14 - 15 NOVEMBRE 2010


 - 15 NOVEMBRE :

 - ROYAUME-UNI : Orkney -

An almost intact human skull which may date back 5,000 years has been exhumed from a tomb in South Ronaldsay in Orkney. The burial chamber containing a collection of bones was discovered by boat owner Hamish Mowatt, who caught a glimpse inside the tomb in September. Archaeologists believe the layout of the newly uncovered tomb may shed light on the rituals and beliefs of our neolithic ancestors. Dan Lee, project officer with the Orkney Research Centre for Archeology, said: "It's an important site because it gives us the chance to investigate a tomb using modern archaeological techniques. "This site seems to have been excavated into a natural mound. They quarried out inside this natural mound, into the bedrock, and then constructed the tomb inside, laying capstones over five cells and an internal passageway. "The doorways to the cells were sealed off with very clean clay, so, not only were they laying the tomb to rest, they were sealing it off quite carefully and deliberately. This shows the concern Orcadian neolithic society had for its ancestors."


 - FRANCE : Curemonte - C'est un chantier très attendu qui vient enfin de s'ouvrir à Curemonte avec le lancement des travaux archéologiques préalables à la restauration de l'église Saint-Hilaire de La Combe. Il a, en effet, fallu plus de cinq ans après le lancement de l'étude préalable à la restauration de cet édifice, joyau du patrimoine départemental, pour voir une ouverture de chantier. L'équipe d'archéologues est sur place pour tenter d'élucider les mystères de cet édifice. Plusieurs sondages sont en cours tant côté nord de l'édifice, à l'emplacement d'un bâtiment disparu, qu'au chevet de l'église ou à l'intérieur. Après quelques jours d'investigations, il semble se confirmer que l'on est en présence d'un site très complexe et surtout très anciennement occupé.


 - U.S.A. : St Augustine - It was just a rock retrieved off a suspected 18th century shipwreck two miles off St. Augustine. But Chuck Meide thought there was something special inside the lump scooped from the sand about 30 feet under the waves. So the head of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum's Archaeological Maritime Program took his gut feeling to the hospital. His gut was right. Flagler Hospital Imaging Center's CAT scanner found a well-preserved flintlock pistol with scrollwork on a wooden or ivory butt still visible after 200-plus years of submergence. The archaeology team explored the latest wreck in late 2009 and this past summer. It retrieved a 15-inch-high cauldron likely from 1740 to 1780. The flintlock was dug from a 2-by-3-meter hole. Flagler Hospital donated its CAT scan to look inside 25 concretions pulled off this wreck. One contained a hammer head, others a small folding knife, scissors, iron hooks on a ring and a navigational divider. Meide thought another lump could be a small pistol.


 - FRANCE  Frontenac - L'Assrag (Association Recherches archéologiques girondines) vient d'effectuer un rapport après le stage d'été, qui est une étape dans leur objectif de sauvegarder les vestiges de la Commanderie de Sallebruneau. À l'intérieur du logis fortifié, un mur a des manques à son parement et l'on constate que les eaux pluviales en ruisselant ont imprégné la maçonnerie et l'ont dégradée. L'entretien de cette partie s'impose. Une intervention est en cours dont le but - avec moellons et pierres taillées - est de réduire la brèche qui s'est formée. Les eaux de pluie seront ainsi rejetées à l'extérieur. Le site nécessite aussi un entretien constant.


 - 14 NOVEMBRE :

 - AUSTRALIE : New research by Macquarie University astronomers Duane Hamacher and David Frew supports the assertion that Aboriginal Australians were active observers of the night sky and incorporated significant astronomical events into their oral traditions. In their paper, published in the November issue of the Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage, Hamacher and Frew present strong evidence that the Boorong people near Lake Tyrell in northwestern Victoria observed a “supernova-impostor” event in the 19th century, which they incorporated into their oral traditions. This “supernova-impostor” refers to Eta Carinae, an enigmatic, super-massive binary star system prone to periodic violent outbursts. “In the 1840s, Eta Carinae underwent a significant outburst, termed the Great Eruption, that released nearly as much energy as a supernova”, said Frew.During this time, Eta Carinae was the brightest star in the night sky after Sirius, before it faded from view 20 years later. The Boorong observed and incorporated this event into their oral history and later shared their astronomical knowledge with the Victorian pastoralist and philanthropist, William Stanbridge, who presented a paper on Boorong astronomy to the Philosophical Institute of Victoria in 1857. The Boorong prided themselves on knowing more about astronomy than any other Aboriginal group and their observations represent the first and only definitive indigenous record of Eta Carinae’s Great Eruption identified in the historical and scientific literature to date. Hamacher and Frew concluded that Eta Carinae was not in Boorong oral history prior to its eruption. Instead, the outburst was incorporated in the 1840s, showing that Aboriginal oral traditions are dynamic and evolving and not static, as many people commonly think.


 - ROYAUME-UNI : Cumbria- A new online tool to teach primary school children about the Roman invasion of Cumbria almost 2,000 years ago has been developed by Tullie House museum in Carlisle. Using the social networking site Twitter, students will now be able to read the hopes, fears and experiences of a fictional 26-year-old Roman soldier called Marcus in 140 character online updates. Schools can follow @iTweetus on Twitter and there Marcus will recount the vivid story of thousands of Roman soldiers marching in to occupy Cumbria in the winter of 72/73 AD. Roman experts at the museum have created the back story of Marcus the Roman soldier after finding a letter adressed to a ‘Marcus Julius Martialis’ during a historical dig in Carlisle. The iTweetus name is a play on words of the celebrated novel I, Claudius, written in the form of an autobiography of a real Roman Emperor, Claudius I.


 - SYRIE  Dubbah Breika Hill - The national excavation working at Dubbah Breika Hill at the southern province of Swaida has unearthed three neighboring stores dating back to the second millennium B.C. Archaeologist Basel Gharz al-Din, who supervised the excavation, works said the three stores are semicircular and made of basalt stones. He added that works of excavation in the eastern side of the hill showed that the stony bases represent a row, as several antiquities were also found at the site such as jars, plates, pots and metal pieces.


 - AFGHANISTAN : Mes Aynak - A Chinese company eager to develop the world's second-biggest unexploited copper mine, lying beneath the ruins. But Mes Aynak is caught between Afghanistan's hopes for the future and its history. Archaeologists are rushing to salvage what they can from a major seventh century B.C. religious site along the famed Silk Road connecting Asia and the Middle East. The ruins, including the monastery and domed shrines known as "stupas," will likely be largely destroyed once work at the mine begins.  No one wants to be blamed for similarly razing history at Mes Aynak, in the eastern province of Logar. The Chinese government-backed China Metallurgical Group Corp., or MCC, wanted to start building the mine by the end of 2011. But under an informal understanding with the Kabul government, it has given archaeologists three years for a salvage excavation. Archaeologists working on the site since May say that won't be enough time for full preservation. This is probably one of the most important points along the Silk Road. The monastery complex has been dug out, revealing hallways and rooms decorated with frescoes and filled with clay and stone statues of standing and reclining Buddhas, some as high as 10 feet. An area that was once a courtyard is dotted with stupas standing four or five feet high. More than 150 statues have been found so far, though many remain in place. Large ones are too heavy to be moved, and the team lacks the chemicals needed to keep small ones from disintegrating when extracted. MCC appears to be pushing the archaeologists to finish ahead of schedule. In July, the archaeologists received a letter from the company asking that parts of the dig be wrapped up by August and the rest to be done by the end of 2010.