05 SEPTEMBRE 2018: Rijnsburg - Elleholm - Kythnos - Copan -
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PAYS-BAS - Rijnsburg - Archaeologists have found a unique Roman washing basin made of bronze in Rijnsburg in Zuid-Holland. There are some ten examples known in Europe of this kind of basin with ribbed sides but this is the only one with an eagle’s head,’ provincial archaeologist René Proos told the NRC. The basin was found among the cremated remains of three people in a grave dating from the fourth century. Proos said other finds, such as combs made in Northern Germany, means it’s likely the people were part of a Germanic tribe. The basin pre-dates the other objects by around 50 years. The basin was found in pieces and it has taken a year to put it together again. The quality of the piece shows it was probably made a specialised workshop in Italy while the eagle could indicate ownership by a high-ranking Roman officer stationed at the nearby Northern border of the Roman empire. Proos said the find could have been used to bribe a Germanic tribal chief: Roman generals and diplomats tried to buy the loyalty of local chiefs with gold, jewellery and bronze and silver objects. Historians assumed the Romans left the Netherlands in the 3rd century. However, says Proos, this find, along with others from the last ten years, could mean the Roman army settled in the area again at the end of third or the beginning of the fourth century, perhaps by bribing the local chiefs.
SUEDE – Elleholm - Archaeologists in Sweden have discovered a gold ducat from early medieval Venice in Elleholm, a once thriving port that has now entirely disappeared. The ducat was minted during the reign of Doge Andrea Dandalos, who ruled the powerful Italian city state from 1343 to 1354. "To find the first coin ever found in Sweden from the medieval Venice here, suggests it was an international trading port," Marcus Sandekjer, head of Blekinge Museum, told The Local. The Archbishop of Lund controlled the city from 1450 right up until the reformation in 1536, when it was passed to the Swedish crown. "Of course when you find coins from Italy in the Archbishop's city, it's tempting to think that it has something to do with ties to Italy and to the Pope," Sandekjer said. "But that is just a hypothesis." On one side of the coin there is an image of St Marcus passing over a standard to the Doge, and on the other there is an image of the prophet Jesus Christ surrounded by an almond-shaped aureole of light, or Mandorla. The city once took up most of the Elleholm island in the middle of the Mörrumsån river in Blekinge, and included the Sjöborg castle and a church. "It's a fascinating place, just imagine this little city on an island in the middle of a river," Sandekjer said. "It was very compact." The city was destroyed at least twice, once in 1436 during the Engelbrekt rebellion against the Kalmar Union, and once in 1524 during Søren Norby's Scanian rebellion. The ongoing dig, a collaboration between the Blekinge Museum and Kulturen, a folk history museum in Lund, is the first on the site since 1924. The city's disappearance has been linked to the Reformation, which stripped the Archbishop of most of his power, as well as to the development of the nearby port of Karlshamn, and to the changing requirements for a successful trading port. "This is a small island in the river, upstream, which means they could never go in with ships to the actual island," Sandekjer explained. "It's a medieval solution for a city to put it upstream." As trading volumes increased, ports moved directly to the sea, he said. Sandekjer said a dendrochrological study of the remains of the bridge to the island had dated it back to 1340, indicating that the site had hosted a port for at least 100 years before it was formally granted city status. The archaeologists have also found a lead seal from Flanders, dating to the first half of the 14th century. "It was probably a seal for cloth or clothing," Sandekjer says. "So that shows us that it was an active place before we knew that it was active."
GRECE – Kythnos - The Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly announced recently, the findings of the excavation of two stunning Classical-Hellenistic buildings at the ancient city of Kythnos (Vryokastro). According to the report, there were probably sanctuaries of Asclepius and Aphrodite coexisting on a hill overlooking the Aegean. Of particular importance in the results of the systematic excavation at the ancient city of Kythnos (today’s “Vryokastro”), was the area of the ancient port, on the islet “Βρυοκαστράκι” or the ‘nose’ of the peninsula, once a narrow isthmus connected the islet and the main island. Also among the Archaeologist’s findings were clay figurines of women’s and children’s figures and many marble sections, along with a tribute to the god of healing, a beautiful statuette of half-naked Aphrodite, along with many other artifacts which attest to scientist’s theories. Researchers now say the site in the Cyclades was inhabited since the 10th century B.C. Alexandros Mazarakis Ainian, a professor of Classical Archeology at the Department of History, Archeology and Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly offered this: “This seems to be an area of several cults, as an inscription of” Samothrace Gods “was found previously, and there is ann epigraphical reference to Ammon Zeus. More importantly, the site seems to be a point of worship of Asklepios and Aphrodite.” Ainian and colleagues previously excavated a luxurious sanctuary of the Archaic and Classical periods, probably dedicated to the cult of Apollo and Artemis. The highlight of this was the discovery of unplundered inner sanctum (adyton) of the temple. The, as well as the nearby extensive votive deposit, yielded innumerable precious offerings, and a great variety of luxurious objects, dated mostly from the seventh to the fourth centuries B.C., though certainobjects were antiques, dating back to the Late Bronze Age. The two buildings are located in Ano Poli, on a partially artificialplate, at the height of about 120 m from above sea level. As of 2016, the excavations of the complex public classical – Hellenistic buildings of the Upper Town coincide with holy (Asclepius, Σαμοθρακίων Gods and possibly Venus). The university excavation of “Vryokastro,” or Kythnos, began back in 2002. The dig was preceded by a systematic surface survey from 1990-1995, and in 2001. The location has been identified as the ancient city of Kythnos, inhabited since the 10th Century BC. As for the island of Kythnos, this is the site of one of the oldest known habitations in the Cycladic islands, a Mesolithic settlement (10000 BCE – 8000 BCE) at Maroulas.
HONDURAS – Copan - Scientists from Honduras and China are working together to uncover the history of the ruins in Copan, Honduras to understand a particular Mayan community, El Chorro, and their relationship with the Copan royal court more than 1,400 years ago. The excavations, which began in August 2015 and are expected to run until 2020. "In five years we hope to have investigated the entire complex and completed all restoration,” explained archaeologist Jorge H. Ramos from the INAH, in charge of the excavations. Ramos says he’s starting to see similarities between the mosaics in El Chorro and those decorating the walls of what were royal buildings. "It seems that the same school of sculptors who worked for the royal family also worked for the group (in El Chorro), as they are very similar in artistic and architectural style. This is the most advanced group in the Copan Valley," added the archaeologist. The scientist told local media he thinks that if there were similarities in construction between the two places then there could have been a political connection between the inhabitants of El Chorro and the royal court. "If there were a direct physical relationship and a political connection between the groups, it is probable that the families who lived in El Chorro were important to the members of the Royal Court,” concludes Ramos. The finds so far are showing architectural connections between the El Chorro community and Mayan royalty starting with the tenth Copan ruler, Tzi B'alam (Luna Jaguar) who lead starting around 500 A.D., until the 16 ruler, Yax Pac. The height of the similarities occurred, however, during the time of Copans last two rulers. During the three years of El Chorro, excavations scientist have also found funeral crypts and coffins containing human remains. Along the caskets offerings such as necklaces, vessels, pitchers, and glasses have also been excavated as it was common to find such items to accompany the Mayan who believe in life after death.