26 SEPTEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Woodsford - Holms of Hogaland - Quilcapampa - Bodmin Moor - Ilyn Balik -
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ROYAUME UNI – Woodsford - The skeleton of a Roman man who had his feet bent backwards to fit in his coffin has been found in a quarry in Dorset. Archaeologists made the discovery at Woodsford, near Dorchester, where they have been carrying out excavations for several years. Thames Valley Archaeological Services said the man died in his 20s or 30s. Tests are being carried out to determine how he died and to understand more about his "unusual grave". The limestone sarcophagus was found in a 1.80m (5ft 11in)-long, 0.55m (1ft 10in)-wide and 0.3m (1ft)-deep grave.Thames Valley Archaeologist Services said an initial examination of the bones had revealed no signs of disease or other unusual conditions. Dr Steve Ford, from the group, said: "In the Roman period, burial in a sarcophagus was moderately common in Italy but very unusual in Britain, where even wooden coffins seem to have been rare. "A stone sarcophagus was certainly a very prestigious item, and their distribution across the country is restricted." He said about 100 had been discovered in England with only 11 previously found in Dorset at Poundbury. He added: "This sarcophagus may have been reused, as it was several centimetres too short for the corpse, whose feet had to be tucked under him."
ROYAUME UNI – Holms of Hogaland - The remains of what could be an Iron Age broch have been identified in a loch near Whiteness by a researcher from the University of Aberdeen. Michael Stratigos found the site on one of the three Holms of Hogaland islets in the Loch of Strom. He said the majority of the islet, which is the smallest of the three, is covered by a large mound around 3m high and 16x14m across. It is unclear at the moment whether the find is the remains of a broch or of a roundhouse. A small circular depression in the centre is believed to be the "internal space" of the structure. There are also the potential remains of orthostats, or piers, while coursed stonework was noted.
PEROU – Quilcapampa - Dozens of circular geoglyphs, some comprising several intertwined rings, have been identified and mapped near the ancient Peruvian town of Quilcapampa, revealing that these earthen designs were created near ancient pathways used for trade. The newly mapped geoglyphs may have had symbolic significance, possibly representing the flow of people and goods through the town at the time, according to Justin Jennings, a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto who is one of the team leaders. They found that many of the geoglyphs there have simple one-ring designs, while others are more complex. One geoglyph they mapped has at least six rings designed in an irregular pattern, with smaller circles embedded inside larger circles so that the overall design looks a little like a swirl. Also, some of the geoglyphs contain rock piles called cairns located beside or within them, the archaeologists said. The size of the geoglyphs varies considerably. The one ring geoglyphs tend to be between two to four meters (6.6 to 13.1 feet) in diameter while the multi-ring geoglyphs can sprawl over 800 square meters, about the size of two NBA basketball courts put together. Most of the geoglyphs were made "by removing surface stones to expose the sandy soil below," the archaeologists wrote in a paper set to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.The scientists dated many of these geoglyphs to the Late Intermediate Period (A.D. 1050 to 1400). During that time, Quilcapampa supported a 70-hectare (173 acres) settlement that was a hub for trade, Jennings said. Jennings said that the team's mapping research shows that many of the geoglyphs are located beside or near pathways used in ancient trade. During the period when Quilcapampa flourished, there was "much more interaction between the coast and the highland," Jennings said. The "circulation" of people and goods (including food) along these pathways was necessary for daily life — something the circular designs might symbolize, he added.
ROYAUME UNI – Bodmin Moor - Archaeologists working on Bodmin Moor have uncovered a new monument at the site of The Hurlers. A large stone, now recumbent, is thought to have been brought to the site from elsewhere and used as a standing stone, perhaps marking the ceremonial entrance to the Hurlers themselves. A five-day excavation, part of the Reading the Hurlers project, had the aim of identifying a potential fourth stone circle at the site near Minions. Geophysical evidence from the 1990s had pointed towards a circular formation of stones and this was backed up with on-site observation by a landscape archaeologist. In the end, it turned out the stones were not part of a fourth circle – but the dig revealed some exciting finds, says archaeologist and project coordinator Emma Stockley.
KAZAKSTAN – Ilyn Balik - The ancient city of Ilyn Balik, known from pilgrims' travels and historical texts, has been discovered in Kazakhstan. Historians of Christianity along the Silk Road have known of travelers' accounts of Christian communities in the region and in the ancient city of Ilyn Balik, but now, recent excavations at the village of Usharal, 60 kilometers from the Chinese border, have uncovered the ancient city as well as the site's cemetery, where eight gravestones have been found. This discovery is the first archaeological evidence for a Christian community in the borders of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This discovery supports the understanding of ancient Kazakhstan as a multi-cultural center between the East and West, with Muslims, Buddhists and Christians living among the local herdsmen and nomadic tribes. A local resident of Usharal reported the discovery of an inscribed stone marked with a cross two years ago. The stone was recovered, but the original location of that stone is not known. Karl Baipakov, Kazakhstan's leading archaeologist and a world-renowned specialist on the Silk Road The team discovered seven inscribed gravestones clustered on the surface outside of the main area of settlement of the site. The suspected grave markers all have inscribed Nestorian-style crosses, and two of them have fragmentary inscriptions. The new discoveries provide context for the previously discovered inscribed stone and most likely indicate an extra-mural cemetery and possibly an associated Christian community. One of the inscriptions in Old Syriac has been partially deciphered by the Tandy Institute's epigrapher, Ryan Stokes, associate professor of Old Testament at Southwestern, and indicates a date of 1162 A.D.