02 JUILLET 2018: Shangshihe - Brockagh - Pömmelte - Pompéi -
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CHINE – Shangshihe - After more than three months of archaeological excavation, the Shangshihe village in Sanmenxia city of Henan province has unearthed 21 rectangle vertical pit tombs, 6 horse pits, and nearly 500 pieces of relics covering copper, pottery, and jade. A total of 28 horses were found in the six horse pits, which were all in small and medium size and shaped in north-south rectangle. The horses lying on one side were facing north and were accompanied by dogs. According to the preliminary analysis of archaeological experts, Shangshihe village tomb complex possibly has tombs of the nobles from the early and middle Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). The site was discovered in July last year, when a local chemical enterprise was expanding construction.
ROYAUME UNI – Brockagh - Archaeologists have rediscovered a fort from four centuries ago which had disappeared beneath the surface of what used to be the shoreline of Lough Neagh. Students from Queen's University in Belfast have taken part in the dig at Brockagh in County Tyrone over the past month. Evidence of a settlement going back thousands of years has also been found. Mountjoy fort was built as the Tudor military campaign encroached on the territory of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Ulster, towards the end of the Nine Years' War. The site was strategically significant. The work of royal cartographer, Richard Bartlett, had already provided key clues for the archaeologists. "Bartlett in the early 1600s is going around mapping out what existed here, so we've a wonderful map of the period," said Liam Campbell, multi-cultural officer with the Partnership. "Richard Bartlett's map shows a fort here and we know that there are between 1000 and 1200 soldiers mustered here. "And yet nothing remains on the surface of this place now." The dig has confirmed that the history goes back far beyond the 17th century fort, evident in geo-physical surveys carried out before the work started. The archaeologists explored between three and four metres down, finding not only evidence of the fort, but of a settlement going back thousands of years. "We've excavated everything manually, and we have uncovered a considerable ditch running across our trench," said Ruairí Ó Baoill, an archaeologist with Queen's University Belfast. "In that ditch is 16th century pottery, fragments of rotary querns for grinding corn, red brick, Gaelic Irish pottery, bits of [Victorian] clay pipe and we're very happy," he added. "Everywhere we've dug we've found archaeology. "Elsewhere in the trenches we've found material dating back thousands of years - 7500 years to the end of the period of the first hunter-gatherer settlers, the Mesolithic period, and we've found their flints. "We've found 6000-year-old flints, projectile heads and knives from the time of the first farmers. "They're all living here, all in County Tyrone, all on the shores of Lough Neagh and all exploiting the lough." The finds have included the blade of an implement probably used to cut meat, which is still sharp 7500 years after it was carved.
ALLEMAGNE – Pömmelte - new excavations near the German town of Pömmelte are raising some disturbing possibilities. It’s the site of an ancient stone-age sanctuary, contemporary to Stonehenge itself. It’s a complex of concentric-ring mounds, ditches and deeply sunken wooden posts. Archaeologists say the German site appears to have been a gathering place for community events and rituals. A series of pits have been uncovered containing evidence these activities. This includes fragments of ceramic pots and cups, stone axes and animal bones. They reveal the Pömmelte henge was active for some 300 years, starting from 2300BCE. But among the Pömmelte scraps were some disturbing finds. The dismembered bodies of 10 women and children. Lead researcher André Spatzier says it appears the victims had been pushed into the pit. At least one of the teenagers had their hands bound together. While the archaeologists say they cannot yet be certain of the purpose of their deaths, the idea of ritual sacrifice was a strong possibility. No adult males were found in the pits, and the items they were buried with showed signs of having been ritualistically smashed. A handful of male bodies were unearthed away from the pits, on the eastern side of the henge. These men, aged 17 to 30, had been interred with great care, in their own graves. Like Stonehenge, the site itself was not permanently inhabited. There bodies were undamaged. The Pömmelte henge is a 115m-wide series of concentric mounds. Many have evidence of “wood-henge” style post holes sunk within them. It was discovered from the air in 1991, but excavations only began recently. Excavations show it was built during the transition between the Neolithic Stone Age to the early Bronze Age. This is the same era as Stonehenge. Pömmelte henge, however, has its four entrances aligned with dates half way between the equinoxes and solstices. Spatzier says these were key agricultural planting and harvesting dates. Archaeologists believe Pömmelte henge ended its days about 2050BC in what was likely to have been a ceremonial decommissioning. The wooden post holes had been filled with artefacts. One of the concentric pits was filled with ash — likely from the burnt posts. “It looks like at the end of the main occupation, around 2050 B.C., they extracted the posts, put offerings into the post holes and probably burned all the wood and back-shoved it into the ditch,” Professor Spatzier told Live Science. “So, they closed all the features. It was still visible above ground, but only as a shovel depression.”
ITALIE – Pompéi - In May, archaeologists uncovered the legs and lower half of a torso of the man who died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, with a 270-kilogram boulder sitting where his head should have been. The leading theory, until last week, was that the man had been decapitated by the flying rock. But further digging has unearthed the man's intact skull with the mouth wide open and full of teeth, suggesting he was not crushed by the volcanic projectile. The skull and the upper torso and arms of the man, who is believed to have been aged about 35, were found about a metre almost directly below the rest of the body and the gigantic stone. At the time of the discovery, archaeologists said the large rock resting on his head may have been a door jamb that had been "violently thrown by the volcanic cloud". But the intact skull - which has only "some" fractures - suggests he died from other causes, and most likely asphyxiation, said Massimo Osanna, director of the Pompeii archaeological site. The archaeological team said they knew the bones discovered last week belonged to the same person because of their proximity to each other and because the two halves matched up. In an announcement earlier in the week, the Pompeii Archaeological Site said its leading explanation for finding the skull directly below the lower half of the skeleton was due to a tunnel underneath the skeleton, most likely built in the 18th century. The archaeologists believe the tunnel caved in, collapsing the supporting rocks where the skull lay, but leaving the stone block in place. Officials said the man had suffered from an infection of his tibia, which might have caused walking difficulties or impeded his escape following the eruption. This might have slowed him down and made him more more vulnerable to the incoming noxious gas and ash. The team is not sure when the block fell over the body. One hypothesis is that the man was in or near a building during the eruption when he suffocated and died. The walls - and the large stone block - may have collapsed at the same time or later and fallen over the body. "The surprise for us was that the skull was intact and it was not crushed by the block," Osanna said. "Now that we have the complete skeleton we can understand a lot of things." The skull, thorax, upper limbs and jaw are now undergoing analysis, with the team hoping they will be able to "reconstruct the final moments in the life of the man with greater accuracy".