12 JUIN 2020 NEWS
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SUMMER TERM : JULY 2020
CHINE – Lingjing - An international team of archaeologists from China, Canada, France, Israel and Norway on Thursday unveiled their study on a 13,500-year-old miniature bird sculpture unearthed from an archaeological site in central China's Henan Province, which suggests it is the oldest known work of Chinese sculpture art. The discovery sets back not only the origin of sculpture in East Asia by more than 8,500 years but also the history of the art form of birds found in China by 8,000 years. The bird statue, which is 19.2 mm long, 5.1 mm wide and 12.5 mm high, is dark brown on one side and bronze on the other. Made of a mammalian limb bone, which had been heated and charred before carving, the bird figurine has a stout body shape, short head, round beak and long tail. Instead of carving the bird's legs, the unknown ancient artist cut a base for the sculpture to stand on. The small bird figurine was recovered from the Paleolithic site of Lingjing in Henan. The Lingjing site in the city of Xuchang had earlier been known for the discovery of human cranial fossils dating back 105,000 to 125,000 years ago, which has been named as the hominids "Xuchang Man." During Li's excavation at Lingjing since 2005, he has seen stratified layers ranging in age from 120,000 years ago to the Bronze Age. Radiocarbon dating on 32 samples from the burnt animal remains and burnt bones with anthropogenic gouging marks found alongside the bird figurine have suggested that the samples all date back 13,500 years. "Carving traces suggest they were cut with fine stone tools," said Li. Peering through a microscope, researchers marveled at the techniques of grinding, polishing, scraping and cutting used in carving such a small object. "This is the only sculpture in East Asia that can be traced back to the Late Pleistocene. The discovery marks the recognition of a primitive artistic tradition," said Li. The archaeological finding is described in a study published in the latest issue of the open-access journal PLoS One.
ROYAUME UNI – Londres - 144 timbers, postholes, and artifacts uncovered last year at a construction site in east London may be the remains of The Red Lion, an early Elizabethan outdoor stage with galleried seating whose exact location had been lost. John Brayne is thought to have built The Red Lion around 1567 on a medieval farmstead before he and James Burbage of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men built The Theatre, the first permanent home for acting troupes, in 1576. The existence of The Red Lion is only known through records of lawsuits initiated by John Brayne against the carpenters responsible for the construction of the playhouse in 1567 and 1569. Stephen White of University College London said the rectangular timber structure his team of researchers unearthed in Whitechapel matches the dimensions of The Red Lion recorded in the lawsuits. The postholes at the site, he added, may have supported galleried seating. Traces of other buildings at the site, including two beer cellars, and artifacts including beakers, bottles, and tankards, could have been part of The Red Lion Inn, which operated into the eighteenth century.
EGYPTE - Taposiris Magna - Cleopatra VII Philopator, one of the most famous Egyptian queens who has inspired several modern works of art is believed to have died by committing suicide. The mystery behind her death and her missing tomb remains one of the most intriguing subjects for archaeologists and historians. The experts will seek out the latest ground-breaking archaeological research to unravel the mystery behind the ancient ruler of one of the greatest empires in the world, the Ptolemaic Kingdom. According to the press release, the experts go after seeking the truth about the "new theory about Cleopatra's burial ground introduced by archaeologist Dr. Kathleen Martinez, suggesting her tomb may be found in a place known as Taposiris Magna." The Taposiris Magna has been the focus of archaeologists studying Egyptian history. The place is believed to have been built 2000 years ago and hosts several mysterious hidden passages and tombs. While exploring the site, the experts came across "an undisturbed tomb decorated in gold leaf" which is believed to hold clues to the queen's final resting place. The tomb is believed to hold hints to her life and death that remains largely unknown.It was after the defeat in the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra fled to Egypt deserting the fleet. After meeting with the Octavian, the victorious ruler, she locked herself in the chamber where she took her last breath. Even though the real truth about her death remains a mystery, several writers advocate the theory that she committed suicide by getting bitten by a poisonous snake. And her body is believed to have been buried with her lover Mark Antony, who died before her after listening to the rumour of her death and falling on his sword.
CHINE – Mongolie - Researchers led by Gideon Shelach-Lavi of Hebrew University of Jerusalem used drones and high-resolution satellite images to map the 460-mile-long Northern Line of the Great Wall of China, most of which winds through Mongolia. The Northern Line was constructed of pounded earth between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. “Prior to our research, most people thought the wall’s purpose was to stop Genghis Khan’s army,” Shelach-Lavi said. But the team members found that much of this section of the more than 13,000-mile-long Great Wall is low in height and placed near paths, and therefore may not have been intended to deter enemy invasion. “Our conclusion is that it was more about monitoring or blocking the movement of people and livestock, maybe to tax them,” Shelach-Lavi said.
By Agence France-Presse
ROYAUME UNI – Colchester - Archaeologists have used cutting edge technology to discover historic sites across Colchester. The team has so far located several unknown or forgotten prehistoric, Roman, medieval and even recent earthworks, together with sections of Roman road in Colchester.
TURQUIE – Zerzevan - En raison de son emplacement, à 13 kilomètres du centre de Çınar, dans le quartier de Demirölçek, le château de Zerzevan est situé sur une colline rocheuse de 124 mètres de haut sur une ancienne route, un point stratégique entre Amida, Diyarbakır et Dara, près de Mardin. Il dominait jadis toute la vallée et accueillait une garnison romaine considérable et fut le théâtre d’importants affrontements entre les Romains et les Sassanides. Le château de Zerzevan s’étend sur six hectares et était protégé par des murs de 15 mètres de haut et de 1 200 mètres de long. À l’intérieur, une tour de guet, une église de 21 mètres de haut, des canaux d’eau de 8,5 kilomètres de long et 54 citernes. Au fil des années, des dizaines de milliers de tonnes d’eau se sont accumulées dans les citernes par la voie des canaux d’eau. D’après Aytaç Coşkun, chef du comité de fouilles du château de Zerzevan et universitaire à l’Université Dicle, l’Empire romain a utilisé les technologies de l’époque qui ont permis l’élaboration des canaux d’eau. Ceux-là ont traversé le temps sans perdre leur fonction principale : véhiculer l’eau jusqu’aux citernes. Aytaç Coşkun explique que « La citerne peut contenir quatre tonnes d’eau, mais a une profondeur d’environ 21 mètres. Environ 80 % de la citerne se trouve sous le sol, et, après davantage de fouilles, tout sera révélé ». L’archéologue explique que nous ignorons encore comment l’eau avait été apportée jusqu’au château, la source d’eau la plus proche se trouvant à 8,5 kilomètres : « Quel type de technologie et quel type de système ont été utilisés, c’est une énigme ». « Ce que nous savons, c’est que des pentes de plusieurs millimètres ont été utilisées. Le canal a une profondeur de 1,5 mètre à certains endroits et l’eau provenant de la source a été amenée dans le château par ces passages », ajoute-t-il.