03 MAI 2017 NEWS: Winchester - Shizhuhu - Wat Daeng - Tissø - Rousset - Burn of Swartigill -
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ROYAUME UNI – Winchester - Excavations over three days in the back gardens of two houses in King Alfred Terrace covering what is believed to be the cloisters of Hyde Abbey had revealed a mass of building and other material dating back to the Middle Ages. Potentially most important was the unearthing of a significant amount of Roman mortar fragments together with tesserae (small blocks of clay used in a plain mosaic floor) in one of the five trenches which had been opened up by the volunteer archaeologists. Located at a level lower than that of an adjacent wall and floor – probably part of the medieval monastery - this prompted a re-evaluation of the site. David Ashby, from Winchester University, said: “The volume of material that we have found opens out the possibility of a building from the Roman era in this location. The Roman road to Silchester ran about 100 metres to the west and it is possible that this material came from a nearby house in the countryside just to the north of the Roman city. But we had never seen this before.” The discovery also suggested that maybe the cloister was deliberately built on an area where previous buildings could be used as a base, said Mr Ashby. The second exciting discovery was of two Quarr stone 'abacus' fragments datable by their style to the first half of the 12th century. Originally thought to be plinths these were identified by Dr John Crook, consultant archaeologist to Winchester Cathedral, as being the load-bearing stones which are placed on the top of column capitals. Measurements undertaken by Dr Crook showed that the abacus dimensions matched exactly those of the capitals which are now on display in St. Bartholomew's church and which have long been believed to come from the abbey cloister.
CHINE - Shizhuhu - Archaeologists have found a tomb, believed to contain a husband and wife, dating back to the early period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in China's Hunan province.Archaeologists have found a tomb, believed to contain a husband and wife, dating back to the early period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in China’s Hunan province. Two well-preserved wooden coffins, one larger than the other, were found inside the tomb in Shizhuhu village, Xinhua news agency cited the Hunan Institute of Archaeology as saying. Archaeologists found the remains of the male in the larger coffin on the left and only clothing in the other coffin, which is thought to belong to a female. “The size and position of coffins show ancient Chinese beliefs toward male superiority,” said Zhang Xingguo, associate researcher with the institute. Bricks inscribed with four Chinese characters designated it as an ancestral tomb of the Yi family, the institute said. The tomb had been looted and its roof damaged. Police have collected funeral artefacts from the Ming and Qing dynasties, common in tombs in southern China, from the site.
THAILANDE – Wat Daeng temple - Thirty-two ancient jars have been found underneath the main Buddha image in the chapel of Wat Daeng temple in Tha Rua district during an excavation by archaeologists for the renovation of the temple. Chaiyos Charoensantipong, an archaeologist from the 3rd Fine Arts Office supervising the excavation, said that workers on Saturday removed a brick from a 10-centimetre-thick wall on the base of the main Buddha image and found the jars. The 32 containers were placed top down in order underneath the base of the main Buddha image, he said. The jars did not contain amulets or any other objects. They were simply used to help support the base of the main Buddha image. The jars are regarded as valuable nonetheless as they help people understand the ancient construction technique, Mr Chaiyos said.
DANEMARK – Tissø - Studies of grape pips point to wine production in Denmark during the time of the Vikings. The Vikings liked alcohol, but while it is easy enough to grow crops and produce beer in the Danish climate, wine is a different challenge and was thought to have always been imported from southern parts of Europe to northern countries. But new research has showed that at least one of the two oldest grape cores found in Denmark was grown locally, reports science news site Videnskab.dk. Results of the analysis could be the final piece of evidence needed to prove that wine was produced in Denmark during the Viking era, says the report. Henriksen himself discovered the two centuries-old wine pips in a sample of earth at the site of a Viking settlement at Tissø. Analysis of the pips found one to date from the Viking era and the other from the Iron Age. No evidence of grapes in Denmark prior to the Middle Ages was previously known. The tests showed that the Viking era grape was probably grown on Zealand. The Tissø settlement is one of the richest Viking locations in Denmark and was home to a dynasty that stretched from the early Iron Age to the late Viking period, reports Videnskab. Production of wine in the area may have been a way of expressing status, say researchers. Although it is also possible that the grapes were grown to be consumed as fruit, the Vikings are known to have come across wine on their voyages abroad, and Roman wine cups and other remnants of wine have been found in Scandinavia. The climate in the region was also similar to the present-day climate, making it possible to grow grapes
FRANCE – Rousset - Leurs découvertes dépassent leurs espérances. Les archéologues de la société Mosaïques archéologie, qui devaient stopper leurs recherches la semaine dernière, ont finalement obtenu le feu vert du Service régional d'archéologie (SRA) pour poursuivre jusqu'au 13 mai, les fouilles préventives menées sur le site de La Marnière, à l'entrée de la zone industrielle de Rousset. Les premières investigations confirmaient la présence d'une nécropole antique relevée par l'Institut régional de recherches archéologiques préventives. "Le diagnostic de l'Inrap faisait état de cinquante structures funéraires, explique Olivier Mignot, responsable du chantier et spécialiste de l'Antiquité. Nous en sommes déjà à 65 avérées." Concrètement, il s'agit de fosses-bûchers aux parois rubéfiées, qui se trouvent dans un excellent état de conservation. A l'intérieur de ces cavités, les archéologues ont découvert des ossements ainsi que des fragments de vaisselle, de lampes à huile, etc. Mais tout ceci en quantité variable. Certaines fosses ont en effet été vidées, intégralement ou en partie. Ce qui soulève bon nombre d'interrogations. Si les analyses post-fouilles doivent permettre d'apporter des explications plus précises sur les rituels funéraires, les premières découvertes permettent déjà de restituer le cadre général. "Nous sommes entre le IIe et IIIe siècles, à une période charnière entre les rites romains et chrétiens, précise Olivier Mignot. Il y a eu creusement de la fosse, installation du lit mortuaire du défunt puis crémation. Il y a eu ensuite récupération plus ou moins importante des ossements." Où ont été placés les ossements ponctionnés ? Cela reste encore un mystère. Ce qui est en revanche envisagé, ce sont "les repas funéraires" au vu, notamment, des dépôts de poteries. "Le mobilier déposé, parfois de manière peu délicate, montre d'ores et déjà une volonté d'accompagnement des défunts, dans l'au-delà". Une autre découverte interpelle les archéologues, celle d'une fosse bûcher plus grande que toutes les autres, de l'autre côté d'un chemin de pierre. "C'est une surprise de taille, reconnaît Olivier Mignot. Il s'agirait de la seule structure qui ne soit pas individuelle." Cette structure au fond rubéfié de 3 m de long sur plus d'un mètre de large, profonde de plus d'1m60, ne révèle que peu d'éléments et pose beaucoup de questions. "On voit néanmoins que cette fosse a été utilisée de manière un peu violente", avance Olivier Mignot. Est-ce consécutif à une grosse maladie, sachant qu'"à la fin du IIe siècle, on a connu une épidémie de peste antonine" ? Est-on en présence d'un charnier ? S'agit-il d'ossements humains ou d'animaux ? Les études pourront là encore, espérons-le, apporter des réponses.
ROYAUME UNI – Burn of Swartigill - A tool used for sharpening metal objects has been uncovered during an archaeological dig of a suspected Iron Age site in Caithness. The whetstone was found at the weekend, which marked the end of the excavation at Burn of Swartigill south of Wick. The site is thought to contain the remains of an Iron Age home. he site is thought to contain a wag, Iron Age homes that have been found elsewhere in Caithness and neighbouring Sutherland. Their construction began after a period of broch-building. Brochs were large stone towers and remains of them can be found across the Highlands and in the Northern Isles.