12 Juin 2018: Bassania - Apollonia Pontica - Tiberias - Mirfield -
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ALBANIE – Bassania - A 2,000-year-old archaeological site covering about 50 acres has been found in northwestern Albania. The city is thought to be Bassania, which was described by the Roman historian Livy in his discussion of battles with Gentius, the last king of Illyria. Piotr Dyczek of the University of Warsaw said the city’s gate, two bastions, and wide stone walls have been uncovered. The ten-foot wide walls were constructed of stone blocks and filled with small stones and earth. Coins and pottery found near the walls have been dated to as early as the fourth century B.C. Dyczek thinks the city was forgotten after the defeat at the hands of the Romans, since it is not known to have been mentioned in the writings of later travelers. Erosion of the site’s stone features eventually blended them into the site’s rocky surroundings.
BULGARIE – Apollonia Pontica - A dwelling dating to the sixth century B.C. has been discovered in the ancient Greek colony of Apollonia Pontica, located on the Skamni Peninsula of Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. Among the artifacts in the house, archaeologists found a krater decorated with red figures depicting the myth of Oedipus and the Sphinx, and an askos, or small jug, for pouring small amounts of liquids. The site was situated about six feet underneath the foundations of a home built in the nineteenth century. Layers of soil in between the two homes contained Classical Period artifacts such as pottery, loom weights, spindle parts, coins, seals, and game pieces, and a medieval necropolis in use during the eleventh century and the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. One of the eleventh-century graves yielded a small cross made of bronze and one made of bone.
ISRAEL – Tiberias - A magnificent Roman-era burial cave was fortuitously found in the northern Israeli city of Tiberias. The underground mausoleum unearthed this month is between 1,900 to 2,000 years old, judging by the architectural style, she told Haaretz. The main central chamber has several burial niches – shelves carved into the cave walls, and a small inner chamber. The archaeologists also found ossuaries, which are boxes used for the secondary burial of bones. That means the bereaved would lay the dead on niches carved into the cave walls, and wait for the bodies to decompose. Then the bones would be reburied in boxes typically made of stone or clay that were only as long as the longest bone, Alexandre says. The ossuaries, which were made of stone and pottery, are the tell-tale artifact marking the catacomb as belonging to Jew. Nobody else is known to have practiced secondary burial in the Roman era – with one exception. “One single case is known in Israel of a non-Jewish secondary burial in an ossuary – a Nabatean. Maybe it was a Nabatean who was influenced by the Jews,” remarks archaeologist Dr. Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College. It is true that there is much older evidence of secondary burial in pottery ossuaries, but that’s from the Chalcolithic period – also known as the Copper Age, which is before Judaism existed. For some reason the practice arose anew thousands of years later, in the 1st century B.C.E., and vanished once and for all in the early 3rd century.
ROYAUME UNI – Mirfield - Aerial photographs of trenches dug by archaeologists on Balderstone Hall Fields, off Wellhouse Lane, appear to show iron age roads and a circular anomaly that could be evidence of an ancient roundhouse dating back 2,000 years. “The nearest other roundhouse to this one in Mirfield is in the Calder Valley. If we have indeed found an Iron Age road it may be a link to another ancient community. Clr Benson said he and fellow members of Project Mirfield have no knowledge of any previous buildings on the 11.4 acre site, which makes the remnants of the 16m diameter roundhouse all the more exciting. In addition, there is evidence of shallow coal workings and narrow seams of coal just below the surface. Moreover, the roundhouse appears to have had a fortified entrance.