12 DECEMBRE 2013 NEWS: Harlech Castle - Lundy island - Tongzi - Hampi -
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ROYAUME UNI – Harlech Castle - Workers building a new visitor centre next to Harlech Castle may have stumbled on the remains of three people who may have been caught up in the Wars of the Roses. The bodies were found near the grounds of the Castle Hotel last Thursday. Historic monuments group Cadw suggests building foundations also dating back to medieval times have been found at the site. Archaeology Wales are carrying out further excavations in the hope of finding more human remains. History lecturer Dr David Craik believes the bodies possibly date from the Wars of the Roses as the castle was almost constantly under siege from 1461 to 1468. Dr Craik, who is also president of the Harlech Historical Society, said: “The discovery of the burials at Harlech Castle is the most exciting archaeological find since the discovery of a gold torque in 1922.” But Dr Iestyn Jones, of Archaeology Wales, said the site was once home to a chapel yard and before that a church. He said the remains are more likely to have come from what was once a cemetery or burial ground. Dr Jones said: "It almost certainly is (an old cemetery). That would be my interpretation at the moment." Also pottery found on the site dates from the 17th and 18th centuries - several hundreds years after the Wars of the Roses ended.
ROYAUME UNI – Lundy island - The call has gone out for help to create a new dive trail for the wreck of an American Civil war blockade runner that sank off Lundy Island. Wessex Archaeology is calling for contributions to the design and content of an engaging new trail for the Iona II, a designated wreck in the Lundy Marine Conservation Zone. The Iona II was a fast iron paddle steamer built on the Clyde in Scotland in 1863 - originally built as a mail and excursion boat for the river, it was bought shortly after for use as a Confederate blockade runner and was lost while seeking shelter from a storm at Lundy on January 2, 1864. It was rediscovered in 1976 and designated in 1990 so that diving access to the wreck can only be made under licence. Wessex Archaeology is consulting with a range of people to design and implement an interesting trail with opportunities to contribute to the monitoring of the wreck. There will be a variety of interpretation materials covering a range of topics such as ship design, the American Civil War, archaeology and ecology.
CHINE – Tongzi - Archaeologists in north China's Shanxi Province have discovered a 1,400-year-old temple where a collection of statues of the Buddha were once stored. The shrine, enclosed by walls carved with Buddha niches, is part of the Tongzi Temple complex secluded on a mountain near the city of Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi. The structure was built in 556 during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557), a booming period for Buddhism, according to researchers with the Institute of Archaeology of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IA CASS). "The structure is the only one of its kind ever found in China and it sheds light on early Buddha carvings," said Li Yuqun, researcher with the IA CASS and lead archaeologist on the excavation. Though destroyed in war in 1117, the temple has yeilded up a batch of well-preserved statues. One of its walls was carved with a Buddha figure over 20 meters in height. It was unrecognizable after so many years but archaeologists unearthed some remnants that suggest its original looks. The structure also houses a 2.6-meter mural dating from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which archaeologists believe is of great value as the oldest in the region.
INDE – Hampi - A portion of a fort wall of the Hampi ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was levelled by the owner of the adjacent agricultural land - an incident that once again underlines the utter neglect of historical monuments in India. The 10-ft-high wall, measuring 150 feet in length and 15 feet in width, dated back to the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. The part of the ruins where the wall stood, near the Hampi powerhouse, is protected by the Department of Archaeology. "The ramp to the fort wall has been flattened and saplings planted there. A few stone blocks of the wall have also been damaged. This can't be done in a protected area," said TS Gangadhara, Deputy Director, Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage.