02 MARS 2011 News - Tampa Bay - Nérac - Maarzaf - Witney - Sui-Vihar - etc-


 - 02  MARS

 - USA   Tampa Bay - After years of anticipation, experts armed with trowels will begin to unearth a 1,000-year-old mystery this morning that could help shed light on Tampa Bay's rich past. The find, a 40-foot canoe, has been buried in an undisclosed location at the Weedon Island Preserve since it was first discovered in 2001 by a resident searching for old bottles. It represents the first prehistoric seagoing vessel discovered in Florida, possibly the Southeast, and helps show the seafaring culture of a people long past.  The pine canoe is known as a dugout because it's carved from a tree trunk. At 40 feet, with a raised bow, it would have been large enough for travel across Tampa Bay for trade purposes. Once the vessel is uncovered, it will be cut into four sections, each about 10 feet in length. Conservationists opted to cut the vessel and reassemble it later, saying that this would provide the lowest chance of fracturing.  It will then be placed on slings and hoisted onto foam on a boat. From there, it will immediately be transported to a specially crafted tank.  The 12- by 5-foot tank is essential to the conservation process. The canoe will first be cleansed with freshwater. Polyethylene glycol, or wax, will then be mixed in with the water to preserve the canoe and keep it from degrading. It's a long, slow process that will last about two years. From there, it will be reassembled and put on display. Archaeologists have found older canoes, but nothing this large or in a saltwater environment. It's surprising that the vessel hasn't degraded in harsh conditions over the past centuries. The pine dugout dates back to 890 A.D. and is the first "prehistoric" (before 1492) canoe found in Pinellas County. It's nearly double the size of previous finds.


 - FRANCE – Nérac –  Imposante bâtisse au bord de la Gélise, le Moulin des Tours a fait l'objet de fouilles archéologiques. Quand elle a commencé à diriger les fouilles au Moulin des Tours qui surplombe la Gélise, Séverine Mages, archéologue, pensait simplement corroborer ce qui a déjà été maintes fois dit et écrit au cours de l'histoire. Son travail s'est révélé encore plus excitant qu'elle ne le pensait : pendant ces fouilles, les premières depuis que le bâtiment a été incendié en 1937, le moulin a révélé son lot de secrets inédits. Sous des tonnes de gravats, enfoui comme un trésor, se trouve en effet un foulon, qui servait à assouplir les draps. Une vraie surprise pour l'archéologue. « Aucun des textes que j'ai lu, et il y en a eu, ne mentionne une telle activité », s'étonne la jeune femme. Ni de culture du ver à soie, comme c'était le cas ailleurs dans la région au XVIIe siècle. « Il n'y a qu'un texte, numérisé sur un site américain, provenant d'une société d'histoire et d'archéologie lot-et-garonnaise qui fait état d'une telle tradition à Barbaste », sourit la jeune femme.



 - SYRIE  Maarzaf -  A burial chamber dating back to the Byzantine period was uncovered at Maarzaf village in Hama governorate during maintenance work, Syrian archaeologists say.,The burial chamber consists of five sections each measuring 9 square meters, with five graves carved in limestone.
This site is similar to most antique burial chamber uncovered in Hama, which are usually located 30 to 60 centimeters beneath the earth. This contrasts with burial chambers found in Idleb and Palmyra governorates which are usually constructed above ground due to the difficulty of digging in these areas' rocky terrain.(SANA)


 - ROYAUME-UNI  Stirling - Archaeologists have found fragments of Stirling Castle's 16th Century outer defences. The discovery was made during work to extend the castle's main shop and ticket office. Historic Scotland said the find would help establish exactly where the defences stood. European experts are believed to have been used to apply the latest Italian military engineering techniques at the castle in the 1540s. They were brought in by Mary of Guise, widow of James V, at a time when intermittent warfare with England made it essential to have fortifications that could protect against heavy artillery in a siege. The defences are shown in a 17th Century engraving by John Slezer.


 - ROYAUME-UNI – Witney - A Yorkshire historian is appealing for help in finding a prehistoric burial mound in Witney. During research, Paul Bennett discovered a private letter written on November 7, 1824, by Charles Stanhope to his friend, W Roddam, in which the mound was mentioned.  It said: “I went to Witney yesterday, a singular sight, the opening of a barrow. “In digging, about two feet beneath the surface, we came to some great stones, which some people considered to be a druid’s temple, but I thought them only placed as a protection to the urns which were found beneath.”  The letter stated 24 urns, containing burnt bones and ash, and a nearly-complete skeleton were found in the mounds. Mr Bennett enquired with the Council for British Archaeology, but could not find any reference to the find.


 - INDE – Delhi - Only two of the three entrances of this 500-year-old monument are locked and visitors can easily get a peek inside. A group of young boys is not new to this Tughlaq-period tomb — it has for long served as an extended playground for the neighbourhood kids. Located inside a park in south Delhi's Greater Kailash I, the structure figures prominently on the list of heritage sites to be taken over by the Delhi archaeology department. But so far no conservation work has taken place. Sources said that the monument's preliminary notification has been completed and it will soon be notified as "protected" under the Delhi Archaeology Sites Act. While conservationists say that the tomb should be preserved for its typical Tughlaq-era architecture , locals argue that it has no historical value and protecting the site would only inconvenience the nearby residents. A rusted , broken lock hangs on one gate. Inside , there is a wooden bench in a corner. An idol of Saraswati rests on the other side, it has been left behind — the tomb was taken over by a temple trustee who occupied it for years. The structure has been defaced and damaged in several places. Cobwebs and broken plaster are interspersed with traces of typical Tughlaq-era architecture.



 - PAKISTAN – Sui-Vihar - Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO has approved the Punjab University's project proposal titled “Sui-Vihar Excavations and Archaeological Reconnaissance of Southern Punjab - The project has to be completed by the end of current year- The field work around the unique shrine of Sui-Vihar is likely to throw ample light on the various facets of Buddhism and particularly the Mahayana cult. The development of Buddhist art in Gandhara has its own characteristics, whereas the Buddhism which developed in the south has its own traditions, architecture and art. It has to be ascertained whether it was the reproduction of the art from Gandhara or otherwise. It will also help to glean the artistic excellence of the people of southern Punjab as the raw material available in this region was either stucco or the clay, which is easy for moldings and modeling. The stone extensively used in Gandhara is altogether absent in this region - Buddhisativa and other deities have been introduced in the south. Further, the field work around the monastic complex has its ramifications and will shed light on the archaeological heritage of southern Punjab for the first time in such an extensive way on scientific lines. The excavations are likely to enlighten about the status of Buddhism in southern Punjab and the Khanqahi Nizam of Sufia-i-Kram among the Muslims, which may have its roots from the monastic life of Buddhist monks. New information thus collected may explain as to why among all the regions of Pakistan Sufism became more popular in southern Punjab and northern Punjab than anywhere else.