Audio News for July 2nd to July 8th, 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 2nd throught July 8th, 2001.
On Monday, July 2nd in Wyoming USA, archaeologists have found the historic Semiloes Fort, a mere 100 feet from the intersection of the Oregon, Mormon and California Trails. Founded in 1852 the post is located in what is now Casper Wyoming. For 140 years, the fort’s location was unknown. In 1856, 150 pioneers died of cold and hunger during a blizzard in one of the greatest tragedies of western migration. For now, the digging has ceased due to lack of funds, but the expectation is that the excavations will resume with new funding in the very near future.
Also on Monday, in India, the world’s tallest Buddhist shrine has been unearthed. Rising to 104 feet, it is actually much reduced from its original height of 150 feet! It is one foot taller than a similar shrine in Java. Experts feel that the diameter could be larger than the Java shrine, since several parts are still underground and have yet to be excavated. According to the historical record, Buddha stayed at this shrine and handed over his begging bowl to the people of the area before setting out on the last journey of his lifetime.
On Tuesday July 3rd, Smith College announces that it will retrace the steps of Edward Harriman’s expedition of over a century ago. Harriman’s group went to study the natural resources of Alaska and some of North America’s earliest cultures. Smith College will retrace the 9,000 mile trek in the form of a ‘floating university’ reassessing the information from 1899. One of their duties will be to return numerous sacred objects, which had been held by the Smithsonian, to a tribe for repatriation. The findings will be part of a PBS film due for release next spring.
Also on Tuesday, an update on the modern techniques used by archaeologists was reported. Today, the latest technologies are being engaged to share information and pictures instantaneously. The newest gadgets, include field headgear that transmits information from a dig site to a research facility as the dig happens. In underwater excavations in Alexandria Egypt, a mobile phone was used by divers, to communicate information to field stations and research centers around the world.
On Wednesday July 4th, archaeologists in Denmark discovered the Stone Age tomb of a woman, which dated back 5,000 years. The woman was found laying on eight flat stones and surrounded by approximately 400 amber pearls! Two flint knives in good condition lay by her side.
Also on Tuesday, a statue of Roman Emporer Septimus Severus was unearthed during the construction of a parking garage in Alexandria Egypt. Amulets, gold rings and other ornamental objects were found with the statue. At approximately the same time, a six gram, octagonal gold ring was excavated from the Al-Raml area. Experts say the finds important representations of the royal neighborhoods in Alexandria during the Greco-Roman Era. These neighborhoods saw significant historical events including numerous revolts against the Romans.
The top story on Tuesday, was the discovery of a cave in France, that is covered with prehistoric engravings which may date to 28,000 BC. Archaeologists are proclaiming the site as an important discovery. They believe the carvings will predate the world’s oldest known cave paintings at Lascaux which are about 18,000 years old. Hundreds of yards of etchings depict bison, horses, rhinos and human figures. This site was found last September by an amateur explorer, but not announced until last Tuesday. The French government declared the site a historical monument. The site may never be open to the public, due to high levels of carbon dioxide that fill the cave’s passage ways.
On Wednesday, July 5th, In Abu Sir Egypt, the tomb of a priest who served under the Pharaohs more than 3,000 years ago was found. Carvings in the tomb indicate it was built for Bin Amon, a priest who was also lord of the temple of Ptah.
The tomb is in a complex that includes a courtyard and two buildings. Archaeologist will carry out further excavations next September.
On Thursday July 5th, it was reported that an archaeology firm in Arizona hopes to expand the knowledge of the history and prehistory by combining archaeological evidence with oral traditions. Four tribes from the San Pedro River Valley will be represented and will work closely with archaeologists. Most of the history of the area, was written by the Spanish and Americans, but very little of it comes from native tribal members. Experts are trying to get a native perspective and to see how it fits with the archaeological record and recorded history.
Original Headline: Pyramid Built 5000 years ago Found in Inner Mongolia
On Friday July 6th, a three-story pyramid was discovered in Inner Mongolia. The structure, which reportedly looks like a trapezoidal hill, dates back 5,000 years and measures 30 by 15 meters at the base. Archaeologists consider this the best preserved pyramid of this era. They have found seven tombs and one alter on the top of the formation. Asterisk-like characters were found inscribed on one of the inner walls. These characters are believed to represent the ancient people’s understanding of astrology. Experts are quoted as saying the find is yielding relics the likes of which have never been seen before and that these could help shed light on ancient Chinese civilization.
On Saturday, July 7th , four stories of historical interest topped the news.
In Egypt, it was announced that the 4,500-year-old pyramid of Chephren will reopen to the public on Sunday, July 8th. The pyramid is the second largest of the Giza trio and had been closed in 1999 to remove graffiti and salt build up from the walls. Additionally, 3 tombs that hold colorful wall paintings of ancient Egyptian life, located in the cemetery next the largest pyramid of Khufu, will also be opened.
Also on Saturday, a complete housing complex dating back to the Roman era was found in the Suez Canal region by an Egyptian team, surveying the region under Archaeological Protection Law. The site includes a temple and several houses in addition to coins and grains which were found. According to the Director of Lower Egypt Antiquities, a series of finds in the Suez region, has given proof of rich archaeological promise and the Protection Law will make funds available for further study.
In Baghdad, it was reported that archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Assyrian temple dating back to the 8thcentury BC. Officials say the temple contains statues of winged bulls and inscriptions that date to the time of prestigious Assyrian kings. Statistics out of Iraq say that the country contains thousands of undiscovered archaeological sites.
And finally, on Saturday, a German team discovered the wreckage of a 17thcentury pirate ship in the Caribbean. The wreck is believed to be the ship of the infamous Captain Morgan who, with the backing of the English crown, sailed the area terrorizing the Spanish shipping trade in the mid 1600’s. The 12-member archaeology team at the site continues to search for evidence to back this theory.
On Sunday, July 8th, Officials in Damascus report finding a cemetery dating back to the end of the Roman era 50 miles south of the city. The site consists of three small tombs each containing skeletons, metal bracelets and lanterns with crosses. Speculation is the graves belonged to a poor family because there were several skeletons in each tomb.
In Germany a Nobel prize winning scientist toils to rebuild an 18th century baroque cathedral. Gunter Blobel took his million-dollar Nobel prize money and dedicated it to the dream he had held since boyhood, of rebuilding the cathedral. Work is beginning on the stone dome and using the same methods that were used two centuries ago. Salvaged stones from the original cathedral are being used. After envisioning for the project for 50 years, restoration is due to be completed by 2005.
That’s the news for this week! Be sure to check back next week for more archaeological and historical headlines. For daily news and more stories, visit Archaeologica on the world wide web at www.archaeologica.org
I’m Claire Britton-Warren. Thank-you for joining me as we discover these exciting stories! I’m looking forward to next week’s expedition. I’ll see you then!