27-28 DECEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Jamestown - Aalborg - Knossos - Bhongir - Norton Priory - Veliko Tarnovo -
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WINTER TERM : JANUARY 2017
USA – Jamestown - Archaeologists in Historic Jamestowne have commenced excavations on the fort’s church in the hopes of finding the remains of high-status colonists. Team members of Preservation Virginia have dug a two-foot deep, six-by-ten foot hole in the eastern corner of the church’s brick floor. According to Preservation Virginia Archaeologist Danny Schmidt, the hole has been dug in the chancel at the front of the church. “The chancel is the space reserved for the communion table,” said Schmidt. “It’s the most sacred space of the church.” Schmidt said he believes there is “a very good chance” Virginia’s first governor, Lord de la Warre, may have been buried in the chancel, as burials in the chancel were reserved for high-status individuals. De la Warre died at sea on his way to Jamestowne in 1618, and his final resting place has long been unknown, said Schmidt. However, a recently-discovered court deposition indicated that his remains were brought directly to the Jamestowne colony. The researchers from Preservation Virginia have uncovered hundreds of artifacts from the chancel already, including pottery, nails, tobacco pipe stems, glass, a fragment of a sword hanger hook and a possible armor fragment, said Schmidt. The artifacts are currently being cleaned and cataloged.
DANEMARK – Aalborg - In Denmark, the most important archeological find of the year is the country's oldest cats, who allegedly arrived from the Roman Empire. The cats' remnants were found by archaeologists during excavations in the area where a new university building will be erected in Aalborg. Should the scientific analysis confirm the archaeologists' assessment, the cats are the oldest find in Denmark. Of yet, it has not been established what the two cats were up to in what now is the Danish city of Aalborg around the time of Jesus' birth. However, the find, which has gone farther than the scientists' expectations, is anticipated to shed more light to the history of felines and their spread across the globe. The bones themselves were actually dug out in 2014 and 2015. It was not until 2016, however, that the museum in North Jutland realized what treasure it had in their hands. Previously, cats' arrival to Scandinavia was linked to the Viking age, when tame felines were supposedly introduced as pest control. Despite having appeared in Viking mythology, cats were still rare and expensive during the Viking era.
GRECE – Knossos - The newest discoveries on Crete at the site of the ancient city of Knossos suggest that the capital of the Minoan Civilization was much more influential and larger than previously thought. Archeologists already knew that Knossos was Europe’s oldest city and ruled over the massive trade empire during the Bronze age, however, new evidence suggests that the Minoans may have actually survived into the Iron Age. Previously thought to have perished around 1200 B.C. after the volcanic eruption of Thera on Santorini, new artifacts discovered by a team led by a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of classics, Antonis Kotsonas, suggests otherwise. Nearby burial sites that have recently been excavated revealed that the Minoans were still in the trading business in the region long after 1200 B.C. and that the actual area of Knossos may have been much bigger than originally thought due to the new discoveries. “Even at this early stage in detailed analysis, it appears that this was a nucleated, rather densely occupied settlement extending over the core of the Knossos valley, from at least the east slopes of the acropolis hill on the west to the Kairatos River, and from the Vlychia stream on the south until roughly midway between the Minoan palace and the Kephala hill,” Dr. Kotsonas said, according to argophilia.com.
INDE – Bhongir - The newest addition to one of biggest batholiths in the world at Bhongir is a green basalt sculpture of Naga Bhairava dating back to 13th century. The rock sculpture of Siva with snakes and skulls on his body was unearthed a few yards away from the foothill of the hillock during a construction project about three months ago and has now been installed on the foothill of the Bhongir fort right beside that of Sarvai Papadu. “We believe the sculpture is 850 years old dating back to Kalyana Chalukyas and formed a part of Bhuvaneshwari temple. Naga Bhairava is part of Ashta Bhairava, the eight ferocious avatars of Siva guarding and controlling the eight directions. Naga Bhairava is the guardian of the southern direction,” said an official at the fort site. The idol was discovered in June near agriculture fields a few metres away from the base of the hill and people began worshipping at the site before the officials of Department of Archaeology and Museums stepped in. After initial resistance from a few locals who wanted the whole temple to be excavated and resurrected, the officials had their way and the statue was carted to the site
ROYAUME UNI – Norton Priory - Turkey bones dating back to the 16th century have been discovered at an ancient Runcorn tourist attraction. Norton Priory Museum is well known for its collection of human skeletons but the excavations also revealed a vast collection of bird bones. Turkeys first arrived in England during the early 1500s so it is possible that these bones represent some of the first turkeys to be consumed in this country. English navigator William Strickland is generally credited with introducing the turkey into England via Spain in the early 16th century. It soon became popular with the wealthy population in England as Henry VIII is thought to have been among the first to change from eating the usual Tudor favourites of swan, goose, peacock and boar’s head in favour of the newly arrived bird. A Norton Priory spokesman said: “It seems that the canons of Norton Priory were also keen to adopt the new fashion. “It wasn’t just the Tudors who were enjoying fowl on their dinner plates. “We also know that in 1522 a servant of the priory, ‘William the joiner’ fattened the 'geese and capons of the monastery for which he receives a portion of food suitable for this'." Little research has been done on bird and animal bones found on monastic sites so Norton Priory has teamed up with researchers at the University of Sheffield to investigate the 12,000 plus fragments of bones found during excavations from 1970 to 1987. The researchers at Sheffield University are working their way through the Norton Priory collection of animal bone which includes lots of sheep, pig and cattle and the results will be out in the New Year.
BULGARIE – Veliko Tarnovo - A 13th century bone cross with intricate engravings has been discovered in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Central North Bulgaria, the modern-day successor of the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396/1422) Tarnovgrad, revealing the name of the senior clergyman to whom it belonged. The cross dates back to the first half of the 13th century which was the early period but also the height of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The cross is made of some kind of ivory – an elephant, mammoth, or walrus tusk. The newly found cross is 4.5 cm tall, 2.7 cm wide, and 0.6 cm thick, and features a total of 13 relief engravings of religious images, and four inscriptions. It has been found in the ruins of the medieval imperial monastery St. Dimitar (Demetrius) in Veliko Tarnovo, and, according to Robov, proves that its owner, a senior clergyman and possibly one of the Fathers Superior of the monastery, was named “Nikolai". The main pieces of evidence for that are the main inscription reading “Nikolai" and also an engraved image of St. Nicholas.