27 - 28 NOVEMBRE 2010


 - 28 NOVEMBRE :

 - BRUNEI  :   Kota-Batu - Bandar Seri Begawan - Museums officials have recently unearthed what is presumed to be the defensive wall and gate to Brunei's "ancient capital", Kota Batu, the Museums Department Director told The Brunei Times yesterday. They have also discovered intact earthenware believed to date back 500 to 600 years ago, with more artefacts, a palace, and a mosque expected to be found as work continues in developing and opening up the 14th to 17th century site to the public and to facilitate further research. Bantong Antaran said the construction of a shelter at the KB II site, located downhill of the tomb of Brunei's fifth ruler Sultan Bolkiah, had to be halted after discoveries of large wooden posts were made. "We've found wooden and stone structures there. We presume that it might have been a defensive stone wall and probably, some wooden gate to the Kota Batu complex," the director said. "Last Thursday, we found complete ceramic (artefacts) at one of the sites here," he added. It was believed that the artefacts were probably 500 to 600 years old.


 - ALGERIE :  Imedghassen - Incontestablement, le plus ancien tombeau royal berbère, mais aussi et surtout considéré par les spécialistes comme étant la première tentative pour l’édification d’un État en Afrique du Nord ; il est là depuis 25 siècles.Le tombeau berbère Imedghassen (IIIe siècle av. J.-C.) semble être condamné à ne jamais connaître le repos et la quiétude et surtout la prise en charge et la restauration mille fois promise et mille fois abandonnée et niée. Le tombeau a une forme typiquement berbère à degrés, c'est-à-dire une construction de forme cylindrique, surmontée d’un cône formé de gradins, il fait 59 m de diamètre et 18,50 m de hauteur, ce qui le distingue énormément de Bazinas, qu’on rencontre en Afrique du Nord, et qui ne dépasse pas un mètre de hauteur. Habillé d’un décor sobre qui rappelle la civilisation carthaginoise : 60 colonnes doriques surmontée d’une corniche dont la gorge est typiquement égyptienne. Une plate-forme au sommet supportait peut-être une sculpture : un lion, un chariot, un cavalier, souvent utilisé comme symbole dans la civilisation amazighe. Le côté est, un dallage forme un avant-corps, en partie revêtu d’un enduit pourpre. Selon les spécialistes, il ne peut s’agir que d’un lieu de culte. L’analyse de l’architecture du monument et les datations au radiocarbone, effectuées il y a une trentaine d’années par des spécialistes allemands, ont permis de faire remonter sa construction au début du IIIe siècle av. J.-C.  Imedghassen n’a pu être que la sépulture d’un puissant monarque, selon le spécialiste de la préhistoire Gabriel Camps. Le repère chronologique de la situation du mausolée dans l’air de la mouvance de la dynastie amazighe des Massyles permet d’identifier le tombeau et le nom Imedghassen comme étant un ancêtre du roi Massinissa.


 - INDE : Panipat - While the demolished Babri Masjid at Ayodhya is at the centre of India's longest-drawn legal row, an older one built by Babar survives in a forgotten battlezone, Panipat. The first mosque built by the Mughal ruler on his arrival in India is a modest, beautiful structure named Kabuli Bagh that comes nowhere close to the majesty of later Mughal architecture. Having watched the destruction at Ayodhya, caretakers of Kabuli Bagh masjid are mindful of falling prey to politics. ''There are people who have made repeated pleas to perform namaz five times a day but we have firmly said that this is not possible and they should go to court,'' said Ranvir Singh Shastri, registering officer of department of archaeology and museums, Chandigarh.
Built in 1526 after Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the first battle of Panipat, Kabuli Bagh is, in a sense, the original Babri Masjid. ''Its Timurid architecture is closest to Central Asian typology. It bears the stamp of Babar's persona more than the mosques in Ayodhya or Sambhal which are stylistically pre-Mughal,'' says architect Abha Narain Lambah who has studied the monument.


 - 27 NOVEMBRE :

 - ROYAUME-UNI : Trefael - A recent excavation programme at a standing stone known as Trefael, near Newport (south-west Wales) has revealed that what originally was a portal dolmen in later times was transformed in a standing stone, probably used as a ritual marker to guide communities through a scared landscape. This solitary stone has over 75 cupmarks gouged onto its upper surface.  Following the complete exposure of the capstone through excavation, it is now considered by several astronomers that the distribution of the cupmarks may represent a section of the night sky that includes the star constellations of Cassiopeia, Orion, Sirius and of course the North Star.   Following this exciting discovery, a targeted excavation confirmed the site to be a portal dolmen, revealing also a significant cairn deposit within the eastern and northern sections of the trench. Uniquely, a clear vertical cut was found in section, running parallel with the dip of the former capstone suggesting that the cairn had been excavated into and the capstone set and packed within the existing cairn, probably used as a standing stone during the Early Bronze Age (c. 2000-1700 cal. BCE) when Western Britain was introduced to a new set of burial-ritual monuments.  Finds were not unexpectedly meagre and included medieval and post-medieval pottery sherds and two Mesolithic shale beads; identical to those found at the nearby Mesolithic coastal settlement of Nab Head.


 - CHINE : Bat Cave - Archaeologists have unearthed fossilized teeth of cavemen dating back 100,000 years, the first such discoveries in central China. According to Li Zhanyang, archaeologist with the Henan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, the fossils were excavated from Bat Cave, an Old Stone Age cave relic in Luanchuan County, Henan Province. The team also found stoneware and items made from bone, used by ancient cavemen. Furthermore, fossils from over 60 species of animal were uncovered at the excavation site, including the fossilized scull of the Tylonycteris, a bat genus, whose fossils has never before been found in China.
Archaeologists in east China's Shandong Province said they had discovered a hidden niche containing precious Buddha relics in a pagoda in Jinxiang County. It was found to have contained and preserved 22 pieces of silverware, a Mahaparinirvana Sutra copy and a case containing sarira, or bead-shaped relics left after the cremation of Buddhist masters. Wang Yongbo, deputy head of Shandong Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage, said the findings would provide much insight into the development of Buddhism in east China.


 - ROYAUME-UNI :   Lincoln - A previously unknown underground tunnel has been discovered at Lincoln Castle. Archaeologists uncovered the medieval structure during exploratory work at ground level prior to the installation of a lift that would take people on to the castle walls. The tunnel, which is linked to a circular room or structure, was uncovered by Lincoln Cathedral archaeologist. There are no other known surviving remains of medieval structures within the castle bailey. These excavations have discovered the remains of a substantial stone building with a circular interior, possibly the remains of a stairwell or room below the current ground level of the castle bailey. The room is accessed by a doorway, which leads into a tunnel in the direction of the central bailey area. Provisionally, it is suspected the structure may be as early as the 12th century and indicate one of the first buildings within the medieval castle. The castle was built in 1068 – just two years after the Norman invasion.


 - ROYAUME-UNI :   North Wales - An experiment hopes to identify how Iron Age people communicated from their hilltop homes 2,500 years ago. Volunteers are being sought to stand on the summit of 10 hill forts, and use flares and torchlight to signal to each other. The aim is also to find out if people used high points to warn each other. The ancient sites are on the Clwydian Range; Halkyn Mountain, near Holywell, Flintshire; a lowland site at Wirral; and the Sandstone Ridge, Cheshire. "Most of the hill forts across the surrounding landscape can be seen from each other," says archaeologist Erin Robinson from Denbighshire's Heather and Hillforts project. "The experiment is aiming to see if the glowing fires could have been seen across the hills and acted as a communication or warning system."


 - JAPON :   Nara - The remains of four large buildings have been discovered at the Akitsu ruins here, part of what is believed to have been a ritual site built in the first half of the 4th century and used by powerful figures at the time. Excavation of the 18,500 square meter site began in May of last year, and in January the institute announced it had discovered part of a square shaped division of land. As excavation has continued, a total of six land divisions have been uncovered. Each one appears to have originally been enclosed by an unusually constructed barrier -- a fence built by driving stakes into a line inside of a groove, with logs driven into the ground along both sides of the fence at intervals of two to three meters to give support.  The largest discovered land division, which held the four buildings, is 50 meters north to south, and over 48 meters east to west, making it one of the largest land divisions discovered at a historical site in the country. The four buildings were all the same size -- 13.5 meters north to south, and 7 meters east to west -- and were neatly lined up so that they faced the same direction. The remains of 52 other buildings constructed with pillars directly driven into the ground or by digging shallow pits to make the floors have also been discovered. Almost no earthenware that would have been used for daily living has been uncovered within the site, but at the former site of a river to the north, pedestals for making offerings and other items used in rituals have been found in great numbers, where they are thought to have been tossed away. Based on this evidence, the researchers believe "the site may have been a site for performing rituals, with the inside of the facility kept clean." Although there exist ancient Chinese historical documents describing third century Japan, such as the account of the great queen Himiko, and fifth century Japan, such as the account of five great kings in Japan at that time, there are no documents describing Japan in the fourth century, leading to that century being called "kuhaku no yonseiki" (the blank 4th century). Any discovery dating to the fourth century is therefore considered valuable. As for who may have conducted rituals at the site, researchers believe it was the Yamato royalty or the Kazuraki clan, which flourished in the 5th century, partly because of their connections to the rulers of the country.