04 MARS 2019: Sivand - Luoyang - Charaideo - Wakasugiyama - Quadra -
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IRAN – Sivand - Iranian archaeologists have discovered some huge building stones that bear signatures thought to be engraved by prehistoric masons, ILNA reported. The engraved autographs date back to the time of Cyrus the Great, the founder of Achaemenid Empire, which at its greatest extent stretched from the Balkans to the Indus Valley, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers, according to archaeologist Afshin Yazdani. The huge stones were found in an Achaemenid-era mine in Sivand some 32 km from Pasargadae. Apparently, the stones were left there, since Cyrus the Great passed away so that his constructing plan never finished, the archaeologist explained. Yazdani assumes that the new discovery will help historians, anthropologists and sociologists among others to better understand the mechanism and system through which the labor force was employed some 2500 years ago. Pasargadae is situated on a plain northeast of Persepolis. According to tradition, Cyrus the Great chose the site because it lay near the scene of his victory over Astyages the Mede (550).
CHINE – Luoyang - Slightly over a year ago, Chinese archaeologists revealed that the first emperor of a unified China, Qin Shi Huang, was obsessed with finding the elixir of life by any means and even ordered a nationwide search for the miraculous potion. Archaeologists in central China’s Henan province have discovered an “elixir of immortality” described in ancient Taoist literature, Xinhua news agency reported. Around 3.5 litres of the liquid was found in a bronze pot excavated from a Western Han Dynasty tomb in the city of Luoyang last October, but was initially thought to be liquor since it gave off an odour of alcohol. Further lab research allowed it to determine that the liquid consists of potassium nitrate and alunite, which are key ingredients of an elixir of life recorded in an ancient Taoist text, Pan Fusheng, the leading archaeologist of the excavation project said. Aside from this, the researchers discovered a vast number of jade ware, colour-painted clay pots, and bronze artefacts from the nobles’ tomb, which cover 210 sq. metres.
INDE – Charaideo - Locals digging up a pond in Assam’s Charaideo district on Saturday recovered a large number of antique coins from the 300-year-old Ahom dynasty. As per some reports, an urn filled with octagonal coins and belonging to Ahom and Mughal dynasties was also recovered. It has been sent to the archaeological department for examination. The Ahom dynasty (1228–1826) ruled the Ahom kingdom in Assam for nearly 600 years. The dynasty was established by Sukaphaa, a Shan prince of Mong Mao who came to Assam after crossing the Patkai mountains. The dynasty’s rule ended with the Burmese invasion of Assam and the subsequent annexation by the British East India Company following the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826. The earliest coins from the Ahom kingdom date from the 15th century. Originally, the coins were round, but in the 16th century the shape of the coins was made octagonal, supposedly because the Yogini Tantra mentions that Kamarupa is eight-sided. The octagonal shape and the long series makes these coins highly popular with collectors.
JAPON – Wakasugiyama - Researchers have dated a mining tunnel here to the late Yayoi period in the first to third centuries, making it the oldest mine gallery in Japan by at least 500 years. "(The discovery) proves that Yayoi people, whom we tend to see as very agricultural, had techniques sufficiently advanced to excavate things like tunnels," commented Tetsuya Okubo, a professor of archaeology at Tokushima Bunri University. Previously, it was believed that Japan's oldest mining tunnel was at the Naganobori Copper Mine Site in Yamaguchi Prefecture in the west of the country, dug in the early Nara period in the eighth century. In Anan, also in western Japan, stone tools for refining cinnabar -- used as red pigment -- have been discovered at the city's Wakasugiyama Site, and mining activities confirmed from the third to the seventh centuries, from late Yayoi to the beginning of the Kofun period. However, it was believed that Yayoi miners only dug surface pits, as they lacked advanced techniques to drill into hard rock and carve out mine galleries. In 2017, a tunnel thought to be a mine gallery was found on a local hillside, and the city conducted an excavation in fiscal 2018. The tunnel turned out to be 0.7 to 1.2 meters high, 3 meters wide and extended 12.7 meters into the hillside. More than 10 fragments of earthenware were discovered about 3 meters from the entrance and, based on the implements' style, the excavation team judged that five of them had been made in or around the late Yayoi period. Refined cinnabar had high scarcity value, as it was used to paint stone chambers and coffins for mourning the dead, according to the team.
CANADA - Quadra Island - Ancient Indigenous clam gardens off northern Quadra Island have been dated by researchers to be at least 3,500 years old – 2,000 years older than previously thought. The study by archeologists from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the Hakai Institute, a B.C. scientific research centre, provides valuable data on the human-built rock walls known as clam gardens. The walls, used to farm clams along tidal zones, are hidden under the high tide and provide an ideal habitat for the mollusks. Using a combination of radiocarbon dating and historic sea-level mapping, researchers have been able to date the clam gardens, Prof. Lepofsky said. She said the work, published in the journal PLOS ONE, puts to rest any doubt whether these walls were built before colonial contact. “First Nations have been saying that it’s an age-old practice because it’s in origin stories, it’s in their place names, language and song. Now we have Western scientific knowledge to support that,” she said. The structures have a unique shape and are built of rock from different areas. First Nations used bedrock boulders and fit them together like a dry stone wall, rather than constructing them from a base with rounded rocks. For local Laich-Kwil-Tach and northern Coast Salish peoples, the harvesting of clams that gather and grow on these ancient walls is an integral part of life and culture for their communities. Other forms of ancient Indigenous resource management practices such as pruning and tilling have been harder to date because no physical structure is left behind. That’s why archeologists have turned to marine harvesting practices such as clam gardens for research. Other marine structures such as fish traps have been dated to be at least 5,000 years old – evidence of some of the oldest recorded resource management techniques in British Columbia.