20 - 21 DECEMBRE 2010


 - 21 DECEMBRE :

 - ROYAUME-UNI :   Shotton - The remains of an Anglo-Saxon settlement have been discovered at a surface mine in Northumberland. Buildings and artefacts dating from the 6th to 8th centuries have been uncovered at Shotton Surface Mine, on the Blagdon Estate, near Cramlington. The site had been investigated by archaeologists before the start of open-cast mining work. Experts said the find had provided "the first direct evidence" of Anglo-Saxon settlement in that part of the county? A team of archaeologists from TWM Archaeology, funded by Banks Mining, undertook the excavation and discovered the settlement. It comprised of at least six rectangular post-built halls - each thought to house a family unit - two buildings with sunken floors and a system of enclosures, fences and trackways. Anglo-Saxon pottery, loom weights and metalworking residues have all been recovered from the site.The archaeological investigations on the surface coal mine also revealed a number of other sites including several Iron Age roundhouses, ditches and pit alignments - which were used as land divisions.


 - SUEDE :     Gothenburg - According to a fresh press release from the County Museum of Bohuslän in Uddevalla, western Sweden, the museum's maritime archaeologists are studying a well-preserved shipwreck whose construction date lies in the AD 1210s or 1220s. The shipwreck is in shallow water in the Jore fjord and was identified on aerial photographs by the local firm HydroGIS Ltd, whose staff reported it to the museum. HydroGIS also provided the photographs shown here. Dendroanatomical measurements have not only proven the wreck to be the oldest known to date along the Bohuslän coast, but have also shown that the trees involved grew in western Germany or Belgium. This in all likelihood pinpoints the shipyard's location.


 - AUSTRALIE : Tasmanie - Aboriginal heritage at the site of the controversial Brighton bypass bridge may not be as old or significant as previously suggested. New evidence made available yesterday by the Tasmanian Government suggests the Jordan River levee site may not be as old as 42,000 years, or as unique or historically important as previously thought. Archaeologist Rob Paton and geomorphologist Tim Stone, who originally revealed the significance of the site, say it is at least 41,000 years old, contains more than two million stone tools, and is unique in that it is undisturbed by geological change over that time. Dr Paton says this makes it "the oldest and best stratified open site in Tasmania and one of the oldest and most intact open sites in Australia". But reviews of Dr Paton's research by other archaeologists have not backed all his findings. Prof Allen found some of the data "confusing", "misleading", and "unprepossessing". He said the site could be less than 30,000 years old.  Using Prof Allen's report and feedback from other archaeologists, the Environment Department's summary report to Mr Wightman last week pointed out that dating models from five sample sites could give results from 7800 years old to as much as 59,400 years old. The Infrastructure Department, which is building the Brighton bypass, formally told the minister last week that, despite the questions raised, it still "believes the site to be at least 24,000 years old and to be of state significance".


 - U.S.A. : Chatham - The ever-shifting sands of Cape Cod have parted to reveal a new mystery: a 50-foot-long shipwreck unearthed by erosion in shallow waters just off North Beach Island in Chatham. The wreck was spotted Nov. 29 by an airplane pilot as he and an aerial photographer flew along the coast. At low tide, the wreckage, which appears to be made of wood, sits in 8 to 10 feet of water, but it cannot be seen from the beach, officials said. The vessel, which remains partially buried in the sand, appears to have had two or three masts. The ship’s identity remains unknown as officials take a closer look, and even then its history might be difficult to uncover. The best guess at the moment is that it was a cargo vessel. Two-masted and three-masted schooners are the most common vessel of the 19th century. The coastline around Chatham is constantly changing as forces of nature shift the sands. Where the wreck is now buried was an inlet a century ago. The state plans to continue to investigate the wreck, weather permitting, in January.


 - IRAN : Chehrabad - Cultural heritage officials have decided to turn Iran's Chehrabad salt mine into a site museum to promote tourism from the home of the country's famous salt mummies. Six saltmen have been unearthed at Zanjan's Chehrabad salt mine over the past decade, the first of which is housed at Iran's National Museum and four others are kept at the Archaeology Museum of Zanjan. The sixth saltman has been left untouched since a snowstorm hit its resting place in 2008. The first mummy is in good condition and is being kept in an environment with controlled temperature, humidity and light. The third, fourth and the fifth salt mummies date back to the Achaemenid era, while the sixth one belongs to either the Parthian or the Sassanid era.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the Chehrabad salt mummies. Oxford and York University studies revealed important information about their diet. Other studies showed that the fourth saltman had moved from the northern Mazandaran Province to his final home in Zanjan.


 - 20 DECEMBRE :

 - ESPAGNE : Motilla del Azuer - Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a Bronze Age man that lived more than 3,400 years ago in Spain and suffered a broken hyoid bone, likely caused by a blow to his neck. The hyoid bone is a horseshoe shaped object located at the root of the tongue. Amazingly enough the injury healed and the man lived be in his 40's. He was five and a half feet and had a "moderate" build.  "This injury is extremely rare apart from hanging and strangulation, and it is even rarer since the individual survived this injury to his neck. This injury was probably produced by a direct impact to the neck," the Unreported Heritage News quoted the research team that made the discovery, as saying. Although they don't have the specific date for the skeleton, the site itself dates back between 3,400 and 4,200 years ago.  Silvia Jimenez-Brobeil's team stumbled upon the fossil by accident. "The location of the injury and the fact that it is healed, suggest that a direct impact was the cause rather than a bimanual strangulation," the team wriote. It is also known that the place where the fossil was found, Motilla del Azuer, was clearly built with war in mind.  "It was a fortification, surrounded by a small settlement and a necropolis," a team of archaeologists led by Trinidad Najera Colino and Fernando Molina Gonzalez said in a 2007 press release.  "The mound of the fortification which has been recovered has a diameter of about 50 metres, and is composed of a tower, two walled enclosures and a large courtyard."
The discovery is set to be published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. (ANI)


 - FRANCE : Béziers - Les travaux de   l'îlot Gervais ont permis de découvrir un bâti médiéval en élévation. Selon le diagnostic, sous et à côté des bâtiments, il y avait un quartier du Moyen-Âge. Dessous, les archéologues sont remontés jusqu'à des vestiges d'habitat du IIe siècle avant Jésus-Christ.   « À chaque étape, l'immobilier était retaillé en terrasse », se souvient Elian Gomez. Du côté haut de la zone, il y avait une énorme fosse qui contenait des remblais de démolition des XIIe et XIIIe siècles. Pour l'archéologue, « il y a tout lieu de penser qu'il y a un rapport avec la période des Trencavel. Nous avons maintenant une bonne idée des traditions potières de consommation locale. »


 - IRLANDE :   Bru Na Boinne - Despite the weather, it’s expected that like last year, crowds will gather to witness the winter solstice light ceremony on December 21. Last year the World Heritage site in Newgrange drew a large audience. The 5,000-year-old Stone Age tomb is older than the pyramids, and over 32,000 people worldwide applied to witness last year’s magnificent winter solstice. The tomb’s chamber lights up when the sun rises on a winter solstice morning. It is the only time of the year when the tomb lights up with natural sunlight. Ancient Irish Druids and astrologists perfectly constructed the tomb so light could flood the tomb only during the winter solstice. The winter solstice marks the end of the long nights and the beginning of longer days. This was a huge event in pagan times.


 - GRECE : Athènes - Αrchaeological finds were located during maintenance works on the electric train (ISAP) line tracks in the eponymous Thission district of central Athens, which lies on the boundary of the Acropolis archaeological site and near the ancient Agora and Forum.


 - FRANCE : Périgueux - Les élus protestent contre le coût de l'archéologie dans les chantiers publics.La reconstruction de la piscine du centre-ville à Périgueux est désormais liée aux fouilles archéologiques. C'est, sans trop de surprise, l'Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives (Inrap) qui a été retenu. Mais la somme a fait sursauter les élus : 406 764 euros ! « C'est énorme, proteste Francis Colbac, le maire de Trélissac. c'est presque 10 % du montant de l'opération et ça provoque des retards. » Il rappelle que cela concerne 2 000 mètres carrés : « Cela fait 200 euros le mètre carré. C'est excessif, d'autant qu'une partie a déjà été fouillée lors de la construction de la précédente piscine dans les années 1960. Mais l'on est ici en plein dans la ville romaine et les fouilles de l'époque étaient sommaires. Les services de l'archéologie ont donc demandé d'entrée une étude complète. On devrait en retirer des éléments pour une meilleure connaissance de la ville, mais à quel prix ! À Trélissac, la future zone d'activités de Borie Porte a aussi motivé des fouilles. Un premier sondage a révélé des vestiges du néolithique. Des fouilles complètes sont donc lancées. Ici aussi, l'addition est salée : 750 000 euros.