08 AOUT 2022 NEWS
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PAKISTAN – Mohenjo-daro - A unique antique object, termed “Buddha pendant”, has been found very close to the archaeological site of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan’s Sindh province after the area was lashed by heavy rains, according to a media report on Friday.
ARABIE SAOUDITE – Farasan - The Saudi Heritage Authority announced Thursday that archaeological finds dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD have been discovered in southwest Saudi Arabia. The coins were found at archaeological sites on Farasan Island, about 40 km from the city of Jazan, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The team unearthed rare pieces, including another type of armor known as the “lorica squamata,” which was frequently used in Roman times between the 1st and 3rd centuries, and a folded Roman armor made of copper ingots. The finds also include a garnet inscription for “Genos”, a famous figure in the history of the Eastern Roman Empire, and a small stone statue head. Before excavations on the island began in 2011, the archaeological team conducted reconnaissance and survey expeditions to Farasan Island in 2005 and identified sites with archaeological indicators. Previous explorations on the island between 2011 and 2020 have led to several architectural and archaeological discoveries, dating the sites to around 1400 BC.
EGYPTE – Rive Ouest - Two colossal limestone statues thought to depict an ancient Pharaoh in the form of a Sphinx have been uncovered thanks to a recent restoration project by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the German Archaeological Institute. An Egyptian-German archeological team discovered the statues – once approximately 8 meters (26.25 feet) in length – while carrying out recent restoration works on the statues of Memnon and the “Temple of Millions of Years” on the western mainland in Luxor, southern Egypt. The “Temple of Millions of Years” is a vast complex of temples, statues, walls, and complicated structures dedicated to King Amenhotep III, a pharaoh sometimes called "Amenhotep the Magnificent” because of his prominence and military might. Dr Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained in a statement that the two colossal limestone statues depict this eminent ruler in the form of a Sphinx, wearing a mongoose headdress, and a royal beard. Dr Horig Sorosian, head of the archeological mission, added that the statues were likely placed at the entrance of a procession road, which cut between a column of the mortuary temple and a courtyard filled with wall relief. "This discovery shed light on the processional way from the third pylon to the Peristyle Court,” Sourouzian told Al-Monitor, a news website that reports on the Middle East. “In the peristyle, the newly discovered pieces of wall relief reveal new scenes of the Heb-Sed, a festival of the king started after 30 years of his rule and repeated every three years thereafter.”
PEROU – Lima - A team of Peruvian archaeologists uncovered three burials from the Spanish colonial period on top of a pre-Hispanic temple, which may be up to 500 years old, a researcher said Thursday. "We are working with the hypothesis that the remains belong to a colonial cemetery," Lucenida Carrion, head of the Archaeology Directorate of the Park of Legends in the Peruvian capital, told AFP. The park's 54 archeological monuments and sanctuaries have been the subject of study for decades. "In this summit, we have discovered the burials of two adults and a child who were wrapped in cotton cloth," the archaeologist added. The temple, or pre-Hispanic sanctuary known as "Tres Palos" where the burial site is located, is more than 1,000 years old and is located on land adjacent to the park. After the pre-Hispanic era, the site was inhabited by settlers from colonial Lima. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the "Tres Palos" sanctuary was used by the Incas as a tambo (food deposit) and during the colonial era, adobe (mud and straw) houses were built. "What stands out is the cross carried on the chest of one character. This cross indicates the moment of transformation to Christianity of the natives or inhabitants that populated this place," Carrion said.
ISRAEL – Jerusalem - The positions of the Roman army's ballistae used in their attack on Jerusalem may have been found thanks to archaeological evidence and calculations made by the Israel Antiquities Authority. In 66 CE, a Jewish revolt erupted against Rome, at the time ruled by Emperor Nero. The Roman legions, led by General Vespasian, were dispatched to quell this uprising. The revolt was widespread and would last for several years, ultimately ending with the fall of Masada in 73-74 CE. But the most significant battle was the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Vespasian went back to Rome, becoming the new emperor, while his son Titus was now left in command of the legions. He would lay siege to Jerusalem and after a siege of just under five months, would breach into the city and destroy the Second Temple. The excavated equipment consists of anything from ballista stones, sling stones, spears, arrowheads, swords and catapults. Ballistae themselves were large weapons of the ancient world that could be described as a sort of gigantic crossbow — though the crossbow itself was a later weapon. These contraptions used springs for torsion in order to launch either heavy darts or large stones in siege warfare. They were first utilized by the ancient Greeks as siege weapons and were later incorporated by the Romans as they continued to expand their presence and adapt their military capabilities. Smaller forms of ballista, called scorpio, were also used with more precision. Overall, though they were used as siege weaponry, ballistae could also be described as an early form of artillery, used to take out fortifications and target soldiers. This lines up with the Siege of Jerusalem, with the ballista stones found being of varying weight and size, able to be launched in an effort to break through the walls or to hit people and prevent the defenders from trying to come out from cover to strike back. Much of the battle itself was described by the famed Jewish historian Josephus in his landmark work The History of the Jewish War against the Romans. With this information, Arbiv was able to match it up with his own findings. These were gained through the locations of where the ballistae stones were found and, from there, he calculated where they must have been fired from.This complex series of calculations had to factor in everything from the location of the city walls, the angles used to launch each stone and what their ranges were and the local topography. From here, Arbiv helped discover two things: Where much of the Roman artillery was located, and where the Romans probably managed to breach the city.
ITALIE – San Casciano Dei Bagni - In San Casciano Dei Bagni, a Tuscan hill town famous for its hot springs, 40 miles southeast of Siena, unique treasures were unearthed in the 6 excavation seasons of the Roman baths. Hundreds of gold, silver, orichalcum, and bronze coins, a bronze putto, a marble relief of a bull’s head, five bronze votive figurines, miniature lamps, a bronze foil belt, and other religious offerings were found during excavations this summer in San Casciano Dei Bagni, establishing the baths as a particularly rich religious sanctuary beyond their significance as a thermal resort. The hot springs at San Casciano Dei Bagni have been in continuous use since the Etruscans invaded the area. The thermal pools were used as an open-air bath adjacent to the remains of the Roman spa built here during the Augustus period. It was discovered during excavations carried out between July and October last year, in a muddy garden adjacent to the spring, 20 meters south of the pools. They unearthed a section of a multi-layer Roman sanctuary built in the Augustan era (between 27 BC and 14 AD) that contained three altars dedicated to Apollo, Isis, and Fortuna Primigenia respectively and a marble statue of Hygieia. Inscriptions honor Apollo as the god of healing. A wall of massive, well-cut blocks beneath the Augustan-period shrine shows that it was erected over a much older holy site, potentially going back to the Hellenistic era, and maybe even earlier Etruscan origin. In the first century, a fire severely destroyed the sanctuary; it was afterward repaired and enlarged. Around the end of the second century, the altars were placed on the edge of the great bath. The sanctuary was rebuilt in the early fourth century, with a few tiny additions, but by the end of the century, the previous sanctuary had been destroyed. Votive gifts, including the figure of Hygieia, were placed on horizontal altars and columns. This was possibly connected to the area’s Christianization. There are two discoveries that have made the last weeks of excavations at Bagno Grande extraordinary. On the one hand, the true size of the sanctuary with numerous holy structures, altars, and pools, on the other hand, the quality and rarity of the objects that appear. First of all, among the finds, a womb made of bronze stands out (repeated homage to fertility), dated to the period between the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire: archaeologists call it a unicum. And then other bronze offerings that reproduce body parts healed by the gods, such as ears, legs, and penises, and more than 3,000 coins minted specifically for the area. The coins were minted during the reigns of Augustus, the Flavian emperors, Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. One of the pool’s blocks has the bull engraved onto it. The putto, created by a master craftsman, wears the sacred bulla around his neck and has an antique inscription dedicating the offering engraved on his right leg. The most surprising discovery of the dig season was discovered on the surface of the holy basin. It has “footprints” etched into the travertine. They included traces of lead and silver, so when they were fresh, they would have shimmered silver-white in the water. The footprints are different sizes — adults, teenagers, and children — and were carved to look like they were left by sandaled feet. There are also bull hooves and human ears with tootsies. This strange religious imagery is possibly associated with Isis and Serapis. It’s also likely that the devout “walked in the footsteps” of the gods in the bathtub to ensure their health.