19 DECEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Ashkelon - Moneen Cave - Xinyang - Bathonea - Dascylium -
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ISRAEL – Ashkelon - An archaeological survey by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in preparation for the construction of a new elementary school in the city of Ashkelon has revealed a 2,100-year-old wine press dating back to the Hellenistic Period. Alongside the wine press, which is the oldest one ever found in the area, excavations uncovered the remains of a large building. The findings appear to indicate that a large farm existed and operated there during the late Hellenistic Period. The square wine press consists of a flat surface where people trampled wine grapes with their bare feet to extract the juice, a pit used to separate the grape skins from the grape juice, and a collecting vat into which the filtered grape juice was piped. All sections of the press were covered with a thick layer of white plaster mixed with seashells to prevent the liquid from leaking out. Ilan Peretz, the excavation’s director, explained that the building discovered next to the wine press appears to have been used for storing wine jugs and for housing workers."Although we knew that there had been extensive agricultural activity, especially wine production, in the area during Roman and Byzantine times, we are now seeing evidence that the farming activity began much earlier than that," Peretz said.
IRLANDE – Moneen Cave - Curled up in a cave, sheltering from either a battle or the elements, a 16th century teenage boy died alone. The small size of his skeleton, initially found by cavers in a cave outside Ballyvaughan village, led archaeologists to believe it was that of a small child. However analysis of the teeth revealed the remains belonged to a teenager aged between 14-16 years old. There was evidence of stunted growth, almost certainly as a result of malnutrition and hunger. The boy measured just 4ft 1 inch in height, the equivalent of an average 8 year old boy today or an 11-12 year old by post-medieval standards. Radiocarbon dating revealed he had died between 1520 and 1670. Historian Dr Ciarán Ó Murchadha suggests he most likely died between 1649-1660, when Clare endured nearly two decades of famine and war. His bones also revealed evidence of a poor diet, probably indicating the boy ate mostly bread and gruels. Dr Dowd, the Director of the Excavation said: "We found the remains within a small rectangular niche in the wall of the cave. It was a small space, just about big enough for a teenager to crawl into. "The position of the bones suggests the boy curled up in this small space and died there, alone in the cold. All in all, a very poignant insight into a life that was harsh and ended tragically for this boy in the not too distant past," said Dowd.
CHINE – Xinyang - Suspicious "beef broth" was found in several ancient cooking vessels unearthed in a tomb during a recent excavation in Central China's Henan province. Archaeologists identified bones as the forelimbs of cattle, and guessed that the water in the vessels may have been beef broth. After the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology released the news online with photos, some netizens jokingly said that the dish was 1,000-year-old beef broth, and predicted that the tomb owner was a foodie. According to Beijing Youth Daily, Wu Zhijiang, who is in charge of the excavation, claimed that the tomb dated back to Chu Kingdom in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) and clarified that the "beef broth" was actually underground water seepage. "The water in the vessel looks like broth, but it is actually ground water. We found that there is water seepage in the tomb pit, as the water level is quite high, so it is actually flooded," Wu said. Wu said that such a vessel in the Chu tombs was usually used for sacrifices, and beef, sheep or pig was always put inside the tomb as offerings. It is still not clear whether the beef bones were placed in the vessel raw or cooked. Wu said that after the tomb was robbed at the beginning of this year, the institute conducted a rescue excavation. According to preliminary findings, the tomb owner was a noble.
TURQUIE – Bathonea - Archaeological excavations carried out on the coast of the Küçükçekmece Lake in Istanbul’s Avcılar district by Kocaeli University aim to shed light on the history of earthquakes in Istanbul. Within the scope of excavations at the Bathonea ancient site, ongoing for over six years, traces of earthquakes are being examined under the chairmanship of Professor Şerif Barış, the head of Kocaeli University’s Earth and Space Sciences Research Center. “During a visit to the excavation field in 2012, we obtained very important information like damage and loss of lives caused by earthquakes at a church, which was unearthed at the beginning of excavations,” Barış said. “The bones of three bodies were found under the structure, as well as coins from the Justinian era. This showed us that one of the big Istanbul earthquakes, which occurred in 557 AD, also gave great damage to the Hagia Sophia. The foundations of all structures in Küçükçekmece collapsed. We also found that a large monumental structure in the excavation field received great damage from an earthquake in the past,” he added. “Cracks occurred on the walls of some big structures, and later earthquakes caused great damage in Istanbul in the 6th, 10th and 11th centuries,” Barış said. He noted that they found that a particularly large earthquake occurred in Istanbul in 1509, known as the “small doomsday.” “According to information we have, the earthquake in 557 AD caused very big damage in the structures in the Bathonea field. Researches are continuing to find damage caused by other quakes too. There are discussions about the location and magnitude of quakes that occurred before 1500, and if we can find traces of more structures we will be able to find out the dimension of damage,” Barış said.
MALI – - Mali has declared an archaeological emergency over the rampant destruction and looting of its ancient treasures, as the government and a French museums council launch a new effort to combat a thriving global market for stolen artefacts. At a ceremony in Bamako on Friday, they unveiled a “red list” of items at risk of being illegally exported. These include parchment manuscripts from Timbuktu from the 12th to the 18th century, terracotta statues from the Niger River Valley civilisations and jewellery from the 8th century.
TURQUIE – Dascylium - Archeologists in Dascylium ancient city in Turkey's western province of Balıkesir have discovered a 2,600 year-old kitchen which belonged to the ancient Kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia. During the excavations, kitchenware including containers, mortars (made up of basalt stone) and some fish bones and seeds were discovered in the area where the age-old kitchen was discovered. The head of the excavation team Kaan İren explained that "the founding belong to the Bronze Age, we came across some human traces in the area." "It was discovered that our findings including architectural structures, tablets, cult stuff and stoneware belong to the Kingdom of Lydia and Phrygians and date back to eight century BC," he said. Six and a half-meter-long walls which were used to strengthen burial mound were also discovered during the excavation. İren explained that the rock tombs had been discovered in the second digging, and that they may be the first source to provide knowledge about rock tombs in ancient history. "In another point in the area, we found two kitchens which date back the 600 and 540 BC. We found one these kitchens on the top of the other." "Below one was collapsed due to fire then the second one was built on it but this one also collapsed due to another fire." İren said. This is the first time a fully-equipped kitchen belonging to the Kingdom of Lydia has been discovered in Anatolia.