01 FEVRIER 2011



 - ALGERIE –  Sour El Ghozlane - - Les travaux de restauration et de réhabilitation  de la muraille de la ville de Sour El Ghozlane (Bouira), d’une longueur de trois  kilomètres et de ses trois portes (porte d’Alger, porte de Sétif et porte de  Boussaâda) ont été lancés récemment Parallèlement à cette opération, la wilaya de Bouira a lancé d’autres  actions de restauration au profit de nombre de sites historiques de la  daïra de Sour El Ghozlane. Il s’agit de la restauration et de l’aménagement du monument funéraire  de la chambre des Ouled Slama de Hakimia, à l’est de Sour El Ghozlane, dont  l’étude de réalisation est arrivée à son terme, a révélé M. Reghal. Des préparatifs en cours sont, par ailleurs, en vue de l’élaboration  du cahier des charges inhérents à la restauration de ce site, dont l’histoire  remonte à l’époque Byzantine (439 après J.C) - Selon sa fiche technique, ce site est un caveau à étages, dont le premier  renferme deux chambres funéraires vides alors que le deuxième est constitué  d’une chambre ouverte. Selon une hypothèse, cette chambre des Ouled Slama, classée  en 2006 sur la liste nationale du patrimoine culturel matériel, renferme le  tombeau du roi berbère Takfarinas, selon les informations de la direction  de la culture.  Les travaux de sa restauration seront lancés le 18 février prochain  pour une enveloppe de 30 millions de dinars, et un délai de réalisation de 14 mois,  selon le responsable de la culture.   Une troisième opération de restauration devrait, en outre, profiter  à la "voûte romaine" de la banlieue ouest de Sour El Ghozlane, dont un édifice  en forme d’arc est encore visible, et qui faisait usage, à l’époque romaine,  de conduite d’eau. Une enveloppe de 10 millions de dinars a été consacrée à la réhabilitation  de ce site classé sur la liste complémentaire des sites archéologiques de la  wilaya. ce genre d’études  relatives à la restauration de sites archéologiques se déroule en quatre étapes. Il s’agira, en premier, de faire un état des lieux du site pour fixer  les mesures d’urgence à mettre en œuvre pour sa protection, pour passer  ensuite à l’étape de l’examen architectural et historique du site en question,  suivie de la troisième étape qui consistera en la présentation d’un diagnostic,  qui sera clôturé par le lancement de l’opération de restauration représentant  la quatrième et dernière étape de l’étude.


 - ROYAUME-UNI -  Stonehenge - History is set to be rewritten after an archaeology team led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria discovered a major ceremonial monument less than one kilometer away from the iconic Stonehenge. The incredible find has been hailed by Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University’s IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, as one of the most significant yet for those researching the UK’s most important prehistoric structure. Professor Gaffney says: “This finding is remarkable. It will completely change the way we think about the landscape around Stonehenge. “People have tended to think that as Stonehenge reached its peak it was the paramount monument, existing in splendid isolation. This discovery is completely new and extremely important in how we understand Stonehenge and its landscape.” The new “henge-like” Late Neolithic monument is believed to be contemporaneous to Stonehenge and appears to be on the same orientation as the World Heritage Site monument. It comprises a segmented ditch with opposed north-east/south-west entrances that are associated with internal pits that are up to one metre in diameter and could have held a free-standing, timber structure.,The project, which is supported by the landowner, the National Trust, and facilitated by English Heritage, has brought together the most sophisticated geophysics team ever to be engaged in a single archaeological project in Britain. Provided by University of Birmingham


- TURQUIE -  When construction began on an underwater tunnel below the Bosporus strait dividing the European and Asian halves of Istanbul, workers uncovered the ancient port of Constantinople. It was no real surprise, perhaps — Istanbul is an archaeological treasure trove, with historic sites from the Hippodrome of Byzantine times to the Ottoman era Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. All these architectural riches have earned Turkey’s largest city a World Heritage Site designation from the United Nations. But Monday, the city is in danger of being struck off that list. Turkey has until Tuesday, February 1, to submit plans to upgrade the protection of its cultural heritage. And the new tunnel is part of the problem. Archaeologist Zeynep Ahunbay, an advisor to the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the prospect of traffic from the tunnel flooding the historic region is unthinkable. “Seventy five thousand cars will pass from this tunnel,” Ahunbay said. “That’s the daily traffic. And you can imagine how much pollution and noise it will cause.” Its not just pollution that has UNESCO concerned about the city’s architectural and archaeological heritage, the agency says scores of Ottoman villas have been destroyed, and that the fifteen hundred year-old walls of the former Constantinople are being left to crumble. And it’s not just Istanbul’s top tourist spots that are being neglected. The story is the same with many of the region’s lesser known treasures. In the western suburb of Kucukcekmece, for instance, plastic bottles, broken bricks, cigarette packets, and other rubbish litter a swath of land that was once the partially excavated ruins of the ancient city of Rhegium. Retired General and archaeology enthusiast Haldun Solmazturk grew up exploring the streets, Agora, chapel, and palace of old Rhegium. “But then for some reason it was abandoned,” Solmazturk said. “And gradually it turned into a kind of rubbish dump.” Who’d imagine that a Roman summer palace and a city the size of two football fields could lie beneath a dump? Locals tend to deflect blame from themselves.“Yes, it’s a shame,” one passer-by said, “but it’s not my fault. It’s a crime by those people who are at higher levels.” Gen. Solmazturk said he’s spent years battling with local and national authorities. He said he wrote to mayor, the minister of culture, and the Governor of Istanbul. The only outcome so far, he said, is that they have stopped dumping more rubbish. Solmazturk recently brokered a deal with Istanbul University to survey the area. His dream is to see Rhegium once again excavated. But there are local residents who prefer the past to remain buried. Building on top of archaeological sites - Around Istanbul, tens of thousands of small houses have been built illegally, many of them on archaeological sites. The shanties were built by migrants from the provinces. Over the years, the residents have become a political constituency. And they don’t want to move. One who’s been living on an ancient ruin for more than forty years says she would not be happy to see archaeologists start digging again. “This is a very nice neighbourhood here,” she said. “We know this is not a legal settlement so we’re afraid of being kicked out.” Sismek Deniz is an official responsible for preservation in Istanbul, and the person who takes the flack for the dismal state of its antiquities. At a nearby Byzantine-period ruin, Solmazturk explores a set of stairs that once led to a chapel. The stone walls are daubed with red paint advertising a local ice cube store. “People once came here to worship,” Solmazturk said. “Today, they come to dump their rubbish.”  Deniz said the rubble will soon be removed. And he puts a positive spin on UNESCO’s threat to put the city on its “endangered” list. He said it’s a useful bargaining chip with the National Government in Ankara. “We use UNESCO criteria for legitimating our demands for budgets,” Deniz said. “Their visits, their criticism, always had favorable effects on preservation of Istanbul and archaeological sites.” But for how much longer will UNESCO keep nudging Turkey along with threats? It would be a humiliating blow for the government if Istanbul’s tourist spots are moved to the “World Heritage in Danger” list. Dr. Ahunbay hopes that the Bosporus tunnel will finally be the catalyst for real change. “Heritage in danger is the warning stage,” Ahunbay said. “This tunnel is like the last drop. There has to be some care from the government and the municipality to stop these unacceptable projects.”


 - ROYAUME-UNI –     Guernesey - A Guernsey park could be home to artefacts dating back to the Stone Age, according to a Bristol University archaeologist - Dr George Nash has asked the States for permission to excavate an area of Delancey Park in St Sampson. Dr Nash has already carried out some test digs in the area and believes a Neolithic gallery grave, with some intact artefacts, is located there. Dr Nash will work with the archaeology officer for Guernsey Museums, Phillip de Jersey, on the dig.Mr de Jersey said: "The stone used to be upright, forming what is called a gallery grave. "It is quite a rare type of Neolithic monument in the Channel Islands - there's just this one on Guernsey and a couple on Jersey. "We got a fair amount of pottery and flint from the trial pits that were dug last summer, and we've also got material in the museum's stores from the excavation that took place here in 1922, so we can be fairly sure there is still material to be found."