14 MARS 2021 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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SPRING TERM : APRIL 2021
TURQUIE – Koskarli - Stone fragments believed to have been used as knives and scrapers 13,000 years ago, were found in a cave here in this Black Sea province -- one of the oldest trade port cities in the Anatolian region. 103 pieces of small-sized stones were found in a cave in the Duzkoy district's Koskarli area -- rich in caves and rocks -- while seven fragments were examined by archaeologists. In the first examination, it was determined that stone fragments, thought to date 13,000 years, were used as knives and scrapers by the people living in the area. The raw material of the stone fragments in the cave were determined to be obsidian and flintstone, origins of which belong to Cappadocia and the Caucasus areas.
GRECE – Diolkos - The ancient Diolkos, the cobblestone roadway upon which the ancients transported ships from the Corinthian Gulf to the Saronic Gulf, is now being restored. The sturdy pathway, running roughly parallel to the modern Corinth canal, considered one of the greatest technological feats of antiquity, can still be seen clearly in some areas. The ancient cobbled road once bore ships which had been constructed on land from the Corinthian Gulf to the Saronic Gulf (and vice versa). Following a gradual s-shaped curve but with a grade of no more than 1.5%, the cobbled road had a total length from one coast to the other of about 8 kilometers (five miles), while its imposing width ranged from approximately 3.4 meters (11.15 feet) to 6 meters (20 feet). The Diolkos of Corinth has been recorded in the research as the first systematic attempt to transport goods and warships from the Saronic Gulf to the Corinthian Gulf and vice versa, in order to avoid rounding the Peloponnese by sea — a distance of about 190 miles. The idea for its construction is attributed to the ruler of Corinth, Periandros, whose reign is characterized as one of great economic and artistic prosperity for Corinth.
ISLANDE - Skagafjörður - Archaeologists in Iceland have recently dug up a farm that is believed to belong to the mythical Viking woman Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir, hailed as the first European woman to ever cross the Atlantic. For over ten years, a small group of Icelandic and North American researchers have tried to map the entirety of Skagafjörður, an area in northern Iceland where many Vikings are believed to have lived. Gudrid's farm was discovered next to two cemeteries from the 1000s. “The most is fully visible, a farmhouse that lies in ruins. But here so many layers of soil have been deposited in the lowlands that you see nothing but fields,” archaeologist Douglas Bolender explained. Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir was, according to the Icelandic sagas, one of the great seafarers of the Middle Ages alongside more famous male Vikings such as Erik the Red (the founder of settlements on Greenland) and Leif Eriksson (his son, seen as the first European to have set foot in North America). She appears in the Saga of Erik the Red and the Saga of the Greenlanders, known collectively as the Vinland sagas. She and her husband Thorfinnur Karlsefni led an expedition to Vinland where their son Snorri Thorfinnsson was born, believed to be the first European born in the Americas outside of Greenland.
TANZANIE – Swaga Swaga Game - Mysterious cave paintings resembling anthropomorphic figures have been discovered by a Kraków academic in Tanzania. The rock art which dates back hundreds of years was initially discovered in caves in the Swaga Swaga Game Reserve in 2018, but it is only recently that photos have appeared after Maciej Grzelczyk from Jagiellonian University secured funding to return to the site called Amak'hee 4 and document the drawings. In one of the paintings, a group of three humanoid-shaped figures looking like aliens are seen painted in a reddish dye. Another shows a similar-shaped figure standing upright and towering over what looks like an elephant. Yet another shows a figure with a large pumpkin-shaped head and oversized eyes standing alone. The red paintings are particularly varied: in addition to the images of animals, there are also meteors or comets. This is rare not only in African archaeology. Particularly noteworthy among the Amak'hee 4 paintings is a scene that centres around three images. In this trio, the figures seem to feature stylised buffalo heads. These shapes recall the central dip in the profile of the buffalo head from where the two horns rise and then curve outward away from the head, as well as the downturned ears. Even though in the present religion of the Sandawe people—who are descendants of those who created the paintings—we find no elements of anthropomorphisation of buffaloes, nor belief in the possibility of transformation of people into these animals, there are some ritual aspects that offer parallels.
GRECE – Thorikos - Thorikos is an almost-forgotten archaeological site where the oldest known theater in existence still stands proudly, just north of the ancient mining town of Lavrio, east of Athens. The theater of Thorikos dates to the end of the Archaic era, between 525 and 480 B.C. But that is not its only distinction. Unlike Greek theaters built in later eras, it is elliptical rather than circular in shape, and has a rectangular, rather than circular orchestra. With twenty-one rows of seats, the theater had an impressive seating capacity of 4,000 people when it was constructed. The few people who visit the site today can see the base of an ancient temple on the east side of the orchestra, sculpted out of the bedrock, and a room — complete with benches — also sculpted from the rock. The theater was never intended solely for theatrical performances, but was also used for meetings of the citizens of Thorikos, the settlement which had been inhabited beginning in the Neolithic Age. The area also became the mining center of the region east of modern day Athens. There is evidence of lead extraction there beginning in the the 3rd millennium BC and of silver, beginning in 1500 BC. The ancient city’s center and its acropolis are situated on Velatouri Hill, next to the theater. The town was once crowded with irregularly-sized buildings which served as homes and smiths’ workshops, many dating from the 7th–4th century BC. Excavations have brought to light part of the prehistoric settlement, including residential quarters that expanded to the top of the hill, cemeteries, and the so-called “industrial quarter,” along with the ancient mines. After the exhaustion of the mines of Lavrio and the destruction of Thorikos by the Roman general Sulla in 86 BC, the area was abandoned temporarily. It was re-inhabited during the Roman period until the 6th century AD, when the countryside of Attica was nearly emptied of its population due to the Slavic invasions of the time.