25 MAI 2018: Atacama - Karmir Sar - Pilbara -






CHILI20180526 amp002 0 Atacama - On the winter solstice in 2017, a team of researchers waited in the pre-dawn chill of the Atacama desert. Before them stood two square piles of stones, each about 1.2 metres (four feet) high. A row of three other cairns stretched out 500 metres to the east. This line of saywasroughly, “markers” in Quechua, an indigenous Andean language—intersected diagonally with an ancient path, part of a road network built five centuries ago by the Incas. The sun rose directly behind the closest columns, appearing to rest briefly atop them. It was an extremely moving experience,” says Cecilia Sanhueza, a historian at Chile’s Pre-Columbian Art Museum in Santiago. Her findings were made public last month. The alignment of the stones with the sun’s rise supported her thesis that they were not just milestones. At least some of northern Chile’s saywas had the “astronomical function” of prefiguring the sun’s appearance. They are a southern-hemisphere Stonehenge. The pillars are a visible link to Inti, the sun god, who was thought to “sit” on saywas at solstices. Their arrangement was a way of “sacralising the political presence of the Inca”, whose empire ruled northern and central Chile from about 1470 to 1530, says Dr Sanhueza. She formed her initial theories from her study of 16th-century Quechua-Spanish dictionaries, the drawings of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, a Quechua nobleman who wrote and illustrated a 17th-century treatise on colonial Peru, and a chronicle by Martín de Murúa, a Basque friar. To test her ideas, Dr Sanhueza approached the Atacama Large Millimetre Array, an observatory in the Andes mountains, around 150km (90 miles) from the saywas. Simulations by Sergio Martín and Juan Cortés, astronomers at the observatory, supported the thesis that some rows are aligned with sunrises on important dates. That spared Dr Sanhueza the trouble of testing in person the function of each set of saywas. But she and her colleagues then spent days and nights battling altitude sickness and the cold to study the environment for additional clues to the purpose of the saywas. Jimena Cruz, an indigenous Atacameña archaeologist, interviewed retired llama herders to learn more about the cultural significance of the pathways. She suggested observing one set of saywas on August 1st, a day of veneration of the earth goddess PachamamaSure enough, the rising sun aligned with the pillars. Ms Cruz also recruited local volunteers to help preserve the saywas.


ARMENIEDragon stone armenia Karmir Sar - The Dragon Stones Archaeological Project is investigating at Karmir Sar (Red Mountain) site in Armenia at 2,850 m in altitude and 20 km from the last village situated at the bottom of Mount Aragats, with two springs in which eleven vishaps were identified, as well as burial mounds and rock engravings from the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., Research Italy reports. The project aims at tracing the original chronological horizon of the artifacts, the oldest in the whole Caucasus area, to identify the archaeological and landscape context in which they were made as well as to understand the symbolic meaning of these artifacts for the community that generated them. Legends tell us of how the peaks of the American mountains were populated by giant dragons, semi-god beings who had the task of guarding the sacred springs. These megalithic steles, called “vishap,” meaning «dragon» in Armenian decorated in relief, are placed between 2,000 and 3,000 metres and are thought to be offers to these legendary creatures. They are basalt monoliths which can reach 5 metres in height and can be of two types: on the first one is the fur of a sacrificed goat, which suggests a commemoration of a religious practice. The second type is worked into the shape of a fish, with gills and fins, and is certainly related to the cult of a sacred animal in the mountain springs. In some examples, the iconographies are changing and the goat’s skin is represented on the belly of the fish, demonstrating that it is the very same artistic and cultural phenomenon.


AUSTRALIE9788848 3x2 700x467 9788856 3x2 340x227 Pilbara - Archaeologists have uncovered a treasure trove of ancient artefacts — including evidence of a kangaroo cook-up — inside a remote cave in the far north-west of Australia. A team of scientists from Scarp Archaeology and BHP, led by Michael Slack, has already uncovered hundreds of ancient artefacts from the small cave in the Hamersley Ranges. "The guys have just uncovered an ancient campfire that, given the depth below the surface and the relationship with the stones around it, we think is potentially around 20,000 years old," Dr Slack said. The remnants of the ancient camp fire consist of about 20cm of fine white ash and contains pieces of charcoal which will be sent off for radiocarbon dating. "To make it even better, they found flake stone artefacts right next to the charcoal," he said. "So we'll get a really good association between people and the campfire itself, and we'll have a really clear idea of how old it is." It was possible the stone tools were used to cut the meat for the fire, as remnants of kangaroo bone were also found.