06 DECEMBRE 2021 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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DEBUT COURS : JANVIER 2022
SUISSE – Tiefencastel - An amateur archaeologist in Switzerland has discovered an ornate dagger wielded by a Roman soldier 2,000 years ago. That discovery, found using a metal detector, led a team of archaeologists to the site, who then uncovered hundreds of artifacts from a "lost" battlefield where Roman legionaries fought Rhaetian warriors as Imperial Rome sought to consolidate power in the area.Archaeologists think one of those legionaries may have buried the newfound dagger intentionally after the battle as a token of thanks for a victory. Only four similar daggers — with distinctive features like its cross-shaped handle — have ever been found in former Roman territories. When the excavations were completed at the end of that month, the team had unearthed hundreds of archaeological artifacts scattered over more than 370,000 square feet (35,000 square meters). The finds include spearheads, lead slingshots, parts of shields, coins and hobnails from the heavy-soled sandals — called "caligae" in Latin — that legionaries wore. The slingshots are marked with the letters that show which Roman legion made them, — while the shoe nails and some other weapons, including some of the spearheads, are clearly also of Roman origin. The archaeologists have also unearthed fragments of swords, parts of shields and spearheads that were part of the armament of the opposing Rhaetians. The Rhaetians initially opposed Roman expansion into their mountainous homelands from the second century B.C., and records show conflicts between Roman armies and Rhaetians occurred between 50 B.C. and 30 B.C. The most recent Roman coin found this year was minted between 29 B.C. and 26 B.C. during the reign of Augustus, but it could have been lost a decade later.
PEROU – Chicama - Archaeologists excavating in the Chicama valley, located in the department of La Libertad, Peru, have discovered an ancient complex that dates from the Chimú period. The Chimú culture first emerged around AD 900 and are best known for their distinctive monochromatic pottery, metal working, shell art and advanced farming techniques. The researchers unearthed a three-building complex, similar in design to the Chan Chan citadel, with traces of a large surrounding wall that rose up at least two metres in height. Archaeologists suggest that the complex dates from around 500 to 600 years ago and was an agricultural centre, supported by the discovery of around 40 hectares of cultivated fields in the vicinity that were irrigated using an ancient system of canals.
USA - Herring Run - Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer admit it: When they began their search for Native American artifacts at Herring Run Park in northeast Baltimore, their expectations were low. Instead the archaeologist couple found a trove of projectile points, drills and other artifacts that humans fashioned from stone some 5,000 to 9,000 years ago. From the more recent Woodland Period, they found pottery shards, some handsomely decorated. The duo is still studying the artifacts, but they know enough to conclude the spot was probably used as a seasonal hunting camp for many centuries before the arrival of Europeans.
FRANCE – Montpellier - À Montpellier, une fouille de l'Inrap permet d’étudier l’évolution des pratiques agricoles et des modes de mise en valeur des terres au cours des cinq derniers millénaires : champs, chemins, vignobles, vergers, cheptel, mais aussi les caves de quelques maisons, et les sépultures de certains de ces agriculteurs. Sur le site du collège Port-Marianne, les hommes creusent la terre pour en extraire le matériau nécessaire à la construction de leurs bâtiments, pour protéger leurs récoltes dans des silos souterrains, pour stocker leurs denrées au frais dans de petites caves. En dernier lieu, ils profitent des excavations pour enfouir leurs déchets : on y retrouve outils et vaisselle brisés, restes d'os d'animaux et parfois de végétaux, qui donnent des indications sur les aliments produits et consommés. Parfois l’une de ces fosses reçoit le corps d’un défunt et fait ainsi, opportunément, office de sépulture. Cette occupation semble pérenne et la céramique recueillie, ornée de cordons, peut être rattachée par son style à un champ chronologique couvrant les années 3700 à 3500 avant notre ère. L’occupation de l’Antiquité tardive (450 – 600), se matérialise par une cave, des fossés bordant des parcelles agricoles et plusieurs silos pour le stockage des céréales. Les champs sont limités et drainés par des fossés et des puisards entretenus régulièrement ; ils sont plantés en blé ou en vigne. La faune révèle un cheptel essentiellement composé de moutons et/ou de chèvres. Une cave, construite sur six poteaux de bois, profonde d’1 m à 1,50 m à l’origine, offrait une surface de stockage de 12 m² environ. De la maison qui la surmontait, on ignore tout : peut-être était-elle bien plus vaste et dotée de plusieurs pièces, voire d’étages. La céramique témoigne d’un vaisselier où des pots globulaires produits sur les bords du Rhône servent à la cuisson des aliments, tandis qu’à table se mêlent des productions locales et plus lointaines. Certains plats, de belle facture, proviennent d’Afrique du Nord ; plusieurs denrées également sont importées de Tunisie, tel du vin, transporté dans des amphores qui témoignent d’un commerce méditerranéen durable jusqu’au VIIe siècle, bien au-delà de la « chute de Rome ».Si peu de vestiges attestent de l’occupation de cette parcelle entre les VIIIe et XIe siècles, les témoins abondent pour la période comprise entre 1000 et 1250, et qui correspond à l’émergence de Montpellier, quelques kilomètres à l’ouest. Des fossés et des chemins creux sillonnent ce paysage de proche campagne dans une trame dense et orthogonale ; ils assainissent et desservent des petites parcelles rectangulaires dont les surfaces varient de 100 à 500 m². Certains fossés limitent d’étroits corridors, que l’on suppose voués au tri, au comptage ou à la tonte d’un cheptel souvent constitué d’ovins à cette période. Des silos, toujours creusés dans le sol, témoignent d’une agriculture également tournée vers la céréaliculture, tandis que d’autres parcelles semblent plantées en vigne. La ferme elle-même n’a pas été appréhendée ; sans doute se trouve-t-elle à proximité.
CHINE – Zoucheng - An archaeological team from Shandong University, east China's Shandong Province, has found the earliest known tea remains in the world that date back about 2,400 years. The discovery traced physical evidence of the origin of China's tea culture back to the early stage of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), roughly between 453 BC and 410 BC. It extends the age of the country's popular beverage, as suggested by previous studies, by more than 300 years. The tea samples, which have proved to be residues of brewed tea, were excavated from ancient tombs in Zoucheng, Jining City, Shandong Province. The stem-and-leaf-like carbonized residues were found in an inverted porcelain bowl. Subsequent data showed that the caffeine and theanine content in the residues was low or even absent. Since these two substances are easily soluble in water, the researchers concluded that the unearthed tea samples were dregs left by ancient people after boiling. The findings were published in the Chinese-language Journal of Archaeology and Cultural Relics.
ARMENIE – Artaxata - After moving aside a jumble of ripening melons, researchers uncovered a thrilling find with their shovels in the summer of 2019: Just 30 centimeters below the surface of the Ararat plain lay a massive slab of Roman concrete. The block is believed to be one of hundreds of foundation stones from an unfinished Roman aqueduct intended to funnel water to the ancient city of Artaxata. Although the original source of the water for the aqueduct is not known with certainty, its length is calculated to have been around 31 kilometers and may have begun near the Temple of Garni. Rome controlled the former Armenian capital of Artaxata, located around the hills for just three years before retreating west in the face of a local uprising in 117. The aqueduct’s construction was abandoned and all trace of it eventually disappeared beneath centuries of shifting soil and dust. The results of the 2019 dig were published in November.
INDE – Tikamgarh - An earthen pot full of ancient coins was discovered in a stone mine in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh district on Tuesday. The 164 coins have engravings in Persian. The administration has deposited the coins in a sealed container in the district treasury as it awaits an archaeology team to study them. There are 12 silver coins in the lot, and the rest copper. This region of Bundelkhand had strong Afghan and Mughal pres ..
CANADA - Saskatoon - On a dry, windy day in August 2020, archeologist Ernie Walker and bison manager Craig Thoms were in Wanuskewin Heritage Park’s paddock visiting the site’s newly acquired plains bison herd. The pair was standing near a spot where the bison had denuded the vegetation by rolling on the ground taking dust baths. Looking down, Walker noticed a protruding rock with a groove cut across the top of it. Assuming the cut was from tool damage, he brushed away the dirt, exposing even more cuts — and that’s when he began to get excited. “They were all parallel lines,” he says. In the weeks that followed, three more petroglyphs and, remarkably, the tool that carved them were discovered at the site, located on the outskirts of Saskatoon. The rock art was carved in a style known as hoofprint tradition, which was common in southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming 300 to 1,800 years ago. Walker explains hoofprint art is metaphorical: “Instead of carving an entire bison, they carved motifs such as hooves.” The Wanuskewin petroglyphs consist of a 250-kilogram boulder bearing the carved grooves of ribs called a Ribstone, which is associated with the bison hunt; a larger stone with a grid pattern, which Walker says is usually associated with an out-of-body experience, “like a vision quest”; a football-sized rock with pits and grooves; and a 544-kilogram boulder covered in lines. The migratory nature of the people that lived here in pre-contact times, following bison herds, makes it hard to show spirituality and ceremony,” says Walker. He explains that while they’d found archeological proof of almost 6,000 years of constant human presence in the area, with artifacts ranging from potsherds to bone fragments to projectile points, they hadn’t found anything that revealed the values and beliefs of the region’s inhabitants — until the bison pointed them toward the petroglyphs. “[With the petroglyphs], you're looking at somebody’s thinking, you're looking at somebody's spiritual connection,” says Walker. “I think finding them was the bisons’ way of telling us they are happy here.”