13 OCTOBRE 2023 News
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INSCRIPTIONS : OCTOBRE 2023
DANEMARK – - In a new study published in the Danish Journal of Archaeology , a conservation expert from the National Museum of Denmark and their research team arrived at this conclusion after conducting a thorough re-examination of 61 glass fragments recovered from six different Viking-age sites. This means that Norse dignitaries likely sat in rooms lit up by Viking Age windows with colored glass, and adds another nail in the coffin of a “savage” or “ barbaric” Viking who swings his sword around. These Viking Age windows were not the large, transparent windows we are accustomed to today. Instead, they likely consisted of smaller panes in various shades of green and brown, not meant for viewing the outside world but for infusing the interior of their buildings with colorful light. What makes this discovery even more remarkable is that these glass fragments, collected over the last 25 years, originate from six separate excavation sites. Five of these are located in southern Scandinavia, with the sixth being in Hedeby, situated in northern Germany. These areas include Viking noblemen's farms, pre-Christian temples and early urban environments, all The glass shards were subjected to chemical isotope analysis, which disclosed their composition. The glass was determined to be either soda glass, which historically originated in Egypt and the Near East, or potash glass produced in Germany, dating back to the period between 800 and 1150. The notion of Viking Age window glass had been largely overlooked in earlier assessments. It was commonly associated with the Middle Ages, leading to assumptions that the glass must have been a later addition. Some of these glass panes were used in pre-Christian religious sites. This has led the researchers to ask questions about pagan architecture used by the Vikings.
TURQUIE – Hattusa - Some of the Anatolian hieroglyphs discovered last year in the Yerkapı Tunnel in Hattusa, the former capital of the Hittite Empire, were deciphered. In the famous Yerkapı Tunnel, which every visitor passes through in the Hattusa Ruins, 249 symbols of 3500 years were discovered. Some of the deciphered sections of Anatolian hieroglyphs (a form of writing consisting of about 500 signs) discovered last year, contain information about the person who built the tunnel. The hieroglyphs contain the name and title of the individual in charge of the tunnel’s construction. The inscriptions discovered last year by Associate Professor Dr. Bülent Genç, a faculty member of the Archaeology Department at Mardin Artuklu University, consist of 249 symbols drawn with root dye. In the hieroglyphs found at the western and eastern ends of the tunnel, it is understood that a person named ‘Arişadu’ was responsible for the construction of the tunnel. This information is considered the most significant discovery regarding the tunnel’s construction. There are also symbols for “Tuthaliya Mountain” and “road” in the hieroglyphs that can be seen on the western side of the tunnel. The combination of these symbols suggests that the tunnel was constructed as a road leading to Tuthaliya Mountain. The head of the excavation, Prof Dr Andreas Schachner, drawing attention to the two sets of symbols on the western side of the tunnel: “One group has not yet been fully clarified, but the meaning of one group is clear. They have combined the symbols for ‘Tuthaliya Mountain’ and ‘road.’ We know about Tuthaliya Mountain from Hittite texts. Tuthaliya Mountain is a sacred mountain for the Hittites. It is so important that several kings took their royal names from there. The road symbol is believed to carry meanings such as ‘the road from Tuthaliya,’ ‘the road leading to Tuthaliya Mountain,’ or ‘the road passing through Tuthaliya Mountain’.” Schachner stated, “These hieroglyphs appear as the signature, inscription, or an expression of ‘I did it’ by the person who built this tunnel. However, at the same time, we understand this; most likely, in the Hittite world, Anatolian hieroglyphs, this pictorial script, were much more widespread than cuneiform script.” He also mentioned that Anatolian hieroglyphs were common in everyday life. “Cuneiform was more of an elite phenomenon, something used by the state, but with Anatolian hieroglyphs, we can anticipate various applications like everyday communication, city navigation signs, and many other things,” he said.
ANGLETERRE – Claverham - Earlier this year the Kemble fieldwork team from Cotswold Archaeology undertook a small excavation for Newland Homes on the edge of the village of Claverham in North Somerset, UK. And the field team crowned their excavations with this beautiful medieval key with a unique design. The excavation area was situated immediately adjacent to the 19th-century manor house of Court De Wyck, with the intention of uncovering evidence for the former medieval manor of the same name. During the fieldwork teams uncovered a series of walls related to the original building and its subsequent iterations. The key, which is likely late medieval (c. 1300–1539), was discovered in association with a Post-medieval wall, which followed the same alignment as the medieval boundary wall for the manor house. It’s been identified as a rotary key, which is so named as they fit into a lock and rotate in order to lift tumblers or levers, or to push springs, so that the lock can be opened. First developed around 6000 years ago in ancient Babylon and Egypt, the first locks and keys were made of wood. However, wood is not a very sturdy material, and with a small amount of force can easily be broken – not very helpful as a security device! Also, the wooden keys were heavy and cumbersome. Elaborate or ornate keys were produced from the Roman period to the present day, and the key from Claverham is no exception. The key is copper alloy and has a decorated bow, or key handle, depicting a quatrefoil or ‘four-leaf clover’ with a perforation in each petal and an additional one in the center. It has three sub-rectangular mouldings at the junction between the stem and the bow, which form a bulbous collar. The stem is circular and hollow, and the bit (which goes into the lock) is sub-rectangular in shape with at least one groove or channel at the exterior end. The key was likely used for a door or a chest and is similar to a common type of medieval key referred to as ‘London type VI’. These keys were large copper alloy keys with chunky proportions, typically measuring 80–100mm long. They had fully or partially hollow stems and large, complex bits.
DANEMARK – - A mysterious queen named Thyra who lived during the Viking era may have been one of the founders of what is now Denmark. Multiple commemorative “runestones” mention her by name, suggesting she was a central figure. “Because of the many runestones erected in honour of Thyra, we can conclude that she must have been very powerful and that she came from a very powerful family,” says Lisbeth Imer at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. Denmark’s Viking Age lasted from around AD 800 to 1050. A key figure was Harald “Bluetooth”, who was king from about AD 958 until his death in 987. The Bluetooth wireless technology standard is named after him. Harald’s parents were King Gorm, who came to power in around 936, and Queen Thyra.
BULGARIE – Novae - Archaeologists excavating a Roman military settlement in modern-day Bulgaria have uncovered a type of ancient fridge. The discovery at Novae, a first century C.E. fortress along the Danube river, came as the team from the University of Warsaw uncovered much of the site’s water system. They located the settlement’s first water well along with a network of aqueducts made from ceramic and lead pipes. Alongside one of the lead pipes, the team found an open-topped box built out of ceramic plates. The pipe’s position and the material used were chosen to keep food stuffs cool, archaeologists say. It is the second such fridge encountered in recent excavations, but the latest find contains fragments of drinking vessels, bowls, and animal bones.“These refrigerators are from the later civilian phase,” Piotr Dyczek, lead archaeologist at the University of Warsaw, told Artnet News. “[at the site of] the House of Centurion of the first cohort we found fragments of wall paintings, a large bathhouse and a sewage supply system.” In addition to the ceramic plate fridge, the team uncovered a fourth century C.E. furnace, a set of well-preserved wine drinking vessels, and an intricately carved silver mouse pendant among more than 200 artefacts .
KAZAKHSTAN – Kyzylkol - Recently archeologists unearthed a unique artifact, presumably the upper half of the ring of a religious leader, during excavations in the territory of the Kyzylkol historical and cultural dated back to the epoch of ancient Kangyui state that existed in South Kazakhstan, Kazinform Agency cites the Science Ministry’s press service. This area is generally accepted as the Shoshak Baba ritual temple complex. The archeologists discovered the first huge temple, the perimeter and internal walls of which were built of stone that are unusual for Central Asia. There were also found remains of a four-legged cassolette, asyks, ceramics of various forms, including small mugs and big jars, a bronze mirror, etc. Podushkin noted the Kyzylkol cultural and historical area is full of unique archeological sites.
ETHIOPIE – Garba IV - Ancient humans were living in the highlands of what is now Ethiopia as early as 2 million years ago. A reanalysis of a fossilised jawbone from the region confirms that it belonged to a Homo erectus, and represents the earliest evidence of hominins living in such high-altitude areas. The highlands represent “a third pole for human evolution in Africa”, says Margherita Mussi of the Italo-Spanish Archaeological Mission at Melka Kunture and Balchit, based in Rome. Hominins have been found in large numbers in eastern and southern Africa, but not to date in upland areas. Mussi and her colleagues re-examined the lower jawbone of an infant, which was discovered in 1981 at a site called Garba IV in the Ethiopian highlands. Garba IV is one of a cluster of sites known collectively as Melka Kunture. Mussi has nicknamed the jawbone “Little Garba”. The jawbone had previously been identified as an early member of the genus Homo, which includes our own species Homo sapiens and several now-extinct groups. However, it wasn’t possible to confidently identify the species.
CHINE – Yin - First discovered in 1899 at the Yin Ruins, the remnants of the over 3,000-year-old city of Yin, which was the former capital of the late Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) in Anyang City, central China's Henan Province, these enigmatic inscriptions carved on tortoise shells and animal bones were added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2017. And one important reason for this UNESCO acknowledgement, according to veteran Chinese archaeologist Liu Yiman, is that China's Jiaguwen did not become extinct over the course of history, but instead evolved into the modern Chinese characters that still survive thousands of years later, unlike many other famous ancient writing systems from antiquity, such as the cuneiforms of ancient Babylon and the Mayan glyphs from Mesoamerica. The reputed archaeologist also stressed that research into oracle bone inscriptions has significantly contributed to the study and exploration of the Yin Ruins and the Shang Dynasty, which has seen researchers from across the globe devote their time and efforts into decoding these hidden messages from an ancient Chinese civilization. Liu, who has been involved in two of China's three major oracle bone inscription discoveries, regards the unearthing of these ancient scripts as a curtain-raiser for Chinese academic institutions to conduct more archaeological excavations.
MEXIQUE – Tenochtitlan - Recent excavations at the former School of Jurisprudence of the UNAM, located in the Historic Centre of Mexico City, have uncovered an Aztec snake carving at a depth of 4.5 metres beneath current street level. The carving measures 1.8 metres long by 1 metre tall, which according to the researchers was found outside its original context along with numerous architectural elements. Due to the conditions in the soil, the stucco and polychromy traces of ochre, red, blue, black and white pigments have survived which cover over 80% of the carving. The researchers have used a humidity chamber to stabilize the pigments, which will undergo further sophisticated methods of preservation into 2024. Barajas Rocha, who led the colour conservation work on the monolith of the goddess Tlaltecuhtli, explained that the process is crucial for the preservation of the polychromy, since, “these pigments , which represent a typical example of the colour palette that the Mexica used to decorate their cult images and their temples, are extremely fragile due to the mineral and plant materials from which they were obtained.”
ESPAGNE – La Draga - La Draga is an ancient lakeshore settlement, located in the Spanish city of Banyoles in northeastern Catalonia. The site was first discovered in 1990, revealing an Early Neolithic Cardial settlement occupied from the end of the 6th millennium BC. Recent excavations, co-directed by IPHES-CERCA, working in collaboration with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC-IMF Barcelona), the Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia (MAC) and the Centre for Archaeology Underwater of Catalonia (CASC), have uncovered large structural elements of well-preserved wooden constructions. Constant humidity and anoxic/waterlogged conditions of the site allowed the preservation of organic remains, making La Draga a site of remarkable interest for Neolithic European studies. The co-directors of the research project, Toni Palomo, Raquel Piqué (UAB), and Xavier Terradas (CSIC-IMF Barcelona), said: “There are mainly large wooden planks more than three metres long that occupy practically the entire surface of the excavated area. The excavation process should allow us to make very precise interpretations of the shape of these structures, the construction techniques and the time of their construction, as well as their relationship with areas excavated in previous campaigns.” The researchers have also conducted archaeological and palaeoecological prospecting on the western shore of the Lake, both terrestrial and underwater. The focus of this study is to reconstruct the environmental dynamics of Banyoles Lake during the Holocene and verify the possible presence of other prehistoric evidence of occupation.
ALLEMAGNE - Endsee– Archaeologists have uncovered a 'folding chair' from the 7th century ad during excavations in the village of Endsee, located in Middle Franconia . The chair was first discovered in 2022, deposited as a funerary offering in a burial from the early medieval period. The grave contained the remains of a woman aged 40-50-years-old, along with a necklace made of small multi-coloured glass beads, two brooches, an almandine disc brooch, a large millefiori bead, and a whorl. In addition to the woman’s grave, the archaeologists also uncovered a man’s grave containing richly decorated weapons (lance, shield, spathe). According to the researchers, the graves are probably related to the Franconian influence of the Main and Tauber regions in the 6th and 7th centuries.Now unveiled to the public at the “Archaeology in Bavaria” conference following a lengthy restoration process, the chair consists of two frames connected with an axle pin and is decorated with brass non-ferrous metal inlays. There are narrow slots on the horizontal struts, which were used to attach a seat likely made from animal fur (as indicated by mineralised organic remains). Folding chairs deposited as grave goods are exceptionally rare. Within scholarly investigations they suggest that the deceased held a prominent position or occupied a higher social status. To date, there have been 29 instances of early medieval graves containing folding chairs discovered throughout Europe, with merely six of them being crafted from iron.