22 - 24 DECEMBRE 2010


 - 24 DECEMBRE :

 - YEMEN :   Socotra -  Russian archaeological team has unearthed an ancient city in Socotra Island. After four-year archaeological excavations, the Russian team managed to discover an ancient city called "Khajlah" and located near Hidibu city, the main city in the island. The city is dated back to the second century AD, according to the team's expectation. The team said that the remains of the exposed ancient houses, roads, alleys and squares indicated that the city had been an administrative, religious and cultural area for the entire island. Socotra is an archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth. Botanical field surveys led by the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants - part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - indicate that 307 out of the 825 (37%) plant species on Socotra are endemic i.e. they are found nowhere else on Earth. One of the most striking of Socotra's plants is the dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari), which is a strange-looking, umbrella-shaped tree. Its red sap was thought to be the dragon's blood of the ancients, sought after as a medicine and a dye.


 - CHINE Shandong - A site of the canal lock (called Tuqiao Lock) along the Grand Canal was unearthed completely in Liaocheng, Shandong Province. It will be put into use as the eastern section of the South-North Water Transfer Project after restoration. Starting in Beijing, the Grand Canal passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou. Built 2,500 years ago, it is still the longest canal or artificial river in the world, about 1,794 kilometers long. The unearthing work of the canal lock lasted from August to December. The Tuqiao Lock built in 1471 during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) was one of the 13 waterlocks in the Liaocheng section of the Great Canal, which can adjust the water level. It is said that one component of the Tuqiao Lock ‘Lock Mouth’ is cubic - 6.8 meters long, 6.2 meters wide and 7.5 meters deep. At the same time, there are many cultural relics unearthed, including thousands of porcelains, hundreds of ironwares, few stone and jade wares, which offer samples for the study of ceramics from the Ming and Qing dynasties.



 - VIET-NAM :   Ha Noi - A tomb estimated to be about 2,000 years old has been excavated at an archaeological site on the outskirts of Ha Noi.  And other objects found at the site indicate that there was an earlier settlement dating back as far as 4,000BC – to the beginnings of Viet Nam's history as a trading nation. So far, scientists have found an earthenware jar and cooking pan – plus, most significantly, a bronze axe, all of which are thought to belong to the renowned Dong Son culture (2,000BC-AD200).  But they have also uncovered various working tools, weapons and daily wares made from stone, bronze and pottery from the preceding Dong Dau culture, which existed from 4,000 to 2,500BC. Human bones were found inside the tomb, but they were said to have been almost destroyed by time. They could provide evidence of the physique and type of the people of the time. The excavation site, named Go Den Ran, covers a total area of 3,000sq.m. The discoveries have been brought to light by archaeologists from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities who have been working for more than a year. The site is within the allocated border for an urban development area named Kim Chung – Di Trach Urban Zone. Scientists have asked concerned agencies to stop construction so that further study can be carried out.


 - 22 DECEMBRE :

 - U.S.A. :   Columbia - A University of South Carolina archaeologist has found the wreck of C.S.S. Peedee, a Confederate gunboat that was destroyed by Confederate forces so it would not be captured by Union forces, in the Pee Dee River. The discovery comes 18 months after underwater archaeologist Chris Amer confirmed the presence of two of three cannon from the gunboat in the river: a Confederate Brooke rifled cannon and a Union Dahlgren smooth-bore, 9-inch shell cannon near the Confederate Mars Bluff Navy Yard. In November, Amer used sonar to search for the debris and found evidence of the wreck: ripples on the sand where sediment had built up over debris, magnetic "hits" in straight lines depicting the iron bolts along bedding timbers and a tree stuck on something substantial on the river's bottom, possibly ship timbers. The condition of the wreck doesn't surprise him.  After all, he said, the Confederate commanders set the 170-foot gunboat ablaze and blew it up in 1865 so it wouldn't fall into the hands of Gen. William T. Sherman's northward advancing Union troops. In the early 1900s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers further damaged the wreck while clearing the river channel for boat traffic.


 - VIET-NAM : My Son - Safeguarding of the My Son World Heritage Site took another step forward with the completion this month of the second phase of a preservation project. The tripartite project between UNESCO, and the Italian and Vietnamese Governments focused on the preservation of Group G of monuments, the most important collection of remains at My Son Holy Site located in the central province of Quang Nam's Duy Xuyen District. The group, consisting of five monuments, was selected for UNESCO preservation and sponsorship from the Italian Fund-In-Trust due to its unique decoration and materials and outstanding example of how a Cham sacred area was organised. It lies on an elevated area never affected by seasonal flooding, and had never been restored, despite its considerable archaeological importance. Consolidation of the restoration of the G1 monument (the sanctuary), the most important of the Group G monuments was completed; with the lessons learnt from the Group G restoration to form a basis for future restoration of Cham brick monuments.



 - JORDANIE :   Jordan Valley - Hundreds of millennial tombs have been spared destruction with the formation of a new archaeological preserve in the Jordan Valley. According to the Department of Antiquities, a new protected area has been declared in the Damiya dolmen fields, an area home to hundreds of megalithic structures dating back to 3000BC that has been under mining operations. Under the agreement, 23 dolmens that remain within the mining concession area will be relocated to the protective zone, which was recently registered as an archaeological site. Dolmens are Early Bronze Age (3600-3000BC) megalithic structures, which, according to some, experts, may date back to the Chalcolithic period, around 4500-3500BC. Although their exact usage is in dispute, many believe the sandstone and travertine dolmens were once used as burial chambers and for cultic rituals. The average dolmen in Jordan is around three metres long, one metre high and one metre wide, although some reach up to seven metres in length, according to various surveys. Between 250-300 dolmens are located in the Damiyah Dolmen Field, which had been placed on a World Monuments Fund watchlist in 2009 and again in 2010. The Damiya Dolmen Archaeological Park is expected to be opened to visitors some time next year.


 - FRANCE :    Limoges - Il s'agit de la proposition de Renaissance du Vieux Limoges. L'idée de laisser enterré le baptistère Saint-Jean s'entoure d'autres préconisations. La fouille archéologique réalisée durant l'été 2005 par l'équipe de l'archéologue Julien Denis remonte à la surface. Nous voulons parler du baptistère Saint-Jean, au pied de la cathédrale. Enterré depuis plusieurs années pour le protéger, ce baptistère à la forme atypique ne laisse pas indifférent l'association Renaissance du Vieux Limoges. Il faut le laisser enterrer. Ensuite, il convient de mettre une ligne de pavés à l'échelle 1 et à l'aplomb des vestiges représentant ainsi la forme hexagonale de ce ba.ptistère.  Il suffit en fait de dégager uniquement la cuve baptismale. Il est également important d'installer un panneau explicatif concernant l'évolution du bâtiment dans l'histoire. Et puis, pourquoi ne pas mettre en valeur la voie romaine dallée située en face, vers la rue Porte-Panet.  Ce baptistère, à la forme hexagonale et à la taille imposante, est présenté comme l'un des plus grands de France. De plus, seules une vingtaine de villes françaises (dont la plupart en Provence) conservent de tels vestiges de l'époque paléochrétienne. Celui situé à proximité de la porte Saint-Jean, aux abords de la cathédrale, dispose d'une emprise au sol d'environ 290 mâ et possédait des murs d'une douzaine de mètres de hauteur. Ce baptistère est composé d'une pièce hexagonale prolongée sur chacun de ses côtés par des petites pièces quadrangulaires au nombre de six. Au centre de l'hexagone se trouve une piscine baptismale circulaire d'environ 1,45 m de diamètre. Dans ce bassin, vers 300 ou 400 après Jésus-Christ, les premiers chrétiens d'Augustoritum y furent baptisés.Autant d'éléments qui plaident en faveur de sa mise en valeur. Reste maintenant à définir comment.