Audio News for July 29th to August 4th, 2002.
Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I'm Claire Britton-Warren and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from July 29th through August 4th.
Original Headline: Ruins may be 8th-century lodging
Our first story is from Japan, where ruins of a large building unearthed on the grounds of a high school are believed to the early eighth century as Emperor Shomu's temporary travel lodge. The building measured over 35 feet wide and more than 62 feet long. Archeologists found 25 5-foot square holes, which they think served as pillar bases. Pillars measuring up to 1.5 feet in diameter are thought to have been erected at nine to ten foot intervals. The ruins were the first of a possible emperor's temporary travel lodge to be found. Pieces of unglazed stoneware found at the site led experts to conclude that the building had been erected in the early eighth century. The find could disprove a theory that Emperor Shomu fled to region when he was confronted by a rebellion in the Kyushu district, as the arrangement of the pillars indicate that the structure could have matched any lavish Imperial residence built in those times..
Original Headline: Projects to save Tibetan relics under way
In Tibet, huge restoration projects on three major cultural relic sites have begun in in the capital city of Lhasa. The projects focus on the Potala Palace, Sayga Monastery and Norbulinka are expected to take three to five years. Along with more than $36million (US) in funding, the regional government is launching a residential renovation program to improve the area while protecting the Jokhang Temple. A specialist in relics protection, said the ancient buildings are constructed from stone and wood with trapezium walls, which are easily damaged by silverfish and erosion. Meanwhile, modern structures around the monastery that may be fire hazards to the ancient buildings will be demolished. The Jokhang Temple has a 1,355-year history and the Potala Palace 1365 years. UNESCO lists all of the sites as World Cultural Heritage sites.
Original Headline: New archaeological discovery at Saqqara
In Egypt, the Saqqara necropolis continues to provide new discoveries and has recently has given up two New Kingdom tombs. The first mud brick tomb belonged to the overseer of honey production. A extraordinary scene on the chapel's western wall shows the deceased wearing a pleated robe and a long wig; he is seated beside his wife, who wears a transparent robe and a wig topped with a perfumed cone. In an affectionate pose, her left hand is on her husband's shoulder, while her right holds a lotus blossom to her nose. The second tomb, also constructed of mud brick, belonged to a controller whose titles of "ruler of the morning house" and "supervisor of the area", were found engraved in the limestone blocks. A pylon shaped ceramic pendant was also found in the second tomb. It features Anubis as the guardian of the deceased seated on a shrine of similar shape to the pendant- the back of the pendant is decorated with a scene showing two goddesses: Isis holding the ankh and Nephthys.
Original Headline: Rare Roman tool dug up in Wolds
From Yorkshire, England, archaeologists are delighted after unearthing an incredibly rare 2000-year-old relic, an ivory woodworking plane dating from Roman times. Only a few examples of Roman woodworking planes have been found in Britain and mainland Europe. Measuring 13 inches, and comprised of an ivory stock with an iron base and blade, it is said to be the only complete one of its type known to date from this period. The areas excavation revealed important evidence of Roman occupation on the site from the first century through to the late fourth century AD, including pottery, animal bones and metal finds including jewelry and coins. The wood plane is now receiving its final treatment for conservation at the York Archaeological Trust's conservation laboratory.
Original Headline: National Trust and Archaeology Data Service Launch New Internet Resource
The British National Trust and the Archaeology Data Service has announced the launch of an extensive archaeological database online. The database is a repository for information on the archaeology and historic landscapes within National Trust lands. Covering all periods from prehistoric to present day including everything from Neolithic settlements to WWII monuments and monuments that are of international, national, regional or local interest, including several UNESCO world heritage sites. Data falls within the traditional perception of archaeology such as Roman forts, castles, burial sites and buildings; through historical military sites such as Civil War defenses or the Cold War sites such as radar stations. It covers England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The information held on an individual monument includes its interpretation, description, history and associated archives. It also records any work or surveys that have taken place, its importance, condition and management. Archaeology Data Service's website is http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/
Original Headline: New plans for battered temple
Our final story is from Greece where plans have been revived to restore the crumbling Temple of Zeus. In 1986, the Culture Ministry had announced plans to partially conserve the temple, but they were eventually scraped. Now the Ministry has expressed its willingness to push forward with a broad based facelift on the ruin. The abandoned plan focused on two of the temple's 16 surviving Corinthian columns that supported a massive slab of marble from the architrave, which now contains a large crack. Initially there were 104 columns. The temple was completed in 131 AD, eight centuries after it was started. After extended discussions the 16-year-old plan was rejected as inadequate for two main reasons: The council agreed that the old plan failed to meet current restoration standards, while also noting that it was insufficient because it focused on just a fraction of the structure's whole. It was unanimously agreed that the temple's facelift should not be linked to a timetable, obviously fearing that rushing to meet the 2004 Athens Olympics would lead to sub-standard results. A full decision is expected by the end of August.
That wraps up the news for this week!
For more stories and daily news updates, visit Archaeologica on the World Wide Web at www.archaeologica.org , where all the news is history!
I'm Claire Britton-Warren and I'll see you next week!