INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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DEBUT COURS : JUIN 2023
CHINE – Sanxingcun - A second excavation was launched at a neolithic site in east China's Jiangsu Province, three decades after the first one, which unearthed more than 4,000 items. This was reported by The Xinhua News Agency. The Sanxingcun relic site in the Jintan District of Changzhou City, covering about 350,000 square meters, dates back to between 6,500 and 5,500 years ago, according to Li Moran, deputy researcher with the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who is in charge of the excavation at the venue. He said 800 square meters, including the dwelling areas and burial sites, will be excavated this time. The work is expected to be finished by the end of this year. The first excavation was conducted between 1993 and 1998, when, in an area of more than 500 square meters, archaeologists unearthed over 1,200 human remains in 1,000-plus tombs, including more than 200 complete skulls. Archaeologists have also recovered a large number of jade articles, stoneware, pottery, and bone objects, as well as carbonized rice. Li Moran noted that considering the size of the Sanxingcun relic site, its large population, differences in the number and grade of burial objects, and the layout of the site comprising separate living, handicraft production, and burial areas, society at that time had started to become complex, which may be in a period of transition toward inequality. "The second excavation could help us learn more about the settlement layout of the site, and we are expected to have a panoramic restoration of the life of people in the period", – said Li.
ITALIE – Livourne - The hiker made this discovery while walking through newly cut forest northeast of the Tuscan city of Livorno. They noticed a shiny object on the forest floor, and when they stopped to investigate, realized that they’d come across a collection of dated silver coins. After conducting a thorough investigation, researchers from the Livornese Paleontological Archaeological Group reported finding a total of 175 ancient Roman coins, called denarii. These coins, which were found along with remnants of a terracotta pot. There are several opposing theories as to who the cache of money may have belonged to. Archaeologists have suggested that the coins may have been buried by a Roman soldier. The coins are all from between 157 BCE and 82 BCE, which correlates with “a very turbulent historical period in Italian history,” Alderighi said. “These coins may have been the savings of a soldier returning home (during) military service. He had hidden them because they constituted a useful sum, perhaps to buy and start his own farm.” On the contrary, historian and professor Federico Santangelo told LiveScience he believes the coins may have belonged to a businessman. “A number of people at times of crisis buried their stash of money and for whatever reason were prevented from retrieving it,” said Santangelo, who heads Classics and Ancient History at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. “I don’t think we should trace this money to a soldier, although in principle it is possible.”
UAE - Ras Al Khaimah - In collaboration with US universities, archaeologists in Ras Al Khaimah are analysing 4,000-year-old human remains to see if a dramatic climate event at that time can help to study how human biology would be affected by a similar event in the future. The human remains are from a severe climate change characterised by drought. A professor and student team of bio-anthropologists from Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, US, led by Professor Jaime Ullinger, visited archaeologists at Ras Al Khaimah’s Department of Antiquities & Museums to study human skeletons from the 2nd millennium BC. The study is conducted to analyse their potential in bio-archaeological studies. The goal is to research the effects of climate change on human biology between the Umm Al Nar and Wadi Suq periods in Ras Al Khaimah. In 2017, the university teams worked on human remains to study the diet, health, and behaviour of the Umm Al Nar people and their funeral practices. The human bones studied were found in Ras Al Khaimah’s Shimal - a prominent archaeological site dating back to the Umm Al Nar period (2,600 to 2,000 BC) - where archaeologists previously discovered evidence of prehistoric tombs, settlements, and a medieval fortress.
EGYPTE – Fayoum - Scientists have studied a Fayum portrait of a young woman dating back to the 2nd century and stored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They noticed a tumor on her neck and suggested that it was probably a realistic representation of a goiter – an enlargement of the thyroid gland. This is reported in an article published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. This artifact, which measures 36.5 x 17.8 centimeters, was acquired in Egypt in the early 20th century and has been dated to AD 120-140. Scientists note that a tumor is clearly visible on the woman’s neck, which does not resemble the “rings of Venus” – transverse folds on the neck that appear as a result of a number of physiological features. At the same time, according to scholars, most of the Fayum portraits depict people realistically. According to the researchers, the woman probably had goitre. According to the researchers, no earlier cases of goiter have yet been recorded among the ancient Egyptians, although it is very likely that the disease was common
TURQUIE – Lake Iznik - Locals began discovering ancient coins after the lake dried up, possibly from the historical basilica that was once submerged beneath Lake Iznik but rose above the water in 2014. The museum officials, who examined the coins, stated that the coin, which is the figure of Jesus Christ, belongs to the 9th century, and the other coin belongs to the Hellenistic period.
TURQUIE – Istanbul - The archeological work ceaselessly continues in the remains of the St. Polyeuktos Church, which is considered one of the most important structures of the Eastern Roman Empire built approximately 1,500 years ago in Istanbul's Saraçhane Archaeology Park. The director of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Rahmi Asal, stated that the area where the church is located hosts some of Istanbul's most important archaeological relics. Highlighting that St. Polyeuktos was the largest and most important structure of its time after the Hagia Sophia, and Asal said that it was commissioned by Eastern Roman Princess Anicia Juliana to show her power against Emperor Justinian and his non-dynastic wife Theodora. For that reason, the church embodies many adornments inside as well as one of the prominent architectural structures, as a domed basilica. "The church, whether it be a domed basilica or not, is particularly valuable with its architectural decorative elements. For example, there is a beautiful poem on the architrave block, conveying a poetic subject. Beautiful expressions about Anicia Juliana and her family and lineage are included," Asal said. He also explained that the church suffered great destruction, especially during the Latin invasion period, and was affected by the earthquake of 1010. Furthermore, its parts were dismantled and taken, especially to be used in the San Marco Basilica in Venice. Asal also mentioned that the materials of the St. Polieuktos Church were used in the decorations and construction of other church-like structures in Istanbul and that these walls still survive to this day. In April, a statue thought to belong to the Roman period was recovered during excavation works in the area. Asal emphasized that the artifact carries traces of the social structure of the period, and is a male body statue missing its arms, legs and head, with only one shoulder bare and wearing a garment known as a "toga," a distinctive garment of ancient Rome.
OMAN – Nafun - Archaeologists discovered a number of finds, including, dunes up to 300 meters high, the eggshells of extinct ostriches, a fossil dune and an old riverbed from when the Arabian climate was wetter, during an expedition in two areas of the Sultanate of Oman. Some of the items are believed to date back to the first wave of human migration out of Africa, 300,000 to 1.3 million years ago. The archaeologists used radiocarbon dating and cosmogenic radionuclide dating on the finds to further their understanding on the ruins. They were then able to begin investigating 2,000-year-old ritual stone monuments, known as triliths, located in southern Arabia. Through connecting this information, the researchers were able to track the possible migration of the community that made the monuments. On the second expedition, the archaeologists carried out an excavation on a Neolithic tomb dating back to 5,000–4,600 BCE. “What we find here is unique in the context of the whole of southern Arabia. A megalithic structure concealing two circular burial chambers revealed the skeletal remains of at least several dozen individuals. Isotopic analyses of bones, teeth, and shells will help us learn more about the diet, natural environment, and migrations of the buried population,” explained Alžběta Danielisová, co-leader of the expedition from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS in Prague.
ANGLETERRE – Marston Moor - ‘Burial pits’ containing the remains of thousands of soldiers are believed to have been found in a historic battlefield west of York. Amateur archaeologist Tony Hunt used drones equipped with thermal cameras on the battlefield at Marston Moor. There, on July 2 1644, was the largest battle of the Civil War, when up to 5,000 men, mainly Royalists, perished in the battle between Parliamentarian Oliver Cromwell and Royalists led by Prince Rupert. After Prince Rupert’s forces were routed, the Parliamentarians clashed with Whitecoats, the household unit of the Earl of Manchester. “The field where the Whitecoats stood and died was called White Sikes Close, and it has been marked on maps as such ever since. This is also where the common soldiers were buried in great open pits, left to lie together as they had fallen together. Tony says drone footage shows long grubbed out boundaries of the close and more importantly, clearly reveals in the middle of the field, three great shapes that are certainly not natural, suggesting they could be burial pits. He told the Press: “We have these shapes showing up on the thermal imagery and the infra red. There have been changes in the chemistry of the ground. That changes the growth patterns of plans, showing human intervention.”
MEXIQUE – Huizachal Canyon – The Janamabrewere an ethnic group of nomadic hunter-gatherers that opposed the colonisation of the northeast of New Spain, Mexico, between the 17th and 18 th centuries. At the time, the Kingdom of New Spain was a territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, which was formed following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521. The discovery was made after archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) were notified of possible human remains in a rock shelter located in the Huizachal Canyon in Tamaulipas. The remains belong to a male individual between 35 and 40 years of age, which the researchers have suggested corresponds with the Janambre Culture. The skeleton was found in the middle part of the shelter at a depth of 18cm’s and was buried in a shroud made from a bundle of vegetable fibres and flexible wooden rods. Also discovered in the burial are three Cameron point arrow heads and numerous carving debris, indicating a lithic industry that took advantage of the natural resources of the region. According to INAH, the discovery will allow the team to learn more about the physical characteristics of the Janambre, in addition to the material culture of which very little is known archaeologically. This is due to their nomadic lifestyle that used perishable goods on their way through the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain ranges.
INDE – Bandhavgarh - Archeologists have stumbled on a 1,500-year-old rock painting and numerous 1,800-2,000-year-old man-made waterbodies in Bandhavgarh National Park. The tiger zone of today was most likely part o an old trade route, ASI says, with passing traders using rock-cut caves as shelters. For the first time, a rock painting roughly 1,500 years old has been found in the famed tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh's Umaria district, along with a 2,000-year-old waterbody and evidence of a "modern society".
MEXIQUE – Izamal -The convent is located in the city of Izamal in the Mexican state of Yucatán, which prior to the Spanish conquest of the Yucatán was the site of a Maya pyramid. During the 16th century, Diego de Landa, a Spanish Franciscan bishop was appointed to the convent to bring the Roman Catholic faith to the Maya peoples. Diego de Landa was infamous for his campaign against idolatry, in which he burned almost all the Maya manuscripts (codices) and Maya cult images in the Yucatán, however, his work in documenting and researching the Maya has proven indispensable for historians in understanding the Maya culture. Based on Diego de Landa’s chronicles, archaeologists from INAH have been conducting excavations of the convent’s waterwheel, revealing several pieces of Maya ceramics and ducts that could be connected to a hidden cenote. Diego de Landa was known for throwing Maya objects into cenotes that were in conflict with his ideology, which the team hope will be confirmed through their research in the coming weeks and serve to better understand the process of evangelisation in the Yucatán. According to the researchers, the discovery of a cenote would likely lead to uncovering numerous offerings such as sculptures, organic remains and ceramics, which would be a literal “time capsule” of the Maya people.