– Terrestrial Archaeology, Marine Archaeology & Astro-Archaeology News Headlines Archive – February 2011 – new archaeological discoveries on land and underwater – with emphasis on the ancient sciences reflected in astro-archaeology and archaeoastronomy from new discoveries revealing its practice in ancient societies under ancient skies
The events of July 16th – 22nd 1994, when the remnants of a fragmenting comet, P/Shoemaker-Levy 9, bombarded the
surface of Jupiter causing fireballs many times the size of our own planet, were an abrupt wake-up call even for those
who were aware of them. The historical sciences generally, and archæology in particular, have collectively painted
a picture of the past as if our planet ‘stands alone in empty space’. Nothing could be further from reality. Our resilient planet exists in a solar system that has had a very dynamic history over the past 20,000 years or so and it is only from this wider solar system perspective that the true history of human civilisation can ever
be fully understood. Therefore, The Morien Institute archive contains information from many disciplines
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“Recently, bones of 80 horses were unearthed from two subordinate tomb pits of Emperor Wudi, who lived more than 2,000 years ago in the Han dynasty.
The discovery may rekindle a legend about the “blood-sweating” horse in ancient China, Xinhua reported.
The story of Wudi, “Emperor of the Silk Road,” and the “blood-sweating” horse has already become a legend of Chinese culture, and many people are interested in the legendary horse, which disappeared long ago.”
“Renovation work on the aged Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway on the stretch between the central Athenian neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Thisseio have brought to light one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries of recent years.
Archaeologists believe that remnants found during construction in the area of the Ancient Agora, on the northwestern slope of the Acropolis, belong to the famed Altar of the Twelve Gods, one of Athens’s most ancient monuments and a landmark that marked the very center of ancient city, from which all distances were measured — like an ancient Syntagma Square, which marks the starting point in terms of street numbers.
The find has created a lot of excitement among Greek archaeologists, who believe that it will change the map of Ancient Athens as we know it.”
“Explorers have discovered what might be the oldest evidence of humans in the Americas.
Alex Alvarez, Franco Attolini, and Alberto (Beto) Nava are members of PET (Projecto Espeleológico de Tulum), an organization that specializes in the exploration and survey of underwater caves on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
PET/GUE diver Franco Attolini places a scale and directional marker near an ancient human skull as part of the team’s recent exploration efforts in the Yucatan Peninsula underwater caves
Alex, Franco and Beto have surveyed tens of thousands of feet of mazelike cave passages in the state of Quintana Roo.
The team’s relatively recent explorations of a large pit named Hoyo Negro (Black Hole, in Spanish), deep within a flooded cave, resulted in their breathtaking and once-in-a-lifetime discovery of the remains of an Ice Age mastodon and a human skull at the very bottom of the black abyss.”
“The Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology reported on Feb. 14 that it discovered an ancient tomb group covering an area of more than 10,000 square meters 100 kilometers south of Hami City in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
This is the first time that a tomb group dating back 3,000 years has been found in Hami region.
It was also the first time that a tomb with a sacrificial altar was found in the Xinjiang region. Most burial objects were made of pottery and wood, but some objects made from stones, bones, horns, bronze and iron were also found here.”
“Silvia Bello, Simon Parfitt and Chris Stringer from the Department of Paleontology, The National History Museum (London, UK) recently reported the discovery of the earliest Ice Age cups made from human skulls.
Such macabre cups and bowls are known at least since the 5th century BCE, when ancient Greek historian Herodotus portrayed the Scythians as people who drank from the skulls of their enemies, and similar traditions have been described by the ancient Chinese historian Sima Qian in the 1st or 2nd centuries BCE.
Still, archaeological evidence of how skull cups were made is extremely rare. ”
“Recent reports indicate that several archaeological sites have been vandalized.
Sabry Abdel Aziz, head of the Pharaonic Sector of the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs, reported on Thursday that the tomb of Hetep-Ka, in Saqqara, was broken into, and the false door was stolen along with objects stored in the tomb.
In Abusir, a portion of the false door was stolen from the tomb of Re-Hotep.”
“An important religious temple of the Mochica culture, along with a group of tombs from all the cultures that inhabited the northern coast of Peru from 1,500 B.C. until the Spanish conquest, have recently been discovered in the Lambayeque region of Peru’s north coast.
Edgar Bracamonte, the archaeologist heading the project, told Efe Thursday that the discoveries indicate that the region, famous for the discovery of the magnificent tomb of the Lord of Sipan – considered the Tutankhamun of America – has many more surprises in store.
Work began on the Santa Rosa pre-Colombian tomb last November as part of a series of projects that include new explorations but also entail work to protect the archaeological sites from the weather and to prevent looting by tomb raiders.
‘What we have found at the site is a complete sequence of cultural occupation of the northern coast of Peru in the Lambayeque Valley, from its primitive origins until the Incas – in other words, from 1,500 B.C. to the arrival of Spaniards in the area’, Bracamonte said.”
“One of the most significant socioeconomic changes in the history of humanity took place around 10,000 years ago, when the Near East went from an economy based on hunting and gathering (Mesolithic) to another kind on agriculture (Neolithic).
Farmers rapidly entered the Balkan Peninsula and then advanced gradually throughout the rest of Europe.
This image shows the chronology of the Neolithic wave of advance in Europe
The arrow corresponds to the Y-direction in the model
EurekAlert / J. Fort y N. Isern
Various theories have been proposed over recent years to explain this process, and now physicists from the University of Girona (UdG) have for the first time presented a new model to explain how the Neolithic front slowed down as it moved towards the north of the continent.
‘The model shows that the farmers’ dispersal and reproduction was limited by the high density of hunter-gatherers in northern Europe’, Neus Isern, a physicist at the UdG and lead author of the study, tells SINC.”
“Looters have done severe damage to Dutch archaeological projects in Egypt, says Maarten Raven, Egyptologist at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities.
He was due to visit one of the projects this week, but was forced to cancel his trip due to the major unrest in the North African country.
The projects in question are archaeological digs in Sakkara, not far from Cairo. The Dutch museum has been in charge of a project there since 1975.
It is as site where people have been buried for over 4000 years. It is also the site of the famous step pyramids and monuments to buried pharaohs from the 14th and 13th centuries BC, the time of Tutankhamen and Ramses the Second.”
“Fears are held for Egypt’s precious historical treasures amid reports of widespread looting.
International archaeologists have expressed deep anxiety that Egyptian officials have played down the damage and that the true extent of pillaging at museums, storage facilities and dig sites was yet to emerge from the besieged capital.
Parts of unidentified mummies are seen damaged on the floor of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
AP, source: Herald Sun, Australia
Zahi Hawass, the Minister of State Antiquities in the new government named by President Hosni Mubarak assured media yesterday that soldiers were protecting all 24 national museums and that looters were responsible for only a small amount of damage at the main Cairo museum, home to thousands of priceless artefacts.
But reports also surfaced yesterday of ongoing looting at important museums and sites throughout Egypt, including at Saqqara, a famous site south of Cairo where hundreds of tombs spanning 3000 years are known.”
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.
The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2006 the journal “Nature” published a letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon – as seen from the Earth: – Ed]
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