25 JUILLET 2016 NEWS: Gaza - Chirner - Iznik - Thame
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PALESTINE – Gaza - Tall al-Ajjul, south of Gaza City, is one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Gaza Strip. The site is a mound on the north bank of Wadi Gaza, where the old town of Beth-Eglaim was located during the days of the Mamluks and Ayyubis. In 2200 B.C., this town represented ancient Gaza, which was located during the Canaanite era in 3000 B.C. in the middle of what is now Gaza City. Its important geographic location between Asia and Africa made it a battlefield for most empires of the ancient and new worlds, such as the Assyrians, pharaohs, Persians, Greeks, Romans and Crusaders. Tall al-Ajjul was an extension of a large commercial port during the early Iron Age (1200 B.C.) and maintained broad trade relations with Egypt, Syria and the Mediterranean islands. In 1933, British archaeologist William Matthew Flinders Petrie discovered gold jewelry, ornamental objects, palaces and horse stables there. Fadel al-Otol, a Palestinian antiquities restoration expert and member of the French Institute for Archaeology, which is part of the French Consulate in Jerusalem, told Al-Monitor, “Tall es-Sakan is the oldest archaeological site in Gaza and it was established 1,000 years before Tall al-Ajjul, in the Middle Bronze Age. Tall al-Ajjul acquired its name from a Golden Calf [“al-Ajal" referring to a calf in English]. The ground [in this region] was filled with pharaonic scarabs made of ivory, copper and bones. Water channels feeding Ancient Gaza stemmed from Tall al-Ajjul.” Otol added, “Tall al-Ajjul was razed since it was considered a land owned by Palestinian families living in the region, rather than an important archaeological area.”
- INDE – Chirner - Locals in Chirner village in Uran have been worshipping two ancient stones in the Bhairav temple for years. For the villagers, the deity inside the temple is an incarnation of goddess Parvati and the one outside is believed to be a protecting god. The vermillion-smeared deities were recently identified as ‘Gadhegals’ or Ass Curse stones dating back to the 12th century by archaeologists Kurush Dalal and Harshada Wirkud. “While the inscriptions on both the stones have been lost to years of vermillion, the motifs on the stones clearly suggest that they are land grant stones,” said Dalal. Land grant stones are government notices with carved inscriptions, which say that a particular piece of land was being granted to an individual and trespassers would be punished. These stones would then be planted on the said land.
- TURQUIE – Iznik – The excavation works in the 2,000-year-old Roman theater located in İznik, which was home to Romans for centuries, aims to turn the remains into an actual theater that functions for the locals. Previously, the excavations in the Roman theater only took place a couple of months a year. However, the excavation team from Dokuz Eylül University's Department of Archaeology has decided to continue their work throughout the year. Associate Professor Aygün Ekin Meriç of the Department of Archaeology at Dokuz Eylül University said their priority in the excavations is to find the original floor of the building and erect the huge door that was standing at the entry. The Roman theater in İznik is located within the city walls. According to the letter written by Bithynia governor Plinius to the Roman Emperor Trainaus in 111 B.C., the theater's construction had begun many years ago but was uncompleted despite the fact the empire spent a great deal of money on it. The letter also mentions cracks on the benches of the theater. However, it is not clear whether the theater was later used by the Romans or not. Recent archaeological excavations revealed the theater was later demolished and that the stones of the structure were used in other constructions. The fact that the martyrs killed during the Latin invasion of Constantinople were buried in the corridors of the theater makes it certain that the theater was not used from the 13th century onward.
ROYAUME UNI – Thame - The site of a new housing estate in Thame is actually the home of a stone age henge and shows humans have been living there for 6,000 years. Oxford and Cotswold Archaeology found the 3,000 year old henge and an older causewayed enclosure but also Iron-age round houses and ritual burial through to a Roman well and buildings from the Saxon period, all supported by artefacts in the form of tools, coinage, pottery and human remains.