26 FEVRIER 2016 NEWS: Tel Rehov - Sagaing - Nimes - Hampi -
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ISRAEL – Tel Rehov - A seven-year-old boy on a trip with friends happened to move a rock while ambling around the Canaanite archaeological site of Tel Rehov and found a beautifully preserved 3,400-year-old female figurine. Archaeologists are mixed as to whether the figurine is an idol of a fertility goddess, such as Astarte, or depicts a living woman of the time. "It could be either one," Yardenna Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities Authority told Haaretz. The image has none of the hallmarks sometimes found with depictions of goddesses. "She has no crown, for instance. She looks completely natural, which is why she could be either one, a goddess or a picture of a real woman," says Alexandre. A great many figurines depicting females, some carved in stone and some in etched on bronze, have been found in the region, Alexandre explains: some are very clearly goddess idols but some could well be portraits of women that lived at the time. This one had been made of clay that was pressed into a mold, says the Israel Antiquities Authority. "Evidently the figurine belonged to one of the residents of the city of Rehov, which was then ruled by the central government of the Egyptian pharaohs," commented Amihai Mazar, professor emeritus at Hebrew University and expedition director of the archaeological excavations at Tel Rehov. Figurines depicting beefier women were typical of even earlier eras, explains Alexandre. "For this period, the late Bronze period of 13 to 15 centuries BCE, her slimness is typical in figurines," she says. Tel Rehov, where the figurine was found, was a city in the Jordan Valley that had been occupied for centuries, in the Bronze and Iron Ages. It had also been destroyed at least twice. Not far from the Jordan River, it is just 5 kilometers south of Beit She'an, another major archaeological site.
Among the many discoveries at Tel Rehov were ones relating to Canaanite religious practices, including ancient beehives and ovens and facilities that the archaeologists think may have been used in ritual feasting. They also found large buildings from the 10th and 9th centuries BCE, the times of King David and King Solomon. This latest figurine joins a long list of cult objects found at the site.
MYANMAR – Sagaing - Archeological research from the French Archeological Mission together with Myanmar archeologists over the past three years has unearthed a series of Bronze Age cemeteries and a settlement in upper Myanmar. Their research, conducted from 2014 to 2016, has provided a unique look into life in the Nyaung’gan Bronze Age. “Bronze Age settlements in Southeast Asia are very rare. There are maybe four in Thailand and a couple in southern Vietnam. It seems that the settlement sites in Oakaie village are very big,” Pryce said. Excavations to the south of Oakaie village in Butalin township in Sagaing Region have indentified where Bronze Age people lived and shows that many of them worked in the production of stone adzes, beads and bracelets. The MAFM was founded in 1998 when the Mandalay Department of Archaeology, under the Myanmar Ministry of Culture, excavated an ancient cemetery on the northwest corner of an extinct volcanic crater at Nyaung-gan, also in Butalin township. The burials contained stone, pottery and bronze grave goods.nIn 1999, Myanmar archaeologists invited regional specialists, including professor Jean-Pierre Pautreau from the French National Center for Scientific Research, to assist the Myanmar team’s and to form research partnerships. The joint team’s first excavation took place in 2001 at Hnaw Kan, an Iron Age cemetery located at the northern end of the Samon Valley in upper Myanmar where they found glass, carnelian and agate beads. In 2013, Pryce’s team excavated the Iron Age cemetery at Kan Gyi Gon, 50-60 kilometres west of the Samon Valley south of Mandalay, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture. They excavated 53 inhumations together with burial shrouds, coffins and funerary jars. The archeologists used a bucket flotation technique to recover tiny fragments of charcoal which enabled them to determine that the cemetery was dated about 500-200 BC, except for the burial jar of one infant that was from about 1000-840 BC, possibly the Bronze Age.
FRANCE – Nimes - Archaeologists working in southern France have identified three graves that are believed to represent the oldest Muslim burials ever found in Europe, dating to the eighth century. The skeletons at medieval site at Nîmes were found facing Mecca, and a genetic analysis showed their paternal lineage was North African, said the study in the journal Plos One. Furthermore, radiocarbon dating shows the bones likely date from the seventh to ninth centuries, suggesting they came from the Muslim conquests of Europe during that period. The graves were first discovered in 2006 near a major roadway in Nîmes as construction workers were digging an underground parking garage.nA careful analysis in the years since has shown that the men were all laid on their sides, facing in the direction of Mecca, according to traditional Muslim burial rites. One was in his 20s when he died, another in his 30s and the third was older than 50. Their bones showed no sign of injury in combat. Another Muslim grave site has been found in Marseimulle, but it dates to the 13th century. One found in Montpellier may date to the 12th century.
INDE – Hampi - Virupaksha bazaar street — one of seven in Hampi where diamonds and precious stones were sold on the roadside — has been unearthed during a scientific debris clearance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The Krishna bazaar street was earlier discovered in 2012. This new finding of a street that dates back to 14th century has added to the list of discoveries at the Unesco world heritage site. The ASI said the ancient cobbled pathway on the northern side of the bazaar, close to the Achyuta market, exists a metre below the current road, and is being restored. The ancient bazaar streets facilitated fairs and transport, besides serving as the market area. The market existed in mantapas on either sides of the pathway leading to the Virupaksha temple. Ancient pillars, mudras, and hamsas, too, have been found during the scientific debris clearance drive. "The recent findings on the Vijayanagar kings and local administration provide information for further research. The wide and durable road gives us a glimpse of their transport, public life, and the emphasis they laid on infrastructure. All the bazaar streets are 45-metres wide and were planned to facilitate various activities like movements of ancient chariots. What urban authorities are planning now, existed then," Vishwanath Malagi, a local guide said. The debris clearance is an ongoing activity besides excavation. The Virupakasha Bazaar is one of seven main bazaars of heritage town, the others being Krishna, Hazara Ramachandra, Vittala, Achyuta, Malyavantha Ragunatha and Achyutammapura. The Vittala bazaar street is the lengthiest, stretching to about 915m. The Virupaksha bazaar street has been discovered to be about 515m long. Malagi said seven types of markets existed on each of the seven days of a week, and diamonds and precious stones were part of the sales.