AFRIQUE DU SUD – Sibudu - THE oldest bedding yet found — up to 77 000 years old — has been discovered in the Sibudu rock shelter on the North Coast. Professor Lyn Wadley, an archaeologist at Wits University’s Institute for Human Evolution, said the find, of rushes and other plants laid down in the North Coast shelter, is unique in world archaeology. Even more remarkable, one of the plants used in the bedding is the River Wild-quince, which has insect-repellent properties. “The selection of these leaves for the construction of bedding suggests that the early inhabitants of Sibudu had an intimate knowledge of the plants surrounding the shelter, and were aware of their medicinal uses. “The bedding was not just used for sleeping, but would have provided a comfortable surface for living and working,” said Wadley. Microscopic analysis of the bedding, conducted by Christopher Miller, junior professor for geo-archaeology at the University of Tübingen in Germany, suggests that the inhabitants repeatedly refurbished the bedding by burning it, which “represents a novel use of fire for the maintenance” of a dwelling. The team, led by Wadley, in collaboration with Miller, Christine Sievers and Marion Bamford (University of the Witwatersrand), and Paul Goldberg and Francesco Berna (Boston University), is reporting the discovery in the scientific journal Science, to be published today.


IRLANDE –  Shantallow - A team of Derry archaeology enthusiasts have discovered what they believe could be the oldest known church bell in the world. Templemore Archeaology (TA) discovered the bronze bell stored in a farmyard in Shantallow, where it has remained without being studied by experts since being excavated as part of a building project in the 1930s. The artefact, which measures around one foot in height, is in good condition and shows evidence of Christian design. Ian Leitch, of Templemore Archaeology, explains that four symbols decorate the bell and one is quite clearly visible as “Our Lord on the cross”. “Another may be St Patrick,” he added.  The team believes the bell dates from 15th century - 1411 to be exact - and may have been made in France. Mr Leitch adds: “According to the Guinness Book of Records 2009, there is a set of bells in Ipswich in England and one of the five bells has a date of 1440. This bell is said to be the oldest church bell in the world.”


ROYAUME UNI –  Cambridge - The oldest secular building in Cambridge is to be redeveloped as a new Archives Centre and repository for ancient and modern muniments and records. The conversion of the Grade I-listed School of Pythagoras into the new College Archives centre will start from Easter 2012 to include an extension to the building to form a new entrance and space for long-term storage of archives - all environmentally friendly and to modern requirements.


BULGARIE –  Plovdiv - Part of the ancient fortress wall of Philippopolis was discovered during excavations by EVN Heating in the centre of Plovdiv. The find, however, will not be exhibited because the roadway has to be covered over again, the report said. Workers who were installing a heating pipeline made the find and stopped work immediately so that archaeologists could carry out an examination of the section of the fortress wall, which is about 50m long and close to two metres wide. The find gives a new insight to the topography of ancient Phiippopolis. Archaeologist Zheni Tankova said that the fortress wall was built in the last quarter of the second century CE. Archaeologists also found part of the remains of a large structure with a width of more than two metres. These may be the remains of a tower or an entrance to the building, but they cannot be studied fully because they are under buildings and a busy street.The find has been filmed and recorded and will be covered over again in coming days with the completion of the work on the heating infrastructure. 


PAKISTAN –  Lahore - The mausoleum of Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafar Jang Kokaltash, situated next to Royal Palm Golf and Country Club on the Canal Road, is rapidly decaying due to negligence of archaeology department. The octagonal tomb of Bahadur Zafar Jang Kokaltash, a lofty double-dome mausoleum, is losing its beauty due to lack of conservation. The tomb, which is built with chiselled bricks, is in a fair state of conservation as most parts of its arches have cracked with the passage of time. One arch pillar is vanished while the archaeology department has supported the dome with temporary pillar made of bricks. Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafar Jang was among the nobles in Aurangzeb Alamgir’s period. He was appointed the subedar of Punjab on April 11, 1691, but was dismissed in the middle of 1693. He died on November 23, 1697. Khan-e-Jahan Bahadur Zafar Jang Kokaltash was a high ranking officer during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb Alamigir. Having original name Mir Malik Hussain, he was Aurungzeb’s foster brother and a noble in the imperial court. Mir Malik Hussain led an intriguing life aside the Emperor. In 1673, he was appointed governor of Deccan. He rebuilt the fortress of Surat to fight against Shivaji.


USA –  Fort Lane - The shovels are packed away, but archaeology students at Southern Oregon University are still digging up information on what life was like more than 150 years ago in a short-lived U.S. Army post. Now, it's all microscope and desk work for the handful of students who recently finished excavating the officers' quarters at Fort Lane, an outpost built between Central Point and Gold Hill in 1853 and abandoned in 1856. Built shortly after a clash between American Indians and Euro-American settlers, the fort represented the Rogue Valley's only civil authority in the early 1850s. It was constructed by the Army's First Dragoons, based in Benicia, Calif., and named in honor of Joseph Lane, Oregon's first territorial governor. Lane also led military campaigns against local American Indians in 1851 and 1853.Shaped like a giant horseshoe, the original fort had more than a dozen buildings, including infantry quarters, officers' quarters, kitchens, a small medical building, guard house, blacksmith shop and store.