12 DECEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Beechey - Jordanie - Ecosse - Khyber - Ichawar - River Farm - Rajim - Beijing -
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CANADA – Beechey Island. - Nature reports that toxicologist Jennie Christensen and her colleagues used a synchrotron particle accelerator to measure the levels of copper, zinc, and lead throughout a toenail and a thumbnail recovered from the remains of John Hartnell, a sailor in the Franklin Expedition who was buried on Beechey Island. By tracking the changes in the levels of metals in the nails, the team was able to determine the levels of metals in Hartnell’s body in the weeks leading up to his death. The study suggests that he suffered from a severe zinc deficiency that may have suppressed his immune system and made him more vulnerable to disease. Lead poisoning and the delirium it can cause have been blamed for the failure of the Franklin Expedition, and the team did find high levels of lead in Hartnell’s body during his last few weeks of his life. But Christensen says that as Hartnell’s body broke down, lead stored in his bones was probably released into his bloodstream. Analytical chemist Ron Martin of Western University points out that all of the crew members would have been exposed to lead throughout their lives. His analysis of crew members’ bone fragments did not find a spike in lead levels. “The lead theory is pretty much dismantled by this point,” Martin says.
JORDANIE – - A lead codex discovered in approximately 2005, in a cave in Northern Jordan, that forms part of the collection of ‘Jordan Lead Codices’, was recently tested at the University of Surrey Ion Beam Centre with exciting results. Director of the University's Ion Beam Centre, Professor Roger Webb, and Senior Liaison Fellow, Professor Chris Jeynes, confirm that a lead codex on loan from the Department of Antiquities in Amman for testing, does not show the radioactivity arising from atmospheric polonium that is typically seen in modern lead samples, indicating that the lead of the codex was smelted over one hundred years ago. Comparative measurements were made of a sample of ancient Roman lead unearthed from an excavation site in Dorset to validate the measurement protocol.
ROYAUME UNI – - Scientists and historians have joined forces to create detailed virtual images of what could be the head of Robert the Bruce, reconstructed from the cast of a human skull held by the Hunterian Museum. One image depicts the subject in his prime, a large and powerful male head that would have been supported by a muscular neck and stocky frame – a match for the super-athletes of today. This was a privileged individual who enjoyed the benefits of a first-class diet, and whose physique would have equipped him for the brutal demands of medieval warfare. Robert Bruce, hero-king of Scots from 1306 until his death in 1329 aged around 55, was no stranger to the battlefield. He waged war to wear down his Scottish opponents and the English regime in Scotland, culminating in the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. To legitimise his kingship and free his kingdom, Bruce also campaigned in northern England and Ireland. However, the second image reveals that strength co-existed with frailty. The skull exhibits likely signs of leprosy, disfiguring the upper jaw and nose. Historians believe Bruce suffered from an unidentified ailment, possibly leprosy, which laid him low several times during his reign, and probably killed him. In Ulster in 1327, he was said to be so weak that he could only move his tongue.
PAKISTAN – Khyber - The survey has documented 110 sites dating from prehistoric, Buddhist, Islamic and British eras. “Rock carvings were etched an estimated 30,000 years ago,” said Abdul Samad, Director K-P Archaeology and Museums, who conducted the survey. The ancient rock etchings were found on a dry mountain in the Lawara Mayana area which is now considered the oldest in the region. Earlier, Sangao village in Mardan was considered the oldest where rock art as old as at least 10,000 years were found after 10 years of systematic excavations. The carvings are abstract with tightly clustered geometric designs and short parallel lines. Khyber Agency remained a part of the Buddhist Gandhara civilisation that flourished in the areas that today form northern Pakistan and Afghanistan from mid-1st millennium BCE to the beginning of 2nd millennium BCE. But so far only a dilapidated stupa along the Khyber Pass was available from that era. The recent survey has documented seven more such stupas and ancient Buddhist monasteries.
INDE - Ichawar - BS Wakankar Archaeological Research Institute of Archaeology Department has discovered idols belonging to the 10th and 11th centuries in village Ichawar of the Raisen district. Two temples built in Parmar-Kalchuri style, along with more than 30 ancient and rare idols and pillars have also been found. Commissioner, archaeology, Anupam Rajan said Richawar village was important from the historical point of view, as it was situated on the banks of river Narmada. The area is the place where the Parmar and Kalchuri armies clashed. The temples and idols recovered from this site carry the imprint of both the dynasties. It was during excavation that the two temples were found. The temple has idols in three directions of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Indrani, Brahmani, Maheshwari, Kartikeya, Brahma and Vishnu. The second temple measures 45 feet in length and 31 feet in breadth. It also has eight idols in it.
USA – River Farm - This spring and summer, archaeologists investigated a Native American village site at River Farm, excavated test units, found more than a dozen features and recovered thousands of artifacts that span at least 10,000 years. A unique find dating to 900 AD to 1400 AD (before European colonization) is unlike anything previously seen in Maryland by archaeologists. During a test dig, they found an arc-shaped trench about 25 feet long, over a foot down, with pottery and a few projectile points, along with holes from posts driven into the sides. Further digging revealed the arc doesn't continue. In and around are big hearths, more sapling-sized post holes at odd angles crossing over each other, with pottery and artifacts along the sides. The evidence indicates the site was used continuously for thousands of years, with large bonfires on the beach, feasting on just about everything edible in the area, pottery and artifact making, and probably people coming from all around to join in.
INDE – Rajim - The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has granted license to the department of archaeology and culture of the Chhattisgarh government to restart excavation in the temple town of Rajim in Gariyaband district. Earlier excavations unearthed a Vishnu temple, a Tridevi temple along with a palace complex, which are made of stones and bricks dating back to the Mauryan period. Sharma said the Tridevi temple here is of interest because during the earlier excavations, such temples dedicated to Tridevi was found at Sirpur and several other places. What stands out though is the fact that the temple here is built on a single platform and three garbhgrihas (sanctum santorums) had been found. "The garbhgriha at the centre is of goddess Laxmi, while the two others are dedicated to Durga and Saraswati. There is a great possibility that the garbhgrihas got destroyed during a flood in the 12th century," Sharma added. Sharma said, "At present, the walls of the palace complex and the Vishnu temple are extending towards south-east of the area at a depth of 2.50 metres and we want to expose them completely." "Under archaeological norms, we have to reach the natural soil. During our three years of excavation at the site earlier, only surface and other places in raingalis (a narrow space made by the flow of rainwater) were excavated and we got plenty of stone tools dating back to 2.5 lakh years," said Sharma. Sharma claimed that it clearly indicates that there was human inhabitation near Rajim 2.5 lakh years back and that is the reason why it could be considered as one of the earliest sites in Chhattisgarh.
CHINE – Beijing - Government agencies excavating a site in the far southeastern Beijing suburbs say they have found ancient city walls and more than 1,000 tombs, most of which are dated to the eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25-220) and some even earlier. The excavations, made this year ahead of development of a new administrative district for Beijing, shed light on life in a county-level city that was alive with activity several hundred years earlier than experts previously thought. Archaeological teams this year found ceramic and porcelain urns, earthen sculptures of animals, copper tools and mirrors — some of which are believed to be made by the Yan, a northern kingdom that stood for centuries before falling to the conqueror who unified China and became its first emperor in 221 B.C. The excavators also found ruins of a square-shaped city with walls 600 meters (2,000 feet) on each side from the Han Dynasty. The area was previously believed to have been developed in the Sui and Tang Dynasties (A.D. 581-907), when it became a trading hub on the Grand Canal leading to southern China.