us to create this free digital repository.

Last month debuted a new way to access park-specific content. Each park now has its own dedicated Web page that consolidates all of the content for that park on a single Web page. The View Park Archives selection above is the quickest way to access this content for a specific park, as well as from the existing Park Archives —> Historical Documents menu.

New eLibrary Additions

They Also Serve: Ancillary Uniforms — 1920-1991 National Park Service Uniforms Vol. 6 (R. Bryce Workman, unfinished draft, 1999)

Statistical Abstract 2020 NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQS/NRDS—2021/1326 (Pamela S. Ziesler and Claire M. Spalding, May 2021)

Tule Springs Archaeological Surface Survey Nevada State Museum Anthropological Papers No. 12 (Margaret L. Susia, January 1964)

Tule Springs, Nevada With Other Evidences of Pleistocene Man in North America Southwest Museum Papers No. 18 (Mark Raymond Harrington and Ruth DeEtte Simpson, 1961)

Ethnographic Overview and Assessment, Mammoth Cave National Park Phase III Final Report (Darlene Applegate and Kate Hudepohl, December 2020)

Ethnographic Overview and Assessment: Zion National Park, Utah and Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona (Richard W. Stoffle, Diane E. Austin, David B. Halmo and Arthur M. Phillips III, July 1999, revised 2013)

American Indians and the Old Spanish Trail (Richard W. Stoffle, Kathleen A. Van Vlack, Rebecca S. Toupal, Sean M. O'Meara, Jessica L. Medwied-Savage, Henry F. Dobyns and Richard W. Arnold, December 19, 2008)

Ethnohistoric and Ethnographic Assessment of Contemporary Communities along the Old Spanish Trail (Richard W. Stoffle, Rebecca S. Toupal, Jessica L. Medwied-Savage, Sean M. O'Meara, Kathleen A. Van Vlack, Henry F. Dobyns and Heather Fauland, December 19, 2008)

(Vincent L. Santucci and Justin S. Tweet, eds., 2021)

Grand Canyon National Park Centennial Paleontological Resources Inventory: A Century of Fossil Discovery and Research Utah Geological Association Special Publication 1 (Vincent L. Santucci and Justin S. Tweet, eds., 2021, ©Utah Geological Association, all rights reserved)

Natural Resource Condition Assessment, Cape Hatteras National Seashore NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/CAHA/NRR-2021/2257 (Andy J. Nadeau, Kathy Allen and Andy Robertson, May 2021)

Natural Resource Condition Assessment, Mammoth Cave National Park NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/MACA/NRR-2021/2258 (Chris Groves, Autumn Singer, Lee Anne Bledsoe, Richard S. Toomey III, Katie Algeo and Cathleen J. Webb, May 2021)

Presidios of the Big Bend Area / Los Presidios del Area de Big Bend Southwest Cultural Resources Center Professional Paper No. 31 (James E. Ivey, 1990)

The Vegetation of Everglades National Park: Final Report NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/SFCN/NRR-2021/2256 (Pablo L. Rui, Theodore N. Schall, Robert B. Shamblin and Kevin R.T. Whelan, May 2021)

Imprint of the Past: Ecological History of New Bedford Harbor (Carol E. Pesch, Richard A. Voyer, James S. Latimer, Jane Copeland, George Morrison and Douglas McGovern, February 2011)

Vegetation Classification and Mapping Project Report: Mount Rainier National Park NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NCCN/NRR—2021/2253 (Eric M. Nielsen, Catharine Copass, Rachel L. Brunner and Lindsey K. Wise, May 2021)

Vegetation Classification and Mapping Project Report: Olympic National Park NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NCCN/NRR—2021/2255 (Eric M. Nielsen, Catharine Copass, Rachel L. Brunner and Lindsey K. Wise, May 2021)

Vegetation Classification and Mapping Project Report: North Cascades National Park NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NCCN/NRR—2021/2254 (Eric M. Nielsen, Catharine Copass, Rachel L. Brunner and Lindsey K. Wise, May 2021)

Systemwide Archeological Inventory Program: Rocky Mountain Cluster Plan Yellowstone Center for Resources YCR-CR-98-1 (James A. Truesdale, Adrienne Anderson and Ann Johnson, 1998)

Climate Change Impacts on Odawa Contemporary Use Plants and Cultture at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Richard Stoffle, Katherine Brooks, Evelyn Pickering, Christopher Sittler and Kathleen Van Vlack, October 5, 2015)

Unav-Nuqauaint: Little Springs Lava Flow Ethnographic Investigation (Kathleen Van Vlack, Richard Stoffle, Evelyn Pickering, Katherine Brooks and Jennie Delfs, September 2013)

Yellowstone National Park Arnold Hague, extract from American Forestry, Vol. XIX No. 5, May 1913, ©American Forestry Association)

The Ecological Implications of Fire in Greater Yellowstone Second Biennial Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Jason M. Greenlee, ed., 1993 ©International Association of Wildland Fire)

Martberg Mons Martis (DE)

The Martberg – Mart Mountain is looking out over the Moselle river at a height of 180 metres. This used to be a political and religious centre in the past. 100 BC, the mountain housed a stronghold, a so called Oppidum which was upgraded with a temple area in Roman Times.

The best days were in the 3rd century AD. By now, large parts of the original temple area are constructed again on top of the original foundations. Together with other buildings it presents that era and the way of life and believing of the Celts and Romans.

The archaeological open air museum is in hands of the Förderverein Pommerner Martberg e.V. presenting the extraordinary past of this mountain in an archaeology park with a hands on visitor experience. The new construction works imaging the Celto-Roman originals started in Winter 2003. The financing was a joint venture of the Land Rheinland-Pfalz, the Kreis Cochem-Zell, the Cultural Foundation Rheinland-Pfalz, the municipality Pommern and of course the Förderverein Martberg e.V.. Excavations are still ongoing.

The new buildings are not an exact reconstruction, partly due to lack of money – the goal is to give an overall image of the size and looks of an important sanctuary of those days. At this highest place on the mountain plateau, the temple is visible until in the Eifel and Hunsrück.

The temple’s main building, portico, adjacent buildings and surrounding temple as well as a Celtic living quarters are built since 2003. Some other buildings are recognisable only by their old foundations which in some cases have been marked with plants. The temple of the 3rd century AD was probably consecrated to Lenus-Mars and had a portico surrounding the temple area (60 x 70 metres). With its width of 4 metres it marked the border between the sacred and profane world. The temple itself had a tower like inner building of about 10 metres long and 9 metres tall. The portico was for processions, the interior for the priests. Predecessors of this temple go back to a few decades BC. Besides activities for day tourists, there are as well education programmes offered for schools. These include understanding of archaeological research as well as environmental education. Also, different smart games are available with children learning several Celtic related things. The programme takes a full day and includes grilling sausages and baking bread in the Celtic oven.

Past Archaeology in the Village

University of Washington students excavate portions of the Village in 1968.

Archaeological excavations and the analysis of its material culture are primary sources for understanding the village and much of the history of Fort Vancouver and Vancouver Barracks.

The first recorded archaeological investigations in the village area were in the northeastern area of the village in 1968, by Susan Kardas and Edward M. Larabee, and a University of Washington field school.

These excavations uncovered four house structures and several other features, such as animal burials and a well.

Archaeologists in the 1990s used a tripod screen in a search for artifacts in the Village.

The next decade brought University of Washington researchers David and Jennifer Chance to the Village as a part of a salvage project for the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

They investigated the northern tip of the pond, a refuse pile from a house on the south side of SR-14, and the 1850s U.S. Army structure known as the Ingall's House - where Ulysses S. Grant lived briefly.

Among the tens of thousands of artifacts recovered in the pond excavations were well-preserved organic remains such as clothing, shoes, and food! However, far more common were items such as transferprinted ceramics.

Part of the 1970s excavations uncovered evidence of the hospital structure, and revealed evidence that it had been surrounded by a picket structure. However, it is still a mystery as to whether the hospital stockade was built for quarantine purposes or to protect medical supplies from theft.

Regardless, this discovery was chilling evidence of the impact of the malaria and smallpox epidemics that swept through the Columbia River basin in the 1830s.This structure was investigated further by Caroline Carley of the University of Washington in 1977.

Some of the most extensive excavations in the village were carried out under a WSDOT contract for the SR-14 / I-5 interchange in 1980-1981. Bryn Thomas and Chuck Hibbs of Archaeological and Historical Services of Eastern Washington University excavated along the SR 14 corridor, and in the area north of what is now Old Apple Tree Park.

Further excavations by Bryn Thomas were conducted in the early 1990s as a preliminary examination of the area for the construction of a land bridge between the village, the Columbia River waterfront, and Old Apple Tree Park.

To continue learning about the Village, please click on one of the options below:

A Landscape Full of Miocene Fossils

As exciting as this discovery was, it was only the beginning. Excavations at multiple spots near the watershed uncovered the fossilized remains from dozens of animals, all of which walked the Earth or swam in its waters during the Miocene Epoch .

The Cal State Chico team were astonished and delighted to find the spiny fossilized bones of a 400-pound monster proto-salmon, which would have inhabited the seacoast adjacent to the lands where the mastodon grazed. They also unearthed Miocene period fossils from ancient and gigantic versions of camels, horses, tapirs, rhinos, tortoises, and a long-extinct four-tusked elephant cousin known as the gomphothere.

Skeletal reconstruction of Gomphotherium productum. (Ryan Somma, CC BY-SA 2.0 )

“The discovery is highly significant because of both the sheer number and diversity of specimens found,” the experts explained in the EBMUD statement. “Few other fossil discoveries like this exist in California. The bones paint a clearer picture of life 10 million years ago when animals evolved from living in forests to grassland as the landscape changed.”

The man responsible for discovering this remarkable treasure trove of fossilized artifacts marvels at how events have unfolded over the past year.

"I located the first vertebrate fossils," Greg Francek said. "What I didn't comprehend at the time was the amazing fact that I was looking at the bones of great beasts that had roamed this landscape millions of years ago."

De Soto Winter Encampment Site Historic State Park

This 6-acre archaeological site is located in Tallahassee a mile east of the state capitol. It is the only place that the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto, is confirmed to have visited during his 1539-1540 expedition of the Southeastern United States.

De Soto had come to conquer and establish a colony in La Florida, which at that time a territory covering most of the southeastern United States. To accomplish his goals, he brought a wide array of people including soldiers, slaves, craftspeople, and bureaucrats. A veteran of campaigns in Central and South America, De Soto was a ruthless and skilled soldier. After landing in the Tampa Bay region in May of 1539, and after months of exploring central Florida, De Soto had failed to find great sources of wealth, such as gold and silver. The indigenous tribes he encountered, like the Tocobaga and central Timucua, each told tales of chiefdoms further inland or north which were wealthier. De Soto was lured north to the Apalachee territory following reports by other tribes that the Apalachee were rich and powerful.

The conquistadors blazed a trail northward up the peninsula, fighting battles with resisting indigenous tribes, enslaving men and women, raiding stocks of food, and burning villages along the way. After fighting their way up the state and across the Suwannee River, the army entered the territory of the Apalachee. These people, like the other tribes to the south, resisted the invasion with attacks by the fierce warriors, and by burning their own fields. The Apalachee abandoned their towns in anticipation of the Spaniards' arrival. From October 1539 through March 1540, the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto and his expedition of more than 600 people occupied the Apalachee capital of Anhaica, located in present-day Tallahassee.

Hernando de Soto's first winter was a turning point in his expedition. While at Anhaica, De Soto altered his expedition plans and decided to explore further north. He moved supply lines and gathered intelligence on possible routes. He used the Apalachee's extensive food stores and semi-permanent buildings to feed and house his expedition. After leaving Anhaica, his violent excursion into the southeastern United States forever changed the region and the native inhabitants.

Based on the timing of their occupation of Anhaica, members of DeSoto's expedition likely celebrated the first Christmas mass in what would become the United States. Although there is no mention of Christmas in the chronicles, the Spanish were devout Catholics, and clergy in the party would probably have held a Christmas mass. At the time, Christmas was a more solemn affair, and it lacked many of the celebrations associated with present-day celebrations. The holiday was one of several feast days celebrated by Catholics. However, because the expedition was under frequent attack by the Apalachee, De Soto and his men were likely too busy to participate in many holiday celebrations. During Christmas, De Soto sent some of his men out on auxiliary expeditions to establish new supply lines for an eventual push inland. The holiday may be noted in a map associated with the expedition.

The three priests who accompanied the De Soto expedition would have ensured that Christmas traditions were upheld. Late 17th century Mission period documents note that during Christmas people were expected to abstain from work and attend Mass. They were also obliged to fast on the Vigil of Christmas (Christmas Eve). Celebrants then attended a midnight Mass. Christmas day would have been a day for feasting. De Soto’s Christmas feast was likely a mix of Spanish and Apalachee foods. De Soto brought a herd of pigs along on the expedition. He restricted eating the pigs because he hoped to use the pigs in establishing colonies. A Christmas feast may have provided his men a rare opportunity to eat pork. The discovery of pigs skeletal material at the site suggests that some pigs may have been consumed during De Soto’s stay in Anhaica. The Spaniards relied heavily on stolen food and used native captives as cooks. Apalachee foods such as maize corn, beans, and wild game were also likely eaten during Christmas feasts.

The Apalachee territory spanned between the Aucilla to the Apalachicola Rivers, and from southern Georgia down to the Gulf Coast. The ancestors of the Apalachee had long roots in the area. Five hundred years before meeting Europeans, they had built the mounds at Lake Jackson. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Apalachee farmed maize and focused their settlements on high ground around the red hills of Tallahassee. The Apalachee who De Soto encountered are part of the archaeological "Fort Walton" culture, a term used by archaeologists to describe patterned similarities in material cultures, especially pottery styles.

Accounts in the historical record suggest that the Apalachee were well known and respected by their neighbors. These chronicles describe the Apalachee province as having many towns and plentiful food. There are many recorded sites dating to the Fort Walton period. Archaeological findings show a sprawling settlement pattern where principal towns were surrounded by hamlets and homesteads. The precise sociopolitical structure of the Apalachee remains unclear. Historic accounts suggest that their capital was located at Anhaica, although they may have had an alternate capital at Ivitachuco, which was likely located on the Aucilla River. The chronicles give little information about the everyday life of the Apalachee. Continuing archaeological work may shed light into more aspects of Apalachee life during the early 16th century and before.

Despite the trauma of De Soto's occupation of their capital, the Apalachee survived. They reoccupied Anhaica after De Soto left and were still at the town when the Spanish returned to the area in the 1600s. In 1633 the Apalachee invited Spanish Franciscan friars to the area to establish a mission. The Apalachee remained at their homeland until 1704 when they fled the region due to pressure from invading British and Creek forces. The Apalachee Nation today live in Louisiana.

Historians had long puzzled over De Soto's expedition route. Through reconstructing distances and landmarks noted in accounts of the expedition, researchers suspected that the 1539–1540 winter camp would be located in Tallahassee. Material evidence for the expedition remained elusive until 1987, when Division of Historical Resources archaeologist, B. Calvin Jones, was overseeing a construction site on Lafayette street in Tallahassee. Dr. Jones discovered a fragment of Spanish Olive Jar, a type that could only date to the early 16th century. Archaeologists with the State of Florida undertook an excavation which uncovered chainmail, crossbow bolts, and 7-layer chevron beads items that all date to the early to mid-1500s, and would not be expected in the later Mission-era Spanish settlements in the area. Findings confirmed the presence of an early 16th century Apalachee settlement along with De Soto related artifacts. The presence of fired clay with palm frond impressions from an Apalachee structure may confirm the burning of Anhaica by the Apalachee during De Soto's occupation.

Research into the Hernando de Soto Winter Encampment site continues. In recent years the Florida Department of State's Bureau of Archaeological Research (BAR) collaborated with the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee (PAST), a local chapter of the Florida Anthropological Society (FAS), to find further evidence at Anhaica. The BAR are working with colleagues at Florida State University and the University of Florida to apply cutting-edge chemical analyses to learn more about the encampment site. Archaeologists have used an advanced form of analysis to learn about the chemical compositions of distinct seven-layer chevron beads found at the site and are comparing them to beads from other early 16th century sites in Florida, in an attempt to distinguish between the beads from different early conquistador expeditions. The BAR also hope to learn about the source and manufacture of these essential trade items which served as conduits for early contact between Indians and Europeans.

A sample of early 16th century artifacts from the Hernando de Soto Winter Encampment at the Martin site (8LE853b).
A: pieces of conserved chainmail, B: a conserved crossbow bolt, C and D: early 16th century Olive Jar fragments, E: a four Maravedi coin that dates to the early 16th century.

A sample of Apalachee artifacts from the Hernando de Soto Winter Encampment at the Martin site (8LE853b).
A: Fort Walton Incised pottery fragment, B: Carrabelle Punctate pottery fragment, C: Pinellas type projectile point, D: charred maize (Zea mays) cobs, E: burned clay with palm frond impression.

Artifacts from Hernando de Soto Winter Encampment archaeological site excavations are displayed inside the Martin House, which is located on the property. The house was built in 1934 by John Wellborn Martin, the 24th governor of Florida (1925-1929). The Georgian Revival style house, called "Apalachee," was originally on 27 acres. In 1941, Martin sold the property to local developers who incorporated all but approximately six acres into a new subdivision called Governor's Park. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986.

The house currently serves as offices for the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research (B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology at the Governor Martin House). The Bureau is entrusted with the maintenance, preservation and protection of over 12,000 years of Florida heritage. Archaeological and historical resources on state-owned and state-controlled lands, including sovereignty submerged lands, are the direct responsibility of the Bureau. The Bureau is divided into areas of responsibility, including Collections and Conservation, Education and Research, Public Lands Archaeology (PLA) program, and Underwater Archaeology. The five sections work together to ensure that Florida archaeological heritage will endure for future generations.

Xanten Archaeological Park

Xanten Archaeological Park (Archaologischer Park Xanten) houses the remains of the former Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The area of the park was first garrisoned by Roman legions in around 13 BC and soon flourished.

Roads and a harbour were built as was a vast military camp and, except for an interruption due to a Germanic Bataver revolt in 69-70 AD, it continued to thrive. In 88-89 AD this settlement was finally honoured with the status of being a “colonia” and thus Colonia Ulpia Traiana was born.

Most of the buildings in Xanten Archaeological Park date back to the second century AD, when great building projects were undertaken. By this time, the colonia had a population of around 10,000 people and was a great agricultural hub. However, it was utterly destroyed by the Germanic Franks in the third century and, despite final attempts to breathe life back into the settlement, including further fortification, it was abandoned by the fourth century.

At 73 hectares, Xanten Archaeological Park is now Germany’s largest outdoor museum and offers so much to see. It is a mixture of ruins and reconstructed sites including temples, homes, an amphitheatre, a city wall, a baths complex and an inn, to name but a few. There is also a museum housing finds from excavations.

Overall, Xanten Archaeological Park offers a fascinating insight into life in this Roman settlement and really lets you immerse yourself in its history. You can even dress up like a Roman.

Retiro Park

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Retiro Park, Spanish El Retiro, or Parque de Madrid, the main park of Madrid, Spain. Originally called the Parque del Buen Retiro, or “Pleasant Retreat Park,” it now covers approximately 350 acres (142 hectares). It was planned in the 1550s and redesigned on the instructions of Gaspar de Guzmán, conde-duque de Olivares (chief minister to King Philip IV), who added a palace and a theatre (where comedies of Lope de Vega, the most prolific of Spanish playwrights, were produced). Both buildings burned in 1734. King Ferdinand VI ordered the palace rebuilt, but it was razed during the Peninsular War a remnant now serves as the War Museum (Museo de Ejército).

The park contains zoological gardens, the Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal a glass building used for art exhibits), a lake, numerous statues of royalty, and the Rosaleda (“Rose Garden”).

This article was most recently revised and updated by Michael Ray, Editor.