Audio News for September 3rd to September 9th, 2001.
Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Claire Britton-Warren and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from September 3rd through September 9th, 2001.
In the Czech Republic, scientists are planning to retrace the steps Oetzi the 5,000-year-old iceman. Researchers have recreated the shoes of the iceman made from bearskin, deerskin and lindenbark. Later this month they will return to the original discovery site and trek to high altitudes in the replicated shoes. The shoes will be analyzed to answer question about the Stone Age. Since his discovery ten years ago, the iceman and his belongings have fascinated scientists in various fields of study.
In the United States, a CAT-scan-like technique will reveal if remains of the country’s oldest fort are buried in St. John’s River, or if they washed away. Fort Caroline, built by the French Huguenots in 1564, will be searched for using this system. Best described as an underground CAT-scan, the radar can penetrate 6.5 feet to 15 feet of ground. Successful searches with this system included Capt. Kidd’s shipwreck in Madagascar and pre-Bronze Age buildings in Jordan.
Excavations have begun in the United Kingdom on two Iron Age logboats. One boat, measuring 23 feet, dates from 300BC and may have been used as a hunting vessel by a Celtic tribe. The other is thought to date to the era of Roman occupation. Although research has just started, the site has already yielded other artifacts such as a bone knife handle and an axe-hammer head.
Officials in Egypt announced they will reopen Hatshepsut’s Temple to the public in October. It has taken forty years to restore the temple and rescue it’s engravings. Restoration has focused on uncovering other images of Queen Hatshepsut, which were removed by King Thutmose III.
The Library of Congress has purchased the oldest surviving copy of a map that bears the name “America”. The map, dated to 1507, is a woodcut print measuring 8 feet by 4.5 feet and is in 12 sections. The piece includes the findings of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and Amerigo Vespucci. Interest in the map is considerable. Experts believe it to be the first map to depict the Americas as a separate land mass from Asia and the first representation of the Pacific Ocean as a separate body of water.
In Britain, a computer scanning technique is revealing the story of a slave from the second century. Faint scratches on Roman writing tablets have been ‘raked’ with a light that casts shadows. The shadows are then picked up by the computer. The tablets were unearthed near Hadrian’s Wall 30 years ago. Further work promises to reveal more about the social and economic structure of the ancient garrison.
Original Headline: New Evidence of Early Humans Unearthed in Russia's North
In the Arctic Circle, archaeologists say they have the oldest evidence of human existence in the Arctic. No human remains have been found, but stone tools and a four-foot mammoth tusk were unearthed. Experts stated the tusk was the most important find. It is marked with grooves from a sharp stone chopping tool. The tusk has been carbon dated at 36,600 years old placing the date of human occupation of the Arctic 15,000 years earlier than previously thought.
In Scotland, the remains of a farmhouse built 1,000 years before the pyramids was uncovered. The 6,000-year-old house measured 75 feet by 27 feet and was constructed of massive timber posts. The structure is only the second of its type ever found. More than 200 pieces of pottery and cereal remains were also discovered. Experts speculated the farmhouse indicates the Neolithic people were skilled engineers.
In the United States, the first attempt to map an underwater battlefield is taking place at Valcour Bay in the northeast. Historians and archaeologists joined with divers to map the region where American boats engaged the British fleet in the Battle of Valcour in 1776. Divers are scanning 50-foot grids with metal detectors and mapping the location of any object they find. Artifacts such as a cannon barrel, cannonballs and a few personal items have been found. The pieces are being left in the mud to protect them from decay.
In Pakistan, a new dig site near the Afghanistan border is proving to be rich in Greek artifacts. One side of the site has the remains of a bazaar while three sides are surrounded by rocky hills. The area has yielded Greek coins covering a period from 330BC to 15BC. Officials are saying that such a site, which is represented by a succession of Greek conquerors that had their own coins, has never been discovered before.
In San Francisco, the remains of a Gold Rush era ship are being uncovered. The ship has been buried under the street for 150 years. So far, 40 feet of the oak hull of the ship known as the “General Harrison” has been revealed. The three masted 409-ton ship was burned to its water line on May 4, 1851. It was salvaged and used as a land locked floating warehouse. The area where the ship was found was once under water and was known as Yerba Buena Cove. Yerba Buena Cove was part of the San Francisco Bay. Historical documents state the hull of the General Harrison once measured 126 feet in length and was almost 27 feet wide. When studies are concluded, the ship will be reburied to prevent damage.
On the Aegean island of Andros, a fortified town from the 5th century BC has been discovered. Copper tools, spearheads and brooches point toward a highly developed metallurgical culture. Well built stone foundations and a defensive stone wall have also been uncovered. The site is at least 1,500 years older than the first settlement at Troy and 3,000 years older than the Mycenaean civilization.
Divers searching the Mediterranean believe they have found the wreck of the HMS Sussex. The Sussex, a 1,200-ton warship, went down in a violent storm near Gibraltar in 1694. Preliminary findings show the cargo, which included gold coins valued in the hundreds of millions, is still on board! Pictures have been taken on the sea floor and a few items have been retrieved. If successful, the operation could be the most valuable treasure ever recovered from a shipwreck.
That wraps up the news for this week!
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I’m Claire Britton-Warren and I’ll see you next week!