Audio News for January 24th to January 30th.

Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Laura Kelley and these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from January 24th to January 30th, 2005.

Threatened Colorado site part of extensive trade network


Our first story is from the United States. In Colorado, around five thousand years ago, a group of ancient people built homes on the edge of a stream in what is now the town of Parker. Last November, a team of archaeologists working at a site in Parker uncovered what might be the most complete evidence of a permanent village in the region about 5,000 years ago. The houses were large, some of them 24 feet across, with wood posts and walls of brush or hide.  The people probably spent months in the area and may have returned again and again. The experts have a month or two to make sense of bones, points, and pithouses. After that, the site will most likely be demolished to make way for a new reservoir complex. According to Erik Gantt, lead archaeologist, the artifacts found in Parker— the toe bone of an ancient bison, hundreds of spearpoints and especially the rare home sites—will help archaeologists understand a period of time about which relatively little is known. On a nearby mesa, his team has discovered tens of thousands of spear points and other tools from the same time period, and a stone circle, which appears to be ceremonial. The homes were dug a foot or more into the ground, then encircled with posts and draped with animal hides or brush. Gantt and his crew have discovered fire pitsin the centers of the structures, and storage pits for dried meat or pemmican, a mixture of meat, berries and other foods. Archaeologists have found similar hamlets, also about 5,000 years old, in Wyoming's Wind River Range and Colorado's San Luis Valley, Gantt said. These ancient peoples apparently had trade networks stretching for hundreds of miles.

Neolithic site discovered in China


In China, the Ningbo Institute Archaeology announced after a 4-month excavation the discovery of a 7,000-year-old village of the early Hemudu culture. The site is at Fujiashan in the eastern province of Zhejiang. According to a specialist from the institute, the site is one of the largest-scale and best-preserved sites in the province after the Hemudu site itself. The relics excavated evidenced a Neolithic site in the early stage of Hemudu culture and involved cultivation, fishing, hunting and gathering. The Fujiashan site is12 miles from the Hemudu site and 4 miles from the recently discovered Tianluoshan site, which belongs to the same culture. The positioning of the three sites indicates that the Yaojiang River may have been the home of the Hemudu culture. Archeologists said the inhabitants built houses and settled down as their lifestyle shifted from hunting animals to planting vegetables, raising livestock and making handicrafts. They found fragments of charcoal, from roof crossbeams suggesting that it may have been fire that destroyed the village. Among the artifacts earthenware was most prominent, and some were first examples in Hemudu culture, as were the patterns engraved onto them. Including among the relics is a delicate, vivid eagle-head-shaped out of ivory, chiseled on both the front and back. The eagle's beak is hook-shaped and itseyes are wide open, giving it a fierce and powerful expression. An interesting find was a pot full of cooked water chestnuts. The archaeologists speculated that it might have been abandoned after a sudden disaster, such as a flood or fire.

Bronze Age skeletons are English national treasure


In England, archaeologists have unearthed a unique site in Kent that they claim contains the best-preserved examples of Bronze Age skeletons. The discovery was made during a six-month excavation of a plot of land due to be the site of a new residential development.  Archaeologist Darren Godden said the find would help explain what happened to human remains during the Bronze Age.  He further stated that the find is of real national importance because graves from this period are rare.  The grave contained several skeletons which had been preserved from 3000 years worth of decay by the clay soil. Due to its national importance, archaeologists said they did not want the exact location of the dig disclosed in order to prevent further disturbance or looting.

Weather unveils Roman statue in Greece

Our final story is from Athens where heavy rains have brought to the surface anunexpected find: an ancient marble statue, which had been buried in a ditch near the capital. According to the director for Athens classical antiquities at the Greek culture ministry, the 6-foot tall marble torso of a young man was accidentally discovered by a passer-by who alerted authorities. The statue isa Roman copy of an ancient Greek original and possibly represents Apollo, the ancient god of medicine, music, poetry and prophecy. Ancient artists represented Apollo as an archetype for manly youth and beauty. The statue could have been recently discovered by building workers during residential construction, and thrown into the ditch for fear that archaeologists might stopthe works if alerted to the finding. The first century AD statue was transferred to the archaeology museum at the Athens port of Piraeus.

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 Kelley and I’ll see you next week!