12 AVRIL 2017 NEWS: Cromarty - Sungai Batu - Phoenix - Holzman - Çatalhöyük - Fornham -
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ROYAUME UNI – Cromarty - A Black Isle archaeological dig has yielded finds that could date back as far as the middle of the 11th century. The first radiocarbon dates have been made of the evidence found during a four year excavation. Pieces of burnt barley from Cromarty’s mediaeval beer making days, as well as cattle and horse bones, were among the samples discovered. The main excavation site of the village’s medieval burgh has now been refilled. The dig was triggered after storms in December 2012 eroded the shoreline and exposted parts of medieval Cromarty, and a trial dig commenced in the summer of 2013. Last year, archaeologists found evidence that a devastating fire destroyed the entire community in the 14th century. They believe that this either started in a building containing remains of a burnt oven, or was the result of a siege on the town resulting from the sheriff of Cromarty seeking compensation from the King for loss of livestock. Archaeologist Steven Birch, who along with Mary Peteranna led the project, said that the date ranges attributed to each sample have been given with 95.4% accuracy. Mr Birch explained that the earliest find was a piece of burnt barley placed from 1049-1259, which he said came from the grain-drying kiln in a walled garden. Other finds included a sample of burn barley from the main burning event dated 1283-1397AD, as well as a cattle bone from a cobbled track dated 1222-1292AD and a sample of horse bone from the bottom of a well, dated 1482-1650AD. Mr Birch added that any evidence of an existing settlement before the 11th century may well have been lost due to tidal encroachment.
MALAISIE – Sungai Batu - Almost nine months have passed since the site of the Sungai Batu Archaeological Complex in Bujang Valley, near Merbok, here was declared as home to the oldest civilisation in Southeast Asia. Last year five world-renowned archaeologists who were experts in the five main civilisations of the world - Mesopotamia, Indus, Mesoamerica, Chinese and Greek-Roman - confirmed that the Bujang Valley site was over 2,000 years old, thus rendering it older than Angkor Wat in Siem Reap in Cambodia which was built in the 12th century (900 years old) and Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, built in the ninth century (1,200 years old). Since embarking on excavation work at the Sungai Batu site, the USM archaeological team had made several imporant discoveries, like the remnants of iron-smelting facilities, port jetties and administrative buildings. Among the more crucial discoveries unearthed by the team were the ancient brick monuments that featured a circular brick floor with a square brick structure on top which the experts confirmed dated to 110 century AD or 1,900 years ago. The archaelogists had used the Optically Stimulated Luminescence technique to determine the age of the structures, which had probably served as religious relics. Also found at the site were wrecks of ships that must have plied along an ancient river that flowed through the Bujang Valley, which is also known as Kedah Tua (Old Kedah), a few thousands years ago. As far as USM Global Archaeological Research Centre director Prof Datuk Mokhtar Saidin is concerned, all the stakeholders, particularly the federal and state governments, should take the initiative to provide adequate funding to enable the researchers to continue with their excavation works and tap its tourism potential.
USA- Phoenix - Archaeologists have unearthed about five Hohokam pit houses and a well from a historic firehouse at the site of the next CityScape development in downtown Phoenix. The village saw use from around 300 B.C. to 1450 A.D., said Laurene Montero of Pueblo Grande Museum, which will house the finds. Montero was impressed that the remains survived years of activity in a busy area that’s held a firehouse, a theater, a J.C. Penney’s and a parking lot. “We often hear, ‘this area is completely disturbed, there’s utilities out here, there’s old buildings out here, what’re you going to find?’ Well, you know, this is really good example of, there’s a lot of varied archaeology that can be found even with all the disturbances,” she said.
USA – Holzman - A large, 14,000-year-old mammoth tusk has been uncovered at Alaska’s Holzman archaeological site. “The radiocarbon dates on this mammoth place it as one of the last surviving mammoths on the mainland,” said Kathryn Krasinski of Adelphi University. Krasinski and her team want to know if the tusk, which measures 55 inches long, was obtained by hunters, or if it was picked up by scavengers and brought to the site long after the animal died. If the mammoth was killed by hunters, this could indicate that the first Americans contributed to the extinction of the woolly mammoth some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.
TURQUIE – Çatalhöyük - An excavation team that has been working at Çatalhöyük in Central Anatolia for decades has come the closest yet to solving some of the mysteries surrounding the Neolithic site’s earliest structures, according to the head of the dig. “Last year, we carried out works with a core team including 12 excavators and 15 laboratory experts, aiming to reach the lowest layer and the earliest structures. But because the excavation season is short, we decided to continue excavations this year, too,” said Professor Ian Hodder, the head of the Çatalhöyük excavations. “We made interesting finds in 2016. We unearthed two female figurines in the eastern mound. Our examinations showed that they belonged to prestigious and respected women in the society,” he said, noting that previous excavations on the eastern mound in 1999 revealed only garbage dumps and sheep pens rather than houses. “Works continued to reach the lowest layer in the southern field. I believe that we will be able to unearth the earliest structures in Çatalhöyük during the works we will continue this year,” Hodder said. Located in what is now Konya, Çatalhöyük provides traces of humanity’s transition from settled villages to urban agglomeration over 9,000 years ago. Among the finds in 2016 were a mace head, an obsidian arrow of the highest quality ever, bone and ceramic objects in the northern field, as well as many other objects in the southern part. In the region known as Building 1, two flint stone daggers and a scallop shell were unearthed. Detailed works in the northern field have also unearthed places of activity, fireplaces and working places. Scholars also learned important information about the use of external spaces.
ROYAUME UNI – Fornham - The last thing a digger team expected to see as the bucket rose from a pond they were dredging was sword sticking up like Excalibur. But the pond on the golf course at All Saints Hotel, Fornham St Genevieve, is on the site of the 1173 Battle of Fornham where forces loyal to Henry II drove the rebel Earl of Leicester’s mercenaries into a marsh and killed them. Sword was sent to a conservator who while cleaning it found engravings of words, birds and animals inlaid in silver.