17 - 19 DECEMBRE 2010


 - 18 - 19 DECEMBRE :

 - JAPON   Muko - The remains of a large wall believed to have surrounded a palace in the ancient capital of Nagaoka-kyo were recently unearthed. The Muko City Center for Archaeological Operations said that it has discovered the remains of a wall constructed with pillars directly driven into the ground, which is thought to have enclosed an inner palace on the west side of the Imperial Palace's Council Hall, a central facility of the Nagaoka-kyo (784-794). The center believes that the wall is most likely to have been part of the yet-unconfirmed "West Palace," which is mentioned in the Shoku Nihongi, a historical record compiled in the early Heian period. The text of the record notes that Emperor Kanmu moved from the West Palace to the "East Palace" in 789. Ahead of the reconstruction of a nearby elementary school, the center researched 780 square meters of land about 350 meters west of the Council Hall, and discovered 21 pillar holes -- located apparently at the northwest corner of the hall -- and four stone-lined drainage ditches surrounding the pillar holes. The pillars holes dug every 2.4 to 3 meters also reportedly matched those used for a wall with corridors on either in the Nagaoka Palace in the Latter Naniwa Palace, to which the hall and other buildings were relocated. Furthermore, the wall is estimated to have been 145 meters from north to south based on the position of the remains of the gates unearthed in research in the 1970s. The center says the newly discovered wall could be considered that of the West Palace as it is comparable to the previously found 159-meter-long wall of the East Palace. "I assume that the East and West palaces were built as the inner palace for the most recently retired emperor and the residence of the new emperor," says Yoshinori Hashimoto, a Japanese ancient history professor at Yamaguchi University. However, Akira Yamanaka, a historical archaeology professor at Mie University, proposes a different theory, saying, "Since the Nagaoka Palace was relocated from the Naniwa Palace, there is a high possibility that the initial inner palace was located on the uninvestigated north side of the Council Hall, as in the Naniwa Palace. The newly-discovered wall was probably just part of the 'Shimano-in' (a garden facility), which appears in the Shoku Nihongi."


 - ESPAGNE :   Altamira - Altamira cave, dubbed the "Sistine Chapel" of Paleolithic art because of the paintings of animals on its ceiling, will no longer reopen to the public as planned at the end of the year. The cave located some 30 kilometres west of the northern city of Santander has been closed since 2002 because the breath and body heat from visitors threatened the fragile natural pigments used in the cave art. The lifelike drawings on the cave's ceiling of deer, wild boar, bison and horses beautifully rendered in shades of red, yellow, black and brown that are estimated to be at least 14,000 years old were discovered in 1879. Tens of thousands of people visited the cave over the next century until it was closed to the public for the first time in 1977. It was reopened in 1982 but with restrictions on the number of people who could visit it and remained open until September 2002. Some 2.5 million people have visited a replica of the cave located in the northern town of Santillana del Mar since it opened eight years ago. The Altamira cave was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.


 - SYRIE :   Palmyre - The ancient city of Palmyra is home to many ancient temples, palaces and tombs, reflecting the city's cultural richness as one of the most prominent kingdoms of the East, once competing with Rome and extending over vast areas. One of Palmyra's distinguishing monuments is the Temple of Bel, whose oriental and western decorations reflect its greatness as one of the most important milestones of the old Orient. The Temple, which dates back to the 1st century A.D., was constructed over the rubble of a temple dating back to the Hellenistic Age. The temple was dedicated to god Bel. The Temple consists of a square courtyard encircled by a wall. In the middle of the courtyard is the main sanctuary and the gods. The hallway is decorated with legendry scenes as well as decorations of animals, plants and geometrical shapes. The roof was hoisted on stone girders. The first girder has a decoration of two gods with an altar in-between, and the second is decorated with a depiction of Palmyra Circumambulation, with the god Bel surrounded by priests and worshippers. The temple had remained dedicated for worshipping Bel in keeping with the beliefs prevalent then until the 3rd century A.D. the Temple turned into a church during the Byzantine era and a fort in the 12th century A.D.


 - 17 DECEMBRE :

 - POLOGNE : Cracovie - The oldest burial in Poland has been discovered by archaeologists in a cave near Kraków. The archaeologists found the remains of a child from the Palaeolithic era, buried with a large collection of ornaments. The team led by Jarosław Wilczyński and Piotr Wojtal from the Polish Academy of Sciences with Anita Szczepanek from Jagiellonian University found, among others, six human milk teeth and a necklace made of 112 animal teeth. The child, which had been about eighteen months old, was laid to rest in the cave some 27.500 years ago, in the age of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers. Recently, archaeological findings in another cave brought up the oldest human bone fragments in Poland, dated to the Middle Palaeolithic era, however researchers say that these did not have the features of an intentional burial.  Archaeologists were also surprised to find that some of the animal teeth of the necklace found in the grave were from elk, which is thought to have disappeared from that area at the time. Judging by this, they believe that the child’s people had travelled to the area of Kraków from the south. Researchers are still trying to establish the causes of death of the Stone Age toddler and working to confirm the dating of the burial. Stone Age people generally used caves as shelter and not burial sites.


 - PEROU :    Cajaruro -  Rangers at the Cordillera de Colan Reserved Zone in Amazonas, northern Peru, have found what is believed to be an Inca citadel as well as some stone and metal artifacts during a routine patrolling in the Cajaruro district.  Biologist Leyda Gueiler said the metal artifact (pictured) seems to be a war shield while the stone ornaments were carved into the shape of leaves."This well preserved artifact is strong evidence that the ancient cultures in Amazonas did develop metalsmithing," said Gueiler. As for the likely discovery of a citadel that dates back to Inca times, she said a team of archaeologists is to arrive in the area to examine the ruins which are still covered with vegetation.



 - GRECE : Pavlopetri -Scuba diving archaeologists are to excavate an underwater city dating back to 3500BC. The project is set to be the focus of a BBC documentary, with underwater archaeologist Dr Jon Henderson from the University of Nottingham. The programme will use state-of-the-art computer graphics to show what pre-historic Pavlopetri - which lies off the coast of Greece - would have looked like and how its people lived. Dr Henderson said: “This documentary will follow us every step of the way as we carry out the first ever underwater excavations at this important site. “And who knows what we will find? Given the good preservation of remains underwater we could recover organic items dating from the Greek Bronze Age which would be spectacular.” Pavlopetri was discovered 40 years ago by oceanographer Dr Nic Flemming. It remained untouched until last year when Dr Henderson, working in collaboration with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, was given permission to examine the site.  The dating of the architectural features and artefacts suggest the submerged city was inhabited for over two millennia from at least 3500 BC up until around 1100 BC. Throughout this period the settlement was likely to have had a population of between 500 and 2,000 people. Dr Henderson and his team, together with Dr Flemming who has returned to Pavlopetri, are using some of the very latest computer technology to record the streets, the foundations of buildings, tombs and courtyards of the ancient city.


 - FRANCE :   Lentilly - Avant le terrassement et le bitume du chantier de l’A89, les archéologues ont fouillé une vingtaine de sites entre Balbigny et La Tour-de-Salvagny. Aujourd’hui, celui de Lentilly s’achève après trois mois d’exploration du sous-sol. Huit archéologues ont découvert les traces de Ségusiaves, tribus gauloises installées là entre - 50 et 200 après JC. Des fragments de céramiques et d’objets métalliques, des sédiments vont être délicatement nettoyés ou tamisés afin d’en apprendre un peu plus sur cette occupation d’avant l’invasion romaine.


 - PEROU : The National Institute of Culture (INC) declared as National Cultural Heritage 22 archeological monuments located in departments of Ayacucho, Ica, Ancash, Tacna, Arequipa and Lima.  Archaeological sites in Ayacucho include: Condormarca, Apacheta Yanacocha, Apacheta Chillhuas, Yanaorqo, Apacheta Saywaqasa, Bañico, Ushnu de Yanacocha, Ushnu de Incaperqan and inca paths, Quebrada Huamanhura – Patampampa, Acraypampa, Cerro Ñahuinpuquio – Sacsamarca, among others. Huarachaga-Lunahuana Inca trail area between Lima and Ica was also recognized by INC.  In Ancash, the following archaeological sites Puca Rumichay in Tacna, Sama-Alto Berlín, Concentración de Mojones, in Pampa Pie de Candela and Pampa Munipata.  Any project of roads, highways, canals, mining or agricultural claims, housing works that might affect or alter the landscape of monuments declared Cultural Heritage must be approved by INC.



 - INDE :   Banganga - A year after completion of the first phase of restoration of the iconic Banganga tank that rests amidst Walkeshwar’s old residences and new multi-storeys, the 300-year-old tank is now getting ready for the second phase of work. The rectangular pool, surrounded by steps on all four sides, has sweet water despite its proximity to the sea and is considered a holy place by many. The place was first developed in 1127 AD and later rebuilt along with the rectangular tank in 1715 with donations from the Walkeshwar Temple on the northern edge of the tank. The temple complex and the tank are owned by the Goud Saraswat Brahmin Trust, many of whose families still reside in small houses around the tank.


 - GRECE :   Delphes - Le Conseil central d'archéologie, KAS, gardien du patrimoine grec antique, a donné son feu vert à un réaménagement du site de Delphes, en Grèce centrale. L'étude approuvée par le KAS lors d'une réunion tard jeudi prévoit le tracé de nouveaux sentiers sur les flancs escarpés où s'étage le site au pied du Mont Parnasse, et l'installation de panneaux informatifs décryptant la pléthore de ruines de monuments. La consolidation des parois rocheuses dominant le site doit également poursuivie pour prévenir les éboulements. Les archéologues envisagent aussi d'installer face au temple d'Apollon une copie du monument en bronze, dit colonne serpentine, qui y avait été élevée pour célébrer la victoire grecque de Platée (479 avant JC) face aux Perses. L'original se dresse dans l'ex- capitale byzantine (aujourd'hui Istanbul), où il avait été transféré au début de l'empire romain d'Orient. Parmi les sites les plus visités de Grèce, Delphes, dédié à Apollon, était l'un des principaux sanctuaires du monde grec antique. Il accueillait l'oracle de la Pythie.