29 JUIN 2023 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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ESTONIE – Rosma - The burned remains of one of the largest structures in the 13th century Estonia were discovered during an excavation on the Rosma hill. Archaeologists intended to excavate the site of a former fortification trench on the Rosma hill in southeast Estonia, historical Võrumaa province, but instead unearthed the charred remains of a large structure. The building discovered in Rosma is only marginally smaller than the hitherto largest known structure, which was discovered on Lõhevere Castle Hill. The site, a 50-square-meter structure, may have been used as a representative building or granary, as the floor is covered with charred grain. "One of the building's walls is eight meters long /.../ and has a hook carved into it and another wood placed into it crosswise. But all of this is extraordinarily large, especially given the remoteness of southern Estonia. We have very few findings from the end of the prehistoric period from this area, as if there were no or very few people inhabiting the region. And yet the largest and strongest forts in South Estonia were built here," Heiki Valk, an archaeology professor, said.
ISRAEL – Bethsaida - Israeli archaeologists recently found two areas which might have been part of the ancient city of Bethsaida, which was mentioned prominently in the Bible. A Byzantine church may be the missing link needed to establish one of them as the city where two apostles were born.The areas have both Byzantine as well as Roman ruins from the eras through which the city flourished. What the researchers call “Area A” at El-Araj has the remains of the southern, western, and northern walls of the Byzantine-era Church of the Apostles. Also in that same area are the remains from the Roman period of the city. A small fishing village emerged at some point between the first century BC and the first century AD at the confluence of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee, prompting its settlers to name the place Bethsaida, or “house of hunting,” (fishing). The archaeological record shows that in the fifth century the Byzantines built a church in the town over what they believed to have been the home of the apostles. Somehow however, incredibly, the town was once again completely lost to the historical record after that point. Nevertheless, that status may be changing, according to archaeologist R. Steven Notley of Nyack College in New York. A place called “Et-Tell,” located just two km (1.25 miles) away, which was excavated for more than thirty years by another archaeologist, Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, may also be the long-lost Bethsaida. Research teams from Kinneret College at that time excavated lakeside homes from the Roman period of the area; the fifth-century Byzantine church previously identified at the site was also the subject of this year’s dig, as students tried to get down to the level of its floor. Aviam stated at the time that he was hoping to find an inscription in the church, which may even include the name of the bishop or benefactors who were behind the Byzantine church’s construction. Such information could be the missing link needed to certify that this indeed was the biblical city.
USA – Kisatchie - Archaeologists digging in Louisiana’s Kisatchie national forest are finding artifacts from native people who were living in the area during the ice age. It’s among the oldest known inhabitants of our state. Researchers are digging their way through layers of history. This carefully dug hole deep in Louisiana’s Kisatchie national forest contains artifacts left here thousands of years ago by some of the earliest people to inhabit North America. “It’s like leftover material from making tools so they would strike a rock and flake it off, and this is we’re finding basically the leftover of the things that they didn’t need to use. There’s another bigger one,” said Sarah St. German. They sift their way through handfuls of dirt, looking for signs of ancient life. Different layers contain artifacts from different time periods. “They found material dating from the entire sequence of native American occupation in Louisiana so we‘re talking from 500 years ago, all the way back potentially to the ice age,” said Erlend Johnson. Some of the more impressive artifacts are spear or dart points that are 12,000 years old. “They found the base of a clovis point. The clovis were the first widely spread paleo Indian peoples living in the ice age,” Johnson said. We have Natchitoches, New Orleans, a little over 300 years old. poverty point, 3,400 years old, other mounds over 6,000 years old. We’re talking ice age here. how exciting and how rare is this? The archeologist found evidence of wooden posts, round darkened areas left by decaying wood. “It may have been a village. I think there’s a little more work to do. We found the remains of what’s probably one structure,” Johnson said.
GALLES – Caerfai - A dramatic new digital reconstruction of one of Pembrokeshire’s most vulnerable prehistoric coastal forts has just been completed, vividly bringing to life the Iron Age and Roman defended village in photo-realistic detail. The Caerfai coastal promontory fort near St Davids, which is owned by the National Trust, is threatened with coastal erosion and cliff loss. Increased storminess and intense rainfall, coupled with predicted rises in sea-level due to climate change, are steadily eroding the fragile archaeology at both these sites. The Caerfai reconstruction shows how the defended settlement would have looked around 50BC. Strong defensive ramparts, deep ditches and towered gateways once protected this Iron Age village with the interior being made up of roundhouses and workshops with copper ore being mined from the sea clilffs below. The design has been completed following extensive surveys and excavations by the CHERISH Project and DigVentures, working with the National Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
PEROU – Muralla La Cumbre -Gabriel Prieto of the University of Florida suggests that a six-mile-long, eight-foot-tall earthen wall built across two dry riverbeds in northern Peru may have been built by the Chimú people to protect their lands from El Niño floodwaters. It had been previously suggested that the wall, which is known as the Muralla La Cumbre, may have been constructed by the Chimú as a defense against invasion by the Inca. “The annual rainfall there in a regular year is very low—almost no rain at all,” Prieto said. “So when the rainfall was very high, that caused a lot of damage.” Prieto and his colleagues radiocarbon dated layers of sediment in the wall, and found that the lowest ones were laid down around A.D. 1100, soon after a large El Niño flood event. They also identified flood sediments on the eastern side of the wall, indicating that it could have protected farmlands and the capital of Chan Chan to the west. Prieto also thinks that evidence for child sacrifice uncovered at Chimú sites may be linked to the recurring El Niño danger.
ITALIE – Pompéi - Italy's Culture Ministry announced on Tuesday that a team of archaeologists have discovered a fresco still life, depicting what “looks like a pizza” in Pompeii. Destroyed in 79 AD by a major eruption of the Mount Vesuvius volcano, the plush Roman city was instantly buried beneath layers of ash and pumice, which served to preserve it for almost 2,000 years. The Italian Ministry admits that what is painted is not actually a fully evolved pizza as we know today. It admits, “Technically,” the fresco depicts “flatbread, because a pizza includes tomato and mozzarella.” However, the archaeologists said “it may be a distant relative” of the popular modern dish. The Ministry also said the bread might have been eaten with “pomegranates or dates, or dressed with spices and a type of pesto sauce,” which look to be atop the bread. A wine goblet and other fruits are depicted on the same tray.The fresco was discovered in a bakery which was attached to the hall of a large private house
RUSSIE – Suzdal Opole - The archaeological survey of the Suzdal Opole, initiated by the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences more than 20 years ago, annually brings bright findings. During this year’s excavations, a seal depicting Saint George from the 12th-13th centuries AD was discovered. The team has found a rare lead seal depicting St George carrying a spear in his right hand and his left hand leaning towards a shield. To the left of the figure is a columnar inscription “GEOR” with a mirrored outline of letters, to the right is the letter “A”. There is a dotted nimbus around the head of the saint and a dotted rim along the edge of the seal. The diameter of the lead circle is 2.3–2.5 cm. Excavations of the settlement have uncovered 150 items made of metal, glass, stone, bone and ceramics, in addition to ordinary household items such as iron knives, a key, a whorl, lead weights, a whetstone, and a clay fishing sinker.
MAROC – Rhamna - Morocco's Rhamna province, located in the Marrakech-Safi region, has recently become the focal point of archaeological investigations, leading to the remarkable discovery of 44 previously unknown archaeological sites. The surveys, conducted between April 4 and 19 this year, were carried out by a team of researchers and students specializing in archaeology and geomorphology. According to a press release from INSAP, these initial findings provide compelling evidence that human activity in the Rhamna region dates back over a million years, making it one of the oldest inhabited regions in Morocco compared to other areas of the country. The survey results shed light on the region's rich history, offering glimpses into different historical periods. Among the newly discovered sites, several have been attributed to the “Middle Paleolithic” period, which in Moroccan history spans from 300,000 to 22,000 years ago. Another notable discovery is a stratified site dating back to the “Upper Paleolithic” period, ranging from 22,000 to 7,000 years ago. This finding is of particular significance as it provides insights into human activity during a crucial transitional phase in Morocco's prehistoric timeline. In addition, researchers have identified sites belonging to the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, which occurred in Morocco between 7,000 and 3,000 years ago. The presence of sedentism, a practice involving long-term settlement, and evidence of early agricultural practices have been found in these sites, further illuminating the region's ancient human civilizations. Among the sites, two have revealed the presence of historic structures, with one containing an astonishing number of silos. These structures offer valuable clues about past architectural practices and agricultural systems.
MEXIQUE – Hueypoxtla - Saint Bartholomew Parish is a Catholic church in the Diocese of Cuautitlán which is dedicated to Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. In 1934, a large catacomb complex was discovered beneath the church belonging to Spaniards and indigenous people who lived around Hueypoxtla during the 16th to 19th century. The catacombs are located under the central nave of the church and measure 30.4 metres in length in an east-west direction. The central corridor is flanked by two walls with columns and contains up to 72 crypts. A project involving INAH and experts from the Bioarchaeology Laboratory of the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) are conducting a study of the catacombs to try and identify those interred by cross referencing with the church’s archival information. The researchers are also gathering data on how many individuals are buried, as well as studies to determine their age, gender, and cause of death. “Various material evidence is observed: an adult buried in a coffin, another wrapped in a petate (matting made of dried palm leaves or grass), another one who was placed beneath a pile of stones and infants wearing metal crowns on their heads,” Ruíz Albarrán details. Archaeologists have also found ceramic potsherds, obsidian fragments, and animal bones, which were used as a filling material to seal the crypts.
MEXIQUE – Chalco - Excavations have located seven pieces of timber that measure 1 metre in length by 25 cm’s in width. The timbers date from the early period of the Viceroyalty of New Spain after the fall of Tenochtitlan (1521). At the time, the location of the excavation site would have been in the region of Lake Chalco, one of the Great Lakes named after the ancient city of Chalco. Lake Chalco, along with Texcoco, Zumpango and Xaltocan, and the freshwater Xochimilco, were home to many Mesoamerican cultures such as the Toltecs and the Aztecs. Based on the curvature on the outside of the timbers, the researchers suggest that they may be from a Brigantine type vessel (two-masted sailing vessel with a fully square-rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast) used by the conquering Spanish, or possibly to hold acalco canoes of the indigenous people on the lake shore. Historical accounts record how the Spanish constructed a navy consisting of shallow-hulled Brigantine type vessels to seize the Great Lakes in 1521. The ships were built from salvaged wood and other hardware from the ships that Cortés had ordered to be destroyed when he landed at Vera Cruz in April 1519. Excavations by INAH also uncovered the remains of a settlement at a depth of 2.5 metres. The settlement would have been located on the northeastern shore of Lake Chalco near the ruins of the ancient Tlatilco city of Tlapacoya.
IRAQ – Nimrud - Archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, working with an Iraqi excavation team, have unearthed a large stone monument depicting the goddess Ishtar in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud. Among the new relics discovered at the site are those from a 3,000-year-old temple dedicated to Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war and the goddess with the earliest written evidence. During earlier excavations in Nimrud, the same team revealed a 2,800-year-old palace belonging to an Assyrian king Adad-Nirari III, who reigned from 810–783 BCE. This season, the team continued working inside the palace and expanded its efforts to include the Temple of Ishtar, which burned when Nimrud was sacked by an invading army in 612 BCE. Chief among their finds were fragments of a large stone monument that depicts the goddess Ishtar inside a star symbol. “Our greatest find this season was a spectacular fragment from the stone stele that shows the goddess Ishtar inside a star symbol. This is the first unequivocal depiction of the goddess as Ishtar Sharrrat-niphi, a divine aspect of the goddess associated with the rising of the planet Venus, the ‘morning star,’ to be found in this temple dedicated to her,” Dr. Michael Danti, Program Director of the Iraq Heritage Stabilization Program and archeologists at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. This season’s new discoveries largely focus on the splendor of Adad-Nirari III’s rule and ancient Nimrud’s affluence. Two enormous stone column bases that the archaeologists discovered suggest the palace was grandly decorated with exquisitely carved columns. Evidence of a sizable stone basin, which the researchers think may have served as a central heating system, was found inside the throne room. In addition, they discovered scattered pieces of ostrich eggshell and ivory, both of which were rare and would have been extremely valuable in the early Bronze Age.