Audio News for June 24th to June 30th, 2002.
Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I'm Claire Britton-Warren and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from June 24th through June 30th.
Original Headline: Viking treasure hoard yields astounding finds
In Sweden, over the past few years, a farmer digging in his fields on the Baltic island of Gotland has come across Viking artifacts that have been lying there for about 1,100 years. The find includes 14,295 silver coins, 486 silver armlets, and dozens of other artifacts. The site's proximity to one of Gotland's main natural harbors, may be a clue to its' size. Amongst their other attributes, the Vikings were great traders. Gotland had few resources of its own, its position in the middle of the Baltic between Sweden and Latvia made it an ideal base for trade. The Vikings could bring in furs and amber from Scandinavia and the Baltic coast, and ship them along rivers into Germany or down to Constantinople. This could explain why of the 1,400 coins from the hoard that have been examined so far, four are Nordic, one from Byzantium, 23 are Persian, and the rest are Islamic. In the ninth century, the silver money of the Arabs was the most common currency in Scandinavia. The first Swedish coins were not struck until about AD 995. The earliest coin in the collection dates from AD 539 and is Persian, before the Islamic conquest. The latest is from AD 870. One of the most important coins in the set, dating from AD 830 to 840, sheds light on a place far away: Its markings show its origin is the kingdom of the Khazars, a realm in southern Russia between the Black and Caspian seas. Its Arabic inscription reads ''Moses is the messenger of God" - apparently a Jewish variation on the Islamic philosophy "Mohammed is the messenger of God." Only four other coins are known to have this inscription.
Original Headline: UC San Diego Archaeologists Discover Largest Bronze Age Metal Factory In Middle East
In Jordan, archaeologists working in a desert south of the Dead Sea have excavated a large and very well preserved metal factory from the Early Bronze Age. The factory collapsed during an earthquake about 2700 B.C. Hundreds of casting molds for copper axes, pins, chisels, and bars were found. Thousands of stone hammers, anvils, crucibles, metal objects, and pieces of ancient metallic debris were also recovered. The discovery is much larger than other know Bronze Age metal productions centers in Turkey, Cyprus and other parts of the Middle East and corresponds to the rise of the first cities throughout the Mediterranean. The archaeologists used geographic information system (GIS) technology to identify and map all the stages in the production of copper objects at the factory, offering a look, for the first time, at how ancient societies mass-produced metal objects. Chemical evidence is linking items found in Israel with those discovered in Jordan to help in identifying the actual ancient trade routes in the Middle East during the Bronze Age.
Original Headline: Multiplication Tables Exist in China 2,200 Years Ago
In China, a set of multiplication tables engraved on a wooden tablet have been found at a historical site in the Hunan province dating from the Warring States period (BC 475-BC 221). The 2,200-year-old tables were inscribed on a 9 inch long and 2-inch wide tablet.
Archaeologists so far can only figure out the equations concerning number "eight" from the six lines. Director of the local Institute of Archaeology said that it seemed the tablet contained only some of the equations. Remaining information may be engraved on other tablets. The new discovery could prove that multiplication formulas were widely used in China as early as the Spring and Autumn period (BC.770-BC.476) and the Warring States period. Similar multiplication formulas have also been discovered in ancient Babylon's mud-plate books.
Original Headline: Ancient book lists foods fit for a king
From England, a recipe book dating from the 15th century is granting a glimpse into the life of Britain's nobility. It has been in the archives of Longleat House, the countryseat of the Marquess of Bath, since the 18th century. Chopped sparrow, roast swan, poached pike, conger eel, porpoise and lamprey usually with a dash of cinnamon, ginger or cloves were the repast of the day. The book is divided into three sections: a history of noble feasts, including the banquet at King Henry V's coronation in 1413, a calendar of seasonal foods and a list of ingredients. Unlike modern cookbooks, it does not give quantities or cooking times - cooks were expected to be skilled enough to judge that for themselves. The book reveals that Henry V's coronation feast featured a first course of 31 swans, roasted. This was followed by dishes of venison, antelope, porpoises and a range of fish, including carp, perch and lamprey, on which King Henry I is said to have gorged himself to death. Converse to popular belief, nobility ate neatly and wasted little. They had knives and spoons, but used fingers instead of forks, which were a later Italian invention.
Original Headline: Nine Sites Added to World Heritage List
In Hungary, UNESCO announced the addition of nine cultural sites to its World Heritage List, including the minaret and archaeological ruins in Jam, Afghanistan, and the ancient Maya city of Calakmu. Other sites included were the Saint Catherine Orthodox monastery in Egypt, the Mahabodhi Temple complex in India, the historic centers of two German trading towns, Stralsund and Wismar, and the historic inner city of Paramaribo, Suriname. The additions increased to 730 the number of properties in more than 120 countries on the Heritage List. The Minaret of Jam, or the "victory tower,'' in northwestern Afghanistan, is 213 feet high, the second-highest in the world. An inscription dates the beginning of construction to 1194. Around the minaret are other cultural sites, including ruins of three watchtowers, a castle, a Jewish cemetery and a bazaar. The minaret was also the only new site added by UNESCO this year to its list of "World Heritage in Danger.'' There are 32 such sites, which are considered threatened by pollution, war, and excessive tourism or poaching. UNESCO's World Heritage seeks to safeguard sites considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. These include cultural landmarks like monuments and buildings, as well as natural areas like the habitats of threatened species of animals and plants.
That wraps up the news for this week!
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I'm Claire Britton-Warren and I'll see you next week!