O5 JUIN 2023 NEWS
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
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DEBUT COURS : JUIN 2023
TURQUIE – Saraçhane - The excavation works carried out at Saraçhane Archaeology Park in Istanbul has revealed a new artifact as a fragment of a statue depicting Pan, the Greek god of shepherds and flocks in ancient Greek mythology, is unearthed. The statement mentioned that the excavation works were being conducted on the northwest side of the main structure."At a depth of approximately 2 meters 60 centimeters from the surface, within the backfill soil, a fragment of a marble statue depicting Pan, known as the god of shepherds and flocks in ancient Greek mythology, was found. The statue, measuring 20 centimeters in height and 18 centimeters in width, was identified to have a broken left arm and the lower part of the body. It is believed to date back to the Roman period, and after the expert examination, further dating will be conducted," the statement read. "While this description gives Pan a pastoral nature due to his direct association with nature, his depiction as a half-goat, half-human figure in all myths has made him a frightening character. In fact, Pan's sudden appearance in front of people in the fields, frightening them with his image, inspired the word 'panic.' Despite being the god of shepherds, Pan is often depicted in sources as a lovable figure who roams the meadows playing the flute, contrasting with his intimidating appearance. However, in many sources, Pan is described as having the ability to scream and frighten enemies, causing panic," the statement added.
ESPAGNE – Ardales - The first Homo sapiens wore necklaces and earrings made with seashells from the Bay of Malaga, according to a study published in the environmental scientific journal Environmental Archaeology . This details how 13 marine and freshwater shells collected in the Malaga province cave during the excavations in the Sala de las Estrellas date to Upper Palaeolithic, Gravetian period (33,000 - 26,000 years before the present). The study led by the University of Cadiz, in collaboration with the Neanderthal Museum of Cologne, the University of Cologne and the Ardales Cave has once again placed this location "among the most important in the Iberian Peninsula". According to the scientific article, the shells were "carefully transformed" by humans of the genus Homo sapiens sapiens into ornaments and pendants to decorate the bodies of these groups that occupied the Ardales Cave. This study also highlights the presence of vermetids in the cave, "a kind of tube-shaped snail that is uncommon in the archaeological record," said Cantillo Duarte. The chronological framework and the association of these ornaments with the rock art and lithic remains documented inside the cave confirm their social dimension. "The results of the excavations in the Ardales Cave suggest that it was used as a place for specialised symbolic activities during various phases of the Upper Palaeolithic," said Pedro Cantalejo, research director of the Ardales Cave, for whom the cave still has much to tell. It is "more logical" to find some specimens of this type in Palaeolithic sites on the coast of Malaga, such as those located in the caves of Bajondillo (Torremolinos), La Araña (Málaga), La Victoria (Rincón de la Victoria) and Nerja (Nerja), but they are "very rare" in the caves located inland, as is the case of the Ardales Cave, "where the thirteen specimens studied represent a large percentage of the shells used as ornaments during the oldest phases of Homo sapiens in the entire Mediterranean peninsular [area]," Cantalejo said. The combination of three species, Thylaeodus (cylindrical tube-shaped), Dentalium (sharp cone-shaped) and Trivia (closed shell-shaped), confirms the interest of these human groups in the aesthetic variety of their personal adornments and highlights the importance of contacts between inland and coastal caves. This mobility was repeated seasonally and involved the use of materials of different origins in both ecosystems: marine shells were used inland and flint pieces from the inland mountain ranges were used on the coast, according to the researchers.
ESPAGNE – Barcelone – A ncient human remains that are centuries old have been found below the streets of Barcelona, Spain. The skeletons were uncovered amid refurbishment work being carried out along Via Laietana, one of the city's main thoroughfares. As part of the discovery, archaeologists documented the remains of seven bodies in graves from the Roman era, as well as two from the Late Antiquity period, the Ajuntament de Barcelona (City Council) said in statement Tuesday. The Roman-era tombs likely date to the fourth and fifth centuries, while those from Late Antiquity date to the sixth and seventh centuries. Barcelona's Roman history stretches back around 2,000 years, and remnants from this period are still visible today across the city while new discoveries continue to emerge. The area where the city lies was already populated in prehistoric times, but the Romans arrived in the late first century, establishing a small colony known as Barcino. The settlement grew in wealth and size over time, becoming an influential player in the region.The latest graves uncovered in the city are located to one side of the Via Laietana in a plaza known as Plaça Antoni Maura, just beyond the line of the city's old Roman wall.
ANGLETERRE – York - Archaeologists in York have used the scans to study the Roman burial practice of pouring liquid gypsum over the bodies of adults and children laid to rest in coffins. It’s the first time this technology has been applied to Roman burials of this type anywhere in the world. Scans on the remains of a Roman family buried in York reveal that, in preparation for burial, all of the bodies in the group were completely wrapped from head to toe in shrouds and textiles of varying quality and weave. Minute details such as the ties used to bind the burial shroud over the head of one of the adults and the bands of cloth used to wrap the infant are clearly visible. For reasons archaeologists do not entirely understand, the Romans sometimes poured liquid gypsum – a mineral used in making various types of cement and plaster – over the clothed bodies of adults and children in lead or stone coffins before burying them. It appears to have been a custom associated with people of high status. Traces of aromatic resins from the Mediterranean and Arabia found earlier in three of the gypsum burials in York indicate the use of costly and exotic substances in the clothing and wrappings, substances available only to the elite. As the gypsum hardened around the bodies and they then broke down, a negative cavity formed that preserved the original position and contours of the dead. The imprint of shrouds, clothing, and footwear also survives in the gypsum, providing precious evidence for perishable materials that rarely survive in Roman graves.
GRECE – Thorikos - During excavations near Athens, an Iron Age residential building was found. Researchers from the University of Göttingen found in Thorikos (an ancient Greek settlement located 60 km from Athens ) the ruins of a stone house built in the 10th century BC. It is the oldest known structure in Attica. The ancient settlement is located near silver mine, actively used during the dawn of Athens. Previously, Mycenaean domed tombs and a classical settlement have been found in the region. In 2019, during excavations, researchers stumbled upon a stone corner. Initially, the researchers assumed that it was connected with the tomb.
ANGLETERRE – Harnham - A team of archaeologists digging at the site of a planned housing development near Salisbury, England got quite a shock when they unearthed the remains of a sprawling cemetery that could be anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 years old. While performing exploratory excavations at the Netherhampton Road construction site on the outskirts of the suburban town of Harnham, experts from Cotswold Archaeology found the unmistakable remnants of several round burial mounds that they knew had been built in prehistoric times. These types of mounds are known as barrows or round barrows, and they were most commonly made as tomb covers and grave markers during the Beaker and Early Bronze Ages (2,400 to 1,500 BC). The archaeologists found enough clues to conclude these barrows had been made during the latter period, meaning they were installed 1,000 years or more after the monuments at Stonehenge were erected on the Salisbury Plain just 10 miles (16 km) to the north. Round barrows normally consist of a central tomb, the mound and a surrounding ditch. They come in a variety of sizes, but most are between 65 and 100 feet (20 and 30 m) in diameter. Barrows may cover a single burial chamber or several, and multiple mounds were often constructed on the same site. Inside the five ditches they’ve dug up so far the Cotswold archaeologists have found 10 burials and three piles of buried cremation ash. Two of the barrows at the site show signs of having been significantly enlarged at some point, offering more evidence of how popular this burial ground must have been with the people who lived in the region around Salisbury 4,000 years ago and beyond. Unfortunately, several centuries of cultivation in the field where the housing project will be built have totally destroyed the mounds themselves. What remains are the circular surrounding ditches that ran around the perimeter of the mounds, and the skeletal remains of the occupants who were laid to rest in the center of these elaborately prepared burial sites.
FRANCE – Therouanne - An ancient Roman craft district was discovered by archaeologists working in the southwest of the town of Therouanne near a channel, according to a news release from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP). The ancient site uncovered during excavations corresponds to a craft area that flourished during the Early Imperial period, along the “Lys” channel, southeast of the city. The craft district, which was sealed by the sediment of a nearby channel, was over 1,700 years old but remarkably well preserved, according to experts. Numerous pairs of leather shoes with rough, studded soles were found during the canal’s excavation, according to the press release. The nearly black, dark-brown leather shoes are visible in the photos. Other fragments of cut leather — pieces of unfinished footwear — indicated a shoemaker once worked in the area. Here, leather work is represented by the discovery, still in the fillings of the canal, of numerous leather shoes with studded soles and numerous triangular scraps of leather, clues to the probable presence in the sector of a shoemaker and a tannery which, like the butchers, would have used the river as a dumping ground. Archaeologists also discovered a structure with several ovens. According to the release, they found two blue glass cylinders inside the ruins, one in the oven and another off to the side. The unfinished projects indicated the structure was a glassmaker’s workshop. In the canal, archaeologists found a significant number of one kind of cow bone. According to the press release, the bones were leftovers from a nearby butchery and bore signs of butchering. Ruins of a canal, road and another large structure were found nearby, archaeologists said. The discovery of a canal built during the ancient period is the first in Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
PEROU – Nazca – Archaeologits from the Yamagata University have used AI deep learning to discover new geoglyphs in the northern part. Geoglyphs in the Nazca Pampa were first identified during the 1920’s, with ongoing studies since the 1940’s revealing various figurative geoglyphs of zoomorphic designs, geometric shapes, and linear lines. Geoglyphs can be categorised into three main types: figurative, geometric, and lineal. Archaeologists suggest that the lineal geoglyphs were created by the Nazca, a culture that developed during the Early Intermediate Period and is generally divided into the Proto Nazca (phase 1, 100 BC to AD 1), the Early Nazca (phases 2–4, AD 1 to 450), Middle Nazca (phase 5, AD 450 to 550) and the Late Nazca (phases 6–7, AD 550 to 750). The relief type dates from the Late Formative period (400 to 200 BC), as the iconography of the geoglyphs are similar to that of Formative petroglyphs found on outcrops of rock. During this period, the region was inhabited by the Paracas Culture, an Andean people that emerged around 800 BC until 100 BC. Since 2004, Yamagata University has been conducting geoglyph distribution surveys using satellite imagery, aerial photography, airborne scanning LiDAR, and drone photography to investigate the vast area of the Nazca Pampa covering more than 390 km2. In 2016, the researchers used aerial photography with a ground resolution of 0.1 m per pixel to create a detailed survey of the region. Overtime, the team have identified various geoglyphs, however, the process is very time consuming, so they have adopted AI deep learning to analyse the photographs at a much faster rate. The results of a study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, has revealed the discovery of four new Nazca geoglyphs using this new method by creating an approach to labelling training data that identifies a similar partial pattern between the known and new geoglyphs. The four new geoglyphs depict a humanoid figure, a pair-of-legs, a fish, and a bird. The humanoid geoglyph is shown holding a club in his/her right hand and measures 5 metres in length. The fish geoglyph, shown with a wide-open mouth measures 19 metres, while the bird geoglyph measures 17 metres and the pair-of-legs 78 metres.
ARABIE SAOUDITE – Jabal Al-Haqqun - The Heritage Commission has announced the discovery and documentation of the sixth oldest early Arabic inscription in Jabal Al-Haqqun in the Hima cultural area in the Najran region in southern Saudi Arabia. This came as part of the commission’s survey work. The Al-Haqqun inscription belongs to Ka’b Bin Amr Bin Abd Manat, who registered it and sealed it with the date of its implementation according to the Nabataean calendar, at around the year 380, using the method of Nabataean symbols with numerical values. The date of the inscription reveals that Ka’b Bin Amr Bin Abd Manat was a merchant who was passing the road while heading to his home in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula. The discovery of the Al-Haqqun inscription is a valuable scientific addition to the register of early Arabic writings before Islam, the commission stated.
CHINE – Wuxi - Experts from different disciplines took part in an archaeological excavation of two tombs dating back to over 6,000 years ago in Wuxi City of east China's Jiangsu Province, and the entire process was livestreamed online on Friday. A total of 26 tombs with the primeval occupants being people from the period of the Majiabang Culture of the Neolithic Age were previously discovered in the Maan Site of Wuxi. Out of these, 20 tombs have been excavated in the wild, revealing various relics such as stoneware, pottery and jade ware. The remaining six tombs were relocated to a cabin lab belonging to the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for further study.During the livestreaming, the researchers unearthed two relatively complete human skeletons, while collecting and sampling information regarding the microorganisms in the tombs.