26 DECEMBRE 2012 NEWS: Rome - Tel Motza - Evaux les Bains - Tikal -
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ITALIE – Rome - Archaeologists who have completed the excavation of a 900-seat arts centre under one of Rome's busiest roundabouts are calling it the most important Roman discovery in 80 years. The centre, built by the emperor Hadrian in AD123, offered three massive halls where Roman nobles flocked to hear poetry, speeches and philosophy tracts while reclining on terraced marble seating. With the dig now completed, the terracing and the hulking brick walls of the complex, as well as stretches of the elegant grey and yellow marble flooring, are newly visible at bottom of a 5.5 metre (18ft) hole in Piazza Venezia, where police officers wearing white gloves direct chaotic traffic like orchestra conductors and where Mussolini harangued thousands of followers from his balcony. "Hadrian's auditorium is the biggest find in Rome since the Forum was uncovered in the 1920s," said Rossella Rea, the archaeologist running the dig.
ISRAËL – Tel Motza - Archaeologists have uncovered a rare temple and religious figurines dating back to the Judaean period nearly 3,000 years ago. The discoveries were made at Tel Motza, outside Jerusalem, during archaeological work taking place ahead of new highway construction in the area. "The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea," the dig directors said in a statement. Anna Eirikh, one of the directors, told AFP that the discoveries were rare evidence of religious practice outside Jerusalem during the Judaean period. "What we can say for sure is the figurines served for religious purposes, and that Tel Motza was a Judaean kingdom," she said. The findings date to the 9-10th century BC, when the First Temple would have already been built in its Jerusalem location. The Jews of that era seemed to have kept some of the prevalent pre-Judaism practices alongside the mainstream worship in the Jerusalem temple, she said. "It's very interesting to see these religious artifacts and temple so close to Jerusalem, a walking distance," she said. "We know very little about religious practice during the Judaean kingdom, there are two or three more sites of worship, and this is the closest to Jerusalem." The items discovered, near an altar of a temple, include ritual pottery vessels, fragments of chalices and figurines of animals.
FRANCE – Evaux les Bains - Les fouilles archéologiques se poursuivent à Évaux-les-Bains. L’Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives a procédé à un diagnostic archéologique dans le champ Avel. Des tranchées parallèles d’environ 1,50 m de large sur 1,50 à 1,80 m de profondeur ont été réalisées à la pelleteuse pour atteindre le substrat (couche rocheuse). D’autres tranchées perpendiculaires ont permis de quadriller le terrain sur environ 10 % de sa superficie. Des découvertes intéressantes ont ainsi pu être réalisées et notamment l’existence d’un puits comblé où aboutissent deux caniveaux de récupération, des canalisations d’écoulement des eaux en terre cuite ainsi que l’emplacement d’un four artisanal. Sur les ruines de ces vestiges gallo-romains demeurent des couches de remblai qui ont servi à recouvrir les démolitions. Sur une autre galerie, apparaissent les restes de démolition de fondations de structures en creux, probablement une nécropole. L’INRAP doit rendre les conclusions de son diagnostic archéologique dans 4 mois et il se peut que d’autres fouilles soient imposées à la commune d’Évaux.
GUATEMALA – Tikal - Tourists flocking to Guatemala for "end of the world" parties have damaged an ancient stone temple at Tikal, the largest archaeological site and urban centre of the Mayan civilisation. "Sadly, many tourists climbed Temple II and caused damage," said Osvaldo Gomez, a technical adviser at the Tikal archaeological site, which is located some 550 km north of Guatemala City. "We are fine with the celebration, but (the tourists) should be more aware because this is a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site," he told local media. Gomez did not specify what was done, although he did say it was forbidden to climb the stairs at the site and indicated that the damage was irreparable. Temple II, which is about 38 metres high and faces the central Tikal plaza, is one of the site's best known structures.