Audio News for June 11th to June 17th, 2001.
Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Claire Britton-Warren and this is the news archaeological excavations around the world from June 4th through June 10th, 2001.
On Monday, June 11th , in the Czech Republic at a commercial construction site, archaeologists found the remains of an ancient house and graveyard dating back to 4200 BC. Experts say that diggers discovered a field of graves containing skeletons from early part of the Bronze Age and objects from later in that era. The most peculiar part of the find was a pit filled with remains that looked to be the victims of an execution or sacrifice ritual. The dig will continue side by side with the construction.
An infectious disease specialist has a new theory on the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, suggesting the cause was bad pork. The expert points to evidence of a letter, written to Mozart’s wife and that Mozart thought he was being poisoned. Mozart’s symptoms matched those of an unspecified disease going around Vienna at the time. Trichinosis was not identified until the 1800’s and may have been the cause of the mysterious ailment. Confirmation will be difficult, at best, as Mozart’s grave was dug up 7 years after his death for re-use, and his remains dispersed.
Tuesday, June 12th, Australian archaeologist announced the discovery of six unknown tombs in Cairo. The tombs, predating the pyramids, contained the skeletons of two women. One of the skeletons is thought to be a mature wealthy matron of Memphis and the other a young girl between 16 and 18 years old. Tombs of such an early date are rare and these are from the very beginning of the Age of the Pharaohs. The team is due to return to the site in November.
Wednesday, June 13th, in China’s northern province of Hebei three ancient tombs were unearthed. One of the tombs dates to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the other two date to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) all are considered in good condition. Relics such as lacquerwork, coins, and pottery have been found in the tombs. The pottery has fine unique animal and dancer designs on them and may provide valuable clues to music and dancing of the period.
On the same day in Syria archaeologists report finding 700, 7th century coins all stuck together in a lump. The coins, less than one millimeter thick, bear the pictures of Kings Khosru I and Khosru II. Their dynasty ruled Persia before the Arab conquests of the 7th century. So far 300 of the coins have been pried loose in the laboratory.
Original Headline: Ancient fleet unearthed in Sardinia
Workers digging for road work in Sardinia stumbled across ancient evidence of a naval disaster. 1600 years ago 12 Roman cargo ships sunk there in an act of war. It is not yet known if vandals destroyed the ships or if the Roman’s destroyed them to prevent capture by the vandals. Also found at the site was an oak mast dating to the time of Emperor Nero and an extremely rare glass beaker from a chariot race.
Original Headline: Excavations reveal probably largest ancient theatre in Cyprus
Thursday, June 14th, in Cyprus, a large ancient theater is being excavated at Nea Paphos. The theatre, built in about 300 BC, had a capacity of about 8,000 people. This is important for determining the population of ancient Paphos at the time, since supposedly only adult male citizens attended the theater and major festivals. Work at the site is also yielding structures of medieval Paphos dating to the 12th-16th century.
On Friday, June 15th, in Rome, a recently translated inscription points to the Coliseum being built from the plunder of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The translation, which was in a hidden piece of stone reads: “Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus had this new amphitheater erected with the spoils of war”. Shortly before his death in 79 AD, Vespasian opened the Coliseum. The sacking of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AD occurred in Vespasian’s reign. Two years after the sacking in 72 AD, construction on the Coliseum began.
Sunday, June 17th, oceanographer Robert Ballard is preparing for an expedition to prove that the Black Sea, was created by a great flood, which might have been the basis of the story of Noah’s Ark. Claims are, that due to rising sea levels, a natural dam burst about 7,000 years ago and submerged 19,000 square miles of land. Ballard, who found the wreck Titanic, led previous expeditions to the area that revealed a freshwater shoreline at a 550 foot depth and signs of ancient buildings at a 311 feet near the meeting of two ancient river beds. Explorations are to begin this summer.
An excavation in 18th century plantation, which is 2 ½ times larger than Jefferson’s Monticello, is unearthing the hidden history of slavery in New England. The 13,000 acre plantation operated from 1718 to 1780 with a slave work force of about 100 slaves. The significance of this site, according to archaeologists and historians, is that many believe that slavery was limited to the Deep South and the North had no such practices. Tools, nails, pottery shards and evidence of African burial customs have turned up at the site.
That’s it for the headlines in archaeological news this week! Be sure to join us next week for more exciting finds!
For daily archaeological news updates on the World Wide Web, visit Archaeologica at www.archaeologica.org
For archaeological video on the web, visit the Archaeological Legacy Institute’s project, The Archaeology Channel at www.archaeologychannel.org.
Thank you for joining us for the Audio News from Archaeologica. I’m Claire Britton-Warren and I’ll be back next week with more updates from around the world. See you next week!