16 MAI 2021 NEWS
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ROYAUME UNI – Cerne Abbas - The likely age of Dorset's Cerne Abbas Giant has been revealed for the first time - and it has come as a surprise to historians. Archaeologists at the National Trust have been analysing sediment taken from the carving - considered to be Britain’s largest and perhaps best-known chalk hill figure. Now, after state-of-the art sediment analysis funded by the National Trust, the University of Gloucestershire, Allen Environmental Archaeology and the Pratt Bequest, National Trust archaeologists have concluded the giant was probably first constructed in the late Saxon period – ruling out theories that the giant is prehistoric or Roman. Material taken from the deepest layer (one metre) yielded a date range of 700-1100AD which suggests the giant was first made by late Saxons. National Trust senior archaeologist Martin Papworth said: “The archaeology on the hillside was surprisingly deep – people have been re-chalking the giant over a long period of time. The deepest sample from his elbows and feet tells us he could not have been made before 700AD, ruling out theories that he is of prehistoric or Roman origin."He added: "This probable Saxon date places him in a dramatic part of Cerne history. Nearby Cerne Abbey was founded in 987AD and some sources think the abbey was set up to convert the locals from the worship of an early Anglo Saxon god known as ‘Heil’ or ‘Helith’. The early part of our date range does invite the question, was the giant originally a depiction of that god?"
EGYPTE – Sohag - Archaeologists have discovered around 250 tombs in the country's southern province of Sohag, dating back about 4,200 years. The graves "include some with a well or several burial wells and other cemeteries with a sloping corridor that ends with a burial room. They range in age "from the end of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Ptolemaic period," it added. Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said one tomb dating back to the Old Kingdom had faint remains of hieroglyphic inscriptions and a chamber for "sacrifices". Mohamed Abdel-Badie, a senior antiquities official who led the excavation, said pottery and votive objects had also been found, dedicated to ancient Egyptian deities. Small alabaster vessels, animal and human bones as well as limestone remnants that could be "funerary plates... dating back to the Sixth Dynasty" were also discovered, Abdel-Badie said.
FRANCE – Les Touriès - Du 5 au 16 avril derniers s’est déroulée une nouvelle campagne de fouilles sur le site des Touriès. Pour mémoire, à travers ces opérations archéologiques, il s’agit de suivre le fonctionnement et l’évolution d’un sanctuaire héroïque à stèles, où les élites guerrières régionales étaient honorées entre le VIIIe et le IVe siècles avant J.-C. Cette intervention a notamment permis la "découverte exceptionnelle" d’un important fragment d’une représentation de roue de char (avec 2 rayons et la jante), en haut-relief et en grès, à proximité d’un autre gros fragment découvert en 2019. L’ensemble figure une statue de char en grès remontant au Ve siècle avant J.-C. et se veut unique en Europe. Par ailleurs, l’entrée d’une grotte, ouverte vers le nord et le cirque de Saint-Paul-des-Fonts, a été sondée pour vérifier si cette cavité était fréquentée durant le fonctionnement du sanctuaire héroïque protohistorique. En fait, elle a livré une occupation des lieux vers la fin du Néolithique final/âge du Cuivre (entre 3 500 et 2 200 av. J.-C.). On y a retrouvé notamment deux fosses et le niveau de circulation d’un probable habitat.
FRANCE – Auch - Malgré les aléas climatiques, les fouilles archéologiques se poursuivent rue du 11-Novembre. Elles ont mis au jour un ensemble de bâtiments gallo-romains. « Nous avons là une ruelle encailloutée, une calade, qui débouche sur ce qu’on peut considérer pour le moment comme une cour, entourée par des bâtiments, confie l’archéologue en charge du chantier, Pascal Lotti. Était-ce un chemin privé, ou une voie publique ? On l’ignore pour le moment, mais on va dégager autour, ce qui permettra de comprendre l’organisation des bâtiments. »Au sud du terrain dégagé, sous un énorme tas de terre, les façades s’arrêtent. Les archéologues se demandent s’ils vont trouver une rue perpendiculaire. Même interrogation pour le côté nord. « Peut-être que la voie trouvée ici se prolonge, se demande Pascal Lotti. Ce qui attesterait son rôle de voie publique. On n’est qu’au début du chantier, prévu jusqu’à début juin. »
ITALIE - Guattari cave - Archaeologists have unearthed the bones of nine Neanderthals who were allegedly hunted and mauled by hyenas in their den about 100km south-east of Rome. Scientists from the Archaeological Superintendency of Latina and the University of Tor Vergata in Rome said the remains belong to seven adult males and one female, while another are those of a young boy. Experts believe the individuals lived in different time periods. Some bones could be as old as 50,000 to 68,000 years, whereas the most ancient remains are believed to be 100,000 years old. Researchers found traces of vegetables alongside human remains and those of rhinoceroses, giant deer, wild horses and, of course, ferocious hyenas. According to the researchers, most of the Neanderthals had been killed by hyenas and then dragged back to the cave they had transformed into their den. Once inside, the animals consumed their prey. Rolfo has announced that his team of researchers intended to analyse the DNA of these individuals to understand their ways of life and history. A preliminary analysis of dental tartar has revealed that their diet was varied. They primarily consumed cereals, which contributed to the growth of their brains.
GRECE – Thessaloniki - Errikos Maniotis of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and his colleagues have uncovered seven graves, including a 1,600-year-old soldier’s arch-shaped grave, in an early Christian basilica discovered in 2010 ahead of subway construction in northern Greece. The soldier was buried with a shield, a spear, and a spatha, a type of long straight sword used from about A.D. 250 to 450, that had been bent. “Usually, these types of swords were used by the auxiliary cavalry forces of the Roman army,” Maniotis said. Because he was buried in the basilica, Maniotis explained, the man may have been a high-ranking officer. However, folded swords are usually found in Northern Europe, and are considered to be a pagan custom. Maniotis thinks the man may have come from a Germanic tribe and blended his past with Roman and Christian ways.
TURQUIE – Istanbul - The remains from the late Ottoman period and the late Byzantine period were found during the field works . Below this layer, some small finds belonging to the Hellenistic and Roman periods were also unearthed, which are considered as “very significant” for the Bosphorus line. However, the findings that excited the archaeologists the most were found in excavations made at a depth of one and a half meters above sea level. In this section, it was revealed that there were kurgan-type graves under the stone rows. Since all of the oldest kurgan-type tombs found in the country belonging to the early bronze age were buried after the cremation, the bones of the remains have cracked and disintegrated. A very delicate work is done and all the graves are opened and documented during the excavations, according to Mehmet Ali Polat, an archaeologist involved in excavations.“Kurgan-type graves found dates back to 3,500 B.C., that is, they belong to the era that we call the first bronze period in chronology,” Polat said, adding that nearly 82 graves were found inside and outside the kurgans in rows of stones. “A total of 75 of these 82 tombs belong to cremation, that is, bodies buried by burning. Seven of them were direct burials,” he noted. Pointing out that two terracotta figurines were found inside a tomb, Polat drew attention to the fact that such figurines had not been found before. “There were some symbols on the figurines. When we did some research, we saw that these were runic alphabet symbols. Symbols are seen in the Vinca culture in Romania,” Polat added. When the tombs are evaluated together with the small finds and runic alphabet symbols, it can change the migration map from Anatolia to the Balkans, to the northeast of Europe and the Black Sea, according to the expert.
FRANCE – Île-Rousse - An ancient necropolis with 40 tombs, including cylindrical jars filled with human remains, has been discovered on the French island of Corsica. The people buried in the cemetery range from infants to adults, the archaeologists said. Located in the town of Île-Rousse on the island's northern coast, the cemetery seems to have been used between the third and fifth centuries CE, a time in which the Roman Empire was gradually declining. Many of the people were found buried inside amphoras, large vessels that would normally be used to carry goods such as olive oil, wine or pickles. The design of the amphoras indicates that they are from North Africa, with some possibly being manufactured in Carthage. Archaeologists also found that some of the burials were covered with terra-cotta tiles that the Romans called "tegulae" and "imbrices". The Romans often used such tiles to cover the roofs of buildings and, at times, to cover burials. Other burials found on the island, such as those at the sites of Mariana and Sant'Amanza, have been linked to buildings of worship, the researchers noted. More research needs to be done to determine what ancient towns or cities were located near this necropolis. "There is no real mention of a city in the ancient texts or, for example, in the map of [Corsica] made by Ptolemy," a geographer who lived in the second century CE, Grizeaud said. Over the next few months, archaeologists will conduct lab work to determine the people's sexes, their exact ages and any illnesses or injuries they may have had, Grizeaud said.