20-21 SEPTEMBRE 2015 NEWS: Aslantepe - Sinnandimadai - Galiano - Hyderabad - Kumbdaje -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
ONLINE COURSES / COURS A DISTANCE
FALL TERM : OCTOBER 2015
TURQUIE – Aslantepe - The remains of a 5,000-year-old adobe basament of a possible “throne” have been unearthed during excavations in Turkey, revealing the origins of the secularization of power and one of the first evidence of the birth of the state system. Discovered in Aslantepe in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya, the structure consists of an adobe platform, raised by three steps above the floor, on top of which burnt wooden pieces were found. “The burnt wooden fragments are likely the remains of a chair or throne,” excavation director Marcella Frangipane of La Sapienza University in Rome, told Discovery News. Frangipane, who has long been digging at the site, is working to bring to light a huge complex dating to the fourth millennium B.C. (3350-3100 A.C.) “It’s the world’s first evidence of a real palace and it is extremely well preserved, with walls standing two meters high,” Frangipane said. The complex features two temples, storage rooms, various buildings and a large entrance corridor. Some walls are decorated with red and black motifs and with geometrical impressed patterns. “In the past two campaigns we found a large courtyard which can be reached through the corridor. On the courtyard stands a monumental building,” Frangipane said. Within such building, the archaeologists unearthed the adobe platform. It stood in a small room which opened into the courtyard. Frangipane believes the chief or king appeared in the throne room to give audience to the public, gathered in the large courtyard. In front of the platform where the throne likely stood, the archaeologists also unearthed two small and low adobe platforms, probably made for people to stand on while they appeared before the king. “This reception courtyard and building were not a temple complex, they rather appear as the heart of the palace. We do not have religious rites here, but a ceremony showing the power of the ‘king’ and the state,” Frangipane said. She noted the remains are the first evidence of a change in the exercise of power, which from theocratic becomes non-religious. Usually exerted in temples, power now happens in the throne room. “The state governing system was already in progress here,” Frangipane said.
INDE – Sinnandimadai - Earlier this week, a team of epigraphy students from PSG College of Arts and Science and their professor S Ravi excavated a red rectangular slab cist stone, believed to contain iron, from the Sinnandimadai excavation site. The area, located around 8km from Pollachi on the way to Dharapuram, shot to fame when local villagers and archaeologists discovered an ancient urn used to store remains of the dead. Archaeologists believe that the stone is proof that burial was a more preferred manner to dispose of the dead than cremation. "Our earliest literature and recent discoveries are further proof that during the Iron Age or 'Sangam Age' we preferred burying our dead, while in North India the system of cremating the dead was more preferred," said Ravi. "In fact, over the years we have learnt that the Tota people, who lived in and around the area we call Pollachi now, followed rituals similar to those of Egyptians, but just in a more subdued manner." According to Ravi, when a person died in the Tota community during the Megalithic age, the body was first kept in the open for birds and animals to eat away the flesh. Meanwhile, the men would go and carve out six massive rectangular stone pieces of rock to create a simple tomb. The dolmen would be a rectangular room, formed by one large stone placed at the base, four stones placed on its sides in the 'Swadhi' shape in such a way that they support each other and the sixth would be the cap stone placed on top of the structure to close it. "Inside these structures would be placed a few bone remains of the dead and some materials and products they used on a daily basis," he said. "The size and grandeur of these cists or tombs depended on the dead person's wealth or economic status," he said. Archaeologists are also focusing on discovering more of these rectangular tomb structures believing that they can find old vessels and products used by people 2,500 years ago inside them, giving an insight of their way of life, culture and traditions. "It was after the Megalithic Age, that the system of urns to store the remains of the dead came into being," said Ravi. One such urn discovered from the exploration site was donated by the local farmers and still stands inside the PSG Arts and Science College museum. "It was only after around 300 AD that these rituals were stopped and people began cremating0 instead," he said. During the Megalithic Age Romans used to cross Sinnandimadai on their way to the Arab deserts for trade. "This tradition also happened to stop after 300 AD," said Ravi.
CANADA - Galiano Island - First Nations in British Columbia were once believed to have travelled long distances to find prized volcanic rock for tools, but a new study of an ancient village suggests the mountain actually came to them. Archeologist Colin Grier has been studying the Gulf Island village site at Dionisio Point on Galiano Island for almost two decades, but it wasn’t until his team picked up a few dark stones on the beach that they began questioning the theory of travelling for stones to make tools. The associate professor at Washington State University’s anthropology department said the team tested the beach stones, the debris from stone toolmaking at the site and the volcanic rock from Mount Garibaldi over 100 kilometres away on British Columbia’s mainland.Grier said the finding dispels the theory that the villagers went all the way to Mount Garibaldi between 600 and 1,500 years ago to get the stone for their tools. Instead, the rock came to their beach thousands of years before. “It was picked right off the local beach, brought there by glaciers, conveniently, 12,000 years ago,” he said. Grier co-authored the study published in the September issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
INDE – Hyderabad - In yet another instance of apathy for heritage structures, a portion of the Badshahi Ashoorkhana, a listed heritage structure of the Qutub Shahi period in the Old City, collapsed on Friday.
INDE - Kumbdaje - Gosada, a rare linga, which is in a natural form has been discovered at the Mahishamardini temple in Kumbdaje village of Kasaragod taluk. A press release issued by Prof T Murugeshi, the head of the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, MSRS College, Shirva, stated that the structure is roughly a triangular stone about two feet in height and is beautifully carved. “This linga was found installed outside the temple and still under worship. It is a clear evidence of worship that existed in the remote past. It is older than the Gudimallam linga in antiquity and assignable between 5th and 6th century BC. So, it is one of the earliest lingas of South India as well as Kerala state,” said the professor. Speaking about the temple, he said it was circular in shape with the idol of the presiding deity seen with four hands and standing in the ‘samabhanga’ pose. “The deity has attributes like ‘prayoga chakra’ in the back right hand, a shankha (conch) in the back left hand, and a trident (trishula) in the front right hand. The front left hand is shown hanging down, parallel to the body. The deity’s left hand index finger is pointing to the Earth, which indicates that she was the ruler of the Earth. The structure was, undoubtedly, copied from Buddhist idols. The lion is shown standing with the face to the left. Stylistically, the idol belongs to the Cholan era, but was definitely a Tantric centre of the Shakti cult like Kollur in Karnataka,” he explained. A bronze idol of Mahishamardini of the Chola period is also discovered at the same site. It is also standing in the ‘samabhanga’ pose. “In the back right hand, the deity holds a ‘chakra’ with typical fire motifs while the left hand is mutilated, but holds a conch. In the front two hands, she hold a trident, with which she is piercing the demon Mahisha. In the back side of the temple, a Tulu inscription 0f 10th century was also discovered.