30 AVRIL 2012 NEWS :Sibudu Cave - Sri Lanka - Struma - Wimblington - Charlesfort -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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INSCRIPTION 2012 / Session III : Juillet 2012
REGISTRATION 2012 / Term III : July 2012
AFRIQUE DU SUD – Sibudu Cave - Here are excavations of a different kind. The archaeology here reveals an amazing history of human habitation. The lowest level currently being worked on takes us back 80 000 years. Within a space of a few metres is the neatly squared excavation, revealing a series of layers – some brown, some white, others chestnut or beige – each a record of what was deposited over one period of time. Each layer is meticulously labelled, and each object taken from the sand at that layer is plotted minutely in terms of its position. We speak of archaeological diggings, and some sections have been cut out and impregnated with resin for microscopic analysis. Much of the rest is rather brushing. Such is the density of the human record – arrowheads, chipped stones, bits of animal bone, the remains of plants brought in – that the lightest touch of a brush is needed to remove the sand. Not many South Africans know about Sibudu. It has yielded a wealth of artefacts and provided information like few sites in the world. Here were found bone points, dating back 62 000-65 000 years ago, and possibly the world’s oldest bone arrowhead. Around 77 000 years ago, people were collecting sedge and the leaves of the wild river quince (Cryptocarya woodii or isilandangulube), the leaves of which are aromatic and repel insects. These are the earliest archaeological records of human bedding. A compound glue made of plant gum and ochre was used to link sharp-edged stones to shafts around 71 000 years ago, an indication of some sophistication in thinking and planning. Attempts to replicate the production of this glue have revealed how difficult it is to manipulate the materials so as to get them sufficiently strong.
SRI LANKA – Eastern Province - The Department of Archaeology has begun archaeological activities in the Eastern Province to preserve and rehabilitate cultural and sacred sites of historic importance. Archaeology Department Director Nimal Perera said archaeologists have started rehabilitation and excavation projects at Neelagiri Maha Seya and Deegawapiya archaeological sites in the Lahugala forest reserve. “The development of these sites for the restoration of historic stupas and other religious structures in them, has remained at a standstill for at least 25 years due to terrorist activities in these areas,” he said. Deegawapiya is said to be a site where the Buddha had set foot and meditated. The Deegawapiya Dagoba dates back to the third century BC. It was built by King Kavantissa’s younger son, Prince Saddhatissa. Perera said the excavation project of Deegawapiya can reveal interesting ruins of archaeological importance. According to Archaeology Department’s Museum and Maintenance Deputy Director M Madagammana, excavation of the maluwa area of Deegawapiya Dagoba where the sacred relics of the Buddha are kept, has been completed. “We have started work to uncover the structure of the Dagoba,” he said. Madagammana designed the Deegawapiya and Neelagiri Seya excavation projects. He said Neelagiri Seya is the largest stupa in the Eastern Province. “We are trying to bring to form the shape of the Neelagiri stupa,” he added. The government funds the two excavation projects.
BULGARIE – Struma - Archaeologists working along the route of Bulgaria’s Struma Motorway, which when completed will lead from capital city Sofia to the Greek border, have found a necropolis estimated to date back about 2800 years. For the archaeologists, the site has presented more questions than answers, with those working on the site surprised not only by the size of the necropolis but also by the long period during which it was in use. Two ancient settlements had been found nearby, which could explain the large scale of the burial place, the report said. Archaeologist Filip Mihailov was quoted as saying that the remains of the dead had been disposed on the site after cremation, and it was also probable that remains had been placed in clay urns. A silver earring, pendant and beads had been found at the site. It seemed that more than 2500 years ago, blue glass beads had been believed – as some in the region still believe that they do – to ward off the evil eye. Stone mounds had been found, adding to the "mystery" of the site because the stones had been brought from several kilometres away. Such burial practices were characteristic of mountain regions, while the site itself was a hillside of thick reddish clay with no stones.
ROYAUME UNI – Wimblington- Stonea Camp hill fort, near Wimblington, is recognised as a place of national importance having been the scene of a lot of activity in the Iron Age and Roman periods. The fort formed part of the frontier of the Iceni tribe, who twice rose in revolt against the Roman invaders, the second time under the leadership of their queen, Boudicca.
USA – Charlesfort - The oldest known European settlement in what is now the United States of America was right here in Beaufort County. French Huguenot Jean Ribaut arrived in 1562 -- 450 years ago this month -- sailing two ships and 150 men into a harbor "so large and magnificent that they named it Port Royal." His moated colony was called Charlesfort on what is today Parris Island. Ribaut, with the sound of our first developer, declared there was no "fayrer or fytter place." "Violence began with a clash of wills between queen and cardinal, mounted to the waterfront battle between Catholic and Protestant and hit a peak at Charlesfort where the colonists mutinied and murdered their captain," Michael Soper wrote of Elizabeth Dooley's play, "Prologue to Freedom." Ribaut had left the scene before the mutiny. He recorded the story of Charlesfort while imprisoned in the Tower of London. He would return to the New World, only to be martyred by Spaniards in Florida when he refused to renounce his Protestant faith. Charlesfort lasted a little less than a year before its men built an open boat, used bedding and shirts for a sail and headed for home, resorting to cannibalism to survive the voyage.