05-06 JANVIER 2016 NEWS: Sharjah - Jamestown -Shanidar - Yenikapı - Szarvas - Braceby - Sweida - Londres -
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UAE – Sharjah - Bronze ore smelting workshops, burial grounds, clay homes, stone tools and anvils are among the items unearthed last year in archaeological digs. Several excavations at sites across Sharjah, including in Mleiha, Al Faya, Wadi Al Hilo, Tell Abraq and Dibba Al Hisn, revealed a wealth of discoveries dating from half a million years ago. In Mleiha, in the central region of the emirate, a Belgian team from Ghent University found remains of homes made of clay containing pottery, as well as burial grounds. A German team from Tubingen University and the Sharjah Department of Antiquities carried out work near the eastern coast of Sharjah on a site from the Bronze Age in Wadi Al Hilo, which, according to the antiquities department, was a centre for smelting, the process of extracting a metal such as tin or copper from its ore. The teams found many hammers, anvils and copper slag, all of which are related to the smelting process. Carbon testing showed the finds dated back between 8,000BC and the Islamic era, the authority said, though it did not provide further details. An American team from Bryn Mawr College is also continuing work in Sharjah’s Tell Abraq, near the border with Umm Al Quwain, which has archeological sites dating back to between 3,000BC and the Stone Age. There are also ongoing excavations by a Japanese team from Kanazawa University at a site in Dibba Al Hisn. Already they have learnt that trade and commerce connected the area with other parts of the world. Excavations in Al Faya mountains and Suhaila have also unearthed stone tools that add valuable information to the history of human beings in the area. According to the authority, the tools found date as far back as up to half a million years ago. Teams from the Department of Antiquities also worked on several sites in the central and eastern regions of the emirate. In Umm Al Quwain, teams of archaeologists found a site with about 500 tombs dating back 2,000 years at Ed-Dur, one of the largest archaeological sites in the country. Excavations also uncovered pearls, iron and bronze arrowheads, pottery and glassware. The antiquities found at Ed-Dur are being restored and will go on display at the Umm Al Quwain Museum.
USA – Jamestown - Archaeologists currently at work at the site of Jamestown, Virginia, the earliest successful English settlement in the Americas, plan to begin excavations at the spot of the 1907 Memorial Church on Jamestown Island. According to a recent published news update, beginning in the summer of 2016 they plan to excavate into the floor of the church in sections while keeping the historic church site open to visitors. The efforts will include an investigation into the remains of the 1617 church where English colonial America’s first representative government met in 1619. The excavations at Jamestown are best known for the rediscovery of the remains of the 1607 James Fort by William Kelso in the mid-1990’s. Since then, archaeologists have recovered more than 2 million artifacts and thousands of features that evidence the remains of various structures, particularly those associated with the original 1607 James Fort. The findings testify to the successful establishment and growth of a key English colony and the place where the first English colonial government had its birth.
IRAQ – Shanidar - As the terrorist group ISIS is pushed out of northern Iraq, archaeologists are resuming work in the region, making new discoveries and figuring out how to conserve archaeological sites and reclaim looted antiquities. Several discoveries, including new Neanderthal skeletal remains, have been made at Shanidar Cave, a site in Iraqi Kurdistan that was inhabited by Neanderthals more than 40,000 years ago. archaeologists are returning to the area, including at Shanidar Cave. This cave was originally excavated between 1952 and 1960 by a team led by archaeologist Ralph Solecki from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The archaeologists at that time found several Neanderthal skeletons and pollen remains suggesting that the Neanderthals placed flowers in graves before burial. In an article recently published in the journal Antiquity, a team that has recently returned to Shanidar Cave reported finding additional Neanderthal bones, "including a hamate [a wrist bone], the distal ends of the right tibia and fibula, and some articulated ankle bones, scattered fragments of two vertebrae, a rib and long bone fragments." The newfound bones are likely from one of the Neanderthals that archaeologists dug up in the 1950s, said University of Cambridge archaeologist Graeme Barker, who is part of the research team. He said that as excavations continue, new Neanderthal skeletons may be found. Additionally the team's research is shedding light on the environment in the cave where the Neanderthals lived. For instance, scientists reporting in another paper published in the journal Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology found that bees were transporting pollen into the cave. This complicates the idea that Neanderthals in the cave buried their dead with flowers, suggesting instead that pollen remains from flowers could have entered the cave through natural means.
TURQUIE – Yenikapı - While taking the known history of Istanbul back to 8,500 years ago, the Yenikapı excavations have unearthed a raft of historical artifacts that have drawn the world’s attention to archaeology in Turkey. Among the most interesting findings of the Neolithic Age excavations are the footprints of the first locals of Istanbul and their tools - including canoe oars and spoons fashioned out of bone. Many of these findings have been included in the world’s most unique artifacts, and are currently being held at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, waiting to be moved to a new museum set to be established in Yenikapı on Istanbul’s historic peninsula. At the same time, the excavations at the Aksaray Yenikapı Square, which are thought to be an extension of the ancient Theodosius Harbor, are still being carried out. Officials and archeologists stress that these excavations must be carried out with utmost care as very important findings may be revealed there. Among the many interesting items found during the Yenikapı excavations include a 1,200-year-old wooden comb, which is the only such item in the world; 1,500-year-old flip-flops, on which “use on healthy days” is written in Greek; a 1,200-year-old amphora; 8,000-year-old canoe oars, which are the oldest ever found; cherry stones found in a shipwreck that sunk 1,200 years ago; and the head of an ivory figure from 1,600 years ago, an extraordinary work of art.
HONGRIE – Szarvas - Tombs believed to be 7,000 years old have been excavated by archaeologists near the arboretum of the central Hungarian town of Szarvas, daily Magyar Idők said citing local news website beol.hu. Parts of a 7,500 year-old building, a deep and wide pit and six tombs from the time of the Pannonian Avars have also been dug up, archaeologist András Gulyás said. Golden coins have been recovered from two of the tombs where females were buried, along with a small medal from one of the tombs. Horse harnesses have also been buried next to the dead, he added. The majority of the archaeological findings originate from the late modern period, including parts of two buildings, one destroyed by fire, and pieces of pottery. The findings will go on display at the Tessedik Sámuel Museum of Szarvas in the near future.
ROYAUME UNI – Braceby - A large Roman carving of male reproductive organs has been acquired by a Lincoln museum. The Collection has obtained the carving from the Roman era which was found in the village of Braceby between Grantham and Sleaford in 1995. The stone, which will be put on display at the museum, shows a phallus roughly cut into a large piece of limestone. But it isn't anything to do with fertility, a piece of ancient obscene graffiti or pornography, as experts believe it was placed on the side of a building as a symbol of protection and to promote good fortune.
SYRIE – Sweida - The eastern entrance of Ba’al Shamin Temple was uncovered during excavation works carried out by the national excavation expedition in the archeological site of See’a in the countryside of southern province of Sweida. Head of Sweida Antiquities Department Hussein Zain-Eddin clarified in a statement to SANA that the Temple dates back to 31 B.C. adding that a number of precious findings were unearthed in the site including coins, Nabataean and Greek inscriptions in addition to some decorations. Zain-Eddin pointed out that the excavations unearthed a number of artifacts in the archeological See’a site, including tiled floors and a number of Bronze coins dating back to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD along with some pottery pieces of steps dating back for the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. He added that among the findings was a white precious stone installed in another black one which represents a frontal portray of the Roman Minerva, putting a helmet on her head and armor on her chest. Excavation works at the site of Tal Dabet Breikeh in Sweida unearthed a stone-paved floor of a grain storeroom dating back to the Aramaic period of the 7 century B.C. and a water tunnel in front of the governorate’s building, Zain-Eddin said. Sweida Antiquities Department works nowadays on the project of rehabilitating and maintenance of Sweida and Shahba museums with a total cost of SYP 3 million.
ROYAUME UNI – Londres - Five bodies, including a teenager aged 12 to 16 and another aged from 17 have been found buried during preliminary work on a luxury development planned by Lord Sugar's building company. The skeletons - believed to date back to the fourth century - were found by archaeologists during required preliminary surveys . During the later Roman period, part of the area west of the road was used as a cemetery and five inhumation burials of likely fourth century date were exposed in a small area at the south of the site. "Significantly, one of the burials was within a lead coffin with a moulded scallop patterned lid that had survived surprisingly well despite the northern end having been truncated by a 19th century drain. "The skeleton within the coffin was that of a juvenile/adolescent aged 12 to 16 years with no obvious signs of pathology. "The lead coffin is a rare find and would suggest that the occupant was of high status."