During this year’s campaign, we finally finished the work on a grave chamber in Doliche which we had the opportunity to excavate in 2017. The chamber was robbed already in late antiquity and most of the grave goods were taken away. But since that time, no one entered this particular grave.
Many little objects which were not found by the grave robbers, like earrings or glass beads, were left, as well as hundreds of shoe nails. Some shoe nails showed residues of organic material and while I checked under the microscope, whether it was leather or not, a „something“ jumped into my eyes: a complete antique animal which was preserved due to the corrosion of the aging iron. Our new team member is only 1 mm in size.
Not knowing exactly what we are dealing with here, I was asking specialists in Germany and England for help. With great thanks to Jens Amendt (Frankfurt) and Alejandra Perotti (Reading), we know now, this it is a mite, an adult female, perhaps Stratiolealaps cf. scimitus. Finds like these are extraordinary far and in between. So you can imagine how chuffed we were when I found this little bugger while looking through the microscope.
Written by: Constanze Höpken