23 FEVRIER 2017 NEWS: Londres - Peki’in - Namur - Huaihua -
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ROYAUME UNI – Londres - A 500-year-old mystery has surfaced after the skeletons of two male victims of the Black Death were found hand-in-hand. The skeletons were excavated from a plague burial ground in London. The men were buried in a double grave, in identical positions. Their heads were both turned to the right and they were holding hands. Experts believe the men, buried in Smithfields, died in one of the bubonic plagues that hit London following the first, and most famous, outbreak in 1348. However they have no idea why they were holding hands. Archaeologist Sam Pfizenmaier, who led the excavation, said: “One possible interpretation is that they were related in some way, for example by blood or marriage.” One theory is that the position of their hands was accidental. They were found when archaeologists excavated a site being developed for the Crossrail project. Among other items found were leather and textile fragments, shoes, a horse harness and luxury imports from Spain and Italy.
ROYAUME UNI – Londres - Tudors are famous for its beautiful and ornate clothing - and it seems their footwear was ahead of the times too. Archaeologists have uncovered one of the largest hauls of Tudor shoes during digging work on Crossrail. The shoes are similar to today's modern espadrilles, and were found alongside other styles that fastened with a strap over the instep. The unisex slip-ons worn by Elizabethans more than 450 years ago were on trend for the time, with low heels fashionable at Elizabeth's court. A total of 22 individual shoes made of thick cattle leather that would have belonged to ordinary Londoners were found by Crossrail archaeologists. The shoes were found with other general household rubbish including cooking wares, money boxes, a horse harness and ceramic wares. 'Sometime around 1570-90 the ditch was becoming very boggy, partly as it was being used as a dump for the neighbourhoods rubbish', Mr Pfizenmaier said.
ISRAEL - Peki’in - Plaques honoring donors seem to have been a thing going back to the dawn of writing. Hebrew inscriptions found on a stone in Peki’in appear to be benedictions to donors who helped build a synagogue, much as plaques today honor philanthropists for funding Torah scrolls, hospitals, park benches and the like. The present synagogue in Peki’in was built in the Middle Ages, Yardenna Alexandre, spokeswoman for the Israel Antiquities Authority, told Haaretz. The discovery of the engravings strengthens the theory that it was erected on the site of the original synagogue in the town, dating to the Roman era and possibly before, Alexandre said. The writing was found on an ancient limestone capital – the uppermost part of a column, and was discovered in the course of restoration and conservation work. Although it is still too early to be sure, preliminary analysis of the message suggests these were dedicatory inscriptions honoring donors to the synagogue, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Talmudic and Midrashic sources tell of the Galilean sages who lived in Peki’in, including Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who hid from the Romans in a cave,” Yoav Lerer of the IAA said. That said, he noted that not all archaeologists agree that the village they’re excavating is identical to the ancient Peki’in, though the area has been peopled for millennia. The site generally seems to have been occupied for over 4,000 years, going by Chalcolithic-era pottery and a grave. Peki’in also apparently has had a Jewish presence since the Second Temple, based in part on Jewish writings over the centuries (though if so, the name morphed somewhat, including to Baka). Certainly Ottoman-era censors reported dozens of Jewish families living there.
BELGIQUE – Namur - Ce sont les dernières fouilles de grande ampleur prévues au Grognon avant l'aménagement de l'espace "Confluence". Des fouilles menées par les équipes des archéologues de la Région wallonne qui doivent démarrer très bientôt. Fin février ou début mars. Après plusieurs phases de fouilles sur le site (notamment de 1994 à 2000 avec ce trou béant qui a marqué les Namurois), ces nouvelles recherches auront lieu cette fois du côté de la Sambre. Depuis les années 70, c'est la première fois que l'on creuse de ce côté. Le berceau de Namur intéresse les chasseurs d'histoire. "Le site a été occupé en continu depuis quasi 10 000 ans. Ce carrefour fluvial est une réelle mine d'or. Grâce à ces fouilles côté Sambre, on espère comprendre la sociologie de ce quartier qui vivait du commerce avec la Sambre et la Meuse à côté. On attend beaucoup de cette porte de Grognon". Les archéologues descendront en moyenne jusqu'à 7 mètres et demi, 8 mètres de profondeur. La topographie est très marquée. "En dessous de la nappe phréatique, on espère par exemple trouver des objets en bois bien conservés, comme des barques ou des pontons".
CHINE - Huaihua - The remains of a fortification built about 550 years ago have been found in central China's Hunan province, said archaeologists on Wednesday. The walls, resembling the Great Wall, stretches 18.4 kilometers on hills, with 12.3 kilometers well-preserved in the Yuanling county, Huaihua city. About 0.6 to 0.7 meters wide and 1.2 to 1.3 meters tall, they were built in the Ming Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Xianzong (1464-1487). There is evidence that people have settled in and around Yuanling for 2,200 years. It was a political, economic and cultural center of west Hunan. Guo Weimin, head of the Hunan provincial institute of cultural relics and archaeology, noted that the walls might have been used to mark the boundaries between different settlements. Archaeologists also found evidence of four military camps near the walls, as well as tombs, quarries, and a training ground. "The walls were built for defensive purposes in the Ming Dynasty. The ruins are one of the largest military sites in Hunan," said Yang Zhiyong, an associate research fellow with the city museum of Huaihua.