18 AVRIL 2021 NEWS






ISRAEL – Urn cambridge org id binary alt 20210409103444 03238 mediumthumb s0003598x2000157x fig7 Tel Lachish - Archaeologists have found an important early example of the alphabet at Tel Lachish, Israel, from around 1450 BC. Researchers had previously found evidence of the alphabet developing in the Sinai peninsular, around 1800 BC and eventually spread to the Levant around 1300 BC. From there, it began to spread around the Mediterranean, eventually developing into the Greek and Latin alphabets. However, the evidence between the emergence of the alphabet in the Sinai and its arrival in the Levant was lacking. As such, this new find – an inscription on a pottery sherd dating to around 1450 BC – serves as an important ‘missing link’ for this gap in the alphabet’s history. At the time, Tel Lachish was an important settlement mentioned in ancient Egyptian documents from the period. It appears to have been a hub of activity, with imports from Egypt, Cyprus and the Aegean, along with several monumental structures. It was near one of these that the sherd was found. The pottery fragment itself is just under 4 cm tall and appears to have been part of the rim of an imported Cypriot bowl. The inner surface is inscribed in dark ink, preserving a handful of letters written diagonally. These serve as a snapshot of early alphabet history, with most of them still similar to the Egyptian hieroglyphs they were originally based on. Although the fragmentary nature of the sherd makes translation difficult, the researchers suggest it may spell out ‘slave’ – perhaps part of someone’s name – and ‘nectar’ or ‘honey’. The discovery was made by an Austrian archaeological team at the site of Tel Lachish in the Shephelah region, in modern-day Israel, and published in the journal Antiquity.



ESPAGNE Phoenician spain According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Phoenicians founded trading posts around the entire Mediterranean. As such, Phoenicians are believed to have been the earliest settlers of Spain’s coastal region, where they founded many ancient cities, such as Western Europe’s oldest cities of Cádiz and Málaga. In fact, the Phoenicians are even credited with giving Spain its name ‘i špn. Not long ago, archaeologists even discovered a large ancient moat built by the Phoenicians around 3,000 years ago in Spain. While Spanish researcher Jesús Luis Cunchillos advanced that the word span originated from the Phoenician term spy meaning “to forge metals”, it is more widely believed that the term span was from the Phoenician word I-Shpania which literally means “island/land of rabbits”. To add to the “rabbits” theory though, was the finding of Roman coins from the period of the Roman emperor Hadrian that featured a woman and a rabbit. Speaking of Romans, when they conquered the region in around 200 BC, they changed the name to Hispania. 


GUATEMALA -  Tikal - Archaeologists conducting surveys of the ancient Mayan site of Tikal have discovered a pyramid complex that has distinct architectural features that resembles Teotihuacán, the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas located 800 Miles away in the Valley of Mexico. Tikal, derived from ti ak’al in the Yucatec Maya language was an urban centre of the pre-Columbian Maya civilisation that emerged in the rainforests of Guatemala in the region of the Petén Basin. In 2018, archaeologists from Brown University, in sponsorship by the PACUNAM LiDAR Initiative surveyed the heart of the Tikal complex using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), a method of remote sensing with light in the form of pulsed lasers to compile a 3-D digital map of the landscape where archaeological features are obscured. The survey revealed a buried pyramid with an associated enclosure and structures that resembles the square at Teotihuacán known as the Citadel. Last summer, Edwin Román-Ramírez, the director of the South Tikal Archaeological Project began a series of excavations into the ruins which uncovered darts made from green obsidian from central Mexico, an incense burner decorated with an image of the Teotihuacán rain god, a burial that features Teotihuacan-style offerings, and weaponry typical of Teotihuacán. A study of the form of the ceramics recovered suggest that the construction of the complex commenced at least 100 years before AD 378, a date proposed as the conquest of Tikal by Teotihuacán. Román-Ramírez told National Geographic: “We knew that the Teotihuacanos had at least some presence and influence in Tikal and nearby Maya areas prior to the year 378. But it wasn’t clear whether the Maya were just emulating aspects of the region’s most powerful kingdom. Now there’s evidence that the relationship was much more than that.”


FRANCE – 870x489 img 2346 Ploemeur - Une équipe d'archéologues fouille le sol d'un terrain de plusieurs hectares à Ploemeur dans le Morbihan, avant le lancement d'un grand chantier immobilier. Pelles et truelles à la main, ils ont révélé des vestiges datant du 1er siècle après J.C. il y a notamment un bâtiment gallo-romain qui fait une quarantaine de mètres carrés. Dans ce bâtiment, on avait des traces de sol en terre battue, avec au centre un four." Depuis le début des fouilles fin février, l'équipe de Bastien a progressivement sorti de terre les traces de ce qui ressemble à un petit village gallo-romain. "On a plusieurs meules à grains, ça veut dire plusieurs maisons, plusieurs morceaux de céramique de poteries, dont les poubelles de ces habitations. Là actuellement, on marche sur un sol d'époque romaine très certainement." L'équipe a aussi exhumé des pièces de monnaie et même un cairn, un petit monticule de pierres, datant de l'âge du Fer.


ASIE -  Traces of a viral epidemic some 25,000 years ago have been detected in the DNA of present-day East Asians. Evolutionary geneticist David Enard of the University of Arizona and his colleagues analyzed more than 2,000 publicly available DNA samples from Chinese Dai, Vietnamese Kinh, and African Yoruba people for more than 400 proteins known to interact with coronaviruses. The researchers found that only the East Asian groups showed substantially increased production of all of the proteins. Analysis of the genes related to the production of these proteins suggests they became more common about 25,000 years ago and then leveled off about 5,000 years ago. This indicates that East Asians could have adapted to the infection, or the virus became a less potent cause of disease, Enard explained. Some of the gene variants would have also been useful for fighting other types of viruses as well, he added. Further study is needed to determine if these gene variants offer any protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


EGYPTE –E7977df00eacd832be7b0786b82e56a4 Louxor - L’annonce récente d’une grande découverte archéologique dans l’ancienne villes de Thèbes, en Egypte, pourrait ne pas être celle d’une "cité perdue", comme proclamée, mais plutôt des installations en lien avec la cité-palais d’Amenhotep III. Une découverte néanmoins d'importance qui pourrait éclairer d'un jour nouveau les premières années de règne de son fils, le "pharaon hérétique" Akhenaton. Les spécialistes estiment que les vestiges de 3400 ans exhumés pourraient, plutôt qu’une "ville", concerner des aménagements liés à un complexe architectural bien connu : celui de Malqata, la cité-palais d’Amenhotep III (1386-1353 av.J.C) . Les vestiges exhumés sont en fait dans la continuité d’un site archéologique proche fouillé en 1935 . C’est justement parce qu’ils se trouvent dans le voisinage immédiat du palais d’Amenhotep III, que ces secteurs récemment mis au jour pourraient être les quartiers d’habitation du personnel et des artisans dédiés à son entretien. Ceci expliquerait la présence d’ateliers, de cuisines, et de boulangeries .