12 JUILLET 2017 NEWS: Lanchester - Epidaurus - Plymouth - Iona - St Catherine - Beijing - Kurul Kalesi -
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ROYAUME UNI – Lanchester - A Roman fleet diploma, detailing the 26-year naval career of its holder, was found on land near Lanchester Roman fort in County Durham. The individual who was presented with the copper alloy diploma on his honourable retirement is Britain’s first named sailor. And the find is the first complete fleet diploma to be discovered in this country. On July 20 the diploma will be unveiled in Durham City as part of the National Festival of Archaeology. It records how the holder, named Tigernos, served in the Classis Germanica – the Roman fleet in Germany. How a young man, from what is now County Durham , came to spent a large chunk of his life on Roman ships in Germany, is one of the intriguing questions raised by the discovery – as is the sort of reception he received on returning 26 years later. When issued around AD150 by the Emperor Antonius Pius, the diploma would have consisted of two rectangular bronze plates which were attached together with metal wires. Inside would be details such as the career record of the holder, who he served under and what he did, while on the outside was a summary with a list of witnesses. This diploma lists seven witnesses. Similar diplomas were issued to Roman soldiers after 25 years of army service. They granted the holder and his children Roman citizenship and the legal right of marriage. Pieces would be broken off and given to the children to prove their rights, which is why finding complete examples is so rare. The diploma granted to Tigernos was found stacked in eight pieces. It has been undergoing conservation treatment and research by Dr Roger Tomlin from Oxford University.
GRECE – Epidaurus - Greek and Italian archaeologists are collaborating on a program to preserve an ancient mansion at the bottom of the sea of Ancient Epidaurus. The project is to conserve a section of a sunken Roman villa in the Ancient Epidaurus sea
ROYAUME UNI – Plymouth - A Plymouth shipwreck may be even older than first thought. The Cattewater wreck in Plymouth was discovered in 1973 during dredging close to Sutton Harbour. Now detailed analysis of finds, which are in the collection of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, suggest it could date from as early as 1500. The ship is thought to have been a three-masted armed merchantman, probably built in southern Europe but based locally.The Cattewater wreck site is 12m by 5m. The exact size of the vessel is unknown. It is estimated that the three-masted vessel weighed between 200 and 300 tonnes.She was an armed merchantman vessel which had at least three cannons. Three small cannons were originally recovered from the site and are now stored at the City Museum and Art Gallery. It is believed the vessel was almost certainly British and based in Plymouth. It is also believed the ballast was locally sourced. The vessel's cargo is unknown but it is thought it was carrying salted fish when it sank, as barrel parts and fish bones were found at the site. Analysis of the Cattewater finds, including preserved leather and ceramics recovered during excavations carried out in the 1970s, mean this wreck might pre-date the Mary Rose by more than four decades.
ROYAUME UNI – Iona - Archaeologists have uncovered conclusive evidence that a wooden hut traditionally associated with St Columba at his ancient monastery on the island of Iona dates to his lifetime in the late sixth century. Carbon dating has led to the breakthrough, which proves samples of hazel charcoal unearthed in an excavation of a wattle and timber structure on Iona 60 years ago are from the exact period Columba lived in the Inner Hebridean monastery. The structure is believed to be the monk's "cell" where he prayed and studied in isolation. Results show the hut dated back to between 540 and 650 and Columba died in 597. St Columba is widely revered as a key figure in western Christianity and took the religion to Scotland from Ireland, landing on Iona in the year 563. In the Life of St Columba, written 100 years after his death by his successor Adomnan, he was described as often writing in his cell on a rocky hillock, called Torr an Aba or "the mound of the abbot".The samples were excavated in 1957 by archaeologist Professor Charles Thomas but with radio carbon dating only just emerging at the time, they were not tested and instead kept in matchboxes in his garage in Cornwall.
EGYPTE – St Catherine's Monastery - In a ceremony held at his ministry's headquarters, Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced the discovery of a very important medical manuscript uncovered by the monks of St Catherine's Monastery in South Sinai during restoration works carried out in the monastery's library. Mohammed Abdel-Latif, assistant minister of antiquities for archaeological sites, explained that the discovered manuscript is one of those known as "Palmesit" manuscripts, dating to the 6th century AD. The manuscript is written on leather and bears parts of a medical recipe of the renowned Greek physician Hippocrates. The manuscript has also three other medical recipes written by an anonymous scribe, one of which contains drawings of medicinal herbs of the Greek recipe. The second layer of writing found on the manuscript is a text of the Bible known as the "Sinaitic manuscript," which spread during the Middle Ages. Ahmed Al-Nimer, supervisor of Coptic archeology documentation at the ministry, told Ahram Online that "Palmesit manuscripts" are a very well-known type of manuscript written on leather and formed of two layers. The first one, he explained, was previously erased in order to be re-written on the leather again. "This was done due to the high cost of leather at that time," Al-Nimr pointed out. The monastery of Sainte Catherine's contains many "Palmesit" manuscripts in addition to a library containing 6,000 manuscripts, among them 600 manuscripts written in Arabic, Greek, Ethiopian, Coptic, Armenian and Syriac. They are mainly historical, geographical and philosophical manuscripts and the oldest dates to the 4th century AD.
CHINE - Beijing - A massive archaeological excavation underway at Beijing's Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan Park, has uncovered more than 50,000 cultural relics so far. The excavation, which was started in 2013 and will be completed in 2020, is the biggest in the ruined Yuanmingyuan Park so far, and has already covered 7,000 square meters. Bronzeware, jadeware and chinaware have been unearthed, and a gilding elephant head is the most precious among all items, according to a statement sent to the Global Times by the Yuanmingyuan Park. All of the excavated relics will be exhibited in the park until October, it said. The project is aimed at building a visible, three-dimensional platform for archaeological achievements and protecting the remains of the palace."A few sections of the palace survived the fire and destruction of the 1860s … that's why we want to unearth the remains that are buried underneath, so the visitors can see that the Yuanmingyuan Park is iconic," Chen Hui, chief of the park's archaeological department, was quoted by China Central Television as saying. The Yuanmingyuan Park was used as a royal garden of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was known for its variety of greenery, exquisite architecture and many works of art. Unfortunately, British and French expeditionary forces destroyed it during the Second Opium War (1856-60). Three archaeological excavations have been conducted at the Yuanmingyuan Park since the year of 1996.
TURQUIE – Kurul Kalesi - Archeologists have resumed their efforts to excavate a marble sculpture of Cybele, the mother goddess, in northern Turkey's Ordu province located on the Black Sea coast. A team of 20 archeologists led by the head of the Department of Archeology in Gazi University's, Professor Süleyman Yücel Şenyurt, discovered the ancient artifact last September in the 2,300-year-old Kurul Kalesi, or the Council Fortress. The 110 centimeters tall sculpture of the goddess sitting in her throne weighs an impressive 200 kilograms and is being showcased in the archeology museum in Ordu. An Anatolian mother goddess, Cybele symbolizes prosperity with her pregnant belly, seated on her throne. In Anatolian mythology Cybele personified the earth. In Greek mythology, she was equated to the Earth-goddess Gaia, and was mostly associated with fertile nature, mountains, towns and city walls, as well as with wild animals including the lion.