29 MAI 2023 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
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TCHEQUIE - Milovice - Archaeologists have discovered around 40 fragments of an ancient vessel dating to the fifth century BC in the village of Milovice near Jičín at the construction site of the D35 motorway. The vessel, which was found at a former settlement from the Celtic period. According to archaeologists, it was adorned with figurative motifs and was most likely imported there from the Mediterranean. According to archaeologists, only a few fragments of the so-called red-figure vase paintings were found on the territory of Czechia to date. Other objects, including fragments of iron tools, stone mills and grinding wheels were also discovered at the site.
GEORGIE – Apsaros - The Legio X Fretensis “Tenth legion of the Strait”, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army formed around 41/40 BC. The legion was centrally involved in the Great Jewish Revolt (AD 66–73), the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire. Around AD 70, most of Roman rule was restored in Judea except for several fortresses and Jerusalem. The city was placed under siege by the X Fretensis, in conjunction with the V Macedonica, XII Fulminata, and XV Apollinaris. The X Fretensis was also the primary force in the assault on the Herodium, and the famous siege on one of the last strongholds of resistance at Masada. According to contemporary historical text, the X Fretensis was garrisoned in Judaea (20 BC), Syria (AD 6-66), Jerusalem (AD 73 to late 3rd century AD), and Aila (late 3rd century AD). However, excavations at the Roman fort of Apsaros in Adjara, Georgia, have uncovered evidence of the X Fretensis through the discovery of hundreds of bronze coins. Most of the coins come from Syrian Antioch and Judea, for which many have been stamped in a practice known as countermarking. A coin that is countermarked has additional marks or symbols punched into it after it was originally produced while in circulation. Countermarking can be done for a variety of reasons. One such scenario arises when a currency undergoes a reform, rendering existing coins obsolete. To address this, coins already in circulation can be marked with the updated value based on the new currency system. This practice serves to prolong the lifespan of the existing coins, presenting a potentially more cost-effective solution in certain situations compared to recalling, melting, and producing replacement coins. Dr. Jaworski from the Faculty of Archaeology at the University of Warsaw said: “They were used to ‘extend the life’ of coins when the original stamps were almost invisible after several decades of use. In this case, the countermarks belonged to the Legio X Fretensis.”. The coins likely originate from the treasury of Judea and were transported by the X Fretensis on their way to campaign against the Parthians during the reign of Emperor Trajan at the beginning of the 2nd century AD. “Local coins were not minted at Apsaros, so the legionnaires used their own coins when purchasing wine or bread. They were small denominations used every day to buy food or services,” said: Dr Jaworski.
PAYS-BAS – Hoogwoud - A lucky Dutch metal detectorist found rare medieval golden jewelry and silver coins. He uncovered four golden ear pendants, two strips of gold leaf, and 39 silver coins. He notified Archeology West Friesland and the artifacts were taken to the National Museum of Antiquities for preservation. The experts there studied the metal pieces, noting the latest of the minted coins dates to about 1250 C.E. It is around this time they believe the hoard was buried. It is possible that someone buried it to protect it from the war raging in the area at the time between the regions of West Friesland and Holland. The jewelry found with the coins dates even earlier. It is thought to be from 1000 to 1050 C.E.
MEXIQUE – Chalcatzingo - A massive stone sculpture carved by Olmec artists more than 2,000 years ago that evokes ancient religious beliefs has returned to Mexico after decades in the United States in a homecoming cheered by officials and scholars. Known today as the "Earth Monster," the sculpture was likely taken from central Mexico during the 1960s, spending time in the hands of private collectors as well as on public display before being seized by antiquities trafficking agents working with New York prosecutors. The symbol-laden artifact weighs roughly a tonne (2,200 pounds) and was likely found several decades earlier at the Chalcatzingo archeological site in Morelos state, just south of Mexico City. It was carved from volcanic rock sometime between 800-400 BC during the heyday of the Olmec civilization, one of Mexico's earliest complex societies with sites mostly clustered around the country's Gulf coast. The Olmecs are well-known for their advanced artistic tradition, including colossal head sculptures.
AFRIQUE DU SUD - Just over two decades ago, many believed that human footprints older than 50,000 years were exceedingly rare and elusive. At that time, only four sites in Africa had been reported. Notably, the Nahoon site in South Africa, discovered in 1966, was the first-ever hominin track site to be described. In a recent publication in Ichnos, the prestigious peer-reviewed journal for plant and animal traces, a team of dedicated researchers shed light on the ages of seven recently identified hominin ichnosites along South Africa's Cape south coast. These remarkable findings now join the esteemed "South African cluster of nine sites." Through their meticulous investigations, the team uncovered a wide range of ages among the sites. The most recent among them dates back approximately 71,000 years, while the most astonishing find is an ancient footprint that dates back 153,000 years, representing the oldest footprint attributed to our species, Homo sapiens, thus far. New dates serve to corroborate existing archaeological record These newly established dates serve to corroborate the existing archaeological record. Together with other evidence from the same era, including the development of sophisticated stone tools, artistic expressions, jewelry and evidence of shellfish harvesting, it becomes increasingly evident that the Cape south coast served as a region where early anatomically modern humans thrived, evolved and ultimately dispersed from Africa to other continents.
POLOGNE – Pien - Archaeologists were surprised when they discovered the remains of a woman last year - who has since been dubbed a vampire. She was found with a sickle directly over her neck and a padlock on her toe. Researchers were conducting a dig at a 17th-century cemetery in the Polish village of Pien when they made the bizarre discovery, with team leader Professor Dariusz Poliński from the Nicholas Copernicus University in the nearby city Torun admitting that the form of burial was unusual for the time period. A sickle, for those who aren't in the know, is a short-handled farming tool, with a semicircular blade. However, it was the padlock on the toe - a method used to prevent people from rising from the dead - which earned her the vampire moniker among researchers. The woman was also discovered with a silk cap on her head, which, according to experts, indicates she had high social status at the time of her death. Professor Poliński explained: "Ways to protect against the return of the dead include cutting off the head or legs, placing the deceased face down to bite into the ground, burning them, and smashing them with a stone. "The sickle was not laid flat but placed on the neck in such a way that if the deceased had tried to get up most likely the head would have been cut off or injured." He went on to say that the padlocked toe was likely to represent 'the closing of a stage and the impossibility of returning'.
EGYPTE – Saqqara - Ancient tombs and workshops used for mummification have been unveiled near the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The workshops were used to mummify humans and sacred animals and date back 2,400 years. The spaces were discovered in the sprawling necropolis of Saqqara, which is a part of Egypt's ancient capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site.They date back to the 30th Pharaonic Dynasty (380 BC to 343 BC) and the Ptolemaic period (305 BC to 30 BC), Mr Waziri said. The tombs were for a top official from the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt and a priest from the New Kingdom, according to Sabri Farag, head of the Saqqara archaeological site. The Old Kingdom tombs were painted with the names of the dead and their wives, while alabaster statues of the tombs' owners were found in the New Kingdom tombs.
KURSISTAN – Charmo - A team of archeologists from Japan has begun digging at a site in the Charmo village, discovering a heritage location - a house containing multiple items including animal skeletons. The team discovered a house that contains pots, furnaces, needles, pieces of animal teeth and bone, and other items of daily use. Charmo is an ancient agricultural village that sits east of Chamchamal town. The village is considered one of the oldest agricultural villages in history, dating back to about 7000 BC. Ever since 2004, more research has been done on it and the village has become one of the oldest in the world where life and remains of agricultural work have been discovered. In Sulaimani there are more than 600 archeological areas. Dozens of German, French, British, and other Western and Japanese teams have in the past searched for new finds.
ANGLETERRE - Piles Hill - Piles Hill double stone row stands on the ridge of Harford and Ugborough commons. The alignment curves gently from east-west for around 850 metres and contains more than 40 visible stones, all of which are fallen or leaning, with further examples hidden in vegetation. The railway which once served the China Clay works at Redlake Mine – now a popular footpath and part of the Two Moors Way - breaks the line of the row and several cairns can be found close by. “The monument at Piles Hill is fascinating for lots of reasons, not only because it has managed to survive in a once highly industrial landscape but because there’s still so much more to discover,” said Andy. The rows are believed to date to the Neolithic - Early Bronze. Dating recumbent alignments like this can be tricky but radiocarbon dating on peat above and below the stones can offer clues. Radiocarbon dating on a recumbent stone row at Cut Hill dated the alignment to 3,620BC –before the construction of Stonehenge or the pyramids of Giza and demonstrating Dartmoor’s international significance as a landscape rich in cultural heritage. Last year, a geophysical survey at Piles Hill revealed 70 potential buried stones, 158 potential socket holes, and evidence of a cairn at the western end. Additionally, buried stones and other features were identified along the entire row and beyond the western end. Unexpected discoveries include a possible long stony bank running past the cairns and stone row, and possible earlier stone alignments running across the existing stone row. Andy is planning more archaeological investigations later this summer to build on the evidence and knowledge gathered so far. He added: “It could be that what we see today is the last version of the monument; it might have been that, in antiquity, the stones were taken down and re-erected several times or they were moved to its current east-west orientation.
GRECE – Tithronium. -A vaulted tomb of the Mycenean Era excavated near Amphikleia, in the region of Phthiotis, Central Greece, might hint at a yet undiscovered Mycenean settlement close to the ruins of the ancient town of Tithronium. Archaeologist Dr Petros Kounouklas, who led the surface excavations on behalf of the local Ephorate of Antiquities in winter 2022, tells Greek Reporter that the tomb is “the first proof of existence of a Mycenean tholos (vaulted) tomb in Phthiotis.” The monument, built between the 14th-13th centuries b.C., was looted in antiquity, and also used in the Roman Era, as Roman burial gifts were also found, Dr Kounouklas explains. Besides human remains from ancient burials, excavations led to the discovery of golden jewelery and pottery characteristic of the Mycenean Era. Two exquisite seals were also unearthed. One of them depicts a scene of the famed Taurokathapsia, the bull-leaping sport of the Minoan civilization. “There was never a finding of a seal with a bull-leaping scene in Phthiotis before,” Dr Kounouklas says with excitement. “The only other similar finds were discovered at the Mycenean palace of Thebes and the vaulted tombs of Dimini in the Magnisia region, Thessaly.” rchaeologists from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Phthiotis and Euritania decided to excavate near the site where the vaulted tomb was discovered, after receiving reports of a series of illegal excavations in the proximity, Dr Kounouklas recalls. The monument is located 300m from the archaeological site of ancient Tithronium, a frontier town of ancient Phocis, on the side of Doris, mentioned in the writings of ancient Greek geographer Pausanias, who placed Tithronium at two kilometers distance from the ruins of the ancient Greek town of Amphikleia, near Delphi, Central Greece. Like Tithronium and other Phocian towns, Amfikleia was destroyed by the Persian army of Xerxes I in his invasion of Greece in 480 BC. It was rebuilt more than a century later, around 346 BC, as recorded in a decree of the local Amphictyonic League. Although the surviving ancient Acropolis of Tithronium dates to the Hellenistic Era, fragments of Mycenean pottery were also found on the surface of the ground, Dr Kounouklas notes.
SRI LANKA – Rajangana - A more than 1500 year old Lakshmi coin and items of archaeological value have been found in the excavations of the old Dagaba in Anuradhapura Angamuwa Rajanganaya Sri Sudarshana Maha Pirivena. At the request of the Maha Sangha, the officers of the Department of Archeology, had done excavations of this Dagaba for about 35 days. A few beads, a Lakshmi coin believed to be around 1,500 years old, and several items of archaeological value have been found.
ESPAGNE - Cal Pa i Figues - The Black Death was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Western Eurasia and North Africa from 1346 to 1353. It is the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, causing the deaths of 75–200 million people, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351. The disease is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, a non-motile, coccobacillus that can infect humans via the Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis). During the Black Death pandemic, it probably took a secondary form, spread by person-to-person contact via aerosols, causing pneumonic plague. The remains at the Cal Pa i Figues necropolis were uncovered during construction works to expand the headquarters of the Museum of Wine Cultures of Catalonia (VINSEUM). Approximately, 129 individuals were identified which date from the 14th century, of which 60 are minors. The necropolis was completely unknown until its discovery, it was built near two hospitals in an alley that was later covered and built over. Due to the large number of individuals overlapping in the graves, the researchers suggest that the inhabitants of Vilafranca del Penedès were subject to a period of catastrophic mortality with no evidence of conflict or injury. A genetic and DNA study was conducted on 16 burials in the DNA laboratory of the University’s Biological Anthropology Unit, which detected Yersinia pestis DNA in 7 of the 16 individuals analysed. “This does not mean that the rest did not die from the infection, only that the DNA has not been preserved”, said Cristina Santos from UAB. “It has been a difficult task due to the inherent degradation of old DNA, but also due to the mixture of human DNA and possible pathogens with environmental DNA”.