29 MAI 2019: Rome - Alabama - Bordeaux - Alexandrie - Borth - Sofia -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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SUMMER TERM : JULY 2019
ITALIE – Rome - Archeologists in Rome have stumbled on a large marble head of Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, the ancient Roman god of wine, dance and fertility. The discovery was made during excavations in the heart of the city, near the remains of the ancient Roman Forum. The head would have belonged to a large statue of the god dating back to the imperial era. The archaeologists were digging around the remains of a medieval wall when they found the marble head, which they believe represents Dionysus, who the Romans knew as Bacchus. It was built into the wall, and had been recycled as a building material, as often happened in the medieval era. Extracted from the ground, it revealed itself in all its beauty. “The face is refined and gracious, young and feminine. All of which makes us think this could be a depiction of Dionysos.” he head dates to between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD, according to Claudio Parisi Presicce, director of Rome's archaeological museums. “The hollow eyes, which were probably filled with glass or precious stones, date it to the first centuries of the Roman Empire,” he said. “The surface is not completely visible because we haven't yet given it a thorough clean. We think that there could still be traces of the original colour conserved in the band around the hair." Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele, the mortal daughter of the king of Thebes. He was known as the god of wine, winemaking and grape cultivation, as well as of fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy. He was worshiped by the ancient Greeks as one of the 12 Olympians before being incorporated into the Roman pantheon of gods as Bacchus
USA – Alabama - The Alabama Historical Commission confirmed Wednesday it had discovered the wreckage of the Clotilda, the last known ship to bring slaves to America. Remnants of the Clotilda was discovered in in a previously unexplored area of the Mobile River. The Clotilda sailed for less than half a year in 1860 but illegally transported 110 enslaved people from Benin, Africa to Mobile, Alabama — 52 years after the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves was implemented. Federal authorities were tipped off about the ship, leading to its co-conspirators, Timothy Meaher and Captain William Foster, to offload the Clotilda's cargo to a riverboat. They then burned the Clotilda and set it adrift. Slaves who survived the voyage remained indentured until the end of the Civil War in 1865. A group of freed slaves who were forcibly transported on the Clotilda later acquired land and created the Africatown community near the Mobile River.
FRANCE – Bordeaux - Researchers have found evidence that an unremarkable prehistoric burial mound near Bordeaux, in southwest France, was re-used by locals for around 2,000 years. The researchers say what drew people to the mound for two millennia remains a mystery. The Le Tumulus des Sables site was discovered by chance in 2006, when school children stumbled across human remains in their kindergarten playground. Hannah James, a Ph.D. candidate at The Australian National University (ANU), says it was initially assumed the site was used solely by the Bell Beakers, one of the first cultures to spread out across Europe. "We now know people were actually coming back to this site and burying their bodies in there again and again, from the Neolithic to the Iron Age," Ms James said. "We're looking at remains from around 3600 BCE, all the way through to around 1250 BCE."It's unusual because it's not a really obvious or prestigious. It's a mound about 50 cm deep. It's not on a hill or an obvious location, so there's something else about this site which caused people to come back and use it." By using radiocarbon dating and analysis of four different isotopes, the team was able to gather more information about the people buried there."Carbon and nitrogen tell us about what kind of food they were eating. They were eating food from the land. Strangely it doesn't look like they were hunting and gathering from the nearby river, or the ocean, which is 10 kilometers away. That doesn't change over time." The evidence shows one individual was born in a much colder climate, like the Pyrenees Mountains to the south. It's unclear whether this person migrated to the Le Tumulus des Sables region, or whether their whole skeleton, or single tooth, was brought back and dumped there. According to Ms James, everyone else has "a very local signature." "We found a lot of baby teeth, as well as teeth without full roots, which means the person died in childhood, while the tooth was still forming." Archaeologists also found a jumble of metal, pottery and animal bones at the site, which made it difficult to identify the human remains. "All the skeletal remains are really mixed up, and we're dealing with tiny fragments of bones," Ms James said. "We analyzed the same tooth each time, to make sure we were looking at different individuals—but the actual number of people buried there could be much higher." The research is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
EGYPTE – Alexandrie - A church dating back to the fourth century has been unearthed near Alexandria by polish archeologists who claim that it might be oldest church discovered in Egypt, The First News reported . The mission’s discoveries in Alexandria also include a burial chapel and the largest collection of ceramics excavated in Egypt yet, according to The First News. The polish team had been excavating a Basilica, which they believed had operated from the fifth century well until the eighth century, when they uncovered the ancient church buried beneath it. “At the end of the last research season, under the floor of the basilica, we encountered a wall’s remains, which turned out to be the outer walls of an even older church,” Krzysztof Babraj, who headed research work on the basilica told The First News. Babraj explained that there are no other church remains have been found in the area so far, making this a significant discovery. Thousands of fragments of the old church have been excavated underneath the discovered Basilica. The church had been devastated by an earthquake, leaving behind nothing but scattered glass, ceramic and limestone wall ruins, according to The First News. Babraj said that they will resume their research, with the discovery of this church as a just the beginning.
ROYAUME UNI – Borth - A sunken forest composed of hundreds of petrified trees has emerged in a beach in Britain. Low tide and Storm Hannah, which struck Wales on April 27, likely helped uncover the Bronze Age forest, which was buried under water and sand. The sunken forest of Borth, which lies between Ynyslas and Borth in Ceredigion county, has been linked to a 17th-century myth of a sunken kingdom called "Cantre'r Gwaelod," or the "Sunken Hundred." According to folklore, Cantre'r Gwaelod was lost to floods when the fairy well priestess Mererid neglected her duties, causing the well to overflow. It is believed the area used to be a fertile land, where floodgates protected the people. According to one myth, Cantre'r Gwaelod extended about 20 miles west of the shorelines of what is now the Cardigan Bay. Archaeologists have long been aware that a forest exists on the Welsh beach because small tree stumps are sometimes seen along parts of it at low tide. The submerged forest contains pine, oak, alder and birch, which all stopped growing 4,500 and 6,000 years ago. Archaeological objects such as fossilized animal and human footprints and tools have also been uncovered from the area. Taller stumps became visible in 2014, but these were soon mostly reburied in the sand. The forest, however, has again surfaced. Thick trunks and massive roots are now seen for the first time in thousands of years.
BULGARIE – Sofia - Archaeologists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) have found a skeleton in the remains of an early Neolithic tomb at the Slatina site in capital city Sofia.Archaeologists have been working on the current project examining the Slatina site for more than five years, uncovering details of an early Neolithic settlement that dated back to the period 6100 to 5500 BCE. The site was first examined and studied in the 1950s. Slatina is believed to be the site of the oldest human settlement in what would later become Sofia. BAS said that many buildings had been found during the digs, including two large houses, of 117 and 147 sq m, and one of close to 300 sq m. The settlement was surrounded by concentric ditches, which had protective and magical functions, sacrifices were made in them, BAS said. Among the newly discovered finds in the village of Slatina are various household and cult objects, such as a a bone spoon and ceramic vessels, and parts of cult sacrificial tables. Bulgarian media reported Vassil Nikolov, deputy head of BAS and head of the dig team, as saying that the Neolithic tomb find was extremely rare. The newly-discovered skeleton most likely was that of a woman buried with a child in the immediate vicinity of the remnants of a house on the outskirts of the village. Those who settled in Slatina in the Neolithic Age are believed to have come from central Asia, introducing agriculture to the area that would later become Bulgaria. They produced pottery, painted with white paint before being baked, and many ornaments painted in shades of red.
BULGARIE – Rasovo - A settlement originally dating back to the Late Bronze Age, which was also subsequently inhabited in the Thracian and Roman Antiquity, and the Middle Age, has been discovered by archaeologists near Rasovo in Northwest Bulgaria during rescue excavation. One of the three newly discovered sites is the settlement from the very end of the Bronze Age dating back to ca. 1,200 BC near today’s town of Rasovo, Medkovets Municipality, Montana District, in Northwest Bulgaria. Because of the fact it was also inhabited during later historical periods, however, the archaeologists have described it as a “multilayer settlement". One of the most intriguing finds in the Late Bronze Age settlement are the fully preserved ruins of a prehistoric home that is more than 3,000 years old. “What’s interesting is that [one of] the clay wall(s) collapsed right on top of the [household] inventory that was inside the dwelling, and we are finding [the artifacts] right where they stood over 3,000 years ago," says lead archaeologist Dr. Andrey Aladzhov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, as cited by bTV. The most numerous artifacts in the Late Bronze Age homes are pottery vessels dating back to 1,200 BC, which is approximately the time of the Trojan War described by Homer in the Iliad. These are vessels from the so called Orsoya – Baley Culture," Aladzhov says, referring to a Bronze Age prehistoric population that inhabited the region between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountain (Stara Planina) in much of today’s Northwest Bulgaria. “Unfortunately, this is the only fully preserved dwelling that we’ve found since for a long time the land here was subjected to agricultural cultivation down to a substantial depth, and most of the structures from the [Bronze Age] dwellings have been destroyed," the archaeologist elaborates. “[The prehistoric homes] were built with wattle and clay walls – wooden poles are erected, and are then intertwined with sticks, and are then plastered with clay baked in the sun or on fire,” he adds. “The pottery we have found underneath the collapsed wall is very interesting. Orsoya and Baley are towns near the Danube towns of Lom and Vidin where similar dwellings and necropolises have been found. The vessels and their decoration are typical of the classic Mediterranean culture, and show that back then were close cultural ties between these settlements near the Danube and the population of the Mediterranean coast,” Aladzov elaborates. Not far from the wattle and clay home, the archaeologists have stumbled across a burial urn containing bone particles whose carbon dating analysis would help them date the prehistoric dwellings more precisely. A small medieval home from the 10th century AD, the time of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018) has also been discovered there. The archaeological remains go all the way to the Ottoman period beginning in the late 14th – early 15th century.