24 - 25 JUILLET 2010


 - 25 JUILLET :

 - SYRIE : Houran - Archaeological excavations in the Houran region in Daraa, southern Syria, show that the region mastered the craft of pottery and its various uses 5000 years ago. The excavations uncovered great numbers of pottery known as "black clay". The pottery craft emerged in Houran around 3000 BC, producing pottery of various sizes and purposes, most important of which are those discovered in tombs dating back to the Bronze Age (3100-2100 BC). Most of pottery findings in Houran date back to the early, middle and late Bronze, Iron, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic Ages. The Bronze Age pottery is distinguished by the impurities and stone fragments in the thick clay used in making them, saying that the people of Houran gradually began to purify the clay and bake it at higher temperatures.During the Roman Age, Houran pottery became beautiful and well-constructed as the use of stone, bone and wooden moulds was introduced into the craft. The same period is characterized by the appearance of the red clay known as "terra sigillata," the considerable attention to decorations and patterns, and the appearance of black clay which is produced by using black soil in the clay mix and baking pottery in closed, smoke-filled kilns. The Islamic Age saw the emergence of a new technique where pottery was painted with oxidized metals, in addition to multi-colored pottery. Pottery from this era was influenced by Chinese and Iranian art. Around 4,200 pieces of pottery were discovered by the Daraa Directorate of Archaeology, 1,200 of which were uncovered during the current season at the Tal al-Ashaari tombs which date back to 2100-1600 BC.


 - KENYA : Malindi - A team of 11 Chinese archaeologists will arrive in Kenya tomorrow to begin the search for an ancient shipwreck and other evidence of commerce with China dating back to the early 15th century. The sunken ship is believed to have been part of a mighty armada commanded by Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He, who reached Malindi in 1418. According to Kenyan lore, reportedly backed by recent DNA testing, a handful of survivors swum ashore. After killing a python that had been plaguing a village, they were allowed to stay and marry local women, creating a community of African-Chinese whose descendants still live in the area.


 - QATAR : Zubara - A programme of excavations at Zubara is planned by the QMA, followed by a proposal to seek nomination as a World Heritage Site. Excavations by the Department of Antiquities in Qatar had already been conducted in the 1980s and 2002-4, uncovering two housing complexes, a section of the perimeter fortifications, a souq area and an industrial complex beside the shore. The new excavations have revealed clear evidence of town planning, and three large courtyard houses with walls that screened the inner courtyard from the gaze of visitors, decorative architectural details, and several bathrooms. The overall impression is of a high standard of living enjoyed by the inhabitants. A large construction has been dubbed “the palace compound” by the archaeologists. This fortified compound probably housed the ruling elite, and features decorated gypsum panels and date presses. Examination of the contents of a midden beside the “palace” revealed that the inhabitants included a large proportion of meat in their diet, whereas elsewhere fish was the main source of protein.
The settlement at Zubara did not consist only of permanent structures “as there is evidence from the number of post holes that some of the people lived in traditional huts of woven palm leaves, and probably tents as well.


 - 24 JUILLET :

 - FRANCE :   La Rochelle - Les sondages ont révélé d'importants vestiges datant du Moyen-Âge. Le rempart qui protégeait la partie sud de la ville a été retrouvé. Il était déjà bien connu des historiens, grâce aux plans anciens des XVIe et XVIIe siècles. Ce chantier archéologique offre aux chercheurs l'occasion de mener pour la première fois une étude approfondie des fortifications protégeant cette partie de la ville, de comprendre leur évolution et leurs relations avec les bâtiments environnants.


 - FRANCE : Les Eyzies - Le centre d'accueil de la préhistoire a été inauguré. Dans ce centre gratuit, le visiteur a à sa disposition une palette extraordinaire d'outils pour approfondir ses connaissances sur la préhistoire. A l'étage, un centre de documentation donne accès à des livres et Internet, renvoyant à près de 36 000 références. Au niveau inférieur, au rez de jardin, un espace pédagogique d'initiation à l'archéologie de 700m2 a été conçu l'accueil de groupes scolaires ou de jeunes ou d'adultes, souhaitant s'initier à la préhistoire ou approfondir leurs connaissances. On y trouve une reconstitution d'un chantier de fouilles archéologiques dans un abri sous roche, avec des laboratoires de terrain à proximité, des ateliers des sciences de l'archéologie, deux grandes salles de travail équipées de microscopes. Sans oublier un auditorium de 230 places, une salle d'exposition temporaire.


 - ROYAUME-UNI : Wiltshire - Archaeologists have discovered remarkable evidence of a spectacular party – enjoyed by Neolithic tribesmen 4,500 years ago. Excavations at Britain's biggest "henge" site – a prehistoric religious complex 16 times the size of Stonehenge – have yielded the remains of dozens of pigs slaughtered for an ancient ceremonial feast. The archaeologists also discovered the remains of a temporary Neolithic ritual building which they believe was constructed specially for the event – probably for staging religious feasts and rituals. The 25sq m timber structure was surrounded by hundreds of discarded pig bones. It's one of the very few Neolithic buildings ever discovered in Britain. Built on top of the earthwork bank of Marden Henge's previously unknown inner sanctum, the building overlooked the river Avon. The archaeologists – led by English Heritage prehistorian Jim Leary – believe that the river was sacred to the prehistoric population of the area.