15 AVRIL 2023 NEWS
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PEROU – Huanuco Pampa - A second ritual bath used by Inca royalty was found in central Peru’s Huanuco Pampa archaeological zone. The ceremonial bath is located in the Inkawasi (House of the Inca) sector of Huanuco Pampa, an archaeological complex situated in the central region of Huanuco. The bath is a two-meter-deep (6.6-foot-deep) hydraulic structure that was made from stones carved in the Imperial Inca style and features two asymmetric enclosures and a five-step side entrance. Each enclosure has a lateral niche, spillways and independent pools. Between them is a central passage through which water flowed toward a drainage duct. The Inca ruler’s baths are structures commonly associated with the most restricted and hierarchical areas of Inca settlements, such as temples or sacred spaces. They therefore “must have been religious and ceremonial in nature, with a function that must have been ritual as opposed to utilitarian,”. Huanuco Pampa was one of the most important administrative centers of the Inca Empire.
CHINE – Zuojiang - Approximately 6,000 years ago, prehistoric humans living in southern China were among the first people to eat cooked food. Now, fossils unearthed in the Zuojiang River Basin in the Guangxi region are giving experts more insight into what kind of food those humans were cooking, including huge pythons up to 15 feet long. Recent excavations at the river basin have unearthed a trove of snake bones dating to the Neolithic period, researchers with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Guangxi Institute of Cultural Relics Protection and Archaeology said in a March 31 news release. Researchers said they compared the fossils to the bones of existing species and identified three types of snake: Burmese pythons, king cobras and Elaphe vipers, all of which are still common in China today. Among the fossils, paleontologists identified a 15-foot long middle spine that once belonged to a Burmese python, the institute said. The spine broke the existing record for the longest snake found in China’s history. The fossils show evidence of smashing, cutting and burning indicative of human hunting, experts said. It is believed that prehistoric humans hunted and killed the snakes before barbecuing the meat for food. Guangxi is in the southern region of China.
ALLEMAGNE – Trier - A place of worship for the Roman god of light, Mithras, was discovered during archaeological excavations in Trier, in southwestern Germany. The first findings from archaeological excavations started in Trier in February of this year. Scientists discovered the remains of the Mithraeum – the sanctuary of the ancient Roman deity Mithra, which was destroyed and abandoned at the end of the 4th century. So far, the most significant discovery at the excavation site has been a 1.2-meter limestone bas-relief depicting Cautes, one of Mithras’ two torch-bearing companions. Cautes and Cautopates symbolize sunrise and sunset, summer and winter, and life, and death. Outwardly, they do not differ, but one holds the torch lit and up, the other – extinguished and down. Mithraism spread throughout the Roman Empire in the second and third centuries of our era, particularly among legionnaires who believed Mithra brought victory. Trier, founded by the Romans on the Moselle in 17 BC, is the oldest city in Germany and was the largest ancient Roman settlement north of the Alps.
EGYPTE – Dra Abu el-Naga - Dra Abu el-Naga necropolis in Luxor, a family burial complex from the Second Intermediate Period has been found. The necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga’ is located on the West Bank of the Nile in Thebes, Egypt, just north of the necropolis of el-Assasif and near the dry bay entrance leading up to Deir el-Bahari. The necropolis is located near the Valley of the Kings. The finds date to the Thirteenth Dynasty, a group of pharaohs that reigned at the beginning of Egyptian history’s Second Intermediate Period (c. 1700–1550 BCE). Dr. Mostafa Waziri explained that this discovery is the first of its kind in that cemetery. It includes a place designated for burials measuring about 50 meters in width, and 70 meters in length. A minister by the name of Ankhu who served under King Sobekhotep II (13th Dynasty) was interred in one of these wells. The burial contained a pink granite sarcophagus with the deceased’s name engraved on it. The sarcophagus weighs about 10 tons. Another well contained a small funerary stele, decorated with a scene depicting the stele’s owner bringing offerings to King Sobekhotep II. According to the inscription, the man held the position of a deputy minister. There were also hundreds of funerary seals without inscription, which are typical of the time before the New Kingdom, as well as a sizable group of faience amulets shaped like scarabs and the Sons of Horus, a sizable number of beads.
ANGLETERRE – Otford - As part of a community led project by the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership, an organisation that works to conserve and enhance the distinctive heritage landscapes of the Darent Valley, community archaeologists have conducted an electrical resistance survey across Palace Field adjacent to the surviving palace ruins. The survey measures the pattern differences as electrical current is passed through the ground, revealing archaeological features which can be mapped when they are of higher or lower resistivity than their surroundings.The study has revealed the NW tower of the palace and the western range, showing the higher resistance where the wall foundations lie, in addition to sections of the palace layout. The Hidden Palace – Otford’s own Hampton Court project is working alongside the Archbishop’s Palace Conservation Trust to help safeguard the Palace’s future and make it more accessible to the local community.
TAIWAN – Chiayi - Archeologists have unearthed human remains belonging to the oldest-known residents of Chiayi, with analysis showing that squatting and chewing betel nut were common among the area's people 2,500 years ago. The Tainan Branch of the National Museum of Prehistory said it was able to confirm that two out of 13 skeletons discovered during work on the Chiayi railway elevation project were around 2,500 to 2,700 years old. The two skeletons fully examined so far are believed to belong to a 35-year-old man and a 20-year-old of unknown gender, according to the museum. Squatting facets were found on the male skeleton's tibia, indicating that Chiayi's earliest residents habitually squatted, the museum said. Meanwhile, a tooth belonging to the other skeleton was stained a brownish-red color, which the museum said was thought to have been caused by chewing betel nut. However, the museum said it had had difficulty establishing whether the remains were biologically related, as the skull of the male skeleton was not well preserved.
SUEDE – Gotska Sandön - Archaeologists found 2,000-year-old Roman coins on the Swedish deserted island of Gotska Sandön. Previously, ancient Roman coins were discovered on the Swedish island of Gotland. Finding similar ancient items on the deserted island of Gotska Sandön, on the other hand, is unusual. Because of its location, it is a unique discovery. The coins stem from the time of Emperor Trajan, who ruled the Roman Empire in the years 98-117, and Antoninus Pius, who ruled between 138 and 161. Archaeologists, to this day, have not been able to identify the historical role of the island within the Baltic region’s different historical eras. The island has been inhabited since the Stone Ages, as seal bones, slaughter remains from cows, and a battle glove was previously excavated. Archaeologists are now debating whether the discoveries are shipwreck remains strewn across the beach. A large number of hearths and fireplace remains have been discovered along the island’s coast. Another theory is that the coins are somehow related to these activities.
TCHEQUIE – Vinoř - The outskirts of Prague have an important archaeological site that is older than Stonehenge. Scientists have just finished examining the site of a monumental building dating to the Stone Age and have turned over the most important finds to the National Museum. The site is what is left of a rondel, a round fortified structure, built around 7,000 years ago out of wood with primitive tools. The photos of the site in Prague’s Vinoř district, which have just been released by the Czech Academy of Science (AV ČR), lead to more questions than answers.“It resembles the world-famous English monument Stonehenge, but it is 1,500 years older. What was the prehistoric rondel on the edge of Vinoř used for? Could it have performed religious functions, or was it perhaps the daily meeting place of our ancient ancestors? Who built this circular structure and why?” the AV ČR said. Other possible uses for the site were as a marketplace or a sports arena. The objects found at the site include decorated pottery fragments, stone axes, and bone awls. As this was a Stone Age site, no metal objects were found. Due to how the pottery was decorated, the people who made it are known as the Linear Pottery Culture or Incised Pottery Culture. Important sites for this group can also be found in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland. About 200 rondels, ranging from 30 meters to 220 meters in diameter, are known in Europe, and some 35 of them are in Czechia. “The Vinoř rondel has a diameter of 55 meters and is unusual in its layout because it is one of the few that has three entrances,” field research head Miroslav Kraus said in September. The entrances to the central space face north, southwest, and southeast. Other rondels typically had two or four entrances, oriented either east and west or by the four cardinal compass points. The main site consists of an outer moat with a pointed bottom surrounding three circular grooves. The grooves would have supported a palisade, a wooden wall that was part of the central structure. For comparison, the inner stone circle at Stonehenge has a diameter of 33 meters and the outer ring has a diameter of 110 meters. In most cases, only the remains of a moat or even several moats that would have surrounded the rondel are found. “The three preserved grooves are to a large extent a surprise to us because the original terrain has changed significantly in the last seven thousand years,” Kraus said. The original designs of the rondels are open to speculation, as only the outlines of the floors survive. Outside the moat, there was probably a rampart made from the excavated material. Radiocarbon dating of objects found in other rondels places them between 4850 B.C. and 4600 B.C. This makes them the oldest monumental buildings in Europe. Dates for the Vinoř rondel have not yet been exactly determined but it seems to fall in this range, based on the pottery finds. Previous research showed that there was a neolithic settlement inhabited for at least 300 to 400 years northeast of the rondel next to a small pond and other settlements within a radius of five kilometers.
Rep. DOMINICAINE – Samana - An excavation in the northeastern Dominican town of Samana has uncovered the remains of what is likely the oldest human settlement in Antilles, archaeologist Adolfo Lopez said Thursday. The findings are “completely changing the vision of the first inhabitants of the Antilles”. Until recently, he said, scholars had imagined those original inhabitants of the island of Hispaniola as “less organized bands of nomad, now we are demonstrating that they were settled human groups.” Carbon-14 dating established that the items found in the latest excavation, completed a month ago, date from 3,500 BC. “What we are doing is spatial archaeology,” Lopez said. “It’s not do an excavation at a site and leave, it’s working in a wide area to understand the movements of these people, where they hunted, where they buried (their dead), where they lived, where they gathered food.” “With this excavation we have found the living area of the people who buried” the bodies found last year at a nearby burial site, he said. he Samana settlers had a rich and varied diet, Lopez said, adding that the team is awaiting the arrival of experts from the University of Winnipeg who hope to learn through an analysis of plant seeds and the starches found on milling implements whether the residents engaged in agriculture.
EGYPTE – Saqqara - An archaeological mission from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (RMO) and the Egyptian Museum in Turin (Museo Egizio) uncovered the remains of Panehsy's tomb, the steward of Amun Temple in the early Ramesside period, along with a collection of smaller chapels in the Saqqara Necropolis. “The new discovery sheds new light on the development of Saqqara Necropolis during the Ramesside period and introduces new individuals that were yet unknown in the historical sources,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The tomb of Panehsy, which has the form of a freestanding temple with a gate entrance, an inner courtyard with columned porticoes, and a shaft to the underground burial chambers, is situated north to the tomb of the famous Maya, the high-ranking official from the time of Tutankhamun. The mud brick walls of the upper structure are 1.5 metres high and embellished with decorated limestone revetment slabs. These show the colourful reliefs of the tomb owner and his wife Baia, who was the singer of Amun, along with several priests and offering bearers. Christian Greco, director of the Museo Egizio in Turin, said the most beautiful representation depicts Panehsy worshipping the cow goddess Hathor. Beneath it, Panehsy and Baia sit together before an offering table. A bald man with a leopard skin around his shoulders stands opposite the couple. This was the priest who took care of their mortuary cult, pouring out water. During excavation work, the mission stumbled upon four smaller tomb chapels located to the east of Panehsy's tomb, one of which is of the gold foil-maker of the treasury of the Pharaoh Yuyu. The tombs are very well preserved, and their walls bear high-quality, detailed, and stunning decorations. Although it is a relatively small tomb chapel, four generations of Yuyu's family were venerated in beautiful colourful reliefs showing Yuyu's funerary procession and the reviving of his mummy to live in the afterlife as well as the veneration of the Hathor cow and the barque of the local Saqqara god Sokar. Another notable find was made at the eastern side of Panehsy's tomb, where a yet anonymous chapel with a very rare sculptured representation of the tomb's owner and his family was discovered. The artistic style of the representation might have been inspired by the statues neighbouring the tomb of Maya and Merit.