28 MARS 2021 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
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SPRING TERM : APRIL 2021
PEROU – La Libertad - Archaeologists in northern Peru have identified a 3,200-year-old mural painted on the side of an ancient adobe temple that is thought to depict a zoomorphic, knife-wielding spider god associated with rain and fertility. The mural – applied in ochre, yellow, grey and white paint to the wall of the 15m x 5m mud brick structure in the Virú province of Peru’s La Libertad region – was discovered last year after much of the site was destroyed by local farmers trying to extend their avocado and sugarcane plantations. Experts believe the shrine was built by the pre-Columbian Cupisnique culture, which developed along Peru’s northern coast more than 3,000 years ago. The archaeologist Régulo Franco Jordán said the shrine’s strategic location near the river had led researchers to believe it had been a temple dedicated to water deities. The spider on the shrine is associated with water and was an incredibly important animal in pre-Hispanic cultures, which lived according to a ceremonial calendar. It’s likely that there was a special, sacred water ceremony held between January and March when the rains came down from the higher areas. Jordán has named the temple Tomabalito after the nearby archaeological site known as el Castillo de Tomabal.
ROYAUME UNI – Luce Bay - Archaeologists made the find while working on the A75 Dunragit by-pass in Dumfries and Galloway, with analysis of their finds now published. They believe the area may have been home to a ceremonial complex on the scale of Ness of Brodgar in Orkney, Kilmartin Glen in Argyll or Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The site, which spans some 2.5km, is one of a number of stunning discoveries made in the area with the finds spanning a period of 8,000 years. The ceremonial complex, which dates to 3,800 BC, may have been a cursus monument – a cathedral-style complex of its day that was built by the surrounding community and visited in large numbers for ritual activity. Archaeologists discovered a line of early Neolithic postholes rising up along a ridge towards an artificial hill, Droughduil Mound, which has views over Luce Bay. One of the most stunning artefacts found was a rare and complete 167-piece jet bead necklace and bracelet set dating to around 2000 BC. Remnants of the earliest-known house in the area, which dates back to around 9,000 years ago during the Mesolithic period, were also discovered on the edge of a former estuary which has long disappeared. Two Bronze Age cemeteries, from around 3,500-4,000 years ago, and an Iron Age village were also identified. Two publications called Dunragit, the Prehistoric Heart of Galloway by Warren Bailie, of GUARD Archaeology, are free to download.
SUEDE – Valsgärde - Two 7th century warriors at an ancient burial ground in Sweden were laid to rest with comfy bedding stuffed with feathers from a variety of birds, research shows. New microscopic analysis of the bedding shows traces of feathers from local geese, ducks, grouse, crows, sparrows, waders and even eagle owls. The warriors were also buried in their boats with richly adorned helmets, shields and weapons and even gaming pieces, which, along with the several layers of bedding, would have eased the journey 'to the realm of the dead', according to researchers. Bizarrely, in one grave, an Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) had been laid with its head cut off – and the experts aren't entirely sure why. The graves are two of 15 that were uncovered and excavated by archaeologists in the 1920s in Valsgärde outside Uppsala in central Sweden. Weirdly, horses and other animals were arranged close to the boats when they were buried – about 1,400 years ago. The buried warriors appear to have been equipped to row to the underworld, but also to be able to get ashore with the help of the horses. According to Nordic folklore, the type of feathers contained in the bedding of the dying person was important. The burial field in Valsgärde was found to contain more than 90 graves from the Iron Age, of which 15 were boat-burials with 'well-equipped' warriors from the Late Iron Age (AD 570–1030).
POLOGNE – Wrzępia - The largest pottery production centre in Poland from the Roman period has been discovered by archaeologists near the village of Wrzępia within the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. According to archaeologists, the production centre which contains 130 furnaces is the largest of its type in Poland, and one of the largest ever uncovered in Europe.The site dates from around 1500 years ago, of which two furnaces have been excavated, and the rest have been traced by conducting a magnetometer study over an area of 12.3 acres. Previous research shows that the furnaces operated at full steam between the turn of the 2nd / 3rd and the 5th century. At that time, the area was inhabited by Germanic tribes, probably Vandals.
AUTRICHE – Prigglitz-Gasteil – Selon les conclusions d'une étude publiée le 24 mars 2021 dans la revue PLOS One , il se pourrait que des hommes travaillant sur des sites miniers des Alpes orientales à cette période de l'histoire (située entre 1.100-900 av. J.-C.) se soient fait "livrer" des repas cuisinés à base de pain durant leur journée de labeur. L'archéobotaniste Andreas Heiss et ses collègues ont découvert des restes d'aliments cuits, notamment des céréales raffinées et des grains finement moulus, dans une ancienne mine de cuivre de Prigglitz-Gasteil, dans les Alpes autrichienne, active à l'Âge du bronze tardif. Des aliments qui nécessitaient forcément une préparation pour les rendre comestibles, notamment en séparant les grains de leurs enveloppes et en les cuisant. Pourtant, aucun signe de ce type de travail n'a été observé dans la mine. De même qu'à proximité du site, aucune trace de récoltes n'a non plus été localisée. Pour les chercheurs, la conclusion ne fait donc pas de doute : la nourriture était forcément transportée jusqu'à l'intérieur du souterrain. "Toutes les premières étapes de la transformation étaient totalement absentes, ce qui est généralement un bon indicateur d'une habitude de consommation : les gens ne produisaient pas eux-mêmes, mais recevaient des produits déjà prétraités", explique Andreas Heiss dans son étude. Les ingrédients humides comme le lait n'étant pas conservés, il est aujourd'hui impossible pour les archéologues de déterminer précisément quels plats étaient servis aux mineurs, mais il est probable que ces derniers aient été à base de pain. "L'absence d'ivraie, combinée à une forte présence d'aliments transformés, suggère que les mineurs de Prigglitz-Gasteil étaient approvisionnés de l'extérieur en céréales prêtes à cuire et transformées, soit par les communautés voisines, soit à une plus grande distance. Ce caractère de consommateur est en accord avec les observations des sites métallurgiques analysés précédemment", nous dit l'étude. Des recherches antérieures ont en effet montré que ces mineurs se faisaient livrer du porc, mais ces nouvelles découvertes suggèrent que les aliments d'origine végétale constituaient également une part importante de leur alimentation.
INDE – Kothakonda - Ancient ‘terracotta cakes’ have been found on and near the Kothakonda hill in Bheemadevarapalli mandal of Warangal Urban district. Three types of baked clay tiles were found in the cotton fields on and beside the hillock. Some of the finds were similar to those recovered from the Indus Valley Civilisation sites. These terracotta tiles are shaped like a tablet cut in half. Others are rectangular and the edges are sharp. The remaining are bent in the shape of the English letter ‘L’. They are about 3.5 inches long and three inches wide with half an inch thickness. Terracotta cakes glued to lime mortar were also found on the edge of the hillock, he said adding that archaeological evidence suggests that they were used in pyro technology operations.