03 NOVEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Jiren Taigoukou - Cefn Graianog - Lumbini - Kafr Kana - Åland - Danemark -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
ONLINE COURSES / COURS A DISTANCE
WINTER TERM : JANUARY 2017
CHINE – Jiren Taigoukou - The earliest site where coal was used as fuel was discovered in Nilka county of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which are thought to date from more than 3,000 years ago, say archaeologists excavating the Jiren Taigoukou Ruins, according to Chinanews.com. A great deal of coal ash, coal particles and unburned sheets of coal, as well as a kitchen and ashcan used by ancient people for cooking and warmth, were found at the site. Archaeologists think they are from the Bronze Age, 3,500 years ago. This has pushed China's history of using coal forward by more than 1,000 years. Ruan Qiurong, a director of the Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, said that the earliest coal discovery in China was that of coal and carbon crystals that were used as jewelry during the Neolithic Age, 6,000-7,000 years ago. According to the historical record, coal was widely used in industrial production and for everyday use during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24). The Jiren Taigoukou Ruins is surrounded by high mountains on two sides, north to the Kashi River and west to the canyon mouth, giving it a superior geographical environment and fine climate. That made it an ideal place for husbandry. Ruan said the remains of 14 houses have been found at the site, and over 2,000 square meters have been excavated. "The whole site is like a tribe and has different functional houses, which were used for living, gathering or production", Ruan said. "The discovery of such an old-lined, well-preserved and large-scale ruins marks a great find along the archaeological history of Xinjiang, which has high research value." The whole excavation will take another two years, according to Ruan. The discovery of the site from the Bronze Age, as well as the findings of coal use ruins and other copper making ruins, have provided new material for the study of ancient bronze smelting techniques in Xinjiang, or even Central Asia.
ROYAUME UNI – Cefn Graianog Quarry - Archaeologists working in a Gwynedd quarry discovered an ancient cemetery containing some of the best preserved Bronze Age pottery ever found in the area. The team from Brython Archaeology were working in the Cefn Graianog Quarry at Llanllyfni, near Caernarfon , on behalf of site operators the Tudor Griffiths Group. During their work at the sand and gravel quarry they were surprised to come across a Bronze Age cemetery but even more shocked to discover what was lying inside two graves. The team uncovered two graves created from pits lined with stone slabs – one smaller one and another larger adult sized grave, which contained two pots known as beakers. As well as the pots, the team discovered pits containing charcoal and pottery which are also believed to date back to the Bronze Age
NEPAL – Lumbini - Lors de fouilles à Lumbini, au Népal, une équipe dirigée par Robin Coningham a localisé des trous de poteau datant d’environ 550 av. J.-C. Ils proviendraient d’une clôture en bois entourant un bodhigara, ou « arbre sanctuaire ». Selon la légende, Lumbini est le jardin où la reine Maya Devi a agrippé un arbre et donné naissance au personnage historique de Siddhartha Gautama, qui deviendra plus tard Bouddha. « Toute la question est de savoir quand Bouddha a vécu, et cette structure sacrée nous oriente vers le vie siècle avant notre ère », affirme Robin Coningham. La date de naissance exacte de Bouddha est contestée, les autorités népalaises optant pour 623 av. J.-C., tandis que d’autres traditions la considèrent plus récente, vers 400 av. J.-C. La découverte archéologique a été saluée par des experts, qui demandent toutefois des analyses plus poussées, car les arbres étaient aussi vénérés dans les religions indiennes prébouddhistes. Certains centres rituels ont ainsi pu se chevaucher. Dans le sanctuaire, on n’a retrouvé aucune trace de sacrifices ou d’offrandes comme on en voit d’ordinaire sur les sites indiens plus anciens. « En fait, il était très propre, ce qui témoignerait plutôt de pratiques bouddhistes de non-violence et de non-offrandes », précise Robin Coningham. Les recherches sur le site, poursuit-il, laissent à penser qu’il était cultivé vers 1 000 av. J.-C., avant d’être occupé par une communauté bouddhiste comparable à celle d’un monastère au VIe siècle av. J.-C.
ISRAEL – Kafr Kana - Members of the Upper Galilee Leadership Academy rubbed their eyes in disbelief when on their first day at the Kafr Kana archaeological excavation, they discovered a valuable item. "While shoveling soil into the pan I saw a shiny coin. When I realized what it was I cried out and everyone was excited," says Dor Yagev, a pupil at the academy. The pupils had discovered a gold coin from the early Islamic period, dating to 776-77 C.E., over a century after the Arab Islamic conquest of the Levant. The coin contained Arabic inscriptions portraying the belief in one god and the name of the prophet Muhammed. Additional silver coins were also found. The excavations, as well as similar ones which took place in Kafr Kana over the last fifty years demonstrate the existence of early pre-Islamic villages in the area from the time of the Middle Bronze period (2000 B.C.E). as well as from Roman and Byzantine periods.
SUEDE / FINLANDE – Åland islands - Diver Jerry Wilhelmsson was out looking for a different shipwreck altogether off the south coast of the Åland islands (Finland's autonomous Swedish-speaking islands between Stockholm and Helsinki) when he came across an incredible discovery. Sitting in front of him at a shallow depth was an unusually well-preserved 27 metre long shipwreck, complete with anchor, figurehead and hundreds of unopened bottles. Speaking to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, marine archaeologist Marcus Lindholm speculated that the ship’s style suggests it dates from between 1850 and 1870.
DANEMARK – Danish archaeologist Rolf Warming has been working to discover the fighting skills that Vikings in all probability must have used during battle. Warming’s research revealed that along with using their shields to defend themselves against attacks, the shields were also an active part of fighting. “It turns out that the Vikings may have used their shields much more actively than previously thought,” Warming told Vindenskab.dk. Warming actually enters into ‘battle’ while wearing Viking armour and using the type of one metre shield found in archaeological finds from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Damage found on the shields could not be reconciled with the passive use previously attributed to Viking fighters.It appears that the Vikings may have used their shields to actively fend off sword blows, and possibly use them as weapons. Warming, pointed out that no one technique would have been used, but that the addition of more aggressive shield techniques – using it to parry enemy weapons and perhaps even to strike them – was probably a big part of their repertoire. “When I went actively forward with the shield at both angles, it seemed almost like a weapon in itself, because both could avoid the battle, but also beat the enemy with shield edge,” he said. The thin round shields were typical of the majority of the Vikings until around the year 1000, when the heavier, teardrop-shaped shields became increasingly popular. Warming plans to continue his research into Viking fighting methods.“I hope to get funding to conduct similar studies in which the shields are attacked with axes and arrows,” he said.