14 JANVIER 2021 NEWS
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WINTER TERM : JANVIER 2021
EGYPTE – Alexandrie - Alexandria University inaugurated Jan. 1 a new project dubbed “Underwater Heritage” aimed at excavating underwater artifacts in the eastern port of Alexandria in the northern coast of Egypt. Ehab Fahmy, head of the Underwater Antiquities Central Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that there are underwater treasures under the eastern port of Alexandria, namely the Royal Quarters dating back to the Ptolemaic period, including royal ports and columns from the palaces during that period. The eastern port stretches over an area starting at the Silsila promontory to the east toward the Citadel of Qaitbay to the west. Alexandria is well known for its archaeological sites where thousands of artifacts are submerged underwater, most notably the ancient Citadel of Qaitbay that covers an area of 22,500 square meters and houses more than 3,000 artifacts dating back to the Greek and Roman civilizations. Also in the Egyptian port city lies the Pharos (Lighthouse) of Alexandria, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
INDONESIE – Leang Tedongnge - Archaeologists have discovered what they claim to be the oldest example of figurative art made by human hands. An ochre painting of pigs, found on a cave wall in Indonesia, has been dated to be at least 45,500 years old. The art was found above a high ledge, along the rear wall of a pristine limestone cave called Leang Tedongnge in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Along with a pair of human handprints, it seems to show a species of wild boar that lives on the island. “It shows a pig with a short crest of upright hairs and a pair of horn-like facial warts in front of the eyes, a characteristic feature of adult male Sulawesi warty pigs,” says Adam Brumm, co-leader of the research team. “Painted using red ochre pigment, the pig appears to be observing a fight or social interaction between two other warty pigs.” Using uranium-series analysis, the researchers determined the deposit was at least 45,500 years old. That makes the painting the oldest known artwork depicting a recognizable subject in the world, just pipping a previously described image from the same cave by a little under 2,000 years. However it’s not the oldest known artwork full-stop – that honor currently belongs to a South African rock criss-crossed with a series of abstract red lines, dated to over 70,000 years ago. While the newly described painting may be the oldest currently known figurative artwork, the team doesn’t necessarily expect the record to remain standing for too long. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have lived in Australia for at least 65,000 years, and their most likely route into the continent was across these oceanic islands. Finding and dating other examples of rock art in Indonesia could help narrow down that window. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.
ROYAUME UNI – Overstone - An Anglo-Saxon settlement and cemetery, and Bronze Age barrows and burials, were discovered in England’s East Midlands during an archaeological investigation conducted by researchers from the Museum of London Archaeology ahead of a development project. Traces of more than 20 structures were unearthed at the Anglo-Saxon settlement site. Weapons, cosmetic kits, combs, thousands of beads, some 150 brooches, 75 wrist clasps, and 15 chatelaines were recovered from the more than 150 Anglo-Saxon burials. The Bronze Age site consists of three round barrows, more than 40 burials, and four buildings. “The excavations will help us understand the way people lived in both the Anglo-Saxon period, around 1,500 years ago, as well as the Bronze Age, nearly 4,000 years ago,” concluded team member Simon Markus.
CHINE – Shuanghuaishu - A palace dating back to about 5,300 years ago was found at the Shuanghuaishu site in Gongyi, on the outskirts of the capital city of Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province, and believed to be the earliest palace in the country . The finding advances China's palace system by about 1,000 years earlier. Previously in 2017, the palace at Erlitou site in Henan Province dating back 3,800 to 3,500 years was believed to be the earliest in the country. Later the same year, another palace was discovered at the Taosi site in Shanxi Province dating back 4,300 to 3,900 years. "The Chinese palace system has formed a preliminary outline at the Shuanghuaishu site. This is a demonstration of the Yellow River civilization as the main root, main vein, and main soul of Chinese civilization, and a testament to the 5,000-year-old Chinese civilization," said Wang Wei, president of the Chinese Society of Archaeology. The Shuanghuaishu site in Heluo Town was a huge settlement of the middle and late Yangshao culture around 5,300 years ago. It is located on the plateau on the south bank of the Yellow River where the Yihe and Luohe rivers converge. The Heluo area has always been regarded as the heart of Chinese civilization. Covering an area of 1.17 square kilometers, the site includes the remains of three huge moats, circling large-scale residential compounds in the center, rigidly planned public graveyards and terraces for religious sacrifices. The newly discovered palace is located on a large terrace of 4,300 square meters. In the west part of the terrace, the rectangle-shaped No. 1 courtyard of 1,300 square meters has a layout with a court that stands in the front and resting places in the back; while in the east part of the terrace, the No. 2 courtyard of 1,500 square meters has three gates, with the first gate having three doorways. The structure with one gate and three doorways at the Shuanghuaishu site looks the same as the gate at the No. 1 palace of Erlitou site, gates at the No. 3 and No. 5 palaces at Shang City in Yanshi (dating back 3,600 years), and the high-grade building gates in the later dynasties.
TURQUIE – Diyarbakir - The grave of the second Anatolian Seljuk sultan was unearthed on Tuesday during an excavation work in eastern Turkey. Following archival studies, Dicle University established a commission to find the grave of Kilij Arslan I in the Diyarbakir province. Following a nine-day long excavation work, the graves of Kilij Arslan I and his daughter Saide Hatun were unearthed. Speaking to reporters, Mehmet Karakoc, the rector of the university, said that the burial location has not been clearly identified in various studies conducted so far. "This will bring a different perspective to historical events in terms of both Silvan and Diyarbakir history," Karakoc said.
MEXIQUE – Hidalgo Amajac - A 500-year-old statue of a mysterious woman wearing a large, "Star Wars"-like headdress has been discovered in central Mexico, according to Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).The 6.5-foot-tall (2 meters) limestone statue depicts a young woman dressed in elaborate clothes and jewelry, including a circular pendant, known as an "oyohualli," on a thick necklace; tassel-like earrings; and a headdress. The statue likely depicts an elite woman, "possibly a ruler, because of her posture and attire, rather than a deity''. Local farmers found the figure in a citrus field in the town of Hidalgo Amajac, in the Mexican state of Veracruz, on Jan. 1. The statue likely dates to the late Postclassic period (1450-1521) and has features reminiscent of the Huastec culture, a group of people on the Mexican Gulf Coast that lived in a pre-Columbian crossroads for cultures, arts and trade. The discovery of what was likely an important female ruler "confirm[s] the active participation of ruling women in the Huastec social and political structure''. The limestone statue is nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) at its widest point and about 10 inches (25 cm) thick.The woman's face looks surprised; her eyes and mouth are opened wide. Those eyes "must have been filled with inlays of obsidian or another stone''. The carving depicts the woman wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a long skirt, but her feet are bare.
QATAR – Asaila - Discovery of new archaeological remains in Asaila, located in the west of Qatar, approximately 12 kilometres east of Umm Bab and said to be one of the oldest archaeological sites in the country. The initial excavation took place at a burial mound, dating back between 300 BCE and 300 CE. Although the tombs themselves had been robbed already in antiquity, a team from the Department of Archaeology was able to uncover the remains of important individuals, who were buried on top of a plateau in large and carefully constructed burial mounds together with personal items such as a sword, metal tools and a golden earring. The sacrificial burial of a camel and its calf was found in a stone chamber attached to one of the human graves. The human remains will be subject to advanced paleoanthropological and molecular analyses, including the study of ancient genetic material. The process is aimed at understanding the migration and dietary habits of people who lived in this region in ancient times. The newly excavated graves also revealed an untouched burial of a camel in its natural resting position with its legs folded under the body. This suggests that the camel was led into the burial pit, made to kneel and then slaughtered alongside with its calf. This spectacular finding will provide new information about the domestication and usage of camels and the ritual practices that existed in pre-Islamic Arabia. In 1961, a similar grave containing the remains of a dromedary-Bactrian hybrid camel was excavated at Mezruah.