14 FEVRIER 2023 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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DEBUT COURS : AVRIL 2023
IRLANDE – Downpatrick - One of the largest prehistoric settlements ever found in Ireland has been uncovered during preparation work for a new school in Co Down. Archaeologists have excavated the site of the soon-to-be built new Down High School in Downpatrick and found evidence of the ancient settlement alongside a graveyard dating from the time of the Irish famine. One of those excavating the site, close to Strangford Road, said the bronze age site could be the largest prehistoric settlement yet found anywhere on the island. Among items found include a burial urn with cremated remains inside along with a flint arrowhead that is believed to be around 4,000 years old. Christopher Lynn, who worked at the site alongside colleagues from archaeological consultants Gahan and Long, said in an interview with the BBC the prehistoric finds followed after the discovery of a workhouse graveyard dating to around 1847. The graveyard revealed around 950 burials. "The people in these burials would have died in the workhouse of various illnesses such as fever, and we can learn quite a lot from them," he said. Speaking of the much older settlement that was unearthed, he added: "We had no idea it was there. It proves that we had urban settlement before the vikings or early Christianity came in."
MEXIQUE – Chichen Itza - Archaeologists have revealed a group of structures discovered at the famed Mayan Chichen Itza archaeological site in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, believed to have been part of a housing complex inhabited by the elite of the sacred city founded in the 5th Century AD. Archaeologist Francisco Perez Ruiz said there were no known residential groups in Chichen Itza, meaning the housing complex would represent “the first residential group where a ruler lived with his entire family.” The newly discovered complex, known as Chichen Viejo, includes the entrance arch, the House of the Snails, the House of the Moon, and the so-called Palace of the Phalluses. Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) hope that this area and those yet to be uncovered can provide information on what life was like for the people who inhabited the city. “There must be more residential groups that have not been explored yet. The study of these peripheral groups, around the central part, could tell us about other families, other groups that made up this great city,” said archaeologist Jose Osorio Leon.
ANGLETERRE - After four years of toil and trouble, history boffins have worked out hexactly how people used to ward off witches and evil curses Experts on magic studied more than 100 ‘witch bottles’ found in old buildings, churchyards, ditches and by rivers. The 17th century glass or stone vessels were filled with pins, thorns, hair, nails and even urine before being sealed and hidden. People believed the talismans could ward off witch attacks and undo curses. Nigel, of Museum of London Archaeology, said: “We need to try and understand these bottles as they would have been viewed at the time…as legitimate medically and scientifically grounded cures for particular manifestations of witchcraft. The role that travelling cunning folk, physicians, astrologers, and the healers of the day played in how the practice was administered, spread, and communicated needs to be better emphasised.”
FRANCE – Massargues - Découvert par Samuel Longepierre en 2004, le site, organisé en Villeneuve médiévale, revêt un intérêt archéologique majeur. En effet, il n’existe pas d’autre site aussi vaste qui n’ait pas été modifié après l’époque médiévale. Massargues peut donc donner des clés pour mieux comprendre l’habitat médiéval. D’ailleurs, la campagne de fouilles menée cet été a permis plusieurs découvertes. Déjà, elle a confirmé le réseau de rues au sein du bourg et l’existence d’un plan régulateur, grâce à la découverte de bornages délimitant les parcelles, sans doute avec une visée fiscale. Le plus probable est une organisation en lanière, avec des rues séparant à chaque fois deux bandes de lotissements. Autre découverte, et non des moindres, il y a des parcelles plus importantes, ce qui montre qu’il y aurait eu une hiérarchie entre les habitants. Or, jusqu’à maintenant, nous n’avions que les quartiers médiévaux dans nos villes modernes pour se faire une idée, et ces quartiers sont très souvent maillés de petites parcelles à peu près égales en superficie. Toujours dans cette idée de hiérarchie, les fouilles ont permis de dégager ce qui était probablement une grande maison de notable, aux murs plus soignés que d’autres. Et d’autres découvertes sur cette maison. Un espace carré correspondant à un aménagement supplémentaire, avec un sol en mortier et une entrée en belles pierres, laisse à penser qu’une tour complétait les pièces de la maison. Or, il n’a trouvé aucune trace de chevalier se revendiquant de Massargues. Une bizarrerie qui pourrait signifier la présence d’une population particulière, la bourgeoisie. Reste maintenant à comprendre pourquoi Massargues a été abandonné, puis a disparu complètement des mémoires. Les éléments à ce jour plaident plus en faveur d’un abandon soudain, peut-être politique . Quant à l’aspect politique, il rappelle que Massargues était soutenu par le comte de Toulouse, qui a perdu la guerre à l’issue des croisades albigeoises, ce qui a par la suite ouvert la voie au roi de France dans le Languedoc.
ANGLETERRE – Hartlebury - Crop marks at a 13th century castle show the site of a potential civil war bastion, archaeologists say. Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service flew a drone over Kidderminster's Hartlebury Castle during the hot weather of July 2022. Mr Cornah said crop marks could occur where past features had been dug into the ground and backfilled with material that retained moisture better than the surrounding geology, resulting in comparatively lush grass. The crop marks at the castle resembled a triangle and were at least 197ft (60 metres) across east to west, and 164ft (50 metres) north to south, he said. He added that nothing like this had been found at the castle previously and before the discovery, no one knew of any civil war defences at the site.
MEXIQUE – El Naranjo - Archaeologists in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, have identified remnants of a human settlement active more than a millennium ago that shed light on the pre-Columbian Huastec civilisation. The foundations of four large earthen mounds were found at the archaeological site known as El Naranjo, and served not only as burial grounds but also places for daily activities, according to an announcement last week by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Researchers say it is one of the most important findings in the region in recent decades due to the volume of recovered material. “Without a doubt, they were dynamic spaces,” archaeologist Esteban Ávalos says. “In addition to what is related to human burials, we propose that there were daily activities. This is based on the discovery of hearths, not very stylised ceramics, grinding stones and projectile points.” At El Naranjo, archaeologists have so far excavated two of the four mounds, which held a dozen human interments. The smaller, measuring 20 metres in diameter and named Mound 4, revealed multiple burials of adults adorned with earrings made of green quartz and shells, some carved in the shape of flowers. At the larger mound, measuring 30 metres in diameter and named Mound 1, researchers identified several other burials in addition to the discrete grave of one adult within a limestone structure. “We can see that they practised both single-individual and multiple-type burials, and that they were buried in different positions—some more frequent than others, such as the dorsal flexed position or the flexed decubitus position,” Ávalos says. “Also that the objects that accompanied them are rare materials in the region, and that they were worked with great care and detail.”
PEROU – Pakaytambo - At the southern Peru site Pakaytambo, a team led by a University of Illinois Chicago archaeologist has discovered a temple built 1,200 years ago by the Wari Empire (A.D. 600-1000). As reported in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, the D-shaped temple was built on top of a large, monumental platform with adjoining structures that would have housed Wari religious officials and people linked to the Wari Empire. Open plaza spaces associated with the temple complex at Pakaytambo would have allowed local communities to participate in ritual gatherings organized by the Wari. During the Middle Horizon period over 1,000 years ago, Pakaytambo was strategically established on a prehistoric transit route at an important ecological and political location between the foothills of the Andean highlands and adjacent coastal valleys of Arequipa. This is one of several recent finds of Wari D-shaped temples across Peru, where Wari state expansion and influence previously were unclear.
ITALIE – Castel Trosino - A detailed examination of the skull of a woman who lived at the medieval settlement of Castel Trosino in central Italy more than 1,300 years ago revealed that this middle-aged woman had undergone not once, but at least twice, invasive surgical procedures. The study, published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, was carried out by an international and multidisciplinary team coordinated by Sapienza University in Rome. Macroscopic, microscopic and computed tomography (CT) analyses revealed signs of at least two operations performed on the skull, including a cross-shaped surgery, shortly before the woman’s death. Furthermore, thanks to a new high-resolution biochemical investigation method applied to one of the preserved teeth, specific changes in the woman’s diet and mobility from early life to adulthood were reconstructed. This allowed the researchers to identify changes in her diet and environment throughout her life and to highlight the care and interest provided to her by the community. The last surgery appears to have taken place shortly before the individual’s death. There are no lesions suggesting the presence of trauma, tumours, congenital diseases or other pathologies. Moreover, although it is intriguing to consider the possibility of a ritual or judicial motive, no osteological or historical evidence supports such hypotheses. The specific surgical techniques used involved the scraping of bone from the cranium as part of trepanation, a medical treatment. This type of treatment was discussed in European medieval literature, and some records date back even further. However, this is the first time that scientists have been able to prove that an Early Medieval skull was subjected to these dangerous procedures. The discovery of the rare evidence of a drilling operation paves the way for future studies on the reasons and methods of treatment, as well as the caring role of the community towards the sick during the Middle Ages.
CHINE – x Anyang - Chinese archaeologists have discovered ruins dating from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) in central China's Henan Province. This was reported by The Xinhua News Agency. They believe it may be the site of the guarding household set up for Cao Cao's mausoleum during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Brick underground drainage facilities and architecture ruins were discovered at the site, which was located on the western side of the mausoleum of Cao Cao, a prominent historical figure in China, according to the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archeology. "Many diverse cultural relics such as porcelain items, coins, entertainment utensils, and building components were also unearthed at the site in the city of Anyang, Henan", – said Zhou Ligang, an associate researcher with the institute. "Based on the features of the unearthed architectural relics and drainage facilities, and the large number and variety of porcelain wares, it is presumed that the architecture was not an ordinary residence", – said Zhou, adding that "combined with the literature records, it may be the site of the mausoleum's guarding household". "Future field research is expected to provide more clues as to the function of this residence and provide new materials for the study of the historical environment changes around Cao Cao's mausoleum", – added Zhou.