martes, 27 de noviembre de 2012

Analizan en el MARQ resultados de excavaciones arqueológicas del s. XXI en Alicante

Cerca de 150 personas han participado este lunes en la inauguración de las II Jornadas de Arqueología y Patrimonio Alicantino en las que durante dos días expertos y profesionales abordan los avances en investigación y los resultados de las excavaciones realizadas en la provincia de Alicante durante la primera década del siglo XXI, según ha informado en un comunicado la Diputación alicantina.

El diputado de Cultura, Juan Bautista Roselló, acompañado por la directora general de Patrimonio Cultural, Marta Alonso, ha dado comienzo a esta actividad que hasta este martes tendrá lugar en el Museo Arqueológico de Alicante (MARQ).

El evento, de carácter formativo, ha sido constituido como un foro 'de reflexión y diálogo' en el que analizar la 'práctica y el futuro' de la Arqueología a partir de la experiencia acumulada en la última década, 'sin obviar las actuales condiciones económicas', ha manifestado la institución provincial.

Así, Roselló ha destacado que a lo largo de los diez últimos años se ha recabado 'una cantidad importantísima' de material y conocimientos arqueológicos, al tiempo que ha apuntado que el objetivo principal de este certamen es 'analizar, poner en valor y reflexionar sobre todo el trabajo que se ha hecho y que queda por hacer'. 'La mejor manera de hacerlo es compartiéndolo con todos los agentes y profesionales que están relacionados con este campo'.

Por su parte, Alonso ha manifestado que estas jornadas 'deben servir para actuar desde el trabajo conjunto y la visión de futuro', con el fin de 'sentar las bases de excelencia' de la Arqueología alicantina y 'reeditar el compromiso' de la administración provincial y autonómica 'con aquellos que de forma tan honrosa' les precedieron.

En este sentido, la directora general autonómica ha destacado 'la importancia de establecer sinergias' entre universidades, diputaciones y ayuntamientos 'para optimizar la protección y difusión del rico patrimonio arqueológico de la Comunitat Valenciana', ha matizado.


La iniciativa, impulsada por el MARQ en colaboración con el Colegio Oficial de Doctores y Licenciados en Filosofía y Letras y en Ciencias de Alicante (CDL), ha sido estructurado en tres bloques, el primero de ellos titulado 'La Arqueología. Instituciones y gestión', donde se tratará la disciplina arqueológica desde la perspectiva de la Administración pública, la universidad, la empresa privada, el museo y el colegio de licenciados.

En cuanto al segundo bloque, se ha denominado 'Los avances de la investigación', y en él se recogerá el estado del conocimiento que la Arqueología ha aportado desde la Prehistoria hasta la Edad Moderna. Por último, la tercera unidad se titula 'La Arqueología en Alicante 2010-2011', donde se darán a conocer los resultados de las excavaciones y prospecciones más recientes.

lunes, 26 de noviembre de 2012

'Trust' provides answer to handaxe enigma

Trust rather than lust is at the heart of the attention to detail and finely made form of handaxes from around 1.7 million years ago, according to a University of York researcher.

Dr Penny Spikins, from the Department of Archaeology, suggests a desire to prove their trustworthiness, rather than a need to demonstrate their physical fitness as a mate, was the driving force behind the fine crafting of handaxes by Homo erectus/ergaster in the Lower Palaeolithic period.
Dr Spikins said: “We sometimes imagine that early humans were self-centred, and if emotional at all, that they would have been driven by their immediate desires. However, research suggests that we have reason to have more faith in human nature, and that trust played a key role in early human societies. Displaying trust not lust was behind the attention to detail and finely made form of handaxes.”
The ‘trustworthy handaxe theory’ is explained in an article in World Archaeology and contrasts sharply with previous claims that finely crafted handaxes were about competition between males and sexual selection.
Dr Spikins said: “Since their first recovery, the appealing form of handaxes and the difficulty of their manufacture have inspired much interest into the possible ‘meaning’ of these artefacts. Much of the debate has centred on claims that the attention to symmetrical form and the demonstration of skill would have played a key role in sexual selection, as they would have helped attract a mate eager to take advantage of a clear signal of advantageous genes.
“However, I propose that attention to form is much more about decisions about who to trust; that it can be seen as a gesture of goodwill or trustworthiness to others. The attention to detail is about showing an ability to care about the final form, and by extension, people too.
“In addition, overcoming the significant frustrations of imposing form on stone displays considerable emotional self-control and patience, traits needed for strong and enduring relationships.”
Handaxes, or bifaces, appeared around 1.7 million years ago in Africa and spread throughout the occupied world of Africa, Europe and western Asia, functioning primarily as butchery implements. Handaxe form remained remarkably similar for more than a million years.
Dr Spikins said: “Trust is essential to all our relationships today, and we see the very beginnings of the building blocks of trust in other apes. The implication that it was an instinct towards trust which shaped the face of stone tool manufacture is particularly significant to our understanding of Lower Palaeolithic societies. It sets a challenge for research into how our emotions, rather than our complex thinking skills, made us human.
Trust is essential to all our relationships today, and we see the very beginnings of the building blocks of trust in other apes
Dr Penny Spikins
“As small vulnerable primates in risky environments where they faced dangerous predators our ancestors needed to be able to depend on each other to survive - displaying our emotional capacities was part of forming trusting relationships with the kind of ‘give and take’ that they needed.”
Dr Spikins points to other higher primates, particularly chimpanzees, as well as modern human hunter-gatherers to back up her theory of trustworthiness.
“Long-term altruistic alliances in both chimpanzees and humans are forged by many small unconscious gestures of goodwill, or acts of altruism, such as soothing those in distress or sharing food,” said Dr Spikins.
“As signals of trustworthiness, these contribute to one’s reputation, and in hunter-gatherers reputation can be the key to survival, with the most trustworthy hunters being looked after most willingly by the others when they are ill or elderly.
“The form of a handaxe is worth considerable effort, as it may demonstrate trustworthiness not only in its production, but also each time it is seen or re-used, when it might remind others of the emotional reliability of its maker.”

Lost civilization unearthed

Ancient Balinese history was not uppermost in Ida Rsi Bhujannga’s life until plans to build a septic tank at his home turned into an archeological discovery that has scientists bewitched.

The elderly high priest says he is now fascinated by his community’s history, which the rare find of dozens of massive stones has uncovered. These meter-long stones are believed to be from a 14th century temple complex that may have been the largest ever constructed on the Island of the Gods.

“I have become very interested in archeology since this was found, because we must know our history here in Bali. As a priest I need to know about this history so I can teach people,” said Bhujannga.

He is speaking of ruins of a Hindu temple unearthed recently during excavations into rice fields to extend his home in Penatih village, Denpasar. Workers struck the huge mudstone foundations of the temple at just 70 centimeters below the surface, and in doing so have altered the Denpasar history books.

Head of Bali’s Archeology Unit, Made Geria, says the discovery is unique due to the scale of the stones used in the ancient temple’s foundations and their location.

Found: A man displays a section of rounded mudstone found at the excavation site of a 700-year-old Hindu temple.Found: A man displays a section of rounded mudstone found at the excavation site of a 700-year-old Hindu temple.“It is extremely rare to find a structure like this here — it is unique for Denpasar. The structure dates back to the Bali Kuno period, so it predates the Majapahit period in Bali. Technologically it is also rare. Moving the stones into position means the traditional gotong royong [working together] must have been used. Each stone needs six men to lift and move,” says Geria via phone.

The extent of the site is still unknown. Current excavations show the Hindu temple extending around 100 meters running north-south. In one section alone are dozens of the massive foundation stones intersected with the remains of thick red brick walls, similar to those seen in Java’s Hindu temples that also date back centuries.

The discovery of the ruins was first reported to the archeology unit by Chandra Kirawan, who also lives within the compound where the huge foundations were found.

“This area was a rice field and we wanted to put in a septic tank and over the back a water tower. This was about three months ago. The workers hit the stones when they were digging for the septic tank and they were shocked,” says Chandra, adding he was curious what these giant stones could mean.

“We all thought there were just a few stones and the workers thought they were lucky they had found something so they pulled up some of the stones. Then we realized there were a lot of these big stones, so I immediately reported the find to the archeology department,” says Chandra.

Recognizing the find was rare in Denpasar; the archeology team was on site in less than 24 hours to undertake a preliminary dig establishing the scale of the 700-year-old foundations. Building plans for the family’s septic tank and water tower have been put on hold, perhaps permanently, with this discovery of what is thought to be Bali’s largest ancient temple complex.

“Having this discovery on our property makes me feel really proud and happy, because it is not something you would ever expect. I have lived here all my life and I never knew what history was under my feet. It was just a rice field,” says Chandra, who with his family currently guards the ruins in their backyard while welcoming visitors to the site.

He says daily locals drop by to see the ruins, all excited that their small village was once home to a sophisticated civilization that perhaps rivaled the great Javanese Majapahit Kingdom. Unlike Majapahit, there are no stories handed down generation to generation telling of this lost civilization.

“We have no stories, no histories of this temple and of its people. So our community was really surprised by this discovery. The archeology department says there may be much more still to be found under the rice fields here. They believe the section we have found is the eastern wall of the temple complex, it was huge and the biggest ever found in Bali. What is clear I think is that at the time there must have been a civilization made up of many people, because a big temple like this would have needed a lot of people to build it,” says Bhujannga.

What other historical surprises remain hidden under Penatih’s rice fields, what is yet to be uncovered and what learned of Bali’s ancient history is still to unfold, according to archeology head Geria.

It is hoped funding will be available from 2013 for extensive research and excavation of the site, which he says is unique to Bali.

Until the discovery of the Penatih site, most of Bali’s major archaelogical treasures have been unearthed in Gianyar, home to the ancient Goa Gajah, Yeh Pulu and Gunung Kawi ruins.
Discovery: Balinese priest Ida Rsi Bhujannga has developed an interest in archeology with the unearthing of ancient ruins at his Denpasar home.Discovery: Balinese priest Ida Rsi Bhujannga has developed an interest in archeology with the unearthing of ancient ruins at his Denpasar home.
Maybe more: It is believed there may be more ruins under Denpasar’s rice fields.Maybe more: It is believed there may be more ruins under Denpasar’s rice fields.
Life goes one: Centuries on, a family temple is being built alongside the 700-year-old Hindu temple ruin.Life goes one: Centuries on, a family temple is being built alongside the 700-year-old Hindu temple ruin.

— Photos by J.B. Djwan

Metro dig unearths 12-ft Tipu cannon

Workers digging the ground for Bangalore Metro line at K R Market in the early hours of Thursday, stumbled upon a 12-feet cannon and a cannon ball belonging to Tipu Sultan era.
Keshava T M, the deputy superintending archeologist, excavation branch of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), who examined the cannon after being informed of the find, said the gun was made of iron and belonged to the 18th century.

“While the cannon weighs more than a tonne, the cannon ball is around 10 kg. The muzzle of the cannon is nearly 3/4th of its entire length,” Keshava said.

He said the significance of the find could only be known after complete excavation and examination. “In this case too, we still have to study few details to get to know the cannon in depth such as the capacity of the gun powder that was used, the length of fuse point, muzzle mouldings, etc. Such type of findings are usually collected and put in the museum by the government. The cannon needs to be chemically cleaned first and then shifted to the museum by the state government. There could be more such archeological finds in future as the site is located in the old Bangalore.”

Many curious onlookers gathered at the spot to have a glance at the ancient gun.
T P Prasanna Kumar, a historian who was present at the spot, said: “I got a call from the archeological department about the cannon and rushed to the spot. The area is a historical site surrounded by several places of importance. The government should see to it that these historical treasures are properly preserved and safeguarded.”

The archeological artefact was found four metres below the ground. An employee from Tipu Palace under the condition of anonymity said: “We are all really happy that something belonging to the Tipu era has been found. We are just hoping that the unearthed things lands up in the museum in the right condition.”

It’s not like CSI’: the Science of the Search for Richard III

Complexity of tests being performed on Grey Friars skeleton mean answers will not come overnight
Search for King Richard III press portal:
DNA testing, environmental sampling and radiocarbon dating are some of the tests being undertaken to determine whether the skeleton found in Leicester was once Richard III - and there are also plans to do a facial reconstruction.
Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, of the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services, has explained the schedule for the scientific processes the skeleton is being subjected to.
The complexity and rigorousness of the tests – along with the need to find specialist facilities for some crucial stages – mean that the results of the skeleton’s identity will not come overnight.
After the remains were exhumed, soil samples were taken from the grave and from around the skeleton which may provide information about the burial practice and its environment together with information related to health and diet of the person.
The skeleton has been given a computed-tomography (CT) scan which will allow scientists to build up a 3-D digital image of the individual.
From here, they hope to reconstruct the individual’s face, in a similar way to the images created of King Tutankhamun following CT scans of the 3,000-year-old mummy.
Samples of dental calculus - mineralised dental plaque, which sometimes builds up around teeth - will be taken from the skeleton to help the scientists find out more about the person's diet, health and living conditions.
Further samples have been taken from the teeth and a long bone so that ancient DNA can be extracted and compared with that of Michael Ibsen, believed to be a descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne of York via the female line.
But extracting the DNA from these samples is not straightforward, as even the act of breathing on 500-year-old remains can cause the sample to be contaminated with modern DNA.
While the testing of modern DNA from Michael Ibsen is being carried out at Leicester, the extraction of DNA from the skeleton is taking place in partnership with “ancient DNA” testing facilities which will allow the sample to be tested safely, without risk of contamination.
A separate genealogical study is being undertaken to verify Michael Ibsen’s connection to the Plantagenets and researchers also hope to identify a second line of descent.
The skeleton is also being radiocarbon dated by two separate labs, which should indicate - to within 80 years - the date the individual died.
The skeleton has now been cleaned, and is currently being examined in detail in an attempt to ascertain the individual’s age, build and the nature of its spinal condition.
Particular attention will be paid to the trauma to the skeleton which may have been incurred in battle – including the injury to the skull. Specialists in medieval battles and weaponry are advising the team on the kinds of instruments that may have caused the damage.
Forensic pathologists at the University’s East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit are also working with the team and are involved in helping to determine the cause of death.
Richard Buckley said: “We are looking at many different lines of enquiry, the evidence from which all add up to give us more assurance about the identity of the individual. As well as the DNA testing, we have to take in all of the other pieces of evidence which tell us about the person’s lifestyle – including his health and where he grew up.
“There are many specialists involved in the process, and so we have to coordinate all of the tests so the analysis is done in a specific order.
“The ancient DNA testing in particular takes time and we need to work in partnership with specialist facilities. It is not like in CSI, where DNA testing can be done almost immediately, anywhere – we are reliant on the specialist process and facilities to successfully extract ancient DNA.”
The University of Leicester, in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, is leading the Search for Richard III.
The University has made it clear that it is not saying it has found Richard III – rather that the skeleton has characteristics that warrant extensive further detailed examination and that the search has moved from an archaeological to a laboratory phase.
The University has added that the outcomes of its investigations are expected early next year - and that possible outcomes are:
• The scientific research suggests it is Richard III
• The scientific research suggests it is not Richard III
• The scientific research is inconclusive and therefore conclusions may be drawn from the evidence available.
The Search for Richard III is also the subject of a Channel 4 documentary being made by Darlow Smithson.

domingo, 25 de noviembre de 2012

Hallan nuevos datos sobre el que podría ser el primer asentamiento romano en Canarias

Se han encontrado restos de muros sobre una planta rectangular.
La zona está llena de fragmentos de conchas de Thais haemastoma, un molusco utilizado para la elaboración de la púrpura, un valioso tinte
Estos descubrimientos hacen pensar que el yacimiento podría estar relacionado con un asentamiento para la industria manufacturera de la púrpura romana

Tras la primera fase de excavación en el yacimiento de Isla de Lobos, en Fuerteventura, los arqueólogos han encontrado nuevos datos sobre el que podría ser el primer asentamiento estacional de una población romana localizado en Canarias.
El equipo está formado por técnicos del Cabildo de Fuerteventura, el Museo Arqueológico de Tenerife y la Universidad de La Laguna, y han concluido este mismo fin de semana la primera etapa de los trabajos de campo.
Los primeros sondeos permitieron identificar entre otros materiales restos de cerámica —presumiblemente de torno— y numerosos fragmentos de conchas de Thais haemastoma, popularmente conocida como carnadilla, un molusco utilizado en el periodo imperial romano para la elaboración de la púrpura, un valioso tinte.
Los hallazgos siguen en la línea de que el yacimiento podría estar relacionado con la existencia de un asentamiento para la industria manufacturera de la púrpura romana. Todo apunta a que este asentamiento corresponde a un periodo enmarcado entre los siglos I a.C. y II d.C.

 Encuentran pisos de habitación
 También es destacable la aparición de muros, restos de cerámica y miles de fragmentos de carnadilla fracturados siguiendo un mismo patrón, este último hecho asociado a una manipulación intencionada y estandarizada que hubiera permitido extraer la totalidad de la púrpura.
 Han aparecido pisos de habitación, restos de alimentos, fragmentos de ánfora, cerámica de cocina, cerámica fina y restos de elementos metálicos que habrá que estudia ahora para poder conseguir concusiones más contundentes.
 "Lo más importante es la aparición de restos de muros sobre una planta rectangular en la zona del yacimiento, y en próximas etapas de excavación, continuaran los trabajos alrededor de estos muros", dijo la directora del proyecto
 En lo que se refiere a la cerámica de torno, su localización es muy importante puesto que, de confirmarse su cronología, se demostraría que en Canarias hubo desde una época muy temprana emplazamientos de pueblos que conocían su utilización y que de alguna forma convivieron o mantuvieron contactos con los aborígenes.
 La singularidad del yacimiento en Isla de Lobos radica en que la cerámica aparecería ya contextualizada en un emplazamiento concreto y con actividad también relacionada con la obtención de tintes para su posterior comercialización

La expansión comercial

Desde el I milenio a.C. se desarrolló la expansión comercial desde el Mediterráneo oriental a cargo de pueblos navegantes como los fenicios y griegos, que buscaban fuentes de abastecimiento de materias primas y nuevos mercados para sus productos.
Se realizaron muchos viajes exploratorios que propiciaron el establecimiento de colonias y emporios fenicios en la costa atlántica, como los de Gadir, Lixus y Mogador.

 Las Islas Canarias, si se confirman las hipótesis iniciales apuntadas con localizaciones como la de Isla de Lobos, no fueron ajenas a este largo proceso comenzado desde el milenio I a.C. que finalizaría con la crisis del Imperio de los siglos III-IV d.C. y el posterior abandono de las factorías de salazones de la Mauritania Tingitana.
 En este sentido, la situación estratégica del archipiélago canario facilitó el establecimiento de las rutas comerciales de navegación atlántica. La gran riqueza en túnidos de las aguas del banco pesquero canario-sahariano pronto convertiría a las islas en una valiosa fuente de recursos pesqueros.

Archaeologists Excavate Massive Ancient Gateway in Jordan

The site is revealing remains of a major fortified Bronze Age city in the southern Jordan River Valley.
A team of archaeologists and excavators are uncovering a site that could be among the largest ancient Bronze Age cities of the Near East. Current efforts are focusing on a massive, newly discovered Middle Bronze II Period (1800 - 1540 BCE) city gate complex and associated structures, part of a nearly impenetrable defensive system that ringed and protected a city that the excavators suggest may have commanded and controlled a group of other nearby ancient settlements.
The city gate was revealed during excavations conducted during January of 2012 under the direction of Dr. Steven Collins of Trinity Southwest University and Yazeed Eylayyan of the Department of Antiquities, Jordan. It was one of a number of major architectural features associated with a massive defensive fortification system built to protect the city.
The fortifications boast a 4m-thick city wall which was built on a foundation of large stones up to 5m high and topped by a mudbrick superstructure. The entire construction was reinforced by an earthen/mudbrick rampart/glacis system that sloped outward and downward about 35 to 38 degrees from the city perimeter wall. Based on current excavated evidence and analysis, the newly discovered gateway constitutes the main, monumental gateway leading into the city through these fortifications.
Reports Collins, et. al.: "The sheer size and extent of the MB2 (Middle Bronze Age II) defensive system would have been most impressive, and virtually impregnable. Indeed, thus far there are no evidences of conquest-destruction for the duration of the Bronze Age defenses. There's also evidence of a substantial ring-road between the inner face of the MB2 city wall and the first row of houses."[1]
The remains of the ancient city encompass an area so large that it dwarfs surrounding ancient settlements that feature finds and structures roughly contemporaneous with the city, and analyses of the city's context, finds, and other data have led associated scholars to suggest that it may have been the hub of a collection of settlements that had relations economically, politically, or in other ways, as a Bronze Age city-state.
The recent discoveries are part of an ongoing excavation project conducted jointly by Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Department of Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The site, called Tall el-Hammam, is a large tel located in the southern Jordan River Valley, about 14 kilometers northeast of the Dead Sea. Now entering the 8th season, investigations there have revealed a long occupational history, beginning with the Chalcolithic Period through to Islamic times, with a distinctive occupational gap of at least five centuries following the Middle Bronze period. The reasons for the gap have not been confirmed, and scholars involved with the project are continuing to search for clues.
Archaeologists and a team of students and volunteers will be returning to the site to excavate and explore more of the city gate and other related structures in January, 2013.

Skulls, longbows, arrows ... and nitcombs! Science sheds light on life aboard Tudor warship

Nick Owen and Dr Sarah Forbes-Robinson from the Colleges of Engineering and Science visited the Year 8 pupils at the school to reveal how science and technology has helped them to discover more about the lives of the people on board Henry VIII’s warship which was sunk in 1545.
Mr Owen, a Sport and Exercise Biochemist who has been working with The Mary Rose Trust, showed pupils his work on samples of skeletons that were raised with the ship from the Solent in 1982.
Mr Owen’s research has focussed on the bones believed to be those of an elite company of professional archers who were known to have been on board the ship when it went down. Many of the skeletons show evidence of repetitive stress injuries of the shoulder and lower spine which are thought to be as a result of the shooting heavy longbows regularly.
Mr Owen said: “Archers had specialist techniques for making and using very powerful longbows. Some bows required a lifetime of training and immense strength as the archers had to pull weights up to 200lbs (about 90kg).”
Mr Owen has carried out biomechanical analysis on the skeletons of the archers and identified the effect of a life of using very powerful longbows on the musculoskeletal system, making some bones almost 50% bigger on one side of the body compared with the other.
Dr Forbes Robertson, a Biologist who specialises in DNA and genetics showed the pupils more about her research analysing tiny samples of DNA found in the skeletons.
She said: “The children looked at what DNA is, and how it has the potential to give us a great deal of detailed information from minute samples and can reveal more about the crew on board, such as their skin tone, hair and eye colour.”
When the findings from the DNA research are finalised they will be sent to forensic artist Oscar Nilsson in Sweden who is working with 3-D virtual images and 3D printed images of the skulls created by the university to make accurate reconstructions of the skulls.
Mr Owen said: “We hope that our findings will not only inspire a new generation of would be scientists here in Bishopston Comprehensive School but also re-create a slice of life from The Mary Rose nearly 500 years after she was sunk

El “colapso tecnológico” de la Antigüedad Tardía hizo retroceder a la sociedad casi a la época prerromana

Investigadores de la Universidad de Salamanca han presentado hoy en Zamora sus estudios sobre la frontera suevo-visigoda
JPA/DICYT La Fundación Rei Afonso Henriques de Zamora ha acogido hoy la primera jornada del ‘Congreso Internacional de Fortificaciones en la Tardoantigüedad: Élites y articulación del territorio entre los siglos V – VIII d.C.’, que se celebrará hasta el próximo viernes. En este marco, la Universidad de Salamanca ha presentado una investigación sobre la frontera suevo-visigoda, que se extendía aproximadamente desde la Cordillera Cantábrica hasta el centro de Portugal, pasando, entre otros territorios, por las actuales provincias de Zamora y Salamanca.

Enrique Ariño y Pablo Díaz, profesores del Departamento de Prehistoria, Historia Antigua y Arqueología
de la institución académica salmantina, han explicado sus investigaciones sobre este territorio fronterizo de los siglos V y VI. “Aunque las fuentes son escasas, en términos comparativos nuestro conocimiento del periodo es bastante bueno. Podemos reconstruir a grandes rasgos la historia política y religiosa, y en menor medida la estructura social”, han afirmado en declaraciones a DiCYT.

El informante esencial para el siglo V Hispano es el cronista Hidacio. “La información arqueológica es más pobre por cuanto tras la caída del Imperio hubo una rarificación de las obras monumentales y un empobrecimiento de las producciones cerámicas que suelen ser elementos esenciales en la interpretación arqueológica”, aseguran.

La línea de investigación de estos expertos pasa por aunar los testimonios arqueológicos y las fuentes literarias, básicamente testimonios escritos, para valorar si los confines entre el Reino Suevo y el Reino Visigodo contaron con estructuras defensivas que reforzasen las reivindicaciones de soberanía respectivas.

Pobres restos arqueológicos como material de trabajo

En este sentido, los vestigios arqueológicos sobre los que investigar “son en general pobres y poco definidos”, aseguran los científicos. En concreto, la cerámica es más pobre que en el periodo precedente y difícil de sistematizar, aunque los estudios han logrado algunos avances en estos años. La arquitectura monumental, con la excepción de las estructuras defensivas, “es pobre e inespecífica, sometida a grandes especulaciones cronológicas”.

A pesar de estas dificultades, los especialistas deducen que este periodo se produjo “una ruptura de las jerarquías políticas y territoriales que habían definido el mundo tardoimperial”. Además, se produjo un nuevo equilibrio de poderes donde las aristocracias locales cobran un protagonismo autónomo renovado. La sociedad sufrió “un empobrecimiento general asociado a altos niveles de violencia” y un “colapso tecnológico que regresa a situaciones casi prerromanas”.

En esta jornada han participado un total de 85 personas, entre ponentes, asistentes y presentaciones de posters. Este primer día del congreso organizado por la Asociación Científico-Cultural Zamora Protohistórica se ha centrado en cuestiones relacionadas con las fortificaciones tardoantiguas en la zona de la Meseta Central y en la zona Norte de la Península Ibérica.

Urbanismo ampliará la expropiación de los Baños de la Reina Mora, del siglo XII

La finalidad es acometer la segunda fase de intervención sobre el inmueble, que desea convertir en un espacio de actividades culturales y sociales. Su propietaria, la hermandad de la Vera-Cruz, propone un uso "de forma compartida con la ciudad".
Luis Sánchez-Moliní 

La Gerencia de Urbanismo dio el pasado miércoles un paso importante para el futuro disfrute público de los llamados Baños de la Reina Mora, un antiguo hamman de la época almohade (siglo XII) actualmente propiedad de la hermandad de la Vera-Cruz y de los vecinos de un bloque aledaño.

El Consejo de Gobierno de Urbanismo ha decidido proponer al gobierno municipal la ampliación del proceso de expropiación para incluir en el mismo la pequeña parcela de 39 metros cuadrados desligada de la finca propiedad de la Hermandad de la Vera-Cruz , a la cual se pensaba que pertenecía inicialmente, lo que supone una modificación de los acuerdos del 3 de febrero y 24 de marzo de 2011. Ahora, como afirmó este juevesa este periódico el hermano mayor de Vera-Cruz, Francisco Berjano, "sólo queda hablar del justiprecio de la expropiación".

Diez años después de que el Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, la Junta de Andalucía y los propietarios del lugar firmasen un acuerdo para la restauración y puesta en valor de los que en su día fueron los baños más grandes de Al-Ándalus, se podrá al fin acometer la segunda fase de esta intervención cuya finalidad, en principio, era dotar a la zona de un espacio para actividades culturales y sociales. Por su parte, Vera-Cruz ya ha expuesto a la Gerencia de Urbanismo su deseo de poder usar el espacio histórico, "de forma compartida con la ciudad", para sus actividades. Según Francisco Berjano, "estaríamos dispuestos a rebajar nuestras pretensiones económicas en el justiprecio a cambio de derechos de uso".

Como pudo comprobar en su día este periódico, lo más arduo de las obras de restauración del baño árabe declarado Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC) en 1996 ya se realizó en la primera fase de la intervención, que concluyó en 2008 y en la que se invirtió 544.463
euros. La empresa Construcciones Bellido, especializada en temas de patrimonio, se encargó de la consolidación estructural. De esta manera, sólo queda una segunda fase que consistirá, básicamente, en rematar y embellecer una obra que ya está prácticamente acabada, con intervenciones como la instalación eléctrica, solería, carpintería y la restauración de elementos como columnas, restos de pintura, una sebka de ladrillos y las yeserías. Existe, asimismo, un informe en el que los técnicos de Urbanismo aconsejan realizar excavaciones arqueológicas en el solar delantero a los baños.

Por supuesto, también será importante acometer cuanto antes el adecentamiento de la entrada al BIC desde la calle Baños, que lleva años desluciendo la zona por su carácter de provisionalidad, que no está ni mucho menos a la altura del monumento almohade.

Hasta el momento no hay presupuesto para estas acciones y la Gerencia de Urbanismo aún no se ha planteado el mismo. Primero habrá que fijar el justiprecio y luego decidir qué se quiere hacer y cómo. Los tiempos actuales de crisis no parecen ser los más propicios para una intervención patrimonial que no es de estricta necesidad.

sábado, 24 de noviembre de 2012

Genetic Keys to Human Intelligence Revealed?

It centers, in part, on how our neurons are regulated, say scientists.

A team of scientists have now identified small regions of the human genome that indicate that certain human neurons, as compared to their primate cousins and other animals, were uniquely regulated. They suggest that these neurons are key to our unique cognitive abilities, endowing us with an intellectual prowess unique in the animal kingdom. The discovery may also explain our potential vulnerability to a wide range of 'human-specific' diseases from autism to Alzheimer's disease.
Exploring which features in the genome separate human neurons from their non-human counterparts has been a challenging task until recently; primate genomes comprise billions of base pairs (the basic building blocks of DNA), and comparisons between the human and chimpanzee genomes alone reveal close to 40 million differences. Most of these are thought to merely reflect random 'genetic drift' during the course of evolution, so the challenge was to identify the small set of changes that have functionally important consequences, as these might help to explain the genomic basis of the emergence of human-specific neuronal function. Neurons are the basic building block units of the brain, electrically excitable cells that process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals.
The key to the present study, led by Dr Schahram Akbarian of the University of Massachusetts and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was not to focus on the "letters" of the DNA code, but rather on what might be called its "font" or "typeface". DNA strands of the genome are wrapped in protein to make a chromatin fiber, and the way in which they are wrapped, the "chromatin state", in turn reflects the regulatory state of that region of the genome (e.g. whether a given gene is turned on or off). This is the field that biologists call "epigenetics"—the study of the "epigenome".
Akbarian and colleagues set out to isolate small snippets small snippets of chromatin fibers from the frontal cortex, a brain region involved in complex cognitive operations. They were then able to analyze these snippets for the chemical signals (histone methylation) that define the regulatory state (on/off) of the chromatin. The results of their analysis identified hundreds of regions throughout the genome which showed a markedly different chromatin structure in neurons from human children and adults, compared to chimpanzees and macaques.

This discovery is providing researchers with interesting new leads that are providing clues to the evolution of the human brain. Although some of the regions have remained unchanged during primate evolution, others have changed, showing a DNA sequence that is unique to humans and our close extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. The study also uncovered examples where several of these regulatory DNA regions appear to physically interact with each other inside the cell nucleus, despite being separated by hundreds of thousands of base pairs on the linear genome. This phenomenon of "chromatin looping" is implicated in controlling the expression of neighboring genes, including several with a critical role for human brain development.
The study, conducted in laboratories in the United States, Switzerland and Russia, raises implications about the role of epigenetics and the epigenome in our biology and evolution. As Dr Akbarian notes, "Much about human biology and disease cannot be deduced by simply sequencing the genome. Mapping the epigenome of neurons and other cells will help us to better understand the inner workings of our brain, and where we are coming from."
The report of the study is published in the November 20 issue of the open-access journal PLOS Biology.

Forests near Yellowstone hold traces of human habitation dating back millennia

By Ruffin Prevost

MEETEETSE, WYO. — The greater Yellowstone area is cherished for its unspoiled landscapes and abundant wildlife. But it’s hardly a region that most people think of as an archaeological treasure trove. Most people, though, are wrong to think that.
That’s the viewpoint of Larry Todd, an archaeologist who grew up in Meeteetse, near the eastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and surrounded by the Shoshone National Forest. Todd has worked for more than 30 years studying traces left by ancient peoples in places as diverse as France, Ukraine and Ethiopia, as well as teaching in Colorado and Wyoming.
But for the past decade, he has stayed close to home, studying remote and rugged archaeological sites in northwestern Wyoming, including along the Wood River area near Meeteetse.
“You’re living in one of the great gems of natural and cultural resources you’re going to find anywhere,” Todd told a group in July during a field trip to the Double D Ranch sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
Todd led about two dozen hikers to a high bluff in the Shoshone Forest overlooking the remote site where Amelia Earhart had started building a cabin to escape the public spotlight before she disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
The subject of considerable public interest, Earhart’s historic cabin is now being restored. But Todd was more interested in learning about a mysterious hilltop ring of stones and wooden supports first documented in 1969, which he and others have been studying for the last few years.

Archaeologist Larry Todd discusses an ancient outpost in the Shoshone National Forest during a July field trip sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)
Archaeologist Larry Todd discusses an ancient outpost in the Shoshone National Forest during a July field trip sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

Ancient outpost

Researchers have speculated that the outpost was used as an ancient fort or hunting blind, but they have had little hard evidence to help date the site or better determine its exact use. At least not until July.
That’s when Todd was discussing the site with his group of GYC visitors and Kaitlyn Simcox, an archaeology student working with Todd, serendipitously found a flake of obsidian and a sheep bone as Todd spoke.
The tiny fragments, each smaller than a nickel, offered what Todd said was “strong evidence of prehistoric use” of the site, possibly for hunting or butchering sheep.
“Before we got here today, this was a totally enigmatic rock structure,” Todd told the group, beaming with the thrill of a discovery that might seem inconsequential at first blush, but that was deeply important to him.
The artifacts found by Simcox are among more than 80,000 cataloged since 2002 by Todd and others working on the Greybull River Sustainable Landscape Ecology project.
Though white settlers have frequented the Yellowstone area for only a couple of centuries, indigenous people have moved through and lived in the region for roughly 13,000 years, Todd said.
Finding traces of their presence, even tiny items like flakes of obsidian shed when making tools or projectile points, isn’t as hard as it might seem, he said.
Sites near water, with lots of wildlife, in scenic areas or with wide-ranging views have always attracted people.”The places that were favored and used in the past are the same places that are used today,” he said.
Todd and others are working to to shine new light on the rich but under-appreciated cultural history of the Shoshone Forest. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition asked its supporters to follow Todd to a few of his Wood River sites so they could share their ideas with others, including administrators finalizing the Shoshone Forest management plan.

Hikers make their way to an ancient hilltop outpost in the Shoshone National Forest during a July field trip sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)
Hikers make their way to an ancient hilltop outpost in the Shoshone National Forest during a July field trip sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

Sheepeaters of Wyoming

Cody resident David Dominick said it was important to document and preserve sites like the one he visited in July with Todd.
While a student at Yale University in the 1960s, Dominick studied the Sheepeaters, a reclusive and resourceful band of Indians who lived at high elevations in northwestern Wyoming, including around Yellowstone.
There is still plenty to learn about the Sheepeaters and others who lived here, Dominick said, but forest planners must put a higher priority on cultural resources.
Todd hopes the work of “trying to find the stories of these multiple generations of people who lived here” will help the public better appreciate the hidden human history of the region.
Working with the U.S. Forest Service, universities and other agencies, Todd and other researchers are documenting a multitude of prehistoric and early white settler habitation sites across the Shoshone Forest. Most of the time, researchers photograph and catalog items, but then place them back as they found them, practicing what Todd calls “catch-and-release archaeology.”
“For me, unlike Indiana Jones, the real treasure of archaeological research is well-coded data,” he said.
The reward for Todd also lies in learning more about how people have used local landscapes through millennia, and sharing those stories with present-day inhabitants.
“We are part of a community of people that have been interacting with this landscape for thousands and thousands of years,” he said.
Public comments on the Shoshone Forest management plan revision are due Nov. 26 and may be sent to

Ancient woman statue revealed in Metropolis

IZMIR - Hürriyet Daily News

A 2,500-year-old statue of a woman from the late Hellenistic period has been unearthed during the excavations at the Metropolis ancient city in İzmir’s Torbalı district.

According to a written statement made by the Sabancı Foundation, new artifacts are being unearthed during the excavation of the ancient city, which has been ongoing for 22 years as part of a collaboration between the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Trakya University, the Metropolis Association, the Torbalı Municipality and sponsored by the Sabancı Foundation.

The head of the excavations, Trakya University Archaeology Department Associate Professor Serdar Aynek, said the headless, dressed, female statue was found buried in the city wall and that the statue reflected the richness and magnificence of the late Hellenistic period in its 2-meter length.

Aybek said that many statues found around the city walls during the excavations had been sent to the İzmir Museum.

Sabancı Foundation General Director Zerrin Koyunsağan said the statue might be a woman who managed the ancient city. “I think that thousands of years ago women had significant roles in society and city management. At the Sabancı Foundation, we are carrying out projects on the issue of social gender in Turkey. This is why this female managerial statue that connects with the work of our society is meaningful for us,” she said.

viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2012

Charcoal clues to Assynt's Bronze Age woodland

Analysis of charcoal at the site of a suspected Bronze Age "sauna" suggests the surrounding area hosted a rich and diverse woodland.
Archaeologists have been examining what is called a burnt mound at Stronechrubie, in Assynt.
Wood from birch, alder, hazel and hawthorn, or apple, trees has been identified.
Archaeologists said the species were far more diverse than those found in Assynt today.
Excavations of the burnt mound - a crescent shaped mound of stones - revealed a metre-deep pit linked to a nearby stream by a channel.
The find was made by the Fire and Water Project, which is run by archaeology and history group Historic Assynt and AOC Archaeology.
The project's archaeologists believe it may have been created for bathing, or as a sauna.
Other possible uses for the site included cooking and feasting, or perhaps brewing, but no food or cooking remains have been found so far.
Gordon Sleight, projects leader for Historic Assynt, said the charcoal was examined in a lab set up in Stoer Village Hall.
He said: "It has been amazing to realise just how much charcoal we dug up, when what we thought we had was mostly sooty stone, and it has been really interesting to use microscopes to see the internal structure of the charcoal and identify the tree species."
Jack Robertson, of AOC archaeologist, added: "We have identified alder, hazel, birch and one of the hawthorn/apple/pear/quince group of species, and we have also found some interesting heat-affected stones and some possible worked stone."

Stone age nomads settled down in Merseyside, flints and timber suggest

Sefton site points to nomadic hunter-gatherer ways being given up after evidence found of 8,000-year-old permanent dwellings

It will come as no surprise to proud Merseysiders, but a recent discovery of worked flints and charred timber suggests that when stone age people reached Lunt Meadows, a beautiful site at Sefton, they liked it so much that instead of continuing as nomadic hunter-gatherers, they settled down and built permanent dwellings.
Archaeologists are still working on the site, discovered this summer during work for the Environment Agency, but preliminary carbon-dating results suggest that they are almost 8,000 years old, from the Mesolithic period, and come from at least three structures, suggesting family groups living together in a settlement which may have lasted for centuries.
As well as the worked flint, and large pebbles with a partly polished surface showing they were used as tools, the archaeologists have found quantities of chert stone which is not local, but must have been specially imported – the nearest site would be across the estuary, in what is now north Wales.
Archaeologist Ron Cowell called the discoveries "fascinating". He added: "It looks as if we have the remains of three houses, or structures, which were very substantial, up to six metres across. They fit an emerging body of recent evidence, challenging the traditional view of people of this period as constantly on the move. Our site suggests that they had permanent structures which at the least they repeatedly returned to for part of the year."
No human or animal bone has survived in the acid sandy soil, but the lines of the ancient walls are traced in curves of stake holes, and some charred timber which has given the first definite dating evidence of 5,800BC. Cowell, curator of prehistoric archaeology at the museum of Liverpool, and consultant to the Environment Agency, believes the earliest phase of the settlement was even older.
They may even have uncovered evidence of ritual practice in stone tools which appear to have been deliberately broken and buried in pits. The significance of the discovery will be assessed in a film for BBC Inside Out North West, to be broadcast on Monday night.
Cowell describes it as a find of The finds were made when archaeologists and environmentalists were working on restoring farmland as a wetland wildlife haven – exactly the sort of site which provided rich food supplies for early man. They already knew the site could prove archaeologically significant: it is close to Formby beach, where scores of trails of ancient human and animal footprints have been discovered preserved in the silty mud.
The finds, like others from coastal sites such as Scarborough in Yorkshire and Howick in Northumberland suggesting generations or even centuries of occupation of the same site are thousands of years older than famous Neolithic villages like Scara Brae on Orkney. They challenge the traditional view that Mesolithic Britons were nomadic, hunting, fishing and foraging while living in temporary huts - which leave almost no traces in the landscape, and then moving on.
The Lunt Meadows site was on a low sandy promontory, less than a foot above the water level of the nearby lake. The stone age level is preserved under layers of silts and deposits showing that the site was repeated flooded over the succeeding millennia. Cowell, whose team was often working in sodden conditions over the last diabolical summer and autumn, and who will continue working through what is forecast to be a bitter winter, believes fresh water flooding may have led to the site being abandoned.
For many generations, however, it was a very fine place to live.
"We're far from the nearest farm, there's no traffic noise, and we're very close to important wintering grounds for flocks of birds - sometimes when the sky is full of swans and geese, and all you can hear is their calls, there's a real feeling of what life was like for these people."

Investigating the works of Byzantine historiographer Ioannes Malalas

A comprehensive 12-year investigation headed by Tübingen historian, Professor Mischa Meier into the Chronographia of the Byzantine historiographer Ioannes Malalas (a Greek chronicler from Antioch born around 490 AD) will begin in 2013.
This project marks the end of a long period of rejection of Byzantine historical writings,” says Mischa Meier, “The texts were considered mediocre literature, written by unscholarly monks who simply parroted older sources – making ridiculous mistakes along the way. But now we recognize how very important this text is. The aim now is not just to make Ioannes Malalas accessible as the “father” of all Byzantine chroniclers – it is also to make new discoveries about the treatment of the past in the critical period between Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages, using a key example.”

The history of the world

Ioannes Malalas wrote his Chronographia in Greek in the 6th century. It tells the history of the world in 18 books, starting with Adam and Eve and ending in the author’s time. The first books are based on the happenings in the Old Testament, while the following books focus on Greek and Roman history. We know little about the writer himself. In recent years, researchers have come to believe he was an official in the provincial administration of the Eastern Roman Empire. In that position, Malalas appears to have had access to important archives – which was important for the final books in the chronology, which dealt with his contemporary history. The Chronographia ends abruptly in the year 563, and all trace of Malalas disappears after that.

Earliest known example

The Chronographia is an extremely valuable document for historical research. It is the earliest known example of a Byzantine world history – a genre which influenced historical writings in the medieval period and later. The Chronographia is one example of the treatment of history in Byzantium, in the transition from the ancient to the medieval world. Malalas’ work also helps reconstruct the politics and events of the day as well as shedding light on attitudes to culture and religion, providing a degree of information in those areas unequalled by contemporary works.
Malalas also provides snippets of information on various aspects of ancient history. Mischa Meier cites one example: “In Malalas we find a completely different portrayal of the relationship between Nero and the Christians. The emperor is portrayed as a particular friend of the Christians. Malalas gives us important clues as to what people in Late Antiquity thought about Nero’s dealings with Christians – even among Christians.”

Original text not preserved

Research is made difficult by the fact that the original text has not been preserved. Historians have to work with a medieval version of it, which has been shortened and from which some parts are missing. But parts of the original Chronographia can be reconstructed, from later Byzantine authors quoting a complete Malalas text, from later Syrian versions, and from a medieval translation into the Slavonic. All this is complicated and demands intense study of the material.
The commentaries are to be published bit by bit on the internet, with the entire work not published in book form until the project is completed. Annual conferences will provide a forum for discussion of systematic issues. The results of the conferences will be published regularly.
The Malalas project is one of 22 currently run by the Heidelberg Academy. It is its third major Humanities project (along with “The Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans” and “The Temple as a Canon of the Religious Literature of Egypt”) hosted by researchers at the University of Tübingen.
Source: Universitaet Tübingen

Cádiz, anfitriona de la liga de ciudades cananeas y fenicias

Numerosos expertos acudirán estos días a la ciudad, que mañana y el sábado se erigirá como anfitriona del IV Foro de la Liga de Ciudades Cananeas, Fenicias y Púnicas.

La Casa de Iberoamérica acogerá así estos días el encuentro puesto en marcha con el fin de impulsar los valores medioambientales, la artesanía tradicional, así como el turismo cultural vinculado al origen fenicio de la ciudad. Para ello se crearán cuatro comisiones de trabajo que funcionarán bajo la temática de Cultura y Educación; Artesanía tradicional, Turismo cultural y Desarrollo.

La inauguración tendrá lugar mañana a las 14.30 y contará con la participación de la directora general de la Unesco, Irina Bokova, el ex director de esta misma institución y actual presidente de la Fundación para una Cultura de Paz, Federico Mayor Zaragoza y Philippe Cantraine, consejero de Educación y Organización Internacional de la Francofonía, así como la presidenta de la Fundación Tiro, Maha El Khalil Chalabi.

La sesión de tarde reunirá a grandes expertos de la materia en Cádiz o Líbano. Entre ellos el catedrático de Prehistoria de la UCA, Diego Ruiz Mata, así como el arqueólogo municipal, José María Gener Basallote, que hablarán de Fenicios: patrimonio cultural y económico y de Los ámbitos civil y religioso en el enclave de Gadir: Los yacimientos arqueológicos del Teatro Cómico y de la Casa del Obispo, respectivamente.

También se abordará la temática del Tempo Fenicio de Tiro o del Idioma en el Mediterráneo Fenicio-Púnico y el Instituto de Estudios Cananeos, Fenicios y Púnicos, en esta primera sesión, a lo que sucederá una comisión en torno a la artesanía tradicional y pymes con la intervención de Ramón Corzo, que disertará sobre Arte fenicio, arte púnico y arte gaditano o Ana María Niveau, de la UCA, que introducirá en Los rituales funerarios gaditanos. También particparán Pablo Velasco o Samar Makki, que tratarán la Artesanía Contemporánea en España y el Municipio artesanal de Tiro... Ya a las 19.00 se inaugurará una muestra en la Galería de Artesanos de El Pópulo. El sábado continúa el encuentro.

Cádiz fue designada en 2009 para convertirse en 2012 en la capital de las ocho ciudades que integran la Liga de Ciudades Cananeas, constituida en París este mismo año, en la sede de la Unesco y promovida por la Fundación Tiro.

II Jornades d'Història del Sucre. El sucre en la vida quotidiana. Lleida, 23th adn 24th Novembe

The Consolidated Medieval Studies Research Group Space, Power and Culture have the pleasure to inform you about the seminar "II Jornades d'Història del Sucre. El sucre en la vida quotidiana", that has organized together with the city town of Menàrguens, and which will hold in Menàrguens between the 23th adn 24th November 2012.

Please take a look to the program:

Divendres, 23 de novembre de 2012

18:30h Inauguració de l’acte.

19:00h Antoni Riera catedràtic a la Universitat de Barcelona, "Sucre i
peste a Barcelona, 1348-1349".

19:45h Ferran Garcia-Oliver catedràtic a la Universitat de València,
"Sucre pagès, sucre amarg".


Dissabte, 24 de novembre de 2012

10:00h Teresa Vinyoles professora titular a la Universitat de Barcelona,
"El dolç a la màgia quotidiana medieval".

10:45h Adela Fábregas professora titular a la Universidad de Granada, "El
azúcar en los mercados europeos a fines de la Edad Media: el ejemplo del
azúcar nazarí".


12:00h Maria Antònia Martí Escayol professora titular a la Universitat
Autònoma de Barcelona, "La revolució del sucre a l'època moderna".

Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Estudis Medievals

Intact 5th century merchant ship round in Instambul

During the continuing archaeological excavations at the Yenikapı Marmaray construction site in Istanbul, the world’s best preserved shipwreck, a merchant vessel whose contents and wooden parts are in exceptionally good condition, was revealed.
Archaeologists believe the ship dates to the fourth or fifth century CE and that it sank in a storm, but remarkably most of the amphorae on the ship are still in perfect condition.
The excavations started in 2004 at the construction site and reached back 8,500 years into the history of İstanbul. Skeletons, the remains of an early chapel and even footprints, in addition to 35 shipwrecks, have been uncovered by archaeologists so far.

The 15 to 16-metre-long, six-metre-wide shipwreck loaded with dozens of amphorae found last May brings new historical data to life. The amphorae differ from previous finds. It is assumed that the ship was completely buried in mud and this oxygen-free atmosphere protected it and its contents from further damage. The ship was loaded with pickled fry (a type of small fish) and almonds, walnuts, hazels, muskmelon seeds, olives, peaches and pine cones were also found on the wreck in incredible condition.

Songül Çoban, an archaeologist on the excavation, says they need a further two months to completely uncover the shipwreck, which was found four-five metres below sea level, adding that they were working eight hours a day and that such a detailed excavation was incredibly demanding.

The Yenikapı vessel is one of the best examples of a shipwreck in the world in terms of both the actual structure and the cargo. When the wreck was first discovered, the mud above it was cleared away and the damaged upper layer of amphorae was removed piece by piece, after which the team began removing the undamaged amphorae below them. Once all of the artefacts have been retrieved, the hull of the ship will be given to İstanbul University.

martes, 20 de noviembre de 2012

Los Pintanos inaugura nuevo centro de interpretación sobre 'La Ruta de los Castillos'

El municipio de Los Pintanos, ubicado en las Cinco Villas, ha inaugurado este sábado un nuevo centro de interpretación sobre 'La Ruta de los Castillos', con contenidos sobre el patrimonio histórico medieval de los municipios del entorno y su importancia en la historia de Aragón y el reinado de Ramiro I.

El municipio de Los Pintanos, ubicado en las Cinco Villas, ha inaugurado este sábado un nuevo centro de interpretación sobre 'La Ruta de los Castillos', con contenidos sobre el patrimonio histórico medieval de los municipios del entorno y su importancia en la historia de Aragón y el reinado de Ramiro I.

El acto ha contado con la asistencia del alcalde de Los Pintanos, Guillermo Garcés, del diputado de la Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza, Máximo Ariza, y del director general de Relaciones Institucionales del Gobierno de Aragón, Javier Allué, ha informado la institución provincial en un comunicado
El nuevo equipamiento ha supuesto una inversión de 188.000 euros y en su financiación han colaborado la Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza (DPZ), el Gobierno de Aragón, ADEFO Cinco Villas y el consistorio de Los Pintanos.

El centro incluye cuatro maquetas a escala (de un metro por un metro) de los castillos de Pintano, Roita, Ruesta y Navardún y una maqueta de dos por dos metros del valle de Pintano.

Además, se puede contemplar la vestimenta de un soldado de época medieval con armamento; diverso material de armamento medieval; vitrinas con monedas, puntas de flecha, vasijas y otros objetivos de la época y un horno medieval restaurado.

Asimismo, el visitante puede asistir a la proyección de un audiovisual explicativo del contenido del museo y de la historia de Ramiro I, realizado y producido por Fernando Vera.

Valga escarba en su pasado (Arousa, Vigo)

El Concello de Valga, la Xunta de Galicia y el equipo de excavación dirigido por Emilio Ramil González están encantados con los hallazgos arqueológicos de Igrexa Vella, en Valga. Se trata de un pequeño tesoro en Santa Comba de Louro (Cordeiro), del que existía cierta constancia como iglesia y monasterio altomedieval, desmantelados en el siglo XVIII para edificar la iglesia actual. Pero los trabajos realizados han permitido descubrir otros muchos alicientes y atractivos que se remontan a la época romana y que dan mayor protagonismo, si cabe, a este lugar.

La Consellería de Cultura, Educación e Ordenación Universitaria, por medio de la dirección xeral de Patrimonio Cultural y en colaboración con la Unión Europea -que aporta fondos comunitarios-, desarrollan en Valga lo que se presenta como proyecto de "Excavación arqueológica, consolidación y acondicionamiento para la puesta en valor del yacimiento de la iglesia vieja de Santa Comba de Louro".

En colaboración con el Concello de Valga, con un presupuesto de 93.306,12 euros y mediante la firma "Tomos Conservación Restauración, S.L.", que figura como contratista, se trabaja para "completar la investigación científica del yacimiento iniciada en la excavación de 2010", de la que ya se dio cuenta entonces.

Y como se explicó en otras ocasiones se persigue, igualmente, sentar las bases para garantizar la conservación de las estructuras que conforman este yacimiento, revalorizándolo así como elemento patrimonial "mediante su aprovechamiento sociocultural".

Para ello se contempla la organización de visitas guiadas al yacimiento -ya se hicieron muchas-, la creación de un blog -del que se extraen algunas de las fotos que ilustran esta información y muestran la evolución de los trabajos- y organización de conferencias y exposiciones.

Los responsables de este proyecto indican que la campaña de excavación arqueológica en Valga permite documentar una secuencia histórica ocupacional que abarca desde el siglo IV después de Cristo hasta el XVIII.

Todo indica que la primera ocupación de este espacio, enclavado en un pequeño valle de la parroquia de Cordeiro, data del siglo IV d.C., en la época tardorromana.

"Este nivel está documentado por la exhumación de estructuras murales, industriales y funerarias, así como por la recuperación de material ergológico", dicen los entendidos en la materia.

De este modo, se recuperó "parte de un muro de mampostería roto por su extremo sur, como consecuencia de las excavaciones de tumbas paleocristianas". Dicho muro "continúa bajo los muros de la primera iglesia de planta basilical, construida a partir del siglo V sobre los restos de la ocupación tardorromana".

También apareció un horno industrial para la producción de vidrio o metales, recuperándose en estas excavaciones la cámara de combustión y la cámara de cocción del mismo.

En tercer lugar se localizó "una 'estela' tardorromana con epigrafía, reutilizada en el muro de la fachada de las iglesias y relacionada con tumbas en ímbrice, exhumadas fuera de su lugar original de deposición".

Las mismas fuentes constatan "la existencia de una necrópolis tardorromana que estaría situada muy cerca del lugar habitacional".

Puntualizan, asimismo, que "el material ergológico recuperado consiste en material latericio, tégulas, ímbrice y ladrillo, cerámica común, imitaciones de 'tierra sigillata', vidrio y metales como hierro y bronce".

Todo lo dicho hasta aquí guarda relación con el primer nivel, ya que el segundo tiene lugar a partir del siglo V d.C.. Es desde el año 380 cuando "Teodisio decreta como única religión oficial del imperio el cristianismo", y es esa cristianización la que "trae como consecuencia que muchos lugares o hábitats tardorromanos desaparecieran y que su espacio ocupacional fuera reutilizado, tanto 'cristianizando lugares paganos' como evolucionando hacia espacios religiosos".

Tras ofrecer estas explicaciones, los arqueólogos añaden que "eso es lo que sucedió en Santa Comba de Louro", toda vez que sobre el nivel de ocupación tardorromano "se documenta la construcción de una pequeña iglesia basilical de planta rectangular, rematada en una sencilla cabecera".

Se cree que esta pequeña basílica pudo haber dispuesto de una o dos habitaciones para uso de algún eremita que además de rituales litúrgicos prestase ayuda social, de ahí la idea de un pequeño cenobio relacionado con la iglesia".

A esta construcción se asocian "las primeras tumbas exhumadas in situ, como simples tumbas excavadas en restos de pavimento tardorromano o tumbas tardoantiguas, construyendo las paredes con piedras colocadas en posición horizontal cubiertas con una tapa, o bien tumbas construidas con piedras y reaprovechamiento de material latericio romano, como tégulas o ladrillo".

Los técnicos concluyen que "la cronología de esta basílica o cenobio transcurre entre el fin del imperio, a lo largo de la llamada etapa germánica, y el inicio de la repoblación en el siglo VIII".

En cuanto al tercer nivel, cabe precisar que es de la época altomedieval. "La primera iglesia pervive hasta los siglos VIII o IX", cuando parece haber sudo destruida por un incendio, como atestiguarían los abundantes restos de carbón recuperados.

Aquello -sin descartar la posibilidad de que se tratara de ampliar las instalaciones, a causa del aumento poblacional-, dio paso a la construcción de un segundo templo, aprovechándose la fachada y las paredes laterales del primero.

Asociada a esta iglesia hay una necrópolis de la que se recuperaron 26 tumbas, la mayoría de adultos. También se obtuvo en las excavaciones diverso material, como parte de la ornamentación de un capitel y una columna con epigrafía y grabado en bajo relieve de un báculo episcopal, así como cerámica medieval, monedas de bronce y alguna medalla.

En el cuarto nivel arqueológico -que comienza a finales de la Baja Edad Media y abarca hasta el siglo XVI-, este espacio patrimonial de Valga vivió una reforma y ampliación de la iglesia.

Es entonces cuando la iglesia "pasa a ser parroquial" y cuando se derriba el muro de la fachada para construir otra nueva, "ganando así unos 40 metros cuadrados".

Y ya en el quinto y último nivel -desde principios del siglo XVIII hasta el año 1730, cuando se desmantela y traslada la iglesia a su ubicación actual-, los arqueólogos documentan tanto ese desmantelamiento como el reaprovechamiento de la piedra". De esa época ser recuperan "numerosos datos patrimoniales que ayudan a la investigación de un tipo de yacimiento poco excavado en Galicia", por eso se cree esencial avanzar e incluso ampliar este proyecto, para que Igrexa Vella de Santa Comba de Louro "sirva de referencia didáctica".

Ayer comenzaron catas arqueológicas en solar de la calle Benito Pérez Galdós (Algeciras)

El departamento de Arqueología del Museo Municipal iniciará el lunes, una intervención arqueológica en el solar número 25 de la calle Benito Pérez Galdós. El espacio tiene una superficie en planta de 70 metros cuadrados. Se halla extramuros de uno de los dos recintos amurallados que formaban la ciudad de Algeciras en época bajo-medieval, en concreto el situado al Norte del río de la Miel.

Esta ciudad, la al-Yazirat al-Hadra de las fuentes, es una de las primeras fundaciones islámicas en la península ibérica (s. VIII d.C.) y fue destruida por los nazaríes a finales del siglo XIV. La hipótesis de partida es que la parcela se halla, dentro del sistema defensivo, en el área de la liza, entre la muralla y el foso, lo que se deduce a partir del solapamiento de los planos del siglo XVIII, levantados por los Ingenieros Militares al servicio de la Corona Española, sobre la planera digital actual. Según un ejemplo de esta superposición, el trazado de la muralla se encuentra bajo la calle Teniente Farmacéutico Miranda, mientras que el foso discurriría a través de la parcela que nos ocupa o bajo la calle Benito Pérez Galdós.

La intervención del denominado Patio del Loro constató este punto, verificando que la escarpa del foso se situaba en el lado Oeste del solar, mientras que la contraescarpa lo hacía, fuera de sus límites, bajo la calle Patriarca Obispo Ramón Pérez Rodríguez. Esta última calle recibe el nombre de Benito Pérez Galdós a su paso por la parcela objeto de este proyecto.

La intervención que dirigirá el arqueólogo municipal, tendrá como principales objetivos, encaminados a conseguir una diagnosis completa del espacio afectado, comprobar la existencia de restos del sistema defensivo medieval –aquellos que se sitúan por delante de la muralla: barbacana y foso- y, en el caso de que éstos aparecieran, verificar su datación, así como la secuencia histórica de la ocupación de esta zona, basada hasta ahora en la de la intervención de la calle Benito Pérez Galdós, 45 y la de la calle Patriarca Ramón Pérez Rodríguez, 1.

La metodología sugerida para esta diagnosis preliminar consistirá en la realización de una excavación en área abierta de 12 x 2,5 metros y se ejecutará durante un periodo comprendido entre tres y cuatro semanas.

Zamora acoge un congreso internacional sobre la fortificaciones en la Tardoantigüedad

Expertos de varios países europeos presentan trabajos científicos sobre las fortificaciones de la Península Ibérica entre los siglos V y VIII

La Fundación Rei Afonso Henriques de Zamora acoge entre el 21 y el 23 de noviembre el ´Congreso Internacional de Fortificaciones en la Tardoantigüedad: Élites y articulación del territorio entre los siglos V-VIII d. C.´, un evento que pretende dinamizar las investigaciones científicas en torno a una época que está a caballo entre la Edad Antigua y la Edad Media. Este encuentro reúne a expertos de varios países europeos que ofrecerán una visión global sobre los asentamientos tardoantiguos de la Península Ibérica y reflexionarán sobre el futuro de estas investigaciones.

La Asociación Científico-Cultural Zamora Protohistórica organiza una cita casi única en el mundo de la Arqueología. "Los congresos con esta temática son más bien escasos, por lo que creemos que este tendrá una gran importancia por la amplitud geográfica y temporal que va a ser tratada, y que esperamos que pueda ser la primera piedra para futuros congresos de este tipo, y dinamizar las investigaciones sobre la Tardoantigüedad", afirma en declaraciones Jose Carlos Sastre, responsable de la organización.

En este sentido, "creemos que hemos podido reunir un grupo de especialistas de lo mejor que tenemos en España y Portugal en este momento, completado con algún investigador de Alemania y el Reino Unido", asegura, investigadores que "se encuentran en el primer nivel de los estudios de Tardoantigüedad", pero también "personas que están comenzando nuevas e interesantes líneas de investigación". Por eso, hay más de 80 inscritos en las jornadas, interesados principalmente en saber más acerca de los asentamientos de la Península Ibérica entre los siglos V y VIII.

"El público más interesado son principalmente los especialistas, así como los propios estudiantes universitarios. Sin embargo, creemos que se tratan temas muy atractivos que pueden interesar a todas aquellas personas que tengan interés por la arqueología y por conocer el pasado de las regiones donde viven", asegura Jose Carlos Sastre.

Yacimientos en Castilla y León

De hecho, muchas de las ponencias están relacionadas con yacimientos arqueológicos de la región. "Sin duda Castilla y León posee un gran de yacimientos con una importante ocupación tardoantigua", asegura el experto, que cita algunos lugares con poblamiento fortificado con un gran interés arqueológico, como son El Castillón (Sata Eulalia de Tábara, Zamora), Monte Cildá (Olleros de Pisuerga, Palencia), el Cristo de San Esteban (Muelas del Pan, Zamora) y el Cerro del Castillo (Bernardos, Segovia). En el resto de España destacan lugares como el castillo de Gauzón (Castrillón, Asturias), Sant Julià de Ramis (Girona), el Tolmo de Minateda (Hellín, Albacete) o el Castillo de los Monjes (Lumbreras, La Rioja).

Desde el punto de vista más científico, las metodologías principales para este tipo de investigaciones se basan en la consulta de las fuentes históricas y la prospección arqueológica del terreno, acompañada después de excavaciones arqueológicas, que permiten contrastar los datos de las fuentes y las prospecciones. Además, "actualmente contamos con otras técnicas antes de enfrentarnos a la excavación arqueológica, como es la fotografía área, las prospecciones mediante magnetometría y georradar", añade.

No es la primera vez que la Asociación Científico-Cultural Zamora Protohistórica organiza un gran evento científico en la capital del Duero, puesto que hace un año ya celebró las I Jornadas de Jóvenes Investigadores del Valle del Duero, con 100 participantes. La segunda edición de este encuentro se celebró hace pocas semanas en León con la presencia de 120 jóvenes investigadores. En este sentido, los organizadores echan de menos el apoyo de las administraciones locales, "a pesar de congregar un gran número de personas de fuera de la provincia".

Archaeologists unearth Stone Age dwelling on the banks the of new Forth crossing

THE remains of an ancient dwelling believed to be Scotland’s oldest house have been discovered on the banks of the River Forth.
Experts say the Stone Age timber structure – which may have resembled the wigwams constructed by North American Indians – was built more than 10,000 years ago, possibly as a winter retreat, in the ­period after the last ice age.
It was discovered in a field outside the village of Echline, near South Queensferry, during routine archaeological excavations in advance of work on the new Forth Replacement Crossing over the Forth estuary and contained flint arrowheads used by the original ­occupants.
Dated from the mesolithic era, the remains consist of a large oval pit, seven metres long and half a metre deep, with a series of holes which would have held upright wooden posts. They would have supported walls possibly made from animals skins, ­although some experts believe there may have been a flatter turf roof.
The remains of several internal fireplace hearths were also identified inside the house, which would have kept its ­occupants warm on cold ­winter nights. The site has been dated to around 8240BC, the earliest in Scotland.
Ed Bailey, project manager for Headland Archaeology, the company that carried out the excavation of the site, said: “The discovery of this previously unknown and rare type of site has provided us with a unique opportunity to further develop our understanding of how early prehistoric people lived along the Forth.
“Specialist analysis of archaeological evidence recovered in the field is ongoing. This will allow us to put the pieces together and build a ­detailed picture of a Mesolithic lifestyle.”
Inside the dwelling, more than 1,000 flint artefacts were found, including materials which would have been used by the previous owners as tools and arrowheads. Other discoveries included large quantities of charred hazelnut shells, indicating that nuts would have been an important source of food for the hunter-gatherer residents. All of the artefacts will be removed from the site and preserved.
However, it is believed that the house would have been a “holiday home” for its ­residents, occupied only during the winter months rather than all year round, because of the warmth provided by its turf roof and fireplaces.
The site bears similarities to other Mesolithic sites previously discovered along the Forth. In 2001, a settlement was found in Cramond near Edinburgh, where the River Forth and River Almond meet, that was dated to around 8500BC and included stone tools and hazelnut shells. Proximity to the rivers would have allowed its occupants to exploit the abundant aquatic life.
Historic Scotland’s senior archaeologist Rod McCullagh, an advisor to the project at Echline, said: “This discovery and, especially, the information from the laboratory analyses adds valuable information to our understanding of a small but growing list of buildings erected by Scotland’s first settlers after the last glaciation, 10,000 years ago.
“The radiocarbon dates that have been taken from this site show it to be the oldest of its type found in Scotland which adds to its significance.”
The £1.5 billion Forth Replacement Crossing Project – billed as the biggest transport infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation – is currently at its most critical stage of building as its ten main sections are lowered into position. Construction started in 2011 and is expected to be finished in 2016.
Transport minister Keith Brown said: “This ancient dwelling, which was unearthed as part of the routine investigations undertaken prior to construction works, is an important and exciting ­discovery.
“We now have vital records of the findings which will inform our understanding of a period in Scotland’s ancient history.”
The mesolithic age is the cultural period of the Stone Age between the paleolithic and neolithic periods between circa 8000BC and 4000BC. It is when man is thought to have first inhabited Scotland.

Greenland's viking settlers gorged on seals


Greenland's viking settlers, the Norse, disappeared suddenly and mysteriously from Greenland about 500 years ago. Natural disasters, climate change and the inability to adapt have all been proposed as theories to explain their disappearance. But now a Danish-Canadian research team has demonstrated the Norse society did not die out due to an inability to adapt to the Greenlandic diet: an isotopic analysis of their bones shows they ate plenty of seals.
Our analysis shows that the Norse in Greenland ate lots of food from the sea, especially seals,” says Jan Heinemeier, Institute of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University.
“Even though the Norse are traditionally thought of as farmers, they adapted quickly to the Arctic environment and the unique hunting opportunities. During the period they were in Greenland, the Norse ate gradually more seals. By the 14th century, seals made up between 50 and 80 per cent of their diet.”

The Danish and Canadian researchers are studying the 80 Norse skeletons kept at the University of Copenhagen’s Laboratory of Biological Anthropology in order to determine their dietary habits. From studying the ratio of the isotopes carbon-13 and carbon-15, the researchers determined that a large proportion of the Greenlandic Norse diet came from the sea, particularly from seals. Heinemeier measured the levels of carbon isotopes in the skeletons, Erle Nelson of Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada, analysed the isotopes, while Niels Lynnerup of the University of Copenhagen, examined the skeletons.

“Nothing suggests that the Norse disappeared as a result of a natural disaster. If anything they might have become bored with eating seals out on the edge of the world. The skeletal evidence shows signs that they slowly left Greenland. For example, young women are underrepresented in the graves in the period toward the end of the Norse settlement. This indicates that the young in particular were leaving Greenland, and when the numbers of fertile women drops, the population cannot support itself,” Lynnerup explains.

Hunters and farmers

The Norse ruin at Igaliku Fjord was known to the
Norse as Gardar. Photo: Jette Arneborg
(Click to view and download full size)
The findings challenge the prevailing view of the Norse as farmers that would have stubbornly stuck to agriculture until they lost the battle with Greenland’s environment. These new results shake-up the traditional view of the Norse as farmers and have given archaeologists reason to rethink those theories.

“The Norse thought of themselves as farmers that cultivated the land and kept animals. But the archaeological evidence shows that they kept fewer and fewer animals, such as goats and sheep. So the farming identity was actually more a mental self-image, held in place by an over-class that maintained power through agriculture and land ownership, than it was a reality for ordinary people that were hardly picky eaters,” Jette Arneborg, archaeologist and curator at the National Museum of Denmark, says.

The first Norse settlers brought agriculture and livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs from Iceland. While they thought of themselves as farmers, they were not unfamiliar with hunting.
Professor Niels Lynnerup,
University of Copenhagen
They quickly started to catch seals, as they were a necessary addition to their diet. Toward the end of their stay, they became as accustomed to catching seals as the Inuit, who had travelled to Greenland from Canada around the year 1200 and inhabited the island alongside the Norse. Seals became more important for Norse survival as the climate began to change over time and it became increasingly difficult to sustain themselves through farming.

“The Norse could adapt, but how much they could adapt without giving up their identity was limited. Even though their diet became closer to that of the Inuit, the difference between the two groups was too great for the Norse to become Inuit,” Arneborg says.

The isotopic analysis is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Aarhus University, the University of Copenhagen, the National Museum of Denmark and Simon Fraser from the University in Vancouver. The research is financed by the Carlsberg Foundation and the results will be presented in a series of articles in the Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 3, 2012.
Read more in the articles (pdf):