domingo, 30 de diciembre de 2012

Nalda excava en su castillo (La Rioja)

La localidad ha convertido la antigua fortificación en mirador sobre el valle del Iregua

28.12.12 - 00:06 -

Los hallazgos arqueológicos más importantes de 2012

2012 fue un año rico en hallazgos arqueológicos que nos llevan a reinterpretar el pasado gracias a la aparición de nuevas evidencias.
BBC Mundo le presenta un repaso de los acontecimientos arqueológicos más relevantes de los últimos doce meses.
clic Vea también: Los descubrimientos arqueológicos en México

ENERO

Templo maya
A comienzos de año se descubrió que los clic peruanos comían palomitas de maíz desde hace por lo menos 6.700 años (1.000 años antes de lo que se creía) y que los mayas usaban tabaco desde una época temprana, según lo confirmó el hallazgo de residuos de nicotina en barcos de cerámica que datan de entre los años 600 d.C. y 900 d.C.
Más tarde en el mes, un equipo de investigadores descubrió que los vikingos, que se establecieron en Groenlandia hace cerca de 1.000 años, cultivaban cebada a pesar de las temperaturas heladas y, por ende, presumiblemente, podían destilar su propia cerveza.

FEBRERO

Oetzi
Un estudio descifró el clic genoma completo de Oetzi, "el hombre de hielo", que había sido asesinado hace 5.000 años, y cuyo cuerpo momificado fue hallado en los alpes italianos.
El análisis de su ADN sirvió para conocer más detalles sobre su vida y también les permitió a los investigadores entender mejor los antiguos patrones migratorios en Europa.

MARZO

Broche
El tercer mes del año se descubrió una elaborada tumba del siglo VII d.C cerca de Cambridge, en el sureste de Inglaterra, que puso de manifiesto los cambios dinámicos en la sociedad que caracterizaron a la Inglaterra anglosajona.
Era la tumba de una adolescente enterrada en una cama adornada con una cruz de oro.
En la tumba había una mezcla de símbolos paganos con cristianos, lo cual constituye una manifestación tangible de la transición del paganismo al cristianismo en un momento crucial para el desarrollo de la Gran Bretaña moderna.

ABRIL

Barco
Arqueólogos, ingenieros y especialistas en el armado de barcos unieron sus fuerzas para descubrir cómo la gente construía embarcaciones en la Edad de Bronce.
Tras iniciar sus investigaciones con una réplica de una nave de dicha época, llegaron a la conclusión de que estos botes se utilizaban para comerciar metales -como hojalata, cobre y oro- con el resto de Europa.

MAYO

Calendario
Un grupo de arqueólogos estadounidenses descubrió el clic calendario astronómico de la civilización maya más antiguo hasta la fecha.
El calendario estaba pintado en los murales interiores de un edificio abandonado en Xultún, Guatemala.
Las tablas astronómicas descubiertas incluyen cuatro largas cifras que representan un ciclo -llamado baktún en lengua maya- de hasta 2,5 millones de días, además de símbolos en negro que trazan varios ciclos astronómicos que corresponden a Marte y Venus y los eclipses lunares.
Según los expertos, los jeroglíficos encontrados en Xultún calculan como mínimo 7.000 años más de existencia.

JUNIO

Estatua Moai
Este mes se publicó un libro que puso en duda la teoría de que los habitantes de la Isla de Pascua destruyeron el bosque que los rodeaba. También rechaza la idea de los locales malgastaron sus recursos naturales para emplazar en la isla cerca de 1.000 estatuas moai.
Los autores ponen el énfasis en cómo los isleños lograron sobrevivir en un ambiente ecológico tan aislado.
La deforestación, dicen, no se produjo por la sobreexplotación de la madera sino por la llegada de ratas que vinieron con los primeros colonizadores.

JULIO

Sostén
Ropa de lencería perteneciente a la Edad Media fue hallada entre las 3.000 prendas de tela descubiertas durante los trabajos de reconstrucción del castillo de Lengberg, en Austria.
Entre las prendas había un clic sujetador y calzones del siglo XV, similares a los que las mujeres usan hoy día.

AGOSTO

Excavación
Científicos descubrieron indicios de la existencia de un letal volcán cuya erupción, hace 750 años, habría sido ocho voces más voluminosa que la del Krakatoa en 1883, considerada la erupción más grande del milenio.
Si bien el sitio donde está el volcán es aún objeto de debate -se cree que podría ser en México, Ecuador o Indonesia-, su efecto permanece visible en los núcleos de hielo, en los sedimentos de los lagos, y, como se descubrió en agosto, en una fosa común de Londres.
Durante una excavación en el cementerio de Spitalfields, en el este de Londres, se hallaron una serie de tumbas. En principio se pensó que se trataba de un entierro de víctimas de la peste negra del siglo XIV, pero tras llevar a cabo una datación por radiocarbono, los científicos descubrieron que eran de un siglo anterior. Esto podría constituir la primera evidencia arqueológica del volcán que hizo erupción de 1258.
¿Cómo pudo afectar a Londres la erupción de un volcán tan lejano?
Tal fue el tamaño de la erupción, que sus gases de azufre podrían haber creado una niebla seca que bloqueó la luz del sol, alteró el patrón de la circulación atmosférica y enfrió la superficie de la Tierra. Esto provocó una reducción de las cosechas, hambrunas, muerte y pestilencia.

SEPTIEMBRE

Dentadura
Uno de los ejemplos más tempranos de dentadura prehistórica se descubrió por casualidad, cuando un equipo de científicos halló un empaste de cera de abeja en un diente roto del neolítico.
El diente perteneció a un hombre de entre 24 y 30 años que vivió hace 6.500 años en lo que hoy es Eslovenia.

OCTUBRE

Flechas
Una nueva investigación del UniversityCollege de Londres y el Museo del Mausoleo del Emperador Qin Shin Huang, en China, produjo nueva información sobre clic el sofisticado modelo de producción para crear los 7.000 guerreros, carrozas y caballos del Ejército de Terracota, hace 2.000 años.
El estudio surgió a raíz del descubrimiento en junio de otros 100 guerreros.
A diferencia de una linea de ensamblaje tradicional, donde cada unidad especializada produce un componente en particular, el proceso empleado en este caso se basa en talleres de trabajo celulares, en los que participan artesanos altamente calificados que fabrican el producto completo.

NOVIEMBRE

Arqueóloos
Nueva evidencia hechó por tierra la teoría de que los británicos en el Mesolítico estaban trasladándose constantemente y viviendo en refugios temporales que han dejado pocos rastros en el paisaje.
Uno de los hallazgos fue una "casa" escocesa de madera y pasto.

DICIEMBRE

Bolsa con cenizas
En el último mes del año se descubrió un casco de bronce de la Edad de Hierro que data del siglo I a.C y que una vez contuvo una bolsa con huesos creamdos junto con un broche.
Se trata del primer ejemplo de una bolsa con cenizas dentro de un casco.
Se espera que un estudio detallado pueda explicar cómo este casco -que no es británico- apareció en un campo cerca de Canterbury, en el sureste de Inglaterra, durante la invasión romana.

Indicios de que la muerte de Don Tello de Castilla podría no haber sido natural

Un estudio antropológico de la Universidad de Granada ha permitido a varios investigadores encontrar indicios de que la muerte de Don Tello de Castilla en el siglo XIV pudo no haber sido natural.

PALENCIA, 27 Diciembre de 2012 (EUROPA PRESS)
Un estudio antropológico de la Universidad de Granada ha permitido a varios investigadores encontrar indicios de que la muerte de Don Tello de Castilla en el siglo XIV pudo no haber sido natural.
"Por el momento son solo indicios", ha asegurado el historiador palentino Marcial Castro y el radiólogo Manuel García, quienes han presentado el citado estudio este jueves en la capital palentina.
Al parecer, al estudiar el cuerpo de Don Tello se ha comprobado que su cráneo tiene "signos claros de violencia" desde el hueso occipital hasta el frontal. En este sentido, Castro ha añadido que "se está investigando si el golpe pudo ser la causa de la muerte o un hecho posterior", al tiempo que ha indicado que "no se esperaban estos resultados" porque el propio testamento del personaje hacía pensar que el fallecimiento había respondido a un fallecimiento por causas naturales.
"Motivos para matarle habría bastantes en la época" ha afirmado Marcial Castro, tras explicar que Don Tello pertenecía a una "familia homicida" donde hubo varios asesinatos. De confirmarse las últimas sospechas habría que retocar las crónicas, pero también "cuestionar la validez o autenticidad del testamento".
En otro orden de cosas, el estudio revela que el individuo medía entre 167 centímetros como mínimo y 176 como máximo, por lo que "no era excesivamente alto para la época" si se le compara con la población musulmana.
Finalmente, el estudio óseo también señala que el individuo en cuestión tenía entre 26 y 35 años, lo que concuerda con el dato de que Don Tello murió con 33 años.
(EuropaPress)


 http://noticias.lainformacion.com/ciencia-y-tecnologia/ciencias-humanas/hallados-indicios-de-que-la-muerte-de-don-tello-de-castilla-podria-no-haber-sido-natural_bGqIq7cMdFP6B4tJuuQuY/

«La UJA va a ser referente mundial por las excavaciones en Egipto»

A pocas semanas de iniciar la quinta campaña en la necrópolis egipcia, Alejandro Jiménez Serrano, Profesor de Historia Antigua de la UJA, dice que lo que hacen es «más que apasionante»

30.12.12 - 00:36 -

jueves, 27 de diciembre de 2012

Kazakhstan: Recent Archeological Finds Clarify Historical Record

It is time for a pop quiz on Kazakhstani history. Going back more than 2000 years ago, the peoples who called what is present-day Kazakhstan home were:
A) Blood-thirsty barbarians.
B) Uncultured nomads who wandered the Steppe.
C) Mainly farmers who also raised cattle and horses in year-round settlements.
D) A and B.
The answer may be closer to the third option (C) than previously believed, according to Claudia Chang, an archeologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, who has been conducting digs in Kazakhstan’s Semirechye region, just outside Almaty, for nearly 20 years. Recent findings suggest that the ancient nomadic societies of the Steppe operated in ways that do not bear much resemblance to the brutal and rudimentary picture of life that continues to linger in the popular imagination.
Chang has published her findings, along with works by eight other specialists, in a new monograph on Iron-Age archeology in Kazakhstan. The book, titled “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan,” was published by Princeton University Press earlier this year, in conjunction with an eponymous museum exhibition.
Originally installed at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, the Nomads and Networks exhibition sought to place artifacts from the Saka, Wusun and Pazyryk cultures of the first millennium BC within the context of other nearby early cultures in Persia and China. Objects like the intricate Wusun Diadem, a golden latticework inlaid with turquoise- and coral-specked animals; and dozens of gold cat and ibex plaques from Shilikty in the Tarbagatai Mountains were selected partly to show off their similarity to Persian and Chinese imagery, influences that were shared mainly through trade.
Winged creatures – half-eagle, half-deer, for instance – are among the elements that were shared between Central Asian motifs and those in Persia, according to Soeren Stark, co-curator of the Nomads and Networks exhibition and a contributor to the book. The items can be traced to China, as well.
Displaying the trove of intricate golden objects made by the Steppe tribes served another function: to provide a corrective to those who, throughout history, have offered less-than-flattering portrayals of ancient Central Asian societies.
“The view that nomads are uncivilized, barbaric – no,” said Stark. “This is a very developed culture, very developed arts.”
"Nomadic elites were in close interaction [with other cultures],” Stark continued. “There was trade going on, they were serving in the Persian army.”
Ancient chroniclers were not so kind. Among their prominent characterizations, the Saka are described by contemporary Han Chinese sources as “those blue-eyed barbarians,” Chang said. The ancient Greek chronicler Herodotus, meanwhile, detailed their sacrifice practices in a graphic, grizzly manner that likely did not endear them to later readers. And, since the Steppe tribes themselves left no known written records, studying what they left behind is doubly important, noted Stark. “Archeology becomes a very important research tool because we have to go beyond the stereotypes that we read from their secondary neighbors,” he explained.
The museum exhibition appears to be part of a coordinated Kazakhstani government effort to fix Kazakhstan’s present-day international image as a modern economic and cultural hub in Central Asia that is also moving in the global mainstream. Support for the project was provided by a variety of Kazakhstani state agencies, including the embassy in Washington, Kazakhstan’s Central State Museum and the Presidential Center of Culture.
After New York, the exhibition traveled to the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer and Sackler galleries in Washington. At the opening there, then-ambassador, now-Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov touted the “beauty, elegance and sophistication of the work done by my Kazakh ancestors who made such a great, yet unsung contribution to the development of civilization." The comments were posted on the Kazakhstani embassy’s website.
Two chapters of the “Nomads and Networks” monograph focus primarily on recent discoveries at Berel in the Altai Mountains. Dozens of kurgans, or burial mounds, have yielded a bevy of artifacts, including wool, wood, and other organic objects, preserved by a layer of permafrost. Other finds in Berel range from gilded horns and tack ornaments worn by horses to the remains of the horses themselves; and those they were meant to carry – a pair of male and female relatives, according to DNA analysis.
The Berel kurgans are also hailed by some as the crowning archeological achievement in independent Kazakhstan’s short history. The picture they paint of ancient nomadic life is one that many modern-day Kazakhstanis want to see, says Chang. But, she cautioned, the kurgan excavations yielded information mainly about how members of the elite horseman class of ancient Saka society lived and died. The mounds do not reveal much about how the commoners of Saka society existed.
“It’s kind of like dealing with the 1-percenters,” Chang said, comparing members of the Saka elite to today’s top earners in the United States. “The fact is, it wasn’t just people marauding with their horses. … The more we learn about nomads, the more we realize how cliché that term is. There were a variety of economic strategies.”
In her part of the Nomads and Networks project, a published essay and a blog, Chang outlined her theories of Saka and Wusun life based on less flashy evidence. Searching through the remains of farming settlements and relying on work done to identify animal remains, she has concluded that regular people often stayed in one place, contributing food, and perhaps manpower, to the warrior elite’s armies.
“The way that it has been put to me [by my Kazakh friends] is ‘we are a nomadic civilization,’” says Chang. “But for a historian, that’s almost like a contradiction in terms.”
A curator at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler galleries, Alexander Nagel, took a stab at how artifacts in the exhibition can align with Chang's theory.
"When you imagine how many artists took part on this production, you also get the idea of what kind of life it was," he said. "Who were the artists? ... The whole community took part in the construction of these kurgans."


 http://www.eurasianet.org/node/66335

El patrimonio arqueológico motor económico de los municipios de interior (Valencia

El patrimonio arqueológico motor económico de los municipios de interior




REDACCIÓN
La Diputación de Valencia, a través del Museo de Prehistoria y del Servicio de Formación, celebraron los días 19 y 20 de diciembre sus Jornadas Anuales de Debate.
A lo largo de estas jornadas sobre Patrimonio Arqueológico, desarrollo y Turismo, las ponencias presentadas y los debates consolidaron una idea clave: el turismo es una oportunidad para la gestión sostenible del patrimonio arqueológico, ya que ofrece vías de conservación, sostenibilidad social y también, y sobre todo, económica.
Por otro lado, convertir los yacimientos arqueológicos musealizados en productos turísticos exige una planificación y el diseño de modelos de gestión en los que las comunidades locales y los agentes económicos, que las empresas participen.
Estas conclusiones han servido de apoyo al desarrollo de los proyectos de turismo cultural que la Diputación de Valencia promueve a través de su Museo de Prehistòria.
Patrimonio Arqueológico, desarrollo y turismo
Analizar las oportunidades que ofrecen los yacimientos arqueológicos como recurso turístico y de desarrollo en los municipios de interior de la provincia de Valencia expone la posibilidad de su explotación como motor turístico en la economía local.
Se trata de estudiar el capital social y económico que el patrimonio arqueológico in situ puede aportar a las comunidades locales, los principios que deben guiar el diseño de iniciativas de turismo cultural arqueológico para lograr su sostenibilidad, el papel de los agentes locales, empresas y asociaciones, en la conservación del territorio y el desarrollo local, y las vías de participación de la Administración Local en la conservación, difusión y uso público del patrimonio.

 http://www.elperiodicodeaqui.com/noticias/El-patrimonio-arqueologico-motor-economicomunicipiosinterior-/33460

Se derrumba parte de la muralla de Badajoz debido a las últimas lluvias

Uno de los laterales de la Puerta Trinidad de la muralla de Badajoz, de unos ocho metros y construida en 1680, se ha desprendido debido a las lluvias de los últimos días y algunas de las piedras han impactado sobre un coche, cuyo conductor ha tenido que ser ingresado por una crisis de ansiedad.
El desmoronamiento ha ocurrido en una zona rehabilitada de la muralla, por la filtración de agua en las piedras tras las intensas lluvias caídas en la ciudad durante los últimos días, según apunta la Policía Local.
El vecino José Cuenca ha comentado a los medios de comunicación que sobre las once de la mañana ha avisado a la Policía Local de que el lateral de la puerta tenía grietas del tamaño de su cuerpo y ha lamentado que los bloques cayeran "desgraciadamente" cuatro horas después.
La Policía ha acordonado la zona, ubicada junto al Parque de la Legión, y los bomberos están llevando a cabo los trabajos para retirar los escombros, una tarea que durará varios días, según la Policía Local.
A la zona ha acudido el alcalde de la ciudad, Miguel Celdrán, acompañado de varios concejales pacenses, que han escuchado a los bomberos y policía acerca de las causas del suceso y de los trabajos sobre el terreno.
Uno de los vecinos que ha sido testigo del derrumbe, Francisco García, ha indicado que los daños podrían haber sido mayores si el tránsito de personas hubiera sido más numeroso en el momento del suceso. 
http://www.eldiario.es/politica/derrumba-muralla-Badajoz-ultimas-lluvias_0_83641938.html

miércoles, 26 de diciembre de 2012

Identifican más de mil sitios arqueológicos en el norte de Irak

Un equipo de la Universidad de Harvard está explorando antiguos asentamientos alrededor de la ciudad de Erbil, en el Kurdistán iraquí
Jason Ur, profesor del Departamento de Antropología de la Universidad de Harvard, ha emprendido un proyecto arqueológico de cinco años de duración con el fin de explorar un área de 3.200 km2 (equivalente a la provincia de Álava) alrededor de Erbil, capital del Kurdistán iraquí, en el norte del país, según informa la publicación universitaria Harvard Gazette. Desde comienzos de los años treinta ningún equipo arqueológico de la Universidad de Harvard se había desplazado a Irak, un país que ha sufrido los efectos devastadores de la guerra. El propósito de esta exploración consiste en localizar antiguas ciudades, poblaciones, canales y caminos. Según explica Ur, en apenas unos meses se han identificado 1.200 yacimientos arqueológicos potenciales y otros miles que podrían aparecer en los próximos años.
«Estamos descubriendo, sin lugar a dudas, el sitio arqueológico más valioso de Oriente Medio», asegura Jason Ur. «Debido al historial de conflictos y luchas étnicas en esta región no se ha realizado ningún trabajo en todo el área, realmente es una tabula rasa; se trata de un momento muy excitante», añade. Sin embargo, esta «pizarra en blanco» está siendo rápidamente suprimida por el desarrollo.«Uno de los retos de este proyecto es su duración limitada», explica Ur. «Me interesa localizar sitios individuales, pero también el espacio entre ellos, los indicios físicos de la agricultura y los caminos y las vías que los unen. Éste es el tipo de elementos efímeros que el desarrollo se llevará por delante. Hemos llegado en el momento justo porque la economía está creciendo en el Kurdistán y el desarrollo se está propagando por toda la región».
Para rastrear los asentamientos, Jason Ur está utilizando imágenes desclasificadas que fueron tomadas por satélites espía en los años sesenta. «El material desclasificado nos ha permitido analizar 3.200 km2 y hemos encontrado 1.200 sitios con un 90 por ciento de certeza», dice. «Hemos desatendido uno de los lugares más importantes de las antiguas civilizaciones por accidentes históricos y porque ha sido una zona de conflicto durante muchos años. Ahora que podemos ir, empezamos a comprender lo que ha habido ahí durante tanto tiempo».

 http://www.nationalgeographic.com.es/articulo/historia/actualidad/7899/identifican_mas_mil_sitios_arqueologicos_norte_irak.html

Rare Find of Temple Era Artifacts near Jerusalem

Archaeologists have discovered a rare cache of artifacts, testimony of a ritual cult before the Jewish kingdom abolished them.
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By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
The discovery, like may others, was made during road excavation, this time at a new section of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway, known as Highway 1. The archaeological site is known as Tel Motza, at the Motza turnoff less than five miles west of Jerusalem.
A ritual building and a cache of sacred vessels date back approximately 2,750 years.
"The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judae at the time of the First Temple," according to Anna Eirikh, Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz, directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The uniqueness of the structure is even more remarkable because of the vicinity of the site's proximity to the capital city of Jerusalem, which acted as the Kingdom's main sacred center at the time,” they added. According to the archaeologists, "Among other finds, the site has yielded pottery figurines of men, one of them bearded, whose significance is still unknown."
Tel Motza and the surrounding region are renowned for their prime archaeological importance. Many finds have previously been uncovered at the site, from a variety of different periods. From the 1990

1990s to the beginning of the present millennium, the site was excavated in preparation for the new route taken by Highway 1.
At the time, the site's archaeologists proposed once more identifying the site with the Biblical settlement "Mozah" mentioned in the Book of Joshua – a town in the tribal lands of Benjamin bordering on Judaea (Joshua 18: 26). The proposal was based, among other things, on the discovery at the site of a public building, a large structure with storehouses, and a considerable number of silos.
Archaeologists identified the site as a storehouse, run by high-ranking officials, for Jerusalem's grain supplies.
The current excavations have revealed evidence that provides another aspect to our understanding of the site. "The current excavation has revealed part of a large structure, from the early days of the monarchic period (Iron Age IIA),” the archaeologists said. “The walls of the structure are massive, and it includes a wide, east-facing entrance, conforming to the tradition of temple construction in the ancient Near East: the rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the object placed inside the temple first, symbolizing the divine presence within.
“A square structure which was probably an altar was exposed in the temple courtyard, and the cache of sacred vessels was found near the structure. The assemblage includes ritual pottery vessels, with fragments of chalices (bowls on a high base which were used in sacred rituals), decorated ritual pedestals, and a number of pottery figurines of two kinds: the first, small heads in human form (anthropomorphic) with a flat headdress and curling hair; the second, figurines of animals (zoomorphic) – mainly of harnessed animals.”
The archeologists stress that "The find of the sacred structure together with the accompanying cache of sacred vessels, and especially the significant coastal influence evident in the anthropomorphic figurines, still require extensive research."
Ritual elements in the Kingdom of Judah are recorded in archaeological research, especially from the numerous finds of pottery figurines and other sacred objects found at many sites in Israel, and these are usually attributed to domestic rituals.
However, the remains of ritual platforms and temples used for ritual ceremonies have only been found at a few sites of this period.
According to the site's directors, "The finds recently discovered at Tel Motza provide rare archaeological evidence for the existence of temples and ritual enclosures in the Kingdom of Judah in general, and in the Jerusalem region in particular, prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem."

martes, 25 de diciembre de 2012

El castillo perdido de Jaime I

Un historiador catalán sitúa la misteriosa Torre de Serrella, durante un tiempo la fortificación más al sur de la Corona de Aragón, en Santa Cruz de Moya
RAFEL MONTANER
VALENCIA
Ocho siglos después de que el rey de Aragón Pedro II el Católico, el padre de Jaime I, conquistara para la Cristiandad los castillos musulmanes de Ademuz, Castielfabib y un «castellum quo dicitur Serrella», la localización de esta última torre que durante 23 años —hasta que el Conqueridor tomó Borriana en 1233— fue la frontera más al sur de la Corona de Aragón con el Sarq al-Andalus sigue siendo un misterio. Sin embargo, el enigma del castillo perdido de Serrella, en el que para que no falte de nada están incluso los míticos templarios de por medio, podría tocar a su fin según el historiador catalán Juan Pitarque.
Después de décadas en que los investigadores y aficionados a la historia han ido adjudicando a diversos municipios valencianos (Puebla de San Miguel, Aras de los Olmos), de Teruel (Arcos de las Salinas) e incluso Cuenca (Alcalá de Vega), Pitarque sostiene que esta especie de evanescente Atlántida en la forja del Reino de Valencia se alzó en Santa Cruz de Moya, el término conquense que se interpone entre las comarcas valencianas del Rincón de Ademuz y Los Serranos.
A sus 72 años, Pitarque, autor del libro «Moya tierra de fronteras», es uno de los principales estudiosos de esta línea fronteriza trifinia donde chocaron los intereses expansionistas de Castilla, Aragón y Valencia. El investigador basa su tesis en la carta del 18 de marzo 1239 en la que el Conqueridor confirma a la ciudad de Teruel sus términos. El manuscrito otorga a este concejo de frontera el privilegio para crear de nuevas poblaciones en el camino real hacia Valencia.
En el pergamino, cuyo original se ha extraviado pero en el Archivo Histórico Nacional se guarda una copia de 1372, «nos Jaime, por la gracia de Dios rey de Aragón, Mallorca y Valencia, conde de Barcelona y Urgell y señor de Montpellier» fija los límites que separan Teruel de Castilla y del futuro Reino de Valencia que iba a crear como tal pocos días después, en abril de1239 al aprobar la primitiva «Costum» (fueros locales) del Cap i Casal
Este es el último documento en que se cita a Serrella antes de que la historia engulla a esta torre para siempre. El territorio que Jaime I concede a perpetuidad al concejo de Teruel «...se inicia en el río Guadalaviar y va al cerro de la Cuba, llamada Serriella...» Esto, añade Pitarque, «no ofrece ninguna duda de que la Torre Serrella se alzó en el barranco de la Cuba», el camino natural que comunica a través de Santa Cruz de Moya la aldea de Sesga, en el Rincón de Ademuz, con Aras de los Olmos.
Su ubicación «in frontaria sarracenorum» no era garantía de supervivencia. Enric Guinot, catedrático de Història Medieval de la Universitat de València, en su síntesis sobre la fundación del Reino de Valencia, cuenta que durante casi 60 años (1175-1233) «las tierras de la actual provincia de Castelló y del noroeste de Valencia, la región de Ademuz y Alpuente, se convirtieron en un país fronterizo, caracterizado por la fortificación del territorio». Una franja que durante las primeras décadas del siglo XIII, fue tierra de saqueo por ambos bandos, «de más intensidad por parte de aragoneses y catalanes que no al revés».
La torre musulmana de Serrella ya era ambicionada por Ramón Berenguer IV, conde de Barcelona y príncipe de Aragón, 68 años antes de su conquista efectiva. El abuelo del Conqueridor la incluyó, junto a Castielfabib y Ademuz, en los fueros de Daroca que concedió a la orden militar del Temple en 1142. Pero, no fue hasta 1210, cuando su hijo, Pedro II, tomó dichas fortalezas con la ayuda de los templarios. Así consta en el pergamino del 19 de septiembre de 1210 en el que el rey de Aragón concede al Temple la ciudad catalana de Tortosa con todos sus términos, en recompensa por la ayuda prestada en la conquista de los castillos de Ademuz, Castielfabib, El Cuervo y Serrella.
Pitarque explica que «no hay constancia de que los templarios se asentaran en Serrella», y que tal vez ésta no fuera más que una «modesta torre fortificada» sometida, además de las tensiones entre catalanes, aragoneses y andalusíes, a la expansión castellana que llegaba por el oeste. El arzobispo de Toledo, Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, que ambiciona la Balansiya musulmana, invocó una cruzada contra los sarracenos en 1219 pero no pudo con las murallas de Requena. En cambio sí que toma Santa Cruz de Moya, Mira «y algunos castillos de frontera, aunque no cita el de Serrella», apunta. Este término desaparecido, continúa, «pudo ser repartido entre Castilla y Aragón porque esta línea fronteriza trifinia fue objeto de grandes conflictos en el traslado de madera por el Turia desde Albarracín a Valencia».
Pedro Peinado, coordinador de La Gavilla Verde, colectivo dedicado a la revitalización del mundo rural, cuenta que se han localizado abundantes restos de cerámica medieval en un paraje del barranco de la Cuba donde hasta la década de los 40 hubo una aldea llamada Casas Quemadas: «Una agrupación de tres a cinco casas que vivían del trabajo de la tierra y que fueron obligadas a desocuparse en tiempo del maquis». A falta de una prospección arqueológica más profunda, el nombre de Casas Quemadas parece evocar el trágico fin del castillo perdido.
¿Por qué el Rincón de Ademuz es una isla territorial valenciana entre Cuenca y Teruel?
¿Alguna vez se ha preguntado por qué la C. Valenciana tiene una isla territorial de 370 km2 encajada entre Cuenca y Teruel? La respuesta a la singularidad del Rincón de Ademuz la explica el catedrático Enric Guinot en el libro «Los valencianos de tiempos de Jaime I». Cuando en abril de 1239 Jaime I creó el Reino de Valencia como tal, delimitó su territorio entre «el río Ulldecona al puerto de Biar, y del río de Albentosa hasta el mar». Sin embargo, la frontera con el concejo de Teruel no estaba ni mucho menos clara. De hecho, una decena de términos y señoríos entre Rubielos de Mora y Arcos de las Salinas, pasando por Manzanera y Albentosa, tan sólo fueron valencianos durante 30 años. Guinot relata que «los grandes concejos de la frontera aragonesa fueron creados en el último tercio del siglo XII, pero no fueron ocupados por la sociedad feudal hasta después de la conquista de Valencia en 1238». Así pues, cuando el Conqueridor pintó la frontera en base a la ocupación real del territorio, ésta chocó con los límites teóricos establecidos en el Fuero de Teruel de 1177. Tras siete años de pleitos (1262-1269), la mayor antigüedad del fuero turolense determinó que todos los señoríos alrededor de los concejos de Castielfabib y Ademuz quedaran bajo la órbita turolense.

 http://www.levante-emv.com/comunitat-valenciana/2012/12/17/castillo-perdido-jaime-i/960307.html

Se realizarán prospecciones arqueológicas en el Castillo de Orihuela

Pedro Mancebo, Concejal de Turismo, ha anunciado esta mañana que tras la master class que impartió el sábado el Arqueólogo Jefe de la Conselleria de Cultura, José Antonio López Mira sobre el “Castilllo de los Moros” perteneciente al Módulo 3 dedicado a la Gestión del Patrimonio Arqueológico incluido en el programa de Postgrado-Máster en Gestión del Patrimonio de la UA que se imparte en la Universidad Histórica de Santo Domingo y promovida por la Concejalía de Turismo, “la Conselleria de Cultura realizará un levantamiento topográfico del castillo como paso previo a las prospecciones arqueológicas que más tarde se harán” y ha afirmado que “la gran apuesta que ha hecho turismo por este máster ya está dando sus frutos en muy poco tiempo” y “desde esta concejalía se va a continuar trabajando en esta línea para poner en valor todo nuestro patrimonio que distingue a Orihuela por ser la ciudad más importante de la Comunidad Valenciana y así convertirla en el referente turístico que se merece, que desde hace muchos años tendría que ser y que nunca se trabajó por ello”.
La master class, a la que acudieron 25 alumnos del máster, consistió en una visita por el castillo donde comprobaron el estado de conservación del mismo, los restos conservados del camino de acceso, las diferentes líneas de muralla, sus superposiciones y los restos del adarve, así como la extensión de la alcazaba, la albacara, la puerta de acceso, los diferentes tipos de torres y sus técnicas constructivas, los aljibes y sus sistemas de captación de agua, los restos materiales que aparecen en superficie y que evidencian una ocupación del castillo desde época almohade (siglo XII) hasta el XVI. Asimismo visitaron el Museo de la Muralla.
Tras la visita, el arqueólogo jefe de la Consellería de Cultura quedó impresionado por lo que vio allí y aseguró que “ como conocedor de los castillos de la comunidad valenciana, no me equivoco si digo que el castillo de Orihuela, por historia y dimensiones es uno de los más importantes, sino el más importante de toda la comunidad y uno de los más importantes e interesantes de España” y continuo diciendo que “sobre la historia del castillo hay mucho que contar y que descubrir”. Precisamente descubrieron un resto cerámico en el que había una palma representada, “lo que demuestra la importancia que siempre ha tenido el Palmeral a lo largo de la historia y por lo que desde la concejalía de turismo se está apostando a través de su recuperación y promoción”, ha señalado Mancebo.
Por todo esto, el departamento de arqueología de la Conselleria de Cultura, el Máster en Gestión de Patrimonio y la Concejalía de Turismo con la colaboración de la Concejalía de Patrimonio va a redactar “un plan director que establezca las diferentes fases para la puesta en valor, recuperación y conservación del castillo para convertirlo en un referente cultural local, comarcal, provincial y regional para conceder al castillo el papel histórico que se merece”.
Pedro Mancebo ha anunciado que está prevista para esta semana una reunión de trabajo con el arqueólogo jefe de la Consellera de Cultura y el director del Máster para “comenzar a trabajar por la recuperación de esta seña de identidad oriolana que nunca se le ha dado la importancia que tiene”.
Visita al Horno de Santa Matilde
Pedro Mancebo ha anunciado que a través de las relaciones que tiene la Concejalía de Turismo con la Fundación del horno de aludeles de Almadén visitará el Horno de Santa Matilde una estudiante de doctorado de la Universidad de Castilla La Mancha ya que es “el segundo más importante del mundo por su estado de conservación”. Asimismo ha explicado que todos los estudios que se están haciendo sobre este tema se publicarán en revistas especializadas por lo que “va a suponer otro punto de promoción de Orihuela como ciudad turística”.

 http://www.orihuela.es/?p=24642

Los islamistas de Malí prometen destruir el patrimonio de Tombuctú

No quedará un solo mausoleo. Alá lo quiere así”, proclama un líder islamista
Tombuctú, la ciudad mítica del Sahara, cuyo nombre evoca exotismo y misterio, crisol de culturas desde la Edad Media, está sufriendo la misma suerte que los budas de Bamiyán bajo los talibanes afganos: la destrucción total de su patrimonio histórico por parte de la milicia cercana a Al Qaeda que controla el Norte de Malí. “No quedará un solo mausoleo en Tombuctú. Alá lo quiere así”, declaró Abú Dardar, líder del grupo Ansar al Dine, cercano a Al Qaeda. Los islamistas radicales comenzaron el pasado domingo una nueva oleada de destrucción de estos monumentos, considerados patrimonio de la humanidad por la Unesco.
Las nuevas destrucciones del patrimonio histórico coinciden con la amputación de las manos de dos ladrones en Gao, la principal ciudad de la zona bajo gobierno de los radicales, que aplican la versión más estricta de la sharía. Y se produce también tras la adopción el jueves por parte del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU de una resolución que autoriza, por etapas y bajo condiciones, una intervención militar que se produciría, en el mejor de los casos, a partir de septiembre de 2013 aunque Francia quiere que llegue mucho antes, incluso en el primer trimestre del próximo año.
Los islamistas que controlan el norte de Mali desde finales de marzo ya lanzaron en verano una primera oleada de destrucción de mausoleos, que consideran antiislámicos y sacrílegos, aunque es la primera vez que expresan con tanta claridad que no van a dejar piedra sobre piedra. “Están destruyendo todos los mausoleos con picos”, relató un habitante a AFP. Mohamed Alful, otro militante del grupo islamista radical, explicó a la misma agencia que “el hombre debe venerar sólo a Alá” y que, por lo tanto, todos los mausoleos deben ser derribados.
En la ciudad, que tiene en torno a 40.000 habitantes aunque resulta difícil hacer una estimación desde la llegada de la milicia de Al Qaeda, existen cientos de monumentos que han sufrido un lento deterioro a lo largo de los años por la falta de mantenimiento, pese a la cooperación y a la visita de turistas.
La Unesco, que incluyó a Tumbuctú en su lista del patrimonio de la humanidad en 1988, define la ciudad como “sede de la prestigiosa universidad coránica de Sankoré y varias madrazas, fue durante los siglos XV y XVI una de las capitales intelectuales y espirituales del Islam y un foco de propagación de esta religión en África”.
Desde la Edad Media, gracias a la riqueza que aportaba el tráfico de esclavos, marfil y especias a través del Sáhara, Tombuctú fue un punto de encuentro entre el África negra y los nómadas del desierto, tuaregs, árabes o bereberes. Gracias a la riqueza generada por el comercio, atrajo a estudiosos y arquitectos, que modelaron con el barro del desierto una de las ciudades más impactantes del planeta. La famosa mezquita de Djingareyber se mantiene en pie 700 años después pese a la decadencia de la ciudad, que empezó en el siglo XVI. Los primeros visitantes occidentales no llegaron hasta mediados del siglo XIX a una urbe, que entonces era un mito que florecía más allá del desierto.


Scientists Research First Stone Tool Industries in Olduvai Gorge

An international team of researchers have returned to Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania to unravel the mystery of how humans transitioned from the first stone tool technology to a more sophisticated industry
Olduvai Gorge, perhaps the most famous site for evidence of early humans, is again the subject of intense research on a decades-old question bearing on human origins: How, when and where did early humans evolve from using the first and simplest stone tool industry, that of Oldowan, to the second-oldest, and more sophisticated, stone tool technology known as the Acheulean?
While Olduvai has been picked over before, most notably by the pioneering scientists L.S.B. and Mary Leakey, advances in archaeological investigative methods and the application of multidisciplinary approaches have made it possible to take another, more detailed and comprehensive look at both the old and the new among the world-famous exposed beds, the geological earthen layers or deposits that have historically produced some of the great ground-breaking discoveries related to early human evolution. Now, under the organizational umbrella of the Olduvai Geochronology Archaeology Project, an international team of scientists composed of a consortium of researchers and institutions is focusing on reconstructing the picture of the early human transition from the simple "chopper" stone tool technology of the Oldowan industry (see image below), the world's first technology discovered at Olduvai, to the Acheulean, the more sophisticated technology represented most by the well-known bifacial "handaxe" (see image below), some of the first examples of which were found at Saint- Acheul in France, and later at Olduvai. The Oldowan is considered to have been made and used during the Lower Paleolithic, from 2.6 to 1.7 million years ago, whereas the Acheulean emerged about 1.76 million years ago and was used by early humans up to about 300,000 years ago or later.
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A chopping tool from Olduvai Gorge, 1 - 2 million years old. GFDL CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
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A handaxe from Olduvai Gorge, over 1 million years old. This stone tool is most often associated with Homo erectus, a hominin considered by many scientists to be a possible human (Homo) ancestor. Homo erectus is widely thought to be the first species to venture out of Africa to populate the Middle East/Eurasia. British Museum, Discott, Wikimedia Commons
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To find answers, the team will be reappraising the chronological stratigraphy of Bed II, known to have yielded previous significant finds, and will be re-excavating some of the later beds of the best known fossil and stone tool sites. These beds reveal a record of a very important time period (1.79 - 1.15 million years ago), a record that contains evidence of critical changes in the area's fauna, stone tools and climate, such as the disappearance of Homo habilis, a very early hominin and possible human ancestor, and the emergence of Homo erectus, a later hominin considered to be the earliest human ancestor to exit Africa and spread across Eurasia. Scientists suggest that these same beds may include evidence of the long-sought transition from the more primitive Oldowan stone tools to the appearance of the more advanced Acheulean tools. Recent research at Olduvai has focused primarily on earlier beds, so research on these later beds will likely present new data to consider. Four key previously excavated sites will be investigated through full-scale excavation.
More specifically, the team's objectives are including the following activities:
  • Conducting test pits (very limited, targeted excavations) at selective Bed II sites that have been determined to contain possible evidence related to the emergence of Acheulean tools at Olduvai;
  • Applying the new landscape sampling approach across Middle and Upper Bed II deposits and conducting random test pits in the various paleo-ecological settings;
  • Applying advanced dating methodologies to Bed II volcanic ashes to produce higher-resolution, more accurate dates for Bed II locations;
  • Measuring stratigraphic sections at and between key archaeological sites to determine their relative order and paleoecological contexts;
  • Determining the correlation of volcanic ash layers between sites to test previous proposed correlations and then establishing the basin-wide stratigraphic framework for Bed II; and finally,
  • Reconstructing the paleo-environments at Olduvai during the 1.7-1.3 Ma time period.
Additional information about the Olduvai Geochronology Archaeology Project can be obtained at the project website.
For information about how to participate in the research, go to the information page at the Institute for Field Research.
 http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/december-2012/article/scientists-research-first-stone-tool-industries-in-olduvai-gorge

Roman settlement remains found at Kingskerswell bypass

The remains of what is believed to be a 2,000-year-old Roman settlement have been uncovered at the construction site of a new bypass.
Artefacts discovered in Kingskerswell include fragments of pots thought to be imported from southern Europe. Trenches used for defence were also found.
Devon county archaeologist Bill Horner said it was an "exciting find".
The artefacts will eventually go on show at Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
Locals 'Romanised' Demolition work began in October to clear the route ready for the road linking Torbay and Newton Abbot.
The quantity and the quality of the finds suggested the people who lived there would have been part of the local ruling elite who were becoming "Romanised", Mr Horner said.
Trench excavation Remains of medieval buildings were also found
He said: "The Romans conquered the South West and, for much of the later 1st Century AD, the area was a military zone.
"After the army moved north to conquer the rest of the population, the native elite were becoming more Romanised, and assimilating into the Roman Empire and economy."
As well as the Roman finds, archaeologists also turned up evidence of 800-year-old medieval buildings.
The discoveries are not expected to delay the construction of the £110m, 5.5km (3.4 mile) bypass, construction managers said.
Devon County Council hopes the road will be completed by December 2015.
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-20791039

Crossrail dig unearths forgotten London




As a team of archaeologists digs through layers of history beneath London, the thought of the next find is never far away.
"Just about any new discovery is thoroughly exciting," says Jay Carver, the lead on what is currently the UK's largest archaeology project.
His team has been working alongside engineers building stations and digging two giant tunnels under central London as part of Crossrail since 2009.
On the journey so far, finds include rare amber, hundreds of skeletons and a Bronze Age track.
But for Mr Carver, among the most exciting discoveries was the Thames ironworks and ship building company which occupied the entire Limmo Peninsula.
Wild animals He said: "The site had literally been forgotten in the ground. It was 100 years old but we have pretty much been able to reconstruct it.
"To have discovered this huge timber shipway was extraordinary.
"The discovery of ancient animal bones in Paddington takes it to the other extreme to a London with wild animals, an unbelievable concept in today's world."
Amber Archaeologists said the largest piece of amber found in the UK was unearthed at Canary Wharf
Crossrail will connect 37 stations from Heathrow Airport and Maidenhead in the west, through central London and out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.
It is due to be completed in 2018.
Being a part of this giant feat of engineering has allowed the 100-strong team of archaeologists to venture into largely unexplored territory.
Mr Carver said: "The project has allowed us to dig so many holes across so many parts of London.
"It's about filling information gaps, finding out about stuff we didn't know before and making all the details we had in the past, clearer."
He explained that digging from west to east through the centre of London, which due to city's built-up nature is usually restricted, gives them a unique opportunity.
Roman city "It enables us to compare and contrast areas of London by gathering scientific data from different locations, for example excavating several sites across west London and parts of the City.

Start Quote

It is exciting as you spend years doing the research then you get to dig and prove your homework”
End Quote Mike Court Archaeologist
"Looking at how they developed from green fields into the city we know today and how the river system changed and developed over thousands of years.
"It will also reveal thousands of years of history in the Square Mile which covers what was a Roman and medieval city, which are fairly unknown."
Advances in technology may mean there is less uncertainty about what might lay beneath the surface, but Crossrail has still delivered a few surprises.
At Canary Wharf a 55-million-year-old piece of amber was unearthed from beneath the dock bed in 2009.
The archaeology team said very little amber had been found in London and this piece was larger and clearer than any previously found in the UK.
The next stop for the team is Farringdon where archaeologist Mike Court will be leading a two-week excavation in January.
Crossrail excavation The Thames ship building company was unearthed at Limmo Peninsula
Trial digs have confirmed an old river channel and evidence of leather production under Smithfield Market.
Mr Court said: "It is exciting as you spend years doing the research then you get to dig and prove your homework."
"It's close to a big plague pit from the black death so it gives us a chance to dig down but there's only a 20% chance we will find it."
Meanwhile, in a trial excavation pit at Liverpool Street in February 2011, Mr Court said they came across what he considers to be the most exciting find on the project so far - a silver Denarius, a Roman coin from 225AD.
Roman coin The team found a silver Roman Denarius which would have been in use across Europe at the time
"It's fairly run of the mill for sites but it gives you something in your hand which showed the time Britain was part of the Roman Empire and puts us into the wider context," he said.
Looking to 2013, Mr Carver said they would be working on the largest single excavation at the site of Crossrail's ticket hall in Liverpool Street.
It is expected to reveal the less salubrious parts of Roman London outside of the City walls with archaeologists anticipating to encounter Roman timber-framed buildings and a street surface 6m below ground level.
The "lost" Walbrook River - a channel that divided the western and eastern parts of the city - may also be found.
At the eastern end of the Crossrail route, archaeologists will work at four large tunnel entrance sites at Pudding Mill Lane, Victoria Dock, North Woolwich and Plumstead.
Here it is thought the team will come across areas where Bronze Age people lived, farmed and hunted some 3,500 years ago.
Only halfway through its journey, and with a total of 20 archaeology sites to explore, it is hoped there is much more to be uncovered.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20796351

Engraved stone artifact found at the Shuidonggou Paleolithic Site, Northwest China

The engraved stone artifact from the Shuidonggou Paleolithic site, Ningxia, Northwest China. Credit: PENG Fei Engraved objects are usually seen as a hallmark of cognition and symbolism, which are viewed as important features of modern human behavior. In recent years, engraved ochre, bones and ostrich eggs unearthed from various Paleolithic sites in Africa, the Near East and Europe have attracted great attentions. However, such items are rarely encountered at Paleolithic sites in East Asia. According to article published in the journal of Chinese Science Bulletin (vol.57, No.26), Dr. GAO Xing, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his team reported an engraved stone artifact in a stone tool assemblage at the Shuidonggou Paleolithic site, Ningxia, Northwest China.

The Shuidonggou Paleolithic site includes 12 localities, ranging in date from Early Late Paleolithic to Late Paleolithic. The engraved stone artifact was found at Locality 1, which is about 30000 years ago. As the first Paleolithic site discovered in China, Shuidonggou Locality 1 is distinctive in Late Paleolithic industry of north China, because of its components of elongated tool blank production and Levallois-like technology. When analyzing the materials unearthed from the site during excavations in the 1920s, French archaeologist Henry Breuil observed parallel incisions on the surface of siliceous pebbles, but he did not provide details on those incised pebbles. This engraved stone artifact was found in a recent technological analysis of the stone tool assemblage unearthed at the Shuidonggou site in 1980. It is the first engraved non-organic artifact from the entire Paleolithic of China. Archaeologists used a digital microscope to observe all the incisions and obtain 3D images. After excluding the possibility of natural cracking, trampling and animal-induced damage, and unintentional human by-products, they believed that the incisions were made by intentional behavior. The straight shape of each line shows that it was incised once over a short time interval without repeated cutting, implying the possibility of counting or recording at that time. Furthermore, creation of such an engraved object may indicate the possible existence of complex communicative systems such as language. "Comparison studies indicate that the blade technology was probably introduced from the Altai region of Russian Siberia, and the flake technology is typical of the Late Paleolithic in north China. So, who created the incisions, the migrants from the west or the aborigines in north China? At this time, we cannot provide a clear scenario. More archaeological and anthropological evidences are needed to solve the puzzle", said Dr. PENG Fei, first author of the study at the IVPP. "This discovery provides important material for the study of symbolic and cognitive capability of humans in the Late Paleolithic of East Asia. As we know, so-called 'behavioral modernity' is often defined as changes of technology and subsistence strategies, expansion of activity areas, revolution in cognition, and other features. Most of these features have been identified at Paleolithic sites in Europe, the Near East and Africa. But in East Asia, the issue is more complex", said project lead GAO Xing, corresponding author of the study. This work was mainly supported by the National Basic Research Program of China, the Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-engraved-stone-artifact-shuidonggou-paleolithic.html#jCp

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-engraved-stone-artifact-shuidonggou-paleolithic.html#jCp

Party ruins temple

Afp
 Tuesday, December 25, 2012


GUATEMALA CITY - Tourists flocking to Guatemala for "end of the world" parties have damaged an ancient stone temple at Tikal, the largest archaeological site and urban centre of the Mayan civilisation.

"Sadly, many tourists climbed Temple II and caused damage," said Osvaldo Gomez, a technical adviser at the site, which is located some 550 kilometres north of Guatemala City.

"We are fine with the celebration, but (the tourists) should be more aware because this is a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site," he told local media. Gomez did not specify what was done, although he did say it was forbidden to climb the stairs at the site and indicated that the damage was irreparable.

Temple II, which is about 38 metres high and faces the central Tikal plaza, is one of the site's best known structures.

Friday marked the end of an era that lasted 5200 years, according to the Mayan "Long Count" calendar. Some believed the date also marked the end of the world as foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs.

More than 7000 people visited Tikal on Friday to see native Mayan priests hold a colourful ceremony and light fires as the sun emerged to mark the new era UNESCO declared Tikal a World Heritage Site in 1979.
http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=221006

Mexican Archaeologists Discover 1,200 Year-Old Zapotec Tomb

Mexican archaeologists have discovered a roughly 1,200-year-old tomb at the Zapotec site of Atzompa, a find that shows the city’s central complex not only had a civic-ceremonial area but also a residential section.
The discovery in the southern state of Oaxaca was made during work to preserve the remains of what the experts believe was a home inhabited between A.D. 750-900, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, said in a statement.
The tomb, which contained the skeletal remains of two adults, is the fourth to be discovered in that satellite city of Monte Alban. In early 2012, a funerary complex consisting of three tombs was found inside a building in the elite sector of Atzompa.
Archaeologist Laura Mendoza Escobar, who coordinated the work at the site, said the tomb - as per the ancient Zapotec Indian funerary pattern - was found beneath the floor of what had been the main room of the residence.
She said the residence is located in an area of Atzompa where habitational spaces had previously been detected, but without the presence of a tomb.
Mendoza said the discovery leads her team to believe the occupants of the dwelling were part of a medium social strata at the service of the ruling group, making this burial site the first of its kind found at the archaeological site.
http://www.hispanicallyspeakingnews.com/latino-daily-news/details/mexican-archaeologists-discover-1200-zapotec-tomb/20586/

domingo, 23 de diciembre de 2012

Discovery of a horse engraving from Bruniquel, France

There are many examples of Palaeolithic portable engravings that have been discovered, long after their excavation, among the collections stored in museums.
For example, a remarkable pair of bear figures was spotted in the mid-1980s on a rib fragment housed with the bone industry from the Magdalenian cave of Isturitz in the western Pyrenees; the rib came from a level excavated by the St Périers in 1931 (Esparza & Mujika 2003).
It is far rarer, however, for a new engraving to be found among faunal material curated within a palaeontological collection.
In the article publish in Antiquity 285 (2011) the researchers report on the discovery of a horse engraving in the collection of the Palaeontology Department of the Natural History Museum (NHM), London, some 140 years after the excavation and acquisition of the specimen.
The new engraving was found among the horse remains from the Late Magdalenian site of Roc du Courbet, Bruniquel, France.

Laura M. Kaagan, Paul G. Bahn & Adrian M. Lister
http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2012/discovery-of-a-horse-engraving-from-bruniquel-france

Scientists to unravel centuries-old mystery of King Canute

  • Bristol University archeologists to examine remains at Winchester Cathedral
  • King Canute and his family's remains scattered during English Civil War
  • The bones were gathered and placed in six caskets
By Padraic Flanagan


A centuries-old mystery surrounding the bones of King Canute could soon be solved by forensic experts.
They are to examine the skeletal remains of Anglo-Saxon royalty that have lain in wooden ‘mortuary chests’ at Winchester Cathedral for more than 350 years.
Canute, the 11th Century king who famously tried to command the tides, was buried in the cathedral but his remains and those of his family were scattered when Roundheads ransacked it during the English Civil War.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2248800/Scientists-Bristol-University-hope-unravel-centuries-old-mystery-King-Canute-examine-skeletal-remains-Winchester-Cathedral.html#ixzz2FswPrNQt
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Cultura inicia el expediente para declarar BIC el Valle del Darro (Granada)

Los trámites comenzaron hace ahora dos años y Mar Villafranca confía en que concluyan "lo antes posible"

La Consejería de Cultura y Deporte trabaja, junto al Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife, en la preparación de la documentación técnica que permita iniciar el expediente administrativo para la incoación del Valle del río Darro como Bien de Interés Cultural con categoría de zona Patrimonial. Ambas instituciones llevan desde 2010 trabajando en el proyecto, informó ayer la Junta, que ha indicado que la complejidad de la zona afectada ha demorado el desarrollo de la tramitación. La declaración afecta a los municipios de Huétor Santillán y Beas de Granada, a los barrios del Albaicín y Sacromonte y al entorno del monumento nazarí.

Lo que llevó a la administración a plantearse iniciar el expediente de protección del área hace dos años fue la demanda de la Plataforma para la Protección Integral del Valle del río Darro y otros colectivos, que trasladaron su preocupación a la Junta por el deterioro que sufre la zona y los proyectos públicos y privados que se han anunciado a lo largo de estos años. Uno de ellos, especialmente polémico, fue la iniciativa sobre cierre del anillo de la Circunvalación que rodea a la capital.

El Patronato de la Alhambra ha puesto a disposición del proyecto un equipo de personal experto en patrimonio y los fondos necesarios para llevarlo a efecto, con el beneplácito de la Consejería de Cultura y Deporte.

"Es una satisfacción contar con el apoyo ciudadano en un proyecto tan importante y a la vez tan complejo como este", ha señalado la delegada territorial de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Ana Gámez. En su opinión, hay que agradecer a la directora del Patronato de la Alhambra y el Generalife, María del Mar Villafranca, que "tuviese clara la necesidad de protección de la zona, que haya trabajado y trabaje para conseguirla y haya puesto a disposición del proyecto un equipo de personal experto en patrimonio y los fondos necesarios para llevarlo a efecto, siempre con el beneplácito y el apoyo de la Consejería de Cultura y Deporte".

Por su parte, Villafranca recalcó que éste es "un proyecto de participación ciudadana y compartido" por PSOE e IU. "Lo que esperamos -ha comentado la directora del Patronato de la Alhambra- es que se haga lo antes posible". Según avanzó la directora del Patronato, " la directora general de Bienes Patrimoniales está por la labor".

Todo el Valle del Darro está asociado al monumento nazarí, sobre todo porque éste es el río que nutre de agua a la Alhambra y toda la red hidráulica, tanto la histórica como la actual.

En los estudios realizados por la propia Alhambra se ha comprobado que se mantienen también conducciones, puentes, acueductos y otros elementos vinculados a los ríos y al agua. Toda esta tradición es la que quiere mantener el Patronato, que reivindica la importancia del valle para la Alhambra, vinculada sobre todo a través de la Acequia Real.

Desde la Junta de Andalucía se apuesta por permitir un desarrollo sostenible que incluya la recuperación de la zona como ya ha ocurrido con otras dos áreas de Andalucía que han sido declaradas zona patrimonial, Río Tinto en Huelva y Otíñar en Jaén. Han sido puestas en valor y se han convertido en espacios visitables generadores de riqueza.

http://www.granadahoy.com



sábado, 22 de diciembre de 2012

Archaeologists Dig Ancient City of Dor

Only partially excavated to date, the ancient port city of Dor on the northern coast of Israel is revealing a virtual potpouri of artifacts and structural remains attributed to at least eight great civilizations that left their indelible mark at its location. Now, archaeologists return to explore remains bearing on the Roman period, including a Roman theater and private homes; a large Hellenistic period complex; a large Israelite structure; sections of a Phoenician settlement; and possibly the remains of the earlier Bronze Age city.
Among the goals of the excavation is to examine how the ancient inhabitants were influenced by a cross-cultural environment, where the business commerce brought a variety of different cultural and societal elements together into a port city that was one of the major coastal trade centers of the Middle East.
Dor dates from the Bronze Age, around 1100 BCE, to the 3rd century CE. It is considered to be the city of D-jr of Egyptian sources, Biblical Dor, and Dor or Dora from Greek and Roman sources. Dor was successively ruled by Canaanites, the "Sea Peoples" (people originating further west in the Mediterranean), Israelites, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, and later, a Crusader presence. The city served primarily as a commercial entrepot, a gateway between East and West. It is this aspect that makes the investigation of the site, as compared to many other sites, unique.

Excavations were conducted from 1980 to 2000 under the direction of Ephraim Stern of the Hebrew University, but a new consortium, consisting of two Israeli universities and several American universities, taking a multi-disciplinary approach, has renewed the excavations with the application of new technology and methodologies. Officials also hope to conserve the site and develop it more for public access.
More information about Tel Dor and how one can participate in the upcoming excavations can be obtained at http://dor.huji.ac.il/index.html and at http://depts.washington.edu/teldor/wordpress/.
 http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/december-2012/article/archaeologists-dig-ancient-city-of-dor

Brazil Expands Mines to Drive Future, but Cost Is a Treasured Link to Its Past

CARAJÁS NATIONAL FOREST, Brazil — Archaeologists must climb tiers of orchid-encrusted rain forest, where jaguars roam and anacondas slither, to arrive at one of the Amazon’s most stunning sights: a series of caves and rock shelters guarding the secrets of human beings who lived here more than 8,000 years ago.
Almost anywhere else, these caves would be preserved as an invaluable source of knowledge into prehistoric human history. But not in this remote corner of the Amazon, where Vale, the Brazilian mining giant, is pushing forward with the expansion of one of the world’s largest iron-ore mining complexes, a project that will destroy dozens of the caves treasured by scholars.
The caves, and the spectacular mineral wealth in their midst, have presented Brazil with a dilemma. The iron ore from Carajás, exported largely to China where it is used to make steel, is a linchpin of Brazil’s ambitions of reviving a sluggish economy, yet archaeologists and other researchers contend that the emphasis on short-term financial gains imperils an unrivaled window into a nebulous past.
“This is a crucial moment to learn about the human history of the Amazon, and by extension the peopling of the Americas,” said Genival Crescêncio, a caver and historian in Pará State, which includes Carajás. “We should be preserving this unique place for science, but we are destroying it so the Chinese can open a few more car factories.”
As Brazil embarks on a frenzied effort to increase mining and improve infrastructure, work crews in the Amazon and beyond are unearthing one startling discovery after another. In Rio de Janeiro, archaeologists are examining a slave market and cemetery where thousands of Africans were buried. The discoveries have complicated the upgrade of the harbor and public transportation network ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Brazilian courts can require companies to preserve archaeological sites, or at least transfer archaeological material to universities or museums where it can be studied, before work continues. In some cases, rulings have stalled huge projects, as Anglo American, the mining giant, discovered this year when prosecutors halted work on a large mining project in Minas Gerais State over concerns that an archaeologically significant cave could be damaged.
Scholars say that the caves of Carajás, which archaeologists began exploring in the 1980s, offer coveted insight into what may be the earliest known stages of human settlement in the world’s largest tropical rain forest, helping to piece together the puzzle of how the Americas came to be inhabited.
Pieces of ceramic vessels and tools made of amethyst and quartz are among the signs of human occupation from thousands of years ago. Such artifacts, along with the abundance of the caves and rock shelters themselves, make Carajás one of the Amazon’s most important places for the study of prehistoric humans.
The Amazon is already a hotbed of archaeological investigation, as researchers find evidence that far more people might have lived in the region than once considered possible. While the Amazon was once thought incapable of supporting large, sophisticated societies, researchers now contend that the region might have been home to thriving urban centers before the arrival of Columbus.
Before those cities were carved out of the forest, people lived in the Amazon’s caves. At Pedra Pintada, a cave that, like those in Carajás, is also in Pará, Anna C. Roosevelt, an American archaeologist, has shown that hunter-gatherers moved to the region 10,900 to 11,200 years ago, far earlier than once thought, about the same time people in North American were hunting mammoths.
Outside the Amazon, remarkable discoveries have been announced in recent months at other Brazilian sites. At Lapa do Santo, a rock shelter near the city of Belo Horizonte, archaeologists said this year that they had found the New World’s oldest known figurative petroglyph. The rock art, a drawing of a man with an oversize phallus, is thought to have been made 10,500 to 12,000 years ago.
To reach the caves of Carajás, researchers must drive hours along washboard roads cut through the jungle, before scaling escarpments with spectacular views of the Carajás Mountains, a range of canopied peaks rising out of the forest. Macaws fly overhead and bats swirl inside the earth cavities in which hunting tribes once found shelter.
Some of the caves, substantially cooler inside their openings than the surrounding forest, are large enough for more than a dozen people; others might have provided just enough space for two or three people.
Vale, then a state-owned company, began developing the iron ore deposits here after they were discovered in 1967 by a Brazilian geologist on assignment to find manganese for the U.S. Steel Corporation. Vale has since been privatized, but the government still controls big equity stakes.
Thanks largely to its Carajás complex, where thousands of workers labor 24 hours a day amid the clamor of digging machines, Vale accounts for 16 percent of Brazil’s total exports. As Vale grapples with a sharp decline in profits this year and delays at projects outside Brazil, Carajás is expected to become more important.
Vale has said it plans to create 30,000 jobs in the expansion of iron-ore mining at Carajás, a $20 billion project called Serra Sul, which is already luring thousands of migrants from around Brazil to this frenetic part of the Amazon.
To comply with regulations governing archaeological sites, Vale executives said, the company hired archaeologists and a team of speleologists, or cavers, to survey the caves, which are clustered around the open-pit Carajás mine. Vale also adapted its construction proposal to preserve some caves while planning to destroy dozens of others. While Vale acknowledged that at least 24 of the caves to be destroyed are of “high relevance,” it said it would also preserve caves in another part of Pará to compensate for their loss.
“For us there is just one procedure, and that is being transparent,” said Gleuza Josué, Vale’s environmental director. Describing the expansion of Carajás as a project of “paramount importance,” she said that Vale had rigorously complied with environmental and archaeological legislation in order to move forward with its plans.
Regulatory officials said they had won concessions from Vale but had not been able to stop the mine expansion. Despite archaeological concerns, the government granted the company a crucial environmental license in June, allowing the expansion to move forward.
The company still needs another installation license, expected to be granted in 2013, to go ahead with Serra Sul. Archaeologists and cavers familiar with Carajás seem resigned to the possibility that Vale will get its way.
Frederico Drumond Martins, a government biologist who oversees the Carajás National Forest, said he remained concerned that mine expansions here in the decades ahead could eventually destroy every last cave in Carajás.
Renato Kipnis, a respected archaeologist in São Paulo whom Vale hired to survey the caves of Carajás, said that Vale had prohibited him from discussing their archaeological significance, because of a confidentiality agreement Vale had required him to sign. Later, a Vale spokeswoman allowed Mr. Kipnis to be interviewed by e-mail, but only if the company was allowed to vet his replies.
In written replies screened by Vale, he marveled at the importance of the caves.
“The great challenge,” he said, “is finding middle ground between preservation and development.” 
 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/world/americas/in-brazil-caves-would-be-lost-in-mining-project.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Ruins of ancient hospital discovered in Sri Lanka's historic city of Anuradhapura


Dec 16, Colombo: Archaeological researchers of Sri Lanka have discovered the ruins of an ancient hospital, believed to be about 2,000 years old, in Anuradhapura, the historic capital city of North Central Province.

The ruins of the ancient hospital have been found near the ancient Thuparamaya Dagoba that is believed to have been initially constructed in third century B.C.

A spa, medical rooms and medical equipment including grinding stones and knives have been recovered so far. A latrine system that is carved in rock has also been identified.

The Director of the Abhayagiriya Archaeological Project Prof. T.G. Kulathunga said that ruins are similar to the findings of other ancient hospitals in Anuradhapura.

The Archaeological Department has also commenced excavations of a hospital ground in Anuradhapura Maha Vihara temple near Ruvanwelisaya.

http://www.colombopage.com/archive_12B/Dec16_1355635126CH.php

jueves, 20 de diciembre de 2012

Ancient armor-clad skeleton discovered in Gunma Pref.

SHIBUKAWA, Gunma -- The skeleton of a man in armor dating from the early sixth century has been discovered in a layer of volcanic ash here, the Gunma Archaeological Research Foundation announced on Dec. 10.
The armor-clad remains were found at the Kanai Higashiura ruins here during archaeological excavations accompanying road construction. According to the foundation, the armor is the first set from the Kofun (burial mound) period ever discovered on the body of its owner. The only other pieces of armor from the period have been found among grave goods in tombs. The man is thought to have been caught in the eruption of Mt. Haruna's Futatsudake, a nearby volcano.
"The find is a valuable clue for learning about the life, habits and disasters of the time," said a foundation representative.
The Kanai Higashiura ruins are around nine kilometers northeast of Futatsudake. The skeleton, intact save the back of the skull and the pelvis, was found in a ditch around two meters wide and one meter deep. As the skeleton was found facing the volcanoes with its legs bent and facing downward, the research foundation speculates that the man may have been conducting a ritual to "calm the anger" of the volcanoes.
The armor is made of small overlapping metal plates, a type called kozane yoroi thought to have been produced only in the Kansai region far to the southeast of modern Shibukawa. Furthermore, kozane yoroi has never been discovered in Gunma outside the tombs of the ruling classes, leading foundation archaeologists to speculate the man was a local leader or other high-status individual with close connections to the Yamato kingdom.
Three iron swords have been found in the Kanai Maruyama tomb in the western section of the ruins, and the foundation says they could be related to the man found on Dec. 10. Also, the skull of an infant and around a dozen iron arrowheads have been uncovered nearby.
"This find is like a piece of the Kofun period being cut out and displayed for modern times," says archaeologist Kazuo Migishima of Gunma University. "In the Gunma area, kozane yoroi armor has only been found in the tombs of the ruling classes or those of similar rank, so the man was probably of the ruling classes. Kozane yoroi was state-of-the-art at the time and required high expertise to make. The find inspires speculation that there was a connection between the Yamato Oken (western rulers) and Togoku (eastern states)."

 http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20121211p2a00m0na005000c.html