21 Mars 2016 NEWS: Fano - Aunslev - Köşk - Costa Rica - Canteen Kopje - Bhitargarh - Gdansk -
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ITALIE – Fano - An ancient Roman amphitheatre, in the town of Fano, in the Marche region, is slowly rotting away beneath an abandoned factory from the early 1900s. Archaeologists suspect the full structure once stood some 20 metres high, 66 metres wide and could accommodate up to 10,000 people, making it one of the biggest Roman theatres in the region. But in spite of its majestic scale, nothing more was done to excavate the ruin. Instead, Fano's long-lost amphitheater has lain exposed to the elements for more than a decade. The theatre remains behind closed doors, in the heart of the abandoned factory, its impressive terraces adorned with dead animals and weeds.
DANEMARK – Aunslev - An amateur metal detector has made a discovery that experts think could change our understanding of Christianity in Denmark. Dennis Fabricius Holm was enjoying an afternoon off work when he found a Birka crucifix pendant in a field near the town of Aunslev, Østfyn. Malene Refshauge Beck, curator and archaeologist at Østfyns Museum said: “It is an absolutely sensational discovery that is from the first half of the 900s [10th century].” “There is found an almost identical figure in Sweden, which has been dated to just this period.” However, this specimen is in especially good condition and one of the most well preserved Christian artefacts found in Denmark. Weighing just 13.2 grams and 4.1cm in length, the figure is made of finely articulated goldthreads and tiny fillagree pellets. It is smooth on the reverse side but has a small eye at the top for a chain. It was probably worn by a Viking woman. The dating of the crucifix, estimated at being from 900 – 950AD, is significant because it would indicate Danes embraced Christianity earlier than previously thought. At the moment, the Jelling Stones - two large runestones erected in 965AD in Jutland - are thought to be the oldest known representation of Jesus on a cross in Denmark.
TURQUIE – Köşk - A 7,200 year-old skull exhibited at Niğde Museum is receiving a lot attention from visitors, the museum's director has said. According to Fazlı Açıkgöz, the skull was found in Köşk tumulus in Central Anatolian Niğde province during excavations in 1980s and is among 12 others, which are not exhibited in the museum. The skull is reportedly coated with clay and is the only one in Turkey. Açıkgöz further stated that there are only 90 clay-coated skulls throughout the world and 13 of these are located in Turkey, while there are some in Israel and Jordan. He said that the skulls were found in a grave consisting of 66 individuals and that they did not have the bodies, as archeologists believe people living at the time buried the bodies and exhumed the skulls after corpses decayed and coated them with clay.
COSTA RICA – - Archaeological work began this year and managed the recuperation of funeral items, petroglyphs, bases of houses, roads, stone tools, pottery, ceramics and food utensils. Hydroelectric workers in Costa Rica found 66 human settlements, dating back to some 12,200 years, making it the oldest archeological site in Central America. According to a radiocarbon analysis, the materials discovered are the oldest in the region, the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity said in a statement. Archaeological work began this year and managed the recuperation of funeral items, petroglyphs, bases of houses, roads, stone tools, pottery, ceramics and food utensils. Some objects were linked to hunting activities, collecting food from the forest, artisanal production, and farming practises. The find has allowed for new knowledge of the way of life and culture of the inhabitants of that era. Some of the finds will be moved to Costa Rica’s Department of Cultural Patrimony of the National Museum. The objects that cannot be moved due to their size will stay in the same place in a cultural center that will be built in the hydroelectric plant.
AFRIQUE DU SUD – Canteen Kopje - Mining is taking place right inside the Canteen Kopje heritage site‚ near Barkly West‚ said Professor David Morris‚ head of archaeology at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley. Canteen Kopje has long been regarded as one of the richest archaeological sites for the Earlier Stone Age in Southern Africa and also includes evidence that the area was inhabited by more recently by Tswana/!Kora ancestors. The area is very rich not only in prehistory but also in the history of early diamond miners. It was declared and gazetted as a protected National Monument in 1948. Kathleen Kuman‚ professor emeritus at Wits University’s archaeological department, said the earliest human fossils in Africa date back to 2.8 million years. Their team’s discovery at the Canteen Kopje archaeological site may date back to about 2.3 million years‚ an age estimate they are currently working to confirm. This puts the importance of Canteen Kopje on the same level as the Cradle of Humankind sites‚ where early stone tools have been found with fossils dating back to about two million years.The researcher said this is a unique site and has a number of layers depicting different periods in the prehistory of our ancestors‚ stretching from the Earlier Stone Age to the period of modern human development. Kuman said it is a site with the longest such sequence in Southern Africa.“It is also the longest archaeological sequence from a single site in the country‚ and it is comparable in its earliest phases to sites in the Cradle of Humankind which have stone tools and fossils from the two to one million year period‚” Kuman said. Kuman said the mining of Canteen Kopje will result in the irreversible destruction of an invaluable cultural and scientific resource and will rob future generations of their legacy.
BANGLADESH – Bhitargarh - "The excavation brought to light some interesting features of post Gupta period structures at Bhitargarh. The team also found a cruciform temple of post Gupta period along with other artefacts like copper and iron made objects and a black stone statue of goddess Manasa. "Recently found brick built structures belong to a temple of 7th century AD. Our findings show that the 25-square-kilometre city was part of Kamrup state. The city was protected by four fortified walls and surrounded by moat. The city planners had developed engineering and technological knowledge. "The people constructed three stone embankments on the Shalmara and Talma Rivers in the city to irrigate crop lands. "The city people maintained good business relations with Mohasthangarh city as well as different places in India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and some other South Asian countries through rivers," said Dr Shahnaz.
POLOGNE – Gdansk - During the architectural and conservation study in the basement of the historic city hall building in Gdańsk, researchers uncovered relics of a wall painting depicting the scene of the Crucifixion. The discovery was made in the Pole Chamber, which in the Middle Ages served as a "tax office", where port fees collected (so-called pile fees, the name comes from pile moorings). Later, the place was transformed into the Excise Duty Chamber, where the tax on food called the excise duty was collected. These interiors are among the best preserved medieval secular spaces in Gdańsk. The discovery was made after the removal of cement plaster made after the war from the walls. Underneath were preserved fragments of medieval painting depicting the Crucifixion. This is a surprising discovery, since the chamber had secular functions. Historians knew that the town hall once had a chapel, but were unable to determine its precise location until now. In 1427, under edict of Pope Martin V, Gdańsk City Council was granted permission to establish a chapel in the town hall. Until now, researchers assumed that the masses for councillors and their families were celebrated in the Great Hall of the Council. The new discovery, researchers believe, may indicate the ground floor, but nothing else indicates that the Pile Chamber had such purpose.