25 JANVIER 2018: Teotihuacan - Shenyang - Al Ghareen - Chinchero - Bayeux - Dax -
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WINTER TERM : JANUARY 2018
MEXIQUE – Teotihuacan - Spanish chroniclers may have altered the name of the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan to erase its importance as a place of governance, Mexican experts said Tuesday. The Aztecs may have called the city “Teohuacan” — literally “the city of the sun.” That contrasts with “the city of the gods” or “the place where men become gods” as Teotihuacan is translated. Veronica Ortega, an archaeologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History, said a lesser-known Aztec document contained a pictogram referring to the city as a combination of sun, temple and ruler signs. In the Xolotol Codex, which is in France, the word “Teohuacan” is written underneath. But later Codices — Aztec pictographic documents drawn up to inform the Spanish about the land they had conquered — contain the spelling “Teotihuacan.” Ortega said the Spanish were uncomfortable with “Teohuacan” because the sun was a symbol for rulers and they wanted to concentrate all power in nearby Mexico City, the Aztec capital they conquered in 1521. “They wanted people to see Teotihuacan as a place of worship, but not as a place where rulers were anointed, because they wanted to keep the political center in Tenochtitlan” — the Aztec name for Mexico City, Ortega said. The debate may seem somewhat academic, because nobody knows what name the inhabitants of the city called it during its apex between 100 B.C. and A.D. 750, when it had about 100,000 residents. The city was abandoned long before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century. Both Teotihuacan and Teohuacan are words in the Aztec’s Nahuatl language, and nobody knows what language the people of Teotihuacan spoke.
CHINE - Shenyang - Two sites of ancient tombs dating back 1,000 years were discovered in northeast China's Liaoning Province, local archaeological authorities said Wednesday. The Liao Dynasty (916-1125) tombs were unearthed at a cultural relic site in Kangping County in Shenyang City, after an excavation started in April 2017, according to Shenyang archaeology institute. Nearly 500 items were also found, including over 20 pieces of well-preserved exquisite porcelain dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Zhao Xiaogang, deputy head of the institute, said one of the tomb groups was believed to belong to noblemen of the Khitan ethnic group. Inside the three large brick tombs, a number of precious funeral objects were found, such as outer coffins and gilded silk face masks. Near the tombs, the relics of a large house was also excavated. Zhao said the discoveries were valuable to the study of the burial traditions of the Khitan nobility in the Liao Dynasty. The Liao Dynasty was founded by a nomadic Khitan and ruled a northern part of China.
OMAN – Al Ghareen - Ministry of Heritage and Culture of Oman and the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) began the archaeological excavation in the town of Al Ghareen in the Niyabat of Samad Al Shan in the Wilayat of Al Mudhaibi in the Governorate of North A'Sharqiyah. The preliminary excavations revealed the ancient civilization of Oman, which indicated the old commercial association with the civilizations of Dilmun, Sindh, Mesopotamia and Iran. Dr. Khalid Ahmed Daghlash, Head of Archeology Department at SQU, said that the discovered belongs to the ancient civilization of Oman from 2500 to 2000 BC and represents a very ancient settlement. He explained that the excavation revealed the presence of a large settlement of at least more than 50 buildings, in addition to a large building which represents a distinctive architectural features of the ancient civilization of Oman with an estimated diameter of 20-25 meters and height of 4-6 meters, where the tower was built of stones, with a wall of more than two meters wide. Head of Archeology Department at SQU said that the preliminary observations on this tower show that it passed through several stages of architecture. The first phase included the construction of the tower and after a period of time the tower was exposed to demolition and vandalism, after which the inhabitants abandoned the place for a certain period of time. In the early stage the work was in copper industry because of the presence of indicators on the surface of the site.
PEROU – Chinchero - Impressive Inca enclosures and agricultural terraces were found following excavation and restoration works at Qentepata area of Chinchero Archaeological Park —situated an hour from South Andean Cusco city. According to Felix Vilca, from State-run Decentralized Culture Directorate of Cusco (DDCC), the vestiges were buried under the ground following the construction of the Chinchero site museum and houses in the upper area. At terrace 1, excavators found small enclosures of the Inca time and an aqueduct at the foot of the wall. This conduit was used to bring water to crops. Part of a two-room enclosure was recovered at terrace 2, and there is evidence of another wall heading north. Plus, an enclosure with similar characteristics was found at the opposite side. Three rectangular-shaped enclosures were unveiled at terrace 3. These large buildings cover the cultivation area in full. One of the enclosures had its floor made of stone which, according to its features, might date from colonial and republican times. "S/1,262,000 (about US$392,412) was invested in 2017 to execute works at terraces 1, 2, 3 and 10 of Qentepata zone, encompassing more than 200 linear meters of Inca walls part of the stair-step like terraces rising to the top, where the Chinchero site museum is located," the archaeologist explained. The restoration and enhancement of Qentepata farming terraces is a multiannual project that began in 2013 and is expected to be completed this year, after more than four years of hard work.
FRANCE - Bayeux - Avant la construction du centre d'interprétation médiéval qui doit ouvrir en 2023, un diagnostic archéologique a été entrepris le 8 janvier. Les premiers sondages ont permis de mettre au jour des restes humains dans ce qui étaient les faubourgs de la ville gallo-romaine. Sous le parking, les archéologues sont, sans surprise, tombés sur les restes d'une allée gallo-romaine. Ce qui était en revanche moins attendu, c'est la découverte de restes humains. "On a des sépultures vraisemblablement liées au prieuré, et on a des éléments qu'on ne connaissait pas comme l'extension d'un cimetière qui nous était inconnu" explique Grégory Schütz sur service départemental d'archéologie. Les éléments mis au jour sont soigneusement répertoriés. Un rapport sera remis aux services de l'état, "l'idée étant de préserver les informations que nous transmettent ces vestiges, soit en effectuant des fouilles approfondies, soit en les conservant et en épargnant le secteur où ils se trouvent".
FRANCE – Dax - Les vestiges d’une ancienne nécropole ainsi que les traces d’une activité artisanale ont été découverts lors des fouilles préventives entamées en novembre sur les terrains Darrigade. Alors que ces fouilles doivent bientôt s’achever, un premier bilan de chantier, effectué cette semaine par les responsables de la Drac et de la société Archeodunum, permet de confirmer que ce site situé en lisière du territoire actuel de la commune de Dax, porte trace d’une présence humaine très ancienne. Cette dernière remonte au bas mot au VIe voire au VIIIe siècle avant Jésus-Christ. Une ancienne nécropole, avec des urnes, contenant des cendres et des ossements, a été identifié, dans une partie du site. Elle concernerait les restes d’une quinzaine de personnes. Des traces d’habitat, ainsi que d’anciens fours ont été également découvertes. Ces indices laissent penser que ce terrain, très humide et vallonné, a pu accueillir des activités artisanales puis agricoles. La nature des productions réalisées sur place reste encore à déterminer. Mais Alexandre Lemaire, responsable des fouilles, penche pour l’hypothèse d’une production de sel, extrait de gisements locaux. Les Salins du Midi continuent d’ailleurs d’exploiter l’un des filons tout proche, à Saint-Pandelon.