Audio News for January 14th to January 20th, 2002.
Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I'm Claire Britton-Warren and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from January 14th through January 20th.
Original Headline: Convicts given Crippen's poison
In Scotland, a large quantity of poisonous seeds was uncovered during the excavation of a 17th century jail in Stirling, providing a look into prison medical care of 300 years ago. The seeds from the henbane plant were found perfectly preserved in clay during renovations. Greek physicians knew its poisonous properties 2,000 years ago. Experts concluded its presence suggests it was used on some unfortunate inmates as a crude anesthetic. Paleontologist Jennifer Miller stated ""In very small doses it could have been used to relieve toothache, but the seeds would also have been used to render unconscious patients awaiting amputations. With henbane, you would either wake up three or four days later without a leg, or not at all. Glasgow University Archaeologists said this had not previously been found in a British jail and the discovery was of great interest.
Original Headline: Archaeologists unearth Mexican War treaty site
From the United States, an excavation near a popular theme park in southern California has revealed the remnants of a 19th century ranch house that was the site of the Mexican Treaty. The 6,000-square-foot adobe built during the Mission Period, before 1810, is thought to have stretched 30 feet by 200 feet. It contained six rooms and was topped with a graceful Spanish tile roof. Also found were well-preserved silverware, ceramic plates and bowls, bottles, and assorted household objects dating back to the late 1800s to 1900s. On Jan. 13, 1847, Mexican Gen. Andres Pico surrendered to American Army Lt. Col. John C. Fremont at the home, and the treaty they signed ended hostilities between the two countries and led the way for California to join the Union.
Original Headline: Rare Macedonian Tomb Unearthed in Northern Greece
In Northern Greece archaeologists working in the Dodona region, discovered a rare Macedonian type tomb. The 2,300-year-old subterranean, rectangular tomb is approximately 5 meters square and once contained a single chamber. Constructed of stone and lacking in ornamentation, it is part of a larger war memorial consisting of a courtyard and storeroom. Previously looted by antiquities smugglers and the building contained no artifacts. The tomb is close to the Dodoni oracle, where ancient worshippers hoped to receive prophesies from the god Zeus, and where Jason visited on his mythical quest for the golden fleece.
Original Headline: New Hypothesis: Ancient 'Iceman' Was Ritually Killed
Since his discovery in 1991 "Iceman" Otzi (ott-zee) has fascinated experts from all fields of science. Archaeologist Johan Reinhard has offered a new and probably controversial theory for the Iceman's end. Was Otzi a victim of ritual sacrifice? Last year, X-rays revealed an arrowhead in the left shoulder - he had been shot in the back. "It might have been murder. Or it might have been ritual sacrifice,'' speculates Reinhard. He concludes that it was probably sacrifice because a valuable bronze ax and other artifacts were left with the body, items that a killer would probably have taken. The theory has drawn criticism, however. Director of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Italy, which houses the iceman now, says that Otzi may simply have been fleeing an attacker when he died.
Original Headline: 7500 BC lost river civilization discovered off India's coast
In India, marine scientists are saying an archaeological site off India's western coast may be up to 9,000 years old. Although Palaeolithic sites dating back around 20,000 years have been found in this coastal region before, this is the first time there are indications of man-made structures as old as 9,500 years found deep beneath the surface. Known as the Gulf of Cambay, the area has been subject to a great deal of archaeological interest due to its proximity to another ancient site submerged in the nearby Gulf of Kutch. The revelation comes about 8 months after images from the sea-bed suggested the presence of built-up structures resembling the ancient Harappan civilization, which dates back around 4,000 years. Acoustic images indicated not only symmetrical man-made structures but also a paleo-river, running for around nine kilometers, on whose banks all the artifacts were discovered.
Original Headline: China Races to Save History
From China, in the shadows of the massive Three Gorges Dam development experts are racing to protect ancient tombs, temples and inscriptions. A $125 million push is on to save thousands of relics that will be lost to the world's largest hydroelectric project. Hundreds of old stone bridges, pagodas are being moved from the banks of the river. A 500-year-old Taoist temple will be protected be a 33 foot thick dyke that will turn the temple into a small island. Called the biggest historical salvage operation ever, many experts still fret it is too little, too late. The Chinese government didn't start paying for large-scale preservation until 1999, after pressure from home and abroad. Archaeologists say that hasn't given them enough time to excavate even a tenth of about 800 known sites.
Original Headline: Nike's on a run of repair
In our final story, from Athens, the Temple of Athena Nike is being deconstructed. Archaeologists have been dismantling the temple piece by piece as part of restoration work they hope will have been completed by the Olympic Games in August 2004. Built from Pentelic marble between 427 BC and 424 BC, the Temple of Athena Nike stands on a 24-foot high platform overlooking the entrance to the Acropolis in central Athens. This is the third major restoration of the temple. In 1686, the Ottomans, who used it as an artillery position, tore it down. The pieces were found during an excavation in 1835, and the temple was reconstructed. In the late 1930s, a Greek archaeologist dismantled and rebuilt the temple due to subsidence and problems with the foundations. Work on the parts will take about a year, and archaeologists aim to begin rebuilding the temple in 2003.
That wraps up the news for this week!
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I'm Claire Britton-Warren and I'll see you next week!