INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
ONLINE COURSES / COURS A DISTANCE
SPRING TERM : APRIL 2017
ROYAUME UNI – Londres - Last year, during the refurbishment of the Garden Museum, which is housed in a deconsecrated medieval parish church next to Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official London residence, builders made the chance discovery of a lifetime: a cache of 30 lead coffins that had lain undisturbed for centuries. Closer inspection revealed metal plates bearing the names of five former Archbishops of Canterbury, going back to the early 1600s. Stripping out some York stone to even out the precarious paving, and enable disabled access to the old altar, they accidentally cut a six-inch diameter hole in the chancel floor – and noticed a hidden chamber beneath. Attaching a mobile phone to a stick, they dropped it into the hole. What they filmed astonished them: a hidden stairway leading down to a brick-lined vault. Inside, piled higgledy-piggledy on top of each other, were the coffins. On top of one rested an archbishop’s mitre, painted red and gold. Two coffins had nameplates, which belonged to Richard Bancroft(archbishop from 1604 to 1610), John Moore (archbishop from 1783 to 1805); his wife, Catherine Moore, has a coffin plate, too. Also identified from his coffin plate is John Bettesworth (1677-1751), the Dean of Arches, the judge who sits at the ecclesiastical court of the Archbishop of Canterbury. St Mary-at-Lambeth’s records have since revealed that a further three archbishops were probably buried in the secret vault: Frederick Cornwallis (archbishop from 1768 to 1783), Matthew Hutton (archbishop from 1757 to 1758) and Thomas Tenison (archbishop from 1695 to 1715). A sixth, Thomas Secker (archbishop from 1758 to 1768), had his viscera buried in a canister in the churchyard.
MALAISIE - Penang - A 5,000-year-old human skeleton was recently uncovered during the construction of a gallery for the Guar Kepah neolithic site in Penang. Archaeologist Prof Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin said he has long suspected that there must be something preserved underneath an old house on the site that has been torn down to make way for the gallery and true enough, a skeleton was found underneath it. “We have yet to do carbon dating because we just discovered it, but it is estimated to be around 5,000 years old. So the construction work has been stopped and we will start excavation works today,” he told a press conference at Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office on Wednesday (April 19). A backhoe was digging up the site on Monday when it uncovered parts of a human bone, believed to be the femur, at only 70cm under the surface. “With the discovery, we immediately stopped the digging works and took over to conduct the excavation and so far, we have uncovered parts of a skull and rib cage with pottery fragments,” he said. Dr Mokhtar believed that they could possibly find three skeletons in the site, but this remains to be seen as it would take them at least two weeks to excavate the current findings. The Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Global Archaeological Research had conducted excavation works and research on the site back in 2010 where prehistoric shells, pottery remnants, tool remnants and food remnants from the Neolithic period were found, documented and dated.
FRANCE – Arradon - En décembre, lors des travaux entrepris sur la place de l’Église d'Arradon, un cimetière a été découvert au sud de la chapelle. La Drac a chargé le service d’archéologie du Morbihan d’explorer les fouilles. « Depuis le début des fouilles, nous avons découvert une quarantaine de tombes dans le cimetière primitif », annonce Astrid Suaud-Préault, la responsable des fouilles. Les ossements ont été soigneusement dégagés puis certains sont gardés provisoirement afin de les étudier en laboratoire. « Cela nous permet de définir l’âge, le sexe et certaines pathologies. Selon les positions des tombes, nous pouvons savoir de quelles façons les personnes ont été inhumées et si elles étaient dans des linceuls (toile de lin ou étaient enveloppées les personnes) ou des cercueils », explique la chercheuse. Selon les fouilles actuelles, les archéologues ont trouvé trois niveaux de sépultures, sur une profondeur d’environ 80 cm. « Selon le recoupement entre les tombes, nous pouvons dater l’ancien cimetière au XIIIe ou XIVe siècle, sachant qu’il avait été déménagé lors de la construction de l’église actuelle, qui date de la fin du XIXe siècle. C’est donc un cimetière qui a perduré dans le temps », explique Astrid Suaud-Préault. L’étude des prélèvements, qui sont prévus à partir du mois de mai, permettra d’en savoir encore plus sur ces habitants du Moyen Age. « Sur les premiers squelettes qui avaient été découverts au mois de décembre, nous avons découvert certaines pathologies. Ceux-là, encore plus anciens, réservent certainement d’autres surprises. »
ITALIE – Barumini - The Nuragic complex in Barumini is one of the largest and well preserved Nuragic compounds, therefore it is the most important archeological site of Sardinia. Barumini is the name of the village where it is located in the central-south region of Sardinia. Known as UNESCO World Heritage Site, “Su Nuraxi di Barumini” is the most complete nuragic site and at the same time it features an innovative and creative use of materials and techniques that were available to the prehistoric community. The village of Barumini with its nuraghe “Su Nuraxi” shows that this territory has been inhabited since the Bronze Age (from 2300 to 700 B.C.). The nuraghes used to serve as defensive turrets with the shape of a cone trunk, made by large dry stones, and equipped with internal rooms. The nuraghe in the village of Barumini is fenced in and surrounded by smaller towers interconnected by massive walls. The village was composed by small circular houses, located around these main buildings. Besides, it is possible to find other spaces destined to specific domestic or ritual activities. The huts of the nuragic village date back to the VII-VI centuries B.C., when the territory was under the Punic and Roman rule. Instead, the external wall curtain is even more ancient and implies the establishment of other populations during the Iron Age (between the ninth and the eighth century B.C.). This curtain is itself an adjustment to a front wall (i.e. a wall of first defense) incorporating the oldest part of the village which dates back to the Bronze Age, between the centuries XI and X B.C.. The peculiarity of Barumini is that you can visit not only a simple watchtower, even if particularly ancient, but you can also take a stroll through the remains of an entire village dating back to thousands of years ago. The excavations carried out in 2015 have brought to light the foundations of one of the huts that was previously unknown along with the remains of sacrifices and rites involving the killing of animals. In particular, the bones of two small pigs were uncovered together with mussels’ valves, goats’ remains, pottery and charcoal fragments.