29 DECEMBRE 2016 NEWS: Harpenden - Tel Dan - Wuyang - Magarsus - Langeais -
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ROYAUME UNI – Harpenden - A Roman industrial building dating between 50AD-400AD could lie beneath the fields of a cattle farm earmarked to be turned into a new secondary school, an investigation has shown. Alexander Thomas, a PhD student at Bristol University’s department of archaeology and anthropology, has been analysing data from a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey conducted at Batford Farm, off Common Lane in Harpenden. What he found had “strong anomalies consistent with a large rectangular building constructed of brick or stone. Alexander said the ‘substantial’ 30m by 15m building was much larger than any of those in the Bonny Boys complex. Alexander said he had concluded that: “The substantial rectangular building made of brick or stone must therefore date to a much earlier period, and the only period in which buildings of this size and shape and in these materials were constructed was the Roman period.” Although the structure could have been a house, he suggested that, given its location close to the river, the ford, mill and possible pits, and the industrial area which existed in the area in the Roman era, “the building may be a series of workshops or structures designed for trade”.Alexander added: “If this is the case, then it is very rare discovery, and sheds important light on what was going on in Batford in this period.” He said that if the structure was a Roman industrial building, work carried out there could be connected to deneholes – chalk extraction pits – discovered in the same GPR survey. Furthermore, he found evidence of “the existence of a possible shaft which extends down from the entrance of one of the holes.“This and other circumstantial evidence, such as the pits, suggests there may be tunnels beneath. Mining activity in the immediate area adds weight to the hypothesis that in the pre-Medieval period the area around Batford Mill was a hub of industrial activity. Further investigation is required.”
ISRAEL – Tel Dan - Part of a Biblical-era wall in the Tel Dan archaeological site dating back to the First Temple period has collapsed after heavy storms lashed the north of country. he wall is adjacent to an ancient gate dating back to 1750 BCE, believed to be the entrance to the biblical city of Dan. The falling debris covered five ancient gravestones which were next to the base of the wall. The gate is popularly known as Abraham’s Gate, based on the biblical story that the patriarch and his men went there to rescue his nephew Lot. The gate was not damaged. The biblical city, named for the tribe of Israel that lived there, was built on the ruins of a Canaanite city named Laish, dating to about 4,000 years ago.
CHINE - Wuyang - Scientists have found evidence of silk dating back 8,500 years after testing soil samples from a Neolithic site in Henan province. The discovery greatly advances the study of the material's history and Neolithic cultures, according to a report released on Monday by the University of Science and Technology of China. Gong Decai, a professor with the college's scientific archaeology department, spent almost six years completing the research, which he also included in a recent article for Plos One, an international academic journal. He said his team found evidence of prehistoric fibroin, an insoluble protein found in silk, in soil samples collected from three tombs at Jiahu, a Neolithic site in Henan's Wuyang county that had settlers as early as 7,000 BC. Compared with other ancient relics such as pottery and bone or stone tools, which are often found in archaeological digs, textiles are highly susceptible to degradation, meaning it's rare they are preserved for thousands of years. Gong said earlier studies had found proof of weaving skills and tools in the Neolithic period, such as spinning wheels, but until now, there had been a lack of direct evidence proving the existence of silk. "The direct biomolecular evidence shows the existence of prehistoric silk fibroin, which was found in 8,500-year-old tombs," he said, adding that rough weaving tools and bone needles were also excavated, supporting the theory that Jiahu settlers possessed basic weaving and sewing skills. The site is famous for the discovery of the earliest playable musical instrument, the bone flute; the earliest mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit; and the earliest domesticated rice in northern China. "The archaeological discoveries are endless," Gong said. "With the application of science and technology, more methods have contributed to discoveries, which boost our knowledge of Neolithic civilizations step by step."
TURQUIE – Magarsus – The excavations in the ancient city of Magarsus in Adana will focus on unearthing the ancient theater's orchestra and stadium sections next season. The city was named after the Magarsia priestess in the Temple of Athena where Macedonian King Alexander the Great sacrificed an animal before the battle with Persian King Darius in 333 B.C. The history of the ancient city of Magarsus can be traced back to the fifth century B.C. Speaking to the press, Deputy Director of the Adana Museum Nedim Dervişoğlu said that the ancient theater in the archaeological site was discovered during the previous excavation season. Stating that the excavations will continue thanks to the support provided by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Dervişoğlu said: "The excavations in Magarsus will continue in the orchestra pit of the theater and the stadium of the ancient city. Following the stadium excavations, archaeologists will also focus on unearthing the temple. The project phase of the restoration and conservation of the ancient theater will begin soon."
FRANCE – Langeais - Découvert à l’été 2015 à moins de deux mètres de profondeur, ce chaland qui descendait la Loire vers Nantes s’est fracassé du côté de Langeais (Indre-et-Loire) laissant au fond de l’eau une exceptionnelle cargaison militaire. C’est à la faveur d’une baisse importante des eaux de la Loire à l’été 2015, que l’épave se dévoile. Notamment le bordé et les membrures. « C’est un chaland de Loire du XVIIIe, unique en région Centre, explique Virginie Serna, conservatrice en chef du patrimoine au Ministère de la Culture et archéologue subaquatique. En fait c’est le dernier bateau d’un train de six qui s’est fracassé en 1795 en butant sur des pieux alors qu’il descendait vers Nantes après une escale à Orléans ». Disloquée mais dont l’ensemble reste compréhensible, l’épave va vite apparaître aux yeux de l’équipe du projet collectif de recherches ‘Epaves et Naufrages en Loire’ comme une découverte exceptionnelle : non seulement pour la première fois une épave est retrouvée en Loire avec encore une partie de sa cargaison mais on arrive à mettre la main sur le procès-verbal du naufrage. « Un naufrage sans victime dont la cargaison, qui s’effiloche sur 900 m en aval, est à la fois civile et militaire, poursuit Virginie Serna. Tout a disparu ou a été récupéré par les marins comme des pots de parfums, des savons, des crèmes, des partitions de musique, du sucre, du tabac… Reste ce qui est lourd au fond de l’eau : des boulets de canon et des caissons à munitions en pièces détachées ».