17 FEVRIER 2023 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
ONLINE COURSES / COURS A DISTANCE
DEBUT COURS : AVRIL 2023
CHINE – Yueyang - A manual flush toilet, dating back 2,400 years, has piqued the interest of archaeologists who are trying to find out what people ate during that time by analyzing soil samples collected from it. Broken parts of the toilet, including a bent pipe, were unearthed from the Yueyang archaeological site in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, last summer and pieced together for months before researchers released details on Wednesday. Discovered amid the ruins of a palace in the ancient Yueyang city, the toilet is believed to have been used by Qin Xiaogong (381-338 BC) or his father Qin Xian'gong (424-362 BC) of the Qin Kingdom during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), or by Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). The palace was possibly used for administrative affairs. A "luxury object" such as a flush toilet would only be used by very high-ranking members of the society during that time, according to Liu Rui, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who was part of the excavation team at Yueyang. "It is the first and only flush toilet to be ever unearthed in China. Everybody at the site was surprised, and then we all burst into laughter," he said. The toilet bowl was placed indoors, with the pipe leading to an outdoor pit, he said, adding that servants probably poured water into the toilet every time it was used. Before this toilet was unearthed, the first manual flush toilet was believed to have been invented by John Harington for Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Yueyang was the capital of the Qin Kingdom for about 35 years and also the first capital city of the Han Dynasty, during which palaces were demolished to make way for farmlands.
ARABIE SAOUDITE – Al Ukhdud - The Heritage Commission in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that it unearthed rare archaeological finds it believes date back to the pre-Islamic ages, reported the Saudi Press Agency. The Musnad (ancient South Arabian script) inscriptions were uncovered along with three rings and a bronze bust of a bull at Al Ukhdud in Najran. The large inscription was found on a granite stone, consisting of one line approximately 230 cm long and 48 cm high, with its letters 32 cm long, making it the longest Musnad inscription found in that region.The three golden rings unearthed at Al Ukhdud had butterfly-shaped motifs on top, and all had the same shape and size. A bronze bull’s bust was discovered with traces of oxidation and is currently under restoration. Experts believe that the bull’s head was one of the most prevalent and common items among the kingdoms of southern Arabia in pre-Islamic times. It symbolized strength and fertility, and is the most important and prominent symbol among several Arabian tribes. The heritage comission added that many pottery jars of various sizes were also found at the Al-Ukhdud site, in addition to an important archaeological discovery of pottery that is believed to date back to the 3rd century BC.
ISRAEL – Masada - During excavations at Masada, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities (IAA) uncovered a papyrus payslip dated to 72 BC belonging to a Roman soldier. The IAA discovered a detailed military paycheck (one of only three legionary paychecks discovered throughout the Roman Empire) issued to a Roman legionary soldier during the First Jewish-Roman War in AD 72. The paycheck is one of 14 Latin scrolls found at Masada by archaeologists – 13 of which was written on papyrus, and one on parchment paper. Although the papyrus was damaged over time and therefore very fragmentary, it contains valuable information about the management of the Roman army and the status of the soldiers. The document provides a detailed summary of a Roman soldier’s salary over two pay periods (out of three he would receive annually), including the various deductions that he was charged. The army supplied the soldiers with basic equipment, but, as today, some soldiers chose to add and upgrade their equipment. This soldier’s paycheck included deductions for boots and a linen tunic, and even for barley fodder for his horse. Surprisingly, the details indicate that the deductions almost exceeded the soldier’s salary. Whilst this document provides only a glimpse into a single soldier’s expenses in a specific year, it is clear that in the light of the nature and risks of the job, the soldiers did not stay in the army only for the salary. For example, a document discovered in the Cave of Letters in Nahal Hever from the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132–135 CE) sheds some light on some side hustles Roman soldiers used to earn extra cash. This document is a loan deed signed between a Roman soldier and a Jewish resident, the soldier charging the resident with interest higher than was legal. This document reinforces the understanding that the Roman soldiers’ salaries may have been augmented by additional sources of income, making service in the Roman army far more lucrative.”
USA - Kaskaskia - It has been home to Native American tribes, French explorers and traders and early American settlers. It saw prosperity and wars and was mostly wiped away by flooding 150 years ago. But researchers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale think much of the lost community of Kaskaskia can still be found and locating it could teach us important lessons about our history. The site of the original town was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. The Kaskaskia tribe, part of the Illiniwek, first encountered European traders in the 1600s. Trade and mutual defense against other Native tribes led the Kaskaskia to further cooperation with French traders and settlers. French missionaries and other Europeans eventually flocked to the area, along with African American settlers, increasing the town’s multicultural nature and solidifying its importance as a trade center ideally located on the Mississippi River. In 1809, with a population of about 7,000, the town became the capital of what was then the Illinois Territory. It relinquished that title to Vandalia in 1819, not long after Illinois became a state. A series of floods beginning in 1844 reduced and relocated the town, as its original site became in island in the river. Another flood in 1881 destroyed the remnants of the original site, which ultimately ended up on the west side of the Mississippi River, still within Illinois’ boundaries as an enclave that can only be reached from the Missouri side of the river. Kaskaskia’s utter destruction by flood waters in 1881 and its current location on the river’s west side have likely discouraged archeological study, Wagner said. Simply reaching the site requires one to cross the river at Chester and take a ferry from Modoc to Saint Genevieve before driving south to the site. One important piece of evidence is a highly detailed map from the 1830s created by Sydney Breese, a prominent figure in the town. She will cross-reference the map with census data from the era to identify where people actually lived.
ANGLETERRE – Persimmon - A spectacular Iron Age shield found in a chariot burial in the Yorkshire Wolds has been gifted to East Riding Museums by the housebuilder on whose land it was found. The “unique” bronze alloy shield was used as part of an elaborate funeral rite to lay to rest a "charismatic" leader some 2,400 years ago. The grave, which included two ponies attached to a chariot, posed to look as if they were galloping out of the tomb – possibly to rapidly propel the man into the afterlife - was uncovered during excavations at Persimmon's site at The Mile in Pocklington in 2018. The mourners dug a pit 1m deep and placed the chariot upright in the grave. They placed the shield face down and put the man's body on top in a crouched position. Pork provided food for the final journey. How the ponies got in the grave is still a mystery - there was no ramp - suggesting they may have been poleaxed in situ. In Iron Age culture pork is a very expensive product. Around his head there were six pig skulls. This is all part of the ritual. The shield is an incredibly rare survivor – just a handful of other complete Celtic shields are in the British Museum. Although ornate, it was designed for combat, with a large central boss for “pinning or crushing an opponent". Experts have speculated that a single stab wound in the shield was left possibly as a mark of fighting renown or was deliberately made at the time of burial.Studies of isotopes found that the man probably grew up in the Wolds, but couldn't rule out that he may have come from the Paris area in France - where the Parisi tribe are believed to have originated. East Yorkshire is the only area of Britain in which chariot burials have been found. They’ve also been found in northern France. The Iron Age tribes of both areas were known as Parisi and one theory is that Celtic nobles from northern France seized power in the East Riding bringing with them their own distinctive burial customs.
ANGLETERRE – Harpole - Archaeologists from MOLA were excavating the site at Harpole, Northamptonshire, on behalf of Vistry Group and archaeological consultants RPS ahead of a housing development, when they uncovered a group of some 30 pendants, other grave goods, and fragments of tooth enamel in a grave. The find has been dated to AD 630-670, a time when the site was part of the kingdom of Mercia. Other than the fragments of enamel, no skeletal remains survived, but the team believe that it is most likely a female burial, as this is the context in which most similar necklaces from this period have been found. Still, the example from Harpole is, according to MOLA, the richest of its kind. The necklace featured a variety of pendants, including some with coloured glass and semi-precious stones set in gold, and some coins of the Roman emperor Theodosius I (r. AD 379-395) with fittings attached. The glittering centrepiece is a large pendant with garnets set in gold arranged into a cross motif; it may have been half of a hinge-clasp, repurposed into a pendant. Blocks of soil have been lifted from the site for micro-excavations in a laboratory. X-rays of one block, which contains wood and silver, revealed the outline of what must be a very large silver cross mounted on wood, with depictions of human faces at the end of two of its arms. So far, a garnet in the centre of the cross has been uncovered. The silver cross and its substantial size suggest that the owner could have been an early Christian leader, possibly an abbess or royalty, or both. As Christianity spread across southern and eastern Britain during the late 6th and 7th centuries, related material appeared in high-status burials like this. The lavish necklace, this cross, and two decorated copper pots and a shallow copper dish that were also unearthed, have led archaeologists to describe this as the most significant early medieval female burial found in Britain.
INDE – Kondaveedu - Four inscriptions that date back to the 13th Century AD have been found at the Kondaveedu fort near Narasaraopet in Palnadu district of Andhra Pradesh. K. Muniratnam Reddy, Director (epigraphy), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), told The Hindu that he decrypted the inscriptions written in old Telugu script. An inscription reads, “Mahamandaleswara Malla Yadava Chola king constructed a marriage function hall on Aswaija Shudha of Plavanga year”. Another says, “Galala Pathana on behalf of his father Bethachari and mother Singasani has constructed a Kalyana Mandapam for God Visweswara”. At present, the Visweswara temple is being called as “Varala Kottu” at Vedulla pond located on the fort. The third and fourth inscriptions are damaged and some lines went missing. The Yogi Vemana hall is a 125x25 foot structure with eight rooms. It is supported by 16 pillars erected in two rows of eight each on either side. The inscriptions were found during the renovation works of Room Number three, which was damaged apparently by treasure hunters long time ago. They came to the fore after the wild plants and other waste was removed from the structure. “All these inscriptions are located on the stones used for slabs,” said Mr. Sivareddy.