12 MARS 2019: Coldingham - Alcatraz - Weng'an - Colchester -






ROYAUME UNI Coldingham Coldingham - Archaeologists and citizen scientists have unearthed what may be the monastery of Princess Aebbe, who was born a pagan but later spread Christianity along the northeastern British coast during the seventh century. Once the pagan-turned-Christian princess (615-668) became an abbess, she established the monastery at Coldingham, a village in the southeast of Scotland. But the monastery was short-lived; Viking raiders destroyed it it in 870. Archaeologists have been looking for the remains of this monastery for decades. Excavators have now located a narrow, circular ditch, which is likely the "vallum," or the boundary that surrounded Aebbe's religious settlement, DigVentures, a U.K.-based group led by archaeologists and supported by crowdfunding, announced March 8. Just outside the boundary, the excavation team made another surprising discovery: a giant pile of butchered animal bones, including those from cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, domestic fowl and red deer. These were radiocarbon dated to 664-864, right around the time the monastery would have been up and running.


USAAlcatrz Alcatraz - Isolated in the San Francisco Bay and surrounded by steep cliff faces, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary seemed like the most secure place to keep dangerous criminals in the mid-20th century. But it's recently come to light that every inmate on Alcatraz Island lived above a series of potential escape routes that predated the prison's construction, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In a new study published in the journal Near Surface Geophysics, archaeologists reported their discovery of structures and artifacts beneath the Alcatraz prison yard, including underground buildings, tunnels, and ammunition magazines. Guided by historical maps, documents, and photographs, they used laser scanning technology and ground-penetrating radar to locate the subterranean fortress close to the surface. The site dates back to the mid-19th century, when Alcatraz Island was used for military purposes. The same natural features that would later make Alcatraz an appealing prison also made it an ideal coastal fortification. Enough brick buildings were built there to house 200 soldiers and enough food was shipped in to feed them for four months. But the fortification wasn't used for its original purpose for very long. It was transformed into the West Coast's official military prison during the Civil War, and in the 1930s, the government turned it into a federal prison. Instead of tearing down the forts and tunnels leftover from its military days, workers left them intact and built over them to save money. Archaeologists plan to investigate the underground structures further without disturbing the historic site. Alcatraz Prison closed in 1963, so the underground tunnels no longer pose a security problem. Today the island is part of the U.S. National Park Service and is a popular tourist attraction.


CHINE - Weng'an - A painted lacquer coffin was discovered in one of three Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) tombs found by a lake in southwest China. Archaeologists from the Guizhou Province Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute said the tomb in which the coffin was found has been dated to 1581, during the rule of Emperor Wanli. All three tombs are thought to have belonged to the same family. The paintings on the coffin include images of phoenixes, bonsai, red-crowned cranes, and China’s “Four Mythical Creatures”: the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, the Vermillion Bird, and the Black Turtle. Teeth and bone fragments, gold and silver hairpins, gold earrings, and silver bracelets were also recovered.


ROYAUME UNI – Area a1orthogonal Colchester - Recent excavations in Colchester, a town renowned for its rich Roman archaeology, have revealed more evidence from this period, spanning from the time of the AD 43 conquest of Britain into the 2nd century and beyond. An investigation by Colchester Archaeological Trust began last November in advance of major extensions to the Mercury Theatre. They soon uncovered expanses of tessellated floors and the foundations of Roman houses, all dating to the 2nd century AD, together with remnants of underfloor heating systems and painted walls. Further insights into the lives of their inhabitants came from artefacts including a tiny bone die. Yet, while the houses were apparently occupied by fairly well-off people, they seem to have been abandoned and left to fall into ruin. This was indicated by a layer of soil and fragments of wall plaster covering the floors. The process of dereliction is likely to have taken many decades or even centuries, but the absence of any roof tile among the debris suggests that the main structure of the buildings remained largely intact for some time.