09 - 10 JUILLET 2011 NEWS : Nikopolis ad Istrum - Taitung - Venta Icenorum - Baltimore - Undavalli - Castleford -
- 09 - 10 JUILLET
PRE-INSCRIPTION : 15 Juin – 15 Août
PRE-REGISTRATION: June 15th - August 15th
- BULGARIE – Nikopolis-ad-Istrum - Bulgarian-British expedition resumed the excavations in the ancient city of Nikopolis-ad-Istrum near Veliko Tarnovo. This is the best preserved archaeological site in Bulgaria and a specialized Italian publication called it Bulgarian Pompei for its importance. This summer archaeologists will be exploring a building dating back to the ruling of Roman emperor Septimus Severus. According to experts, the building was used as temple by the worshippers of goddess Cybele. So far the archaeologists have found fragments of wall paneling, details of door cases, windows and niches. They are expecting expert results that would enable them to restore the architectural layout of the settlement at the beginning of its history - early 2nd cent. during the reign of Emperor Trajan. Preliminary results show that the classical town was planned according to the orthogonal system. The network of streets, the forum surrounded by an Ionic colonnade and many buildings, a two-nave room later turned into a basilica and other public buildings have been uncovered. The rich architecture and sculptures show a similarity with those of the ancient towns in Asia Minor.
- TAIWAN – Taitung - A cluster of three ancient sarcophagi recently discovered in Taitung could give archeologists new insights into a nearby prehistoric site. Parts of the sarcophagi, or stone coffins, have already been unearthed, showing them to be 60cm high and 50cm wide, although their lengths have yet to be determined because the excavation is still underway. Weathered remains and mortuary objects, such as jade adzes, have been found in the sarcophagi, located on a hill more than 200m above sea level and about 3km from the Peinan archeological site. The prehistoric site, where more than 20,000 ancient objects have been unearthed, is one of the largest archeological sites in Taiwan. After the discovery was made by construction workers widening a road, the Taitung City Government decided to suspend the road expansion project while an archeological group from the museum, which is located at the Peinan site, began to excavate the sarcophagi. Preliminary studies show that the lives of the prehistoric humans who were interred in the sarcophagi were similar to those uncovered at the Peinan site and that the sarcophagi could represent part of a “satellite tribe” or extension of the Peinan site. It is also significant that the sarcophagi are situated 200m to 300m above sea level, while other archeological sites around the country tend to be located at sea level. Although much research has been conducted at the Peinan site since 1945, large-scale excavations were not carried out until 1980, when the construction of Taitung Railway Station, which damaged the site, drew the public’s attention.
- ROYAUME UNI – Venta Icenorum - Rolling Norfolk fields, where faint marks can be seen tracing the streets and houses of a buried Roman town, have been bought with English Heritage, National Heritage Memorial Fund and local authority money in an unusual move to preserve an archaeology site for ever in public ownership. The name of Venta Icenorum, on the river Tas on the outskirts of the modern village of Caistor St Edmund, preserves the memory of one of the few local tribes the Romans had good reason to fear: the Iceni who, led in rebellion by their famous queen, Boudicca, torched the invaders' towns at Colchester and London in AD61. Archaeologists believe the remains of the town are in serious danger from unauthorised metal detecting and intensive agriculture. Only a few banks and fragments of stone walls remain above ground, but beneath the earth there are extensive remains of the Roman town where the mutinous Iceni eventually settled down to live in regularly planned houses and streets. The crop marks also reveal the end of the straight Roman road from Colchester – so they could march straight up to crush any further stirrings of insurrection. The site is particularly precious to archaeologists because most Roman settlements developed into modern towns and cities, so the remains have been destroyed by later foundations. Greenfield sites, such as Wroxeter in Shropshire and Silchester in Hampshire, are rare, and Venta Icenorum is particularly interesting because there is evidence that it evolved into a Saxon market town, before being abandoned to sheep. A large part of the site, 22 hectares (55 acres), which until earlier this year didn't even have the protection of scheduled ancient monument listing, have been ploughed regularly as arable fields – and every time the land was ploughed, the footprints of unauthorised metal detectors were seen in the fields. Part of the site was excavated in the early 1930s when the first aerial photographs showed the buried structures, but most of it remains unexplored. A long-running research excavation project led by Will Bowden of Nottingham University, will resume at the site next month.
- USA – Baltimore - Volunteer archaeologists are descending on leafy Lafayette Square in West Baltimore this weekend in an effort to uncover relics from Camp Hoffman, a Union army encampment that stood there during the Civil War. Just hours into the project Friday, while dodging rain showers and swarms of June bugs, the diggers had already turned up fragments of mid-19th-century tableware and decorative wrought iron, nails, birdshot and even a piece of an old pocket watch. The military barracks and hospital were a rendezvous point for a succession of military units from Maryland, New York and Delaware that passed through between 1862 and 1865.Newspaper accounts show it was also a refuge for runaway slaves and a source of neighbourhood trouble as soldiers housed there drank and caroused and, in at least one case, tried to desert, with bloody results.
- INDE – Undavalli - With unearthing of the gold and diamond ornaments at Ananta Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, a cave temple of Ananta Padmanabhaswamy in Undavalli has gained prominence. However, miscreants hoping to find hidden wealth, are proving to be a threat to its existence. People visiting in large numbers to the Undavalli caves are therefore urging authorities to provide proper security at the temple. The cave temple, said to be built during the reign of of Chalukyas in the 6th or 7th century, has a single stone 25-feet long and five feet wide Ananta Padmanabhaswamy idol on the second floor of the four-storeyed temple. Prof P Ramalakshmi, head of archaeology department, Acharya Nagarjuna University said there was no chance of hidden treasures in the cave shrine, as it had no patronage. “As the Thiruvananthapuram temple had continuous patronage of kings for centuries, the hidden treasures were unearthed,” she added. She said the caves belong to the reign of Vishnukundin. “The precious idols should not be defaced in name of a treasure hunt and necessary protection arranged for the temple,” Ramalakshmi observed.
- ROYAUME UNI – Castleford - Amateur archaeologists Andy Green and Shaun Scott have unearthed a hoard of 2,000-year-old treasure worth more than £500,000. The Castleford Asda warehouse workers have spent three years uncovering the rare artefacts which are believed to be part of the lost treasure of first century British queen Cartimandua. The duo believe their haul – found on private land in North Yorkshire – is “just the tip of the iceberg” and they expect to find more of the hidden fortune. One of the pieces the pair found – a large gold torque – is to be sold at auction in London . Since 2008, the pair have unearthed three gold torques (worn around the arm or neck), two Celtic gold staters (coins), a gold pin and a Viking ring. Mr Green added: “We found the treasure by using metal detectors and through archaeological techniques. I can tell just by walking across a site if it is likely to produce any important finds. “I knew these were valuable because they were made of gold, but I’ve learned a lot since then. The staters and the artefacts have all come from the same source. I believe there is a good possibility these are the royal artefacts, but we need more evidence.” Mr Green said all the pieces apart from the large gold torque had been subject to treasure trove inquests and were now in the Yorkshire and British Museums. The story of Queen Cartimandua – who hid her fortune when she was rescued by the Romans after her northern kingdom came under attack in the first century – looks likely to be the subject of a television documentary.