Audio News for August 27th to September 2nd, 2001.
Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Claire Britton-Warren and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from August 27th through September 2nd, 2001.
From the United States, archaeologists are looking to preserve a Monongahela site. Excavations were carried out in the 1960’s at a site called Fort Hill. Current subsurface testing shows that most of that site is intact and contains pottery, mussel shells, fire cracked rock and charcoal. The significance of the site is that experts can tell you what the Monongahela left behind but not much about the Monongahela itself. Hopes are that the site will provide an insight to the societal structure of these late woodland people that occupied the area around 1,200 AD.
Original Headline: Restored ancient site opened on Naxos
On the Aegean island of Naxos, a unique marble temple was opened to the public for the first time. The newly restored archaeological site is a 6th century BC temple dedicated to the worship of gods of fertility, particularly the goddess Demeter. What makes this temple unusual is that it is made entirely of marble, 50% of it being preserved from the site itself.
In Iraq, government officials called for the return of looted archaeological treasures from Britain, Berlin and Paris. Reportedly, museums in these cities are displaying artifacts pillaged by diplomats, UN employees and US armed forces from the early 1990’s. According to the statistics of the Iraqi government, the country contains 10,000 archaeological sites, most of which have not been uncovered. Before the embargo of 1990, Iraq hosted numerous foreign expeditions.
A nearly complete skeleton was unearthed from ruins in the Inner Mongolia region of China dating back 7,500 years. Standing 4 feet 10 inches tall, the remains were found facing west in a grave pit. According to experts, Monogoloids migrated north to the Japanese archipelago where they are thought to have played a role in the evolution of the Joman people of northern Japan. It is hoped the remains will tell more of the culture Joman era covering 10,000 BC to 300 BC.
Original Headline: Star-Crossed Ideas of How Pyramids Came to Point North
Earlier this year a British Egyptologist reported solving the mystery of the alignment of the pyramids of Giza with true north and when the ancients did it. Two astronomy experts are challenging this report based on mathematical error. According to astronomical alignment, one set of calculations places the construction of the royal tombs around 2,485 BC to 2,375 BC. The challenge dates it to 2,627 BC. Current chronologies, based on the reign of pharaohs, places the construction of the three pyramids at 2,500 BC.
In the United States, archaeologists are puzzled over red clay at the Shiloh mound site. There is no known source of red clay within 30 miles of the area. Experts theorize that Native Americans may have carried the soil in to cover the mound. Red clay is thought to have been used as a warning in times of war and white limestone pebbles in times of peace. Researchers continue to study the site before erosion causes it to collapse into the River. Current studies are to conclude next week and there are hopes of returning next summer.
From Venice, the efforts to drain a lagoon for the first time in 600 years around San Marcos have yielded two ships. The first was a 120-foot galley of a type that has never been found intact and the second a rare flat-bottomed river transport. Both ships were thought to have been sunk by monks to shore up the lagoon. Experts have approximately 10 days to examine the find before the lagoon is reflooded.
In Arizona, an extensive complex of the Hohokam is set to be destroyed and the underlying rock crushed for ready-mix concrete by a mining company. City officials considered the site ‘low priority’ on a list of properties and missed the opportunity to purchase it 4 months ago. Experts believe the multi-chambered site was a sophisticated mirror/smoke signaling station around the year 1130. Unable to stop the work, local residence are sadden by the loss. The entire mountain is expected to be flattened within 10 years.
Amateur archaeologists in Gloucestershire uncovered the remains of a 2,000 year old child on the site of a Roman villa. The volunteers, while looking for pottery, came across the remains the one year old, believed to be from the Roman or Iron Age eras. The site previously yielded pottery but experts have not been able to find the cemetery of the occupants of the villa.
In China Archaeologists have claimed to have found the capital of an empire that disappeared 2,000 years ago. Ancient walls, houses and paved roads were found at the bottom of Fuxian Lake. Experts stated the city was located in a valley that flooded after a massive earthquake in 110AD. The city, running about 1.5 miles long and 1 mile wide, is thought to be the capital city from the Dian Dynasty. Little is know about this period in Chinese history and historians have long speculated the location of it’s capital. The investigation continues.
A new study on the Masada Fortress is saying the ramp up to the fortress may not have been a feat of Roman engineering. Geological experts stated the “ramp” is a naturally occurring spur covered with a man made layer of earthwork. Researchers say this finding is important to understanding the story of Masada because it shows the ramp could have been completed in weeks instead of months. The Masada Fortress sits atop a towering mesa. It once served as a palace to King Herod and was the site of the rebel stronghold in the Great Revolt against Rome.
In Kurdestan, archaeologists have uncovered ancient food silos in the Zivieh Castle. The cube shaped granaries are 27 feet deep on brick platforms and comparable to modern silos. Some seeds were found at the bottom of the silos. The castle was built 2,700 years ago from bricks and steps of natural stone. These are considered to be the oldest known silos in the region.
Finally, the British Museum has completed plans to convert an old post office for the display and research of 4 million artifacts that have been warehoused for over a century. Scheduled to open in 2005 the collection will contain carvings, statuary and obelisks from ancient Egypt, ancient Assyrian and other cultures along with trade goods of the 18th century, maps and drawings and 3,000 years of ceramics and metalware. The museum was founded in 1753 and boasts a current collection of 9 million pieces. Only half of that collection has ever been shown.
That wraps up the news for this week!
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I’m Claire Britton-Warren and I’ll see you next week!