09 MARS 2020 NEWS





GRECE – Eik 3 1  Thouria - The ancient Greek city of Thouria, located in the southern Peloponnese, is among the cities which managed to thrive and become important centers all by themselves in the wider region, despite being under the shadow of nearby super-powers (in this case Sparta). Located on the outskirts of the modern-day city of Kalamata in the county of Messenia, Thouria was at its peak of development during the classical period of ancient Greece. Incredibly, however, the existence of its ancient ruins was not even known until the first decade of the 21st century. An archaeological dig in 2007 led experts to the discovery of an entire city, which appeared to have been an important hub during ancient times. Archaeologists originally unearthed a temple and an Asclepeion, a type of temple devoted to healing found all across the ancient Greek world. Approximately three years ago, archaeologists unearthed a large part of the ancient theater of the city of Thouria, adding much more information to what we already knew about this polis. The theater, which dates back to the 4th century BC, came to light during these excavations, which took place in the summer of 2016. More discoveries were on tap for the archaeological dig season of 2017, when archaeologists uncovered the perimeter of the theater’s orchestra and several rows of stone seats. The orchestra’s perimeter, which is 16.3 meters (53 feet) long, has three parallel grooves around it, which suggest that its stage was movable. The city of Thouria was mentioned by both Pausanias and Strabo, two of ancient Greece’s most famous geographers. Thouria’s ancient theater is oriented toward the west, overlooking the vast plains of Messenia, known in ancient times as “Makaria,” meaning the “blessed and blissful land.” In the distance, to the southwest, one can see the beautiful sea of the Messenian Gulf, which ancient Greeks were called “Thouriates,” most likely due to the city of Thouria.


EGYPTE – Progetto senza titolo Assouan - The ancient Egyptians had a definite thing for cats. In addition to the domestic felines that dominated many households, big cats like leopards got their fair share of reverence, too—or so a new digital reconstruction suggests. Compiled from an analysis of a 2,000-year-old sarcophagus fragment unearthed last year, the image showcases the majestic head of an animal that, to the ancient residents of Aswan, Egypt, once represented great determination and power, reports Mindy Weisberger for Live Science. Originally part of the coffin’s lid, the leopard’s face would have aligned with the head of the mummy inside, according to a statement. The cat likely acted as a guardian, imbuing the spirit of the deceased with strength on their journey to the land of the dead. A team led by Egyptologist Patrizia Piacentini of Italy’s Milan State University uncovered the sarcophagus in a necropolis, or city of the dead, that lay more than 15 feet beneath the desert. More than 300 tombs—the product of centuries of Aswan burials that date to as recently as the fourth century A.D.—exist within its boundaries, according to a report from Italy’s ANSA wire service. While some of the necropolis’ residents were entombed in single-occupancy sarcophagi, others were crowded into large rooms such as the one where the leopard sarcophagus was found. In total, the leopard room housed about 30 bodies. Though lacking in privacy, the packed chamber wasn’t devoid of respect. Surrounding the bodies was a bevy of artistic accoutrement that dated to around the second century B.C. But even among an array of pottery, body covers and other sarcophagi, the leopard-themed coffin was something of a standout because the big cat had been painted on—a rarity for these types of symbols, Piacentini tells ANSA. Rounding out the team’s fauna find was the unexpected discovery of some very ancient flora: roughly 2,000-year-old pine nuts in the room next door. A non-native plant product that had to be imported by chefs, the seeds were considered a luxury item, underscoring the high status of the tomb’s inhabitants, according to Piacentini. The precious product was so coveted in life, it seems, that it was optioned as an ideal snack for what came after life, too.


TURQUIE – C44adc362c349dcd9934b0883c7c53aa Arslantepe - A 5,000 year-old sword, among the oldest Anatolian weapons in the world, was discovered by a PhD student at the University Ca' Foscari in Venice, Vittoria Dall'Armellina, in a monastery on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in the Lagoon City. The weapon is at the museum of San Lazzaro. It is a small sword, located in a window together with Medieval objects. The sword however is very similar to 5,000-year-old weapons discovered inside the Royal palace in Arslantepe, eastern Anatolia, believed to be the most ancient in the world. The sword is made of a type of copper and tin frequently used before the Bronze age. This data and the marked similarity with twin swords in Arslantepe, allowed to date it between the end of the 6th and start of the 3rd millennium BC and to confirm that it was a very rare type.


ROYAUME UNI –  Kent - Human remains held at a church in Kent have been confirmed as those of one of the earliest English saints in a “stunning result of national importance”. Bones dating back to around the seventh century are almost certainly those of St Eanswythe, a Kentish Royal Saint and who was the daughter and granddaughter of Anglo-Saxon kings. The relics survived the upheavals of the Reformation, squirrelled away in a wall, and were discovered in 1885. If the bones are St Eanswythe’s, they would be the only known surviving remains of the Kentish royal house, said Richardson. The Kingdom of Kent existed from the mid-fifth century until the year 871. St Eanswythe was the granddaughter of King Ethelbert, the first Christian king in England, and the daughter of King Eadbald of Kent. She was born in approximately 614 AD. Around the year 630, she founded a Benedictine Priory in the town of Folkestone, in southeastern Kent. She is believed to have been the abbess of this community and died of unknown causes between the ages of 17 and 22. Popular devotion to her grew up quickly in the surrounding area and her life was recorded by the monk and hagiographer Goscelin of Canterbury. Following her death, the convent continued for some time before closing – according to some sources after being sacked by Viking raiders – and the site collapsed into the sea. In 1138, her remains were transferred to the newly-built priory in Folkestone that was named in her honor. On November 15, 1535, the priory church was seized, and all relics found there were destroyed as part of the Dissolution of Monasteries during the Reformation. St Eanswythe’s remains were hidden by monks during the Reformation period of Catholic persecution in England. The bones were discovered, hidden in a lead box that was concealed in a church wall, in June of 1885.