03 - 04 NOVEMBRE 2010


 - 04 NOVEMBRE :

 - EGYPTE :   Louxor - Archaeologists today discovered the upper portion of a statue of Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III at Luxor, Egypt.The find – part of a double statue featuring King Amenhotep III with the falcon-headed sun god Re-Horakhti – was made at the pharaoh's funerary temple, located on the west bank of the Nile. Previously, the SCA mission already unearthed a double statue of the pharoah and the god Amun, several sculptures depicting the king with solar god Amun-Re and an unique granite colossus, depicting the god of wisdom Thoth in the form of a baboon. 18th Dynasty king Amenhotep III, (1390-1352BC) is well known for the overwhelming amount of statues dedicated to him, particularly group statuary featuring the king with the ancient Egyptian deities.These include Amun-Re, Re-Horakhti, Bastet, Sobek, and – most frequently – Sekhmet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of healing (as well as destruction).  So far, more than 80 statues of the goddess have been unearthed by the Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project. It has been suggested that the Sekhmet statues were erected because Amenhotep's failing health during the final years of his reign.


 - CHINE : The excavation site of a half-circle dragon-shaped topaz object, the first dragon-shaped art object in China, was recently identified by archaeologists. The academic question as to where the topaz object was unearthed was finally answered after puzzling archaeologists for more than 20 years. The topaz object was donated to the Ongniud Banner Museum in 1987. Generally regarded as the first dragon-shaped art object in China, the object has been the subject of great attention from domestic and foreign archaeologists who are interested in Hongshan Culture. As the excavation site of the topaz object was previously unknown, archaeologists became divided on its production date. Some consider it a typical object of Hongshan Culture dating back to between 5,000 and 6,500 years ago, but others said it was made more than 4,000 years ago, and is thus a relic of the Lower Xiajiadian Culture. They finally determined that the topaz object was unearthed from the site of the Hongshan Culture in Xindi Village, Wudan Town, Ongniud Banner District, Inner Mongolia. Detailed investigations in the past two years have proved that the elegant dragon-shaped topaz object, which is superior in raw material and excellent in workmanship, has obvious features of the Hongshan Culture in design and workmanship. It is a masterpiece of the jade objects of the Hongshan Culture and can be regarded as a national treasure.


 - ESPAGNE : Denia - Important archaeological remains may have been unearthed in Denia’s Constitution Square. The discovery was made when works were being carried out altering and improving the Square. The Municipal Archaeology Service talked about the possibility of finding "the remains of buildings from the twelfth century, including a mosque". Municipal archaeologist, José Antinous Gisbert, said the possibility of finding what was the town centre from the last thousand years, talking of "The Islamic city and Christian suburbs”. Gisbert did not rule out finding an Arab baths, built next to what was the medieval hospital (which is located under the Caritas building ), the said mosque, a public area like a souk, and even digging in the area locating the streets from the eleventh and twelfth centuries.


 - ROYAUME-UNI :   Leighton Buzzard - A quern stone was found by greenkeepers at Leighton Buzzard golf course as they dug out a new tee. Quern stones were used for grinding corn before the introduction of mill stones, but despite this, it's not actually that common to find one. It's in very good condition. You can still see the marks that are necessary to actually effect the grinding mechanism to make sure that you do get the corn out at the end, so it's obviously been made by man as opposed to being a natural object. There's evidence going way back that there were Iron Age settlements on that land, basically small holdings after herder gatherers gave way to settlements. So it's been inhabited from the late Iron Age which was the last century BC.


 - U.S.A. : St Louis - You've heard of the ancient city of Cahokia, but did you know several thousand American Indians occupied a village in the vicinity of East St. Louis at the same time? People lived under similar conditions in both places, growing crops, building mounds and using rivers for transportation. So archaeologists wonder why everyone left East St. Louis about A.D. 1200. It could have been related to a widespread fire that occurred about A.D. 1175. Or maybe residents moved to the safety of Cahokia with its 15,000 to 20,000 people and protective palisade after being threatened by unfriendly forces. Cahokia kept on going until about 1400 A.D. But there was some event, something that caused people to abandon East St. Louis. This is just one piece of a puzzle archaeologists are assembling as they excavate about 75 acres in East St. Louis. They've found broken pottery, arrowheads and other artifacts. Archaeologists are focusing on the excavation's prehistoric aspect, specifically Mississippian culture, which lasted from about 800 to 1500 A.D. Their crew has found evidence of several hundred structures such as homes and hearths.


 - FRANCE   Briançon - Des ossements humains ont été découverts sur un chantier de réhabilitation d’un ancien couvent. Un crane et des restes humains ont été mis à jour par l’équipe qui travaillait sur un parquet de l’ancien couvent des Recollets édifié par les Franciscains au début du XVIIIe siècle à Briançon dans les Hautes-Alpes. Religieux dans un premier temps, il fût transformé en hopital puis en caserne.  Pour l’heure, les ossements attendent l'arrivée d'un architecte de la Direction régionale des affaires culturelles (Drac), chargé de dater les pièces trouvées. Seront-ils âgés de moins de 10 ans entrainant l’ouverture d’une enquête pour meurtre où appartiendront-ils à l’histoire et feront l’objet d’études archéologiques ?  Le mystère est encore entier.


 - ROYAUME-UNI :  Barton-Upon-Humber -  Renovation work on a 16th century shop has uncovered an historic fireplace. John French made the discovery of the 16th century Inglenook and called in an archeologist to work alongside the contractors.  An Inglenook, literally meaning chimney corner, was once the only means of heating, cooking and damp control within a house right up until the 19th century. Inglenook fireplaces were often built with a seat or "stand in" alcove at one side (or both) for the owners to get as close as possible to the fire. A fire burning continuously also reduced heat loss and down draughts via the chimney itself. There are two Inglenooks which would have once been used to heat the whole property. The one at the rear of the building would have been used for heat in the former kitchen. The other facing the front of the house, which has now been discovered on Fleetgate, would have heated the rest of the house and would have been a huge opening for people to sit in, especially during winter.


 - 03 NOVEMBRE :

 - PEROU : Machu Picchu - Le président Alan Garcia exige de l’université américaine Yale qu’elle restitue les trésors incas du Machu Picchu qu’elle détient depuis près de cent ans. Le gouvernement péruvien vient de lancer une croisade archéologique de taille: récupérer les trésors incas du Machu Picchu, le site touristique le plus visité du pays. Un sacré défi puisque 46 000 pièces des vestiges de la citadelle sont conservées dans les salles d’étude de la prestigieuse université américaine Yale. Alors que celle-ci refuse de restituer les objets acquis, le président péruvien, Alan Garcia, menace de recourir à toutes les instances légales possibles pour sauver son patrimoine culturel. Début novembre, le Pérou déposera une plainte auprès de la Cour du Connecticut contre l’université pour appropriation illicite d’objets archéologiques.


  - U.S.A.  Fort Mason - A pile of bones and bottles dug up the other day at historic Fort Mason has a tale to tell of the Civil War, medicine and the way San Franciscans lived as many as 150 years ago - but it may take months to decipher it. In the meantime, archaeologists and historians are just thankful that the cache of 19th century treasure lay undiscovered for more than a century, buried just beneath the surface at a popular tourist site within view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Park officials are pretty sure the materials date from the early 1860s, when Fort Mason was built to defend the coast during the Civil War. The bones may have come from as many as 20 people and scientists believe they are not American Indian remains. Several bottles and buttons were also near them. They were mostly medicinal bottles, though they did find one hair tonic bottle that is quite lovely with flowers on the label.


 - FRANCE : Guimps - Il s'agit d'un site occupé depuis la fin de l'époque gallo-romaine et jusqu'à la fin du Moyen Âge. Les archéologues ont d'abord procédé au décapage du site à la pelle mécanique. Des tonnes de terre arable ont été déposées mettant en évidence des traces de constructions anciennes. Cela correspond au négatif des structures en creux, comme des trous de poteaux, des fossés, des fonds de cabanes, structures légères en bois, qui pouvaient abriter des ateliers artisanaux.  Tessons de céramique, fragments de tuiles, os, morceaux de verre, graines… Les chercheurs ne s'attendent pas à trouver de trésors monétaires : « Il y a peu de matériels. Nous sommes dans un contexte rural. Mais ces fouilles nous permettent de comprendre l'occupation humaine d'une population agricole. » Une fosse de trois mètres révèle la marne qui a pu être extraite pour la construction.


 - ROYAUME-UNI :   Bressingham - The reconstruction of a fire-ravaged pub in south Norfolk has suffered a delay after builders discovered a skeleton and cache of firearms.  Archaeologists and police were called to the Chequers Inn after pre-17th century human remains and second world war American guns and ammunition were found buried at the site. Mystery surrounds the circumstances behind the two burials which were discovered by contractors rebuilding the historic pub. The skeleton, which predates the construction of the public house more than 400 years ago, was found buried inside the listed building, near the rear wall, and is believed to have been a Christian burial.


 - ITALIE : Pompeii - Indeed, the identity of the strange breed of 'horse' that has been discovered in 2004, at Pompeii, has been cleared out by a Cambridge University researcher, who realized it was actually a donkey. Back in 2004, when academics unearthed skeletons found at a house in the ancient Roman town that was covered in ashes in 79 AD, they thought it belonged to an extinct breed of horse. Six years ago, the skeletons of equids having belonged to a rich Roman household in Pompeii were analyzed. There were found in the stables of a probably wealthy politician, and all five of them were very well preserved by the volcanic ash that covered Pompeii and Herculaneum, when Mount Vesuvius erupted. The team then analyzed the mitochondrial DNA sequences (mtDNA) of each of the horses, and found that one of them had a mysterious type of DNA, that was no longer found today, probably an unknown breed of horse, which had disappeared. Luckily, Susan Gurney examined the research and found that there was an accidental combination of a donkey mDNA sequence with that of a horse. She explained in her journal article that the first 177 nucleotides matched existing patterns of donkey, and the next 193 nucleotides matched those of an existing breed of horse. “Looking at the research with hindsight, it's possible to recognize two separate strands of horse and donkey DNA,” she said. "In addition, the horse DNA that appears to have been inadvertently mixed in with the donkey's genetic information is the same type as that found in another Herculaneum horse, which might be the source of the mistake.” This research could still have its importance, because apparently the DNA of this newly identified donkey finds its closest match with the DNA of domestic donkeys related to the Somali wild ass that lives in Italy today. This might be evidence that the 'Somali' ass lineage dates back to at least Roman times, whereas in other European countries, asses are often descended from the Nubian lineage. Susan Gurney wrote in the new issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.