29 DECEMBRE 2015 NEWS: Caesarea - Salento - Palmyre - Zuojhen -







ISRAELRam5 Caesarea - An impressive marble statue of a ram was exposed near an ancient church that dates to the Byzantine period. The discovery was made last Thursday morning in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the Caesarea Harbor National Park. In Christian art the ram is often depicted carried on the shoulders of the “Good Shepherd” (that is, Jesus, who is portrayed as the shepherd tending his flock), and sometimes the ram is situated to the left or right of Jesus. In Christianity the ram, like the lamb, represents the faithful, or Jesus himself, whose anguish and death were meant according to Christian belief to atone for original sin (the origin of the image is in John 29:1). The ram appeared alongside the Greek gods Hermes and Mercury in Roman art, and it was a representation of the god Amun in Egyptian mythology. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Mohammad Hater, directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "Caesarea never ceases to surprise as evidenced by this amazing statue that was discovered today. In ancient Christianity Jesus was not portrayed as a person. Instead, symbols were used, one of which was the ram. It may or may not be a coincidence, but the statue was uncovered on Christmas Eve. The statue that we found might have been part of the decoration of a Byzantine church from the sixth–seventh centuries CE at Caesarea. By the same token it could also be earlier, from the Roman period, and was incorporated in secondary use in the church structure”.


ITALIEC4395f8cdcc7b40989d592aa4e1ff3aec119883d4d803fd7d23c5c6c47a2d9f3 Salento - The wreck of a ship, thought to date back to either the 12th or 13th century, has been found off the coast of Salento. The sunken ship, made almost entirely of wood and measuring 18 metres by 4.5 metres, has lain for years untouched near the coastline of Salento, in the southern tip of the Puglia region, La Stampa reported. Because of the boat’s proximity to the medieval fishing village of Porto Cesareo, it could “explain significant aspects of the coastline in medieval times and contribute to the historical reconstruction of the area,” said Cristiano Alfonso, an underwater archaeologist from Salento University’s Department of Cultural Heritage, who carried out the initial assessment.


SYRIE - 3072 Palmyre - Replicas of an ancient monument in Palmyra that has apparently survived attempts by Islamic State to demolish it are to be erected in London and New York. The 15-metre structure is one of the few remaining parts of the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel in the Syrian city. Isis fighters all but razed the temple as they systematically destroyed Palmyra over the past year. The construction of the replicas will be the centrepiece of events for world heritage week, planned for April with a theme of replication and reconstruction. It has also been characterised as a gesture of defiance against religious extremists’ attempts to erase evidence of the Middle East’s pre-Islamic history. Founded in AD32, the temple was consecrated to the Mesopotamian god Bel and formed the centre of religious life in Palmyra. Building a copy of the temple entrance has been proposed by the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai’s Museum of the Future that promotes the use of digital imaging and 3D printing in archaeology and conservation. Copies of 15-metre Temple of Bel entrance in Syria to be built in Trafalgar Square and Times Square in ‘gesture of defiance’.


TAIWAN - Zuojhen - Amateur collectors in 1970 discovered human skulls and teeth fossils at the Cailiao River (菜寮溪) valley in Zuojhen, which Japanese anthropologist Nobuo Shimoda in 1976 estimated were between 20,000 and 30,000 years old using a fluorine absorption dating method, National Tsing Hua University anthropology professor Chiu Hung-lin (邱鴻霖) said. The Zuojhen Man was assumed to be from the late Paleolithic Age and was considered the earliest human fossils found in Taiwan, Chiu said. National Taiwan Museum researcher Li Tzu-Ning (李子寧) and Chiu in 2013 sent two pieces of the fossils to a laboratory in the US to determine their precise age using a radiocarbon dating method. The museum, where the fossils are kept, had planned to include the fossils in its permanent collection. In September, the fossils were dated at only about 3,000 years old, but the finding was not revealed until last week, Chiu said. “Geologically speaking, the area [the Cailiao River valley] has the potential to contain human skulls up to 30,000 years old. However, it is now certain that the Zuojhen Man is not that old,” Chiu said. Chiu said anthropologists had long suspected that the Zuojhen Man was from the Neolithic Age as the fossils were discovered with other relics of the Neolithic Age, while the dating method Shimoda used was an immature technology at the time. No other dating had been conducted until recently, as it was feared that the fossils could be damaged, but current dating technology can yield accurate analysis with minimal damage, he said. Human skeletons found at Taitung County’s Changbin Township (長濱) should replace the Zuojhen Man as the earliest Paleolithic human fossils, which could also be traced back about 20,000 to 30,000 years, he said.