Audio News for June 28th to July 4th.

Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Laura Pettigrew and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from June 28th to July 4th.

New Headline: Ancient Ruins of Fremont Culture  Finally Revealed in Utah  

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Our first story is a follow up from the state of Utah where archaeologists revealed an almost perfectly preserved picture of ancient life that had been kept secret for more than a half-century. Hundreds of sites on a private ranch turned over to the state offer some of the best evidence of the little-understood Fremont culture, hunter-gatherers and farmers who lived mostly within the present-day borders of Utah. A multitude of pristine rock art panels, some colored in red, white, yellow, black and peach, are scattered across the canyon along Range Creek. On one panel, the ancient inhabitants etched spirals and human figures with miniature hands among animal figures. Archaeologists said the villages were occupied more than 1,000 years ago, but habitation may reach back 4,500 years. Officials kept known burial sites and human remains out of view of reporters and cameras, but within a single square mile of lush meadows, archaeologists showed off one village site and said there were five more, where arrowheads, pottery shards and other artifacts can still be found lying on the ground. Archaeologists said the occupation sites, which include Cliffside granaries full of grass seed and corn; offer an unspoiled slice of life of the ancestors of modern American Indian tribes. The settlements are scattered along 12 miles of Range Creek and up side canyons. Utah state archaeologist Kevin Jones stated, "We've documented about 225 sites, and it's just scratching the surface. There are hundreds of other sites." The half-buried houses don't have the grandeur of overhanging cliff shelters, but they are remarkable in that they hold a treasure of information about the Fremont culture that has been untouched by looters. The Fremont people were efficient hunters. They fished for abundant trout in Range Creek, using a hook and line or weirs. In their more advanced stage of civilization they grew corn. Waldo Wilcox, the rancher who sold the land to the Trust for Public Land, kept the archaeological sites a closely guarded secret for more than 50 years. The Trust transferred the ranch to the Bureau of Land Management, which turned it over to the state of Utah.

New Headline: Secrets to Egypt's Military Past Found Near Sinai Peninsula


In Egypt, an archaeological team has uncovered battlements from the Pharaonic eras at the ancient eastern gateway in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.  The find includes three fortifications built in the area of the ancient city of Tharu (TAR-ru), which once stood on a branch of the Nile that dried up a long time ago. The battlements stand on the ancient Horus Road, a route from ancient Egypt to Asia vital to commerce and the military. The discoveries, about 20 miles east of the Suez Canal, form part of the defenses that stretched along the route. The Horus Road was fortified through the ages starting from Egypt's Middle Kingdom around 2000 BC until the Roman and Greek eras around 323 BC. Among the finds was a fort dating to the era of the Hyksos (HIK-sos), a people thought to have invaded Egypt around the 17th century BC. The fort was probably destroyed in fighting when Kamose and Ahmose expelled the Hyksos (HIK-sos) in the 16th century BC. Seti I, one of Egypt's great warrior pharaohs who reigned from about 1318 to 1304 BC, launched his campaigns along the Horus Road. His exploits are recorded in engravings in the Karnak temple complex in Luxor.

New Headline: Florida State Professor Hopes to Bring to Light Roman Pirate Shipyard


An anthropology professor at Florida State University hopes she's on the verge of rediscovering the ships of the pirates who were terrorizing the shipping lanes of the Romans 2,100 years ago. It reportedly took the Roman general Pompey (Pom-pee)  just 40 days to locate and wipe out the ships and crews that were preying on shipping. It has taken much, much longer for modern scientists to again find the pirates of the Mediterranean. Cheryl Ward is the main investigator in a major archaeological mission that will be trying this month to find evidence of the ships in the shallow waters off the southern coast of Turkey. The dream find would be to locate one of their vessels, known as hemioliae (HEM-ee-o-lee-AY), a rowed ship that was the terror of the 1st century. We know what they look like from Roman descriptions, but none have ever been discovered. Ward and her colleagues are hoping to paint a picture of a different class of people from those we know a lot about. Much of our knowledge comes from what the educated, wealthy Romans left us in the way of writing and artifacts. But the pirates were the underclass and consequently we know very little about them. "We would love to find a shipyard," said Ward, who will be exploring areas of the Turkish coast that used to be dry before erosion shrunk the land. Pompey had 120,000 men and 270 ships looking for pirates. Ward has a few graduate students and some fellow researchers from a Turkish university. But the pirate project has become a big topic in the archaeological world. Her work is part of a larger project that isn't confined to the sea. Researchers working on land also are studying the area of Turkey known as Cilicia (sel ISH ya) - where many pirates were based.

New Headline: Caves May Help Solve Cross-Continental Image Mystery

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In our final story a research team led by a British archaeologist is traveling to China in search of the origins and meaning of a mysterious ancient symbol identified in sacred sites across Britain, Europe, and the Middle and Far East. Depictions of three hares joined at the ears have been found in roof bosses of medieval parish churches in Devon, 13th century Mongol metal work from Iran, and cave temples from the Chinese Sui (sway) dynasty of AD 589-618. Scholars are fascinated at the design's prominence in Christian, Islamic and Buddhist holy contexts separated by 5,000 miles and almost 1,000 years. The symbol shows the hares chasing each other in a circle. Each of the ears in the image is shared between two animals so that there are only three ears shown. Four researchers will travel to China next month to examine paintings in 16 caves and meet experts in an attempt to shed light on the mystery. Dr Tom Greeves, a landscape archaeologist, has suggested the motif was brought to the West along the Silk Road. The symbol's meaning remains obscure but the hare has long had divine and mystical associations in the East and the West. Legends often give the animal magical qualities. In Britain the motif is most common in Devon where 17 parish churches contain roof bosses depicting the hares. There are examples elsewhere in Britain and in churches, chapels and cathedrals in France and Germany. The symbol has been found in Iran on a copper coin minted in 1281 and on a brass tray, both from the time of the Mongol Empire. The earliest known examples of the three hares are in representations of textile canopies painted on the ceilings of Buddhist cave temples in Dunhuang (dOOn-hwäng), an important staging post on the Silk Road.

That wraps up the news for this week!  For more stories and daily news updates, visit Archaeologica on the World Wide Web at , where all the news is history!

I m Laura Pettigrew and I ll see you next week!