26 - 27 MARS 2013 NEWS: Ahihud - Alacahöyük - Daschour - Dubrovnik - Lindos - Pacifique -






ISRAËL -  israel-excavation.jpg phallic-figurine.jpg  Ahihud Junction - Some remarkable traces of Stone Age life were unearthed recently in northern Israel, including a pit of burned bean seeds and a carving of a penis that's more than 6,000 years old, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported. Archaeologists are excavating at Ahihud Junction ahead of the construction of a new Israeli railroad line to the city of Karmiel. They found evidence of ancient settlements from two eras: the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and the Early Chalcolithic period (seventh millennium B.C. to fifth millennium B.C.). The team said they also found thousands of charred broad bean seeds inside of a pit —  providing an early example of legume cultivation in the Middle East — and the remains of early Chalcolithic rectangular buildings, replete with pottery, as well as flint and stone tools. Other artifacts were slightly more enigmatic, such as the phallic figurine and a palette bearing a schematic etching of female genitals. The IAA called these objects "cultic sexual symbols" that might have represented the fertility of the earth.




TURQUIEn-43600-4.jpg Alacahöyük - The Culture and Tourism Ministry has installed a security camera system at the Alacahöyük ancient site in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum. The camera system will prevent damage to the ancient graves of princes and princesses at the site. Alacahöyük was a Hittite settlement and is one of the most important archaeological sites in Turkey. It is located 15 kilometers from the Alaca district center in the northeast of Boğazköy, where the ancient capital city Hattuşa of the Hittite Empire was situated. Excavations have been conducted at the ancient site for more than 100 years. The site, which has been settled continuously since the Chalcolithic Age in 4000 B.C., was also one of the most important centers in the Hittite Empire. Thirteen royal tombs in Alacahöyük were richly adorned with gold fibulae, diadems and belt buckles and gold-leaf figures. Many of the artifacts discovered at Alacahöyük, including magnificent Hattian gold and bronze objects found in the royal tombs, are displayed today in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Six of the 13 royal graves at Alacahöyük have been reconstructed in their original sizes and opened to visitors. The tombs display the skeletons of the princes and princesses buried there and the gold and silver objects found in their graves. The camera system was placed by the ministry to protect these graves and the ancient site.


EGYPTEbentpyramidfromthenorthwest-1.jpg  Daschour - Dozens of burial tombs untouched for millennia lie open and ransacked of their contents. Mounds of earth signal the location of other illicit excavations. An archaeologist points to fresh motorcycle tracks on the desert sand, traces left by the gangs who dig under the cover of darkness for treasures. We are in the 2013′s Egypt and this is a picture of what one can find when strolling around an unprotected archaeological site. The looters “work from sunset to sunrise. It’s systematic; it’s open; it’s in front of everyone,”says Monica Hanna, 29, an archaeologist. The thieves are organized in gangs; some are armed and violent. The tomb sites were guarded well for decades but now, as Egypt goes once more through a transitional period, the once-feared police services simply melted away. Until 1996, the Dahshur necropolis -the site where Pharaoh Sneferu commissioned the first of Egypt’s classical pyramids- was a closed military zone which has never been properly surveyed. Archaeologists believe there are hundreds of ancient tombs waiting to be discovered here although none thought to be as grand as those in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, where Pharaohs were buried in tombs crammed with gold.


CROATIEcat-paws.jpg Dubrovnik - While pawing through a stack of medieval manuscripts (14th century) from Dubrovnik, Croatia, University of Sarajevo doctoral student Emir O. Filipović stumbled upon a familiar set of splotches marring the centuries-old pages. Years ago, a mischievous kitty had left her ink-covered prints on the book. “The photo of the cat paw prints represents one such situation which forces the historian to take his eyes from the text for a moment, to pause and to recreate in his mind the incident when a cat, presumably owned by the scribe, pounced first on the ink container and then on the book, branding it for the ensuing centuries. You can almost picture the writer shooing the cat in a panicky fashion while trying to remove it from his desk. Despite his best efforts the damage was already complete and there was nothing else he could have done but turn a new leaf and continue his job. In that way this little episode was ‘archived’ in history”. Filipović hopes the finding may move beyond a simple cat meme and inspire more interest in the medieval Mediterranean.


GRECElindos-en-1200x797.jpg Lindos - “The birds sleeping on the rock of the Lindos Acropolis shall not go away.” This was one of the main concerns of the scientists while conducting the study about the new lighting of the celebrated archaeological site on Rhodes. That is why, among their proposals presented on Tuesday, March 19th, at the meeting of the Central Archaeological Council, was that the rocks of the Acropolis facing the sea shouldn’t be lighted, in contrast to the walls enclosing the top of the hill, which will be enhanced according to their historical phases. Lindos is the most significant archaeological site of Rhodes, its main features being the rock and the acropolis. According to tradition, Lindos was founded by the Danaides, the 50 daughters of Danaus, who came to the island from Egypt, and built the temple of Athena Lindia. The ancient city, which was located between the acropolis and the Cape Krana, where the modern village lies today, flourished during the Archaic period (7th-6th century BC). The sanctuary of Athena (whose worship started in the 9th century BC) on the Acropolis of Lindos remained a famous cult centre not only during the Hellenistic but also during Roman times.


PACIFIQUEimages-29.jpg - Research carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and collaborators reveals that the last region on earth to be colonised by humans was home to more than 1,000 species of birds that went extinct soon after people reached their island homes. The paper was published today (25th) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Almost 4,000 years ago, tropical Pacific Islands were an untouched paradise, but the arrival of the first people in places like Hawaii and Fiji caused irreversible damage to these natural havens, due to overhunting and deforestation. As a result, birds disappeared. But understanding the scale and extent of these extinctions has been hampered by uncertainties in the fossil record. Professor Tim Blackburn, Director of ZSL's Institute of Zoology says: "We studied fossils from 41 tropical Pacific islands and using new techniques we were able to gauge how many extra species of bird disappeared without leaving any trace." They found that 160 species of non-passerine land birds (non-perching birds which generally have feet designed for specific functions, for example webbed for swimming) went extinct without a trace after the first humans arrived on these islands alone. "If we take into account all the other islands in the tropical Pacific, as well as seabirds and songbirds, the total extinction toll is likely to have been around 1,300 bird species," Professor Blackburn added.  Species lost include several species of moa-nalos, large flightless waterfowl from Hawai'i, and the New Caledonian Sylviornis, a relative of the game birds (pheasants, grouse, etc) but which weighed in at around 30kg, three times as heavy as a swan. Certain islands and bird species were particularly vulnerable to hunting and habitat destruction. Small, dry islands lost more species because they were more easily deforested and had fewer places for birds to hide from hunters. Flightless birds were over 30 times more likely to become extinct that those that could fly. Bird extinctions in the tropical Pacific did not stop with these losses. Forty more species disappeared after Europeans arrived, and many more species are still threatened with extinction today.