EGYPTE – Egyptian beer internal Hierakonpolis - According to new archeological research, beer was widely consumed and produced in Ancient Egypt, as far back as 5,800 years ago. The study was published in the December issue of the Journal of Anthropological Archeology, and headed by Professor Jiajing Wang from Dartmouth University. The work of Wang and colleagues determined that beer was not only a commodity in pre-unified Egypt, but used for ritual purposes. Wang’s team studied fragments of pottery found at the Hierakonpolis dig site in southern Egypt, one of the largest urban centers along the Nile before the unification of an Egyptian state. The fragments from the studies were dated between 3800 and 3600 BC, 600 years before the rule of Pharaoh Narmer, who historians considered to be the founder of the First Dynasty. The research states that the beer produced at one of the Hierakonpolis sites was used for rituals at a closeby elite cemetery, proving that beer was not just a part of everyday life but symbolic of status and authority. Microfossil residue analysis, conducted on 33 ceramic vessel fragments, found traces of yeast cells, starch granules, and “beer stones.” Upon further diagnosis, the analysis suggests the ancient beer was thick and cloudy, almost like a porridge, and would have been lower in alcohol content.


NORVEGE – Gjellestad longhouse lars gustavsen niku arild l teigen viken fylkeskommune 777x437 Gjellestad - Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have discovered a 60-meter longhouse at Gjellestad in Norway – it is considered to be one of the largest longhouses in Scandinavia. The same team of researchers discovered a Viking ship at the location in 2018, so with this new find, the importance of Gjellestad has been determined without a doubt. The team has already made a new amazing discovery – that of a 60-meter-long longhouse. “We have found several buildings, all typical Iron Age longhouses, north of the Gjellestad ship. The most striking discovery is a 60-meter-long and 15-meter-wide longhouse, a size that makes it one of the largest we know of in Scandinavia,” archaeologist Lars Gustavsen. Along with the longhouse, the surveys also detected four other buildings at approx. 15-30 meters in length and up to 13 meters in width. They also discovered several plowed-out burial mounds in the fields north of the Gjellestad farm. “We are not surprised to have found these burial mounds, as we already know there are several others in the surrounding area. Viken County archaeologists have excavated the area previously and made finds that would indicate more burial mounds here. Still, these are important to know about to get a more complete picture of Gjellestad and its surroundings,” Gustavsen said.


CANADA – Artifacts karst caves haida gwaii 900x909 Haida Gwaii - The findings were recently published, providing insight into life on Haida Gwaii (  an archipelago off British Columbia’s north coast ) more than 10,000 years ago and a tantalizing glimpse of what might be found in its many other caves. Several field seasons spent excavating at the three caves on Haida Gwaii Act revealed a range of uses. K1 and Gaadu Din 1 were likely bear dens used up to 13,400 years ago. There, the team found weapons, including spearpoints and stone flake tools that are more than 11,000 years old. Fedje says these artifacts were probably brought in by impaled animals or by hunters butchering their catch. Meanwhile, hunters likely used Gaadu Din 2 as a temporary camp between 12,500 and 10,700 years ago. Fedje notes that the team found a hearth, stone tools, and resharpening flakes in this cave. Among the animal bones collected from the caves are the remains of brown bears and deer. By far the most striking of the animal remains, though, was a tooth. Using DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating, the team determined it came from a domestic dog that lived 13,100 years ago—the oldest evidence of domestic dogs ever reported in the Americas.


IRLANDE -  Caherconnell Cashel  -Recent archaeological investigations at Caherconnell Cashel in the Burren have uncovered the oldest known ink pen in Ireland. The cashel, a settlement built in the late 10th century and used continuously through to the start of the 17th century, was home to wealthy local rulers. The pen is made up of a hollow bone barrel with a copper-alloy nib inserted into one end. It was found in an 11th-century layer inside the cashel, and caused quite a stir when it was discovered. No ink pen of this form or early date has previously been found, and most evidence of early literacy in Ireland is associated with the Church, not with secular society. Those reasons urged caution and lead to the creation of a replica implement to test whether it functioned as a pen. Adam Parsons of Blueaxe Reproductions manufactured the replica, a replica that testing confirmed does work perfectly as a dip pen. Feather quills were the more common writing implement at the time, but a pen like the one from Caherconnell would have been ideally suited to fine work – maybe even the drawing of fine lines, as suggested by expert calligrapher and historian Tim O’Neill: “A metal pen from such an early date is still hard to credit! But the fact that it functions with ink is there to see. It would have worked well for ruling straight lines to form, for instance, a frame for a page.” While Church scribes copied and created all manner of ecclesiastical texts, it seems likely that a secular scribe might have used a pen like this to record family lineages and/or trade exchanges. Dr Michelle Comber said: “All in all, an exciting find that expands the history of literacy in Ireland, and a most appropriate discovery for a university-based archaeologist to make.” “The Caherconnell Archaeology project has been a hugely rewarding one, with many unexpected and exciting discoveries along the way. This find has, however, exceeded all expectations, revealing the tantalising prospect of an advanced secular literacy in 11th-century Ireland,” Dr Comber added.A full account of the discovery can be found in the December 2021 issue of Archaeology Ireland magazine.


ANGLETERRE – Ancientskeletonagainstblackbackground1 Fenstanton - Scientists say a skeleton found with a nail through its foot in England is rare evidence of a Roman crucifixion. The skeleton was included in a recent report in British Archaeology magazine, which details findings from a dig of an ancient Roman settlement found in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, that dates back to the late first or early second century CE. In one of the five cemeteries uncovered, a skeleton – thought to have been of a man around 25-35 years old at the time of his death – had a nail lodged through his heel. The victim's feet were most likely "positioned on either side of the cross's upright post, the feet fastened by horizontal nails through the heels. After consulting a human bone specialist and ruling out several less-likely theories, the archaeologists concluded that the nail was forced through victim's foot during an ancient Roman crucifixion, making it the fourth-known such execution worldwide – and the best-preserved. While crucifixion was believed to be relatively common in ancient Roman settlements, finding archaeological evidence of it is extremely rare.The Cambridgeshire skeleton is only the second time physical evidence of crucifixion has been documented. Two of the four previously claimed executions – one in Italy and another in Egypt – had no nail associated with them.


FRANCE - Chatelaillon 1 light Châtelaillon - À Châtelaillon, une fouille de l’Inrap offre l’opportunité d’étudier une partie du cimetière mérovingien et du prieuré saint-Romard.  Capitale de l’Aunis jusqu’au XIe siècle (avant La Rochelle), la cité médiévale de Châtelaillon a aujourd’hui disparu, la falaise sur laquelle elle était installée ayant été sapée par l’océan. Hors les murs, le prieuré Saint-Romard a, lui, été épargné. Le décapage de la parcelle a immédiatement mis au jour des vestiges notablement plus riches et variés que ce qui était attendu. Si la nécropole du haut Moyen Âge et médiévale classique est bien présente sur la parcelle, le lieu abrite également une portion d’église, abside et transept nord, qui constitue l’édifice antérieur à celui encore en élévation, ainsi que les traces de constructions contemporaines à cet édifice roman.


FRANCE - Img 4211 Morschwiller-le-Bas - La fouille d’un ancien vallon, aujourd’hui comblé, révèle des vestiges du Mésolithique, d’environ 9000 avant J.-C., et un monument funéraire du Néolithique final, datant de 3500-3100 avant J.-C., sans équivalent connu à ce jour en Alsace. Sur le terrain les archéologues retrouvent de nombreuses traces éparses de l’occupation la plus ancienne du site, entre 9000 et 5500 avant notre ère, notamment des concentrations de déchets de taille de silex. Ces petites lamelles tranchantes, parfois transformées en pointes, servaient à tailler les pointes de flèches. À cette époque, les populations préhistoriques étaient encore nomades et vivaient essentiellement de la chasse à l’arc, de la cueillette et de la collecte. Ces concentrations correspondent à des haltes de chasse, sorte de campements temporaires. Grâce aux particularités de certaines pointes de flèches, deux haltes peuvent être datées du Mésolithique ancien, soit 9000 ans avant notre ère. Une troisième halte, qui contient une fléchette plus évoluée techniquement, pourrait être datée de 6000 à 5500 avant notre ère. Les archéologues ont également identifié un habitat du Néolithique qui témoigne d’une première installation pérenne sur le territoire, conforme aux pratiques des premières populations agro-pastorales qui se sédentarisent grâce à la découverte de l’agriculture et de l’élevage. La mise au jour de lames de haches polies, de polissoirs et de meules permet aux archéologues d’étudier les différentes aires d’activités telles que réparties sur ce site : zones de défrichage des terrains, de production de farines comme l’attestent plusieurs meules découvertes sur le terrain. Plusieurs fosses et silos, employés comme dépotoirs ont été trouvés et rendent très concrète la première occupation sédentaire du site. Ces fosses ont livré différents déchets de silex taillés, des meules et fragments de haches polies, des ossements de faune (cochons et bovidés) et des fragments de vases en céramique.L es archéologues ont mis au jour une structure monumentale conséquente, à vocation funéraire. Mesurant 15 m de long sur 5 m de large, elle est constituée de blocs calcaires importés spécifiquement sur le site, provenant au minimum de trois kilomètres. Un espace relativement vide apparaît au milieu de cette structure, qui semble matérialiser une allée. Dans une partie du monument, plus de 200 fragments d’ossements humains, appartenant à différents individus de tout âge, enfants et adultes, ont été retrouvés. Les ossements sont tous très fracturés ce qui confirme l’hypothèse d’un rejet ou d’une mise à l’écart volontaire que l’étude ultérieure pourra préciser. Inconnu en Alsace, un tel monument qui devait probablement être couvert avec une toiture en bois, se rapproche en terme de vocation des dolmens ou des hypogées du Néolithique. Il s’agit d’une sépulture collective.