Audio News for March 21st to March 27th

Welcome to the Audio News from Archaeologica! I’m Laura Kelley and  these are the headlines in archaeological and historical news from  March 21st to March 27th, 2005.

Possible Lost Nubian Queen Found


 Our first story is from Scotland, where skeletal remains held by the National Museum have been identified as a lost and yet unnamed Egyptian queen and her child. The bodies were acquired a year after being discovered by Sir Flinders Petrie in 1909 at Qurna.  Displayed at the Royal Museum for decades, the exhibit consisted of two coffins containing the remains as well as jewelry, a ceremonial fly whisk, a Syrian oil horn,  furniture, pottery, and food.  While Sir Flinders published a description of the burial soon after excavation, very little was  known about the mother and child.  Specialists from the museum will produce a documentary for the Discovery Channel in conjunction with Atlantic Productions. The lost queen is believed to be a Nubian princess who joined the Egyptian royal family through an ancient dynastic marriage.  Using strontium isotope analysis, which examines the composition of tooth enamel, and carbon dating, the team was able  to prove the remains were of Egyptians and dated to around 1650 BC.  Infrared technology was used to read damaged inscriptions and, with the help of hieroglyphic experts, they were also able to establish  that the adult remains were likely to be of a lost queen.  Reconstruction using 3D laser technology, completed by Caroline Wilkinson, an anthropologist from Manchester University, enabled the  team to map one of the skulls, which led to the conclusion that it was the lost queen's child. Studies of the child’s skeleton suggest the age at death to be around two to three years old.  The  documentary, “A Lost Queen?” will be broadcast on the Discovery  Channel on April 8.  It is part of a series called Mummy Autopsy, which looks at how mummy specialists investigate and solve cases across the world.

Measures Being Taken to Preserve Ancient Greece's History


 In Turkey, a plan has been initiated for new excavations in the ancient city of Pedasa, located eight kilometers from Bodrum.  Pedasa was an important Lelegian city that thrived between the 11th and 6th  centuries BC.  Last year, a copper needle, along with other artifacts and jewelry dating back 3,000 years were found in a royal  tomb.  Karya Research Center President Professor Adnan Diler spoke at a meeting mapping out current and future excavations at the site.  Diler has been working actively to preserve the ancient city of  Pedasa for the past eight years and introduced a new project for further excavation.  Historians and archeologists from Germany will  study the site together with Turkish experts.  Satellite photos will be taken for detailed mapping and ancient buildings will be restored  and opened to the public. The project is expected to cost  approximately $1 million.  The excavations so far have unearthed numerous artifacts from hundreds of Tholos, a subterranean domed tomb chamber, believed to belong to royal families as well as at the Temple of Athena and Pedasa Castle.  The Leleg was a prehellenic civilization that occupied various parts of the Greek mainland and islands as well as in West Asia Minor. They survived into early historical times, when the Carians assimilated them.

Bridging the Gap with America's Revolutionary Past


For more than two centuries, the waters of Lake Champlain in Vermont have hidden the remains of a marvel of 18th-century engineering, a bridge built by 2,500 sick and hungry Continental soldiers.  Historians say the bridge was constructed in March and April of 1777.  Thousands of huge pine logs were skidded onto the ice, notched  together and weighed down with rocks. These logs, called caissons, sank to the lake bottom through holes the soldiers cut in the ice.  By spring, 22 caissons, some up to 50 feet tall, reached the lake's surface.  They supported a 16-foot-wide deck that linked Fort Ticonderoga in New York and Mount Independence in Vermont. The American troops were soon forced to use the bridge they had built.  In July1777, they fled the British army that was bearing down on Fort Ticonderoga. The British occupied the fort and later destroyed the bridge. Since the caissons were set so deep that they did not interfere with boats on the lake, the bridge was largely forgotten until 1983, when divers discovered the largely intact caissons laid out in an arc between the two shores.  Lake Champlain Maritime Museum director Art Cohn and others began to study the bridge more intensely in 1992, mapping the locations of the caissons, and recovered thousands of Revolutionary War artifacts apparently dumped in the lake when the British abandoned the fortifications in late 1777. Then, last year, a 26-foot beam estimated to weigh between 1,500 and 1,800 pounds surfaced and was pulled to shore. It sat there until December, until the ground was frozen enough so that a truck could be driven down to the water's edge and the beam could be retrieved. Now a piece of that bridge sits in the preservation laboratory at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, destined to give visitors a portal into revolutionary times.

Finds by Pak-Korea Team Extend Back Taxila Valley Civilization


Our final story is from Pakistan, where discoveries will open new chapters of Buddhist history in Taxila valley civilization. The finds include three coins from the Scythian and late Kushan period  eras, a Buddha head, a large number of stucco sculptures called  Bodhisattvas, Greek architectural pieces and parts of a monastery.  These marvelous artifacts were found near the world-renowned Buddhist University of Julian as a South Korean team of archaeologists excavated near the first century AD site of Julian.  Archaeologist and researcher Professor Moon Miyagdeh, with South Korean conservation expert Professor Ahan, headed the joint Pakistani-South Korean thirteen-member team. The  excavations started February 3rd at the site of the ancient monastery.  During the first month of excavations, archaeologists discovered a large number of fragmented stucco sculptures of Buddha and a piece of Buddha head dating to the fourth century AD.  Of the coins discovered, one related to the Scythian period of the first century AD, with a king on horseback on one side and the Greek god Zeus on the other.  The other coin belongs to the late Kushan period and dates back to fourth century AD.  Experts say that the recent excavations at Taxila have pushed back the dating of the ancient settlement by centuries.

That wraps up the news for this week!

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 I’m Laura Kelley and I’ll see you next week!