Audio News for July 9th to July 15th, 2001.
Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Claire Britton-Warren and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from July 9th through July 15th 2001.
On Monday July 9th, in Tokyo Japan, in an update to the story of the Japanese archaeologist who was caught planting ancient artifacts dig sites that were under his direction, officials have now announced that they have found two additional sites which contain falsified artifacts. Signs of deliberate burial, such as the color of the surrounding soil, were noted at both locations. Both of these sites had once been under the direction of Archaeologist Fujimura, who fabricated findings last year with objects from his own personal collection.
Also from Japan, a 15th century Korean dress accessory has been unearthed in the Nagasaki region. The piece known as a “sekitai” which is a sash holder, worn by royalty and officials. It is the first of its kind found in Japan. Measuring about 2” by 1.5” it is made of high-grade agate and believed to be the property of a high official, due to its detailed workmanship. Experts believe this might provide insight into Japanese-Korean relations of that period.
And finally on Monday, in the United States, researchers are reporting that an ancient ceremonial cup which was excavated at the Cahokia Indian Mounds in the 1950’s may overturn earlier theories about the ancient city. It had been previously theorized that the Mounds were a large fringe city but further research may show it to be the most important center of culture in the Southeast United States. Experts hope to find more evidence in a re-excavation of the original 1950’s site.
On Tuesday June 10th from Paris, experts from almost 90 countries reached an agreement to ensure the protection of and to ban commercial exploitation of underwater heritage sites. The drafted convention, which includes archaeological sites, shipwrecks, and war graves of ships sunken in battle, will be presented to UNESCO in November. If adopted by the General Conference the convention will become the first multilateral text on the subject of protection. (UNESCO Press)
Original Headline: Decaying Depots On the Tracks to Freedom; New Interest in the Underground Railroad Inspires an Effort to Preserve Its Landmarks
Also on Tuesday, in the United States, progress is being made by experts, in the identification and preservation of sites on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of trails and safe houses that assisted slaves on their flight to freedom before the Civil War. Two years ago, a New York State commission began establishing a “freedom trail” of sites which has examined 69 sites so far. What once was preserved by grass-roots historians is starting to attract the attention and money of larger historical societies and state archaeological agencies. A National Underground Freedom Museum is scheduled to open in 2004.
On Wednesday, July 11th, three stories led the news. Off the coast of Scotland, divers found what they believe to be a Spanish galleon dating back to 1588. Although nothing remains of the structure of the ship, rare, high quality Spanish and Italian pottery was found. This type of pottery leads experts to believe the ship to have had a person of high status on board. Researchers are calling the finds exceptional and of major importance.
From Russia, the grave of a 5th century ruler and his wife was discovered intact during excavations in south central Siberia. Inside the tomb, artifacts of gold and copper jewelry, coins, weapons, armor, clothes and even plates and dishes were found. Experts say that research and restoration will take about three years and will be carried out by specialists from the Hermitage Museum.
Also on Wednesday, the ruins of a 2,500-year-old Grand Palace, was found in China’s Shanxi province. Some of the walls were badly eroded, but the south and east walls are still recognizable. Moats on three sides of the structure still exist. The palace which measures 700 meters by 1500 meters and represents the highest architectural level of the Spring and Autumn Period of 700 to 476 BC.
On Thursday July 12th, Bronze Age relics and Roman remains were unearthed during road construction in Britain. A settlement and a Roman burial ground were found at different locations along the road. A local archaeologist stated this is a significant find for the area, which has now recorded data from each period from prehistory through present times. This locale has produced other finds such as Iron Age settlements and a medieval fishpond that may have been used by the Knights Templar.
Original Headline: Priceless ancient text reassembled
Also on Thursday, in Ireland, a collection of Persian religious manuscripts from the 3rd century, came together for the first time in 70 years to be researched. Written on blackened papyrus, these manuscripts are the only remaining evidence of the defunct religion, Manichaeism. Mani the sage, claimed himself the final prophet of God after Jesus and Buddha. His religion spread through most of the known world of the first millennium AD, but faded into obscurity from the 10th to the 14th centuries.
On Friday, July 13th, at Masada, archaeologists unearthed a solid wood wheel dating back to the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans 2,000 years ago. Whether the piece is Roman or from the Zealots has yet to be determined. Masada was once King Herrod’s fortress and later it was the site of the last stand of the Jewish Zealots who refused to submit to the Romans. The wheel was found exactly where it is believed that the Romans breached the wall during the siege. It was removed and sent to the Institute at the Hebrew University for preservation, dating and study.
Original Headline: Ancient bones hewed by steel swords
On Saturday, July 14th, Japanese researcher Yoshiki Fukasawa announced the findings of his research on a 2nd century skeleton. Fukasawa has concluded that steel weapons had damaged the bones of the skeleton in antiquity. Although other skeletal remains have been found with similar damage, Fukasawa’s research is the first attempt to identify the type of weaponry used.
On Sunday July 15th, from Stanford University in the United States, came news of a 102 year-old time capsule which was discovered during reconstruction work on the campus’ original library site. Buried on November 2nd, 1898 by the school’s co-founder Jane Stanford, the contents of the dented copper container are being kept a secret until a future ceremony for its opening. Time capsules aren’t a rarity at Stanford; there are more than 100 buried there. What makes this one unique is that no one knew it existed.
Also on Sunday, two scientists in Ireland have theorized that the Newgrange Neolithic burial chamber may have been used as a ‘prehistoric echo chamber’. Although not designed for that purpose, they believe that the ancient priests and druids may have discovered it’s acoustic abilities and exploited them during religious ceremonies. Built 500 years before the great pyramid of Giza and 1,000 years before Stonehenge, the burial chamber and these unusual sounds are the subject of a future BBC documentary.
That’s the news for this week! Be sure to join me next week for more headlines in archaeological and historical news!
For daily updates, be sure to visit Archaeologica on the world wide web at www.archaeologica.org
I’m Claire Britton-Warren and I’ll see you next week!