Audio News for January 18th to January 25th.

Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Laura Pettigrew and these
are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from January 12th to
January 18th.

Archaeologists Search for Ancient Persian Fleet


Our first story is from the Greek coast where archaeologists have set off on
an ambitious search for an ancient Persian fleet that was destroyed in a
violent storm in 492 BC. The team will search for sunken remains of the
armada, sent by Persian king Darius to invade Greece. The armada was
destroyed before reaching its target. Waters off Mount Athos (ATH-os) in
northern Greece, the site of the tragedy, have yielded two helmets and a
spear-butt. Herodotus (he-ROD-e-tes) gives us an historical cue in an
account of the 492 BC disaster in his 5th century writings, The Histories.
He says the ships were smashed against Mount Athos (ATH-os). Last year, the team discovered a shipwreck containing amphorae, pottery containers used for
transporting foodstuffs. How, if at all, this wreck relates to the disaster
is not known. The archaeologists also found a bronze spear-butt, called a
sauroter at a site where local fisherman raised two Greek classical
helmets from the seafloor in 1999. The survey could help resolve arguments
about how the ancient galley warships used by the Persians and Greeks,
called triremes (TRI-reems), were constructed. In trireme (TRI-reem)
battles, victory hinged on slamming other ships with a heavy bronze ram on
the front of the ship. Not a single trireme (TRI-reem) wreck has ever been
found and archaeologists on the survey are divided over the likelihood of
finding one on this expedition. Classical texts refer to triremes
(TRI-reems) being rescued, towed to dry land and repaired to be reused.
Around 20,000 men were lost in the disaster, which shook Persia at a time
when it had its sights on assimilating mainland Greece within its empire.
The project is a collaboration between the Canadian Institute of Archaeology
and the Greek Archaeological Service.

Massachusetts Building Project Turns Up Artifacts


In the United States, the discovery of an American Indian settlement as much
as 7,500 years old has halted work on a new water treatment plant. Found at
the Massachusetts site are about 38 tools and stone chips used for making
and repairing tools, as well as a hearth and a storage pit. Senior
archaeologist on the team that surveyed the area said it was unusual to find
features of civilizations, like the hearth and the stone pit, so early in
their survey. The site is considered to have integrity. There are portions
of the site beneath the surface that are not disturbed. Experts say that the
hearth at this site offers the possibility of radiocarbon dating, which can
help to better define the period. The tools are characteristic of the Late
Archaic and Middle Archaic periods of the Holocene Epoch, and are between
3,000 to 7,500 years old. Artifacts from the Late Archaic period have been
found in the area before. Officials said that the water treatment plant
would be moved to another department-owned site nearby. Archaeologists will
excavate some portions of the new site, as well as continue their surveys on
the original site. If they uncover more artifacts at the original site, the
Massachusetts Historical Commission could request a complete study.

Roman Amphitheatre Surveyed in England


In England, the first part of an archaeological investigation of Chester's
Roman Amphitheatre began this week. The survey will use advanced technology to produce the most detailed map ever made of the city landmark and its
surrounding area. Work on site is expected to last three to four weeks,
during which teams of specialists will identify and map key elements of the
amphitheatre. The aim is to provide vital information to archaeologists to
understand the site better and help target possible areas for excavation in
the summer. The survey promises not only to provide information about
Chester's Roman past but could also shed light into early Christian life in
Britain. The technology being employed includes a robotic electromagnetic
survey, a ground-penetrating radar and earth resistance survey to provide a
map of features buried below the ground; and terrestrial photogrammetry to
photographically record and draw every detail of the amphitheatre exposed in
previous excavations. Specialists will also examine all the old excavation
records, maps and surveys of the area and compare them with the results
generated by the new surveys. An unmanned aerial vehicle may also be
deployed over the site to digitally photograph the site from previously
unobtainable angles.

Harrapan Sites in Pakistan Demonstrates Differences in Historical


Our final story is from Pakistan, at a site around 30 miles west of Dera
Ismail Khan (D-ra –sm-L- khan), where one of the most important
archaeological sites of the Indus Valley civilization lies. The University
of Peshawar discovered the site in 1997. Extensive surveys of the Gomal
(GO-mal) Plain were conducted in 2003 and resulted in the discovery 95
sites. 53 sites date to different periods as far back as 7,000 years.
During the excavations, two main periods were identified: the Harappan
(ha-RAP-pan) and Kot Dijian (KOT di-JAN). The researchers were particularly
excited about their discovery of the relationship between the two periods.
The archaeologists believe that the Harappan (ha-RAP-pan) Civilization
derived from the Kot Dijian (KOT di-JAN) and prefer to call the latter the
“Early Harappan (ha-RAP-pan) Culture”. Some researchers have identified
transitional phases between them at certain cites. But no transitional phase
was witnessed at these sites. Rather a complete break between them was
observed. A 21 inch-thick ashy layer devoid of any cultural material
separates them. The Harappans (ha-RAP-pan) and the Kot Dijians (KOT di-JAN)
lived in mud-brick structures on the site in the Gomal (GO-mal) Plain, while
in Harappa (ha-RAP-pa) and Moenjodaro (?) they lived in kiln-baked brick
structures. The orientation of the rooms remained unchanged. The Kot Dijians
(KOT di-JAN) at Gomal (GO-mal) used the same style of architecture with only
slight variations from the Harappans (ha-RAP-pans). The Harappans of the
region worshipped the mother-goddess, and cult objects in the shape of
female figurines were collected from the site. They reflect a regional
variation because they are slightly different from those found at Harappa
(ha-RAP-pa) and Moenjodaro. Other antiquities excavated from the site include stone blades, tools and beads; metal objects like antimony rods and
nails, and baked clay ceramics. The Harappan (ha-RAP-pan) pottery is mainly
plain. However, painted ceramics were also collected. These were painted
black on red in floral and geometrical patterns. On the other hand, the Kot
Dijian (KOT di-JAN) ceramics are thin and include short-necked grooved ware,
flanged-rimmed and painted and plain ware, Quetta (QUET-ta) wet-ware and
rimless bows.

That wraps up the news for this week!
For more stories and daily news updates, visit Archaeologica on the World
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I’m Laura Pettigrew and I’ll see you next week!