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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Archaeology news updates
    Posted: 07-Apr-2015 at 22:43

Archaeologists Uncover Ancient ‘Spooning’ Couple in Greece


Almost 6,000 years ago, the man was placed behind the woman with his arms around her body, and their legs were intertwined. They were buried.

Why they were interred in this manner is not yet determined, but the international team that discovered them in Greece is still searching for answers, according to team member Michael Galaty, a Mississippi State University archaeologist.

"There've only been a couple of prehistoric examples of this behavior around the world, but even when couples are buried together, they're beside each other and not typically touching," he said. "This couple was actually spooning. We assume they were partners of some kind, and because of DNA analysis, we do know they are male and female." Not only does Galaty head MSU's anthropology and Middle Eastern cultures department, but he also serves as interim director of the university's Cobb Institute of Archeology.

Another question for the researchers to examine is how the couple died, which happened around 3800 B.C., Galaty said. While archaeologists are unsure whether the man or woman died first, they are sure the couple's times of death are close together.

"This is unique in Greece, and we're analyzing the skeletons and bones to find out more about what was going on, how they died and why they may have been placed there," he said.

The location of the couple's burial site -- Ksagounaki, a rocky promontory, or cliff, on Diros Bay near Greece's Mediterranean coast -- is adjacent to Alepotrypa Cave, one of the largest ancient settlements yet discovered in southern Europe, Galaty said. The cave, first explored in the 1950s, was excavated by Giorgos Papathanassopoulos. It was occupied during the late portion of the Neolithic Age, approximately 5000-3000 B.C. The bodies were discovered at Ksagounaki near a Neolithic house that was dated to the same time as the couple's death around 3800 B.C. The area adjacent to Alepotrypa Cave was discovered in 2011 after the archeological team surveyed the land around the cave.

"The cave was occupied for a limited period of time, around the time when people started farming. People became more sedentary and built houses at a site outside the cave. It became a pretty big village," he said. "People were buried within their homes. Keeping your ancestors close to you was important, and their remains served as a title to the land."

Galaty said one of the team's biggest discoveries was that 2,000 years after the Neolithic Age, the Mycenaeans -- who comprised the human cast in Homer's epic "Iliad" chronicling the Trojan War -- returned to Ksagounaki. They dug into the earlier village-mortuary complex to rebury their dead.

"The bones were gathered somewhere else and brought to this feature around 1200 B.C. The Mycenaeans dug down into the old village and filled the pit they dug with bones," Galaty explained. "There were a lot of wealthy objects -- ivory hair pins, lots of beads, a Mycenaean dagger made of bronze."

He hypothesized that knowledge of Alepotrypa Cave may have been passed down through the civilization's memory of tradition.

"It's not just a coincidence that these people chose to rebury their dead here. There are 2,000 years of memory in this place," Galaty said. "Mycenaeans chose to come here to rebury their dead. They may have come from far away to bury special people. "We're going to look at where they might have lived before they were buried and what kinds of interesting rituals related to death and burial may have been used."

In addition to Galaty, a University of Wisconsin doctoral graduate in anthropology, archaeologists on the team were Anastasia Papathanasiou, with the Ephorate for Speleology and Paleoanthropology in Athens, Greece, and Panagiotis Karkanas, of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. Others included William A. Parkinson, with Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, and Daniel J. Pullen, of Florida State University.

Funding was provided by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, along with grants from the Archaeological Institute of America's Cotsen Excavation Fund, the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research's International Collaborative Research Grant program. The Field Museum Women's Board and private donors also supported the archaeologists' work.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150407171540.htm



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 07-Apr-2015 at 22:44
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2015 at 15:51
An Iron Age bronze clasp shaped like an owl has been found in Denmark:

"...BORNHOLM, DENMARK—An enameled bronze clasp has been unearthed near the east coast of the island of Bornholm, located in the Baltic Sea. Shaped like an owl, the clasp, which has large orange eyes and colorful wings, dates to the Iron Age, and would have been used to fasten a man’s cloak. “There are very few of these types of buttons,” archaeologist Christina Seehusen of Bornholm Museum told The Copenhagen Post. It was probably made along the Roman frontier, in Cologne or another nearby town. “There have been a number of discoveries in graves and settlements on the island that show there was contact with many parts of the world including frequent contact with parts of the Roman Empire,” Seehusen said...."




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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Apr-2015 at 18:37
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2015 at 23:28
Flood caused the decline of Cahokia?
"...Sediment cores from Horseshoe Lake, located in the Mississippi floodplain near the center of Cahokia, and Grassy Lake, roughly 120 miles downstream, provide clues to the rise and fall of the ancient city, according to geographers Samuel Munoz and Jack Williams of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Radiocarbon dating of plant remains and charcoal within the sediment cores helped to create a timeline that includes evidence of frequent floods in the Mississippi River valley between A.D. 300 and 600. Archaeological evidence shows that people moved into the floodplain and began to farm during the arid period after A.D. 600, when Cahokia rose to prominence. But after a major flood event in A.D. 1200, the city began to decline. “We are not arguing against the role of drought in Cahokia’s decline but this presents another piece of information,” Munoz said in a press release..."
http://archaeology.org/news/3262-150505-cahokia-sediment-cores
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2015 at 20:40

Bulgarian archaeologists reveal beautiful early Christian floor mosaics amidst unpleasant present-day 'finds' in Plovdiv's great basilica.


Bulgarian archaeologists and restorers have revealed beautiful Early Christian floor mosaics in the 5thcentury AD Great Basilica whose re-excavation, restoration, and conservation started two weeks ago in the southern city of Plovdiv.

The Early Byzantine Great Basilica in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv was discovered in the 1980s but its ruins andunique floor mosaics have been re-buried with soil and sand as a means of preserving them in anticipation of the resolution of legal disputes over the property, and the securing of sufficientfunding for the further excavation and conservation of the site.

The project for the excavation and restoration of the 5th century Great Basilica in the Southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv is going to focus on the recovery, restoration, and conservation of its Early Christian mosaics.

The restoration and excavation of the Great Basilica of ancient Philipopolis, as Plovdiv was known after the conquest of Ancient Thrace by King Philip II of Macedon in 342 AD, is a long awaited project which will be funded with a grant of BGN 4.9 million (app. EUR 2.5 million) by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, a Bulgarian-U.S. NGO.

Lead archaeologist Elena Kisyakova, who first found the Early Christian church in 1982, has made it clear that the project will focus on the restoration, conservation, and exhibition of the Great Basilica and its mosaics, and only partial excavations will be done on an “as needed” basis.

During their current re-excavation of the floor mosaics in the Early Byzantine temple, the Bulgarian archaeologists and restorers have come across some rather “unpleasant” present-day “finds” such as wallets with credit cards and IDs, some of them belonging to foreign nationals, empty vodkabottles, and abandoned bras and underwear, reports local news site Plovdiv24.

These finds are scattered all over the place due to the fact that the site of the Great Basilica in Plovdivhad been largely neglected during the 25-year post-communist period, and, sadly, had turned into a meeting ground for drug addicts and homeless people. The discovered IDs and credits cards were probably stolen from foreigners as well as Bulgarian citizens, the archaeologists believe.

The total of 2000 square meters of Early Christian floor mosaics at the basilica, which was built at the beginning of the 5th century AD, will be restored and exhibited in situ, and ready to welcome visitors by the summer of 2017.

The new tourist center will have a roof, an inner yard, and a performance space which will be used for different types of events.

Recently, Plovdiv Municipality has moved to seek from Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture a transfer of property rights over the entire site of the Early Christian Great Basilica. Plovdiv Municipality owns only part of the site.

Back in 2002, under then Mayor Ivan ChomakovPlovdiv Municipality sold the property to a private firm even though it contained a formally recognized monument of culture. As a result, once the scandalous deal unraveled, it took the municipality and the central government seven years of court battles to regain the ownership of the Great Basilica site. Plovdiv Municipality even had to pay the private owners BGN 500,000 (about EUR 255,000) as a compensation for a plot of 1,500 square meters.

The project for Plovdiv’s Great Basilica, which is sometimes likened to similar historical monuments from ancient Constantinople and Ravenna, the last capital of the Western Roman Empire, is the second of this kind, after in 2010-2014 Bulgaria Culture Ministry, Plovdiv Municipality, and the America for Bulgaria Foundation collaborated for the excavation and restoration of another Early Christian monument, the so called Small Basilica dating back to the 5th century AD.

The Small Basilica project was financed by the America for Bulgaria Foundation with a BGN 1 million (app. EUR 511,000) grant, and was formally opened for tourists in May 2014.

Background Infonotes:

The Early Christian Great Basilica (or Bishop’s Basilica) is located in the center of the ancient city of Philipopolis, which is itself in the downtown of today’s Plovdiv in Southern Bulgaria. It was discovered in 1982 by a team of archaeologists led by Elena Kisyakova. The excavated remains of the Great Basilica were fenced off as part of conservation efforts but have not been excavated further ever since. Back in 2002, Plovdiv Municipality sold the property to a private firm even though it contained a formally recognized monument of culture. As a result, once the scandalous deal unraveled, it took the municipality and the central government seven years of court trials to regain the ownership of the Great Basilica site. The Philipopolis Bishop’s Basilica is impressive in size – its length totals 86.3 meters (the combined length of its naos with the apse is 56.5 meters), and its width is estimated to be 38.5 meters. The entire floor of the three-nave basilica is paved with unique Early Christian mosaics covering a total area of 700 square meters. The mosaic floors were created in two construction stages. The color mosaics feature primarily geometric motifs and images of birds typical of the second quarter of the 5th century. About 70 different species of birds have been identified, some of which appear to be unknown to contemporary ornithology. Based on the mosaics, the Early Christian Bishop’s Basilica in the ancient city of Philipopolis is dated back to the first half of the 5thcentury BC, the Late Roman – Early Byzantine period. It was destroyed in the middle of the 6th century, possibly during a barbarian invasions. It was built on the foundations of an earlier building of similar size and potentially with similar functions.

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/05/20/bulgarian-archaeologists-reveal-beautiful-early-christian-floor-mosaics-amidst-unpleasant-present-day-finds-in-plovdivs-great-basilica/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 22-May-2015 at 20:59
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2015 at 05:44

ARCHAEOLOGISTS FIND PREVIOUSLY UNEXPLORED FORTRESS IN BULGARIA’S BANYA WAS DESTROYED BY HUNS, CRUSADERS

The first ever archaeological excavations of the Late Antiquity fortress “Kaleto” near the centralBulgarian town of Banya, Panagyurishte Municipality, Plovdiv District, have been wrapped up helpting the archaeologists confirm the hypothesis that it was built in order to protect the Balkan provinces of the Later Roman Empire from barbarian invasions from the north.

The excavations of the Late Antiquity, Late Roman and Early Byzantine fortress have been led byAssoc. Prof. Valeri Grigorov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, with Lyubka Todorova, archaeologist from the Pazardzhik Regional Museum of HistoryGeorgi Abdulov, former Director of the Panagyurishte Museum of History, and Vasil Katsarev, curator at the Panagyurishte Museum of History.

The archaeological team has discovered a large amount of weapon artifacts and ceramic vessels.

Historians and archaeologists think that the fortress Kaleto near Banya (“kale” is a Turkish word meaning “fortress” left over from the Ottoman period commonly used for the numerous ruins ofancient and medieval fortresses all over Bulgaria whose proper names are sometimes unknown) was originally an Ancient Thracian settlement.

The first stone masonry on the site and the construction of the fortress wall date to the 4th century AD, and there are indications that it was destroyed during the barbarian invasion of the Huns in the 5th century AD.

After that, the fortress near Banya was rebuilt, but in the 12th century AD it fell prey to an invasiononce again – this time it was destroyed by the crusader knights from the Third Crusade (1189-1192 AD).

The Kaleto fortress near Banya was important in ancient and medieval times because of its strategic location between the Valley of Zlatitsa and Pirdop, and the Upper Thracian Plain (in today’s Southern Bulgaria).

The initial partial excavation of the Kaleto Fortress near Banya is funded with BGN 15,000 (app. EUR 7,600) of EU funding under Operational Program “Rural Development”.

The project has been initiated by a Local Initiative Group, a NGO, active in the towns of Panagyurishte,Strelcha, and Lisichovo.

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/06/08/archaeologists-find-previously-unexplored-fortress-in-bulgarias-banya-destroyed-by-huns-crusaders/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 09-Jun-2015 at 05:49
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2015 at 19:05
excellent finds.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

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Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jun-2015 at 01:12

Rare Viking relic discovered at Perthshire dig

ARCHAEOLOGISTS delving into Scottish history believe they have discovered a rare object at a Viking-age longhouse in Perthshire

The small circular stone, with a central hole - thought to be a spindle whorl - was found by Diana McIntyre, who was on a dig with Glenshee Archaelogy Project at Lair in Glenshee.

A spindle whorl, was a weight fitted to a spindle while hand spinning textiles to increase and maintain the speed of the spin.

The stone, which is only around 5cm in diameter, has been carefully shaped to be symmetrical, but what has interested the team are the symbols and designs carved onto one surface.

David Strachan, of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust explained the possible significance of the find.

He said: “Through the ages spindle whorls have often been covered in abstract shapes and the spinning action would bring life to these shapes, much like the old spinning top toy.

“While we certainly have abstract shapes on this example, some of the symbols look like they could be writing, perhaps Viking runes or Ogham inscription a form of early medieval Irish script.”

The project which began in 2012, has been investigating rare examples of early medieval turf long houses, engaging with communities to experience archaeology first hand.

The team are awaiting experts to carefully study the find to confirm the nature of the symbols but, whether Viking runes or Ogham inscriptions, they know it is a rare artifact.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/rare-viking-relic-discovered-at-perthshire-dig-1-3813795



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 29-Jun-2015 at 01:15
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jun-2015 at 20:34

Dundee experts recreate face of Saxon man at Lincoln Castle

Facial reconstruction experts at the University of Dundee have recreated the face of a Saxon man whose skeleton was discovered on the site of an old church at Lincoln Castle.

On Monday 8th June, the new-look castle will be officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal. On that day, a new exhibition will be revealed in the Victorian Prison, sharing some of the archaeological finds unearthed during the Lincoln Castle Revealed project.

As part of the exhibition, experts at the University of Dundee have recreated the face of an Anglo Scandinavian man whose skeleton was discovered on the site of an old church within the castle grounds. The skeleton was one of ten sets of remains discovered.

The work has been carried out by specialists in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee, one of the world’s leading centres for facial reconstruction.

Caroline Erolin, Lecturer in Forensic and Medical Art at CAHID, said, “His grave lay slightly under an important sarcophagus burial, which had resulted in excellent preservation of his skull making it the best candidate among the skeletons for facial reconstruction.”

Caroline and the CAHID team worked with field archaeology specialists FAS Heritage and Lincoln Castle to piece together the likely history of the man and how he would have looked.

“The burial of this man was one of eight burials which were interred inside a small stone church or chapel which predates Lincoln Castle and was previously unknown,” said Cecily Spall from FAS Heritage.

“Osteological analysis identified the skeleton as that of a man aged between 36 and 45 years old. He had suffered from a range of degenerative bone diseases suggesting an active and strenuous lifestyle. His body was buried in both a wooden coffin and cloth shroud.

“High-precision radiocarbon dating indicates he died between AD1035 to 1070, just before the Norman Conquest. Isotope analysis of his bones and teeth suggests that he originated in eastern England and could well have been born and bred in Lincolnshire.”

Other significant finds at Lincoln Castle include a limestone sarcophagus that once lay under the floor of the church, a rare discovery which attracted national media attention. 

There is also a Roman bronze eagle's wing from the late 1st century AD, possibly part of a grand imperial statue that stood in the nearby forum, and a stone scratched with the names of prisoners awaiting transportation to Australia.

CAHID, which is headed by Professor Sue Black and based at the University of Dundee, is one of the world’s foremost institutions for the study and application of human anatomy, forensic human identification, disaster victim identification and forensic and medical art. It was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education 2014. http://cahid.dundee.ac.uk/

http://www.dundee.ac.uk/news/2015/dundee-experts-recreate-face-of-saxon-man-at-lincoln-castle.php

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2015 at 07:35
King Philip II's tomb uncovered in Greece: Analysis confirms skeleton belongs to the father of Alexander the Great



Forty years after the bones of suspected royalty were found in Greece, experts have confirmed they belong to Alexander the Great's father, King Philip II.

Philip is known to have suffered a leg wound that crippled him three years before his assassination in 336BC.

Now researchers have found evidence of this injury, as well as signs of lameness, in the skeletal remains found in the tomb in Vergina, Greece.

They believe the female and infant found buried with the skeleton may also be the remains of King Philip II's wife Cleopatra and their newborn child.

King Philip II had Alexander the Great with his fourth wife Olympias.

He later met and fell in love with teenager Cleopatra Eurydice, the niece of his general Attalus and reportedly had two children - a boy called Caranus and a girl called Europa.

Europa was born just days before Philip's death.

Philip was king of the Greek kingdom of Macedon from 359BC until he was assassinated in 336BC by the captain of his bodyguards, Pausanias, in the town of Aegae, now known as Vergina.

Upon Philip's death, Alexander became king at the age of 20.

In 1977 and 1978 two male skeletons were excavated in what were later dubbed Royal Tombs I and II in Vergina, central Macedonia in northern Greece.

Tomb I also contained another adult, believed to be female, and a newborn skeleton.

Since the discovery, many experts had assumed Philip was the male skeleton in Tomb II, and it is commonly referred to as the 'Tomb of Philip'.

He would have been approximately 45 years old when buried and his leg bones showed a stiffened knee joint and signs of bone fusion - a hole through the knee growth indicating it suffered a piercing wound.

There was also evidence of trauma-related inflammation, and asymmetrical bone lesions that suggest wryneck - a side effect of head tilting linked to having an uneven gait.

These findings are consistent with what the researchers know about the king.

Using the same technique, the researchers concluded that the other remains belonged to an 18-year-old female, and a newborn infant of unknown gender.

Following Philip's death, Alexander the Great's mother Olympias is said to have murdered both Europa and Caranus so her son could take the throne.

Cleopatra then took her own life.

Hence, the authors reason that the remains of King Arrhidaeus and his wife Eurydice, as previously suggested, are in Tomb II and King Philip II, his wife Cleopatra, and their newborn child - likely Europa - are the occupants of Tomb I.

A third tomb found in the mound had been looted but a wall painting of the Rape of Persephone remained along with bones.

Professor Arsuaga said: 'The current view is that Philip II was buried in Tomb II. However, the male skeleton of Tomb II bears no lesions to his legs that would indicate lameness.

'The male individual in Tomb I displays a conspicuous case of knee ankylosis (stiffness) that is conclusive evidence of lameness. Right through the overgrowth of the knee there is a hole.

'There are no obvious signs that are characteristic of infection.

This evidence indicates the injury was likely caused by a severe penetrating wound to the knee, which resulted in an active inflammatory process that stopped years before death.'

He added this knee stiffness and the hole through it 'conclusively identifies Philip as the occupant of Tomb I'.

'Thus, a nearly 40-year-old mystery concerning the Royal Tombs of Vergina has finally been solved that puzzled historians, archaeologists and physical anthropologists', he continued.

The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 



 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3168479/King-Philip-II-s-tomb-uncovered-Greece-Analysis-confirms-skeleton-belongs-father-Alexander-Great.html#ixzz3gWdpDLP4 



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 21-Jul-2015 at 07:40
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jul-2015 at 07:16

'Oldest' Koran fragments found in Birmingham University

What may be the world's oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham.

Radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence.

The pages of the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognised in the university library for almost a century.

The British Library's expert on such manuscripts, Dr Muhammad Isa Waley, said this "exciting discovery" would make Muslims "rejoice".

The manuscript had been kept with a collection of other Middle Eastern books and documents, without being identified as one of the oldest fragments of the Koran in the world...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33436021


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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jul-2015 at 22:03

Lincoln’s hidden gems: Historic discoveries under East West Link Road

A snapshot into Lincoln’s past has been revealed by works to create a new £22 million East West Link Road through the city.

The demolition of properties such as the former Gadsby’s building on the corner of Tentercroft Street and High Street has provided a glimpse of history deep below the surface.

Artefacts dating as far back as Roman times have been laying beneath central city foundations for hundreds of years, and archaeological experts are helping to preserve the area’s roots.

Lincolnshire County Council have been working alongside Pre-Construct Archeological Services (PCAS) throughout the development.

The 1,080m2 site has been excavated to a depth of two metres within the footprint of the former Gadsby building.

Any finds which could be destroyed by leaving in place will be removed, cleaned and analysed before being archived and housed at The Collection in Lincoln.

PCAS director, Will Munford, said: “Due to its location, this site would have only been used intensively when the city was at its most prosperous – in the Roman, Medieval, Victorian periods.

“A Roman army arrived in Lincoln in 43AD and established a fortress. A ‘colonia’ settlement was then created with public buildings.

“Our excavation found evidence of a community with houses, workshops, a well, rubbish tips, outbuildings and a network of tracks and paths.

“We uncovered horse bones, broken pottery – including a bowl with a name scratched into it, lost coins, hair pins and other debris of daily life.

“Once the Romans left the city it fell into decline. Until Medieval times the area was prone to flooding and would have been wetland.

“This was alleviated with the construction of Sincil Dyke after which the area was busy again, with the establishment of a Carmelite Friary, churches and similar buildings to those that the Romans had once occupied.

“We found glimpses of this community –pottery, walls and a substantial amount of roof tiles from houses.”

Executive member for highways and transportation, Councillor Richard Davies, added: “The East-West Link road project has given us the opportunity to excavate an area of Lincoln which hasn’t been touched since Victorian times.

“It has become apparent that the Victorian’s did not place any importance on the preservation of history meaning that we have been able to dig up some amazing finds which has until now been hidden below two metres of soil and debris.”

http://thelincolnite.co.uk/2015/07/lincolns-hidden-gems-historic-discoveries-under-east-west-link-road/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 30-Jul-2015 at 22:16
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  Quote Aeoli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Aug-2015 at 08:10
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Sep-2015 at 20:48

Archaeologists study largest Native American massacre site in history

When Col. Patrick Connor led a group of U.S. cavalrymen in a daytime attack on the Shoshone in Idaho, up to 493 men, women and children were killed. The events of that bitter cold January morning in 1863 are referred to as the Bear River Massacre, and although it is considered by many to be the largest Native American massacre in U.S. history, few people know the story.

The number of tribe members who died in the massacre varies in reports. Accounts at the time the number reported was 210-300 dead, while the Salt Lake Tribune reported in 2008 that a Danish emigrant claimed in his autobiography that he counted the bodies twice and numbered 493. A plaque placed by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers at the site reports 250-300 were "killed or incapacitated."

For years, the exact location of the massacre was lost — but now, more than 150 years later, archaeologists are searching for the site, hoping to better document the event and educate the public about its significance.

“This was the largest single killing of Native Americans, but kids out here don’t know about it,” said Ken Cannon, the president of USU Archaeological Services. “Hopes are there will be better knowledge and interpretation to let people know that this very important event happened here.”

USU Archaeological Services was hired last year by the Idaho State Historical Society to do the first-ever survey of the area, which is located just north of Preston. The American Battlefield Protection Program gave a grant to Ken Reid, director of the State Historic Preservation Office in Idaho, to fund the project as part of Idaho Territory’s 150th anniversary in 2013.

The archaeologists are using a series of geophysical and excavation techniques to find the site, where they hope plaques will be erected to commemorate the historic battlefield.

Challenges and Promising Data

Fifteen decades have changed southeastern Idaho: farming, irrigation and natural processes have altered the land, even diverting the course of the Bear River and one of its tributaries, Battle Creek. Part of the archaeologists’ goal is to locate where the Bear River and Battle Creek originally flowed, then use the information to find key massacre sites, such as the Shoshone village, initial assault and fleeing of tribe members.

“One of the first things we’ve been trying to do is bring together all these various historical maps and documents to try to understand the landscape we see today,” Ken Cannon said.

In addition to historical document interpretation, the team used geophysical instruments to survey the land in search of possible historic items. Although most of what has been found so far is “farm trash,” some recent geophysical data has been promising, said Molly Cannon, who works at USU Archaeological Services.

A magnetic gradiometer, a tool that measures magnetic differences beneath the surface, revealed a heavy, black, square signature in the area.

“The size and shape of it is pretty suggestive of what a house floor might look like,” Molly Cannon said.

The archaeologists suspect the mark may indicate the location of the old Shoshone village. The village likely has the “biggest archaeological signature” of the Bear River Massacre sites, Molly Cannon said, which makes it a natural place to start the excavation.

“The area we are most interested in is trying to find out where the village was,” Ken Cannon said. “If we can identify where the village was, we can work back from that.”

Although the image suggests a house floor might be buried beneath the surface, the archaeologists can’t be certain until they excavate, she said.

“With geophysics all we’ve got are images. It just looks like shades of white and gray,” Molly Cannon said. “We can see patterns, but we won’t know what they are until we excavate them.”

Ground-penetrating radar and metal detection results also revealed the area as a point of interest, she said.

The dark print is the most “interesting” of the geophysical results, Molly Cannon said, and USU Archaeological Services plans to take a small group to the site to excavate in October.

Results of the excavation, Reid said, will be made public in November or December.

The excavation, however, will be modest, and supervised carefully by the Shoshone people.

A Watchful Shoshone Eye

Patty Timbimboo-Madsen, the cultural and natural resource manager of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, knows the story of the Bear River Massacre from her tribe’s oral tradition, and doesn’t like the idea of archaeologists telling her the history of her people.

“To me, the work of archaeologists is still a one-sided story,” she said. “They’re telling us who and what we are, and that kind of gets a little hurtful.”

Many commemorations of the massacre by non-Shoshone people have been insensitive to Shoshone losses. For years the incident was known as the Battle of Bear River, and it wasn’t identified as a massacre until a 1993 review by the National Park Service.

“They realized it shouldn’t have happened the way it did … the killing of children, elders, women,” Timbimboo-Madsen said.

Although incident’s name has changed, evidence of the mislabeling still exists. A monument erected in 1953 says the incident was caused by “an attack by the Indians upon peaceful inhabitants” and that the Shoshone were “guilty of hostile attacks on emigrants and settlers.”

“There is a monument erected by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers who, bless their hearts, did the best they could in the time that they put it up,” said Darren Parry, the vice chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. “It wasn’t the Battle of Bear River and it’s slanted toward the savage Indians and the brave soldiers that fought, so it doesn’t tell the whole story.”

The Shoshone are purchasing land in the area. If the location of the massacre is found, Parry hopes they can erect a monument that tells a more accurate version of the story.

Col. Patrick Connor was called upon when settlers felt they needed protection, Timbimboo-Madsen said, so he brought a group of volunteers from California to help.

“He told them, ‘I will come and protect the overland mail routes, I’ll keep my eye on the Mormons and I’ll deal with the Indians,’” she said.

During the time of the attack, the Shoshone were gathered for a ceremony to welcome in a new year and hope for an abundance of food sources, Timbimboo-Madsen said, and that’s when Connor’s army attacked with gunfire.

The Shoshone were armed and returned fire, but they seem to have run out of ammunition, Ken Cannon added. What began as a battle turned into a massacre.

“One of the tribal members foresaw the killing of our people and he kept telling the people we better go, we better go, they’re going to kill us,” Timbimboo-Madsen said. “A few other people survived, but that was it.”

The massacre was rarely talked about because it was overshadowed by events from the Civil War. Others chose not to discuss the massacre or its location because it was so devastating, she said.

“It was a place where no one really wanted to talk about because of what had happened there,” Timbimboo-Madsen said. “It was a sad, sad day, not only for the Indian people, but I think some people in the community who made friends with the Shoshone people were horrified by what had happened.”

Although sharing the story sometimes makes Timbimboo-Madsen feel sad, she believes it is important to educate others about the massacre.

“As a tribal member, you know, I go through periods of being really saddened by it,” she said, “but it’s my job as a descendant to tell their story.”

Despite any hesitance from tribe members, the tribal council voted unanimously to allow the archaeologists to excavate, provided at least one member of the tribe supervises at all times.

Out of respect for the deceased, no uncovered remains from the excavation will be shown to the public.

“A lot of people in the community have expressed a desire that any human remains found not be displayed, and we’re certainly sympathetic to that,” Reid said. “We’ve got laws to protect the graves on the state and federal level. We certainly do not want to excavate any bodies.”

The archaeologists are working to cooperate with and respect the Shoshone people in order to uncover the history of the Bear River Massacre.

“I respect what they do and what they’re trying to do, which is trying to tell a story about what happened,” Parry said. “We can all learn from it, and the more we know about it, the more we understand it.”

http://news.hjnews.com/allaccess/archaeologists-study-largest-native-american-massacre-site-in-history/article_5b7ba8e9-923b-5cc2-a664-2a536c43a9ce.html



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 08-Sep-2015 at 20:51
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote DanyelleRobinson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2015 at 18:30
My version appeared in a inner- and international weekly newspaper, Indian Country Today, on March 17, 1997. I enjoyed reading yours.
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2015 at 18:34
On that note the most important point....

''The archaeologists are working to cooperate with and respect the Shoshone people in order to uncover the history of the Bear River Massacre''


See also:

http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=5A99EACC-C709-746C-92D5469398A0502D
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote DanyelleRobinson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2015 at 18:43
Ask. com listed this as the second web reference in my search for "Bald's eyesalve Spokane, WA." My Indian friends would be the first to say there are no coincidences.

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  Quote DanyelleRobinson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2015 at 18:46
The push happening at the federal level to do this and to place the tribal monument was the sidebar.
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2015 at 18:52
Originally posted by DanyelleRobinson

Ask. com listed this as the second web reference in my search for "Bald's eyesalve Spokane, WA." My Indian friends would be the first to say there are no coincidences.



On occasions the old things still work.

See: http://www.futurity.org/mrsa-ancient-remedy-888122/
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2015 at 18:54
Originally posted by DanyelleRobinson

The push happening at the federal level to do this and to place the tribal monument was the sidebar.


Sidebar or other.... the monument was appropriate... and my brothers on the Anadarko would agree.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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