20-21 MAI 2015 NEWS: St. Louis - Hereford - Wanuskewin - Telangana - Savannah - Cuttack - Washakie Wilderness -
USA – St. Louis - Just a few blocks northwest of the current Edward Jones Dome, the remains of two dozen earthen mounds dot the Mississippi River bank. While the mounds were flattened in the 1800s to accommodate the rise of St. Louis as an urban center, underneath the buildings and parking lots is a 900-year-old Native American town. Across the river in Illinois, the site of Cahokia is much better known. Currently a 3.5-square-mile historic park, Cahokia boasts over 80 mounds and decades of archaeological research that has revealed a Grand Plaza, mass burials and sacrificial victims, and a unique copper workshop. Due to differences in funding and state laws about development, though, Cahokia’s sister city in Missouri is not well understood. Archaeologist Joe Harl told St. Louis Public Radio that he is certain that ancient Native American artifacts will be found if the building project goes forward. Even though the project will use state bonds to finance a portion of it, because the project will be on private land and has no federal funding, in Missouri, developers are not required to call in archaeologists. Neither Harl nor Everett Waller, chairman of the Osage Minerals Council who spoke with Indian Country Today Media Network, wants to see plans for the stadium completely shelved. But both suggest that the stadium proposal task force take another look at possible locations and factor in money to do archaeological survey first.
ROYAUME UNI – Hereford - The discoveries made during the excavations at the Hereford Cathedral Close could change the way archaeologists thought the Saxon town developed. The project revealed a possible Saxon palace built near the cathedral between 850 and 950AD. After the cathedral was plundered and destroyed by fire in 1055, it was rebuilt and more than 2,500 individuals were buried around the site between the 11th and 19th centuries. Andy Boucher said: "It is quite a groundbreaking book. It does, to a degree, change the understanding of how Hereford developed. "We always thought the area where the cathedral is, was the earliest part of the Saxon settlement." But the large building discovered is probably no earlier that 860AD, he said, yet they have radiocarbon dates for battles on Castle Green from the 6th century. He said digs in Berrington Street dated drying ovens to the 7th and 8th century and there have even been questions raised about whether an east-west road ran through the close. Mr Boucher said: "It does really question how we interpret the early parts of Hereford. They also discovered ironworking at the close, which suggests industrial activity on a large scale. Mr Boucher said: "It’s massive – almost everywhere we look when encountering pre-Norman Conquest layers – there appears to be ironworking going on. "The city lies in an area of turmoil with the Welsh so could all the ironworking be related to making weapons – effectively is Hereford one big arms manufacturing site? "The finds at the cathedral close underline the extensive nature of ironworking – and because this is such a large area within the city – they indicate that there were few areas where ironworking was not taking place."
CANADA – Wanuskewin - Archaeologists first began work at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park north of Saskatoon in 1982. The site represents the longest continuously running dig of its kind in Canada. Monday, a group of 12 students from the University of Saskatchewan became the latest in a long line of explorers to learn about the area that was inhabited more than 500 years ago. Ernie Walker, an archaeology professor at the U of S, said that an ancient encampment exists beneath the surface. "It's totally intact," Walker said. He added that the current group is looking at the ninth out of 19 such locations.
INDE – Telangana - In the wake of the recent discovery that the Iron Age set in Telangana much before anywhere else in the country, archaeologists are preparing for more excavations across the Deccan Plateau. "We are planning for more such expeditions in the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka region. Spurred by the tools that we found in the excavation at University of Hyderabad, we are assuming that there might be more such settlements across this belt," Professor K P Rao, head of the archaeology team that led the excavation, told TOI. Specifying on the findings on the UoH campus, he said they had found close to 30 earthen pots, most which were mangled pieces. "However, there were 10 of them which were in a better condition, giving us an idea of the artwork of that time," Rao added. However, the most fascinating aspect found in the excavations were the off the cuff use of iron to mould weapons, which, according to historians, was unheard of during that time period. "We are under the impression that most of the weapons which were made at that time were meant for self defence, carpentry and agrarian purposes," he said. Incidentally, the university site was known for its archaeological treasures since the Nizam's era. But it was only in 2001 that the excavations began. "We began the excavations after we found skeletal remains under the ground. In 2004, I had approached the central government for a license for full-fledged excavations in the area. At the time, we had found weapons and other equipment," Rao said. However, it was only a few days ago that archaeologists confirmed the advent of the Iron Age in the region after they conducted tests on the artefacts found using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) method. This is a technique used to determine the age of an artifact when radiocarbon dating is not possible. In archaeology, it is used to date pottery or heated materials and has an accuracy ranging from 0 to 1.5 lakh years. Light emissions gauge the age of an artifact by estimating the last time the objects were exposed to light (sunlight or fire). "Till earlier it was understood that the Iron Age came to be around 1,800 BC, in the Lahuradeva district in Uttar Pradesh. But this new development comes to show that the Iron Age began much before that, at least in the country," he added. The officials have also extracted DNA strands from the skeletal remains that were found in the area. "We are actively pursuing DNA testing to confirm the ethnicity of the remains. It would give us further insight into the people who lived there at that point of time," Rao said.
USA – Savannah - Recovery of the CSS Georgia is an important component of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Archeologist Julie Morgan is the Corps' leading official in charge of the CSS Georgia recovery, which includes collection and analysis of artifacts, conservation, and a final technical report. The CSS Georgia is an ironclad gunboat built for the Confederacy in 1862. A group of like-minded women, including merchants' wives and others formed the Ladies Gunboat Society in Savannah and raised funds from across the state for her construction. The vessel was designed by a citizens' committee led by foundry owner Alvin N. Miller and constructed in Savannah. Suitable supplies of iron and other building materials, as well as labor were in short supply during its construction. The vessel was completed and found to be too heavy to be powered under her own steam through the tidal waters of the Savannah River. As a result, Georgia spent her life as a floating battery moored upstream from lines of obstructions near the upper end of Elba Island by Fort Jackson. Her position and the river obstructions provided protection to the City of Savannah from a Union naval approach. The advance of General William T. Sherman's Union troops in 1864 caused Confederate troops to scuttle the vessel in the general area of where she now rests.
INDE - Cuttack - A tunnel-like structure was discovered at Kathagada Sahi on Tuesday during digging of the road for a drainage and sewerage overhauling project. "Cuttack is over thousand year old city and there is every possibility that the structure may have historical importance. Leaving nothing to chance, work at the site has been stopped," said CMC commissioner Gyana Ranjan Das. The historians have also claimed that authorities should not take any chance and examine the site properly as it may be a big discovery. "Cuttack was the capital of rulers of the Ganga dynasty. The presence of Barabati Fort points to the fact that the city has huge historical value. The rulers may have dug the tunnel for some purpose," said reader in history at Ravenshaw University L K Mishra. Experts claimed that its historical value can be easily assessed by examining the rock used in the structure. Three years ago ancient idols were recovered during excavation at Gadakhai, the moat surrounding Barabati Fort.
USA – Washakie Wilderness - For a number of reasons, Wyoming’s mountains have not seen as much professional archaeological research as the plains and basins, Todd reported. “Therefore, our understanding of past human use of the higher elevation has been limited and perhaps unrealistic.” Since 2002, the GRSLE (Greybull River Sustainable Landscape Ecology) project has been helping develop a better documented picture of prehistoric mountain land use. For the first five years of the project, results were spectacular, Todd said. A large number of important sites ranging in age from early Paleoindian to recent Late Prehistoric Period were discovered and documented.