22 AOUT 2011 NEWS : Gréez sur Roc - Eauze - Bermudes - Jérusalem - Ouganda - Fort Popham - Charleston -
- 22 AOÛT
PRE-INSCRIPTION : 15 Juin – 31 Août
PRE-REGISTRATION: June 15th - August 31st
- FRANCE - Gréez-sur-Roc -Les archéologues ont présenté un bilan des dix années de fouilles sur le site archéologique de La Motte. Une aventure qui a débuté par les quelque 40 000 silex dénichés par Jean Jousse, l'inventeur du site. « C'est la société du Pays fertois qui a établi le contact avec nous, explique Jean-Noël Guyodo, chercheur de l'université de Rennes. Nous avons d'abord lancé quelques études avant de lancer une première campagne de fouilles en 2003. » Depuis, le site a su se bâtir une belle réputation dans le milieu de l'archéologie. « Au fil de ces dix années, nous avons fouillé 10 % du site, soit environ 6 000 m 2 . Ce n'est pas une mince affaire dans le domaine de l'archéologie ! A l'époque, tout le secteur a été complètement délaissé et grâce aux découvertes réalisées à Gréez-sur-Roc, un grand nombre de sites dans un périmètre d'une centaine de kilomètres autour de Gréez a été découvert. » Les travaux, intégralement financés par le ministère de la Culture, ont permis de mettre à jour les traces de cinq maisons. Une trouvaille importante qui a mis en évidence des techniques de construction. « En effet, jusqu'à présent, pour trouver des exemples de construction du néolithique il fallait aller en Jordanie. Depuis des décennies, il y avait une idée très préconçue sur les bâtiments de cette époque. » La variété des plans de maisons a aussi mis en évidence des évolutions de la société, plus libérale dans le mode de construction. « A travers ce village, qui bénéficie d'un sol particulièrement bien préservé, nous pouvons surtout comprendre la dynamique de l'occupation, comment vivaient les peuples du néolithique », poursuit Jean-Noël Guyodo. Après avoir passé un bon nombre d'étés sur le chantier de fouilles, les chercheurs ont, cette année, définitivement terminé leur travail sur le site. Mais il faudra quelques années d'études pour exploiter l'ensemble de ces données. « Cela ne veut pas dire que nous excluons de revenir sur le terrain pour poursuivre les recherches dans quelques années », termine le chercheur.
- FRANCE – Eauze - Vendredi soir, ils poseront les pelles. Les fouilleurs de la Domus repartiront, non sans regrets, car il reste des vestiges à découvrir. C'est avec une émotion certaine que Pierre Pisani retrace ces dix années de fouille pendant lesquelles 3 000 m3 de terre ont été remués pour découvrir les 4 000 m2 sur lesquels sont implantés les vestiges de la Domus érigée au IIIe siècle ; celle-ci s'étalait sur 1 500 m2 et était constituée de quatre ailes d'habitation entourant un jardin intérieur et un puits ; cette demeure appartenant à une riche famille élusate va évoluer tout au long du IVe siècle jusqu'à son abandon avant le début du VIe siècle. Cet ensemble de vestiges démontre bien l'importance d'Elusa capitale de la Novempopulanie. Cette découverte va servir d'exemple, car elle est la plus complète dans la région Midi-Pyrénées et le rapport de synthèse sera publié vraisemblablement en 2014, ce qui coïncidera avec l'ouverture officielle du site. Ce rapport servira de référence pour toute l'histoire de la Novempopulanie, car il fera la synthèse de la première Domus fouillée entièrement dans le Sud-Ouest. D'ailleurs, la dernière découverte d'enduits ne fait que confirmer cette thèse puisqu'ils sont rarissimes.
- BERMUDES - In October 1619, the Warwick came to Bermuda with colonists and cargo; it was a stopping point for the English ship, which was bound for Jamestown in Virginia. The ship was here about a month, offloading some colonists and food and preparing to leave. But on Nov. 20, according to chronicles, a hurricane struck Bermuda. The Warwick's crew was prepped, but the moorings gave way and the ship crashed into the reefs and rocks surrounding the anchorage, one of the best inside Castle Harbour. The ship was completely lost -- sunk with everything it still had on board. The governor of Bermuda, Capt. Nathaniel Butler, had been on board; he had a journal and wrote down events day after day. So we had very good data about the Warwick's location. Butler came to the site a year later and recovered at least three cannon and barrels of beer. The following year, five more cannon and more provisions were recovered. A Bermudian discovered the site in 1967; he only recovered some artifacts and never did real archaeology on the site. Piotr Bojakowski, 32, has been working in Bermuda for about a year as an archaeologist and conservator at the National Museum of Bermuda :’ The last day of current research was July 17. Before then, we were uncovering a large section we believe is mid-ship. We slowly and carefully removed sand and silt. We've explored the hold,where the cargo was and found shards of bottles -- beer and wine -- and pieces of bones, mostly of cows. We've found broken barrel staves; the barrels probably had salted beef for the voyage and for the Jamestown colony. When we wrapped up the research season, we re-covered the site with sand and silt -- protection against storms and marine organisms that would eat the wood. The whole ship is oak.’
- ISRAËL – Jérusalem - For hundreds of years, when visitors arrived in Jerusalem and entered the city by way of Damascus Gate – the largest and most magnificent of Jerusalem’s gates – they glanced up and saw the large ‘crown’ that the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent built atop the gate in 1538 CE. But in 1967 the gate sustained serious damage and the crown was destroyed during the fighting in the Six Day War. Now, the Jerusalem Development Authority, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority and with funding provided by the Prime Minister’s Office, is concluding a comprehensive project of rehabilitating Damascus Gate, during which the gate was cleaned of the effects from the ravages of time and its ornamentation was restored, including the magnificent ‘crown’ at the top of the gate.
- OUGANDA - UGANDA is on the world map as one of the countries where the origins of humankind can be traced with the recent discovery by the French Palaeontologists of the Ugandapithecus, a male fossil skull in Napak, Karamoja. The find dates 20 million years.
A Franco-Uganda Palaeontological Research Project has lasted 25 years in the Karamoja region as well as western Uganda. There is a similar collaborative research project with the University of Michigan, US. Another archaeological project also dating 25 years exists between the British Institute in Eastern Africa based in Nairobi and the Department of Museums and Monuments of Uganda. Therefore a lot of palaeontological and archaeological research has been conducted throughout Uganda for this long time.
- USA - Fort Popham - In 1607, few white people had seen the New World. The landmark discoveries of Christopher Columbus and late 16th century fishing fleets seeking cod and other sea life had assured that all of Europe knew of a land abundant with natural resources, including tall and straight mast pines crucial for the construction of sailing vessels. With those riches in his sights and the rival French eyeing them too, King James I of England sent two groups to the Eastern Seaboard in the late summer of 1607. One went to Jamestown, near what is now Chesapeake Bay in the state of Virginia. The other group came to the mouth of what is now known as the Kennebec River, where they built a fort and a bustling colony. Not only were they some of the first white settlers in the New World, but the two settlements marked the beginning of Britain’s long history of creating crown-controlled colonies all over the world. Today, Jamestown is entrenched in the history books as the “Birthplace of America.” More than 1,500 acres have been preserved by Congress and the state of Virginia and thousands of tourists flock there every year. The Popham Colony site, on the other hand, is little more than a grassy field marked by two plaques, a flagpole and a boulder that commemorates the construction of the Virginia, “Maine’s First Ship,” which was built and launched from the site in 1608. On a typical summer day, a handful of visitors might read the plaques and gain some measure of understanding about the site’s monumental historical significance. But for the most part, Popham Colony’s story is unknown by the masses. Approximately 120 colonists, including experts in everything from construction to militia to blacksmithing, arrived at the site in August 1607 and began the construction of a fort, a village and ship called the Virginia. Though they were there for little more than a year, they managed to erect a military fort and village in a place that until then had been the realm of only Native Americans. Based on its latitude, which it shared with warm climates in southern Europe, the men didn’t expect the bitter cold known well by Mainers of today. Many historians believe the winter weather was a major reason for the colony’s abandonment in the fall of 1608. Another factor in the colony’s failure is that its leader, Raleigh Gilbert, came into some family riches, which led him back to England. Bradford, who has been heavily involved with the archaeological excavations at the site, said each artifact he unearths is as fascinating as the last and that many of them reveal details about the triumphs and failures of the colonists. One of Bradford’s most exciting finds was a post hole from the colonial storehouse. Its proximity to earlier discoveries told archaeologists where they would find the rest of the building as well as other structures. In the painstaking process of archaeology, a post hole is typically marked by a wide ring of discolored earth around the post itself, which is often as hard as iron. “When you hit it with a trowel it sounded like metal,” recalled Bradford of discovering the 10-inch round vertical post. “It was built to last. The colonists went there to stay there and they put their money and resources where it was needed the most.” Further discoveries at the Popham Colony site, including iron smelting pits found in 2010, bore further evidence that the English had long-term plans for their village on the Kennebec. In fact, Brain and Bradford believe the existence of the smelting pits — which they plan to explore in another archaeological dig in September — might further distinguish the Popham Colony as the first place in the New World where Europeans produced iron.
- USA – Charleston - Four years ago, an old watercolor of Drayton Hall mysteriously surfaced, showing a prominent feature that had been lost to history. The feature -- a colonnade that linked the main house with its two flanker buildings-- had never been seen before by anyone with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The image, which dated from 1765, only triggered more questions. Among the biggest was this: What was the colonnade's architectural role? Was it built to provide shade and shelter to those walking between the main house and its support buildings or simply to provide a visual screen between the eastern and western sides of the property? This summer, Drayton Hall's archaeologist Sarah Stroud attempted to unearth some answers. In 2009, an archaeological dig found a prominent soil stain believed to be the colonnade, but only one wall was found, indicating the structure was more of a screen. Stroud thinks the colonnade served a more significant purpose. She thinks the columns and wall were separated by several feet and supported a roof that would have provided a covered walkway. So she mapped out a 10-foot by 15-foot plot on the northern side of the house that she hoped would contain new evidence of the wall. As her dig winds up this week, she acknowledges that it didn't. But her efforts weren't in vain. The dig did uncover other evidence, such as traces of small post holes, more clay pipe stems than anywhere else on the property dug up so far, a tiny brass door pull, a glass perfume bottle stopper and a large square feature in the center that Stroud is still contemplating. The colonnade is far from the only history that Stroud is trying to flesh out. Archaeology also can play an important role in interpreting Native Americans' presence on the site, as well as the European settlers who occupied it for a few generations before the Drayton family bought it.