07 MARS 2011 NEWS - Three Gorges - Nimrud - Tottington - Maha Shiva - Tucson


 - 07  MARS

 -CHINE – Three Gorges’dam - Archeologists have found an ancient tomb at a major tourist destination in the Three Gorges' Dam area of the southwestern Chongqing Municipality, and believed it is about 2,000 years old. The tomb was found at Mount Mingshan in Fengdu County last week when construction workers were building an escalator near a temple. Construction work was halted immediately. Fengdu County is known as a "ghost city". Legend has it that the gates of hell are on top of Mount Mingshan.


 - IRAK   Nimrud - Despite the best efforts of Agatha Christie and her pot of face cream, many of the ivory treasures just acquired by the British Museum from the Assyrian city of Nimrud are still scorched by the fire that brought one of the great palaces of the ancient world crashing down on top of them 2,600 years ago. A fundraising appeal raised almost £1.2m to buy the ivories, discovered in the 1940s by the archaeologist Max Mallowan, Christie's second husband. Agatha Christie knew the carvings intimately. After the crime writer's disastrous first marriage, her second was very happy: she strongly recommended marrying an archaeologist since he would regard a woman as more beautiful and interesting as she aged. Christie spent long periods on site in the eight years Mallowan spent excavating the enormous site in northern Iraq. He built her a special writing hut, where she wrote parts of They Came to Baghdad and A Pocket Full of Rye, but she also helped with site work, including cleaning the beautiful ivories using a pot of expensive face cream. The museum conservators who have been working on them wouldn't recommend the technique, but it appears to have done no harm to the tiny sphinxes, lions, serpents and flowers, once inlaid with precious stones or covered with gold foil, which originally completely covered elaborate pieces of furniture. The ivories have been in storage since 1963, first at the Institute of Archaeology and for the past 25 years at the British Museum, and never seen by the public. Some of the most beautiful pieces will be shown off in a small exhibition at the museum next week.


 - ROYAUME-UNI  Tottington - The long-hidden history of Tottington Mill is about to be revealed. Bury Council has appointed Oxford Archaeology (North West) to assess and record the site, which is located in the Kirklees Valley Local Nature Reserve. A corn mill stood on the site in the 1700s but by 1796 there was a cotton mill there. The mill was acquired by Joshua Knowles in 1821, converted into a printworks and by 1841 there were 400 people employed on the site. After the railway was built, a coal siding was built to serve the mill. The mill closed in 1928 and the buildings were demolished in the 1940s. The site is overgrown but various low walls, vats, tanks, engine beds, pits and foundations are evident.


 - INDE -Maduravoyal  -  Residents played amateur archaeologists on Saturday when they discovered two rare inscriptions of the Telugu Cholas dating back to the 13th century while renovating an ancient Maha Shiva temple. The inscriptions were on two rows of granite slabs a few metres above the foundation of the main temple. Written in Tamil, the inscriptions have been dated to the period 1246 AD - 1249 AD during the reign of Vijayakandangopalan of Telugu Cholas. Vijayakandangoplan, who ruled for 25 years from 1242 AD, was a famous feudatory ruler of the Cholas, and had marriage relations with them. The Telugu Cholas reigned between the seventh and thirteenth centuries and adopted the title of Chola to show the feudatory status they had under the Chola-Chalukya rulers. The Chinese traveler Yuan Chwang referred to the Telugu Cholas as "Chuliyas." Inscriptions found at the temple refer to two contributions made by the ruler on two different occasions for the purpose of temple maintenance. In the first instance, Vijayakandangoplan donated four cows and a huge lamp for illuminating the temple in 1246 AD. Three years later, he again contributed large acres of farmland in Sembakkam, a village in Singalur of Tiruvallur district. In the inscription, he rules that revenue generated in the form of taxes from these lands should be spent for the maintainence of the temple. "In ancient times, temples acted not only as places of worship but, also as registration offices, schools, and assemblies of elders," said state archeology department's epigraphist, R Sivanathan, who decoded the inscriptions at the temple.


 - USA – Tucson - One day - maybe eight or 10 centuries ago - some people knelt on an expanse of rock and ground mesquite pods into meal in mortar holes etched in the stone. Those people, members of a civilization known today as the Hohokam, are long gone. But their bedrock mortars - or morteros - remain perfectly intact at a remote site in the Tortolita Mountains northwest of Tucson. The Tortolita morteros, and hundreds of others in deserts and canyons around Tucson, amount to mini-archaeological sites for passing hikers. "Bedrock mortars really are worthy of wonderment," said archaeologist Allen Dart, executive director of the Old Pueblo Archaeology Center and a principal investigator for the EcoPlan Associates Inc. consulting firm. "They lead us to speculate about how people used them and how they related to social practices." "There are probably thousands of them" around Tucson and Southern Arizona," said Dart, noting that he's seen some morteros up to 18 inches deep. "I know of several hundred of them in the Sierrita Mountains southwest of Tucson," he said. "There are also some in the Coyote Mountains southwest of Tucson. There are a lot of them in the Tucson Mountains, and some in the Rincon and Catalina mountains." Some morteros "go back to early Hohokam times around A.D. 500 and very likely to archaic times" before the Hohokam, Dart said, noting that others are more recent. He said prehistoric workers would use pestles made of stone or wood to pulverize the pods of mesquites and other plants in the mortar holes."They would pulverize the stuff until it was about the consistency of corn meal," he said. "They could have used the meal to make little griddle cakes."