02 MAI 2018: Dun Deardail - Baku - Talle Porgou - Manbij -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
ONLINE COURSES / COURS A DISTANCE
SUMMER TERM : JULY 2018
ROYAUME UNI – Dun Deardail - Archaeologists have made a breakthrough in solving the ancient mystery surrounding an Iron Age fort in the Highlands that was burned at such high temperatures that parts of it melted. Over the years, a number of experiments have been carried out at Dun Deardail in Glen Nevis to establish how temperatures hot enough to fuse stones together, in a process called vitrification, were achieved at the fort, which latterly served as a Pictish citadel. Dun Deardail, which was built around 500BC and served as both a Celtic fort and Pictish citadel, is one of at least 60 other vitrified sites in Scotland. It is now believed a timber superstructure supported by the ramparts was set alight, with the fire burning down on the stones and heating them up “like an oven”, according to Matt Ritchie, archaeologist with Forestry Enterprise Scotland. Mr Ritchie said tests had shown blocks of molten stone were formed in anarobic conditions without oxygen and likely caused by a “tremendous heat from above”. He said it was possible that the burning structure may have once stored grain. He added: “This is really exciting – not only do we know have a better understanding of how vitrification occurred, but we can also know visualise these hill forts as citadels, with roofed rampart walls many metres high.” Mr Ritchie added that the question of why the structure was burned was yet to be answered. “Of course, the mystery of why the forts were burned remains unsolved. Was it accidental, or intended? Was it an act of destruction, by a victorious foe, or an act of ceremony, perhaps on the death of a revered king? We may never know,” he said. Radiocarbon tests carried out on a nearby peat bog, which contained a thick layer of soot, suggests the site was probably built around 500 BC
IRAN – Baku - The Public Relations Office of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT) quoted Morteza Rezvanfar, a faculty member of the RICHT, as saying on Tuesday that 699 Persian and Arabic inscriptions discovered at the bottom of the Caspian Sea, 300 meters off the shore of Baku alongside a castle and island that submerged into the water over 700 years ago (1306 AD) due to an earthquake and the aftermath tsunami. Referring to the keeping of the inscriptions in the Shirvanshahs Palace in Baku, he said the inscriptions contain Persian and Arabic words and so far no meaningful phrase have been read by putting the inscriptions together in different layouts. According to Rezvanfar, names such as Fariborz, Garshasb, Farrokhzad, Fereydoun, Manouchehr, Yazid, Ahmad, Mohammad and Sheibani have been seen in the inscriptions, which appear to be the names of the local rulers. Pointing to the placement of the inscriptions under water for a period of seven centuries and their discovery in the course of 30 years of archeological explorations, the faculty member of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism said that the size of the inscriptions is maximum 70 to 50 cm and human and animal images as well as images of the demon and elfs (their earthly and celestial images) have been portrayed on some of them. He further remarked that with regard to the use of illusive lines and sentences and lack of precision in the composition and principles of calligraphy as well as images of the demon and elfs the inscriptions have been possibly used as a talisman for warding off the disaster and adversaries and have perhaps been deliberately submerged into the water near a defensive castle. He said in the past spells were used to protect castles as they believed that the castles could not be conquered and would also install a spell on the entrance way of the private homes or the treasuries. According to him, in fact people at that time believed that accumulation of active and passive forces, namely the heavenly and terrestrial forces by experts, would lead to the application of powers of the universe in the worldly affairs.
IRAN – Talle Porgou - The Public Relations Office of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT) quoted Alireza Askari Chaverdi, head of the archeology team in Talle Porgou (Porgou Mound) in Hormuzgan Province, as saying on that archeological explorations were conducted with an aim of identifying the periods of settlement in the ancient sites of the city of Parsian in the province. As the primary target of the plan he referred to the recognition of the ancient cultures in an area between east of Siraf, Assalouyeh and the ancient cultures of Parsian region and establishment of a reliable chronological base in the Persian Gulf coast. According to the archaeologist, with the identification of 16 stages of settlement in the course of explorations in eight meters of ancient remains in one of the sites of Talle Porgou in Bambari village near the city of Parsian (Gaabandi), it became clear that the precise stratigraphy of the area could provide a good basis for comparing the chronology of the ancient works of the entire ancient coastal sites of Siraf, Parsian, Charak, Lengeh, Kish, and even the cities of Lamerd and Mohr.
Referring to the identification of more than one hundred and fifty ancient sites in the two coastal plains from the east of the port of Siraf to Bandar Lengeh and in the two hinterland plains of Lamerd and Mohr during the previous explorations, he said the choice of a site with the method of selection and concentration on stratigraphy required the selection of an appropriate archaeological site in order to give an answer to chronological questions for comparing the surface works of the entire area in western Hormuzgan coastal area and in the south of Fars. Askari Chaverdi said the reason for the selection of Talle Porgou area was the accumulation of a large volume of ancient materials in an area, adding that the explorations were conducted based on the new stratigraphy methods and in the early stages of the study it became clear that settlement in the Parsian region was practiced in the Sassanid era in eight consecutive steps. “In fact, the successive and intensive processes of habitation in a region are indicative of the favorable environmental conditions for living which was best implemented in the Sassanid period in the Parsian region through management of agricultural systems and water resources,' he added. According to Askari Chaverdi, in fact, the skill and experience in the management of water resources on the coasts of the Persian Gulf led not only to the massive growth of agriculture and crop in the Sassanid era, but due to the efficiency and management ability in maximum use of the resources, the name of this area has been taken from the traditional cultivation practices in ancient Iran. In fact, he further remarked, the name Govbandi is a kind of distribution of product between the land owner and the farmer based on the share of water, labor and land which was used in Iran in the traditional methods of farming and in the ancient agricultural tradition in Iran it was called Gaaband or Govbandi. The archaeologist added that archaeological research works in the eight ancient sites in the Persian Gulf hinterland revealed an ancient city belonging to the Ancient Persia which can be the ancient Govbandi.
SYRIE – Manbij - For more than two years, ISIS forces who occupied this northern Syrian city paid little attention to the tip of an old gate on an empty mound of land where they dumped trash. They were clueless the gate ran several feet into the ground down to something they might well have destroyed had they known: The ruins of an ancient Christian refuge, or early church, possibly dating back to the first centuries of Christendom’s existence, under the Roman Empire. Among the artifacts found that indicate this was a significant site for Christians were several versions of crosses etched into columns and walls, and writings carved into stone. The ancient space is carved out with narrow tunnels, complete with grooved shelves to offer light, which were believed to offer passage for worshippers. There are myriad escape routes in the tunnels as well, featuring large stones that may have served as hidden doors. Also visible are three jagged steps leading up to what Sheko believes was an altar of sorts. The discovery of a so-called "secret church," dating as far back as the third or fourth century, A.D., could be an important find, according to a leading American archaeologist.“They indicate that there was a significant Christian population in the area which felt they needed to hide their activities,” said John Wineland, professor of history and archaeology at Southeastern University. “This is probably an indication of the persecution by the Roman government, which was common in the period.” Wineland said Christians were persecuted “sporadically at first, and later more systematically by the Roman government.” Christianity was illegal in the Roman Empire until its worship was decriminalized by Emperor Constantine in 313 A.D.