19 MARS 2013 NEWS: Mount Pangeon - Jbeil /Byblos - Laoyemiao - Smyrna/Izmir - Hierapolis - Knossos -
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GRECE – Mount Pangeon - Mount Pangeon, one of the most famous mining areas of ancient Greece, mentioned by many historians, is considered a more or less unexplored terrain. Its unapproachable slopes and dense vegetation hide centuries-old secrets on its surface and in its depths. The gold and silver mines of Pangeon are mentioned by many ancient historians. At first, Thracians exploited them, while they were an apple of discord between Thassos and Athens, until Philip II’s conquest. Tyrant of Athens, Peisistratos, who was in exile around 550 BC, acquired enough riches and know-how in order to pay mercenaries and return to Athens as a powerful man and exploit the Lavrion mines. Herodotus also mentions the “great and lofty” Mount Pangaion in which were “mines both of gold and of silver”. The joint survey by the 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the Geology Department of Artistotle University of Thessaloniki aims to investigate this ancient mining activity, namely geological mapping of the ancient mine shafts, how minerals were extracted etc. During the excavations conducted on November 8-13 2012, trial trenches were opened in Valtouda, a site of ancient mining activity, and three mine shafts in Asimotrypes. Valtouda, which lies at the southern part of the mountain, was an important centre for the transport and the smelting of the metals. Asimotrypes, on the other hand, is also significant due to the great number of ancient mines and the local legends connected to it. The surveys at the area have already porovided valuable information about ancient mining activity.
LIBAN – Jbeil /Byblos - Thieves broke into an archaeological museum and stole 30 small artifacts in a daring overnight raid in the town of Jbeil Monday, the National News Agency reported. Local and government officials, including Culture Minister Gaby Layoun, arrived at the museum to inspect the crime scene as a police forensics team began work on extracting fingerprints to identify the perpetrators. The artifacts were stolen by thieves overnight and were easily carried out of the museum, Layoun said in a statement after visiting Jbeil earlier in the day. He added that the stolen artifacts held material, historical and emotional value, and expressed hope that police investigations would lead to the thieves’ arrest.
CHINE – Laoyemiao - Archaeologists discovered a sunk ship in the Laoyemiao area of the Poyang Lake, east China's Jiangxi Province, China's largest freshwater lake on Monday. The Laoyemiao area in the lake is often referred to as "China's Bermuda Triangle" because of the large number of boats that sank mysteriously in the area over the years.
TURQUIE – Smyrna/Izmir - A part of a street similar to the Arcadian street in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus in İzmir (Smyrna) has been uncovered during excavations at a nearby historical agora. The excavations in the area are being carried out under the leadership of Professor Akın Ersoy and his team. He said the main street, which begins from the Faustina gate and continues to the port, had been found to the researchers’ surprise. “We have also found a fountain on this street. The fountain has a statement that praises a benefactor for his support for the ancient city of Smyrna.” Ersoy said they had also located a multi-echelon staircase on the street. “The continuation of this staircase goes to an area covered with mosaics. This ancient street is 80 meters long, but it reached the sea. This is the most important street in the agora for the entrance of goods. Just like in Ephesus, the street blocks water and has a very good sewer system. Visitors are prohibited from entering the area at the moment. When the work is done, tourists will be able to walk on this street just like in Ephesus. The agora of Smyrna was built during the Hellenistic era at the base of Pagos Hill. It was the commercial, judicial and political nucleus of the ancient city. After a destructive earthquake in 178 AD, Smyrna was rebuilt in the Roman period and used until the Byzantine period. One of the historical structures that had been long been neglected in the agora has recently been restored by the municipality as Agora Excavation House with support of the İzmir Development Agency.
TURQUIE – Hierapolis - An Italian archaeological mission has found the historical Gate to the Underworld of the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis. The announcement was made this afternoon in Istanbul at a conference on Italian archaeology. The discovery was made by a mission under Francesco D'Andria from the University of Salento, which is in charge of the excavations in the Greco-Roman city. The ruins of the city are near the modern-day Pamukkale in Turkey. According to Greco-Roman mythology and tradition, the Gate to the Underworld, also known as Pluto's Gate - Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin - was the entrance point to hell. Both Cicero and Greek geographer Strabus referred to the Hierapolis Plutonium in their writings, and both had visited it. It was a well-known place of pilgrimage in Antiquity. Since the excavations commenced in Hierapolis in 1957 - by an Italian mission under Paolo Verzone from the Turin Polytechnic - finding the exact location of Plutonium had been the focus of the archaeological digs. D'Andria told ANSAmed that he had found it by studying the vast literature from the period and reconstructing the route of a thermal spring to a cave, ascertaining that in that area bird corpses were collected. According to the tales of the travelers in those times, bulls were sacrificed to Pluto before pilgrimages into the Plutonium. The animals were led by priests to the entrance to a cave from which fetid fumes arose, suffocating them to death. The announcement of the discovery was made during a conference on Italian archaeological excavations in Turkey supported by Italian Ambassador to Turkey Giampaolo Scarante.
GRECE – Knossos – Crete is still pushing for Knossos to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is now preparing a new folder titled Minoan civilization, which will include the most important monuments on the island, such as Phaistos, Zakros and the archaeological site of Malia, with Knossos dominating the list. Competent authorities who are editing the file with the code name Minoan civilization, estimate that this project could pave the way for including Knossos on the UNESCO world heritage list. The construction problems identified around the area of the Minoan palace that impede the monument’s inclusion might be minor matters since the file will not focus only on the palace, but also on all the monuments of the Minoan civilization. The unification of the wider archaeological site of Knossos and Messara is a pilot program for the creation of a Cretan archaeological sites network which is also the first step to promote the claim to be included in the World Heritage of UNESCO. This was noted during a meeting between the local governor, Stavros Arnaoutakis and deputy governor of Heraklion, Euripides Koukiadakis. The men signed two major contracts on studying the process concerning the inclusion of the broader archaeological sites of Knossos and Messara. The first contract refers to Unification of Archaeological sites of Knossos, Karteros, Archanes, and the second one refers to the study, Unification of Archaeological Sites Messara – Phaistos, Gortyna, Agia Triada, Kommos etc.