16 SEPTEMBRE 2011 NEWS : Espace - Liulin - Ballito - Stonehenge - Stirling - Sikyon -






ESPACE - Première tentative d'archéologie spatiale - Reprendre contact avec un satellite lancé il y a 40 ans, c'est ce que va tenter dans les jours qui viennent une équipe d'ingénieurs en Angleterre. La cible: Prospero, le seul satellite britannique en orbite lancé par une fusée britannique. C’était le 28 octobre 1971 : une fusée Black Arrow s’arrachait du pas de tir de la base de Woomera, en Australie, pour mettre en orbite le satellite de recherches Prospero. Celui-ci embarquait de nouvelles cellules photovoltaïques à tester, ainsi que des dispositifs pour étudier les effets des micrométéorites sur les satellites et autres artefacts spatiaux. Le satellite a fonctionné jusqu’en 1996, date à laquelle ses activités ont été stoppées. Prospero est toujours en orbite, «il est comme une télévision en veille prête à recevoir un signal pour se rallumer», explique Adrien Content, un étudiant de l’Institut national des sciences appliquées (INSA) de Toulouse, qui effectue son stage au cœur de cette petite cellule de ‘réveil’ au Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL). Cependant toutes les informations sur les commandes à envoyer au satellite étaient perdues, dispersées depuis longtemps. Le doctorant Roger Duthie a effectué le travail de recherches, fouillant dans les archives du centre de la Royal Aircraft de Farnborough où avait été construit le satellite. Finalement c’est dans un document conservé aux archives nationales, à Londres, que Duthie a retrouvé les codes indispensables pour communiquer avec Prospero.


 - CHINE –  – Liulin - A rare bronze mirror has been unearthed along with fifteen pieces of pottery and an iron axe in the town of Liulin, located in Fengxiang County in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The mirror was discovered after local residents dug up soil near a Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) tomb while trying to install electrical cables, according to archaeologists from the Fengxiang County Museum. The archaeologists said most bronze mirrors from the Han Dynasty feature inscriptions with just four, eight or 12 words. The inscriptions on the newly found mirror contain 48 words in total, making the mirror a rare find, according to the archaeologists. The archaeologists have yet to discover who owned the tomb. However, they said the new finds will contribute to studies of the spread of Chinese culture along the ancient Silk Road, a mercantile route that linked China to central Asia.


 - AFRIQUE DU SUD –  Ballito - A discovery of several pottery shards and shells dating to the 13th century AD were found during the upgrade of the N2-Ballito interchange recently. “The entire North Coast is noted for historical findings as large farming communities occupied the area,” said Chelina Bodhie, the environmental officer on site. Bodhie said the particular area where the findings were discovered formed part of an old kraal. When independent environmental compliance officer, Harold Thornhill, noted various shards while clearing the sand, he noted a shell midden. Anderson explains that a shell midden is a heap of shells stacked or dumped in one particular area and reflects some of the marine food people ate. Anderson and his wife, Louise, have recorded many sites near the Ballito interchange and along the freeway that have evidence of Iron Age shell middens over the past 1 700 years. The area was cordoned off because human remains, from the Late Iron Age, often occur underneath or near shell middens. Anderson said if the material dates to the Late Iron Age, then there was a possibility of human remains occurring on the site. One bird bone, a fragment of possible hippo bone, brown mussels and a few oyster shells and limpets were found. But no human remains, Anderson confirmed.


 - ROYAUME UNI –  Stonehenge - A new digital reconstruction of the monument, discovered by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2009 suggests that the circle of Welsh blue stones found at the Southern terminus of the avenue may well have been oval, and not round. If this is correct, it echoes the layout of the Bluestone oval at the centre of Stonehenge. Henry Rothwell, Creative Lead at Heritage Data Solutions explains; “The model was created as part of the forthcoming smartphone app ‘Journey to Stonehenge’. When we built the first wire-frame of the circle we ended up with a fairly standard circular representation. We were using a low level aerial image taken by Adam Stanford. It showed the full extent of the excavation, including the socket holes of the bluestones, into which the Stonehenge Riverside Project team had placed upturned black buckets. Luckily Adam was on hand and, after having cast an eye over the wireframe, pointed out a bucket on the far right, which had been missed out of the model. Initially we tried expanding the circumference of the circle to make it fit, but that made it far too large – so we settled on an oval, which lined up perfectly. We ended up with a configuration which is very similar to the Bluestone oval in the centre of Stonehenge. If this interpretation is correct, it adds an intriguing angle to the relationship between the monuments that lie at each end of the Avenue.”

VIDEOS = http://digitaldigging.co.uk/blog/2011/09/13/bluestone-henge-twin/

 - ROYAUME UNI Stirling - Experts are hoping to discover more about a tribe that lived in the fort below Abbey Craig in Stirling, on the site of the National Wallace monument. The fort was destroyed in 780 AD, more than 500 years before William Wallace watched the English army approach. Archaeologists first discovered the 1,300-year-old fort 10 years ago and concluded it was engulfed by a ferocious fire that fused together - or vitrified - the stone walls during a siege. The stronghold is thought to have been called Iudeu. Stirling Council archaeologist Murray Cook said the fort was occupied at a time when mainland Scotland was ruled by the ancient tribes of Picts, Celts, Britons, and Angles. "Scotland has more known vitrified forts than anywhere else in Europe and here in Stirling we have our own that reflects our warlike past," he said. "Despite a wealth of information known about the area there is relatively little known about this fort, however. "The flames which lit up the sky would have been visible for miles around."


 - GRECE – Sikyon - Sikyon was located in northeastern Peloponnese on the Gulf of Corinth between the Sythas and Phliasian Asopus rivers. The waterways gave the city-state direct access to sailing and fertile farmland. These advantages allowed the city-state to be agriculturally and industrially productive. “It wasn’t just a consuming center as is often the case with city centers in antiquity,” Lolos said. “It was also a producing center.” Production is only a fraction of the city-state’s known culture. Archaeologists have found sculptures, paintings and pebble mosaic floors, making it a world-renowned center of ancient art. The architectural design of the urban area contained various monumental structures, for example the theater, stadium, temple and agora. The general urban design contained a unique city grid made of squares that allows archaeologist to see the locations of streets and buildings. Most city grids at the time were rectangular. Thorough archaeological explorations, such as Sikyon, require an extensive team of specialists. Van de Moortel described an excavation she is conducting in Greece. “We have specialists in lithics, several specialists in pottery,” Van de Moortel said. “We have human bone specialists. We have animal bone specialists, plant specialists. We use the sciences and use the humanities.”