21 FEVRIER 2013 NEWS: Iraq - Egypte - Aimargues - Nogent sur Seine - New Orleans - Craigflower -







IRAQiraq-archaeology-samawa-650-416.jpg - The Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced it has authorised six foreign teams to start archaeological excavations at a number of ancient sites. "As part of its work programme for the current year, the ministry has reached agreements with six archaeological teams from Italy, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic," Hakim al-Shammary, director of the tourism minister's media office, told Mawtani. The teams will begin excavations at a number of sites, particularly in the south, he said. "Among the sites to be excavated are ancient hills such as Tal Abu Tuwaira in the city of al-Nasiriya, Tal al-Baqarat in al-Kut and Tal Abu Shathar in Maysan province, as well as other sites in al-Dalmaj marshes," he said. Iraqi archaeologists and excavators will work alongside these teams to acquire additional skills, using advanced equipment to salvage relics and identify historical periods, and learning how to preserve the pieces, al-Shammary said. Geographic surveys indicate that more than 40,000 archaeological sites throughout Iraq have yet to be excavated and studied, al-Shammary said.


EGYPTE - A bright blue pigment used 5,000 years ago is giving modern scientists clues toward the development of new nanomaterials with potential uses in state-of-the-art medical imaging devices, remote controls for televisions, security inks and other technology. That's the conclusion of an article on the pigment, Egyptian blue, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Tina T. Salguero and colleagues point out that Egyptian blue, regarded as humanity's first artificial pigment, was used in paintings on tombs, statues and other objects throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. Remnants have been found, for instance, on the statue of the messenger goddess Iris on the Parthenon and in the famous Pond in a Garden fresco in the tomb of Egyptian "scribe and counter of grain" Nebamun in Thebes. They describe surprise in discovering that the calcium copper silicate in Egyptian blue breaks apart into nanosheets so thin that thousands would fit across the width of a human hair. The sheets produce invisible infrared (IR) radiation similar to the beams that communicate between remote controls and TVs, car door locks and other telecommunications devices. "Calcium copper silicate provides a route to a new class of nanomaterials that are particularly interesting with respect to state-of-the-art pursuits like near-IR-based biomedical imaging, IR light-emitting devices (especially telecommunication platforms) and security ink formulations," the report states. "In this way we can reimagine the applications of an ancient material through modern technochemical means."


FRANCE – Aimargues - Environ 1 200 sépultures datant du haut Moyen Age (entre le 7ème et le 12e siècle), révélant des squelettes en état quasi parfait de conservation (photo) sur la commune d’Aimargues (Gard) : Odile Maufras, archéologue médiéviste à l’Inrap (Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives) parle d’un site "extraordinaire dans le Languedoc oriental", mis en évidence dans le cadre des fouilles préalables à la construction du contournement ferroviaire de Nîmes et Montpellier (CNM). "C’est d’autant plus intéressant que l’on a très peu d’écrits sur le haut Moyen Age", a-t-elle ajouté.


FRANCE201302205124673c80ef8-0-291036.jpg Nogent sur Seine - Les fouilles archéologiques préventives vont bon train sur le site du futur musée Camille-Claudel. Aujourd'hui doit débuter la seconde phase de décapage qui comprend également l'intervention d'une pelle mécanique avant un nouveau travail manuel. « On détruit une partie des structures archéologiques pour aller atteindre les structures anciennes qui sont les plus basses », ajoute-t-il. Les structures archéologiques ne sont en effet pas déplacées, elles sont étudiées sur place avant destruction. Est conservé le « mobilier archéologique » comme notamment les céramiques. Les ossements d'animaux retrouvés seront également déplacés pour être étudiées. Autant d'éléments qui permettront d'approfondir la connaissance scientifique sur le site: « On a des maçonneries qui correspondent aux fondations de bâtiments datant de la fin du Moyen Âge au début du XVIIe siècle. Des bâtiments dont au moins un d'entre eux se trouve sur une cave voûtée. On a aussi des équipements comme des puits, des structures qui ont piégé du mobilier archéologique qui va nous permettre de dater l'occupation du site un peu plus finement que ce qu'on pressent actuellement. » Les archéologues ont également découvert un fossé qui pourrait être lié au château médiéval.


USA – New Orleans - Pottery sherds, animal bones and pieces of clay tobacco pipes are among the items recently discovered by a team of archaeologists under contract to the Federal Emergency Management Agency surveying land near Bayou St. John in New Orleans. "It was a bit of a surprise to find this," said FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs Andre Cadogan, referencing a small, broken pottery fragment. "We clearly discovered pottery from the late Marksville period, which dates to 300-400 A.D. The pottery was nice, easily dateable, and much earlier than we expected. This is exciting news for historians and Tribal communities as it represents some of the only intact prehistoric remains of its kind south of Lake Pontchartrain."  The Bayou St. John spot holds a prominence in New Orleans' history, throughout the years serving as the location of a Native American occupation, a French fort, a Spanish fort, an American fort, a resort hotel and then an amusement park. Through a series of shovel tests and methodological excavation, the archaeologists discovered evidence of the early Native Americans, the colonial period and the hotel. "The historical record tells us that the shell midden (or mound) created by the Native American occupation was destroyed by the French when they built their fort here," said Cadogan. "However, we've discovered, through archaeology, that rather than destroy the midden, the French cut off the top of it and used it as a foundation for their fort."


CANADA  – Craigflower - The construction site around Craigflower bridge where two sets of human remains were found this week is well-known First Nations archeology site. Grant Keddie, curator of archaeology at the Royal B.C. Museum, said there’s evidence First Nations occupied that site as long as 2,800 years ago. “It appears that a part of the site was occupied very early on, and then (1,600 years) later a larger portion of the site was used,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t occupied continuously, but it was occupied at different time periods.” A midden, in archaeological terms, is a site where animal bones and shells are found in heaps, indicating that area was – at some point in history – occupied by humans. “Practically with all these shell middens, people are buried behind the village or in an abandoned area, so the vast majority of these large middens are expected to have human remains in them,” Keddie said. Saanich and View Royal are now working with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, ancestors of the people who inhabited the area, on the next steps.