04 JUIN 2018: Viminacium - Terre Neuve - Toronto - Shivalli -
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SUMMER TERM : JULY 2018
SERBIE – Viminacium - Archaeologists at the site of the ancient Roman city of Viminacium have found an intact sarcophagus with two skeletons bedecked with gold and silver adornments. Ilija Mikic, an anthropologist at the site, said the skeletons were of a tall, middle-aged man and a slim younger woman.In addition to three delicate glass perfume bottles, the woman had golden earrings, a necklace, a silver mirror and several expensive hair pins, while a silver belt buckle and remains of shoes were found lying around the man. “According to grave goods ... we can conclude that these two people surely belonged to a higher social class,” Mikic said. The Viminacium site, near the town of Kostolac, around 70 km east of Belgrade, was a military camp and the capital of the Roman province of Moesia Superior, dating back to the 1st century AD. It had a hippodrome, fortifications, a forum, palace, temples, amphitheatre, aqueducts, baths and workshops. According to historians, it could have been the home to some 40,000 people. So far, only about 4 percent of it has been explored, said Miomir Korac, the director of the site.
CANADA – Terre Neuve - It looks like the Vikings may not have spent time in an area on Newfoundland’s south coast. A archeological report presented to the provincial government says there are no signs of a Norse presence in the Point Rosee area in the Codroy Valley. The study shows that archaeological work carried out in the area in 2015 and 2016 failed to turn up any signs of Norse occupation. Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama had identified the Point Rosee site through satellite images. While initial results suggested a possible bog ore roasting installation, subsequent examination refuted most of the preliminary indicators for human activity and a Norse presence in the area.
CANADA - Toronto - The archeological dig in a parking lot bordering Armoury St. in downtown Toronto, which began in 2015, was one of the largest such urban projects in Canada. One of the most fascinating artifacts recovered at the Armoury Street Dig is a porcelain figurine about nine centimetres high. The piece is much worn but depicts a white actor in blackface makeup, playing a mandolin. It is also broken, so there is no maker’s mark evident, but was probably of German manufacture and intended for North American, British, Australian and New Zealand markets. The object is evocative of the minstrel shows that were so popular in the English-speaking world starting in the early 19th century. Its discovery in the soils of Lot 10, at 35 Centre St., highlights how pervasive the intensely racist minstrel tradition was in Canadian entertainment. Minstrel shows were born out of racial prejudice. In the 1820s, European-American actors began putting lampblack or burnt cork on their faces and presented themselves as “blackface” performers at circuses and other venues. Thomas Dartmouth (”Daddy”) Rice, considered “the father of American minstrelsy,” is believed to have been inspired by an African American with a disability who he observed in Louisville, Ky., in the early 1830s. The man was sweeping out a stable while singing and dancing with a halting, shuffling step. From this, Rice developed his signature “Jump Jim Crow” song-and-dance routine. The invention of blackface minstrelsy initiated two profoundly discriminatory aspects of American popular culture: the minstrel tradition that turned racist perceptions of Black Americans into figures of fun for the amusement of white audiences; and the identification of the term Jim Crow with African America. So pervasive was the latter that Jim Crow became the common term for racial segregation, culminating in the draconian Jim Crow laws enacted in the last decades of the 19th century. These laws, and their attendant customs, demanded a separation of African Americans from European Americans in nearly every walk of life. The minstrel tradition combined sentimentality and comedy, ridiculing African Americans and romanticizing plantation slavery. It caricatured both enslaved and free Black people in a series of stock characters that grew more exaggerated over time.
INDE - Shivalli - Shivalli, now familiar to people as Perampalli, is a village between Udupi and Manipal situated one km south of the Swarna river. About two weeks ago, the Shivattaya family of Perampalli discovered a small cave like structure when their land was being prepared for a Yakshagana play of Kateel Mela. Mr Murugeshi and his team initially suspected it to be a megalithic burial ground but they did not find the capstone which is usually found on the top of the cave. Hardly did they know that they were entering one of the oldest prehistoric burial sites in the region! There was virtually a treasure waiting for them – not gold or gem stones, but something more precious – various types of pottery that could throw light on prehistoric settlements. On excavation, Prof. Murugeshi initially got a black and red ware pot which is typical of the Megalithic age. “We noted that the entire cave was dug not in laterite stone but in the soil. This is the first time such a cave has been discovered. Usually, a cave is dug only in laterite stone,” Prof Murugeshi explained. The team had a tough task removing the sand carefully ensuring none of the pot pieces were damaged. After removing about 5 loads of sand, they saw an intact red ochre pot about 7.5 feet below. The pot had become fragile due to weather conditions and broke but it and the material it contained were collected and sent to Deccan College in Pune for studies. “The red ochre pot is typical of the Chalcolithic era. This burial ground may be a burial place of both the Chalcolithic and Megalithic eras,” Prof Murugeshi opined. The cave also had three stone tools used to carve it out of the soil. It indicates that people of those ages believed that all material used for the dead and for cremation should not be taken back but should be placed inside the cave itself. And why stone tools? One reason could be that metal was very valuable for them they did not want it to leave it in the cave after the funeral ritual. The other reason could be that the cave might be older, probably dating back to the Neolithic era (about 800- 1000 BC). “As we do not have any strong proof to date it to the Neolithic age, we prefer to call it a Chalcolithic Megalithic cave,” the professor said adding that this was the oldest burial cave found till date in the region. The new discovery could throw more light on the antiquity of Shivalli as a religious site. “ This discovery is very important in the study of Udupi history as we now have proof that there were inhabitants here about 3000 years ago,” the professor said. Udupi became an important religious place at least since the 8th century. Some scholars opine that initially Shivalli was the religious headquarters which in later years might have shifted to the present day Udupi. There are several inscription which throw light on the importance given to Shivalli and how it was revered. Shivalli means Village of Shiva (Shivana Halli) and still has an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The recently discovered Chalcolithic Megalithic cave is about 1 km from this temple! Just a few metres away from the cave is the 'Tangodu Temple,' where historians have found idols dating back to the 8th and 10th century. All these indicate that the place was once a centre of religious and cultural activity. But later, the religious hub moved from Shivalli to Udupi. Sri Anantheshwara Temple received importance during the age of Advaitha and later the Udupi Sri Krishna Math was founded by Sri Madhwacharya which rose to prominence with Shivalli gradually forgotten. Incidentally, the Udupi Brahmins, also called Shivalli Brahmins, have got their name from this place. “We knew that Shivalli was important and was equated to Kashi. But now it looks like Kashi and Shivalli are both pre-vedic Shaivite centres,” Prof. Murugeshi said.