26 AVRIL 2016 NEWS: Monte Sierpe - Wairau Bar - Tucson - Cahors - Sérignac - Casqui - Amsterdam - Long Melford -
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PEROU – Monte Sierpe - Archaeology magazine dives into the story about Monte Sierpe where “Thousands of aligned holes in Peru’s Pisco Valley (which) have attracted the attention of archaeologists.” Bewildered by the site and the purpose of the holes, Stanish and his colleague Henry Tantalean began to speculate the various uses: “it could have been part of a defensive structure, or served as a marker for a trail, or might even be a geoglyph in the tradition of the nearby Nazca lines.”
NOUVELLE ZELANDE – Wairau Bar - The material is mostly food remains, thousands of shells and fragments of bird bone, fish bone etc. There are also stone tools, several hundred stone flakes used for processing food, that sort of thing. All material from the site is in the laboratories at the University of Otago being analysed. Wairau Bar was probably the first major economic and ritual centre in the new colony. It was settled around 1320 or so. The people who settled there were from the Cook Islands or western French Polynesia, or both. The origin of the East Polynesian settlers of New Zealand has been known for decades on the basis of linguistic evidence. Maori language is a member of the Tahitic sub-branch of the Polynesian language family; along with Cook Island Maori, Tahitian and Tuamotuan. The artefacts from Tahiti and the Cook Islands are also identical to the earliest artefacts in New Zealand sites, including Wairau Bar. They arrived at Wairau Bar in canoes but not necessarily directly from Polynesia. Probably people started to settle Wairau Bar during the first years of New Zealand settlement as they explored the coastline. These people were very mobile, they chose Wairau Bar for a range of reasons and these reasons were probably about access to resources, but the reasons are likely to become clearer as the lab research continues. It was the large village site of a wealthy and successful community, not a factory site. It was a village. But the village contained some adze making specialists who were probably making adzes for distribution or exchange with communities around the country.
USA – Tucson - Site preparations for Pima Animal Care Center's new $22 million shelter is underway and the county is currently conducting an archaeological excavation of the construction site, a required process before construction can begin. The county hired a local archeology firm to perform the investigation and so far, archaeologists have uncovered several artifacts dating as late as A.D. 550. This includes pieces such as shell jewelry, pottery, and a group of adobe lined homes.
FRANCE – Cahors - Les sondages archéologiques réalisés parking Bessières là où sera bâti le futur cinéma Multiplex n'ont pas révélé de trouvaille majeure hormis un four du moyen âge et les fondations de l'ancien séminaire. «Onze tranchées ont été creusées pour atteindre ce que nous appelons le terrain naturel c'est-à-dire la terrasse alluviale formée par les dépôts de limon argileux amenés par le Lot». Dans cette périphérie de ville romaine comme la présente Laurent Guyard, les artisans du IIe ou du IIIe siècle trouvent le matériau qui deviendra tuiles, torchis ou poteries : «Nous avons retrouvé plusieurs fosses de prélèvement d'argile et des restes de poterie». Confirmation de se situer bel et bien à l'emplacement d'un quartier d'artisanat. La découverte d'un ancien four en 1875 lors de la construction de la caserne constituait, déjà, un commencement de preuve. Les archéologues ont cette fois mis au jour un four remontant au Moyen Âge, décelé au fond d'une tranchée les fondations d'un bâtiment imposant (sans doute l'ancien séminaire d'après Laurent Guyard) et une fosse d'extraction de la matière argileuse que les scientifiques datent de l'époque moderne, XVIe ou XVIIe siècle. Les fouilles devraient se terminer cette fin de semaine
FRANCE – Sérignac-sur-Garonne - L'église de Sérignac-sur-Garonne ne fait pas son âge, c'est du moins ce que pense Jean Dreuil, maire de Sérignac ! En effet, des sondages archéologiques ont été effectués récemment pendant 5 jours dans l'église au célèbre clocher tors et la découverte risque d'être de taille : Un enduit et de son badigeon encore en place sur le revers intérieur du mur primitif du chevet va au-delà de nos attentes et nous offre une découverte rare, associée en plus d'une poignée de charbon (qui permet de dater les travaux de l'époque) judicieusement placée révèle l'édile. L'intérêt de cette découverte à l'église de Sérignac réside dans sa possible ancienneté antérieure à l'an mil en Aquitaine.
USA – Casqui - Archaeologists with the Arkansas Archeological Survey just announced that they believe they have found the remains of a Christian cross erected at the Indian village of Casqui in 1541 by the Spanish entrada of Hernando de Soto. On Monday, seven archaeologists from the Survey began to excavate on the largest mound at Parkin Archaeological State Park in northeastern Arkansas, the presumed site of Casqui. Remains of what appears to be the cross were recovered on Tuesday. De Soto and his large force landed in Florida in 1539 and fought their way across the southeastern United States seeking gold and other riches. In late June 1541, they crossed the Mississippi River into what is now Arkansas. The first major village they encountered was Casqui, also the name of its chief. According to the Spanish chronicles, Casqui was suffering from an extended drought and asked for help from the European gods. A dozen or so Dominican priests were part of the expedition. The company’s carpenter, an Italian, was dispatched in search of the “tallest, straightest tree” from which to build a massive cross. On July 4th, 1541, a hundred men raised the cross on top of the largest mound, where Chief Casqui made his home. As many as 2,000 Indians witnessed the event and the Catholic mass that followed. De Soto, finding no riches at Casqui, soon continued west into Texas. Returning to Arkansas, de Soto died near the mouth of the Arkansas River and was buried in the Mississippi River. The survivors of the expedition traveled down the Mississippi and eventually got back to Mexico.
PAYS BAS – Amsterdam -Dutch archaeologists unearthed what they said was the remnants of a Jewish 17th-century slum in the center of the Dutch capital. The discovery of the slum on Valkenburger Street, north of the Portuguese Synagogue in the eastern part of the center of Amsterdam, was made earlier this month by a construction crew digging a foundation for a hotel and housing complex that are planned to be built on what used to be a slum. “People who lived here were so poor that they had no infrastructure,” said Jerzy Gawronski, a municipal archaeologist whom the construction crew called upon after unearthing a matrix of narrow pathways, not broader than three feet across. Bordering on the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, the slum was inhabited by hundreds of people living in squalor and extremely crowded conditions, he told AT5, a local television station. “There were 10 people living in each small housing unit, it was damp, there were no windows and not many people survived here.” The area in question was a shipping yard in 1594, but was used for housing the Jewish community’s poor after the shipyard moved elsewhere. The discovery of the Jewish slum was documented in photos before being covered up again in preparation for construction on the relics. It is the first construction project performed there since the 1930s. Gawronski also said he found a bath, possibly a mikvah, in the Jewish slum. He called the relics “a spectacular find.” Amsterdam used to be a major Jewish hub following the immigration to it of thousands of Portuguese and Spanish Jews who were persecuted in their own country during the Inquisition period. Most of the Netherlands’ 140,000 Jews lived in Amsterdam in 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded the kingdom. Approximately 75 percent of Dutch Jewry was murdered in the Holocaust. Currently, approximately 50,000 Jews live in the Netherlands, mostly in Amsterdam.
ROYAUME UNI – Long Melford - A Roman statuette found last week has been described as one of the most impressive archaeological finds in the history of Long Melford. John Nunn discovered the headless figurine of the Roman goddess Venus, with John Broughton and Kenneth Dodd, fellow volunteers from Long Melford Heritage Centre. As well as the statuette they found a Roman iron knife and a piece of Roman cement flooring called opus caementicium, along with in excess of 300 pieces of Roman pottery. This included examples of Roman Samian pottery with decoration on it.