24 JUILLET 2018: Tak'alik Ab'aj - Lyutitsa - Kastritsi - Mikulčice -
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SUMMER TERM : JULY 2018
GUATEMALA – Tak'alik Ab'aj - Two carved Olmec monuments and a nearly 2,500-year-old column were found in the Tak'alik Ab'aj archaeological park in southwest Guatemala, officials with the local Ministry of Culture said Friday, according to AFP. "This finding strengthens the proposal put forward by the archaeologists of the site, who indicate that in Tak'alik Ab'aj there was a transition between the two cultures," the culture minister, José Luis Chea explained. The city of Tak'alik Ab'aj was originally inhabited by Olmecs (1,500 BC to 100 AD) and by Mayans during its expansion in the middle Pre-Classic period (800 to 300 BC)."The discovery consists of two carved stone fragments" of monuments "253a" and "253b" and column "86" which "correspond to the middle Preclassic period (800-350 BC) of the Olmec era," Chea told the reporters. Archaeologist, Christa Schieber, said the researchers found the first monument which is in the form of an Olmec head that represents symbols of power and corresponds to an authority referred to as "Grandfather." The monument is placed "on its head" and signifies "the meaning of the descent from the heavens of the ancestor," said Schieber, who is one of the experts leading the exploration in the municipality of El Asintal, 125 km southwest of the capital. The second piece is "exquisitely" carved containing an emblem of ritual, with the column weighing nearly 5 tons, and together they show "The Descent of the Grandfather," the archaeologist further explained. The culture minister added that the pieces found were part of other "monumental" structures which were mutilated "to mark the end of the middle Pre-Classic period, corresponding to the Olmec occupation and dedicated to the start of a new cycle, according to the Mayan era." In October 2012, the Guatemalan archaeologists announced the discovery of the tomb of a powerful king in Tak'alik Ab'aj, which could have led to the transition from Olmec to Mayan culture between 700 and 400 years BC
BULGARIE – Lyutitsa - A lead seal which has never been discovered in Bulgaria, has been found during archaeological excavations of the medieval fortress of Lyutitsa, near Ivaylovgrad, in Southeastern Bulgaria, the press office of the National Historical Museum (NIM) said. The excavations began in July. The valuable seal depicts Empress Irene (Yolande) Palaeologina of Montferrat, the second wife of Andronikos II Palaiologos. According to experts, this is the first such seal found in Bulgaria, and the other famous ones are currently two and are kept in the British National Museum. The find is extremely valuable and shows that Lyutitsa was an important Bulgarian city, the governors of which had correspondence with the rulers of the greatest medieval states. Empress Irene ruled between 1284 and 1317. She was born under the name of Yolande in 1274 in the Principality of Montferrat, present-day Italy. She was the daughter of Wilhelm VII (1240-1292), the Marquis de Montferrat, and his second wife Beatrice of Castile (1254-1286). In 1284, Yolande was married to the widowed Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II and accepted Orthodox name Irene, meaning peace.
BULGARIE - Kastritsi - Archaeologists are opening the 2018 summer dig season at the Kastritsi fortified settlement site at Euxinograd Palace, just north of the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna. In previous years, about half of the 1.5 hectare site has been excavated, leading to the finding of about 2500 ancient coins, including gold coins that date to the time of Tsar Ivan Alexander, the 14th Century ruler of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Numerous ceramic and metal objects have been found. Archaeologists have uncovered features typical of a mediaeval fortified town – narrow streets but large houses and storehouses. A 15th century chronicle mentions a fortress called Macropolis, presumably Kastritsi fortress. By the 16th century, the settlement was a harbour called Kersic, though the settlement would disappear in the ensuing centuries. However, in the 19th century the ruins of the fortress wall were still clearly visible. The site was examined and measured by Czech-Bulgarian archaeologist Karel Škorpil in 1899. In mediaeval times, the settlement had a mixed population, of Greeks, Bulgarians, Genoese and Venetians, among others, a sign of its place in trade and commerce along the Black Sea coast at the time. Excavations in the modern era were done by a team headed by Professor Valentin Pletnyov of the Varna Museum from 2004 to 2011. Examined was a large part of the north-facing fortification wall, which was 200m in length, 1.8 to two metres thick and which had been three metres high. There were five round bastion towers. There is evidence of additions and modifications to the structure by the Ottomans in the 15th to 16 centuries. The archaeological team found the street network clearly outlined in the excavated area of the city, with parts of pavements of stone slabs. Also found was a small single-nave church, with later monastery buildings. Foundations of residential buildings were found. A second church was excavated in 2014 and was found to have been a residential building converted into a church. To the west of the church was a necropolis with 20 Christian burials. Archaeologists believe that the church was, in effect, a family chapel. The coins found date from no later than the early 15th century, leading to the conclusion that the city was gradually abandoned after that date, and only the fortress used as part of a system to guard the harbour. The site made headlines in 2016 when archaeologists found an inn that they suspected was, in fact, a brothel.
Rép. TCHEQUE - Mikulčice - Inhabitants of the Great Moravian fortified settlement in Mikulčice, which dates back to the 8th century, cultivated cannabis and poppies, as well as peaches, pears and nuts, new research has found. A team from the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic specialising in archaeobotany has said a surprising number of ancient vineyards have been uncovered in the region. Some varieties of grapes cultivated by the ancient Slavs have yet to be classified and may have gone extinct or been hybrids, a researcher told the Czech News Agency. The Great Moravian fortified settlement is linked to the medieval Christian missionaries SS Cyril and Methodius, who created a special script for Slavs and translated basic Christian texts into Old Slavonic.