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SUMMER TERM : JANUARY 2020
PEROU - Huaca Santa Rosa de Pucala - Eleven graves containing skeletons of the mysterious Moche civilisation have been found in darkest Peru from 1,000 years ago. Two children buried at the site had symbols on their skull, from either tattoos or markings that got under the skin and blemished the bone underneath. One person was buried with a sceptre and another was placed in a roofed chamber - indicating both were of high social standing and may have been priests. The graves also reveal that the majority of the skeletons had their feet removed. Project director Edgar Bracamonte, from the National University of Trujillo in Peru, said: 'It is unclear whether they were mutilated, we will carry out tests but it is clear that their feet were not there when they were buried.' The researchers are also still trying to find out who the remains belonged to. The discovery took place at the Huaca Santa Rosa de Pucala archaeological site in the district of Pucala in the north-western Peruvian region of Chiclayo. The region is considered a ceremonial hub for the region and it is believed the person buried in the large chamber could have been a religious leader. Mr Bracamonte said: 'We are trying to establish whether he was a priest.'Ceramic and porcelain objects were also found at the site, and scientists hope the discoveries will shed more light on the people who lived there. The site is several miles from Huaca Rajada, also known as Sipan, a Moche archaeological site that is famous for the tomb of Lord of Sipan. The city of Sipan dates back to 50 to 700 AD, the same time as the Moche Period. Researchers on the project also discovered a temple that belonged to the Wari culture who flourished in the south-central Andes and coastal area of modern-day Peru from about 500 to 1000 AD. It is believed the temple was build between 800 and 850 AD and will hopefully answer questions about the pre-Hispanic cultures in the region at that time.In the temple's cemetery, experts found camel bones, carved objects, bottles and metal items that may have been used as offerings.
GUATEMALA – Skeleton of Maya aueen discovered in jungle tomb.
IRAN - Damghan - Fragments of potteries and human bones have accidentally been discovered during a construction project in Damghan, an ancient town in northcentral Iran. The discovery was made in the premises of a religious shrine, which dates over one millennium, Damghan’s tourism chief Mehdi Qasemi said on Saturday, IRNA reported. The newly-discovered objects suggest that the area was home to ancient tombs and burial sites, a notion that needs more investigation to be confirmed, the official explained. Unfortunately, the potential ancient layers in this area have been vanished due to construction operations by endowment and charity bodies, he added. The construction project has been halted until relevant authorities issue ruling on the case, Qasemi said. Damghan lies at an elevation of 3,900 feet (1,200 meters), just southeast of the Alborz Mountains on a large, barren gravel plain. Archaeological excavations at nearby Tappa Hiṣar (Tepe Hissar) reveal occupation from prehistoric times through the Sasanian period. Damghan was an important town and capital of the medieval province of Qumis but was destroyed by Afghans in 1723. It is home to one of the oldest mosques in Iran, the Tarik Khaneh (c. 9th century), and several tomb towers of the Seljuq period, which still stand tall in the town.
TAIWAN – Keelung - Excavations of a Spanish monastery complex on Keelung City's Heping Island have uncovered another human skeleton, the 10th such discovery since archeological work began on the site in May, the Keelung City Cultural Affairs Bureau said Friday. According to the culture bureau, the excavations are being undertaken in an effort to learn more about the settlement of fort San Salvador, which the Spanish built on the island during their occupation of northern Taiwan from 1626-1642.
CHINE – Jinshi - Chinese archaeologists recently unearthed a Neolithic settlement believed to have been inhabited 8,000 years ago in Jinshi City of central China's Hunan Province. The sprawling site, measuring about 3,000 square meters, yielded one ton of remains, including pottery pieces and stone tools. This is the third excavated site of the Pengtoushan culture, a Neolithic culture centered primarily around the central Yangtze River region in Hunan. The latest findings also provide evidence for archaeologists to rethink the region's early history. "The unearthed relics resembled those at the site of the Pengtoushan period we discovered in northern Hunan, and we can basically tell for sure that this settlement is so far the first and only one that dates back to 8,000 years ago," said Shen Jiang, a member of the Hunan Institute of Archaeology, who was involved in the excavation. He said that after studying the unearthed items, the archaeologists had reasons to believe the ancient inhabitants lived by fishing and hunting, similar to those in the New Stone Age. "The ball-shaped objects were likely used for hunting, and the stone axes were probably used to cut down trees, while the adzes were probably used to cut and shape wood," said Shen.
BANGLADESH – Sujanagar - The present article offers the edition of the Sujanagar stone inscription of the time of Bhojavarman, year 7, with notes and translation, and the discussion on its contents and implications. The inscription records the two acts of mahāsāmanta Avūdeva, a subordinate ruler of Bhojavarman, in relation to a religious institution called a vihāra protected by Allahabhaṭṭārakasvāmin, namely, the withdrawal of cash endowment and the donation of right to tax at a market. It is the sole inscription mentioning the activity of a subordinate ruler under the Varmans. The transactions recorded in it attests to the developed monetary economy based on cowrie-shells. The inscription can also be the earliest epigraphic evidence for the presence of Islam and Muslims in Bengal, with possible references to a subordinate ruler from Arab or Persian merchant family and his establishment of a madrasa, though we need more evidence to buttress this possibility.
INDONESIE – Ngandong - The last surviving Homo erectus individuals lived on the Indonesian island of Java between 108,000 and 117,000 years ago. Geochronologists Yan Rizal of Bandung Institute of Technology and Kira Westaway of Macquarie University and their colleagues returned to the site of Ngandong, where 12 H. erectus skullcaps and two lower leg bones were uncovered between 1931 and 1933. Previous studies have suggested the Ngandong fossils are between 53,000 and 27,000 years old, or even 550,000 years old. Rizal and Westaway pinpointed where the fossils had been recovered, and then unearthed animal fossils from the site for dating by measuring radioactive uranium decay. They also dated sediment samples collected above and below the fossils, and from a nearby mountain whose sediments contributed to the formation of the fossil deposits. The new dates indicate that H. erectus died out at least 35,000 years before modern humans arrived in Indonesia.