INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
ONLINE COURSES / COURS A DISTANCE
SUMMER TERM : JULY 2016
ROYAUME UNI – Ventiford - Remnants of a 200-year-old canal barge and tramway line have been unearthed by archaeologists in Devon. The surprisingly well-preserved lower portion of the vessel, including structural timbers, planking from the hull, and various ironwork, was dug up by a team of volunteers on the Stover Canal at Ventiford Basin, near Newton Abbot. This is the only Stover Canal barge, so far, to have been archaeologically excavated and recorded, providing some unique insights into how it was constructed and details of its cargoes. Stover Canal was commissioned by James Templer of Stover House and was opened in 1792, to be completed by 1794. It was primarily used to carry ball clay from local pits, down to Teignmouth, from where the clay was transhipped for distribution. The canal was also used to move granite from Haytor Quarries on Dartmoor, which was transported to Ventiford via George Templer's famous granite tramroad from 1820 until the 1840s. Barge traffic finally ceased in the 1930s, although the upper section of the canal, including Ventiford, was abandoned probably before the 1880s, so the barge may have been abandoned over 140 years ago.
FRANCE - Aujac - Il y a des malheurs qui ressemblent à des bénédictions. Quand, le 3 mars dernier, un "mini-geyser" jaillit dans la cour d'entrée du château d'Aujac suite à une rupture de canalisation, Marlène Rigal et Gilbert Léautier sont d'abord furax. Mais c'est lors de la réparation du tuyau, enterré en profondeur au-dessus d'un réseau de gaines électriques, que les châtelains disent avoir fait une extraordinaire découverte : "On a du gratter un peu, retirer des pierres, et on a découvert qu'il y avait une fosse avec escarpe, et une contrescarpe maçonnée qui lui faisait face." Cette fosse, qui va jusqu'à 2, 20 m de profondeur, est en réalité une douve sèche de pont-levis, celui-là même qui était mentionné dans des textes de 1736 et 1756 (lire ci-contre), avant de tomber dans l'oubli. "Dans la tradition familiale, on ne parlait pas de pont-levis, explique Marlène, dont les aïeuls avaient acheté le château en 1794. Il n'y avait aucune trace pouvant laisser penser qu'il y en avait un, à part un portail en pointes de diamant." e portail en pointes de diamant, resté en place jusqu'au début XXe, était en réalité l'entrée principale de l'enceinte du château. Il ouvrait sur une ruelle qui, en angle droit, débouchait sur un pont-levis donnant accès à l'intérieur du château. Le pont a laissé d'autres traces que sa douve. On a retrouvé une cheville de fer qui s'encastre aisément dans les crapaudines les pierres trouées, elles aussi intactes où s'emboîtait le mécanisme. On a également récupéré l'axe d'essieu du tablier de ce pont, en très bon état. Pour Max Josserand, administrateur du centre de castellologie de Bourgogne, l'un des très seuls spécialistes nationaux des pont-levis, la découverte est rarissime : "On a en France des milliers de traces de pont-levis à flèches, mais seulement quelques vingtaines de pont-levis à treuil et à cordes." Comment marchait exactement ce pont-levis ? Quelle est sa datation exacte ? Les historiens vont continuer de défiler au château pour essayer d'affiner la recherche.
INDE - Gundlahalli - A stone engraving of a male elephant has been found in Gundlahalli village in Pavagada taluk of Tumakuru district. The elephant etching on the granite stone, 77 inch wide and 65 inch tall, was noticed by an assistant professor of History in Government First Grade College, Kuvempunagar, Mysuru, during his recent visit to the village. S.G. Ramadasa Reddy, who spotted the stone carving on the right side of a temple on a hillock in the village, told The Hindu that the stone engraving, based on the opinions drawn from archaeology experts, was believed to be of the Chalcolithic Age (1400 BC to 800 BC) or Early Megalithic Period (1000 BC to 500 BC). He said he would write to the Department of Archaeology about it with an appeal to protect the structure considering its importance. “The carving shows an elephant with two long tusks and its trunk touching the ground. The jumbo seems to be moving as the picture shows a raised right forelimb. Overall, it appears like a well-built tamed tusker,” he said.
INDE – Harappa - The recent research by a team of researchers from IIT Kharagpur, Institute of Archaeology, Deccan College Pune, Physical Research Laboratory and Archaeological survey of India (ASI) also shows that the civilization itself was much older than thought -- it is at least 8,000 years old. "Our study suggests that the climate was probably not the sole cause of Harappan decline. Despite the monsoon decline, they did not disappear. They changed their farming practices. "They switched from water-intensive crops when monsoon was stronger to drought-resistant crops when it was weaker. Our work shows they did not give up despite the change in climate conditions," Anindya Sarkar of the Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur and the lead investigator, told IANS. "Our study suggests that other causes, like change in subsistence strategy, by shifting crop patterns rather than climate change was responsible for the Harappan collapse," Sarkar said. The findings have been published in the journal 'Nature Scientific Report' on May 25. In the Indian subcontinent, the major centres of this civilisation include Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan and Lothal, Dholavira and Kalibangan in India. "These people shifted their crop patterns from the large-grained cereals like wheat and barley during the early part of intensified monsoon to drought-resistant species of small millets and rice in the later part of declining monsoon, and thereby changed their subsistence strategy," explained Sarkar. The findings come from a major excavated site of Bhirrana in Haryana, that shows preservation of all cultural levels of this ancient civilisation from pre-Harappan Hakra phase through Early Mature Harappan to Mature Harappan time. Bhirrana was part of a high concentration of settlements along the now dried up mythical Vedic river 'Saraswati', an extension of Ghaggar river in the Thar desert. To find out how old the civilization is, the researchers dated potteries of Early Mature Harappan time - by a technique called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) - and found them to be nearly 6,000 years old, the oldest known pottery so far. The levels of Pre-Harappan Hakra phase have been dated to be as old as 8,000 years. "That the Bhirrana and probably several of the Indian Indus Valley sites are much older than 5,700 years has been guessed by many archaeologists for quite some time. Our study pushes back the antiquity to as old as 8th millennium before present and will have major implications to the evolution of human settlements in the Indian sub-continent," said Sarkar. The study also reveals that the monsoon became progressively weaker from 7,000 years onwards, but surprisingly the civilisation did not disappear, rather it continued to evolve even in the face of declining monsoon condition.
TURQUIE – Edirne - Excavations in the northwestern province of Edirne have unearthed a waterway that the famous Ottoman architect Sinan constructed to ensure access to clean water for the former imperial capital. Clean water that came to an inn near one of the architect’s masterpieces, Selimiye Mosque, was distributed to other mosques and neighborhoods through a water tank in the square. During the work that was initiated by Edirne Municipality and conducted by the Edirne Museum Directorate to reorganize Selimiye Square, the Edirne Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board asked that the Yemişkapanı Inn, which is known to have existed in the square, be unearthed. The remnants and the walls of the inn, which covered an area of 4,000 square meters and served as a wholesale market hall in the Ottoman era, were removed during the excavations, with further digs revealing the waterway that Sinan used to ensure the distribution of clean water to the city. Officials determined that the water, which came from Lalapaşa, 30 kilometers from the city center, was distributed to Selimiye Mosque through channels that were also built by Sinan before being transferred to other mosques and neighborhoods. The Yemişkapanı Inn was built in 1575, Edirne Mayor Recep Gürkan said.“We found the remnants of the inn during excavations right by the Selimiye Mosque, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List,” he said. “Before the construction of the inn, its infrastructure was finished. This impressed us the most. Sinan’s genius, talent, experience, engineering and architecture can be seen here. We knew that Sinan built a waterway to bring water from Lalapaşa to Edirne. We found out that the water was first distributed to Selimiye, then to Yemişkapanı Inn and to the mosques and markets in the city from there. This is a magnificent cistern. We also found hot water and channels for clean and dirty water under the inn. We want to operate this cistern again. Sinan’s system can still be operated 500 years after its establishment,” he said. The inn, which was built to the west of the Selimiye Mosque and was considered a masterpiece of Turkish-Islamic architecture, was estimated to have had 100 rooms, has turned into ruins through time and was covered with earth, subsequently becoming part of Selimiye Square.