27 FEVRIER 2019: Assouan - Southampton - Angkor - Kasuga - Anyang - Halifax -
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EGYPTE – Assouan - The Egyptian-Swedish Archaeological mission unearthed on Monday a workshop for manufacturing pharaonic columns, statues and cabinets, dating to the New Kingdom period of ancient Egypt between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC. Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities Mustafa Waziri said that the mission found a huge criosphinx statue with a ram head and a lion body at a length of 5 meters and a width of 1.5 meters. The statue was built in a similar design as the criosphinx statue located at the nearby Khonsu Temple in Luxor, which date to King Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty. General Director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities Abdel Moneam Saed mentioned that the mission discovered small wrapped cobra statue, another small ram-headed statue, crushed stones engraved with hieroglyphic writings, remains of a falcon statue, and parts of an obelisk.
ROYAUME UNI – Southampton - The dig in the city centre is taking place ahead of the redevelopment of the Bargate Quarter. The dig also unearthed a complete 15th century mercury jar, which experts believe was possibly used for treating syphilis and leprosy. Experts are also trying to discover the origins of a 17th century plate, which features a Renaissance statue of a bare-chested woman in a grotto. Suggestions include London, Amsterdam and Pisa The items, and the 14th century stone ball, were found in a ditch which was dug outside the town walls after a raid by the French in 1338. Southampton was the first town in England to use guns for its defence. This stone cannon ball is made of flint, which would shatter on impact and burst into hundreds of razor sharp splinters. The oldest sections, Bargate and Eastgate, date from 1180 - alterations were made in about 1290. They were extended following the devastating French raid of 1338. Edward III ordered that walls be built to "close the town", with the western walls completed in 1380. The walls - including eight gates and 29 towers - stretched for one and a quarter miles, with the Bargate as the entrance to the medieval town. In the late 19th Century an idea to demolish the Bargate as an impediment to traffic was defeated following a public campaign. But in the 1930s the adjoining walls were removed to allow traffic to flow on either side. Roughly half of the walls, 13 of the original towers and six gates are still standing, making them some of the most complete medieval town walls in the country.
CAMBODGE – Angkor - Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire, appears to have suffered a gradual decline rather than a catastrophic collapse, according to a study published Monday. Archaeologists and historians have long sought to explain the 15th-century abandonment of Angkor, with many attributing it to the 1431 invasion by Thai forces from Ayutthaya. “The historical record is effectively blank for the 15th century at Angkor,” said Dan Penny, a member of a team of Australian and Cambodian archaeologists and geographers who took part in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). “We don’t have a written record that tells us why they left or when or how,” said Penny of the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. “Everything that survived is carved on stone.” For the study, the team examined 70-centimeter sediment cores taken from a moat that surrounded Angkor Thom, the capital of the Khmer empire. Penny said the cores serve as a “natural history book recording changes in land use, and climate, and in vegetation, year after year.” Where humans live they leave traces through fire, soil erosion through agriculture and disturbed vegetation. When they leave, conditions change. In the first decades of the 14th century, Penny said you start to see a decline in land use, wood burning, destabilized vegetation and a reduction in soil erosion. By the end of the 14th century, “the southern moat of Angkor Thom was overgrown with vegetation, and management, by implication, had ceased,” the authors said in the study. “Angkor was never fully abandoned,” Penny said, but “the elite were shifting away from Angkor,” moving to new communities elsewhere with more commercial opportunities. “This was not a collapse,” Penny said. “This was in fact a decisive choice to shift focus away from Angkor.” “While the breakdown of Angkor’s hydraulic network, most likely associated with climate variability in the mid-14th and early 15th centuries, represents the end of Angkor as a viable settlement, our data indicate that it was presaged by a protracted demographic decline,” the study said. “This raises the likelihood that the urban elite did not leave Angkor because the infrastructure failed, as has been suggested, but that the infrastructure failed (or was not maintained and repaired) because the urban elites had already left.” “The absence of Angkor’s ruling elite by the end of the 14th century casts a different light over the Ayutthayan occupation of the city from 1431 CE, and over Cambodian narratives that emphasize loss at the hands of interventionist neighboring states,” they added.
JAPON – Kasuga - An anchor-shaped object found by a group of researchers here may provide a clue to exchanges between Japan and neighboring nations during the Yayoi Pottery Culture period (300 B.C.-A.D. 300). The metal object, found in the Sugu ruins excavation site, is believed to have been made around 100 to 200 A.D. At that time, Kasuga was a central part of what ancient Chinese history refers to as Nakoku in "Wei Zhi," which contained an extensive account of areas that now make up Japan. According to Kasuga city officials, the latest discovery came during a 2016 dig of a ruin believed to have been a grave. The object measures 8 centimeters by 4 cm and is about 0.5 cm thick. While similar objects have been found in what are believed to have been graves in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula, no such object has been found in Japan until now. While experts do not know the exact use of the object, there is speculation that it was some sort of tool that a horse carriage operator used to attach the reins to his hip. Junichi Takesue, an archaeology professor at Fukuoka University who has done extensive research on ancient history of the Korean Peninsula, said the latest find is an important material that shows those who used to live in the area of the Sugu ruins had extensive exchanges with nations that were in control of the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula. Nakoku is believed to have been a major presence in the Fukuoka plain during the Yayoi Pottery Culture period. Another ancient Chinese history text has an entry that the king of Nakoku received a gold seal from the Chinese emperor in the year 57. That relic was found during the Edo Period (1603-1867) in what is now the Shikashima district of Fukuoka city.
CHINE – Anyang - A batch of bronze ritual vessels and pottery molds, dating back to the Shang Dynasty (about 1600 BC-1046 BC), have been discovered in a cultural relic site in central China's Henan Province. Archaeologists discovered 34 bronze ritual objects of the late Shang Dynasty from many tombs of the Xindian relic site in the city of Anyang. More than 4,000 pieces of items used for bronze casting were also found. Kong Deming, head of Anyang archaeology institute, said the discoveries have once again proven that the region was once a large bronze casting site boasting advanced techniques and rich products. The Xindian archaeological site was discovered in 2016. The institute organized a second excavation at the site in 2018. The site is about 10 km away from the ruins of Yin, the last capital of the Shang Dynasty. Experts said further studies should be made to better understand the relationship between the Xindian archaeological site and the ruins of Yin, as well as the function of the Xindian site at that period of time.
CANADA – Halifax – A room-sized underground stone vault was discovered near Province House, the home of Nova Scotia’s legislature, during construction work last summer. Archaeologist April MacIntyre said she and the members of the construction crew were surprised when they tried to break up what appeared to be bedrock. “What we discovered was an open, dry-stone-laid chamber with a semicircular, vaulted-type roof,” she explained. MacIntyre and her team investigated and measured the vault with remote cameras because it was not safe for them to enter the chamber, which is about 20 feet long by 14 feet wide, and about ten feet deep, although silt has collected on the floor. “There’s no record of anything of that nature being here on the property,” she explained. “No indications on maps or any records that we’ve been able to find.” Artifacts on the roof of the structure date to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and MacIntyre noted that the structure seems to be similar to powder magazines from the period, including one built at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal in the late 1790s. The small hole in the structure’s roof has been covered with a cloth and the area filled with crushed stone to stabilize and mark it.