20 AOUT 2023 NEWS
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POLOGNE – Stara Rzeka - A 2,000-year-old Goth burial site filled with ancient jewellery has been uncovered in a forest in northern Poland. Discovered near the village of Stara Rzeka, the 50 graves contained a large number of priceless artefacts, including two silver necklaces, two silver fibulae and elements of a necklace made from small silver beads, as well as jewellery with snake motifs. The archaeologists also found fragments if ceramics as well as perfectly intact 2,000-year-old urn. A Germanic people who contributed to the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe, the early Goths inhabited northern Poland between the 1st and 5th century AD, where they are commonly identified with the Wielbark culture. The Goths were known to have lived in wooded areas near the village of Osie, not far from where the new burial site was discovered. Last year archaeologists found the remains of a Goth settlement with a well-preserved spatial arrangement and objects dating to the 4th century AD.
ANGLETERRE – Conington - Researchers believe early Medieval villagers in England buried a teenage girl face-down in a pit — a deviation from the time period's typical burial practices — to prevent her from coming back after death. Archeologists unearthed the remains of a 15-year-old girl in a Medieval settlement near Conington, Cambridgeshire during excavations that took place as part of an archeological program tied to a national highways improvement project between 2016 and 2018. Years later, scientists with the MOLA Headland Infrastructure have concluded their analysis of the gravesite and the girl within it, offering new insight into ninth century burial rituals in the region. Despite the presence of Christianity in the country at the time, church cemeteries were not yet the norm in 9th century England, and there were few uniform burial customs during the period, the museum said. But one commonality that does exist among the majority of burials from that period is the position of the body being face-up, the museum said. Archeologists, however, discovered the Conington girl buried face-down in a pit that marked the entrance to the small settlement and believe her ankles may have also been tied together, according to the MOLA statement. "As well as being buried face down on a boundary, the position of her ankles suggests they may have been tied together," MOLA senior human osteologist Don Walker said in a museum statement. "This implies that the community took extra measures to ensure she could not 'return' from the grave." The Medieval girl's burial predates widespread vampire beliefs by several centuries, suggesting the reasons behind her unusual burial — superstitious though they may be — could be tied to other, non-vampiric fears among her people. Osteologists who study human bones at MOLA found signs of childhood malnutrition in the girl, as well as a spinal joint disease which was likely exacerbated by ongoing manual labor she undertook starting at a young age, both of which indicate she was of low social status, the museum said. Researchers are uncertain how exactly she died, but there is no evidence she was seriously ill, indicating she may have died suddenly or unexpectedly. Researchers with MOLA believe being buried face-down was a marker of "otherness," reserved for those who did not fit into Medieval society, including people who looked or behaved differently from others, those of low social status, and those who died violently or of unexplainable causes. "We will probably never know exactly how this young woman was viewed by the community she grew up in, but the way she was buried tells us she was almost certainly seen as different," Walker said. "Her burial rites may have reflected the nature of her death, or her social identity or that of her family."
SAO TOME – - An interesting discovery in archaeology has led the experts to see traces of plantation slavery on a tiny West African island at the equator. In São Tomé, there lies a piece of evidence that the primitive European-African slave trade was rampant during the 16th century. The Portuguese are the first people to baptize the tiny African island in the Gulf of Guinea. Known as São Tomé or "Saint Thomas" in their language, the place was found to be a haven of abundant resources, hence seeing it as an ideal plantation for sugarcane. By 1495, the sugar trade prompted the Portuguese to look for slaves for manual labor. The rules selected many people from different African locations including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Benin. In the Antiquity journal published on Monday, Aug. 14, the researchers wrote in the study that São Tomé was regarded as the "first plantation economy in the tropics based on sugar monoculture and slave labor." Dozens of sugar mills were constructed as part of the expansion. These are responsible for supplying the Europeans with sugar. A team led by historical anthropologist M. Dores Cruz has started an investigation regarding the sugar mills in São Tome. They used modern methods to analyze the ancient factories and look at their structures. Based on their research, the collapsed clay roof is one of the features of the 16th-century sugar mill. A very common design in Portuguese architecture, it includes a graffiti-covered lower floor and domestic quarters. "Sugar production was a very complex process and it "was not packed in bags and loose as today." First, cane syrup was boiled and in large copper cauldrons until crystals formed. Next, the sugar was put into cone-shaped ceramic molds, which allowed molasses to drain out and the sugar crystals to dry and harden. The resulting sugar cone was called pão de açúcar - Portuguese for "sugar loaf," Cruz told LiveScience in an email.
TURQUIE – Kelenderis - In the ancient city of Kelenderis in Mersin, located in the south of Turkey, the statue of the 3-headed goddess Hecate, which is evaluated to be 2300 years old, and ceramics belonging to the Hellenistic period were unearthed. The ancient city of Kelenderis is located at the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in modern town of Aydincik, which is in the province of Mersin. In the ancient city of Kelenderis, the excavation and restoration/conservation works started in 1987 continue uninterruptedly. Head of the excavation, Associate Professor Mahmut Aydın, stated that the Roman period floors were unearthed in this season’s excavations and that they found a large amount of Hellenistic ceramics in these floor fillings. Statue depicts three similar figures of Goddess Hecate joined together and facing in different directions. This is because these statues were used at Crossroads. These statues, which are few in number, were placed on pedestals, where the directions were inscribed. Hecate statues also marked boundaries. Stating that the Hecate figurine was found in the underfloor fillings behind the odeon, Aydın continued as follows: “The 3-headed Hecate figurine was found in the layer where the ceramics were found. The figurine is about 20 centimeters.” “Looking at the connection between the goddess Hecate and Kelenderis, we know that there is a Hecate temple in the ancient city of Lagina in Muğla, and an inscription found there indicates that Kelenderis is among the cities that participate in competitions held every five years in honor of Hecate. Furthermore, Kelenderis is also among the cities that show respect for the sacred area of Hecate and pledge not to attack it. Therefore, the discovery of the Hecate figurine in this excavation site is meaningful. We evaluate that the work is 2300-2400 years old and belongs to the Hellenistic period.”
ITALIE – Ostie - Two new fragments of the Fasti Ostienses have been discovered in the Ostia Antica Archaeological Park, following investigations carried out in Area B of the site, corresponding to the Forum of Porta Marina. These are a kind of chronicle engraved on marble slabs: they report valuable news about the political and monumental history of Rome and Ostia from 49 B.C. to 175 and perhaps beyond. The details of the daily activities of the Roman emperor Hadrian, who built monuments including the Pantheon during his more than two-decade reign, it was inscribed on Fasti Ostienses, a type of calendar chronicling events involving emperors and other officials in ancient Rome which were drafted by the pontifex Volcani, the highest local religious authority. One of the two newly recovered fragments, which experts say matches perfectly with another previously found at the site, dates to AD128, during the reign of Hadrian. The inscription refers to events that took place that year, including 10 January, when Hadrian received the title pater patriae, or father of his country, and his wife, Sabina, that of Augusta. According to the inscription, Hadrian celebrated the occasion by offering a congiar dedit, or donation of money, to the people. Subsequently, on April 10, 128 (ante diem III Idus April reads the inscription) the emperor left for Africa and, returning to Rome between late July and early August and before traveling to Athens, consecrated (Consecravit, reads the inscription) a building, certainly a temple in the Urbe. There are two possibilities: the Pantheon, or more likely the Temple of Venus and Rome. According to a very suggestive hypothesis, the consecration may have taken place on August 11, 128 A.D., or on the anniversary of Hadrian’s accession to the throne in 117. “This is an extraordinary discovery that, if on the one hand increases and complements what we know about the activity of the great emperor who was Hadrian by bringing new acquisitions on the very important building activity he conducted in Rome, on the other hand it reconfirms the immense potential of ancient Ostia for an ever deeper knowledge and popularization of our past,” said the director of the Archaeological Park of Ancient Ostia, Alessandro D’Alessio. Fragments of Fasti Ostienses were first discovered at the site in 1940 and 1941 and then again between 1969 and 1972, including one that joins the recently rediscovered fragment. The combined slab chronicles the AD126-128 period. Some of the calendar fragments, which range between AD49 and AD175, are on display at the Vatican Museums.
INDE – Leeladi - Terracotta snake figurine was found in Sivaganga Keeladi excavation after crystalline calculus was first discovered. The snake's eyes and mouth are perfectly crafted in this hand-made Terracotta figure. This ground figure has a red coating with a rough surface. It is 8.5 cm in length, 5.4 cm in width and also 1.5 cm in thickness.
ITALE – Lio Piccolo - During excavations at Lio Piccolo (Cavallino-Treporti), conducted by Ca’ Foscari University, a precious agate stone carved with a mythological figure was found in the flooded site from the Roman period. Researchers found the ancient piece of jewelry during an excavation dive in Lio Piccolo, a village just north of Venice city. The cut agate gem is engraved with a mythological figure and is considered an unusual artifact, particularly in an underwater environment. The high quality of the jewelry suggests that wealthy Romans visited the area. “In a lagoon environment it is a rather rare find, to date we have news of two other precious gems found in Torcello and at Barena del Vigno,” Beltrame said. Lio Piccolo used to be, and remains, a thriving fishing area. The underwater excavations have helped archeologists to understand the history of the area. A structure with a brick base and oak walls from the first and second centuries CE sits 11 feet below the water’s surface. Initially, researchers thought it was used for oyster conservation and farming, but it was later determined to be a holding tank for oysters prior to consumption. “Alongside this system there is a brick paving laid on poles, many fragments of valuable frescoes and some fragments of black and white mosaic which, in the 1980s, prompted the discoverer of this site, the amateur archaeologist Ernesto Canal, to interpret it as a prestigious villa,” Beltrame said. “The basin and the floor plans offer a precious marker, because they are well dated, for the study of the variations of the sea and of the local subsidence.”
PAKISTAN – Mansehra - An archeological site has been discovered in Mansehra. The excavation process started after the scientific survey of the site with the development of topographic sheets along with the distribution of grid and trenches at different points of the hill. Excavations at the site uncovered various cultural materials and archaeological artefacts that were found scattered throughout the existential strata. Based on the material and stratigraphic study, five occupational levels/phases have been clearly identified and marked as per the following sequence. In all five periods 1. Kushan Period (2nd Century AD); 2. Late Kushan (4th to 5th century AD); 3. Sikh Period (18th to 19th century AD); 4. British period (19th to 20th century AD); 5. Post-independence (20th to 21st century AD) includes on-periods.
POLOGNE – Pień - The ghoulish remains of a young boy buried face down, with an "anti-vampire" padlock on his foot has been discovered in an abandoned souls' graveyard in Pień near Bydgoszcz. Archaeologists from Toruń's Nicolaus Copernicus University say that the burial, which has left experts intrigued and sheds light on the peculiar mortuary practices of the past, is likely the only such burial of a child in Europe and possibly in Europe.Dating back to the 17th century, the extraordinary burial lies just 1.5 meters away from last year's discovery of the infamous "Vampire of Pień," a woman whose grave contained a sickle positioned around her neck and a padlock also clasped to her toe. When excavation work resumed this year, on the first day, a triangular padlock was found in the ground.In the following days, the researchers made the macabre discovery that the padlock was attached to the foot of a child of about 5-7 years old, who was originally buried face down. According to the rituals of the time, such a burial was supposed to make the child "bite into the ground" and not harm the living.Dariusz Poliński, a professor at the University of Nicolaus Copernicus, told PAP: “The padlock under the foot symbolises the closing of a stage of life and is meant to protect against the return of the deceased, which was probably feared. “Such practices originated in folk beliefs and are sometimes described as anti-vampiric, which is not entirely accurate, since the concept of a vampire appeared historically later than we date the burials in Pień.”More than 30 burials have been found at the site including quite a few unusual ones deviating from standard burials. Archaeologists speculate that people rejected from society were buried in the 17th-century necropolis in Pień. “It is not known for what reason. Probably it was about people who were feared not only during life, but also after death," explained Magdalena Zagrodzka, who heads the "Evolution" Educational Association of Torun, which is leading the research. Near the child's grave, researchers found a cluster of loose bones of three other children, leading to speculation that the corpses were desecrated. There they found a fragment of a jaw stained green, which researchers say may have been left by a copper coin. “Why were the children's bodies treated this way? At the moment we do not know, but we hope to solve the mystery," Zagrodka said.During the research, the remains of a pregnant woman were also found. Zagrodzka said: “The foetus was determined to be roughly 5-6 months old. This is surprising, because the bones of children of this age are poorly mineralized, so they are usually not preserved." The child’s remains were last year found at the site where researchers from the Nicolaus Copernicus University found a body of a woman with a sickle placed over her neck and a padlock on the big toe of her left foot, which they say would have been to prevent her from returning from the dead.
EGYPTE – Abou Qir - A shipwreck with ancient Greek treasures dating back to the Ptolemaic era of Egypt was recently discovered in the waters off Alexandria. The announcement was made by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), led by researcher Franck Goddio. Located in the Bay of Abou Qir, in the sunken, lost ancient city of Heracleion, or Thonis, near Alexandria, the shipwreck is from a time when the Greek civilization enjoyed great influence in Egypt in the waning days of the pharaohs.Goddio states in a press release that the ship sank after being hit by huge blocks from the temple of Amun, which was totally destroyed during the cataclysmic event that occurred in the second century BC. The ship had been moored at a wharf in the canal that flowed along the south face of the temple when the disaster occurred. The fallen blocks actually protected this ancient Greek shipwreck by pinning it to the bottom of the deep canal, which was then filled with clay and the debris of the sanctuary. The shipwreck lies under five meters (15 feet) of hard clay, mingled with the remains of the temple. Almost miraculously, the ancient Greek ship was only detected through the use of a cutting-edge sonar prototype called a “sub-bottom profiler.” “The finds of fast galleys from this period remain extremely rare,” explains Goddio, “the only other example to date being the Punic Marsala Ship from 235 BC.” “Before this discovery, Hellenistic ships of this type were completely unknown to archaeologists,” he declares. “Our preliminary study shows that the hull of this galley was built in the Classical tradition and relied on long mortise-and-tenon joints and well-developed internal structure.” “However, it also contains features of ancient Egyptian construction and allows us to speak of a mixed type of construction,” says Goddio. “It was a rowing ship that was also furnished with a large sail, as shown by a mast step of considerable dimensions. This long boat was flat-bottomed and had a flat keel, which was quite advantageous for navigation on the Nile and in the Delta.” He further explains that: “Some typical ancient Egyptian shipbuilding features, together with the evidence for a reuse of wood in the ship, indicate that it was built in Egypt. With a length of more than 25 meters (82 feet) it had a length-to-breadth ratio close to 6 to 1.”