16 - 17 NOVEMBRE 2010


 - 17 NOVEMBRE :

 - ALLEMAGNE : Langerwehe - Historians in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia announced that they have deciphered mysterious 500-year-old graffiti left in an old abbey attic. The etchings are likely practice drawings made by handwork apprentices. For years people working in the former St. Katherina Church near Langerwehe had noticed the enigmatic drawings. They were surprised to find that the forty-by-two-metre plaster wall bore the tentative marks of young apprentices in the 15th century. There are 42 different hammers etched into the wall, and one can clearly see which variety. Among them are stone-cutting, carpentry and slate hammers, in addition to repeated attempts at creating geometric shapes – but no words. It is very possible that the young apprentices were using the hammers as a kind of signature because they couldn’t write. The apprentices were likely at the nunnery near Aachen during late-Gothic renovations which happened under Abbess Margarete von Fleck between 1492 and 1506. During that time the outer wall disappeared into an attic of a building addition, likely creating an ideal practice canvas. These were something spontaneous not meant for posterity, and in this sense it is really particularly appealing. It’s a look into the working conditions back then. You see that some drawings, for instance rosettes, are quite perfect and probably created by the master, and then there are the clumsy attempts at imitation by students.


 - TURQUIE : Küçükçekmece - The ancient artifacts being unearthed in the Bathonca excavations, conducted by Şengül Aydıngün, head of prehistory courses at Kocaeli University’s Department of Archaeology, are the newest “old” surprises. While forging ahead with the excavation of the ancient road that was brought to light last year, it was determined that Bathonca has a settlement laid out on a grid plan. Also unearthed in the excavation are a grave stela with inscriptions and relief from the Roman period and a fragment of a porphyry column of a type found only in Egypt.


 - ROYAUME-UNI : Londres - Relics from the tomb of the medieval English King Richard II have been found by an archivist researching the papers of the National Portrait Gallery's first director George Scharf. Among hundreds of diaries and notebooks left in boxes not opened for years were contents from the coffin of the ill-fated monarch and sketches of his skull and bones. The contents of a cigarette box dated August 31, 1871 were only identified as relics from a royal tomb when it was possible to cross reference the date on the box with diary entries and sketches made on the same day. The box contained fragments of wood possibly from the coffin itself and some fabric. Records from this date show Scharf was present at an opening of the royal graves at Westminster Abbey, and a piece of leather corresponds with his sketch of a glove contained in the coffin. The gallery said that King Richard II's tomb was opened in 1871 for cleaning, and that so many individuals were present at the event probably because they wanted to determine whether the king was killed by the blow of an axe. The skull showed no evidence of this, however. Richard II ruled from 1377 to 1399 when he was succeeded by Henry IV. Many historians believed he died of starvation while in captivity in 1400.


 - U.S.A. : St Augustine - Volunteers at a dig at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park clustered around one of several excavation areas Tuesday morning to take a look at a wall of a mission period structure that is at least 300 years old. The building was a structure where a family of Native Americans lived who were part of the mission community of Nombre de Dios. The architectural design mimics the layout of Spanish buildings. The  building was constructed in the late 1600s or possibly early 1700s. The digging is opening up new historical information on the site that lays claim to being the location of the Timucuan Indian Village of Seloy, where St. Augustine founder Pedro Menendez de Aviles set up his encampment in 1565. The shell midden deposit is prehistoric, 500 to 1,000 years old. The mission era structure is probably 300-350 years old. Why the building was constructed the way it was isn't known although the shell midden and reinforced builder's trench gave the building a sturdy and nearly impenetrable floor. The Spanish set up a mission system during the 16th and 17th centuries. They converted Native Americans such as the Timucuans and Apalachees to Catholicism and the missions played a major role in Spanish dealings with the native populations. Nombe de Dios was the first mission established in North America north of Mexico.


 - 16 NOVEMBRE :

 - ITALIE : Toscane - An almost 2,000 year-old Roman temple dedicated to Diana, the goddess of virgins and wild animals, has been unearthed in a protected park in the Italian region of Tuscany.The ancient religious sanctuary, found in the Maremma national park is 350 square metres large, and was discovered in perfect condition by a team of Italian and other European archaeologists following a two-year dig. Traditionally, Diana is known as the 'virgin' goddess charged with protecting women. According to mythology, Diana, along with goddesses Minerva and Vesta, swore to never marry, but the goddess is also associated with wild animals and nature, and so bears a second title of 'Diana, goddess of the hunt.' The temple, which has some seven internal rooms, also contained several items that were unearthed during the dig including 35 oil lamps, 10 coins, a bronze dog-shaped votive, two glass vials and mosaic decorations. Three statues of Diana and her twin brother, Apollo, were also uncovered.  The temple dates between the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD.


 - ROYAUME-UNI :    Londres - Remains of a Roman village have been discovered only half a metre below the ground in west London. The site has remained undisturbed partly because it lies in the Grade I listed Syon Park and has been protected against ploughing in recent centuries. But it might never have come to light without plans to build a new Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The hotel now plans to incorporate some of its Roman heritage into the finished building. Archaeologists from the Museum of London continue to analyse objects including 11,500 fragments of Roman pottery, 100 coins and pieces of jewellery — such as parts of a gold ribbon bracelet — and burnt grain. There is a segment of the major Roman road to Silchester in northern Hampshire, buildings that lined it and a field system where residents would have grown crops. The settlement would have taken root because Brentford was a Thames crossing point. The excavations — carried out two years ago but revealed only now — threw up finds that remain baffling to the experts. Human skeletons, Roman in date, have been buried in ditches placed on their side in a manner more suggestive of unknown prehistoric rites than Roman practice. Senior archaeologist Jo Lyon said the find was “really exciting” because far less was known of “what Romans were doing in their hinterland” than in the well-documented cities. “This is a chunk of Roman life. It has given us a valuable, rare insight into the daily life of an agricultural village on the outskirts of Londinium [London] that would have supplied the Roman city and provided shelter for travellers passing through.”


 - SERBIE : Plocnick - A "sensational" discovery of 75-century-old copper tools in Serbia is compelling scientists to reconsider existing theories about where and when man began using metal. Belgrade - axes, hammers, hooks and needles - were found interspersed with other artefacts from a settlement that burned down some 7,000 years ago at Plocnik, near Prokuplje and 200 km south of Belgrade.  The village had been there for some eight centuries before its demise. After the big fire, its unknown inhabitants moved away. But what they left behind points to man's earliest known extraction and shaping of metal. Scientists had previously believed that the mining, extraction and manipulation of copper began in Asia Minor, spreading from there. With the find in Plocnik, parallel and simultaneous developments of those skills in several places now seem more likely. Indeed, the tools discovered in southern Serbia were made some 75 centuries ago - up to eight centuries older than what has been found to date. The site at Plocnik, believed to cover some 120 hectares in all, is buried under several metres of soil. Serbian archaeologists have so far exposed three homes - the largest of them, measuring eight by five metres, discovered this year. The layer of earth it stood on is still blackened from the scorching heat that destroyed the village. It is unclear what caused the fire, but no damage that would indicate an outside attack has been found. The huts collapsed on their contents, with mud bricks and ashes burying all that was inside - pottery, statues, tools and a worktable. After dusting the still embedded artefacts off, archaeologists began extracting them, most of all hoping to find more precious copper tools. Scientists are debating whether the Plocnik village led the world to the Copper Age in the 6th millennium BC, particularly as remains of primitive copper smelters were recently found not far away, near today's mines and smelters in Majdanpek and Bor. It remains unclear why a comparatively large quantity of copper tools were found at Plocnik. The head archaeologist on site, Julka Kuzmanovic-Cvetkovic, said that the village may have been a tool-making or trading centre. There is also much more to be learned about the ancient inhabitants, apart from the key question of how man developed his tools. "These people were not wild," Kuzmanovic-Cvetkovic stressed, pointing to fine pieces such as statuettes. "They had finely combed hair and adorned themselves with necklaces." One statue of a woman shows her wearing some sort of a mini skirt. Others wore long and broad scarves. Kuzmanovic-Cvetkovic actually helped a Serbian fashion designer set up a show inspired by the clothes of the people who lived there millennia earlier.


 - CHINE :   Baimiaozi - Experts from the Institute of Archaeology of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Wengniuteqi Museum of Inner Mongolia inspected the Baimiaozi stock paintings at the spot on Nov. 1, and primarily established their identity as remains of Hongshan Culture in more than 5000 years ago. Photo taken on Nov. 1 shows a photography to one half-human-half-beast stock painting at Baimiaozi area.


 - REUNION   Saint Paul - Le 10 mai dernier, des ouvriers ont fait une découverte historique dans le centre de Saint Paul, à proximité de la mairie. C’est en creusant une tranchée pour les besoins de leur chantier que des ouvriers du BTP ont aperçu un dalle circulaire suscitant l’attention des experts. Les fouilles archéologiques reprennent aujourd’hui sur ce site . Cette découverte a été réalisée par des ouvriers du BTP (bâtiment et Travaux Publics) le 10 mai 2010, aux alentours de 9 heures. C’est en creusant une tranchée pour des travaux de canalisations, ces hommes ont fait une étrange découverte. Cette dalle circulaire a immédiatement suscité toutes les attentions.Les travaux ont été immédiatement stoppés afin de laisser place aux agents de la DRAC (Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles) et aux architectes des bâtiments de France. Selon les experts de la DRAC, il s’agit d’une structure en basalte. "Il pourrait s’agir d’un puits ou d’une fontaine mais nous n’avons pas encore de certitude à ce sujet " ont expliqué les experts suite à cette découverte. Les recherches ont immédiatement été entreprises au sein des archives afin de retrouver la trace de cette structure. Sachant que la mairie de Saint Paul date de la deuxième moitié du XVIIIème siècle, cette dalle circulaire pourrait être encore plus ancienne car elle était enterrée plus en profondeur. En se basant sur la datation des bâtiments proches de cette structure, plusieurs suppositions ont été envisagées, d’où l’importance de la reprise des ces fouilles archéologiques.


 - FRANCE :  Carhaix - Depuis une bonne dizaine d'années, l'archéologie s'invite régulièrement dans le débat public carhaisien, sous une double face: celle du potentiel touristique des vestiges de Vorgium, opposé à l'investissement colossal nécessaire pour mettre en valeur ce qui peut n'apparaître aujourd'hui que comme un amoncellement de vieilles pierres. Les vestiges du prestigieux Vorgium n'ont depuis pas bougé d'un poil, enfouis sous des bâches semblant mieux les protéger de l'intérêt de nos élus que des outrages du temps. Car l'eau a coulé sur l'aqueduc, au point d'inquiéter la Direction régionale des affaires culturelles et le conseil général du Finistère, propriétaire du terrain du Manac'h. Les années passées ont clairement dégradé les vestiges, qu'il serait urgent de sauver. La Drac nous a fait savoir que si rien n'était fait rapidement, ils allaient reboucher le terrain.