12 DECEMBRE 2011 NEWS
INDI-UNI : ANTHROPOLOGY - ARCHAEOLOGY
INSCRIPTION 2012 COURS A DISTANCE
REGISTRATION 2012 ONLINE COURSES
ALBANIE – Butrint - This summer, Hernandez and a team of Notre Dame undergraduates embarked on a six-week excavation trip to Butrint, Albania, where they made the discovery. After six grave sites, 133 coins and over 10,000 fragments of animal bone, archaeologists with assistant professor of classics David Hernandez's excavation team hit pay dirt, or rather, pay pavement, in the form of an ancient Roman forum. Since the 1920s archaeologists have probed the site, producing evidence of a Greek sanctuary of Asclepius, a medieval house, a Venetian castle and now, a Roman forum, he said. The forum was a rectangular plaza surrounded by government buildings in ancient Rome, and its discovery holds key insight into the urban history of the area of Butrint, Hernandez said. Before the most recent excavation began, a small corner of the forum had already been discovered, and the goal was to find just how far it expanded eastward. The discovery of the intact pavement slabs was a critical moment, he said. "The pavement slabs themselves, just flush and intact, it's easy to take it for granted in retrospect, but really, we had no idea if these pavement slabs were going to be preserved this far away from where we had found them before," Hernandez said. "The entire pavement was preserved, and I knew at this moment, that this is one of the best preserved Roman forums in the provinces of the Roman Empire. There just aren't forums like this that are preserved in this way." On the last day of the excavation, the team made a rare find. "Right at the very end of the excavation, we found the head of a goddess figurine, which was a votive offering that dates to the fourth century B.C.," Hernandez said. The region's well-preserved layers of archaeological artifacts dating back to the 7th century B.C. were slowly unearthed during the excavation.
FRANCE – Mas d’Azil - Depuis le mois d’octobre, la grotte azilienne était entrée en période de travaux. Un investissement de trois millions d’euros pour faire entrer ce haut lieu de la préhistoire dans le XXIe siècle et lui redonner une attractivité. Mais dans un tel site, les scientifiques ne sont jamais loin des ouvriers de chantier... Le creusement d’une tranchée dans la route départementale qui longe l’entrée de la grotte nécessitait ainsi un diagnostic archéologique : rien d’essentiel n’a été trouvé... Jusqu’à ce jeudi 24 novembre vers midi, quand les archéologues se sont intéressés à un bout de paroi. “Un endroit où il était totalement improbable de trouver quelque chose, vu qu’on est largement sous le niveau archéologique connu de la grotte”, résume Pascal Alard. Et pourtant : “On y a découvert un niveau archéologique en place, avec des ossements, des silex, du colorant... Ça semble dater du Paléolithique supérieur, entre -30.000 et -10.000 ans, poursuit le directeur du Service des sites touristiques d’Ariège. C’est une sorte de galerie de 4 mètres de long sur 1,20 mètre de haut”.Cette découverte archéologique est la première depuis “très longtemps” dans cette grotte, dont tout le matériel connu a été jusque-là extrait, catalogué, inventorié et étudié.
FRANCE – Noirlac - C'est devant la salle capitulaire de l'abbaye de Noirlac que se situe le sondage le plus fructueux. Vingt squelettes ont été mis au jour par une équipe archéologique, depuis début octobre. Les corps étaient inhumés dans des cercueils dont il ne reste plus que des traces noirâtres. De quelle époque datent ces corps?? Impossible pour les archéologues de répondre : " On sait qu'il n'y avait pas d'inhumation en cercueil avant le XIVe siècle. Sur les vingt corps, nous en avons retrouvé deux tenant dans une main une pièce mais elles sont en mauvais état ". Chacun des ossements découverts a été mesuré, photographié et prélevé dans des sacs puis sera, dans les prochains jours, envoyé dans un laboratoire d'Eveha, à Caen. Débutera alors un long travail d'analyses qui aboutira, dans huit mois, à un rapport de fouilles. " Lors de la première phase de fouilles, en 2009, des corps d'enfants avaient été découverts dans l'abbatiale. En tout, nous n'avons fouillé que 500 m2 de l'abbaye. On pense qu'il y a des centaines d'autres sépultures ", confie Isabelle Pignot.
PHILIPPINES - Cagayan de Oro - An aspect of the study of landscapes is to consider the fact that they hold vital clues to ancient historical events that may have been lost in time. In this case, we are looking for a landscape that has a small river near the sea where the first mass in Cagayan was said in 1622. More importantly, this site should be within the ancient territory of Cagaiang and not just in the present land area of Cagayan de Oro City. Another crucial factor that should not be overlooked is that the site must not be far from Himolugan. Why so? Because Fray Juan de San Nicolas and Fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios, being new in the place, were not foolhardy to venture farther in to the wilderness just to say mass. The spot that they chose must give them a sense of security and perhaps, it was a shouting distance away from Datu Salangsang and his men if they encounter any danger and needed help. So this is an added feature to that landscape where the first mass was said. And where is Himolugan? A series of articles titled "Is this the Ancient Settlement of Cagayan de Oro?" by historian Mabel B. Nacasas came out in this paper in April 2010. Nacasas was born and raised at the foot of Molugan hill that is along Macajalar Bay. She belongs to the prominent Bombeo Clan that has lived in the Opol and El Salvador area for several generations. Her articles dealt mainly on why Molugan is the site of the lost Himolugan settlement and presented her study on the etymology of the place names "Himolugan and Molugan” and the oral traditions of her people. Then, she compared the Molugan landscape with the 1622 Himolugan landscape as described in the Recollect journal of Fray Luis de Jesus. The English translation of this journal is found in The Philippine Islands, 1493 - 1898, Vol. 21 by Emma Helena Blair and James Alexander Robertson. But what caught my attention was about the Karib Creek of her childhood. Nacasas described the Karib (as what the locals call it) as a small river near the Macajalar Bay and is not far from the Molugan hill! She believes that the area beside the Karib was where the first mass was said. Who can argue with that? This clearly has the three landscape features that comprised that historic spot that we are looking for. However, there are others who think that Himolugan is located at the site where the St. Agustine Metropolitan Cathedral now stands since it is situated on a small promontory by the river. But early Spanish colonial documents show that it was sometime aftre the first visit of the two Recollect priests to Himolugan that they were able to persuade Salangsang and his people to move to the site in today's Cathedral and Gaston Park area. A fortified settlement was built there according to the design of Fray Agustin de San Pedro, an architect and warrior priest, who later became known as the legendary El Padre Capitan. This new settlement was named Cagaiang and sometimes Cagaian. Down through the centuries, the place flourished and has become the bustling metropolis of northern Mindanao -- Cagayan de Oro City. Unless another area that has the three landscape features mentioned above will be discovered between El Salvador City and Barangay Agusan, suffice to say that for now, it is the land near the Karib Creek that is located along the bay and in the shadow of Molugan Hill, that is the place where the historic first mass was said in Cagayan in 1622.
ROYAUME UNI – Edinburgh - A major project to upgrade the gas mains system will cut “deep” through the history of the Old Town. Edinburgh archaeologist Gordon Ewart, who will accompany a team of engineers, said he was confident that a range of artefacts – possibly from early medieval times – would be discovered when the work gets under way next month. The 59-year-old, who lives in Murrayfield, said: “There are four areas of interest. The first is Johnston Terrace, where the Flodden Wall ran up towards the Castle. The trench will cut across the line at the Flodden Wall. The wall itself sat on top of earlier defensive lines, which could go back as far as the 12th century.” Mr Ewart, who runs Kirkdale Archaeology in Edinburgh, said engineers would also be digging on the site of the former mansion owned by the Duke of Gordon in the 17th Century. He added: “There’s a famous map of Edinburgh dated to 1647, which shows all the strange little streets and courtyards off the High Street and around Holyrood and the Castle. We will look at that map to pick up evidence of this early housing. We will be looking at the old pattern of streets in medieval Edinburgh.” As part of the excavation, which will be 1.5 metres deep, Mr Ewart will also be looking at the site of the former townhouses which stood on the High Street in the 17th century. “Finally, the last thing we will pick up will be the Weigh House,” he added. “It sat in the middle of the High Street and was a big municipal building, where goods of various sorts were weighed to ensure there were standardised weights and measures. It was demolished in 1822.”