Audio News for August 11th to August 17th, 2003

Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I'm Laura Pettigrew and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from August 11th to August 17th.

Original Headline: Unearthing Champoeg


Our first story is from Oregon in the United States, where discoveries at a Champoeg State Park are changing the way the State's history is told. A forty-foot by forty-foot site is revealing a valley settlement in the area that is earlier than previously thought. The excavation site is unique in the Champoeg area because many of the artifacts have been found deeper than the "plow zone". Students from Oregon State University, led by Dr. David Brauner, have unearthed an ornamental green leaf and gold trim brooch, bone knife handle, a brass straight pin, fragments of glass containers and Asian ceramics dating to about 1830. A brick hearth and fireplace that were once centerpieces of a cabin that dates decades before the Oregon Trail were also found. An 8 to 9 ton pile of dirt will go back into the dig, but not before the 3,000 plus artifacts are catalogued and studied. The scientist will study, in detail, the thousands of pieces, which could take several years to complete. French-Canadian trappers and other employees of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River originally settled the region. Our listeners can learn more about Champoeg history and archaeology by viewing the video, Uncovering a Past: Champoeg Park, right here on The Archaeology Channel.

Original Headline: Rare statue of God Amon Temple servant unearthed

In Egypt, a statue of Kakar (KA-kar), a servant of the God Amon was unearthed in the area of Tel Basta (tel BASS-ta). Also discovered were the remains of octagonal-shaped limestone columns with hieroglyphic inscriptions dating back to the same era of the statue, the Middle Kingdom (1550-1069 BC). Minister of Culture Farouk (fa-ROOK HAZ-nee) Hosni said this confirms the existence of other parts of a temple built by King Ramses II, expected to be discovered soon. The 30 inch tall statue depicts Kakar (KA-kar) in the sitting position wearing a wig. Engravings of Hat-Hor, ancient Pharaonic goddess of love and beauty, adorn the statue at the front, in addition to hieroglyphic inscriptions on its pedestal. The back of the statue contains four columns mentioning several gods worshipped in Tel Basta (tel BASS-ta), including Amon, Osiris, Anubis and Ptah. 

Original Headline: Italians Dig Deep to Reveal Forgotten Roman City

In Italy, a team as been digging for a city beneath a city for 10 years. Pozzuoli (pot-SWOO-LE), once the port of ancient Rome, is buried under a 16th century Spanish city. The ancient streets were encased in the foundations of a new city built in the 1500s, when the Spanish ruled what was then the Kingdom of Naples. The archaeologist in charge of the site said it would be unthinkable to destroy or damage the Spanish city because it is of major historical and architectural import. But it would be equally unthinkable not to excavate the ancient city. The site is considered very strange. Leaving daylight behind, you delve into a well-preserved labyrinth of Roman streets, paved with huge stones and lined with little shops, inns and houses. Small private altars are still visible in the corners of some of the shops. There are also ancient flourmills, deep wells, vaulted storage rooms and stone heads that used to be fountains. As you climb up into the open, a huge white marble temple from the first century BC stands there, with well-preserved colonnades and walls. It also features fragments of religious frescoes -- the remains of a Baroque church which the Spanish built using the ancient structure. The temple used to be almost covered up, but came to light in 1964 when a fire destroyed much of the church. Pozzuoli (pot-SWOO-LE) was founded as a coastal military outpost during one of Rome's wars against the Carthaginians. Inhabited by just 300 men, it was designed to stop Hannibal and his men from receiving vital supplies from their city's ships. The natural port grew to be Rome's sea trading post. During its golden age, under the emperor Augustus in the first century AD, tens of thousands lived there. In 1538, the nearby Monte Nuovo volcano erupted, scaring the population away. This abandonment gave the Spanish opportunity, a few years later, to take over the crumbling Roman city and build a new one on top, in their own style. Until recently, the city lay ignored and empty, until regional authorities, helped by European Union funds, decided to excavate and renovate it -- and is expected to last a another eight or nine years.

Original Headline: The big one is coming

Our final story is from Israel, where the earthquake of January 18, 749, is thought to be one of the strongest ever to hit the Middle East. Until recently, what was known about the earthquake was gleaned from historical sources. A Syrian priest wrote that a village in the region of Mount Tavor had moved a distance of four miles; while other sources spoke of huge tidal waves in the Mediterranean Sea. The sources gave the geologists some idea of the intensity of the quake, and its epicenter, but no more than that. Rare findings during an archaeological dig in Tiberius a year ago, allowed geologists to analyze the quake using modern research techniques, as if it had occurred just yesterday. During the course of a dig experts noticed a mysterious occurrence: Alongside a layer of earth from the time of the Umayyad (oo-MAY-yad) era (AD 638-750), and at the same depth, the archaeologists found a layer of earth from the Ancient Roman era (37 BC-132). The mystery was solved only when geologists who arrived at the site determined that an earthquake of immense intensity had raised the Roman era layer of earth to the same level as the layer of earth from the Umayyad (oo-MAY-yad) era. What researchers had stumbled on was a rare geological find - an active fault line from 749 dividing two expanses of land that had moved during an earthquake. Also found during the course of the dig was a circular-shaped well, some 10 meters wide, that had been split into two by the force of the earthquake. It is thought this was once part of Tiberias's Roman stadium. The fault line found in Tiberias has taught the researchers that the earthquake of 749 would have measured 7-7.5 on the Richter Scale. During that quake, a segment of earth measuring hundreds of miles, from Tiberias in the north to Jericho in the south, moved northward an average distance of 4 to 5 feet at once.

That wraps up the news for this week!
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I'm Laura Pettigrew and I'll see you next week!