20 FEVRIER 2019: Halden - Carmoustie - Qinghai-Tibet - Islqnde -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
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SPRING TERM : APRIL 2019
NORVEGE – Halden - Almost one thousand years after the end of the Viking Age, Norwegian archaeologists have made a sensational find near Halden in the south-east of Norway. The burial mound and adjacent field harbour several longhouses and at least one ship burial. Digital data visualizations reveal the well-defined 20-meter-long ship-shaped structure, with indications that the lower part is well preserved. Incredibly, the ship lies just below the topsoil, with just 50cm separating it from the fresh air. The discovery was made quite by accident when a local farmer wanted to dig ditches to solve an ongoing drainage problem in a boggy field. In previous years trenches in the area had turned up items of interest, so archaeologists from Østfold county decided to try a non-intrusive method of analysis before giving the work the go-ahead.
ROYAUME UNI – Carmoustie - The largest Neolithic house in Britain was built in Scotland around 6,000 years ago, archaeologists have confirmed Two halls which were used as houses and likely home to large numbers of people have been discovered in Carnoustie, Angus. The site is far larger and older than previously thought with archaeological work shedding new light on some of Scotland’s earliest communities. Analysis shows food was processed and consumed in the halls with pottery made and used there. It is possible that animals were also kept in part of the building. The larger of the two halls is the largest Neolithic hall ever found in Britain and is now known to date to 4,000BC. Ronan Toolis, commercial director of GUARD Archaeology, which is leading the research, said: “The larger of the Neolithic halls at Carnoustie is the largest ever found in Scotland, and indeed the rest of Britain. “The radiocarbon dates now demonstrate it was perhaps the smaller of the halls that was more significant though because it was occupied for longer. “They also demonstrate the two Neolithic halls lay within a much bigger settlement area. Even more unusual is the fact the two halls were initially contemporary with each other. “This new evidence demonstrates the Carnoustie Neolithic settlement was much larger and more complex than most other Neolithic settlements that have been found elsewhere in Britain and may shed important light upon one of the earliest farming communities in Scotland.” Radiocarbon testing carried out during the excavation, which took place over 2016 and 2017, also confirmed the site contained a village that was built later than the halls. That was built around 1,000BC which chimes with the dates of a Late Bronze Age hoard found in the area. Mr Toolis said archaeologists were working with 100 radiocarbon dates taken from charcoal recovered from across the site. The information gives greaters understanding as to when different parts of the settlement were in use. Evidence of several smaller round houses was found along with the remains of the halls. Mr Toolis added: “The two large halls are Neolithic and were occupied at the same time, during the first half of the fourth millennium BC. “The larger of the halls appears to have become disused around 3500 BC but the smaller hall seems to have continued to be occupied until perhaps around 3000 BC. “Lots of the smaller structures and pits found around these two buildings also yielded radiocarbon dates from the same period.” A major find from the site was a spearhead decorated with gold as well as a bronze sword and wooden sword sheath, which is believed to be the best preserved late Bronze Age scabbard in Britain. Jewellery, including part of a bangle, was also found.
CHINE - Qinghai-Tibet Plateau - Gao Xing, an archaeologist from Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under Chinese Academy of Sciences, is working on the world’s Third Pole, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, to discover the traces of human remains there from 40,000 years ago. Since 2011, Gao and his team have participated in eight investigations on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and found a Paleolithic site with original stratigraphic layers – the Nwya Devu. Located at an altitude of 4,600 meters, the Nwya Devu is well conserved and densely distributed with stoneware. Carrying significant characteristics of the stone-tool technology, it is the most ancient Paleolithic site on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, as well as the highest one in the world. The findings of Gao and his team proved that humans had tried to conquer the extreme conditions on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and relevant papers have been published on Science.
ISLANDE – - Vikings who settled in Iceland more than 1,000 years ago valued their horses so much that the men were buried with their trusty steeds. And DNA analysis of these treasured animals recently proved that the horses consigned to the grave with their manly owners were males, too. For decades, archaeologists have studied the contents of hundreds of Viking graves in Iceland. Many of these graves also contained the remains of horses that appeared to have been healthy adults when they died. Because the horses seemed well cared for in life — before they were killed and buried, that is — they were considered to be important to the men whose remains lay nearby. Recently, scientists conducted the first ancient DNA analysis of bones from 19 horses in Viking graves, and found that nearly all of the animals were male, a tantalizing clue about vanished Viking culture. Iceland is home to 355 known Viking graves dating from the late ninth century to the early 11th century A.D., and the occupants are mostly middle-age men, researchers reported in a new study. Horses are common in these graves — more than 175 horses appear in 148 graves. The majority of the animals were clearly associated with the human skeletons, and they appeared to have been slaughtered "specifically for burial," the scientists reported. The scientists turned to ancient DNA, or aDNA, to reveal the sex of the horses, which they were able to accomplish with small quantities of genetic material. They examined 22 horses from 17 sites, and of the 19 horses found in graves, 18 were males. This suggests that male horses were favored for ritual burial by the Viking noblemen whose graves they shared, Pálsdóttir said in the email.