12 Avril 2018: Sandby Borg - Héliopolis - Asphendou Cave - Bergen - Al-Okhdood - Montauban -
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SUEDE – Sandby Borg - The ancient bulb found at Sandby Borg on the island of Öland shows that trade with Rome went far beyond the gold coins and jewellery previously found at the site, extending even to then exotic vegetables. "What it means is that people on Öland imported food as well," Helena Victor, project leader for the excavation, told The Local."They didn't use onions in Scandinavia in cooking, but they did use them in the Roman Empire. I think it must have been imported. They probably saw it as some unique extra spice.” The discovery was made near an old fireplace during the excavation of a house in the ring fort.
EGYPTE – Héliopolis - An excavation in the ancient city of Heliopolis has uncovered thousands of fragments of a colossal statue of King Psamtek I, who ruled in the seventh century B.C. This discovery adds to the more than 6,000 pieces of the statue, which had been deliberately destroyed, that were recovered last year. “The new fragments confirm that the colossus once depicted King Psamtek I standing, but it also reveals that his left arm was held in front of the body, an unusual feature,” said Ayman Ashmawy of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities. “A very carefully carved scene on the back pillar shows the kneeling King Psamtek I in front of the creator-god Atum of Heliopolis.” The quartzite colossus was part of a temple dating back to Ramesses II (1279–1213 B.C.) that had been remodeled by later pharaohs until it was eventually dismantled in the tenth or eleventh century A.D. Fragments of a frieze of falcons and a colossal red granite sphinx were among the objects recovered from the temple ruins
GRECE – Asphendou Cave - The artwork found in Asphendou Cave is the earliest known Greek portrayal of extinct animals and is more than 11,000 years old. Located in the mountainous Sphakia region of western Crete, Asphendou Cave has been known for its petroglyphs, described by Strasser as “a confusing jumble of engravings that had eluded dating”. The confusion was caused because several layers of engraving were superimposed on one another. Initially it was believed that the animal depictions were feral goats and possibly as late as the Bronze Age. However, archaeologists exposed the oldest layers, now showing a species of recently identified fossil dwarf deer named Candiacervus ropalophorus, which became extinct more than 11,000 years ago. The species has unusually long antlers with short lateral tines, and specimens found not far north of Asphendou in caves on the north coast of Crete date to between 21,500 and 11,000 years ago. With the use of photogrammetry, the depictions of the quadrupeds were recorded and then extracted. Then they were compared with those made from excavated Candiacervus remains. The 37 deer engravings identified are about 5 centimeters long and the engravings shallow. They represent “a palaeolithic animal herd without ground line or background,” Strasser said.
NORVEGE – Bergen - A 600-year-old wooden dice that seems to have been specially designed for cheating during gambling was recently discovered in Norway. The "cheating dice" was found beside a medieval-era street during archaeological excavations in the Vågsbunnen district in Bergen. "Over 30 dice from the Middle Ages have been found in Bergen over the years so the discovery of a dice in itself is not very surprising. This dice is, on the other hand, special," wrote a team of archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research. A normal dice has only one number (usually represented by a dot) on each of its six sides, ranging from 1 to 6. But not this dice. "The dice from Vågsbunnen has two fives and two fours, instead of the numbers one and two. It is therefore very likely that this has been used to cheat in games," the archaeologists wrote. Another possibility is that this particular dice was meant for a game that used a dice without a 1 or 2, but rather two 4s and two 5s. However, it's more likely that it was used for cheating, archaeologists say. How exactly the cheating would have worked is unclear. It's possible that the gambling involved a game where rolling a 4 or 5 was favorable, but a 1 or 2 was unlucky. While betting was banned in Bergen in 1276, that didn't stop people from gambling, archaeologists say.
ARABIE SAOUDITE - Al-Okhdood - A Saudi scientific team, affiliating to the Antiquities and Museums Sector at the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH) has recently found at Al-Okhdood in Najran a pottery jar containing more than 1000 antic coins, metal seals and stones with inscriptions in the Ancient South Arabian script (Musnad) dating back to the first century AD. This archaeological discovery is considered to be rare and has great scientific value, as it indicates the cultural, social and political prosperity of the Al-Okhdood site in Najran.
FRANCE – Montauban - Depuis trois semaines, les spécialistes ont fouillé les dessous de la place Nationale. Selon les premiers résultats des sondages, l'intervention des archéologues a été plus que fructueuse. Sous leurs pieds, les chercheurs de l'Inrap ( Institut national des recherches archéologiques préventives) ont découvert pas mal de vestiges de la ville fondée en 1144. «Il n'y a pas eu de découvertes majeures, mais ce diagnostic nous a apporté des informations significatives sur les origines de la ville. Après avoir longtemps espéré exhumer des restes d'une occupation gallo-romaine sous la place Nationale, sans succès, les archéologues ont finalement trouvé ce qu'ils s'attendaient à trouver au fond de leurs tranchées de 1, 50 m à 2 mètres. « Nous avons mis au jour plusieurs piliers de la maison commune qui existait sur cette place. C'est une belle découverte. Nous avons pu également visualiser l'emplacement d'un puits, quasiment au centre de la place», éclaire l'archéologue. La moisson a été particulièrement riche encore en caves, ossements d'animaux et céramiques. «Nous aurons recours à la datation au carbone pour analyser certains de nos prélèvements» , précise le scientifique.