15 MAI 2019: Whitehorse - Rome - Zultepec - Tal al-Kidwa -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
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SUMMER TERM : JULY 2019
CANADA – Whitehorse - Take a walk along the Yukon River in Whitehorse these days, and you might spot things you rarely see — historical objects and structures that are typically well hidden under water or ice."Like, there's a log cradle here, or a crib, that was used to support sternwheelers when they were hauled out of the river in the winter," said Yukon government archeologist Ty Heffner, as he walked along the riverbank.Vast gravel bars flank the stream in many areas, and Heffner says lots of artifacts can now be seen in the mud and rocks. That might include anything from old rusty nails and wooden logs and planks, to iron fixtures. "If you think about all the activity that happened here, there were sternwheelers that were built here, there were sternwheelers that burned here. There were warehouses and wharves and all kinds of activity — and the historical evidence here just relates to that," Heffner said.
ITALIE – Rome - Archaeologists have discovered a hidden vault in the ruins of Roman Emperor Nero's sprawling palace, hidden under the hills near Rome's ancient Colosseum. According to a statement (translated from Italian) from the Colosseum archeological park, which includes the palace's ruins, the chamber has sat hidden for nearly 2,000 years, likely dating to between A.D. 65 and A.D. 68. The chamber, nicknamed the Sphinx Room, is richly adorned with murals of real and mythical creatures including — you guessed it — a sphinx. Painted in rich red, green and yellow pigments that have survived the last two millennia incredibly well, the vaulted room is also decorated with images of a centaur, the goat-rumped god Pan, myriad plant and water ornaments, and a scene of a sword-wielding man being attacked by a panther. According to the statement, the Sphinx Room was discovered accidentally, while researchers were setting up to restore a nearby chamber. The room's curved ceilings are 15 feet (4.5 meters) high, and much of the room is still filled in with dirt. Nero began constructing his massive palace — known as the Domus Aurea, or "golden house" — in A.D. 64, after a devastating, six-day-long fire reduced two-thirds of Rome to ashes. That researchers are still uncovering new rooms in the Domus Aurea after hundreds of years of excavation (the ruins were first rediscovered in the 15th century) is no surprise. In its prime, the palace sprawled over four of Rome's famous seven hills, and is believed to have included at least 300 rooms. Thanks, in part, to his narcissistic construction project, Nero's reputation suffered in the eyes of history, and he is remembered today as a power-mad despot. Following Nero's suicide in A.D. 68, much of his palace was looted, filled with earth, and built over. One of the palace's central features, a large manmade lake, was eventually covered up by the Flavian Amphitheater — better known as the Roman Colosseum — in A.D. 70. Thanks to the lake's infrastructure, the bottom of the Colosseum was occasionally flooded to wage mock naval battles, bringing glory to the mad emperor's successors.
MEXIQUE – Zultepec - Disfigured human remains uncovered at the Zultepec-Teoaque site have been analyzed by archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. A convoy of about 75 Spaniards and several hundred of their foot soldiers and allies were traveling from Cuba to the Aztec capital with supplies to reinforce Hernan Cortes in 1520 when they were captured by residents of the Aztec-allied city of Zultepec. Cut marks on the bones indicate the men, women, and horses in the convoy were sacrificed and eaten over a span of several months. Analysis of the bones found at the site, including skulls on racks, suggests the women were pregnant, which is thought to have qualified them as “warriors.” Archaeologist Enrique Martínez said the bodies were also used to enact scenes from creation myths. One man was dismembered and burned as described in the myth of “El Quinto Sol,” or Fifth Sun, in which Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun, must be nourished with blood. The town took the name Tecoaque, which means “the place where they ate them” in Nahuatl, Martínez explained.
EGYPTE – Tal al-Kidwa - The Egyptian archaeological expedition in Tal al-Kidwa, in North Sinai, have uncovered the remains of two towers of a military fortress dating back to the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. Head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department Ayman Ashmawy explained that the mission had discovered southeastern and northeastern towers and part of a wall extending for 85 meters. Excavations are being completed to discover the rest of the fortress. He stressed that this is the oldest historic fortress discovered in Sinai, adding that a wall was first discovered in 2008. Another fortress has been built on the ruins of this old castle which was also discovered earlier, according to Ashmawy. Nadia Khedr, head of the Central Department of Lower Egypt Antiquities, said that the old building was constructed in a different way from the more recent fortress.The walls of the old one were about seven meters wide, while the walls of the new castle were about 11 meters wide, reaching 17 meters at the towers area. The more recent fortress contained 16 towers, whereas the older fortress contained only four towers, she said. Khedr explained that walls of the older fortress differ in their design from the newer one, where rooms are filled with sand and pottery and are built at equal spaces, perhaps to relieve the pressure on the 11 meter-wide wall of the fortress. These rooms may have been used as rainwater drains, a feature of architecture during the Late period of Ancient Egypt. Hisham Hussein, Director General of the Antiquities of North Sinai, said that excavation work in the northeastern part of the discovered fortress wall resulted in the discovery of the entrance to the fortress, a side gate located in the northeastern part of the wall. To the right of the entrance the remains of the foundations of a room, believed to be a room for guards stationed to protect the gate, was also discovered. He added that the excavations also revealed the remains of houses built on the western side inside the castle. At one of these rooms, part of an amulet bearing the name of King Psmatik I was found confirming that the oldest fortress dates back to the first half of the 26th Dynasty, namely the era of King Psmatik I. He pointed out that the discovered fortress had been subjected to a severe attack which destroyed its walls. Hussein explained that the military fortress at Tal al-Kidwa represented the eastern gate of Egypt and the only fortress controlling entry and exit to and from Egypt during the late period of Ancient Egypt.