29 JUILLET 2011 NEWS : Rome - Montreuil sur Mer - Slocan Narrows Village - Sitka -Helmsley - Cape Tanfield - Lake George -
- 29 JUILLET
PRE-INSCRIPTION : 15 Juin – 15 Août
PRE-REGISTRATION: June 15th - August 15th
- ITALIE – Rome - Excavations in the bowels of an ancient Roman hill have turned up a well-preserved, late 1st century wall mosaic with a figure of Apollo, nude except for a colorful mantle over a shoulder. Archaeologists and city officials unveiled the recent find to reporters Friday on the Oppian Hill. The mosaic-covered wall is 16 meters (53 feet) wide and at least 2 meters (6.6 feet) high. Officials think the wall continues down some 8 meters (26.5 feet) more. Archaeologists say the wall appears to be in a tunnel built to help support Trajan's Baths, named for the emperor who ruled from 98 till 117. The mosaic, which also depicts a Muse, apparently embellished a room where wealthy Romans gathered to hear music and discuss art.
- FRANCE – Montreuil-sur-Mer - Pendant tout le mois de juillet, l'INRAP a organisé des fouilles à l'arrière de l'abbatiale Saint-Saulve, là où se situait, au XIIe siècle, l'ancien choeur de l'église abbatiale. « Nous sommes certainement à l'endroit le plus ancien de Montreuil-sur-Mer, là où se situent ses racines les plus profondes, explique Jean-Claude Routier de l'INRAP. On y retrouve des couches datant du Xe siècle. Un millénaire plus tard, ce sont de jeunes étudiants en archéologie qui grattent délicatement la terre, à la recherche de la trace des moines qui, fuyant les Vikings qui envahissaient la Bretagne, arrivèrent avec leurs reliques, à Montreuil où le comte Helgaud leur permit de se réfugier. Les moines ne sont plus là mais leurs reliques sont restées à Montreuil. « L'ancien choeur a été détruit par les Espagnols lors du siège de Montreuil en 1537, poursuit Jean-Claude Routier. Nous cherchons des traces de la vie des gens d'églises sur la période allant du Xe au XIIe siècle. » Et ces traces, les archéologues les ont trouvées. Ces derniers jours, ils ont mis à jour une sépulture d'un prieur abbé qui a vécu au XIIe siècle. la tombe était dans un excellent état de conservation. « Il était enterré avec son bâton de procession et portait une coiffe » précise Jean-Claude Routier. Sur cette coiffe, les archéologues ont découvert un écusson sur lequel on distinguait un dragon qui se mord la queue sur un décor de feuillage. La dépouille de l'abbé prieur a été enlevée afin d'être étudiée. Ce n'est pas la première fois que les archéologues s'intéressent à cet endroit. Ils l'avaient déjà fouillé en 2009 et 2010. L'année dernière, ils avaient découvert une autre sépulture intacte, datant du XVe siècle. Un homme d'église, là encore. Il était enterré avec son ciboire. Les archéologues ont aussi retrouvé des traces de pillage. « À cause de cela, nous n'avons pas de vestiges datant d'avant le XIIe siècle. » Les archéologues en ont quasiment terminé avec l'ancien choeur de l'abbatiale.
- USA - Slocan Narrows Village - An archaeology field school expects to know by summer’s end just how old a series of Slocan Valley pithouses are. Students led by anthropology professor Dr. Nathan Goodale of Hamilton College in New York state have spent the last several weeks sifting through dirt at the site known as the Slocan Narrows Village, looking for bits of charcoal that will provide clues. They shared their findings Sunday with a large number of locals at an open house. Goodale says about 35 pithouses were concentrated at the narrows on both sides of the river, while nearly 90 existed within a 2 km radius, suggesting a relatively large population. Deep depressions still exist at most of these sites, although others have eroded away, and a few are now completely underwater. Goodale describes it all as “really significant.” Radiocarbon dating — based on the decay of radioactive isotopes — suggests the village was occupied intermittently beginning 3,000 years ago, and as recently as 200 years ago — about the time of European contact with local First Nations. In at least one case, it appears a pithouse was occupied twice — at points 1,000 years apart. Another house is among the largest known in BC and the Pacific Northwest at 23 metres in diameter. It’s also the oldest of its size group at 2,700 years, predating all others by a millennium. The houses were typically burned when abandoned, so it is the charcoal remains of wooden roof beams and support posts students seek as they excavate 50 x 50 cm patches. They’ve had success, although sometimes it requires more than a meter of digging. The housepits themselves were dome-shaped permanent dwellings entered through the top on a notched ladder. They had a hearth in the centre, and were quite warm in winter. The Sinixt First Nation and their ancestors mainly occupied them in the fall through spring. In addition to charcoal, stone tools have been found at the village, including arrowheads, scrapers, and ground stones, which further help date the deposits.The excavation of one pit also revealed a large number of bones, most of which were beaver digits, suggesting it was the site of hide processing some 1,800 years ago. Other bones have been located of deer and muskrat as well as turtle and mussel shells. Another site poses a mystery: a series of crescent-shaped depressions that at first appeared to be partly destroyed housepits might be something else entirely. They have been carbon dated to about 250 years ago, resulting in two possible theories: they may be defensive earthworks — a place to lay low while watching the river — or they could be the by-product of nearby railway construction, which disturbed ancient tools and charcoal.
- USA – Sitka - An anthropologist has found what she believes are stone tools in a street excavation in downtown Sitka. The finds – if they are confirmed – could help shed light on Paleolithic humans who either lived in, or passed through, the region. “It’s a simple tool where you have a certain kind of rock, and you drop that rock on another rock and a flake comes off. And if it’s nice and sharp along there you’ll use it for a while. You grip it like that – use it as a skin scraper, or for whatever you’re scraping. Then, when it gets worn out, you throw it away,” says Nancy Yaw Davis, an anthropologist by trade, and an archaeologist by coincidence. She’s standing next to a trench in Sitka’s Monastery Street, about a block from her home. The rock, called a “boulder chip” is absolutely unremarkable – Wilma Flintstone did not have anything like this in her kitchen – until Davis folds her fingers around it and it becomes a compact and efficient-looking scraper. Next she shows me a stone point, called a “biface.” “The shape, the size – it’s about three-and-a-half inches by two inches. The unusual material, the way it could fit on a spear. And it just stood out.” Close to where Davis found the possible stone tools is what appears to be a deposit of beach cobble. It could be an ancient river beach, or it could be fill from previous sewer work. Because this site has been disturbed many times, it doesn’t really matter.
- ROYAUME-UNI - Helmsley. More than 4,000 objects discovered under the floorboards of a historic North Yorkshire stately home have gone on show.National Trust archaeologist Mark Newman and the property team at Nunnington Hall uncovered the treasures when excavating under five rooms at the 17th century mansion, near Helmsley. Ranging from crab-claws and hazelnuts – the remains of human meals dragged under the floorboards by mice – to fragments of silk, jewellery and coins, the objects paint a rich picture of Nunnington’s life over the last 400 years. The finds also include rare 17th century embossed leather wall cladding and secretly hidden papers. Mr Newman said: In January this year we found almost 500 objects from just 2½ sq ft of the oak bedroom floor. “The wax seals, torn fragments of fine silk dresses, pen nibs and jewellery fragments seemed to be revealing a scene straight from Mills and Boon.”
- CANADA – Cape Tanfield - An expert in North Atlantic Viking settlements, Dr MacLeod Rivett is joining the Helluland Archaeology Project at Cape Tanfield, Baffin Island, on a site occupied over 1000 years ago by Paleo-Eskimos. Archaeological excavations have provided evidence of possible long-term links between these people and the Scandinavian Viking colonies in the Arctic. Helluland was the Viking name for a newly-discovered area of the American continent.
- USA – Lake George - An archaeological team is back at a reconstructed French and Indian War fort in the Adirondacks to search for artifacts from the original fortification that was the scene of an infamous massacre. It's the first time in 11 years that excavations have been conducted at Fort William Henry in the village of Lake George, the original British fort, which was captured and burned by the French in 1757. Scores of the fort's soldiers and civilians were killed by Indian allies of the French. The massacre was retold in James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans." The fort was rebuilt in the 1950s as a tourist attraction.