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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Archaeology news updates
    Posted: 11-Oct-2013 at 04:28

UW archaeologists have discovered legion barracks in Bulgaria

he barracks occupied by the 8th Roman legion of Augustus in the middle of the 1st century AD have been discovered by a team of researchers from the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Centre, University of Warsaw, during the excavation in Novae near Svishtov, Bulgaria.

"The structure consisted of a series of segments of equal sizes. The segments consisted of one big and one small room, the dimensions of which underwent modifications in the subsequent phases of the settlement. The barrack was about 16 meters wide and 42 meters long" - explained Prof. Piotr Dyczek , head of the expedition.

 

The remains indicate that the support structure were large wooden poles, while smaller dowels sustained braid covered with soil. In the last phase, the exterior walls were covered with white plaster. The system of small dowels inside large rooms suggests, according to the researchers, that there could be bunk beds in the corners. There were wooden shelves in the vestibules.

 

Inside, archaeologists found volute oil lamps, glass vessels - bottles and wine cups. Part of the vessels are hand-made local vessels, so-called thracian urns with decoration in the form of imprinted rope. Archaeologists also discovered fragments of bronze vessels and other objects: buckles, pieces of armour, chandelier chains, folding bronze table base in the shape of a panther paw.

 

" One noteworthy group of objects are surgical instruments made of bronze. We could have found a legion doctor’s quarters" - added Prof. Dyczek.

 

For scientists, the barrack layout is a mystery. According to written sources, the first cohort should have a mirrored number of legionaries. This should be reflected in the architectural development. According to Prof. Dyczek, the latest discoveries in Novae are the first that could support the description of the written source, as that ancient record has not been confirm by any previous excavations.

 

"In addition, the dimensions of the larger rooms in the barracks we found, for Roman conditions and compared to ancient records, are very large. Formally, a sleeping room should be about 3.0 by 3.0 m, while in the case of our structure it is 3 by 4.5 m. This may indicate that the legionaries of the special unit were afforded more comfort" - concluded Prof. Dyczek.

 

http://www.naukawpolsce.pap.pl/en/news/news,397434,uw-archaeologists-have-discovered-legion-barracks-in-bulgaria.html



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 11-Oct-2013 at 04:31
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2013 at 23:49

Roof to preserve Göbeklitepe excavation area

The new excavation area in Şanlıurfa’s Göbeklitepe, known as the world’s oldest temple, will be covered with a roof for preservation. The head of the excavations, Prof. Klaus Schmidt said they had found new artifacts during their work, which is still continuing, and their work focuses on the area where the preservation roof will be constructed. 
He said they had found a broken piece of a human sculpture during excavations in the fall, adding, “We found it in a place very close to the surface. This is why it was ruined.” 

Schimdt said a team of 15 people were working in the excavation area as well as 30 people from the Örencik village. He said they would continue working in Göbeklitepe until the first week of the next month.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/roof-to-preserve-gobeklitepe-excavation-area-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=56088&NewsCatID=375


Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 11-Oct-2013 at 23:51
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2013 at 23:12

Amesbury dig 'could explain' Stonehenge history

A group of archaeologists is undertaking a major dig in Wiltshire, which it is hoped could explain why Stonehenge was built where it was.

The team, which comprises of leading experts in the Mesolithic period, also hopes to confirm Amesbury as the oldest continuous settlement in the UK.

The site already boasts the biggest collection of flints and cooked animal bones in north-western Europe.

The dig in Amesbury will run until 25 October.

The term Mesolithic refers to specific groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic.

'Something really special'

Andy Rhind-Tutt from Amesbury Museum said Amesbury pre-dated Stonehenge by as much 5,000 years, and could "go a long way" to explaining why Stonehenge is where it is.

"No-one would have built Stonehenge without there being something really special about the area.

"There must have been something there beforehand and Amesbury may well be it - [it could be] one of the greatest Mesolithic sites in the country."

Mr Rhind-Tutt said the team would also be looking to "find evidence of settlement for 10,000 BC".

"In previous excavations, they've found evidence of settlement up to 7,596 BC - a boar's tusk - but we're not at the bottom of the trench yet.

"Thatcham near Newbury [in Berkshire] is proving to be the oldest continuous settlement in the UK, but if Amesbury has older evidence this time, then it will be instead.

"At the moment, it is only 104 years short of being the oldest."

Well-preserved remains of a Mesolithic settlement dating from 7,700 BC have previously been found at Thatcham, which is 41 miles (66km) from Amesbury.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-24488759



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 12-Oct-2013 at 23:13
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  Quote Baal Melqart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2013 at 05:20
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2013 at 21:39
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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2013 at 17:16
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2013 at 23:12

Oops! Etruscan Warrior Prince Really a Princess

Last month, archaeologists announced a stunning find: a completely sealed tomb cut into the rock in Tuscany, Italy.

The untouched tomb held what looked like the body of an Etruscan prince holding a spear, along with the ashes of his wife. Several news outlets reported on the discovery of the 2,600-year-old warrior prince.

But the grave held one more surprise.

A bone analysis has revealed the warrior prince was actually a princess, as Judith Weingarten, an alumna of the British School at Athens noted on her blog, Zenobia: Empress of the East.

Etruscan tomb

Historians know relatively little about the Etruscan culture that flourished in what is now Italy until its absorption into the Roman civilization around 400 B.C. Unlike their better-known counterparts, the ancient Greeks and the Romans, the Etruscans left no historical documents, so their graves provide a unique insight into their culture.

The new tomb, unsealed by archaeologists in Tuscany, was found in the Etruscan necropolis of Tarquinia, a UNESCO World Heritage site where more than 6,000 graves have been cut into the rock.

"The underground chamber dates back to the beginning of the sixth century B.C. Inside, there are two funerary beds carved into the rock," Alessandro Mandolesi, the University of Turin archaeologist who excavated the site, wrote in an email.

When the team removed the sealed slab blocking the tomb, they saw two large platforms. On one platform lay a skeleton bearing a lance. On another lay a partially incinerated skeleton. The team also found several pieces of jewelry and a bronze-plated box, which may have belonged to a woman, according to the researchers.

"On the inner wall, still hanging from a nail, was an aryballos [a type of flask] oil-painted in the Greek-Corinthian style," Mandolesi said.

Initially, the lance suggested the skeleton on the biggest platform was a male warrior, possibly an Etruscan prince. The jewelry likely belonged to the second body, the warrior prince’s wife.

But bone analysis revealed the prince holding the lance was actually a 35- to 40-year-old woman, whereas the second skeleton belonged to a man.

Given that, what do archaeologists make of the spear?

"The spear, most likely, was placed as a symbol of union between the two deceased," Mandolesi told Viterbo News 24 on Sept. 26.

Weingarten doesn't believe the symbol of unity explanation. Instead, she thinks the spear shows the woman's high status.

Their explanation is "highly unlikely," Weingarten told LiveScience. "She was buried with it next to her, not him."

Gendered assumptions

The mix-up highlights just how easily both modern and old biases can color the interpretation of ancient graves.

In this instance, the lifestyles of the ancient Greeks and Romans may have skewed the view of the tomb. Whereas Greek women were cloistered away, Etruscan women, according to Greek historian Theopompus, were more carefree, working out, lounging nude, drinking freely, consorting with many men and raising children who did not know their fathers' identities.

Instead of using objects found in a grave to interpret the sites, archaeologists should first rely on bone analysis or other sophisticated techniques before rushing to conclusions, Weingarten said.

"Until very recently, and sadly still in some countries, sex determination is based on grave goods. And that, in turn, is based almost entirely on our preconceptions. A clear illustration is jewelry: We associate jewelry with women, but that is nonsense in much of the ancient world," Weingarten said. "Guys liked bling, too."

http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/etruscan-warrior-prince-really-a-princess-131021.htm



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 21-Oct-2013 at 23:13
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Oct-2013 at 01:29

Ancient Magician's Curse Tablet Discovered in Jerusalem

A lead curse tablet, dating back around 1,700 years and likely written by a magician, has been discovered in a collapsed Roman mansion in Jerusalem, archaeologists report.

The mansion, which is being excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Givati Parking Lot, is located in what is known as the "City of David," an area that holds at least 6,000 years of human occupation. The mansion itself covers at least 2,000 square meters (about half an acre) and contains two large open courtyards adjacent to each other. It was in use between the late third century and A.D. 363, when it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes on May 18 or 19.

The text is written in Greek and, in it a woman named Kyrilla invokes the names of six gods to cast a curse on a man named Iennys, apparently over a legal case. 

"I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys," part of the curse reads in translation. Kyrilla asks the gods to ensure that "he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla … but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her…"

To obtain her goal Kyrilla combined elements from four religions, Robert Walter Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, told LiveScience in an email. Of six gods invoked, four of them are Greek (Hermes, Persephone, Pluto and Hecate), one is Babylonian (Ereschigal) and one, Abrasax, is Gnostic, a religion connected to early Christianity. Additionally, the text contains magic words such as "Iaoth" that have a Hebrew/Judaism origin.

A professional magician likely created the curse for Kyrilla, who may have literally used a hammer and nails to perform a magical rite that enhanced the effectiveness of the curse, Daniel said.

"The hammering and nailing is a form of gaining control over the person(s) targeted in magical texts," he wrote in the email.

Kyrilla and her curse-recipient, both probably members of the Roman middle or upper class, were likely in some legal dispute, as the curse tablet bears similarities to others found in Cyprus that are known to have been used in legal cases. Additionally the word "opposition" in this text hints at a legal matter.

Exploring the mansion

The newfound artifacts hint at the wealth the occupants of the mansion would have enjoyed and include a miniature head of a boxer athlete used as a scale-weight and several gems, including one engraved with an image of Cupid holding a torch.


Archaeologists Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, both with the Israel Antiquities Authority, told LiveScience in an email they discovered the remains of mosaics and frescos that contain geometric and floral motifs near the tablet. They also found carved bone fragments from a box that depict the "Triumph of Dionysus," a Greek god, along with maritime imagery such as seahorses.The curse tablet itself was excavated in the northwest part of the mansion. While the second-floor room where the tablet was originally placed has collapsed, the artifacts excavated near the tablet provide hints about what the room may have looked like when in use. [In Photos: Two Black Magic Curse Tablets]

The team also uncovered roof tiles in the mansion that contain the stamp of the Roman 10th legion, a unit that, for a time, was stationed in Jerusalem. "This practice is common for all the provinces of the Roman Empire. In peaceful times soldiers were responsible for 'civil engineering': They built roads and aqueducts, produced tiles and bricks, etc. The 10th legion produced so many tiles, that it was enough for many more years of construction activity in the city, long after the legion itself left Jerusalem," Ben Ami and Tchekhanovets said.

The researchers also found female figurines, probably depicting a goddess. They were likely used in a "private cult" whose members included residents of the mansion. These figurines were found at or below floor level and may not have been part of the second-floor room that the curse was placed in.

The researchers do not know the purpose of this second-floor room. However, Iennys appears to have been connected to it to such a degree that the curse tablet was placed there intentionally. "Since the curse is directed against Iennys it might have been hidden in or close to a place that he frequented," Daniel wrote in the email. Perhaps lennys lived or worked in the mansion or a courtroom was located near the second floor room, Daniel said.

The discovery was detailed recently in the journal Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik.

http://www.livescience.com/40638-ancient-curse-tablet-discovered-in-jerusalem.html



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 24-Oct-2013 at 01:32
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Oct-2013 at 00:01

THE FORT PARKER PROJECT: PRESERVING A NATION’S MEMORY

The Fort Parker Project is your chance to join the Archaeological Conservancy and the Crow Nation in their campaign to save one of the most important endangered archaeological sites in Montana. The site is currently part of a large cattle ranch owned by a Montana family who has diligently protected it for four generations. Since 2011, the landowners and the Archaeological Conservancy have worked together to raise a goal of $250,000 for the purchase, maintenance, and conservation of Fort Parker’s remains.
The Archaeological Conservancy, established in 1980, is the only national non-profit organisation dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of remaining archaeological sites in the United States.

A difficult transition

Fort Parker, the first Crow Indian Agency, was established under the terms of the Laramie Treaty of 1868 and is located about 40 miles east of Bozeman. The original wooden building at the agency, constructed in 1869, was destroyed by fire in 1872. Immediately following the fire, adobe and stone structures were constructed to replace the original buildings. The foundations of the later structures are visible today on the surface.

The story of the Native American Crow Indian tribe is linked with the explosive westward growth of the United States in the 19th century. The Crow were forced to change their entire way of life with the arrival of European settlers to their ancestral land.

The first Crow Indian Agency was to provide for educational and technological assistance in transitioning the Crows from their traditional migratory buffalo hunting subsistence to the lifestyle of the encroaching modern world.

Although the treaty promised that the agency would teach the Crow farming skills, and provide them with food, medicine, and educational opportunities for their children, none of these goals were completely accomplished. Floods, grasshopper infestations, and early frosts all took their toll on Fort Parker’s fields, often destroying the entire season’s crop.

The Crow also suffered raids by the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe, some of which resulted in the loss of life. The time spent at Fort Parker was a period of transition for the Crow people, marked by hardship as they adjusted to new surroundings and dealt with cultural change. The Crow were still able to continue their hunting and trading lifestyle, visiting Fort Parker only occasionally to take advantage of the goods and services available. However, the changing world around them would soon transform the Crow into a group totally dependent upon the government for survival.

Saving the site

The site, which represents a vital part of the understanding of Crow history, is in danger of being developed and if that happens, irreplaceable cultural material will be destroyed. Working in partnership with the Crow, the project seeks to raise funds to acquire and permanently preserve the site and to establish an interactive tour programme and facility that will make it more accessible to the public.

Every day, prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the United States are lost forever, along with the precious information they contain. Modern-day looters use backhoes and bulldozers to recover artefacts for the international market. Urban development and agricultural methods such as land levelling and topsoil mining destroy ancient sites. The Conservancy protects these sites by acquiring the land on which they rest, preserving them for posterity.

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/10/2013/fort-parker-project-preserving-nations-memory



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 25-Oct-2013 at 00:02
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Oct-2013 at 20:22

Big Catch of Big Cannons at Blackbeard Shipwreck Site

BEAUFORT, N.C. -- The final week of the expedition at the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship,Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), is pulling out the big guns. Literally. Five cannons, four weighing 2,000 pounds and one nearly 3,000 pounds, will be lifted from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean Monday, Oct. 28, weather permitting. All the cast iron cannons fired six pound cannon balls, and will bring to 20 the cannons raised from the site. This will be the biggest 'catch' of cannons recovered at one time.

"We think the largest of the four cannons may be of Swedish origin since the only other recovered gun this size was made in Sweden," Project Director Billy Ray Morris observes. "We also hope to recover two large concretions each the size of a twin bed. They may contain barrel hoops, cannon balls and other treasures."

Blackbeard is known to have gathered a hodge-podge of cannons from different countries as he equipped his vessel with 40 guns. To date, 29 guns have been located at the shipwreck site near Beaufort. The research team, led by the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, has recovered artifacts from 60 percent of the site, including cannons, anchors, gold dust, animal bones, lead shot, medical and scientific instruments, and much more. Altogether about 280,000 artifacts have been recovered. Full recovery is planned by 2014. An extensive Queen Anne's Revenge exhibit is at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/09012013/article/big-catch-of-big-cannons-at-blackbeard-shipwreck-site



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 27-Oct-2013 at 20:24
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2013 at 22:16
Bulgaria's Sveshtari Thracian Tomb Celebrated Life
Over the year, Bulgarian archaeologists have made important new discoveries about the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari, announced archaeologist Prof. Diana Gergova.

Among the most amazing discoveries was the fact that a golden casket discovered last year was placed on a powerful living tree in one of the tombs.

In ancient pagan Europe, strong trees were symbols of life and growth, and links between the terrestrial realm and the realm of gods.

"This mound is really unique compared to the other mounds in the site. Within it, we found new data for animal sacrifices, too," said Gergova, as quoted by the Focus Radio.

Gergova argued that the important findings in the area mandate the creation of a museum at the site to display some of the items and tell their story.

The Sveshtari or Sboryanovo Thracian site was first discovered in 1982, nearby the Muslim holy site Demir Baba Teke near the town of Isperih, in Bulgaria's northeaster Razgrad region.

The facilities at the site have been left by the Getae, whose major city of Helis is believed to have been located nearby.

http://www.novinite.com/articles/154960/Bulgaria%27s+Sveshtari+Thracian+Tomb+Celebrated+Life



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 29-Oct-2013 at 22:16
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2013 at 22:19

Nazi Death Camp Yields Its Secrets

October 14, 1943 is a date that is not well known in the annals of World War II. Yet it marks a remarkable event that reflected a moment of triumph in the story of thousands of human victims who went helplessly to their deaths at the hands of their Nazi captors inside the Sobibór extermination camp in eastern Poland. It was the day when 500 Jewish prisoners executed a rebellion and successful escape. 

Israeli archaeologist Yoram Haimi made excavation and investigation of this site a personal journey -- he had two uncles who died there during the War. Working with Dr. Philip Reeder, Dean of Duquesne University's Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, he had the site surveyed, mapped, and then excavated over a period of 5 years beginning in 2007. Using technology and conventional archaeological excavation and recording techniques, an archaeological team uncovered evidence of structures and artifacts of victims, including those of children, in their original locations along the traces of walkways and buildings used to exterminate nearly 250,000 Jews during the camp's operation from April 1942 to October, 1943.

It was not the first time anyone had attempted to excavate the site. In 2001, a group of Polish researchers, archaeologists, and historians began investigating the site, but very little of its material remains had been found. Following the revolt in 1943, the Nazis had effectively liquidated the site by removing most of its traces by demolishing the structures, covering it with soil, planting trees and disguising it as a farm. It took modern techniques of detection, including ground-penetrating radar, and work by a joint Polish-Israeli team with actual fieldwork carried out by a team of Polish archaeologists led by Wojciech Mazurek, to recover substantial numbers of artifacts along with significant evidence of the camp's features and structures.  

By August 2012, the team of workers had recovered numerous artifacts interpreted to be the last possessions of some prisoners. In addition to evidence of structures and other features on the camp area landscape, artifacts included teeth, bone shards, jewelry, keys and coins that gave clues to identifying the victims. "The most important of these was an aluminum identification tag belonging to a six-year old girl, Lea Judith De La Penha of Amsterdam," writes Haimi in a recent preliminary report, "who arrived from the Westerbork Camp in Holland together with her parents, on a transport that left on July 6, 1943 and arrived to Sobibór on July 9, 1943. The child's mother was Judith de Abraham Rodrigues Parreira, b. 1903 and her father was David de Hartog Juda De La Penha, b. 1909. The De La Penha family belonged to a community of 'Portuguese Jews' who arrived from Spain and Portugal to Holland approximately one hundred years after the Spanish Inquisition in 1492......Following the German invasion, the situation for Dutch Jews became critical and in July 1942, the first transports of Jews to Poland began."

Arguably the most important discovery was, however, the traces of the postholes that marked the path of what the Nazis called the Himmelfahrstrasse, or "Road to Heaven", the path along which the prisoners were marched naked to the gas chambers.

Sobibór is distinguished from other similar camps throughout Nazi occupied Europe in that approximately 500 Jewish camp workers organized a revolt that was carried out on October 14, 1943, leading to the successful escape of 300 Jews. Of the others, dozens were killed in the mine fields around the camp and still others were hunted down in the succeeding days.

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/09012013/article/nazi-death-camp-yields-its-secrets



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 29-Oct-2013 at 22:20
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Oct-2013 at 05:49

CONNECTING THE DOTS: HARBOURS AND PORTS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

new €2.49 million (£2.1 million) project entitled  ‘Roman Mediterranean Ports‘ funded by the European Research Council is set to examine 31 ports in nine different countries around the Mediterranean.

A study from east to west

Archaeologist Professor Simon Keay will lead the project team to examine each site stretching from Turkey in the east, to Spain in the west, using a combination of geophysical surveys (including ground penetrating radar), data from satellite imagery, and the study of ancient texts.

Professor Keay is leading the project in close collaboration with Ancient Historian Professor Pascal Arnaud, from the Université de Lyon La Lumière, who will be analysing key Greek and Latin texts and inscriptions to learn more about what they tell us about the character and capacity of ports and the connections between them, port officials and port communities. Both  archaeological and historical evidence will be studied in an integrated framework of research in order to compare and contrast the evidence.

How trade was conducted

Professor Keay comments: “We will explore the relationship between these 31 ports and look at how they integrated to form a crucial part of vast trading networks across the Roman Empire. They formed one of the world’s most important trading systems, operating at a time when the Mediterranean was a unified region.

“By studying these networks, we aim to gather a wealth of knowledge about how they operated and why – also helping to set in context how trade was conducted in later historical periods and, indeed, today.”

Eight sites will be examined in detail on the ground,  with archaeologists conducting fieldwork and surveying sites with the latest geophysical techniques at Ephesus, Pitane and Kane in Turkey; Gades and Tarraco in Spain; Portus and Puteoli in Italy and Utica in Tunisia. Hi resolution satellite imagery and existing archaeological data will aid a study of the remaining 23 ports in France, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Libya, Israel and Greece. The team will look for structures which formed the port infrastructures, such as harbour basins, canals, warehouses and residential buildings.


A complementary study

Professor Arnaud and the historians in the team will be studying the vocabulary of harbours and moorings, the management of harbours and the jobs involved in everyday harbour life. They will try to better understand which authorities managed the harbours, and the form that their control took.

Harbours were places where most maritime-based trade took place – archaeology alone is of little use in understanding the complexity of harbour procedures, operations, jobs and networks. They will study networks of people and groups and try to gather and analyse a wide range of documents (literary texts, jurisprudence, papyri, public and private inscriptions, graffiti and labels attached to merchandise) to improve our understanding of what exactly happened in harbours of different sizes, and provide the archaeologists with some keys for understanding the use of space within Roman ports. They will edit a source book of ancient harbours and contribute to a database of harbours.

The research, lasting five years, will mainly concentrate on the first two centuries AD and consider the layout, activities, hierarchies and commercial and social connections made between Roman ports. It is hoped that much of the study will eventually be presented in a virtual environment online, including computer visualisations by the University of Southampton’s Archaeological Computing Research Group (led by Dr Graeme Earl) and interactive elements, to help users explore the findings.


15 years of previous study

‘Roman Mediterranean Ports’ builds on 15 years of work by Professor Simon Keay at the archaeological site of Portus in Italy, the port of Imperial Rome.

He comments: “Portus was Rome’s only real trade gateway to the Mediterranean for most of the Imperial period and vital to the survival of the Empire. Over many years excavating and studying Portus, I have learned an enormous amount about its central role in the Roman Empire and this latest project will allow me to extend our knowledge even further to consider the broader commercial networks in the Mediterranean It will also greatly benefit from the many years of experience by Professor Arnaud in the field of Roman geography, navigation, ports and traders.”

[URLhttp://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/10/2013/connecting-the-dots-harbours-and-ports-of-the-roman-empire[/URL]



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 31-Oct-2013 at 05:50
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Nov-2013 at 00:10

Unearthed Hittite artifacts in Istanbul break new ground

The discoveries in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece river basin, iron god and goddess statues that were found in two different places, have created great excitement among researchers. 

An archaeological discovery in suburban Istanbul could soon force a rewrite in history books as new research has shown that the early Hittites actually ventured onto the European continent, having previously been assumed to have remained only in Asia.
“Istanbul has a new historic peninsula now. The first traces of the Hurrians in Istanbul shows the importance of these excavations. This is a big discovery to reach the traces of the Hittites in Europe,” said Istanbul Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Ahmet Emre Bilgili, according to daily Radikal.

“We have shed light on a dark era of Istanbul,” said Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik.

The traces from the Hurrian civilization – the early Hittite era – were found in the Küçükçekmece river basin in the western parts of the city.

The discoveries – iron god and goddess statues that were found in two different places –have created great excitement among researchers. 

“The Mesopotamian works of art date back to between the 17th and 15th centuries B.C., known as the dark era of Istanbul. We have also found bitumen as well as tin and ceramic pieces dating back to the Mesopotamian era,” said the head of the excavations, Professor Şengül Aydıngün.

Two Hurrian statues, bitumen, tin and ceramic pieces are from 1800 B.C. Bitumen was only used in Mesopotamia at the time and was used to make vessels waterproof. Maritime trade improved thanks to this material. 

Tin was more valuable than gold at the beginning of the Bronze Age. The tin in Küçükçekmece was found in cubes during excavations in the same place with the statues. 

This year’s excavations also revealed 301 bottles for holy water, called “Unguanterium,” as well as small bottles for perfume or pomade made between the fifth and sixth centuries B.C.

Çelik said they were very pleased with the Hittite findings in Istanbul. “The two statues found in the excavations are from the Hittite era. They bring us back to 4,000 years ago. We are more hopeful for next year’s excavations. I am sure that these excavations will make a contribution to tourism. This year, we provided more than 30 million Turkish Liras for the excavations. Now we have a new page in Istanbul’s and Anatolian culture,” he said. 

God and goddess

Surface excavations around the Küçükçekmece river basin started in 2007, while a number of unknown structures in Istanbul have been unearthed over the past four years, surprising even the excavation team. 

The Hurrian type of goddess statue is 5.4 centimeters long and weighs 14 grams. The statue, made of iron, has undergone erosion throughout the centuries. The god statute, meanwhile, is 6.1 centimeters long but weighs only 11 grams. 

Such statues were used for vows and their earliest examples were found in southern Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. Similar statues have been found in Turkey in the Alalah, Tilmen and Zincirli Oylum mounds elsewhere in Turkey.

Noting that they had already known about the existence of the first Neolithic groups in Istanbul, Aydıngün said: “These groups’ traces survived for 1,000-1,500 years. After their traces disappeared, there was a big chronological gap until the seventh century B.C. The two statues that we have found are from the early Hittite period. The statues of this era were found for the first time in Istanbul. The traces of the Hittites were previously [only] found in Troy and İzmir.”

Also speaking about the findings, Istanbul Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Ahmet Emre Bilgili said they had not expected to find such groundbreaking findings when they began their research in 2007.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/unearthed-hittite-artifacts-in-istanbul-break-new-ground.aspx?pageID=238&nID=57088&NewsCatID=375

Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 04-Nov-2013 at 00:10
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Nov-2013 at 23:34

Ice proved cool way to move stones for Forbidden City

Some of the largest stones used to construct Beijing’s Forbidden City beginning in 1406 were hauled from distant quarries on wooden sledges along ice roads, ancient Chinese documents have revealed. Calculations now reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that, on uneven, winding roads, this method is safer, more reliable and much easier than using wooden rollers or dragging the sledges over bare ground1.

The imperial palace and surrounding buildings in the Forbidden City, a complex that has long served as the figurative centre of China’s capital city, were built in the early 1400s, but construction in and around the complex continued to the late 1500s and beyond. Many of the largest stones in the complex came from a quarry located about 70 kilometres from Beijing, says Howard Stone, a fluid mechanicist at Princeton University in New Jersey, and a member of the team that performed the study. “You go to the Forbidden City and see these massive rocks, and you ask yourself: ‘How in the world did they ever move this rock here?’” he says.

A few historians have briefly noted that some enormous stones in the Forbidden City had been transported by sledges pulled by teams of men in the depths of winter. But Jiang Li, a mechanical engineer at the University of Science and Technology Beijing, recently stumbled across a more-detailed description related to one particular stone in the complex.

The ancient document reported that the monolith, a 49-cubic-metre slab estimated to weigh almost 112 tonnes, was hauled to Beijing in 1557 over the course of 4 weeks — which works out as an average speed of about 8 centimetres per second. Other blocks of rock were even heavier, Stone says.

The documents, which were later translated into English, raised several questions. Foremost, says Stone, is why weren’t the monoliths transported on wheeled vehicles, which had been used in China since the fourth century bc? Moreover, he asks, was hauling sledges on an ice road the best method available?

The first question is fairly easy to answer, says Stone. Even into the late 1500s, Chinese wheeled vehicles could not carry loads exceeding around 86 tonnes, necessitating the use of wooden sledges for larger burdens.

Head count

Answering the second question takes a bit more analysis. For one thing, Stone notes, using wooden rollers — imagine telegraph-pole–sized tree trunks as large bearings — is tricky on winding roads. The technique also requires a smooth, hard surface to prevent the rollers from becoming mired. Dragging a 112-tonne sledge over bare ground would require more than 1,500 men, Stone and his colleagues estimate. Pulling the same sled across bare ice or across wet, wooden rails would require at least 330 men.

But if the stone-burdened toboggan were hauled along an ice road lubricated by a film of water, the researchers say, fewer than 50 men would be needed to tow the load.

Hauling massive stones long distances over ice roads “is an interesting and plausible idea”, says Michael Parker Pearson, an archaeologist at University College London. But although winters in northern China were typically cold enough to allow the use of ice-lubricated highways, other parts of the world where large stone monuments are found — Stonehenge is a prime example, he notes — did not have the consistently cold winters required to reliably employ the technique.

The team’s results “are wonderful and well written”, but probably substantially underestimate the number of men needed to haul a 112-tonne sledge, says Thomas Mathia, an expert in tribology — the science of friction and lubrication — at the Lyon Central School in France. For example, the effort to get the sledge moving from a standstill is much larger than that needed to keep it moving. So, around two to three times more men would be needed to transport the stone-burdened sled than Stone and his colleagues estimate, he notes. Furthermore, that is over a flat roadway, says Mathia. To pull the sledge up a 10° slope, you would need another 270 people or so.

http://www.nature.com/news/ice-proved-cool-way-to-move-stones-for-forbidden-city-1.14090



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 06-Nov-2013 at 23:35
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Nov-2013 at 00:14

White-Lipped Peccary Trails Lead to Archeological Discovery in Brazil: 4,000 To 10,000-Year-Old Cave Drawings

This is a drawing of a human-like figure and symbols. A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient cave drawings made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago while conducting a survey for white-lipped peccaries in Brazil.

While tracking white-lipped peccaries and gathering environmental data in forests that link Brazil's Pantanal and Cerrado biomes, a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient cave drawings made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago.

The drawings are the subject of a recently published study by archeologists Rodrigo Luis Simas de Aguiar and Keny Marques Lima in the journal Revista Clio Arqueológica (see link below). The diversity of the renderings, according to the authors, adds significantly to our knowledge of rock art from the Cerrado plateau region that borders the Pantanal.

"Our work with the Wildlife Conservation Society focuses on promoting sustainable land use practices that help protect important wildlife species and the wild places where they live," said Dr. Alexine Keuroghlian, researcher with WCS's Brazil Program. "Since we often work in remote locations, we sometimes make surprising discoveries, in this case, one that appears to be important for our understanding of human cultural history in the region."

The discovery was made on Brazil's Cerrado plateau in 2009, when Keuroghlian and her team were conducting surveys of white-lipped peccaries, herd-forming pig-like animals that travel long distances and are environmental indicators of healthy forests. The peccaries are vulnerable to human activities, such as deforestation and hunting, and are disappearing from large swaths of their former range from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. While following signals from radio-collared white-lipped peccaries and the foraging trails of peccary herds, the team encountered a series of prominent sandstone formations with caves containing drawings of animals and geometric figures.

Keuroghlian contacted Aguiar, a regional specialist in cave drawings who determined that the drawings were made between 4,000-10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer societies that either occupied the caves, or used them specifically for their artistic activities. The style of some drawings, Aguiar noted, was consistent with what archeologists call the Planalto (central Brazilian plateau) tradition, while others, surprisingly, were more similar to Nordeste (northeastern Brazil) or Agreste (forest to arid-land transition in NE Brazil) style drawings. The drawings depict an assemblage of animals including armadillos, deer, large cats, birds, and reptiles, as well as human-like figures and geometric symbols. Oddly, the subject of the WCS surveys in the area -- peccaries -- are absent from the illustrations. Aguiar hopes to conduct cave floor excavations and geological dating at the sites in order to fully interpret the drawings.

"These discoveries of cave drawings emphasize the importance of protecting the Cerrado and Pantanal ecosystems, both for their cultural and natural heritage," said Dr. Julie Kunen, Director of WCS's Latin America and the Caribbean Program and an expert on Mayan archeology. "We hope to partner with local landowners to protect these cave sites, as well as the forests that surround them, so that the cultural heritage and wildlife depicted in the drawings are preserved for future generations."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107162302.htm



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 08-Nov-2013 at 00:15
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Nov-2013 at 00:03
4,500 year-old dwelling found in Turkey
A four and half-thousand year-old dwelling belonging to an important ruler is the latest find from an archeological dig referred to as the Kultepe mound, in a district of Kayseri, in central Turkey.

“There is no such a huge building like this in Anatolia and Middle East. We are only at the certain part of the building right now. We will see an enormous structure once we discover it all. This is not a private house. It is most probably an administrative body. We believe that this is a building where Kanis King lives or governs his kingdom,” Prof. Fikri Kuloglu, Ankara University archaeologist and head of the Kultepe archaeological excavation, told an AA reporter.

The archeologist says the thousands of seals found (probably from Northern Syria) tell that there was "international and systematical trade" in those times and the archaeological excavations in coming years will give further evidence of those trade activities.

Kultepe, ancient mound covering the Bronze Age city of Kanesh, is in central Turkey. Kultepe was known to archaeologists during the 19th century, but it began to attract particular attention as the reputed source of so-called Cappadocian tablets in Old Assyrian cuneiform writing and language.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=122174



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 09-Nov-2013 at 00:03
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2013 at 23:28

Ancient corridor reveals Roman social life traces

Archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Metropolis, situated in İzmir, revealed a 40-meter corridor, giving clues about life 2,000 years ago.
According to a statement by Sabancı Foundation, which supports the project together with Torbalı Municipality and the Association of Metropolis Lovers (MESEDER), a 40-meter corridor was unearthed during the excavations that have been continuing in the bathing and sports sections of the site.

The brick-vaulted corridors, which had been built parallel to the northern, western and southern walls, were discovered in a well-preserved state, revealing aspects of social life 2,000 years ago.

Archaeologists believe that these kinds of structures were used as service corridors by servants working in Roman baths. Excavations also revealed furnaces built in the same parallel with the pools of the bath. 

Associate Professor Serdar Aybek, head of the excavations and the archaeology department of Celal Bayar University, said the finding unearthed from the 6,000 square-meter excavation area was a “surprise.” “It is very exciting that the structures survived to this day in such good condition,” he said.

He said it would be possible to understand all architectural structures of this structure in future excavations, adding they encountered the footprints of a man and a goat in the same excavation area. “When we saw these footprints, we imagined the days when the bath was built or restored. We think the footprints belong to a goat that entered the areas before the structure’s soil mixture dried, and a man ran after it.” 

‘Value for Turkey’ 

The Sabancı Foundation General Director Zerrin Koyunsağan said the historic richness in Metropolis was a significant value for Turkey. She said that every year, they have been surprised with new findings and discoveries in the ancient city of Metropolis, and every finding gave answers about social life 2,000 years ago. 

In the meantime, the Metropolis site efforts, which started in 2012, are continuing in parallel with the excavations. A 16,000 square-meter area was surrounded by a fence and the projects for visitor welcome center, view terraces, walking routes and the environmental reorganizations have been finished. 

The ancient city of Metropolis is located 40 kilometers away from İzmir and 45 kilometers away from the world-renowned ancient city of Ephesus. The site, which bears traces of the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, has been under excavation for 23 years as a part of a project jointly carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ancient-corridor-reveals-roman-social-life-traces.aspx?pageID=238&nID=57852&NewsCatID=375

Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 13-Nov-2013 at 23:29
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2013 at 23:28
http://www.medievalists.net/2013/11/13/fifth-century-massacre-discovered-by-swedish-archaeologists/
"...Precious items have also been recovered, including brooches in Germanic animal style that date from the late 5th century. The archaeologists believe that those who attacked the fort either came to just slaughter its inhabitants, or were too quick in executing them before plun raising questions over why they were not plundered in the wake of the massacre. The team has now gone over the site collecting all precious metals to avoid modern plundering.

Why the ring fort has been left untouched for 1,600 years remains a mystery. One theory is that the location became taboo after the massacre, but the archaeologists hope the answer will become clearer with further excavations...."
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