20 SEPTEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Okinawa - Norwich - Sarsakhti - Tavera - Takestan -
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JAPON – Okinawa - Archaeologists have found the world's oldest fish hooks in a cave on the Japanese island of Okinawa. The pair, dating from about 23,000 years ago, were carved from sea snail shells and found with other ancient relics, according to a paper. It is thought humans inhabited the island from at least 30,000 years ago, surviving despite scarce resources. The findings suggest a wider use of advanced maritime technology in that era than previously thought. Modern humans first moved to offshore islands some 50,000 years ago. While fishing has been essential for early humans to spread around the planet, it is unclear how the technology evolved, with evidence limited to sites in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. "The new evidence demonstrates a geographically wider distribution of early maritime technology that extended north to the mid-latitude areas along the western Pacific coast," according to the National Academy of Sciences. The fish hooks predate ones found in Timor, thought to be at least 16,000 years old, and Papua New Guinea, from at least 18,000 years ago. Also found in the cave were two partially carved fish hooks, tools, beads and food debris. The paper's authors even suggest that those who visited the cave did so seasonally, when certain species of crab were at their "most delicious".
ROYAUME UNI – Norwich - Archaeologists have discovered a rather unusual middle bronze age settlement in Norwich, Norfolk. The site, which was discovered along the Northern Distributor Road (NDR), is believed to have the potential to change the narrative of the Bronze Age in the UK. The find comes after the Oxford Archeology East (OEA) engaged in thorough excavation works along the Norwich NDR for the past nine months. The site, which has caught the attention of archeologists, is located in Bell Farm, near Horsford, Norfolk. While the settlement uncovered at Bell Farm has been dated to the middle Bronze Age due to the presence of pottery and household items that are typical of that time in history, there are some other findings which set the settlement apart. The buildings in the Bell Farm settlement are not separated by ditches as is the case with other Bronze age settlements. Instead, they are separated by postholes. This curious feature sets the site apart from any other settlement of the period found in the UK so far. The site, which is estimated to have been built around 1500- 1200 BC, has gained national importance after archaeologists confirmed its unique postholes. There are speculations that the postholes were used instead of ditches to look visually appealing. In an attempt to enhance the aesthetics, the people who built the fields may have put in a lot of extra labor. Another factor that makes the settlement important is its size. Encompassing an area of 246 foot by 164 foot, the settlement includes roughly 10 structures and is by far one of the largest such Bronze Age settlements found in the UK. As archeologists working on the project continue their excavation work for six more months, the site is expected to reveal several interesting artifacts which will be put on display at the Norwich Castle Museum sometime next year.
IRAN – Sarsakhti castle - Excavations in an ancient hill in Shazand in Central Province have found evidence of settlement which goes back to 8 millennia ago. Ghafour Kaka, the head of excavation expedition in the site of Sarsakhti castle hill in an eponymous village in Shazand told Cultural Heritage Research Center that the evidence found in the site included simple and adorned pottery, bone and stone tools, counting tools and animal figurines, human skeletons, bone flag posts, pottery spindle whorl, and casting molds. “Our excavations reveal that the site had been settled since 8 millennia ago (Neolithic age); according to stratigraphic work of 2012, the site contained relics of Neolithic, Eneolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages, Parthian, Ilkhanid, and Qajar periods,” Kaka added. “In spring of 2016, our excavations sought to delve deep into the oldest human settlement of the site which revealed important Eneolithic and Neolithic relics in a small tranche of 6.4 meters.” “The last archaeological examinations goes back to before Revolution of 1979; the lack of systematic dating of subsequent excavations in the site, great difficulties arise in examination of the archaeology of this part of Zagros massif,” Kaka told the Research Center website. “The pile of 3 meter thickness on the ground teeming in relics of the Neolithic Age is invaluable; among the found objects, is human skeleton which gives us important information about the burial methods of the age in the hill.” Kaka provided the details of the human skeleton; “it belongs to 7,500 years ago and had been buried in a crouching or squatting position; the settled humans had believed in afterlife. The evidence of this are tortoiseshell, stone tools, flint stones and bones buried along the dead; we have transferred the skeleton to Arak archaeological museum,” he detailed. “The animal figurines found in the site are earthen and functioned as objects in rituals; the majority of them are now cracked and fragmented; probably, the hill had long been settled in Neolithic Age and had been connected to Central Zagros especially in the east of the mountain chain,” Kaka told the Research Center website. “The geographical position of the hill bestows a central position to the site where Zagros and the eastern half of the Iranian plateau meet, thus harboring elements of both cultures.” Sarsakhti has located in a high plain and dominates the river Merchaleh, which has fresh water most time of the year.
FRANCE – Tavera - La première prospection inventaire du site I Casteddi à Tavera avait eu lieu en 2013. Si une occupation au Moyen-Âge est indéniable, les fouilles réalisées par le Laboratoire régional d'archéologie (LRA) permettent de découvrir une occupation bien plus ancienne datant de la protohistoire. Cette année, c'est au mois de juillet que l'équipe composée des membres du LRA, salariés et adhérents, rejoints par une dizaine d'étudiants bénévoles, a réalisé les fouilles. La Commission interrégionale de la recherche archéologique (Cira), très intéressée par l'étude de ce site, les a autorisés à fouiller en planimétrie. "Nous avons donc pu fouiller à plat, sans limitation de surfaces afin de découvrir les limites de l'habitat", précise Hélène Paolini-Saez, directrice du LRA. Et d'ajouter : "Nous avons ouvert environ 30 m². Cela nous a permis de fouiller la totalité du sol du 2e âge du fer que nous avions identifié l'an passé. Le sol, très cendreux, confirme qu'il s'agit d'un habitat qui a brûlé."
IRAN – Takestan - The second season of archaeological expedition in Takestan’s Islamic Azad University site has uncovered architectures possibly Sassanid in origin. Mohammad Bahramzadeh, the head of the expedition told local office of Cultural Heritage Research Center in Takestan, in Qazvin, that other objects had been found which included pieces of high-quality pottery, glass thurible, vatic cauldrons with Sassanid Pahlavi inscriptions; “the first season of excavations in Tat-2, a site in grounds where Takestan’s Islamic Azad University was to be built, was carried out in 2014 which uncovered unique architectural work. Spaces uncovered include pool-like structures with gypsum plaster and a series of aqueducts connecting these small structures to a large and deeper pool in the center of the whole site; in the first season, the excavation team came across regular structures also with walls covered by gypsum plaster; delving deeper still revealed the possible function of the structure which had been a workshop called Charkhosht,” he detailed. “In the second season, the initial tranche of 4.5 in 4.5 meters was expanded to a wider space of 10 in 10 meters. These structures developed gradually according to our examinations,” Bahramzadeh told the office. “Further explorations in Tat-2 unearthed brick parapets providing frames of the pool-like structures. The entrance to the space is in southeastern part, 1.5 in 1 meter, leading directly to the main space of a rectangular structure, with a circular major pool with a depth of 195 centimeters in the center,” he added. “Two other rectangular pools also were found in north and west of the site which were separated by brick parapets from the major pool; aqueduct system with width of 10 centimeters connects these system. In southwestern corner there is an oval small pool, 70 centimeters deep, connected via one of small aqueducts to rectangular western pool; northern pool shows the remains of soot and ashes are evident on the gypsum plaster covering, indicative of the heat,” Bahramzadeh said. “All surfaces have gypsum plaster covering, with subsequent plastering during repairs of the pools, in that we found 8 overlays of such plastering. The structure probably had been devoted to preparing grape juice and other grape products,” he concluded.