17 NOVEMBRE 2017 NEWS: El Cano - Zhoukou - Nazca - Van -
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PANAMA - El Cano - Nine years ago, a trove of intricate gold artifacts were uncovered at a little-known archaeological site in Panama. The treasures dating from over 1,000 years ago included gold beads, strange ceramic pots, and chest plates engraved with delicate designs in forms such as a squid and human face. But since their discovery by archaeologist Julia Mayo in 2008, those artifacts have also sat in bank vaults and preservation offices in Panama City, leaving the country’s little-known archaeological heritage an unintentionally well-guarded secret because the country has no archaeological museum.The artifacts, which were found in extensive graves at the Necropolis of El Cano, a site 115 miles (185 kilometers) west of Panama City, include jewelry and decorative objects interred in rich burial offerings. The tombs, some containing remains of as many as 42 people, were constructed between 700 and 1020 AD by a largely unknown people in an archaeological region known as Gran Cocle. As experts have worked to understand their cultural significance, however, they have also begun to turn their attention to establishing a permanent home for them. Officials are working to remodel a now-closed archaeological museum in downtown Panama City and to open a site at the ruins to put the artifacts on display. Panama City’s Reina Torres de Arauz Museum was closed five years ago and is awaiting repairs, but is expected to be reopened in 2019.
CHINE – Zhoukou - Henan Province's Cultural Relics Department has announced that over 100 Han Dynasty tombs, almost 500 items of pottery and a large number of coins have been unearthed in east China's Zhoukou City, reports China News Henan. According to a statement by the Zhoukou Cultural Archaeology Management Institute, an excavation took place between June and October in order to cooperate with a local motorway construction programme. The total surface area of the excavation site is 4,530 square metres. More than 120 ancient tombs, including 105 from the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), were found at the site. 487 items of pottery were also discovered alongside the tombs. Most of them are clay pots, while a small amount of boxes and bowls were also among the find. The majority of unearthed coins at the site are of the Wuzhu variety, which is one of the earliest coin types in the world and was in circulation between 770 and 476 BCE. "The excavation provides basic information that we can use to understand funeral rites during the Han, Song and Qing dynasties, as well as rich supplemental material for studying people's daily lives," said an archaeologist at the site.
PEROU – Nazca - In 2013, scientists found what they believed to be an enormous depiction of a sea creature roughly 250 miles south of Lima. After years of analysis, restoration work, and debate, they’ve confirmed it’s an orca. "Perhaps it is the oldest geo-glyph of the Nasca era," Markus Reindel, archaeologist from KAAK and head of the Nasca Palpa project, told the German newspaper Welt. The geoglyph is approximately 200 feet long. There are roughly 1,500 others in the region, most of them dating from 200 B.C. to 600 A.D. In addition to its potential to be even older, the orca raises several immediate questions, like why a sea mammal was being depicted in the middle of the Peruvian desert. The geoglyph also featured mysterious symbols and a “trophy head,” which archaeologists theorize might mean the image had a religious purpose. Portions of the image were created in negative relief, meaning that the areas of exposed ground are what form the actual lines, rather than raised piles of stones; this style is more indicative of older Nazca geoglyphs. But other parts do feature positive relief construction, which is more associated with Paracas—a separate and even older culture. Soil tests of the orca geoglyph date it potentially to 200 B.C. It’s conceivable that it was designed by not only the Nazca, but also by the Paracas, who created geoglyphs in this style from roughly 800 B.C. to 200 B.C.
TURQUIE – Van - From the surface, Turkey's Lake Van looks like any other large body of water. Turkey's largest, the lake sits in the far eastern region of the country, near Iran. During a recent dive to explore the lake, archaeologists from Van Yüzüncü Yil University and a team of independent divers found an underwater fortress. The team proceeded with their research anyway, based on local rumors that ancient ruins were stashed beneath the water. Speaking to local press, Ceylan said the archaeological site spans roughly a kilometer. The visible sections of the fortress's walls range in size from 10 to 13 feet. Video shot by Ceylan shows the underwater archaeologists swimming through the turquoise blue lake. Large stones stacked together like a brick wall puncture the lake's waters. The fortress's remaining structures range from loose piles of stones to smooth square walls. Based on visual assessments, the team estimates the remains are roughly 3,000 years old, meaning they may have been constructed during the region's Iron Age Urartian period. Urartu was an ancient nation that spanned modern day Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. According to the Met's Department of Near Eastern Art, Lake Van was a hub for the ancient society. A rock inscription, the oldest documented Urartian record, can be found in Van. The archaeologists believe rising lake levels slowly submerged parts of the city over time. Large village ruins from this period can also still be found around the lake's edges, above the current water level. Archaeologists and divers plan to continue exploring the lake to learn more about the ancient remains.