LAOS – 010 plain of jars 1024 Plain of Jars - In total, there are thousands of them – a giant landscape of strange, hollowed jars, carved from ancient stone. Some have lids. Most are open to the sky. These surreal cauldron-like megaliths in Laos are known as the Plain of Jars, an archaeological relics whose original purpose is still shrouded in mystery, their significance long forgotten. For several decades, researchers have suggested the jars were a part of prehistoric burial practices. Local legends and lore suggest the jars, some of them up to three metres (nearly ten feet) tall, were used for storage of food, alcohol, and rainwater, among other things. In recent years, however, expeditions within selected safe sites have commenced, and archaeologists are now making important discoveries about these unusual objects, some of which stand alone, while others are clustered in great groups. "Until now, it has not been possible to estimate when the jars were first placed on the landscape or from where the stone was sourced," an international team explains in a new paper detailing the latest research. According to their analysis – using a technique called Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) to date the ancient stone – the jars were positioned potentially as early as the late second millennium BCE. Evidence discovered of varied mortuary practices at some of the sites – including primary burial of human skeletons, and also bundled or jarred collections of bones – was also dated by radiocarbon dating, suggesting activity between 9–13th century CE. On the face of the most recent evidence, this means the Plain of Jars pre-dates the most recent and confirmed discoveries of mortuary practices, by potentially thousands of years. As for what that means, we don't yet know. "The data presented here strongly suggests that the placement of the megaliths preceded the mortuary activity around the jars, indicating re-use of the sites and enduring ritual significance," the researchers write. However, previous research has suggested the mortuary rituals may be as old as the stone placements themselves, so it's possible wider searches would reveal a more continuous timeline of human activity. Another puzzle that remains is how the jars got to their current positions. Examination of megaliths in one site suggests the most likely quarry was 8 kilometres (5 miles) away from where the jars ended up – so just how the ancient culture that created these objects (estimated to weigh up to over 30 tonnes) managed to also transport them, is yet another unknown. The findings are reported in PLOS One.


INDE -  Tiruchy - A team of archeological enthusiasts from Tiruchy found a 11th century stone inscription in Arulmigu Uthamar Temple earlier this week. Notably, the inscriptions had reference to the name of the temple ‘Bikshandarkoil’ and finds its first-ever mention through this, they said.  The stone inscriptions have been damaged and left unattended for several years. It dates back to 11th century early Chozha era and contains information about the temple and the time period in which it was built. We have sent the information to the archaeological experts for further transcribing. The inscriptions dates to 16th year reign of first Rajendra Chozhan. Details about the war victory in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Kalinga of the Chozhan Chieftain also finds a mention, besides the lands that were donated to the temple. Experts urged the temple authorities to identify and maintain such stone inscriptions which were of historical importance.


FRANCE – 11 c b houix inrap rue pelloutier tranche 2 Nîmes - Dans le sud-ouest du quartier du forum de Nemausus , à une centaine de mètres de la Maison carrée, l'Inrap fouille deux riches maisons romaines du Haut-Empire. Le plan complet des domus dépasse les limites de la fouille et des parcelles du programme d’aménagement. Néanmoins, l’un de ces deux bâtiments se signale par la présence d’une pièce de réception reconnue dans sa presque totalité. Fait rare dans le contexte archéologique nîmois, les enduits peints ornant les parois de cette salle ont été découverts effondrés au sol. Les traces visibles au revers de ces enduits montrent qu’ils étaient initialement posés sur un édifice en terre et incisé en chevrons pour assurer leur bonne adhérence. Sur leur face peinte, ces enduits présentent un décor classique à grands panneaux rouges et inter-panneaux noirs accueillant des candélabres raffinés. Ce type de composition correspond à une mode très présente en Gaule romaine au Ier siècle de notre ère. Le béton de sol associé aux enduits peints présente un décor géométrique en nid d’abeille fait de tesselles noires. Dans le grand axe de la pièce, ce pavement comprend un tapis en opus sectile (« appareil découpé ») :  des plaquettes de plusieurs variétés de marbres provenant de différentes provinces de l’Empire sont découpées et assemblées de façon à constituer un dessin, ici un damier. Le choix du marbre pour enrichir le décor incite à attribuer cette domus à un notable de la cité antique de Nîmes. D’autres vestiges reflètent également le niveau de luxe, comme des pièces avec système de chauffage par le sol avec hypocauste et tuyaux de chaleur. Dans une des cours, se trouvait un bassin à abside semi-circulaire et revêtement de marbre blanc du type Carrare. La seconde cour était agrémentée de plantations, certaines étant représentées par des pots horticoles trouvés en place.


ITALIE - Altinum - A study by the Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice has discovered the remains of a Roman port at the ancient city of Altinum in Italy. Altinum, also called Altino, was a Venetic settlement first settled by the Adriatic Veneti, before being absorbed by the Roman expansion across northern Italy. The city developed into a major port and trading centre for timber, oil, wine and wool, until the shoreline became enveloped by sand deposited by the sea, blocking off access to sea trade and leading to the eventual abandonment by its inhabitants for the island of Torcello at the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon. The remains of Altinum was plundered for its stone to use as building materials in Torcello and the emerging Venice, leaving very scant archaeological remains surviving above ground level. The study has also revealed numerous previously unknown associated buildings around the port area, allowing archaeologists to determine the wider extent of the Altinum port system and how other previously known structures, such as a Roman tower was positioned along the navigation route that led from the port to the sea.


INDE – Sculpture gautam buddha 1614072908508 1614072943385  Hazaribagh - A 10th century structure resembling a small ‘Buddha Vihar’ (Buddhist shrine-cum-monastery) has been discovered during an excavation, being carried out by Archeological Survey of India (ASI), in foothills of Juljul hill at Sadar block of Hazaribagh district, around 110-km from capital Ranchi. The ASI identified three mounds in the foothills having links to Buddhism last year. The excavation of the first mound last year led to the discovery of a complete shrine with a central and two subsidiary shrines, just two metres below the surface.  In the second round of excavation, beginning the last week of January this year, the second mound, around 40-meters away from the first mound or central shrine, was excavated and a small Buddha Vihar like structure was discovered. “We started excavation in the second mound of the area in January last week, where a huge structural mound, similar to a small Buddha Vihar, was found with three cells (rooms). In the west corner of the structure, we found five sculptures of Gautam Buddha in seated position and one sculpture of Tara, which indicates that it might also be a centre of Vajrayana,” said Dr Neeraj Mishra. Spread over a 50-metre long and 50-metre wide area, three cells and hoards of artefacts including statues of Gautam Budha and Tara, the female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism who appears as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism, were discovered.


FRANCE - 860 bal2re 1 Sartene - « Il y a trois ans une amie m’a signalé dans la région de Sartene l’existence d’un site sur lequel un dolmen avait été découvert au XIXe siècle, mais sans être localisé précisément. Cette information nous a permis d’identifier deux stèles très particulières, la première stèle est la plus simple elle est en forme de trapèze, mais n’est pas recouverte d’image ou gravure."   Cet été on a fait une campagne de sondage archéologique, on est là quatre millénaires av J-C presque 3000 ans avant les statues menhir  de Filitosa. L’une des stèles est remarquable, elle présente _un personnage cornu_, on ne sait pas si c’est une divinité ou un personnage de pouvoir, ou un guerrier,  les cornes qui sont proéminentes sont généralement des symboles d’autorité. »  La stèle gravée mesure 1,20 m de haut sur 80 cm de largeur pour une épaisseur de 12 cm. Chef guerrier, divinité, ou femme ? «  Pourquoi pas une femme ? c’est un petit peu bizarre comme représentation, d’un côté il y a des symboles de puissance, de guerrier, d’un autre côté elle à un corps qui est sphérique qui fait penser à un personnage lié plutôt à l’abondance » La représentation rappelle par bien des points ces statuettes de Venus au ventre rond qui remonte à la préhistoire la plus lointaine, mais laissons les chercheurs travailler qu’ils nous disent bientôt: qui régnait à Balchiria il y a 6000 ans ?  Ces travaux font l'objet d'un article dans une revue scientifique internationale, tant la découverte est qualifiée de majeur dans l'Histoire de la Méditerranée: "A chance find in Balchiria, Corsica, revealed two stelae that are unique  in Western Mediterranean context both in terms of their motif and morphology."