29 JANVIER 2023 NEWS
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ANGLETERRE – Eastbourne - Scientists have solved the mystery of the identity of a 17th century Dutch warship wrecked off the coast of England while carrying slabs of fine Italian marble. The unknown Protected Wreck off the coast of Sussex has been identified as the Dutch warship Klein Hollandia. Built in 1656 and owned by the Admiralty of Rotterdam, the ship was involved in all major battles in the second Anglo-Dutch war (1665-1667).The wreck, which lies on the seabed 32 metres under the surface was, until now, known as the "Unknown Wreck off Eastbourne". The ship sank in 1672 off the Isle of Wight after it was attacked by an English squadron under Admiral Holmes. Following a fierce battle, the Klein Hollandia was damaged severely and the commander of the ship, Jan Van Nes, was killed in action. The ship was then boarded and conquered by the English but, shortly after, the Klein Hollandia sank with both English and Dutch sailors on board. The experts say the wreck's condition is remarkable and could offer a wealth of information about how 17th century Dutch ships were built and the activities of the warship during its final voyage. A large part of the wooden hull, cannons, Italian marble tiles and pieces of Italian pottery were among the material found on the seabed. The marble tiles came from the Apuan Alps quarries close to Carrara in Italy .
EGYPTE – Dira’ Aboul Naga- The Egyptian archaeological mission discovered a group of family burials from the era of the Thirteenth Dynasty of the Second Intermediate Period, during excavations at Dira’ Aboul Naga cemetery on the western mainland in Luxor. This discovery is the first of its kind in the area, Wazir explained, adding that its initial borders are about 50 meters wide, and over 70 meters long. The mission discovered over 30 burial wells inside these burials that are similar in design and construction, including the burial well of a minister named “Ankho”, who lived during the Thirteenth Dynasty under the reign of King Sobekhotep II. Ankho’s burial well contains a full coffin of pink granite that bears his name and surname and weighs about ten tons. He added that inside one of the discovered wells, a small funerary stela was found decorated with a scene depicting the owner of the stele, who held the position of assistant minister, while making offerings to King Sobekhotep II. The Director General of Upper Egypt Antiquities, Fathy Yassin, said that the mission also found a mud-brick building that was dedicated to making offerings. Inside were various white-painted ushabti statues with writings in black ink in hieratic script, alongside large group of amulets made of faience of various shapes, such as scarabs, the sons of Horus and a large amount of beads, in addition to hundreds of funerary seals without inscription, which characterize the period before the era of the New Kingdom.
ESPAGNE – Cueva Des-Cubierta - A team of Spanish archaeologists recently unearthed a trove of large animal skulls in a 40,000-year-old cave, according to a Jan. 26 news release from the Community of Madrid. Experts say the findings could be the first evidence of ancient human rituals. The skulls belonged to large ungulates — mammals with hooves, including horses, bison, deer and elk — and were found in Cueva Des-Cubierta, a known Neanderthal site that was originally discovered in 2009, the community said. Unlike other, similar discoveries, archaeologists said the remains they found within the cave were not consistent with subsistence activities, but instead appeared to be symbolic. Evidence at the site indicates that the mammals were killed and consumed outside of the cave, according to a study from the team released Jan. 26 in Nature Human Behavior. The skulls that were recovered all had appendages but were missing their teeth and jaws, leading experts to believe that they were used as hunting trophies. Some of the smaller bones also showed signs of being cooked or burned on a hearth, the study said. The evidence at Cueva Des-Cubierta is the first of its kind, indicating that Neanderthals may have had symbolic capacity, which means they held more intellectual capacity than previously known, the community said. The team also identified more than 1,000 ancient tools, including anvils, hammerstones, cores, flakes and other shaped tools, they said in the study.
MEXIQUE -Palenque - Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), have been excavating at Group IV of the Archaeological Zone of Palenque, an area consisting of more than 270 structures grouped into housing units and plazas, located 300 metres northwest of the urban centre. The team focused their excavations on a central square and a structure designated J6, where previous excavations discovered several human burials. The researchers uncovered over 10,000 ceramic sherds, enabling them to create a historical ceramic chronology of Palenque from the 7th to 9th century AD. Rodrigo Liendo Stuardo said: “Most of the recovered ceramics are dishes or vessels, glasses and fragments of other utensils that allows us to identify forms, decorations, fashions, and if they were utilitarian ceramics or reserved for certain occasions or ceremonies”. The collected ceramics will also serve to create a ceramic inventory for future researchers, further enabling a greater understanding of Palenque during the 7th century AD, when Kʼinich Janaab Pakal I, , also known as Pacal or Pacal the Great lived, the longest ruling of any residing monarch in the history of the Americas.
POLOGNE – Chelmo - The exact location of the site is being kept confidential to protect any further remains from looting, however, it has been revealed that during the 6th century BC, the site was at an ancient lake, which over the centuries has since drained and converted into a peat bog. The team found dozens of bronze artefacts which were displaced through agricultural ploughing, and three deliberate deposits of bronze items, likely placed as an offering or for ceremonial purposes. Archaeologists uncovered bronze necklaces, bracelets, greaves, and decorative pins with spiral heads, in addition to organic remains such as fragments of rope, antler tools, and over 100 human bone fragments spread across the ploughed surface. The team suggests that the human remains may have been from sacrificial rituals, conducted during a period of unrest when the region saw groups of nomads coming from the Pontic Steppe. The deposits date from 2500-years-ago during Poland’s early Iron Age, and have been attributed to the Lusatian culture, a people who existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age. The Lusatian culture spread across most of what is now Poland, and parts of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, eastern Germany and western Ukraine. According to the researchers, Lusatian burials practices mainly involved cremations, with inhumations being very rare. The discovery at the Chelmo site is the first known example in Poland to contain human remains buried alongside sacrificial deposits.
FRANCE – Bordeaux - Ils en sont déjà à une quarantaine d’inhumations, dont 35 sarcophages en pierre. Les archéologues du centre d’archéologie préventive de Bordeaux Métropole ont mis au jour, fin décembre, une nécropole du haut Moyen Âge, datant des VIe et VIIIe siècles, autour de la place des Martyrs-de-la-Résistance, à proximité de la basilique Saint-Seurin. « Il y a certainement plusieurs phases d’inhumation, celles sans sarcophage étant probablement plus récentes, précise Camille Vanhove, archéologue spécialiste en anthropologie et cheffe du service d’archéologie préventive. Tous les vestiges - ossements, céramiques, sarcophages… - seront collectés puis analysés en laboratoire, pour déterminer l’âge des ossements, le sexe, les éventuelles pathologies qui ont pu atteindre les os… Nous aurons ainsi également une idée de l’état sanitaire [des défunts], ce qui donnera des indications sur leur accès à la nourriture, donc sur leur rang social. Mais il faut savoir qu’à cette époque, ce mode d’inhumation en sarcophage est assez généralisé dans la région, où la pierre est facilement accessible. » Les fouilles, qui n’ont réellement débuté qu’au mois de janvier, devraient se poursuivre en plusieurs phases, « au moins jusqu’à la fin du mois de mai » .
CHINE - Sanxingdui - Located in the lush farmlands outside the megacity of Chengdu, the world-class historical site has disgorged a dazzling trove of Bronze Age relics, most hauled from a series of gigantic burn pits: strange sculptures of bug-eyed deities, colossal masks of hammered gold, gleaming jade ornaments, and life-size trees smelted from bronze that glitter with stylized flowers and mythical birds. Archaeologists sifting these 3,000-year-old ruins know little about the mysterious people who made such sophisticated art. A few clues only deepen the enigma of Sanxingdui: Many of the 13,000 artifacts unearthed so far were intentionally torched and buried at a single ritual event. Some experts believe the treasures are sacred objects yanked from the temples of a sprawling city-state and destroyed as a final goodbye to unreliable gods after a natural cataclysm—perhaps an earthquake or flood. All signs of Sanxingdui vanished soon thereafter. A few similar bronzes, excavated at a smaller site 30 miles away, were likely carried by refugees escaping a collapsed Sanxingdui.
BELGIQUE – Kortessem - A chance find by an amateur metal detectorist has added to a long-running mystery of archaeology, as a fragment of an Ancient Roman dodecahedron has been found in the small town of Kortessem, in Belgium. The piece, originally part of a dodecahedron measuring 5-6 centimeters (2–2.36 inches) in size, shows signs of having been repaired in the past, with local archaeologists at the Flanders Heritage Agency suggesting that it may have been broken in some kind of ancient ritual. Roman dodecahedra are something of a puzzle: more than 100 such artifacts have been found throughout Europe over the past few centuries, each of them meticulously cast in these perfect 12-sided polyhedra. Each face of the bronze dodecahedra has a small hole through the center, though no hole is the same size as another, and each vertex is decorated with a tiny bauble – though apart from that, the little doodads seem to have no distinctive markings at all. Nobody knows what Roman dodecahedra were actually used for. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that hundreds of them have been discovered, you’d never know they existed at all, since no record of them has ever been found in contemporary art or writing. That hasn’t stopped people from theorizing. Perhaps the mysterious little objects were used as rangefinders or angle measurers, people have suggested, or maybe the Romans used them for astronomical predictions to aid in agriculture. Instead, archaeologists at the Flanders Heritage Agency favor a more esoteric explanation. “There is increasing evidence that dodecahedrons may not have been practical objects, such as measuring instruments,” the statement says. “The known specimens are too different in dimensions and details for that.” “Their significance should probably be sought in the magico-religious sphere,” it continues. “This may explain why a significant number of dodecahedrons are linked to burial finds.”