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    Posted: 10-Aug-2012 at 03:32
http://www.thelocal.se/42422/20120804/
Medieval silver treasure found on Gotland

Medieval silver treasure found on Gotland

Published: 4 Aug 12 12:53 CET

A silver treasure from the 12th century has been found on the Baltic island Gotland, where over 600 pieces of silver coins have been unearthed, according to reports in local media.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Aug-2012 at 04:18
Bulgarian capital shows Roman past to modern tourists

Alexandar Nevski Cathedral

Bulgaria hopes to draw tourists intrigued by ancient tombs, mosaics and sewage systems later this year, thanks to engineers excavating a new line for the Sofia metro who stumbled across a street of prime real estate - from the 4th century AD. Beneath modern Sofia lie the remains of Serdica, a lively, cosmopolitan city where Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, lived for a year while looking for a new capital for his empire.

City officials plan to put an array of Roman remains on display in the next month, from bath houses to mosaics and tombs, and hope this will attract foreign tourists and help revive the Balkan nation's struggling economy.

Some 750,000 foreign tourists a year visit Sofia, and the opening of the new Roman attractions should increase this number, says Rumen Draganov, head of Sofia's Institute for Tourism Analysis and Assessment.

"We expect about 320,000 tourists to visit the new sights in the first year alone," he said. Bulgaria, the poorest member of the European Union, earns some 1.7 billion euros, 5 percent of its gross domestic product, from the 8.5 million tourists a year who flock to its Black Sea and mountain ski resorts.

Until recently archaeologists wrongly regarded countries such as Greece, Italy and Turkey as the only classical areas worthy of study, said Philip Kiernan, Professor in Roman Archaeology of U.S. Buffalo University.

"Serdica was a major metropolis and contains the physical remains of Thracian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures - so it should not be any less significant," he said.

"It's time to stop thinking about cities like Serdica as being peripheral to the classical world, and take them for the important sites that they really are".

'Constantine lived here'

Emperor Constantine lived in Serdica for over a year while looking for a new capital in 316 AD as he could no longer effectively control his empire from Rome, a choice Kiernan said was based on Serdica's geographical position.

"From there he could react fast to problems on the border as it was near the Danube frontier but also close to Asia Minor".

Little was known about his stay in the provincial city until a whole street of 4th-5th century AD houses were found during excavations for a new Sofia metro line.

"The constructions are mainly from the time when Serdica was the capital of the Roman province Inner Dacia - it was then that the city was at its largest and most flourishing," said archaeologist Mario Ivanov.

A museum due for completion this summer will display the mosaics, early sewage systems and private bath houses of the ancient Romans who lived there, giving a flavor of the life of a provincial Roman nobleman.

"We found floor mosaics containing symbolic Roman vine leaves, but also a wheel of fortune and the words 'Felix' inscribed, which were most likely to bring good fortune to the inhabitants," said Ivanov, who heads the excavation team.

Bulgaria hopes the remains of ancient Serdica will be one of the capital's biggest attractions, and aims to link the ancient Roman finds with remains from the medieval and Renaissance periods over an area of around 19,000 square meters.

Cafes and bookshops will be incorporated into the ancient complex, and visitors will also be able to explore the ruins through a marked path through the historic site.

"We hope that this venture will become the emblem of our capital," said Hristo Ganchev, head of Cultural Heritage, who is in charge of the 16 million lev EU-backed project.

Ancient Christian Tombs

Work is also forging ahead on an underground museum in one of the oldest functioning churches in Europe, which is due to open in September.

The Basilica of St Sophia dates back to the 5th century. Repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, it served as a mosque during the Ottoman rule and is a remarkable mixture of Byzantine architecture, Islamic arches and Orthodox Christian icons.

Beneath the red-brick building, archaeologists found one of the first Christian catacombs. A well-preserved necropolis from the 4th century AD, containing around 100 tombs, will soon be ready for visitors.

Glass screens on the floor of the church will allow a view of the tombs from above, and narrow underground passages will allow visitors to explore the lighted crypts of the necropolis.

"The burial ground contains rich wall paintings made up of vine leaves, Maltese crosses and other early Christian symbols," said Yunian Meshekov, lead archaeologist of the excavations under the St Sophia Church.

Sofia has thousands of ancient sarcophagi scattered beneath the city centre, and the tombs discovered below the church are thought to hold the remains of early Christian dignitaries.

"They are most likely to be of wealthy citizens of Serdica who were related either to the new religion or to the actual church and there is a possibility that the remains of an early bishop are there," says Meshekov.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/Chunk-HT-UI-TravelSectionPage-TravelStories/Bulgarian-capital-shows-Roman-past-to-modern-tourists/Article1-910959.aspx




Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 10-Aug-2012 at 04:23
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Aug-2012 at 04:24
"World's biggest wooden bridge" found in NW China

Chinese archaeologists said they believe a 2,000-year-old wooden bridge unearthed in Shaanxi province, home of the Terracotta Army, could have been the world's biggest at that time.

The bridge, whose pier remnants were found in a suburb of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi, is estimated to have been 300 meters long and 20 meters wide, said Li Yufang, a researcher at the China Academy of Social Sciences.

Li said the bridge could date back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), when it spanned the Wei River, the largest tributary of the Yellow River, to link two imperial palaces in the ancient capital of Xianyang.

The Qin Dynasty was the among the most powerful in early Chinese history, which saw the completion of many major projects, including the Great Wall and the Mausoleum of the first Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Its capital was near the modern-day city of Xi'an.

The bridge site was first discovered in April, when sand-digging farmers reported finding huge wooden piles in their farms.

An initial probe revealed the longest wooden pile to be 9 meters long, and one pier measured 18.5-meter in width. Archaeologists also found many chunks of stone that had been used to strengthen the wooden piers.

"It's the first time a wooden bridge of this size and age has been found, and it is of great value to the study of ancient bridge architecture and transportation," Li said.

Researchers also found a coeval, but smaller "twin bridge" about 200 meters west of the large bridge. The two bridges continued to operate in the later Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), with the bigger one serving as an artery transportation line and fortress in the capital of Chang'an.

http://www.kaogu.cn/en/detail.asp?ProductID=3570



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 10-Aug-2012 at 04:27
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 03:15

New Pyramid Found With Vivid Murals, Stacked Tombs


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/08/pictures/120809-pyramid-zapotec-murals-science-mexico-tombs/
"...One of three stacked tombs newly discovered within a pyramid, this vividly painted chamber is unique among ancient Zapotec funerary architecture, Mexican archaeologists announced in late July.

Dating from about A.D. 650 to 850, the funerary complex was part of an elite neighborhood of the Zapotec, an agrarian culture that once thrived  throughout what's now the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca (map).

"Painted motifs in funerary contexts are quite usual in this culture," excavation director Nelly Robles García said. "But at other sites they show important people: priests, warriors, and rulers—most likely the deceased."

No humans appear here. Instead, the designs seem to refer to the sacred ritual ball game played by many pre-Hispanic peoples in Mesoamerica. A bit like soccer combined with basketball, the game involved hitting a hard rubber ball around a court, and sometimes ended in sacrificial death for the losers...

Tomb picture - murals in painted burial chamber in Mexico Zapotec pyramid


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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 17:25

Soldiers injured in Afghanistan make surprise find on UK archaeology dig


Remains of an Anglo Saxon warrior, buried with his spear and a bronze-bound drinking cup, after he was was discovered by modern soldiers on a rehabilitation programme. Photograph: Ministry of Defence

An excavation on Salisbury plain has proved an unusually emotional experience for the volunteer archaeologists, as soldiers recovering from injuries received in Afghanistan have made a surprise discovery: the remains of warriors who died more than 1,400 years ago.

Led by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the Army, partners from Wessex Archaeology were astonished by the haul. Operation Nightingale is an award-winning project to give soldiers new skills and interests as part of their rehabilitation. The excavation was expected to produce modest results after earlier digs had turned up empty army ration packs and spent ammunition. Instead, they revealed their ancient counterparts, including an Anglo Saxon soldier buried with his spear and what must have been a treasured possession, a small wooden drinking cup decorated with bronze bands.

Mike Kelly, from 1 Rifles, found a skeleton with its head covered by a shield. He believes the position was a sign of respect to a fallen warrior. "I have been to war myself and I can imagine what the soldier would have felt as he went into battle. Knowing that as a modern-day warrior I have unearthed the remains of another fills me with an overwhelming sense of respect."

Other finds at Barrow Clump, on Salisbury Plain – which is speckled with thousands of ancient monuments around Stonehenge – included shield bosses, spear heads, a Roman brooch, hundreds of amber and glass beads, and a silver ring, alongside the remains of 27 individuals.

The site is believed be a cemetery, created by the Anglo Saxons within an already ancient burial monument, a Bronze Age barrow dating from 2,000BC. Excavation of the area was deemed essential because it was being damaged by burrowing badgers, leaving small bones and artefacts scattered on the surface.

The soldiers were so fascinated by the project that eight are now going on to study archaeology at Leicester University.

David Dawson, director of the Wiltshire Heritage museum in Devizes, described the finds as "wonderful and amazing". He plans to include many of the discoveries in a new permanent Anglo Saxon gallery, but, in the meantime, the highlights will be placed in a temporary display.

Rowan Kendrick, of 5 Rifles, said history was his favourite subject at school. "I can't believe that when I visit the Wiltshire Heritage museum, I will be looking at artefacts that I have found."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/aug/06/soldiers-archaeology-somerset-discovery-afghanistan



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 11-Aug-2012 at 17:29
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 17:37

Severed Hands Discovered in Ancient Egypt Palace


"...A team of archaeologists excavating a palace in the ancient city of Avaris, in Egypt,  has made a gruesome discovery. 

The archaeologists have unearthed the skeletons of 16 human hands buried in four pits. Two of the pits, located in front of what is believed to be a throne room, hold one hand each. Two other pits, constructed at a slightly later time in an outer space of the palace, contain the 14 remaining hands.

They are all right hands; there are no lefts.

"Most of the hands are quite large and some of them are very large," Manfred Bietak, project and field director of the excavations, told LiveScience.

The finds, made in the Nile Delta northeast of Cairo, date back about 3,600 years to a time when the Hyksos, a people believed to be originally from northern Canaan, controlled part of Egypt and made their capital at Avaris  a location known today as Tell el-Daba. At the time the hands were buried, the palace was being used by one of the Hyksos rulers, King Khayan.  [See Photos of the Buried Hands]

The right hand

The hands appear to be the first physical evidence of a practice attested to in ancient Egyptian writing and art, in which a soldier would present the cut-off right hand of an enemy in exchange for gold, Bietak explains in the most recent edition of the periodical Egyptian Archaeology....

http://news.yahoo.com/severed-hands-discovered-ancient-egypt-palace-170425054.html


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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 17:40

Earliest Use of Mexican Turkeys by Ancient Maya

ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2012) — A new University of Florida study shows the turkey, one of the most widely consumed birds worldwide, was domesticated more than 1,000 years earlier than previously believed.


"...Researchers say discovery of the bones from an ancient Mayan archaeological site in Guatemala provides evidence of domestication, usually a significant mark of civilization, and the earliest evidence of the Mexican turkey in the Maya world. The study appears online in PLoS ONE.

The discovery of the turkey bones is significant because the Maya did not use a lot of domesticated animals. While they cultivated domesticated plants, most of their animal protein came mostly from wild resources, said lead author Erin Thornton, a research associate at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus and Trent University Archaeological Research Centre...."http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120809090706.htm

"We might have gotten the timing of the introduction of this species to the ancient Maya wrong by a significant chunk of time," Thornton said. "The species originates from central Mexico, outside the Maya cultural area. This is the species the Europeans brought back with them to Europe -- all domestic turkeys originated from Mexico.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 17:47

Mexican experts find hundreds of bones piled around skeleton in unprecedented Aztec burial


Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) work on human bones found at the Templo Mayor in the heart of Mexico City July 16, 2012. Archaeologists found about 1,700 bones including ten skulls as well as a sacred Aztec tree trunk at the temple. The 500 year-old remains were uncovered last month at the Aztec empire's main Templo Mayor, near Zocalo square.

Mexican archaeologists say they have found an unprecedented human burial in which the skeleton of a young woman is surrounded by piles of 1,789 human bones in Mexico City’s Templo Mayor.

Researchers found the burial about five meters (15 feet) below the surface, next to the remains of what may have been a “sacred tree” at one edge of the plaza, the most sacred site of the Aztec capital.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History said the find was the first of its kind, noting the Aztecs were not known to use mass sacrifice or the reburial of bones as the customary ways to accompany the interment of a member of the ruling class.

University of Florida archaeologist Susan Gillespie, who was not involved in the project, called the find “unprecedented for the Aztec culture.”

She said Tuesday that when the Mayas interred sacrifice victims with royal burials, they were usually found as complete bodies, not jumbles of different bone types as in this case. And, except for special circumstances, the Aztecs, unlike other pre-Hispanic cultures, usually cremated members of the elite during their rule from 1325 to the Spanish conquest in 1521.........

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/mexican-experts-find-hundreds-of-bones-piled-around-skeleton-in-unprecedented-aztec-burial/2012/08/07/a72a24b4-e0d7-11e1-8d48-2b1243f34c85_story.html



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 11-Aug-2012 at 17:51
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 18:54

Unique 1,300 year old olive oil factory unearthed in Tel Aviv suburb


A 1,300 year old olive press found near Hod Hasharon. 

An exceptional 1,300-year-old olive oil factory was unearthed Tuesday during excavations in the Tel Aviv suburb of Hod Hasharon. The Israel Antiquities Authority’s find, dated to the late Byzantine or early Muslim period, narrowly escaped being paved over by a planned roadway.

Excavators found a pressing floor for olives, a piping system, trenches, and cisterns that drained and stored the fresh olive oil. Stone weights used for pressing sacks of olives were found beside the ruins. By the archaeologists’ estimations, the site was an industrial concern and not private.

Archaeologist Amit Ram with the Israel Antiquities Authority told Maariv that the olive press was carved out of older building stones that were sunk into the earth.

The Hod Hasharon olive press is an exceptional find because most olive presses are typically hewn out of the living rock already in the place, he said. In this case, however, the soft, red earth demanded that a solid foundation be constructed, so mason-worked blocks were imported to build the press.

City authorities were investigating the possibility of diverting the planned roadway to make room for a small archaeological park centered around the site.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/archaeologist-unearth-unique-1300-year-old-olive-oil-factory-outside-tel-aviv/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 11-Aug-2012 at 18:58
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Aug-2012 at 03:22

Roman mosaic found during Toft Green sewer work


ENGINEERS repairing a York sewer found more than they bargained for when they uncovered a Roman mosaic floor.

A 120-metre section of damaged Victorian sewer in Toft Green was in the process of being replaced when workers spotted the mosaic tiles.

Work immediately stopped and a team of archaeologists stepped in to carry out a detailed study of the site, confirming that engineers had stumbled upon a Roman mosaic floor, dating back to the 3rd to 4th Centuries AD.

After two weeks of excavations the floor has been painstakingly removed.

ichard Fraser, archaeologist at Northern Archaeological Associates (NAA), said: “Once the tell-tale signs of the Roman tiles began to appear, Yorkshire Water stopped work so that we could fully excavate the site and record the remains.

“It’s a very interesting site, helping us to understand the extent of Roman activity in the area. Part of a mosaic showing a bull with a fish tail was discovered in this area of Toft Green during construction work in the 19th century.

“This newly discovered section may be part of the same mosaic and the excavation will provide important new information about the earlier find, which is now in the Yorkshire Museum.

“It had been thought that the Victorian sewer had largely removed the earlier Roman remains here, but the work has demonstrated that some sections were tunnelled and pockets of archaeology survive above these sections.”

John Oxley,City of York Council archaeologist, said: “It’s not surprising that there has been a find like this due to the rich history this city is steeped in. I am very pleased that workmen had the foresight to stop work and that everyone has worked together to ensure the safe removal of the floor.”

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/9869127.Sewer_engineers_find_Roman_mosaic/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 12-Aug-2012 at 03:26
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Aug-2012 at 03:48

Archaeologists claim objects are earliest 'matches'


"...Researchers from Israel say that mysterious clay and stone artefacts from Neolithic times could be the earliest known "matches".

Although the cylindrical objects have been known about for some time, they had previously been interpreted as "cultic" phallic symbols.

The researchers' new interpretation means these could be the earliest evidence of how fires were ignited.

The research was published in the open access journal Plos One.The journal reports that the artefacts are almost 8,000 years old.

Fire starters

Although evidence of "pyrotechnology" in Eurasia is known from three quarters of a million years ago, this evidence usually takes the form of remnants of fire itself....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19168047

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Aug-2012 at 13:23

Ruins in Iraq could be Hira


Archaeologists stand next to ruins that scholars think may be from the ancient city of Hira.

A hundred yards or so from taxiing airliners, Iraqi archaeologist Ali al-Fatli is showing a visitor around the delicately carved remains of a church that may date back some 1,700 years to early Christianity.

The church, a monastery and other surrounding ruins have emerged from the sand over the past five years with the expansion of the airport serving the city of Najaf, and have excited scholars who think this may be Hira, a famous Arab Christian center.

"This is the oldest sign of Christianity in Iraq," said al-Fatli, pointing to the ancient tablets with designs of grapes that litter the sand next to intricately carved monastery walls.

The site's discovery in 2007 and its subsequent neglect are symbolic of a Christianity that has long enriched this country, and is now in decline as hundreds of thousands have fled the violence that followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

At the same time, the circumstances of the find reflect a renaissance for Najaf, a holy Shiite Muslim city. The airport expansion that revealed the ruins was needed because Najaf attracts multitudes of pilgrims.

The ruins left in the baking heat are within the airport perimeter and relatively safe from vandals and looters. The site's stone crosses and larger artifacts have been moved to the National Museum in Baghdad.

For al-Fatli, it's all very tantalizing. "I know if we were to work more, we will find more and similar churches," he said.

But there is no money to mount a proper dig, he laments. In a country where bombings constantly kill people and much of the populace lacks reliable electricity or clean water, archaeological preservation is a low priority.

Today, the Christian portion of Iraq's population of 31 million has fallen from 1.4 million to about 400,000, according to U.S. State Department data.

Caught in the sectarian violence of 2005 to 2008, massacred by Muslim militias as heretics, "we were in the worst of times," says Younadam Kanna, a Christian member of Iraq's parliament. He says the exodus has slowed but the future for Christians remains uncertain.

Still, he says, for those who remain, the discoveries at Hira provide some hope.

"It shows we can live together in peace with Muslims - because we did for centuries before," he says. "When Islam first came to Iraq, the Christians here welcomed them."

Legend traces Christianity in Iraq to Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles who fanned out to spread Christ's word after the Crucifixion.......

http://www.sfgate.com/world/article/Ruins-in-Iraq-could-be-Hira-3782003.php




Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 13-Aug-2012 at 13:27
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Aug-2012 at 01:09

Climate change shaped ancient burial rituals


A 4,500-year-old Chinchorro mummy. The body has been painted with red ochre and wears a long human-hair wig.

A relatively wet climatic period may have triggered the development 7000 years ago of complex culture in hunter-gatherer communities in the Atacama Desert, including the earliest known examples of ritual mummification.

Bands of hunter-gatherers lived along the Atacama coastline from 11000 BC to 500 BC, but the Chinchorro began mummifying their dead only around 5000 BC. An early Archaic burial (dated 9000-8000 BC) that uses similar funerary symbols to the later mummy burials suggests that mummification was a local development, rather than being introduced from elsewhere. Now, researchers posit that cultural innovations, including the cult of mummification, were spurred by environmental change1.

Regional climate records for the time, based on the periodic appearance of certain plants in the rock records, indicate that there was a period of greater rainfall across the Andes above the Atacama between 5800 BC and 4700 BC, which would have charged groundwater reserves in the usually dry desert of northern Chile and southern Peru. Springs would have begun discharging water and creeks would have filled.......

http://www.nature.com/news/climate-change-shaped-ancient-burial-rituals-1.11161



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 14-Aug-2012 at 01:12
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Aug-2012 at 01:13

PREHISTORIC SHARK SPECIES FOUND IN ARIZONA


This tooth belonged to a preshistoric shark species found in Arizona -- Kaibabvenator swiftae.

THE GIST
  • During the Middle Permian era 270 million years ago, Arizona was home to a diverse shark population.
  • Numerous new sharks from that period have been discovered, with three now described in detail.
  • The three sharks ranged from small to large, but all were toothy and ate other sharks.
  • The remains of several new toothy shark species, with at least three dating to 270 million years ago, have been unearthed in Arizona, according to a new study.The remains of several new toothy shark species, with at least three dating to 270 million years ago, have been unearthed in Arizona, according to a new study.

    The research, published in the latest issue of Historical Biology, suggests that Arizona was home to the most diverse collection of sharks in the world during the pre-dinosaur Middle Permian era. The researchers have discovered many other new shark species from the area, with papers in the works to document them.

    For now, lead author John-Paul Hodnett described the three mentioned in the latest study:

    Nanoskalme natans ("swimming dwarf blade") was a small (about 3.2-foot- long) shark with blade-like cutting teeth. It was probably a scavenger and predator on small fish.

    Neosaivodus flagstaffensis ("new Saivodus from Flagstaff") was a medium-sized shark (about 6.6 feet) with gripping teeth that might have been a specialist on nautiloids as a juvenile, but a more generalist feeder as an adult.

    Kaibabvenator swiftae ("Swift's Kaibab hunter") was a large (around 19.7 feet ) shark with big serrated cutting teeth. It was presumably an active apex predator on large prey including other sharks, similar to the modern great white shark.

    Hodnett, a researcher in the Museum of Northern Arizona's Geology and Paleontology Department, analyzed the shark remains with colleagues David Elliott, Tom Olson and James Wittke. The sharks were unearthed at what is known as the Kaibab Formation of northern Arizona......

http://news.discovery.com/animals/prehistoric-shark-species-arizona-120813.html?dtc=nws-hp-ticker-arizshark



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 14-Aug-2012 at 01:20
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Aug-2012 at 02:35

Monastery where Christian saint was martyred is uncovered on Eigg


Students and local people have uncovered what are thought to be remains of St Donnans monastery

An ARCHAEOLOGICAL dig on a Scottish island has unearthed the remains of what is thought to be a monastery founded by one of the country’s first Christian saints.

St Donnan brought Christianity to many places in the West Highlands in the seventh century before settling on Eigg.

According to local folklore, he became a martyr after he was killed by Norsemen, along with 50 monks, while giving Mass on Easter Sunday in the year 617.

Eigg History Society won £17,500 of Heritage Lottery funding to carry out an archaeological excavation on the island in an effort to locate St Donnan’s monastery.

The dig at Kildonnan Graveyard on the south-east side of the island has now uncovered evidence which experts believe shows it is the exact site.

A report by the history society states: “The project succeeded in identifying the likely oval enclosure and ditch of Donnan’s original seventh century monastic settlement.”

Pictish pottery from the same period was also found in the graveyard.

Emeritus Professor John Hunter, a forensic archaeologist based at the University of Birmingham, has been leading the excavation thanks to his fascination with the story of St Donnan.

He said: “I think it is fair to say that the findings surpassed all our expectations.

“We now know that this part of the island was a special place for worship and burial throughout time, dating back some 4,000 years.

“Donnan died in 617AD and monasteries of that time had circular or sub-circular walls which separate the world of God on the inside from the world outside.

“We found remains of a sub-circular enclosure and remains of seventh century activity, which would fit in with Donnan’s time.

“Donnan was fairly anonymous until he was martyred there, and there is a some special folklore there and his story has built itself into folk legend.”

Islander Karen Helliwell, one of many locals participating in the dig, said: “The building that was found pre-dates the medieval one on the site and it could be Donnan’s. It is hoped, subject to funding, to do more investigations in the future.”

As well as local volunteers, including schoolchildren, the month-long excavation was undertaken with the help of students from Glasgow, Birmingham and Cranfield universities.

Donnan is said to have gone to Iona first to ask St Columba, a leading figure in evangelising the Picts to Christianity, to be his “annam cara” – his “soul friend”. But St Columba declined, claiming to see “the red cloak of martyrdom around him” and telling Donnan he was destined for sainthood.

He evangelised Eigg after travelling throughout what was then north-west Pictland and finally established a “muinntir” – a small monastic community on the fertile sloping land near Poll nam Partan on the south-east side of Eigg.

But, as foretold by Columba, Donnan and 50 monks were killed in 617 by Norsemen, their deaths being recorded in the Irish Annals.

The current Catholic church on Eigg – called St Donnan’s – is just a few miles away.

http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/scotland/monastery-where-christian-saint-was-martyred-is-uncovered-on-eigg-1-2465868



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 14-Aug-2012 at 02:39
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Archaeologists Set to Find Largest Coin Treasure in Bulgaria


Top archaeologist, Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov, known as the Bulgarian Indiana Jones, present the coins recently discovered at Perperikon.

Bulgarian archaeologists expect to find at the holy rock city of Perperikon the largest ever medieval coin treasure in the country.

The announcement was made by leading Bulgarian archaeologist, Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov, after his team recently found a total 11 gold and 6 silver coins.

The gold coins are from the 14th century while the silver ones are from the end of the 13th century.

The coins have been found dispersed in what has been used as a toilet hole with a 2-meter diameter, leading the experts to believe that they were hidden and buried during the Ottoman invasion of the area. Such treasures were usually placed in clay pots or similar vessels and then concealed, while for the latest find it is believed that the coins were put in some sort of a purse, which has decomposed over the years.

The coins were found in the central town of Perperikon, near the Citadel, in the area believed to have been the residence of the very wealthy bishops.

Ovcharov says the excavations there are continuing with expectations to discover more than 50 other gold coins.

The latest finds also include an intricate silver frame of a still-undated icon.

There is ongoing research at the two churches in the southeast area of the Acropolis while two tombs, most likely bishop ones, will be opened next week.

Ovcharov informs that the site enjoys lasting strong interest from local and foreign visitors with an increased flow of those from neighboring Romania and Turkey.

The unique Ancient Thracian city of Perperikon was first discovered in 1979 in the Eastern Rhodoppe Mountains. It is thought that the famous sanctuary and oracular shrine dedicated to Dionysus of the Bessi tribe was situated there. The ancient rock city contains remains from all archaeological periods.

Ovcharov also discovered nearby an ancient Thracian surface tomb in the village ofTatul, containing a sanctuary linked with the cult of Orpheus.

Ovcharov is nicknamed the "Bulgarian Indiana Jones" in reference to the popular character played by actor Harrison Ford.

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=142282



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 14-Aug-2012 at 03:43
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Aug-2012 at 17:45
Ancient Seal May Add Substance to the Legend of Samson
http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=17073
"...Tel Aviv University researchers recently uncovered a seal, measuring 15 millimetres (about a half-inch) in diameter, which depicts a human figure next to a lion at the archaeological site of Beth Shemesh, located between the Biblical cities of Zorah and Eshtaol, where Samson was born, flourished, and finally buried, according to the book of Judges. The scene engraved on the seal, the time period, and the location of the discovery all point to a probable reference to the story of Samson, the legendary heroic figure whose adventures famously included a victory in hand-to-paw combat with a lion.

While the seal does not reveal when the stories about Samson were originally written, or clarify whether Samson was a historical or legendary figure, the finding does help to "anchor the story in an archaeological setting," says Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations. Prof. Bunimovitz co-directs the Beth Shemesh dig along with Dr. Zvi Lederman...



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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2012 at 04:16


MACABRE FINDS IN THE BOG AT ALKEN ENGE


This is the first skull from the 2012 dig with a mortal wound caused by a spear or an arrow.

A FRACTURED SKULL AND A THIGH BONE HACKED IN HALF — FINDS OF DAMAGED HUMAN BONES ALONG WITH AXES, SPEARS, CLUBS AND SHIELDS CONFIRM THAT THE BOG AT ALKEN ENGE WAS THE SITE OF VIOLENT CONFLICT.

‘It’s clear that this must have been a quite far-reaching and dramatic event that must have had profound effect on the society of the time,’ explains Project Manager Mads Kähler Holst, professor of archaeology at Aarhus University.

For almost two months now, Dr Holst and a team of fifteen archaeologists and geologists have been working to excavate the remains of a large army that was sacrificed at the site around the time of the birth of Christ. The skeletal remains of hundreds of warriors lie buried in the Alken Enge wetlands near Lake Mossø in East Jutland, Denmark.

The remains will be exhumed from the excavation site over the coming days. Then an international team of researchers will attempt to discover who these warriors were and where they came from by performing detailed analyses of the remains.

‘The dig has produced a large quantity of skeletal remains, and we believe that they will give us the answers to some of our questions about what kind of events led up to the army ending up here,’ explains Dr Holst.

FORTY HECTARES OF REMAINS

The archaeological investigation of the site is nearing its conclusion for this year. But there are many indications that the find is much larger than the area archaeologists have excavated thus far.

‘We’ve done small test digs at different places in the 40 hectare Alken Enge wetlands area, and new finds keep emerging,’ says Field Director Ejvind Hertz of Scanderborg Museum, who is directing the dig.

In fact, the find is so massive that researchers aren’t counting on being able to excavate all of it. Instead, they will focus on recreating the general outlines of the events that took place at the site by performing smaller digs at different spots across the bog and reconstructing what the landscape might have looked like at the time of the birth of Christ.......

http://www.heritagedaily.com/2012/08/macabre-finds-in-the-bog-at-alken-enge/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 15-Aug-2012 at 04:19
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Archaeologists Find Thracian Town on Bulgarian Sea Coast


The first ever archaeology excavations in the southern Black Sea town of Tsarevo are already yielding precious finds.

Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered a Thracian settlement during the first ever excavations in the town of Tsarevo on the southern Black Sea coast.

The team is led by Milen Nikolov, an archaeologist from the Regional History Museum in the Black Sea city of Burgas.

The settlement is very close in location to the town church "Uspenie Bogorodichno." The find proves that Tsarevo and nearby areas have a history more ancient that what was believed until now.

During the excavations, the archaeologists have found remnants showing that as early as the 4th – 5th century BC Thracians have built a town that existed until the 1st century AC.

Nikolov explains the discovery is a 2 500-year history rewind, saying the finds further include a four-wick lamp, tomb gifts, and a number of vessels.

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=142284

Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 15-Aug-2012 at 04:24
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2012 at 04:29

17th century shipwreck to be freeze-dried, rebuilt


In this Aug. 8, 2012, photo ice collects on condensers inside a giant freeze dryer at the Texas A&M University Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation in Bryan, Texas. The freeze-dryer is being used to remove moisture from the wreckage of a 17th-century French ship used by famed explorer La Salle and sank more than 300 years ago off the Texas coast. The ice comes from water removed from the timber of the disassembled shipwreck that's being subjected to months of controlled environment under temperatures reaching 60 below zero. The freeze-dried wood will be used in reconstruction of the nearly 60-foot ship at a state history museum in Austin.

More than three centuries ago, a French explorer's ship sank in the Gulf of Mexico, taking with it France's hopes of colonizing a vast piece of the New World — modern-day Texas.

Like La Salle in 1685, researchers at Texas A&M University are in uncharted waters as they try to reconstruct his vessel with a gigantic freeze-dryer, the first undertaking of its size.

By placing the ship — La Belle — in a constant environment of up to 60 degrees below zero, more than 300 years of moisture will be safely removed from hundreds of European oak and pine timbers and planks. The freeze-dryer, located at the old Bryan Air Force base several miles northwest of College Station, is 40 feet long and 8 feet wide — the biggest such machine on the continent devoted to archaeology.

Researchers will then rebuild the 54 ½-foot vessel, which will become the centerpiece of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

From a historical perspective, it's "an icon of a small event that dramatically changed the course of Texas history," said Jim Bruseth, who led the Texas Historical Commission effort to recover the remains.

The supply ship was built in 1684 and sank two years later in a storm on Matagorda Bay, about midway between Galveston and Corpus Christi.

"When La Belle sank, that doomed La Salle's colony and opened up the door for Spain to come in and occupy Texas," Bruseth said. "People can see firsthand how history can turn on a dime."

"It's an important piece in ship architecture," said Peter Fix, conservator at the school's Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation. Researchers have determined that unlike earlier vessels, the frames on La Belle were marked specifically by the French craftsmen so the wood comprising the hull could follow the complex curve of the ship.

"This was the age of Enlightenment when math was coming into more play," Fix said.

After a more than decade-long hunt, Texas Historical Commission archaeologists found it in 1995 in 12 feet of murky water. Then began the tedious recovery that involved constructing a dam around the site.

After the water was pumped out, teams dug through up to 6 feet of mud in the Gulf of Mexico seabed to retrieve the nearly intact ship and some 700,000 items, from swords, cannons and ammunition to beads and mirrors intended for trade. Archaeologists also found one skeleton, believed to be a crew member or settler among the some 40 people aboard.

The ship was then transferred to the Texas A&M lab, where the water-logged wood has been immersed in a chemical solution to keep it solid.

Initially, the ship was being reassembled in a two-stage chemical process, but as oil prices rose, so did the cost of the key chemical, polyethylene glycol. They decided the freeze-dry process was more economical and would shorten the preservation timeframe. So, the hull was disassembled and the wood was categorized and digitally scanned so that they could make molds of its original shape.

A New York-based firm that specializes in scientific equipment built the submarine-like freeze dryer.

"If we were to take any piece of wood, say it's been in the water for 300 years, and pull it out, it would shrink, crack, warp within a couple of days," Fix said. "The physical stress on wood would essentially cause it to fall apart and crumble and powder into pieces."

But scientists know that at the right temperature and pressure, water can go from being solid to gas and skip the liquid phase.

"It's a slow, controlled process and depending on the thickness of material, over four to six or seven months, we know that timber has lost most of its bound water and it's safe to bring out," Fix said, noting that they're experimenting with smaller pieces to "make sure nothing goes wrong."

A similar preservation using freeze-dryer technology is planned for a medieval ship discovered in 2002 in Newport, South Wales. That vessel is about twice the length of La Belle.

The La Belle rebuilding will start late next year at the Bullock Museum.

"I can't wait," said Bruseth, who is serving as guest curator for the exhibit. "It's just fantastic to see this project reach the point where we'll actually be reassembling the ship as a permanent installation."

Rene-Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle was the first European to travel the Mississippi River south to the Gulf, claiming all the land along the Mississippi and its tributaries for France in 1682. In 1685, he sailed from France with more than 300 colonists aboard four ships, La Belle among them, to establish a settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi.

Maps of the time show he believed the river was closer to Mexico, and his expedition missed the Mississippi by hundreds of miles.

"They were guessing," Bruseth said.

His team established a colony near Matagorda Bay, but it was ravaged by disease, rattlesnakes and Indians. Three years later, La Salle led a handful of survivors inland in search of the Mississippi. The explorer didn't make it out of Texas; he was murdered by his own men.

http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/17th-century-shipwreck-to-be-freeze-dried-rebuilt-3788936.php



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 15-Aug-2012 at 04:33
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