30 JUIN 2020 NEWS
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SUMMER TERM : JULY 2020
ROYAUME UNI - Isle of Lewis - A Dornoch native has discovered an almost completely intact 5500-year-old cup, hidden in the mud of a loch in the Outer Hebrides. The cup was found on the Isle of Lewis. The search was first sparked in 2011, when Mr Murray recovered a set of remarkably preserved Neolithic treasures submerged around a crannog. These artificial stone built islands were previously assumed to have been inhabited between the Iron Age and the post-medieval period. But according to findings published in the journal Antiquity it is now evidential that at least four crannogs in the Outer Hebrides were lived in c.3640–3360 BC, demanding a re-dating on the crannog historical timeline by some 2000 years. The ancient inhabitants of Scotland were building artificial islands thousands of years earlier than we thought, ancient pottery discovered in the lochs suggests. Working in collaboration with Murray, Duncan Garrow at the University of Reading and his colleague analysed several more crannogs in the Outer Hebrides. Radiocarbon dating of structural timbers and pot residues put the age of four sites at between 3640 to 3360 BC – quite close together
FRANCE – Paris - Experts believe the remains of up to 500 people guillotined during the French Revolution may be buried in the walls of a listed monument in Paris. The discovery blows apart the accepted historical account, which suggests the bodies of famous guillotinés, including Louis XV’s mistress Madame du Barry, Olympe de Gouges and Maximilien Robespierre, revolutionary architect of the Reign of Terror, were moved to the network of catacombs under the city. Now researchers are to examine the walls of the Chapelle Expiatoire, a classified monument near the Grands Boulevards dedicated to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, after the discovery of bones in the wall cavities. Aymeric Peniguet de Stoutz, the chapel’s administrator, turned historical detective after he noticed curious anomalies in the walls between the columns of the lower chapel. Anxious not to damage the building’s foundations, the French authorities called in an archaeologist, who inserted a camera through the stones in the walls. In his report, archaeologist Philippe Charlier confirmed Peniguet de Stoutz’s hypothesis: “The lower chapel contains four ossuaries made of wooden boxes, probably stretched out with leather, filled with human bones,” he wrote. “There is earth mixed with fragments of bones.” The discovery has deepened the mystery of what really happened to the remains of les guillotinés. The Chapelle Expiatoire was built in the early 19th century at the site of the old Madeleine cemetery, not far from the Place de la Révolution – now Place de la Concorde – where the guillotine was frequently used. The cemetery, closed in 1794 when it reportedly ran out of space, was one of four established in Paris to dispose of the victims of the guillotine. When Louis XVIII became king in 1814, he ordered the remains of his brother Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to be removed and interred at the Saint-Denis Basilica and commissioned the chapel in their memory. His orders were that “no earth saturated with victims [of the revolution] be moved from the place for the building of the work”. Even so, historians believed the remains of 500 mostly aristocratic victims of the revolution, and out-of-favour revolutionaries like Robespierre, were transferred to another cemetery, then to the catacombs, where a plaque marks their reburial.
USA – – Washington - Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) have, through an examination of pipes from 1400 year-old archaeological sites, discovered that Native Americans in what is now Washington State weren't just smoking tobacco. The plant, a native to North America called smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), was likely consumed for medicinal qualities, but it's the method used to make the discovery that is really getting archaeologists excited. Smoking in the New World dates back at least 5,000 years and has been the subject of numerous studies, but according to WSU, no traces of a non-tobacco plant have been identified from the residue of an archaeological pipe until now. In the case of the current study, the researchers found traces of sumac in a pipe excavated in Central Washington, along with residue from a species of tobacco called Nicotiana quadrivalvis, which is known to have been cultivated in the region in the past. "Smoking often played a religious or ceremonial role for Native American tribes and our research shows these specific plants were important to these communities in the past," says Korey Brownstein, the team leader, now at the University of Chicago. "We think the Rhus glabra may have been mixed with tobacco for its medicinal qualities and to improve the flavor of smoke."
IRLANDE - Little Skellig - Little Skellig– the inaccessible sister crag to Skellig Michael - was long thought to have been inhabited only by gannets, fulmars and other seabirds. However, as The Sunday Times reports today, archaeologist Michael Gibbons and a group of climbers have located the remains of an early Christian oratory on a narrow precipitous terrace overlooking the Atlantic. “The ultimate monastic site” is how Gibbons describes the remains of the oratory, which he examined on an expedition to the isolated crag some 13 km (eight miles) west of the Iveragh peninsula.He noted that the gannets had completely colonised the remains of the structure, using it as store for discarded nets and other fishing equipment used to build nests. He estimates that the oratory dates to about the late 7th or early 8th century, when a monastery with its beehive huts, including a hermitage some 700 ft above the sea, had already been built on Skellig Michael.
POLOGNE – Poznań - The discovery of a massive defensive wall at a construction site in Poznań has sent archaeologists wild with speculation that this could mean that the city was the first capital of Poland. The fortifications dating back to the 10th century, were found seven metres below the ground in the city’s Ostrów Tumski area. Built out of wood, stone and sand, the defensive walls were impressive by then-standards as they were 40 meters thick and stood 12 meters tall, the biggest of their kind in Poland. Using modern dendrochronological dating and photogrammetry techniques meant the archaeologists could carry out thorough documentation as well as highly accurate dating. As a result, scientists were able to determine that the wall was erected between the years 968 and 1000. Given that only the more important settlements featured such ramparts and that Poznań’s defensive infrastructure consisted of three fortified rings joined together, suggests that the city could have been the country’s first capital, rather than the nearby city of Gniezno as previously thought.
POLOGNE – Jeżowe - Construction workers uncovered a gruesome scene while servicing a road in Poland – a large graveyard containing the remains of 115 individuals, some of which had coins in their mouths. The cemetery was discovered in a forest that was being removed for the country's S19 motorway, which part of a road project that stretches from Greece to Lithuania. The burial ground dates back to late 16th century and at least 70 percent of the skeletons belonged to children. The coins are part of a pre-Christian belief and were placed in the mouth of the dead to be used as payment for the ferryman to bring the soul across the river that divided the world of the living and the dead.The remains were first unearthed at a site in Jeżowe near the town of Nisko in the Podkarpackie province. All had their backs on the ground and hands positioned at their sides – and archaeologists were surprised to see some still had coins in their mouths. Arkadia archaeologist Katarzyna Oleszek told The First News: 'It's certainly a sign of their beliefs.' 'The coins are called obols of the dead or Charon's obol. It is an old, pre-Christian tradition. But it's been cultivated for a long time, even as late as the 19th century, it was practiced by Pope Pius IX.' The coins allow archaeologists to estimate a true time of when the bodies were buried, as they have been found during different rulings in Poland – the latest was when John II Casimir Vasa was in power from 1648 to 1668. Another interesting find in the graveyard, was the discovery of four children laid side-by-side. Their heads were placed in a side position, with their legs and arms meeting together. The coins were the only items found among the skeletons, which makes researchers suggest that the burial site was used by poor individuals in the area. The team also believes that since this area holds the remains of children, their parents may be laid to rest in a nearby location.