19 Mars 2018: Zavareh - Chur - Orkney - Naples - Onjuku - Purana Qila -






IRAN2743690 Zavareh - Further sectors of Imam Hassan (AS) Mosque, a centuries-old monument in Zavareh, central Iran, has been brought to light through an ongoing archaeological project, Mizan reported on Thursday.The mosque’s westward shabestan along with two mihrabs, once concealed behind the walls, have recently been unearthed, Fariba Saeidi who leads the archaeological season was quoted as saying. Shabestan refers to an underground hypostyle space which can be found in traditional mosques, houses, and schools while a mihrab is a semicircular niche that indicates the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.Sets of inscriptions and plasterwork indicate that the mosque dates from the Seljuk era (1037–1194) and Ilkhanid times (1256–1335), Saeidi added. Standing tall in Ardestan county, Isfahan province, the mosque is also famous for having a brick minaret, which is one of the oldest of its kind in the country.


SUISSEChur swissinfo edit 3 jpg Chur - The Swiss town of Chur claims it’s at least 11,000 years old. If true, that would make it as old or older than Jericho in the Middle East, accepted as one of the earliest continuous settlements in the world. Can the Chur claim hold up?  The oldest buildings date from after the great fire of 1464, which destroyed most of the town. But Chur (first two letters pronounced like a guttural ‘k’) is much older, according to the tourist board. That’s because, in 1998, construction workers excavating for a car park uncovered archaeological artifacts dating back to about 11,000 BCE. But in the town of Neuchâtel - at nearly the opposite, western end of the country - archaeologists have found artifacts dating to about 13,000 BCE, some 2000 years older than those in Chur. Even so, humble Neuchâtel officially claims to date back only to 1011, from the first known written mention of the town of “Novum Castellum”, Latin for “Neuchâtel” (“New Castle”). Does either Chur or Neuchâtel – or another Swiss town - deserve bragging rights as the oldest? And can it challenge Jericho? It’s true that “Chur has certainly yielded some of the oldest archaeological finds in Switzerland”, says Professor Philippe Della Casa from the Institute for Archaeology at the University of Zürich. But they “belong to temporary camp sites, not to sedentary settlements”. To be called a “town”, certain criteria must be met, says Della Casa, including “centralized administration, complex planning and architecture, structured social organisation and specialised crafts”. By these criteria, “Chur is certainly not the ‘oldest town’ in Switzerland, since towns as such do not emerge before the Celtic Iron Age, the mid-first millennium BCE”. Similarly, the earliest Neuchâtel shoreline artifacts are from “nomad camps of hunter-gatherers”, says Marc-Antoine Kaeser, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Neuchâtel. Laténium is Switzerland’s largest archaeological museum. It stands by Lake Neuchâtel near where the oldest artifacts were found. In the archaeology park just outside the museum’s doors stand replicas of Neolithic lake dweller houses from 3810 BCE. Inside, Laténium’s exhibits trace 500 centuries, beginning with the Neanderthals.  Kaeser says the oldest permanent Neolithic settlements so far identified in Switzerland were in the Rhone valley and in the town of Bellinzona on the south side of the Alps. But “a real continuous occupation can only be attested from the Roman times on”. Professor Della Casa suggests we look to Zurich, Bern, Geneva or Basel as our oldest towns. “All these sites had fortified Celtic settlements in the second half of the first millenium BCE,” he says. Therefore he adds it’s “difficult to determine the oldest Swiss town.”  What about Chur? It seems clear: there are first late-Paleolithic Period (about 12,000 BCE) remains of some camps, and some first settlements from the Neolithic Period (4,500 BCE) onwards, till the Roman occupation and the founding of a rather small vicus [an ancient Roman settlement]”. But Reitmaier says “we should talk about the town of Chur from the medieval period at the earliest,” noting that the town walls weren’t constructed until the 13thcentury. 


ROYAUME UNIT67ty7awwva3dny57w66vdg7xq Orkney - Archaeologists have discovered the remains of what would have been an enormous celebratory feast in the Orkney Islands set in the Iron Age. Tests that have been conducted in South Ronaldsay, overlooking beautiful Windwick Bay, show that there was quite a large selection on the menu at this particular meal, including fresh otters, red deer, horses, and cattle. According to The Scotsman, the site of this particular feast has been a work in progress, with archaeologists having spent many years examining the area of The Cairns. Various tools along with a substantial number of pieces of jewelry have been found in this location, and archaeologists have now determined that this area would have once contained a space used for metalworking. While investigating the remains of the Iron Age meal in the Orkney Islands, archaeologists were able to track down where the animal bones would have been dumped, and recovered the cooked remains of 10,000 bones, proving just how large a feast this would have been. Carruthers noted that the Iron Age feast was most likely a way for local people to get together and commemorate the end of a particularly fruitful jewelry-making session, and this was achieved by not only eating together, but also by the distribution of gifts.


ITALIE – Naples - During a presentation conducted last week, archaeologists announced that they may have discovered what is the original port of Naples, with its structure dating back to 25 centuries ago. During an investigation of the waters close to the Castel dell’Ovo, a group of divers noticed that there were four tunnels just 32 feet beneath the water, and have speculated that these may have once been used to moor boats at a time when the surrounding waters would have been much more shallow than they are today. Besides the tunnels, they also noticed the ruins of a road that still contains tracks that would have been made by heavy wagon wheels, similar to what are found on the streets of Pompeii. Near this road was a trench, which may have been constructed as a defensive area used by ancient soldiers, as The Local report. Three-thousand years ago, when the first port of Naples was founded, it was given the name of Parthenope after the famous Greek story of the maiden-voiced siren who grew distraught and threw herself deep into the sea after her beautiful melodies failed to attract the notice of Odysseus. Parthenope’s body was later found floating in the waters of Naples by the Castel dell’Ovo. The first settlers in this area were Achaean and Anatolian merchants, who were heading with their goods to the high Tyrrhenian, and formed a small community which grew rapidly due to trading. In its early days, this area would have seen many battles between the Etruscans and Greeks, and the town of Parthenope was eventually changed substantially and given the name of Palepolis in 474 BCE, when Greeks finally emerged victorious after years of battles. Archaeological work is currently on hold right now, but further investigatory work will continue in May, which should hopefully determine whether the original port of Naples has indeed been found.


JAPONAs20180316005378 comm Onjuku - Researchers are racing against the clock in adverse conditions to prove that a mystery object discovered on the seabed here is a cannonball from a Spanish galleon that sank in September 1609. Team member Ian McCann, from Australia, discovered the spherical stone measuring about 12 centimeters in diameter and weighing 2.8 kilograms on Nov. 2, 2017. The researchers were studying an unexplored area 39 meters deep and 6 kilometers from the coast in October and November that year. The researchers are expected to again explore the area from April 20 to May 1. The team believes the object, currently being kept at Kimura’s research laboratory, came from a galleon called the San Francisco that sank off the coast of Onjuku about 400 years ago. Its wreckage has never been found, according to Kimura. The stone has no inscription, but Kimura’s team believes it is a cannonball based on several factors. For example, the object is remarkably similar to cannonballs made of stone that were carried by the Spanish vessel San Diego, which sank in Manila Bay in the Philippines in 1600. In addition, the object is an igneous rock, rare for the sandstone seabed in the area.


INDE Purana qila 57b9e2a0 29e4 11e8 933f cd1ae5bb99b3 Purana Qila - An ongoing excavation at the Purana Qila in Delhi has revealed remains of a pre-Mauryan era settlement from the 6th-4th century BCE. But archaeologists still haven’t found any evidence of Indraprastha, the fabled city of the Mahabharata, here. Excavation started in the beginning of this year, and is expected to continue at least till the end of this month. But the group, led by Swarnkar, claims to have already made some serious headway. “Before this, the earliest proof of settlement that we have been able to get at this site is from the Mauryan era. Each era or period in history is identified by its pottery and other associated ware or structural forms and the Mauryan era is identified by a kind of pottery known as the Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) and the typical Mauryan-era ring wells,” explains Swarnkar. “But this time we have found a layer of simple grey ware and simple red ware, below the layer of artefacts from the Mauryan era, which shows the presence of a pre-Mauryan era settlement here. Though we haven’t done a carbon dating of the pottery yet, our estimate is that it dates back to about 6th to 4th century BCE, which pushes back the history of Delhi by another 300 years,” he explains. What this means is that there were human settlements in Delhi at the time of the 16 Mahajanapadas or kingdoms that rose in Indian between the 6th and 4th century BCE. One of the Mahajanapadas was Magadh, which went on to become a powerful empire under the Mauryas.