01 FEVRIER 2023 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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DEBUT COURS : AVRIL 2023
ITALIE – Posillipo - Forty years ago, when children in Naples were playing in caves and tunnels under the hill of Posillipo in Italy, they didn't know their playground was actually a Roman aqueduct. When they shared their memories with archaeological authorities recently, it kicked off an exploration of one of the longest, most mysterious examples of ancient water infrastructure in the Roman world. This knowledge gap included the newly investigated Aqua Augusta, also called the Serino aqueduct, which was built between 30 B.C. and 20 B.C. to connect luxury villas and suburban outposts in the Bay of Naples. Circling Naples and running down to the ancient vacation destination of Pompeii, the Aqua Augusta is known to have covered at least 87 miles (140 kilometers), bringing water to people all along the coast as well as inland. But the complex Aqua Augusta has barely been explored by researchers, making it the least-documented aqueduct in the Roman world. New discoveries earlier this month by the Cocceius Association, a nonprofit group that engages in speleo-archaeological work, are bringing this fascinating aqueduct to light. Thanks to reports from locals who used to explore the tunnels as kids, association members found a branch of the aqueduct that carried drinking water to the hill of Posillipo and to the crescent-shaped island of Nisida. So far, around 2,100 feet (650 meters) of the excellently preserved aqueduct has been found, making it the longest known segment of the Aqua Augusta. In a new report, Ferrari and Cocceius Association Vice President Raffaella Lamagna list several scientific studies that can be done now that this stretch of aqueduct has been found. Specifically, they will be able to calculate the ancient water flow with high precision, to learn more about the eruptive sequences that formed the hill of Posillipo, and to study the mineral deposits on the walls of the aqueduct. the newly discovered aqueduct section is interesting because it is "actually a byway that served elite Roman villas, not a city. Multiple demands on this single water source stretched it very thin, requiring careful maintenance and strict rationing."
CHINE – Yunyang - In September, Chinese researchers announced that they had found an ancient human skull earlier in the year. It was discovered about a dozen miles outside of Yunyang (formerly known as Yunxian) in central China — the same area where two other skulls were found in decades past. Like its predecessors, the most recent find, dubbed “Yunxian Man 3” by some, likely dates to around 1 million years ago. And it seems to be in the best condition yet.Aside from these three skulls, Vialet continues, roughly 500 stone tools and about 2,000 animal remains have been found. Based on the way these remains and tools are jumbled together, she says it’s possible that researchers are excavating the remains of an ancient catastrophic flood that killed hominins and animals alike.;Cut marks on some of the animal bones, for example, could be an indication that other hominins who survived the flood later scavenged the remains of the animals killed by the flood. For starters, scientists are not completely clear whether these remains are Homo erectus or something else. We have some Homo erectus remains in Africa that date roughly to this same time, but they don’t appear that similar — for one, the brain capacity of the African remains is larger.It could be that the newer remains are a local Asian variation of Homo erectus. While the African fossil record of Homo erectus is comparatively larger, there aren’t many fossil records that date within several hundred thousand years of the Yunxian discoveries in mainland Asia. In other words, we know more about how Homo erectus may have looked in Southeast Asia — especially in Java, where the species was first discovered in the late-19th century. But Vialet says that the Yunxian fossils look a little different from even the Java remains. They are Homo erectus-like, but lacking some of the very typical traits.
ESPAGNE – Castro Valente - Castro Valente was previously thought to be an Iron Age fortified enclosure settlement on a 1,300-foot-high hillock, first mentioned in 19th and 20th century publications that refer to the site dating from between 1500 and 500 BC. A LiDAR survey conducted by archaeologists from the University of Santiago de Compostela, has revealed that the site is a large medieval fortress covering an area of 30 acres, surrounded by a defensive wall spanning three-quarters of a mile, and a series of 30 towers in a similar style to the 3rd century Roman walls that defended the town of Lugo in Spain. A ground survey has determined that the walls were built with double-leaf masonry construction and has a thickness varying between 8 to 14 feet. The survey also confirmed 6 towers at ground level, a seventh that has been destroyed with the creation of a fire trail, and entrances to the fortress interior. The team believe that they have identified several interior structures made from perishable materials and stone, with excavations also revealing brick and tiles from the Roman period, and small fragments of red-paste ceramics.
CHINE - Anyang - Archaeologists have discovered ruins dating from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) in central China’s Henan Province. They believe it may be the site of the guarding household set up for Cao Cao’s mausoleum during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Brick underground drainage facilities and architecture ruins were discovered at the site, which was located on the western side of the mausoleum of Cao Cao, a prominent historical figure in China, according to the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archeology. Many diverse cultural relics such as porcelain items, coins, entertainment utensils, and building components were also unearthed at the site in the city of Anyang, Henan, said Zhou Ligang, an associate researcher with the institute. “Based on the features of the unearthed architectural relics and drainage facilities, and the large number and variety of porcelain wares, it is presumed that the architecture was not an ordinary residence,” said Zhou, adding that “combined with the literature records, it may be the site of the mausoleum’s guarding household.”
ANGLETERRE – Corby - Markings found in Roman tiles have shown workers were "more of a mixture" of people than first thought. The imprint of a woman's sandal and a written name were found on items recovered from a 3rd Century tile factory at Priors Hall Park, Corby. Experts said they showed workers were not just young male slaves but "literate men and women in nice shoes". The Little Weldon Roman villa had first been uncovered in the 18th Century, but in 2011 during a geophysical survey a second Roman villa was revealed. Oxford Archaeology took on the excavations in 2019 when Urban & Civic took over the development. They uncovered a temple/mausoleum that was turned into a pottery, brick and tile manufacturing centre sometime in the later 3rd to early 4th Century, to make building materials for Roman villas. The latest findings come from the analysis of recovered material, including six tonnes of discarded tiles which are now being recorded. Individual tilers would often mark about one in every few they produced with a signature, so they could get paid for what survived the kiln. But these tile signatures were usually patterns and symbols which showed that workers were not high status. Mr Gilmour said the latest find was "really unusual" because it reads "Potentius fecit", which translates as "Potentius made me", or as some linguists would say, "I was made by Potentius". "They have actually written their name with their finger," he said. "It demonstrates that the tiler was literate - perhaps surprising for someone who was in a role usually carried out by an indentured servant... so they were higher status than we thought."
ISRAEL – Nahal Mahanayeem Outlet (NMO) - Along the banks of an ancient lake, buried under tens of thousands of years of sediment, the remains of an ancient hunter-gatherer camp were recently unearthed in Israel. The discovery was made at the Nahal Mahanayeem Outlet (NMO), a site along the left bank of the Jordan River, and consists of well-preserved animal remains and stone tools, according to a Jan. 31 news release from the Catalan Institue of Human Paleocology and Social Evolution. The findings date to the Middle Paleolithic era, roughly 60,000 years ago. The team of researchers concluded that unlike other remains that have been discovered from the same period, the tools found at NMO were uniquely made before the camp was set up and were not used for hunting, breaking from traditional understanding, according to the study. Instead, early hunters used the cutting tools primarily for butchering large game, but also for “hide-processing, bone-scraping, and wood/plant processing,” the study said. The study — which was published Jan. 3 in Scientific Reports and was led by Juan Ignacio Martin-Viveros, a researcher with the institute — analyzed wear marks on the edges of the tools to determine how they were used.
ANGLETERRE – Kirk Hammerton - Archaeologists are to begin surveying the site at Kirk Hammerton after evidence emerged that a Neolithic temple may have been erected there 4,500 years ago. Aerial drone surveys have found their distinctive markings, such as a ditch, which like other found henges, are close to waterways. It appears the church at Kirk Hammerton is built on an artificially-created flat and unusually, the village was also built above it. Further drone work may rule out a henge by the Spring, but if it seems there is one, excavations should begin by the summer. Yorkshire has other similar henges including the ‘big one’ at Thornborough. Kirk Hammerton looks to have a bank, and if there is a ditch, people can get more excited.
ANTARTIQUE – Antarctica as a ‘natural laboratory’ for the critical assessment of the archaeological validity of early stone tool sites Lithic technologies dominate understanding of early humans, yet natural processes can fracture rock in ways that resemble artefacts made by Homo sapiens and other primates. Differentiating between fractures made by natural processes and primates is important for assessing the validity of early and controversial archaeological sites. Rather than depend on expert authority or intuition, the authors propose a null model of conchoidally fractured Antarctic rocks. As no primates have ever occupied the continent, Antarctica offers a laboratory for generating samples that could only have been naturally fractured. Examples that resemble artefacts produced by primates illustrate the potential of ‘archaeological’ research in Antarctica for the evaluation of hominin sites worldwide.