– Terrestrial Archaeology, Marine Archaeology & Astro-Archaeology – News Headlines Archive – July 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
some news sources require registration but this is usually free
“It is finally over for Zahi Hawas, Egypt’s famous, flamboyant and controversial archaeologist.
He was shuffled out last week in a cabinet change made under pressure from protesters. The Ministry of State for Antiquities, created by Hosni Mubarak just days before his overthrow on February 11 and given to Mr Hawas, was cancelled.
Mr Hawas, whose trademark Indiana Jones hat turned him into a face recognised the world over, has long been a controversial figure. His fall last week, critics say, was way overdue.
There have been accusations that discoveries announced before international media were either old ones or made by subordinates and claimed by the 64-year-old Mr Hawas. Some were hyped well beyond their significance, critics say.
Voted by Time magazine in 2003 as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, Mr Hawas never shied away from the fame archaeology provided him. He recently started a fashion line named after him, featuring khaki garments similar to those worn by archaeologists in the early 20th century.
He prided himself on being the “keeper and guardian” of Egypt’s heritage. In 2009, he told an Egyptian magazine that George Lucas, the creator of the Indian Jones films, had come to visit him in Egypt “to meet the real Indiana Jones”. He engineered much of his work to promote his image, perhaps with financial gain in mind.
However, it was not Mr Hawas’s flamboyance that caused his downfall. It was the perception that he was too close to the Mubarak regime.”
“Early human ancestors walked fully upright about 2 million years earlier than scientists have long suggested, according to the results of a recent study.
A team of researchers at the University of Liverpool, along with scientists at the University of Manchester and Bournemouth University, applied a new statistical technique often used in functional brain imaging to obtain a three-dimensional average of the famous 11 footprints discovered at Laetoli, Tanzania, discovered by Mary Leakey in 1976.
The footprints are interpreted to have been left originally in soft volcanic ash by a group of three individuals of the Australopithecus afarensis species following the eruption of the nearby Sadiman Volcano approximately 3.7 million years ago.”
Of the many ancient structures that have been discovered in the shallow waters off the coasts of almost every continent over the past two or three decades, none has aroused such widespread interest as those discovered off the coast of Yonaguni-jima, an island in the Ryukyu chain that form the remotest part of the Japanese archipelago.
These enigmatic structures have been studied by archaeologists, prehistorians, geologists and seismologists, yet still defy satisfactory explanation other than that they may be the remnants of a previously unknown civilisation.
Despite the highly tectonic area in which they are situated, estimates as to when these structures may have last been above current sea-levels range widely but cluster around a date approximately 10,000 years ago. This date coincides with the abrupt and catastrophic end of the last Ice Age, when sea-levels rose hundreds of feet over very short timescales, and when coastal settlements around the world were inundated by the rising seas.
The Morien Institute has tried to keep a finger on the pulse of developments since our Research Director, John Michael, first discussed the Yonaguni structures with Dr Robert Shoch at a June 1999 astro-archaeology conference held at the Universities of Milano and Bergamo in Italy. As well as the Yonaguni structure they also discussed the implications of Dr. Schoch’s work in Egypt, where he proposed a radically early new date for The Great Sphinx on the Giza plateau, and the emerging evidence of our planet’s periodical bombardment by asteroids and cometary debris that have occured quite regularly over the past 15,000 years, and indeed even in more recent times.
At the conference Dr Shoch revealed that there are more than one enigmatic structure to be found off the coast of Yonaguni-jima, and that, while some appear to have been the result of persistant natural wave action in an area of notoriously fast and dangerously strong currents, others seem to have been modified in a manner that, even after numerous dives off the coast of Yonaguni-jima to inspect the structures, he admitted they still defied explanation.
Many observers, from professional divers used to seeing large rock outcrops and other natural phenomena on the seabed, to academic archaeologists, geologists and marine seismologists like Prof. Masaaki Kimura, have likened the main structure to a ‘pyramid’, and so the legend of the ancient ‘Undewater Japanese Pyramid’ was born.
It went viral on the net for about a decade, then eased off as more information entered the public domain from the many hundreds of people who have since dived off the coast of Yonaguni-jima to see the structures for themselves.
Below is a short video featuring local dive tour operator Kihachiro Aratake, the first discoverer of these structures. The Morien Instituteinvestigation of these structures, and a few of the interviews done with some of those who have dived off the coast of Yonaguni-jima, and those who have investigated other enigmatic ancient remains discovered underwater in other parts of the world, are available in the Morien InstituteMarine Archaeology Archive.
The Yonaguni underwater pyramid structures
discovered in 1987
News Headlines Digest Period Ending Friday July 15 2011
“A carving of a dancing shaman has been found on an ancient pottery shard unearthed years ago at an archaeological site in Aomori, making it possibly the oldest depiction of a shaman on an artifact uncovered in Japan.
“It is speculated to be a shaman with a ritual tool in hand, praying and dancing. It is a very valuable find,” says Michio Okamura, chairman of an expedition committee for the site.
The shard was uncovered in 1993 from an earth mound near the center of the Sannai-Maruyama archaeological site in the city of Aomori.”
“The oldest epigraphic and digital record of a king wearing the upper Egyptian crown has been relocated in Al-Kab archaeological site, north Aswan.
Following the relocation of the artefacts, a team from Yale University, the University of Bologna and the Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg, Belgium, has completed the first epigraphic and digital record of a site near Nag El-Hamdulab on the west bank of the Nile, north of Aswan.
The site was discovered nearly half a century ago by the famous Egyptian Egyptologist Labib Habachi.
Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass said this new and thorough study has brought to light a previously unknown Early Dynastic cycle of royal images and an early hieroglyphic inscription.”
“Bulgarian archaeologists have dug up an iron labrys, a ceremonial doubleheaded ax, at the residence of the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom, the state of the most powerful tribe of Ancient Thrace, located at the mount of Kozi Gramadi.
The ax was discovered on Monday, July 4, 2011, by the team of Ass. Prof. Ivan Hristov, Bulgaria’s National History Museum announced on Tuesday.
It was dug up near the main gate of the fortified residence of the Odrysian rulers, and is the second labrys ever discovered at an Ancient Thrace site, after another such ax was found in the same archaeological site during its first more thorough excavation in 2005.
“The new find is very well preserved. It is 22 cm long, and very massive. We have several hypotheses for its use. The labrys was used more for certain types of processions rather than for household or military purposes,” explained Dr. Ivan Hristov.”
“This week, during their routine excavation work, the French-Egyptian archaeological team working at the Karnak Temple in Luxor uncovered two major monuments.
The first is the wall that once enclosed the New Kingdom temple of the god Petah and the second is a gate dated back to the reign of 25th dynasty King Shabaka (712-698 BC).
Christophe Tiers, director of the Karnak French mission, said that the mission has also unearthed a number of engraved blocks from the Petah temple.
During the restoration process, archaeologists realised that the blocks date to the reign of King Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BC) which means that the construction of the temple started under Egyptian rule and not during the Ptolemaic dynasty as was previously thought. ”
“In 1877, when archeology was still in its infancy, art professor Friedrich Klopfleisch climbed an almost nine-meter (20-foot) mound of earth in Leubingen, a district in the eastern German state of Thuringia lying near a range of hills in eastern Germany known as the Kyffhäuser. He was there to “kettle” the hill, which entailed having workers dig a hole from the top of the burial mound into the burial chamber below.
When they finally arrived at the burial chamber, everything lay untouched: There were the remains of a man, shiny gold cloak pins, precious tools, a dagger, a pot for food or drink near the man’s feet, and the skeleton of a child lying across his lap.
The “prince” of Leubingen was clearly a member of the elite. Farmers who had little to eat themselves had piled up at least 3,000 cubic meters (106,000 cubic feet) of earth to fashion the burial mound.
They had also built a tent-shaped vault out of oak beams and covered it with a mound of stones, as if he had been a pharaoh.
For years, scholars have puzzled over the source of the prince’s power. But Thuringia’s state office of historical preservation has now come a step closer to solving the mystery.”
[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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