ITALIE – Pistoccu - Ancient human remains have been discovered at Pistoccu, in Marina di Arbus, a few meters from the shoreline of the Costa Verde, in south-western Sardinia (Italy). Professor Rita Melis, geoarchaeologist of the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cagliari, said that it may be the "oldest human found in Sardinia dated back to the transition period between the Mesolithic and Neolithic," that is between 10,000 and 8,200 years ago. It has been nicknamed 'Amsicora', like an historical character still alive in the Sardinian culture and known because of his strong opposition to the Roman power. The discovery was made after a short excavation campaign, thanks to the tenacity of Rita Melis and her colleague Margherita Mussi of the Department of Classical Studies, University La Sapienza of Rome, who studied the oldest population of Sardinia for more than 15 years. The site was already known to archaeologists because in 1985 a first series of human remains was found in a sandstone wall collapsed after a storm. At the time, it was the Neapolis Archaeological Group of Guspini who recovered the ancient skeleton of a man, about 40 year old, who was nicknamed Beniamino, since then kept in Guspini. Beniamino was covered with red ocher, and was found along with a large Trion shell, and bone fragments of Prolagus sardus, a small rodent now extinct. Problems due to the 'unscientific' recovery and subsequent storage caused irreparable damage to the Beniamino remains: "It was not possible to date it with C14 because of the lack of collagen," says Rita Melis. During the 2007 excavation campaign, the archaeologists discovered other human remains at the site; samples sent to the NSF Laboratory of the University of Tucson (Arizona, USA) allowed scientists to date the human bones back to 8400 years ago. This spring, Melis and Mussi began a new excavation, followed by another dig this week. "Immediately, after retrieving the shells of a burial offering we realized there was something important," Melis says, "And we have directed our attention to a particular spot. So we discovered the part of a human skeleton," she added. "We need to examine whether it is a traditional burial or a deposition of one individual left in a cave with a series of burial offerings," Margherita Mussi said.The two scientists are carrying out a research on paleoenvironmental and climatic changes of Sardinia and the population growth of the Mediterranean islands during the Holocene. "This discovery provides insight into the first people of Sardinia, an island far from the continent that, unlike Sicily, is not easily accessible," Melis concluded.


ROYAUME UNI - jey-wlr-rail-1-opt.jpg  Londres - Prehistoric animal bones have been uncovered by archaeologists as they carried out excavations for a Crossrail tunnel in Westbourne Green. The remains, found near Royal Oak station, include those of bison, deer and the auroch, a large ancestor of modern cattle. Some of the bones appear to have small marks on them which may suggest butchery by humans. Scientific dating is helping to confirm whether this is the period of 'homo sapiens', up to 50,000 years ago, or their ancestors 'homo neanderthalis', between 50,000 to 350,000 years ago.


NORVEGE - Breheimen National Park - well preserved male hunter’s coat from around the year 300 A.D. was found this summer in the Breheimen National Park, making it the oldest piece of clothing in the country. The coat was found in the rock bed left by a melting glacier. The warmer weather caused by climate change provides archaeologists, researchers and museums with new opportunities to find artifacts dating back hundreds of years. A new exhibition at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo will feature all finds from the melting glaciers, most of which date back to Roman times. In total, seventeen textiles and garments have been received at the museum, including a leather shoe and several other pieces of clothing. However, the men’s coat is the first one that has been dated and preserved. "The technique used is very advanced and makes the pattern look like small diamonds," Vedeler says. "It is well-used, and has a few tears that have been patched together." They will do further chemical analysis to determine its colour, and expect the finds to reveal more important information about clothing in Roman Norway. Other finds in the same area, an old camp and hunting ground, included containers that may have been used as bags/purses, a wooden spade, horseshoes arrows and arrowheads.


FRANCE – Bordeaux - Trois laboratoires se sont réunis pour former un pôle d'excellence de niveau international. « L'usage du monde par les sociétés anciennes » : c'est le thème autour duquel trois grands laboratoires vont unir leurs forces : 575 emplois stables dans la région, toutes catégories confondues, et des projets qui se déploient déjà sur tous les continents. Le premier labo, Ausonius, étudie le passé - de la protohistoire à la fin du Moyen âge - par des méthodes variées, y compris la 3D et l'imagerie pour de spectaculaires restitutions de monuments. Le second, l'Iramat, scrute les matériaux anciens avec, pour l'antenne bordelaise, une spécialité reconnue dans la datation des « archéomatériaux ». Le troisième, Pacea, s'occupe de préhistoire et d'anthropologie, avec en toile de fond la fabuleuse richesse de la région en sites préhistoriques et en art pariétal. De la grotte de Cussac (Périgord) au site paléolithique de Diepkloof (Afrique du Sud) en passant par les catacombes du Vatican ou les ruines romano-bordelaises du Palais Gallien, cela fait un moment que les philologues, préhistoriens, archéologues, spécialistes des matériaux, anthropologues, collaborent au sein de l'université de Bordeaux. Mais la création du LascarBx va permettre de passer la surmultipliée et d'acquérir la visibilité internationale dont la recherche ne peut plus désormais se passer.


GRECE – Kozani - Archaeologists in northern Greece have found a rare group of ancient graves where farmers were interred with their livestock, a Greek daily reported on Friday.  At least 11 adults and 16 farm animals were found buried together near the town of Mavropigi in the northern region of Macedonia, some 21km from the city of Kozani, Ethnos daily said.  The men, women and a child lay alongside horses, oxen, dogs and a pig in two rows of graves, the area's head archaeologist told the newspaper. 'It is the first time that this strange custom is found at such a scale, and from this particular period of time, the late 6th century and early 5th century BC,' head archaeologist Georgia Karamitrou-Mentesidi said


PEROU – Piura - Archaeologists say they’ve discovered the ruins of what is believed to be Peru’s oldest Roman Catholic church. The church outside the northern coastal city of Piura was built in 1534 but its mud walls deteriorated over time as Spanish conquistadors abandoned the area, said archaeologist Cesar Astuhuaman of Piura University. Historical documents discovered in an archive in Sevilla, Spain, helped Peruvian and Spanish academics discover the ruins, whose rectangular stone perimeter remains intact along with an altar, he said in a phone interview Friday. The church was part of the first settlement established in Peru, which would become the seat of Spanish colonial power, by adventurers led by Francisco Pizarro. The settlement was called San Miguel and emerged two years after the arrival of the Spaniards, who would spend the rest of the 16th century destroying the Inca empire. Pavel Elias, a University of Piura historian involved in the project, said he found proof of the church in documents in the General Archive of the Indies in Sevilla. “The evidence is a document sent to (Queen) Juana I in 1539 by a Spanish monk which mentions the church and a will from 1548 by the Spaniard Anton de Carrion, a Piura inhabitant who asks to be buried in the Church of San Miguel de Piura,” said Elias. Astuhuaman said scientists found in the church’s entrance area “the skeleton of a woman with feet pointed toward the altar, an earring and a crucifix.” An archaeologist at Lima’s Catholic University who was not involved in the project, Ines del Aguila, told The Associated Press that the discovery “is an important contribution to the history of Peru.”