martes, 30 de abril de 2013

42 años después encuentran una cámara funeraria de los siglos V- IV antes de Cristo a escasos metros de donde apareció la Dama de Baza

Unas tareas de limpieza y conservación realizadas en Cerro Santuario, donde hace 42 años el profesor Francisco Presedo Velo, encontró la Dama de Baza, han sacado a la luz una estructura funeraria de una importancia tal que pude cambiar toda o gran parte de la información que hasta ahora se tenía sobre el mundo funerario ibero.

Según el arqueólogo Alejandro Caballero, que es el director de la excavaciones de urgencia que se están realizando en la necrópolis de Cerro Santuario, la nueva estructura funeraria ahora descubierta, cuya excavación aún no ha concluido, se corresponde con una cámara subterránea, con acceso mediante escaleras desde un nivel superior, donde se encuentra una puerta, rodeada por un banco adosado a las paredes. Toda la estructura está edificada con ladrillos de adobe, y en algunos puntos conserva el revestimiento original, consistente en una capa de cal pintada en color rojo, con motivos geométricos. Provisionalmente se considera que la cronología de uso de la misma se encuadra en los siglos V-IV a.C., dentro de la denominada “cultura ibérica”. El hallazgo de esta cámara supone un gran hito en la investigación de la necrópolis, puesto que nunca antes se había podido documentar la forma de acceso y el sistema de cubierta de los grandes enterramientos.
Otra de las novedades que aporta este enterramiento es la presencia de restos humanos, lo que tiene un tanto confundidos a los investigadores, pues en el mundo funerario de época ibera, los muertos se incineraban. La propia escultura de la Dama de Baza, albergada en una urna con las cenizas de una mujer joven de algo más de 30 años de edad. Ahora los antropólogos, intentan datar la edad de los restos humanos encontrados en la cámara funeraria que aun se está escavando. Hasta el momento se han encontrado restos de varios niños y de alguna persona adulta. El equipo de arqueólogos que dirige Alejando Caballero, es muy cauto y no quiere aventurar hipótesis porque, ni si quiera se ha terminado los trabajos de campo.
 El hallazgo de la cámara funeraria y otros que se están localizando en la misma necrópolis, ponen en evidencia varias cuestiones, una es la imperiosa necesidad de acometer una excavación e investigación sistemática en Cerro Santuario, que estaba prevista y que se paralizo hace unos años por falta de presupuesto. Si antes no había dinero, ahora lo hay menos, por eso ayer la Delegada Territorial de Educación y Cultura, acudió a Baza para mantener una reunión de trabajo con el alcalde bastetano, Pedro Fernández Peñalver, para entre otros asuntos intentar buscar una vía de financiación y poder realizar una excavación sistemática, que 42 años después pueda poner orden en esta yacimiento, donde se han producido expoliaciones continuamente. Una de las formulas estudiadas podría ser la solicitud de un taller de empleo arqueológico, que aportaría la financiación suficiente para poder realizar una excavación potente, al menos durante un año. La delegada de Educación y Cultura, Ana Gámez, visito la necrópolis y la cámara funeraria


Otra de las cuestiones que plantea el hallazgo es también la necesidad que ya se venía pidiendo por los expertos de volver a reestudiar, catalogar e investigar todo el yacimiento, pues, cuando lo hizo Francisco Presedo Velo, la metodología era muy distinta a la de hoy en día y hay muchos errores en la publicación “ La Necrópolis de Baza” de Presedo Velo, editada por el Ministerio de Cultura 11 años después ( 1982) del descubrimiento de la Dama de Baza y de los últimos trabajos en la necrópolis que fueron financiados por el magnate catalán Pere Duran Farel, lo que de daba derecho a quedarse con determinadas piezas de al excavación y que conservan sus herederos en su museo particular. El resto de piezas importantes se encuentran en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional. En la publicación sobre las excavaciones realiza por Francisco Presedo Velo hay catalogadas 177 tumbas de diverso tamaño e importancia. Curiosamente junto a la tumba de la Dama de Baza, había una de un guerrero que contenía un importante ajuar funerario e incluso su carruaje, pero fue expoliada.

Plan de Fomento del Empleo Agrario
El Ayuntamiento de Baza decidió con muy buen criterio. pues de otyra manera no hubiera sido posible realizar ninguna limpieza y conservación, dedicar 114.000 euros del Plan de Fomento de Empleo Agrario para que desempleados del campo, bajo la dirección de un arqueólogo realizara trabajos de limpieza y conservación en los yacimientos arqueológicos del entorno de la antigua ciudad Ibero-romana de Basti. Se trata de un proyecto para la consolidación y mantenimiento de los yacimientos arqueológicos de Basti. 60.000 euros los aporta el Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social para la contratación de los 60 peones y el técnico que dirige la intervención. 18.000 euros lo aporta la Junta de Andalucía por medio de la Consejería de Gobernación, 30.000 euros es la aportación municipal y 6.000 la Diputación de Granada.
Gracias a los trabajos de limpieza y conservación que duran ya casi dos meses, se ha podido hallar la cámara funeraria. Como es preceptivo el hallazgo se comunico a la Delegación Territorial de Educación y Cultura para que realizara una excavación de emergencia que es la que se está desarrollando en la actualidad, mientras continúan las trabajos de limpieza, conservación y protección del yacimiento de Cerro Santuario, que ahora ha sido vallado, a la vez que está siendo sometido a una intensa vigilancia por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad, el Seprona de la Guardia Civil, la Policía Local de Baza y la Policía Nacional.

 http://baza.ideal.es/actualidad/1875-42-anos-despues-encuentran-una-camara-funeraria-de-los-siglos-v-iv-antes-de-cristo-a-escasos-metros-de-donde-aparecio-dama-de-baza-.html





Egyptians grab ancient land of the pharaohs to bury their dead Archaeologists fear for pyramid sites as illegal building gathers pace in wake of Arab spring

in Dahshur


In Manshiet Dahshur, 25 miles south of Cairo, the villagers recently extended the boundaries of the cemetery. For Ahmed Rageb, a carpenter who buried his cousin in the annexe, it was a logical decision. "We want to bury the dead," he said, strolling through the new cemetery after visiting his cousin's tomb. "The old cemetery is full. And there is no other place to bury my family."
There is just one problem. The new tombs are perilously close to some of Egypt's oldest: the pyramids of Dahshur, less famous than their larger cousins at Giza, but just as venerable. This is protected land, and no one is supposed to build here – yet more than 1,000 illegal tombs have appeared in the desert since January.
"What happened was crazy," said Mohamed Youssef, Dahshur's chief archaeologist. "They came and took space for about 20 generations."
The tombs nestle in the dunes below the Red Pyramid, considered the pharaohs' first successful attempt at a smooth-sided structure. To the south is the Bent Pyramid, named for its warped walls. In the east, nearer the Nile, lies the Black Pyramid – a collapsed colossus on which the villagers are most in danger of encroaching. This is their right, claimed Reda Dabus, a clerk worshipping at the mosque next to the cemetery. "All the people are born here," Dabus said. "They died here. They should have the right to be buried here." Inhabitable land is hard to come by in Egypt, where 99% of the population live on 5.5% of the territory.
But it is an argument disputed by local archaeologists, who say there is something darker afoot: looting. "Some of them have a real need for the tombs for their families," said Youssef, who said that the land had been designated as government property since the late 1970s. "But when you have 1,000 people, some of them will want to do illegal excavation."
Others agree. "They use the new tombs to hide what they are doing," explained Ramadan al-Qot, a site inspector who grew up in the village. Observers say the cemetery is the latest in a series of forbidden incursions that have markedly increased since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. More than 500 illegal excavations have taken place at Dahshur since 2011 – an increase mirrored at sites all over the country.
"Dahshur is just a single case study of what's happening on every archaeological site in Egypt," said Monica Hanna, who campaigns for greater resources to be allocated to Egypt's ancient sites. "It's happened all around the Nile valley, in El Hiba, in Beni Suef. Everywhere."
In the months following Mubarak's fall in spring 2011, Nigel Hetherington, a British archaeologist and film-maker, documented dozens of new illegal buildings on ancient sites between Cairo and Dahshur. "They were openly building," Hetherington said. "They had no fear of being filmed."
The situation is symptomatic of a deterioration in law and order since the fall of the Mubarak regime. Nationwide, the police, whose brutality was a major cause of the 2011 uprising, no longer had the inclination to patrol either the streets or sites such as Dahshur. "After the revolution," said Youssef, "the police would not do anything." This left the inspectors to fend for themselves.
"It's very dangerous for us," said al-Qot, three of whose colleagues were hospitalised following a run-in with looters in December. "The thieves hide behind the tombs and shoot at us."
The retreat of the state is just one explanation for the rise in looting and land grabs. Locals say it is also related to the way that the 2011 uprising prompted many ordinary Egyptians to shed some of their instinctive fear of authority. "The situation changed because the people changed," said Youssef.
"That's the reason for the building: the revolution," agreed Abdo Diab, a carpenter who has built a tomb at Dahshur. "All the people now, we are not afraid of the army or the police or any government."
"If we want something," said Dabus, "we do it."
At Dahshur, that is what has happened. In January, a dozen people who are said to have needed tombs for their relatives started building on restricted pyramid land. The site's inspectors reported it to the police – but there was no response. "No one demolished their tombs because the government is so weak," said Youssef. "So the other people realised that there is no punishment."
Residents from other villages then heard about the free-for-all, and started building too. Then a building contractor allegedly claimed the land and started selling off small plots to those who agreed to pay him to build their tombs.
Soon there was a stampede, as no one wanted to be left out. "When one family built a tomb, the other families wanted new ones too," said Diab, who also admitted that he had no legal right to build.
But many villagers still differentiated between their actions and the raids organised by armed gangs equipped with expensive diggers. "Some people built tombs to steal archaeology, definitely," said 28-year-old Walid Ibrahim, picnicking on the boundary between the old and new cemeteries. "But all the old tombs are full and there's no place to bury our new dead."
There have been suggestions that both the looting and the government's failure to tackle it results from the rise of Islamists who are culturally opposed to Egypt's heathen heritage. One Salafi (or ultra-conservative) preacher recently called for the destruction of the pyramids. "But that's just one person," countered Hetherington. "There is some kind of undercurrent in this story [that this is] about Muslims against their foreign past. But it's not. I've met Salafis here, and their views are not mine – but not one of them wanted to blow up the pyramid."
Hetherington argues that the illegal building stemmed from locals' economic and social alienation from their ancient heritage. "All they are is a cash cow for tourists," said Hetherington of the pyramids. "And if you're not in that busines
s, where's the benefit? In the past you might have got a spiritual value, because your grandmother was buried there, and you were going to be buried there, or because your mosque was in the temple, and you went to that mosque every day."
Not any more, locals said. "When I was born, my grandfather and grandmother said that our pharaohs built the pyramids – but that was all they told us," said Walid Ibrahim. "So many people don't think about the pyramids. They haven't any jobs. If the government gave them jobs, they would save the pyramids."


 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/28/pyramid-tomb-dahshur-egypt-archaeology

Uncovered: Ritual public drunkenness and sex in ancient Egypt



I'll bet you that archaeologist Betsy Bryan's perspective on reality-show behavior is a little longer than most. Since 2001, Bryan has led the excavation of the temple complex of the Egyptian goddess Mut in modern-day Luxor, the site of the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt. And the ritual she has uncovered, which centers on binge drinking, thumping music and orgiastic public sex, probably makes "Jersey Shore" look pretty tame.
At least it was thought to serve a greater societal purpose.
Bryan, a specialist in the art, ritual and social hierarchy of Egypt's New Kingdom (roughly 1600 to 1000 BC), has painstakingly pieced together the details of the Festivals of Drunkenness, which took place in homes, at temples and in makeshift desert shrines throughout ancient Egypt at least once and, in some places (including at the Temple of Mut), twice a year.
Bryan, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, presents her work in the second of a four-part lecture series tonight, under the auspices of the California Museum of Ancient Art. Under the title "Magic, Ritual and Healing in Ancient Egypt," Bryan's lecture (7:30 p.m. at Piness Auditorium inside Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 3663 Wilshire Blvd.) outlines the meaning and the mechanics of the Drunkenness Festivals.
Lectures Three and Four, on May 13 and 21, will feature two other acclaimed Egyptologists: Francesco Tiradritti of the University of Enna, Italy, and Dr. Benson Harer, past president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Tiradritti will lecture on Isis, Osiris' wife, and her magical powers. Dr. Harer will lecture on women's health concerns in ancient Egypt.
Before her lecture Monday, Bryan chatted with the Los Angeles Times about these widely observed rituals.
Q. What were these festivals of drunkenness about?
A. These rituals were related to the cult of the Egyptian lion goddess. In ancient Egyptian myth, the sun god is unhappy with mankind. He finds they are rebellious. And he orders, together with the Council of Gods, mankind's destruction. He calls on his daughter, Hathor, to become a lion, whereupon she turns into Sakhnet (which simply means magical power — female power). The sun god sends her down to kill mankind, which she does in this lion form, running up and down the Nile River Valley eating people.
Eventually her father tells her to stop. But by this time, she has developed a lust for blood and she won't stop killing. To foil her, the Council of Gods floods the fields of the valley with beer that has been tinted red, to look like blood, with ocher. Blood-thirsty Hathor drinks it, becomes inebriated and falls asleep, and mankind is safe.
It's almost always a request about ensuring the well-being and protection of the people and the land. And it also goes back and forth heavily between we want the goddess's love or we want the goddess to punish those against whom we are engaged in hostilities.
Q. And how did these festivals play out?
A. What's really distinctive about these rituals is their communal nature, their participatory aspect. We have tons of well-preserved evidence for rituals in temples, and they're organized around hierarchical principles: the priests or leaders would typically act on behalf of the people, rather than the people acting for themselves.
But we know that while these festivals took place in temples, people also engaged in them in their own homes with groups of people and in shrines in the desert where they would get together. The people in attendance were everybody from the highest elites to groups of far more modest members of ancient Egyptian society.
This was an early means by which people confronted their deities directly, rather than through their priests or leaders.
The destruction wrought by Hathor is the background to the level of drinking that goes on in the festival: It's not just to drink but to drink to pass out. A hymn inscribed in a temple associated with the lion goddess describes young women, dressed with floral garlands in their hair, who serve the alcohol. It is described as a very sensual environment.
Then, everybody awakes to the beating of drums. You can imagine how they must have felt after all that drinking, with the noise. The priests are carrying a likeness of the goddess Hathor, and they express their requests to the goddess.
Q. And what was the sex about?
A. The sex is about the issue of fertility and renewal, and about bringing the Nile flood back to ensure the fertility of the land as well. The festival of drunkenness typically occurred in mid-August, just as the Nile waters begin to rise.
We don't have the same kind of clarity as to why the sex is included as we have with the drinking. When I first speculated there was a sexual component to these rituals, I got a lot of push-back from colleagues who didn't believe it.
There were songs — their words were found on the sides of pots that appeared to be used in these rituals: "Let them drink and let them have sex in front of the god."
We do know people left texts that refer to the ritual's sexual component. We have one dating back to 900 BC, saying, "I remember visiting the ancestors, and when I went, anointed with perfume as a mistress of drunkenness, traveling the marshes." "Traveling the marshes" is a euphemism for having sex (marshes being the place from which life springs). Another was written by a man who is a priest who identifies himself as having been conceived in this context. M
uch later, in the Ptolomeic and Roman periods, 330 BC to 27 BC, there are a number of people identified as orphans who are gifts to the temple.
Q. Were these festivals at all controversial?
A. I found substantial evidence that these festivals of drunkenness were frowned upon by many in society. This was something Egyptians struggled with — the alcohol making them lose control. For them, this ritual is designed to bring chaos as close as it could possibly come without upsetting the world order. They allow themselves to slip to the very brink in participating in this.


 http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-ritual-drunkenness-sex-ancient-egypt-20130429,0,5017051.story

 The goddess Mut's temple complex led archaeologist Betsy Bryan to unearth a ritual of binge drinking and orgiastic sex called the Festival of Drunkenness. Here, a statue of Mut's head is unveiled at the Egyptian Museum in 1999. (Philip Mark / July 30, 1999)



sábado, 27 de abril de 2013

Millennia-old burial chamber found in Oman

The site dating back to around 1300 BC was unearthed while building a sports club


Muscat: An international team of archaeologists has stumbled upon a cache of relics dating back several millennia in the northern Omani enclave of Musandam.
The discovery, which was made in the Dibba district of Musandam Governorate, is believed to be some 3,500 years old, and has been billed by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture as among the most stunning archaeological finds of recent times.
According to a report in the Arabic newspaper Oman, the site first came to light last year when construction workers building the foundations of a local sports club, chanced upon what appeared to be an ancient tomb strewn with human bones.
Italian and Greek archaeologists, who were brought in by the Ministry to study the site, have since uncovered the trappings of a full-fledged burial chamber housing the human remains of at least 188 individuals. Scattered around the site were remnants of pottery, swords, daggers and ancient jewellery. Using carbon-dating techniques, experts have pinpointed the site’s antiquity to around 1300BC

 http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/millennia-old-burial-chamber-found-in-oman-1.1175535

Arqueólogos checos descubren esculturas de gran valor en Sudán


24-04-2013 12:59 | Zuzana Bayerová

 Los arqueólogos del Museo Nacional de Praga trajeron a la capital un extraordinario hallazgo de África. Se trata de un grupo escultórico de más de 2000 años de antigüedad, que representa a los dioses Amón y su mujer Mut. La obra permanecerá un tiempo en Chequia para su restauración pero, antes de devolverla a su país de origen, se presentará al público en el Museo Náprstek de Praga. Más información con Zuzana Bayerová.

Los arqueólogos del Museo Nacional de Praga trajeron a la capital un extraordinario hallazgo de África. Se trata de un grupo escultórico de más de 2000 años de antigüedad, que representa a los dioses Amón y su mujer Mut. La obra permanecerá un tiempo en Chequia para su restauración pero, antes de devolverla a su país de origen, se presentará al público en el Museo Náprstek de Praga. Más información con Zuzana Bayerová.
Descargar: MP3
La Diosa Mut, foto: Archivo del Museo Nacional de PragaLa Diosa Mut, foto: Archivo del Museo Nacional de PragaEn el Museo Náprstek (museo etnográfico) de Praga recibieron una remesa de gran valor enviada por el Museo Nacional de Sudán. La caja de 120 kg albergaba un descubrimiento extraordinario realizado por los arqueólogos checos que trabajan en Sudán, cerca de la ciudad de Wad Ben Naga. Se trata de una escultura fracturada en 103 fragmentos que representa al Dios Amón y su esposa Mut, la diosa del cielo en la mitología egipcia. No obstante, los arqueólogos tienen por delante mucho trabajo para que el puzle se convierta en una escultura completa. Pavel Onderka, jefe de la expedición arqueológica, comenta la importancia del nuevo descubrimiento.
Pavel Onderka, foto: Archivo del Museo Nacional de PragaPavel Onderka, foto: Archivo del Museo Nacional de Praga“Es verdad que una escultura así, procedente de la antigua Nubia, no se había visto nunca. Se trata de grupo escultórico formado por una pareja de dioses sentados. Esta pieza se quedará en la República Checa temporalmente para que se realice la restauración. Luego volverá a las colecciones del Museo Nacional de Sudán, en cuyo inventario ya recibió puesto fijo, y permanecerá en la exposición permanente del museo, lo que también demuestra su importancia“.
Las piezas datan del I siglo d. C. y son las únicas de este tipo. Según Onderka, se conocen algunas pinturas de los dos dioses de la época del Reino Meroítico, pero nunca aparecen juntos ni tampoco como un grupo de esculturas.
El dios Amón y su esposa Mut (reconstrucción), fuente: Alexander GatzscheEl dios Amón y su esposa Mut (reconstrucción), fuente: Alexander GatzscheLos arqueólogos descubrieron que la estatua fue destruida en la Edad Antigua, alrededor del año 350 d. C., durante la cristianización de la zona del Nilo medio, puesto que los dos dioses eran considerados símbolos paganos. Se trata pues de una reliquia muy importante, testigo de la historia sudaní, aunque conservada en fragmentos. Las valiosas piezas no fueron afectadas de ninguna manera por el complicado transporte desde África, añade Onderka.
“Las esculturas se encuentran en el mismo estado que cuando fueron enviadas de Sudán. Es un alivio porque durante el transporte puede pasar cualquier cosa pero evidentemente esta vez no ha pasado nada malo“.
El equipo de Pavel Onderka lleva trabajando en la zona del Nilo medio cinco años. En el año 2011 descubrieron los restos de un templo meroítico que se consideraba desaparecido desde hacía 150 años y justo allí fueron encontradas las piezas del dios Amón y su esposa Mut. Los arqueólogos checos en África no solo se dedican a las excavaciones, participan además en la vida social del pueblo, según afirma el director del Museo Nacional Michal Lukeš.
Fragmentos de escultura, foto: Archivo del Museo Nacional de PragaFragmentos de escultura, foto: Archivo del Museo Nacional de Praga“Nuestros colegas ayudan a la gente de la comunidad local con la instalación de una bomba, un pozo y la red de distribución de agua. Además algunos de ellos, en su tiempo libre, dan clases en el colegio“.
Cuando terminen los trabajos de restauración, el Museo Náprstek expondrá la escultura al público. Según las previsiones los visitantes del museo tendrán la oportunidad de ver la obra durante este año.
 http://www.radio.cz/es/rubrica/cultura/arqueologos-checos-descubren-esculturas-de-gran-valor-en-sudan

viernes, 26 de abril de 2013

Découverte exceptionnelle d’une statue du XIIème siècle au pied de la cathédrale de Rouen

Un Christ en pierre de Caen était enterré à une dizaine de centimètres. Il a été dégagé lors du début des travaux du futur musée Jeanne d’Arc



Par Richard Plumet
Réutilisée pour faire un mur
C’est au pied de la cathédrale de Rouen, derrière une lourde porte en bois de la rue Saint-Romain, qu’une sculpture du Christ datant du XIIème siècle a été découverte dans une cour de l’Archevêché.  En parallèle des travaux de construction et d’aménagement  de l’Historial Jeanne d’Arc, les archéologues ont mené des fouilles dans la cour qui servira d’entrée au visiteurs du futur  musée Jeanne d’Arc.
 C’est à une dizaine de centimètres de profondeur qu’ils ont identifié une statue datant de l’ancienne cathédrale romane. En pierre de Caen, cette statue a été décapitée puis réutilisée dans les fondations d’un mur.

http://haute-normandie.france3.fr/2013/04/25/decouverte-exceptionnelle-d-une-statue-du-xiieme-siecle-au-pied-de-la-cathedrale-de-rouen-241277.html


Laurent LAGNEAU / France 3 Haute-Normandie En pierre de Caen, le Christ en majesté de la fin du XI ème siècle

Hallan una villa romana del siglo I en las obras de los Mondragones

GRANADA, 25 Abr. (EUROPA PRESS) -
Las obras que se están desarrollando en el entorno del antiguo cuartel de los Mondragones de Granada han sacado a la luz los restos de una villa romana del siglo I que conserva algunos mosaicos y buena parte de los elementos que configuraban estos espacios, como las estructuras de un molino de la época que se sitúa como una de las piezas más valiosas del conjunto.
Uno de los rasgos más destacados de esta villa de la nobleza romana es que fue ocupada de manera ininterrumpida hasta la época visigoda (siglo VII), un periodo del que existen "pocos datos" en el entorno de Granada. El conjunto está además salpicado de tumbas de los siglos I al VII, lo que confirma que los visigodos reordenaron este espacio cuando perdió su funcionalidad y lo habitaron.
El equipo de arqueólogos que trabaja desde finales de enero en el yacimiento ha podido sacar a la luz prácticamente todos los elementos que componían las villas romanas, como la zona de cultivo y el lugar donde se transformaba en aceite y vino los productos recolectados, destacando en este caso unas "potentes" estructuras de un molino del siglo I. A ellos se une la vivienda del señor.
Las excavaciones en la parcela afectada, de unos 5.000 metros cuadrados, aún no han finalizado, por lo que el proyecto de conservación de los restos no está definido. No obstante, la pretensión es priorizar que el molino permanezca en su ubicación original, donde se podría crear un espacio expositivo al que se trasladarían el resto de elementos encontrados en el yacimiento, como los citados mosaicos, las tumbas visigodas más valiosas y vasijas.
Así lo ha explicado a los medios el director de la intervención arqueológica, Ángel Rodríguez Aguilera, que ha comparecido junto al alcalde de la ciudad, José Torres Hurtado, la delegada del Gobierno andaluz en Granada, María José Sánchez, y la delegada provincial de Educación, Cultura y Deporte de la Junta en Granada, Ana Gámez, cuyo departamento tendrá la última palabra sobre la fórmula que se usará para exponer los restos.

AFECCIONES

Los trabajos arqueológicos se compatibilizarán con las obras del espacio comercial, la zona deportiva y el aparcamiento de 751 plazas proyectado en la zona, donde no se tomaron cautelas arqueológicas dada la lejanía con el centro histórico de la ciudad.
La concejal de Urbanismo en el Ayuntamiento de Granada, Isabel Nieto, ha augurado que el aparcamiento tendrá que pasar de dos a tres plantas para no perder plazas a raíz del espacio expositivo que se prevé integrar en este recinto.
Además, ha augurado que el espacio aledaño a la parcela, que es donde se cree que podrían hallarse los elementos de mayor valor y para cuya excavación no hay fecha fijada, deberá ser objeto de una reparcelación para garantizar la protección de los restos de cara a futuras actuaciones urbanísticas.
 http://www.europapress.es/andalucia/noticia-hallan-villa-romana-siglo-obras-mondragones-conserva-estructuras-molino-20130425195920.html

miércoles, 24 de abril de 2013

Significant collection of prehistoric metalwork discovered at Iron Age site – along with gaming pieces



lunes, 22 de abril de 2013 Leicester, University of
Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have uncovered one of the biggest groups of Iron Age metal artefacts to be found in the region- in addition to finding dice and gaming pieces.
A dig at a prehistoric monument, an Iron Age hillfort at Burrough Hill, near Melton Mowbray, has given archaeologists a remarkable insight into the people who lived there over 2000 years ago.
Both staff and students from the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History and University of Leicester Archaeological Services are involved in the project, now in its fourth year.
About 100 pieces, including iron spearheads, knives, brooches and a reaping hook, as well as decorative bronze fittings from buckets and trim from an Iron Age shield, have been found.
Project Director John Thomas said: “To date the three excavation seasons have produced a wide array of finds that have transformed our understanding of how the hillfort was used, the length of occupation and the contacts that its occupants had with other regions. The last excavations focussed on a series of large storage pits that had become filled in with domestic refuse and produced a significant collection of objects including one of the largest groups of Iron Age metalwork from the East Midlands.
“All of the artefacts provide a remarkable insight into the lives of people who lived at Burrough Hill during the Iron Age. Further finds shed light on their social lives; a bone dice and gaming pieces were discovered alongside a polished bone flute and beautifully decorated blue glass bead from a necklace. These finds contrast sharply with artefacts found on other contemporary sites such as small farmsteads, suggesting differences in status and access to a wider range of material culture.
“The results of the project so far have been very impressive and tell us a lot about the history of Burrough Hill and its changing story over time. Not only that, but these results will enable comparison with other contemporary settlements and feed into a broader frame of research into the Iron Age occupation of Leicestershire and the East Midlands.”
The five-year Burrough Hill Project brought to light a huge amount of new evidence to enable a better understanding of the site which until recently had not seen extensive excavation due to its protected status as a Scheduled Monument.
Mr Thomas added: “This year we will be excavating further areas of the hillfort interior to increase understanding of how the hillfort was used. A Public Open Day will be held on Sunday 30 June between 11am – 4pm.”

 http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=130474&CultureCode=en

Romanian archeologists uncover Romeo & Juliet: medieval couple buried together with hands clasped

Archeologists investigating the site of a former Dominican monastery in Cluj have uncovered a remarkable tale of love, preserved in the bones of a medieval grave. Two skeletons, of a young man and a woman, were found clearly buried together with their hands clasped for eternity.

Dubbed Romeo and Juliet by the archeological team, the couple are thought to have lived between 1450 and 1550, as the grave’s position and proximity to the monastery are typical of this period.
Lead archeologist Adrian Rusu said that several graves from the period had been found in what was the courtyard of the monastery, including the couple buried together. The remains belonged to “a young couple of around 30 years of age, a man and a woman buried together, facing each other and holding hands. It’s a strange case, a sort of Romeo and Juliet. The man appears to have died in an accident, as the sternum was broken by a blow fro
m a blunt object and the woman buried with him could have had a heart attack on hearing the news, there isn’t really any other explanation for her death,” said Adrian Rusu.
The archeologist’s comments paint a fascinating picture, a young man killed tragically in an accident and his lover dies of a broken heart and joins him in the grave. The couple died between 50 and 150 years before Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, but the story the great dramatist based his play on had been around in the previous centuries.
The skeleton of a child was also found in the area and a fourth incomplete skeleton was also uncovered by the team from the Archeology Institute and the Cluj National History Museum. The archeological dig is part of a restoration project being carried out at the medieval monastery.
editor@romania-insider.com
(photo source: Photoxpress.com)
 http://www.romania-insider.com/romanian-archeologists-uncover-romeo-juliet-medieval-couple-buried-together-with-hands-clasped/80224/


Four-thousand year old gold-adorned skeleton found near Windsor

Archaeologists, excavating near the Royal Borough, have discovered the 4400 year old skeleton of an upper class woman

Windsor may have been popular with royalty rather earlier than generally thought.

Archaeologists, excavating near the Royal Borough, have discovered the 4400 year old gold-adorned skeleton of an upper class woman who was almost certainly a member of the local ruling elite.
She is the earliest known woman adorned with such treasures ever found in Britain.
The individual, aged around 40, was buried, wearing a necklace of folded sheet gold, amber and lignite beads, just a century or two after the construction of Stonehenge some 60 miles to the south-west. Even the buttons, thought to have been used to secure the upper part of her now long-vanished burial garment, were made of amber. She also appears to have worn a bracelet of lignite beads.
The archaeologist in charge of the excavation, Gareth Chaffey of Wessex Archaeology, believes that she may have been a person of power – perhaps even the prehistoric equivalent of a princess or queen.
It’s known that in southern Britain, some high status men of that era – the Copper Age – had
gold possessions, but this is the first time archaeologists have found a woman of that period being accorded the same sort of material status.
It’s thought that the gold used to make the jewellery probably came originally from hundreds of miles to the west – and that the amber almost certainly came from Britain’s North Sea coast. The lignite (a form of coal) is also thought to have come from Britain.
The funeral rite for the potential prehistoric royal may have involved her family arranging her body so that, in death, she clasped a beautiful pottery drinking vessel in her hands. The 25 centimetre tall ceramic beaker was decorated with geometric patterns.
Of considerable significance was the fact that she was buried with her head pointing towards the south.
Men and women from the Stonehenge era were often interred in opposing directions – men’s heads pointing north and women’s heads pointing south. Europe-wide archaeological and anthropological research over recent years suggests that women may have been associated with the warm and sunny south, while mere men may have seen themselves as embodying the qualities of the colder harder north!
The woman’s skeleton and jewellery were found 18 months ago – but were kept strictly under wraps until now, following the completion of initial analyses of the woman’s bones – and metallurgical analysis of the gold.
The discovery is part of a still ongoing excavation which started a decade ago. The elite gold-and-amber-adorned Copper Age woman is merely the most spectacular of dozens of discoveries made at the site – including four early Neolithic houses, 40 Bronze Age burials, three Bronze Age farm complexes and several Iron Age settlements.
The excavations are being funded by the international cement company CEMEX, whose gravel quarry near Windsor is the site of the discoveries.
Archaeologist Gareth Chaffey of Wessex Archaeology, who is directing the ongoing excavation, said that the woman unearthed at the site “was probably an important person in her society, perhaps holding some standing which gave her access to prestigious, rare and exotic items. She could have been a leader, a person with power and authority, or possibly part of an elite family - perhaps a princess or queen.”

 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/fourthousand-year-old-goldadorned-skeleton-found-near-windsor-8581819.html

Carolinas’ rocks hold ancient messages

The horses and bears painted on the cave walls of Chauvet, France, are looked upon with awe as the handiwork of people who lived thousands of years ago.
In the American Southwest, Kokopelli – the humpbacked fertility god of Pueblo mythology – plays his flute over many a rock face … and on many a tourist T-shirt and coffee mug.
Yet very few people know that a wealth of ancient rock art lies in their backyard, hidden underneath the tangled vines and towering trees of the Carolinas foothills and mountains. Not as elaborate, well-preserved or easily interpreted as those in France and the Southwest, there are nevertheless more than 100 sites where archaeologists think prehistoric people expressed themselves with the tools at hand – stones for chipping, clay for painting.
There are also a number of sites deemed “historic,” created after the advent of writing, and others that can’t be categorized.
At the prehistoric sites, there are human and animal stick figures, tracks of deer and bear, circles within circles, crosses within circles, and geometric designs totally incomprehensible to 21st-century eyes.
At one South Carolina site, several male stick figures are explicitly (and amazingly) sexually endowed. At the same site, a rectangular box with a head and arms and legs sticking out has been dubbed “Refrigerator Man (or Woman)” by researchers.
Age and authorship are generally unknown, though radiocarbon dating of the faded red and yellow pigment on the Paint Rock pictograph on the North Carolina-Tennessee border indicates it was painted 5,000 years ago.
Until 16 years ago, only a handful of sites, including Paint Rock and Cullowhee’s Judaculla Rock, significant to Cherokee legend, were known to the public. Then, in 1997, archaeologist Tommy Charles of the S.C. Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology gathered interested volunteers and formed the S.C. Rock Art Survey. The finds soon started adding up, until at last count there were 63 petroglyph (stone carving) sites, containing hundreds of images – prehistoric, historic and undetermined. There are four pictograph (painting) sites, all prehistoric.
“He’s the one who got us going in the first place … when we in North Carolina heard of all the success he was having,” says Scott Ashcraft, Burnsville-based archaeologist for the U.S. Forest Service.
He and archaeologist David Moore of Warren Wilson College, with researcher Lorie Hansen, formed the mainly volunteer N.C. Rock Art Survey. It has counted 80 petroglyph sites – prehistoric, historic and undetermined – and three pictograph sites.
Now, Charles has written a book, “Discovering South Carolina Rock Art,” ($29.95; University of South Carolina Press), a portion of the U.S. Forest Service website is devoted to North Carolina rock art ( http://1.usa.gov/Yi07nn), and two of the most prominent sites are becoming more publicly accessible.
For public viewing
One is Judaculla Rock, in private hands for many years but now, as a Cherokee Cultural Heritage Site, the centerpiece of a small Jackson County-owned park near Cullowhee.
It’s the prominent soapstone boulder where, in Cherokee legend, Master of Game Animals Tsul’Kalu’ (Anglicized as “Judaculla”) gave chase to disobedient hunters. Leaping from his home on Tanasee Bald, he left his seven-fingered handprint. It’s one of many images archaeologists believe were carved at different periods.
Time and vandals took their toll until recent years, when a host of interested parties, including the Cherokee Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Jackson County, the rock art survey and others united in a conservation effort. Now the sediment that had obscured images near the base has been cleared away. Even before donation of the land, the Preservation Office’s Russell Townsend says, his office staff spent an entire day scrubbing away blue spray paint.
Landscaping and a raised boardwalk for hands-off viewing surround the rock, which was recently put on the National Register of Historic Places.
Soon to be a public attraction, a large flat-topped rock was discovered just eight years ago at historic Hagood Mill in Pickens County, S.C.
As is typical of much Southeastern art, the 31 images there, most of them prehistoric, are so eroded that they’re practically invisible in direct sunlight.
A survey volunteer who had seen nothing there in bright sun decided to go back on a rainy day in 2005. “Tom, you’re not going to believe this,” he told archaeologist Charles when he excitedly called him. “That Hagood rock is covered with little people.”
Those 18 “little people” and the other images on a 30- by 40-foot section of the boulder have been enclosed in one room of a new two-room building erected by Pickens County Museum ( http://bit.ly/16SdW1r).
The handicapped-accessible minimuseum is expected to open this fall, with low lighting illuminating the images and a circular walkway surrounding them.
When, where and who
Dating rock art in the moisture-laden Southeast is considerably trickier than in the arid West, where a naturally occurring “varnish” can seal organic matter into petroglyph grooves. Organic matter can be dated by the rate of its decay, but in the Carolinas, much of that gets washed away.
At Paint Rock, 30 feet up the side of a cliff, red and yellow geometric lines in a right-angled design resembling modern art have been dated: 2920-3320 BC.
Dr. Johannes Loubser, a rock art specialist with Atlanta-based Stratum Unlimited, says the red paint is ochre – iron oxide – and that the yellow, with a high sulfur count, could have come from the clay of nearby Hot Springs.
Hired by Judaculla Rock conservationists using a grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Loubser used “stylistic cross-dating” to conclude that some of the Judaculla images – concentric rings and crosses within rings – were created between AD 500 and 1700.
Datable artifacts like pottery bearing similar motifs have been recovered around the Southeast, he said. They’re from that time period, the Late Woodland-Early Mississippian, when the people that gave rise to the Cherokees, Catawbas and Creeks were changing from hunter-gatherers to farmers.
No graffiti!
Archaeologists have several ways of differentiating prehistoric art from what came later.
If the images are patiently pecked with rocks rather than incised with metal tools, Charles tends to think they’re prehistoric. If they show guns or clothes, he figures they came after the Europeans showed up.
Besides, he says, modern humans have a bent toward leaving names and initials, signaling to the world, “This is me.”
Nobody knows what the ancients were saying, except perhaps in the case of Judaculla. Some people think that rock might be a map of Judaculla’s mythical territory.
Though Charles has retired and Ashcraft says the N.C. Rock Art Survey is now focusing on conservation, they and the other volunteers continue to explore, and to make new discoveries.
They invite the public to be on the lookout, too, and to notify them if they find something: Charles at Tommy.charles601@gmail.com, and Ashcraft at sashcraft@fs.fed.us.
“I’ve got a feeling we haven’t scratched the surface yet,” said Charles.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/21/3988034/carolinas-rocks-hold-ancient-messages.html#storylink=cpy
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/21/3988034/carolinas-rocks-hold-ancient-messages.html

martes, 23 de abril de 2013

Respite in the desert

Amira El-Naqeeb discovers Bahareya Oasis is more than what first meets the eye

Bahareya Oasis has always been a stopover for travellers heading to the Black or the White Desert. Situated in a depression about 100km by 40km and completely surrounded by high black escarpments, it has been known since ancient times as the Northern Oasis. It takes about three and a half hours by car to cover the distance of 350km from Cairo, and is considered the closest oasis to the capital.
Bahareya Oasis boasts lush palm trees and verdant fields, standing in contrast to golden sand dunes and cinnamon-coloured hills. It is home to several villages, most prominently Al-Bawiti, Al-Qasr, Harrah, Mandisha, Zabw and Hayz in the southern most part. Al-Bawiti is the capital and the oasis’s largest village.
Until recently, little was known about Roman history at Bahareya which was mostly based on a large volume of Roman papyri found at Oxyrhynchus (Al-Bahnasa). The ancient documents reveal the oasis was occupied by Roman troops of the larger contingent there. Tamer Al-Sayed, an avid Egyptologist and owner of an ecolodge at Bahareya, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the existence of many Roman ruins and an elaborate aqueduct system suggest the oasis was heavily populated during this period.
In March 1996, a guard riding his donkey from the Temple of Alexander stumbled on a hole in the sand which turned out to be a tomb. This began an excavation which subsequently led to an astonishing discovery of a vast necropolis containing possibly as many as 10,000 well-preserved mummies dating back to Graeco-Roman times. Some were wearing spectacular golden facemasks.
“Bahareya now has one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt, and is famous around the world for its Valley of Golden Mummies,” Al-Sayed explained.
The Museum of Golden Mummies houses some of these mummies. One of the most recent discoveries was in 2010 when a Roman-era mummy was unearthed in Harrah village. It was of a woman covered in plaster and decorated in what resembled Roman dress and jewellery. The mummy can now be viewed at the Museum of Golden Mummies.
Almost all hotels at Bahareya organise daily tours, which include an orientation tour of the oasis to give visitors a sense of the place. The streets of Bahareya are mostly narrow and garnished with green fields on both sides. Sometimes if the street is too narrow palm trees form a canopy that allows very little sun to come through. Watching the sunset by Maamoor Lake is unforgettable, so make sure not to miss it.
Close to the lake is the area of Al-Dest wal-Maghrafa, where you can cut across the small tabletop mountains, and take a sneak peak at Wahati (native oasis) fields and houses. Close to this area is Pyramid Mountain where the Bahareyasaurus (Bahareya lizard) was discovered. The huge theropod was found at Bahareya Formation and its remains can be viewed at the Geological Museum in the Cairo suburb of Maadi.
Another mesmerising archeological site is the Tombs at Qarat Qasr Salim (Salim’s Palace), also known as Bannentiu Tomb. The tomb, dating back to the New Kingdom of the 26th Dynasty, is located about four metres underground and can be reached via steps leading to the entrance. Upon entering, one finds most of the drawings in the tomb are well preserved and colours and characters are bright and vivid.
There are four tombs used as burial sites during Roman times. The Chapels of Ayn Al-Muftillah are four chapels that also belong to the 26th Dynasty. In her book Islands of the Blest, a Guide to the Oases and Western Desert of Egypt, Cassandra Vivian writes one chapel was discovered by Steindorff in 1901, and the other three excavated by Egyptian archaeologist Ahmed Fakhry. The walls of the chapels are made of sand stone which made carving easy. While the colours of the murals are not as vivid as those at Bannentiu Tomb, there are more inscriptions inside that are well worth seeing.
Gabal Al-Ingliz (English Mountain), located in Al-Bawiti, got its name because British colonial soldiers spent a long time on this mountain, and built a building from basalt rocks to use as a watch tower. Since this is one of the highest peaks over Bahareya, it was ideal for surveillance and monitoring strangers or intruders coming to the depression, especially the Sinosy tribes of Libya. Today, all that is left are ruins of the watch tower believed to date back to the 1800s.
Gabal Al-Ingliz can be visited on foot — just rent a 4x4 to take you very close to the foot of the mountain where you can climb up to the see the remaining walls. The area was declared a natural protectorate by Egypt’s Ministry of Environment in 2010.
The ancient village of Al-Qasr, formerly the capital of Bahareya in Pharaonic times, has clearly lost much of its lustre. Compared to Al-Qasr at Dakhla Oasis, there is not much to see at this one except some relics. Nonetheless, a stroll in the orange and apricot groves was enjoyable, especially if you can pluck your fruit snack right off the tree.
Although Al-Bishmu Roman Spring is not the best sightseeing opportunity, walking around Al-Bishmu you can see some abandoned old houses that embody the unique distinct architecture of the oasis in earlier times. A contemporary museum was recently built by one of the locals to offer a glimpse into how life once was, and showcase oasis traditions and culture.
Bahareya is also famous for its handicrafts; the women of Al-Agooz village make a variety of embroidered bags, tablecloths and pillowcases. A woman’s traditional dress at the oasis is called galabiya, which Vivian describes as “the most beautiful in the Western Desert”. She portrays it as “a black loose fitting garment falling to well below the knees, with straight long sleeves. The bodice of the dress is the most highlighted part, where it’s embroidered in red and yellow cross-stitch with authentic Islamic coins sewn into the pattern below the breast.”
Baharia Handicraft Shop is a joint venture between the Bahareya branch of the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project aims to support Bahareya women by helping them sell their products in the shop, and teaching them how to make beauty products such as olive oil soap and lip balm.
Umm Mohamed is one of the skilled women at Al-Agooz village, who complained that business is not going well. “Unfortunately, since the revolution we sell nothing because of the few tourists who come to visit,” she explained, while displaying some of her impressive work.
Bahareya residents are a mix of original oasis dwellers, Bedouin tribes of the Western Desert, and families who migrated from Middle Egypt and the Nile Valley. Most Wahatis are Muslims and their customs are a mix of religion and tradition. In Al-Bawiti, the community seems more conservative and most women will cover their fac
es when they leave the house. In Al-Agooz, meanwhile, the culture seems less rigid and women can meet strangers, trade their handicrafts and do not have to cover their faces.
For a genuine cultural experience, visitors and foreigners can easily be invited into one of the local homes for dinner or lunch. These visits can be organised through hotels and a local guide will usually accompany the guests. According to custom, women will eat in a separate room than men and shoes are not worn inside the house.
Walking languidly through the fields of Bahareya not only cures one’s soul and unwinds the coils of the mind, but the natural springs in Bahareya also offer a true wellness experience. The natural hot springs are rich in minerals, especially sulphur which helps cure various skin diseases and arthritis. There are only two hotels in Bahareya that house natural hot springs in their gardens.
There are also different types of hotels and lodgings at the oasis that cater for different tastes and budgets.
 http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/1738/49/Respite-in-the-desert.aspx


The real boats of King Khufu

The world’s oldest port has been discovered near the Red Sea town of Zaafarana and, as Nevine El-Aref shows, it reveals that contrary to common belief the ancient Egyptians were accomplished sailors

The long-held supposition that the ancient Egyptians avoided travelling by sea and had poor naval technology can be laid to rest. Early this week archaeologists discovered a port dating from the reign of the Fourth Dynasty king Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid and owner of the Solar Boats at Giza, in the Wadi Al-Jarf area south of Zaafarana on the Red Sea.
 Little was known about the Pharaohs’ seafaring ways until 2001, when a joint Italian-American archaeological mission from the universities of Naples and Boston unearthed timbers, rigging and cedar planks in the ancient Red Sea harbour of Marsa Gawasis, 23 kilometres south of Port Safaga. The harbour was used during the 12th Dynasty to mount naval expeditions to the land of Punt (now in southern Sudan or the Eritrean region of Ethiopia) to obtain gold, ebony, ivory, leopard skins and the frankincense necessary for religious rituals.
 The hides of giraffe, leopard and cheetah, which were worn by temple priests, were imported along with live exotic animals — either for the priests’ own menageries or as religious sacrifices — including the sacred cynocephalus or dog-faced baboon. Little wonder that Punt became known as the “Land of the Gods” and the personal pleasure garden of the great god Amun.
 Trade between Egypt and Punt appears to have been suspended after the 12th Dynasty and not resumed until early in the 18th, when the most famous expedition to Punt, that of Queen Hatshepsut, came about as an outcome of a consultation with the oracle of the god Amun in which she was instructed to send a fleet of ships there. The expedition is featured in relief in Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir Al-Bahari.
 In 2001, another joint French mission from the Sorbonne and the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology (IFAO) explored another port in the town of Ain Sokhna on the opposite shore of the Red Sea in Sinai, 60 kilometres south of Suez. There storage galleries used during the late Fourth Dynasty and the Middle Kingdom were uncovered. From this port vessels sailed to the copper and turquoise mines in South Sinai. Inscriptions left by Pharaonic expeditions revealed that the Ain Sokhna port reached its peak during the Fifth and 12th dynasties.
 Gregory Marouard of the Oriental Institute of Chicago, the senior archaeologist at Wadi Al-Jarf, wrote that the point of departure from the Egyptian coast was certainly linked to the small fortress at Tell Ras Burdan on the west coast of Sinai, south of Abu Zenima. Mainly occupied during the Old Kingdom and on a smaller scale during the Middle Kingdom, this latter site was used as a landing point in Sinai.
“It may also have had a strategic function in view of its defensive architecture,” says Marouard.
 Egyptologist Pierre Tallet, head of the archaeological mission from the Université Paris-Sorbonne, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the boats were dismantled and stored in the galleries between every expedition. “The site seems to have been used under conditions similar to those during the Middle Kingdom as two complete crafts from this period, which were burnt in ancient times, were also found inside two of the galleries,” Tallet said. “The sites of Marsa Gawasis and Ain Sokhna demonstrate very well, each in its own manner, the importance of the Red Sea coast throughout ancient Egyptian history.”
Tallet went on to say that the discovery of a new site at Wadi Al-Jarf brought further information to the general picture and scheme of this ancient occupation of the Red Sea coasts.
 The port site is located at the mouth of the Wadi Araba, a pedestrian pathway connecting the Nile Valley to the Red Sea through which expeditions travelled with the copper and turquoise needed to produce jewellery and funerary ornaments.
 Wadi Al-Jarf was first described by British explorer Sir John Gardner Wilkinson in 1832. Wilkinson said the site included a number of galleries which he believed to be catacombs built into the rocky hillock a few kilometres from the coast. A century later, in 1954, Wadi Al-Jarf site was mentioned in the field notes of two French amateur archaeologists, François Bissey and René Chabot Morisseau. These notes were published in Mémoire de Suez, written by Ginette Lacaze and Luc Camino and published by Société d’Egyptologie de Pau in 2008. They sketched out a provisional plan of the site galleries complex along with a number of photographs, and also gave illustrations of ceramics attributed to the Old Kingdom, probably the Sixth Dynasty.
 In the Bulletin de la société d’études historique et géographique de l’isthme de Suez, Bissey provided additional information and a brief description of a port structure on the coast. However, because of the political situation at the time and after the nationalisation of the Suez Canal in 1956, Bissey’s studies stopped until June 2011 when the joint French mission took over.
“All these documents have helped the French archaeological mission to uncover and locate Wadi Al-Jarf port,” maritime archaeologist Mohamed M. Abdel-Maguid told the Weekly, adding that remote sensing conducted on the Zaafarana area with Google Earth satellite imaging had also helped identify the site’s location, specially the long, L-shaped dock starting at the shore and extending under water more than 160 metres in an easterly direction. It runs on a more irregular path towards the southeast for another 120 metres. There the mission uncovered ceramic fragments showing that all installations dated to the reign of King Khufu, and a complex of 30 rock-hewn storage galleries containing fragments of ropes, textiles, pieces of wooden boxes and hundreds of worked wood fragments including the end of an oar. There were also several fragments of Lebanese cedar beams and a 2.7 metres-wide piece of boat timber.
 The galleries were used to store dismantled boats between the expeditions, which were held regularly.
 Three of the galleries house fragments of large globular storage jars used as water and food containers for boats. The surfaces of these jars are marked with large-scale hieroglyphic inscriptions in red ink indicating their destination and names of crews or docked boats. Tallet said the jars were locally produced, and the mission had discovered two potters’ kilns.
 A number of Fourth-Dynasty stone anchors was also found submerged in seawater. The anchors are in triangular, rectangular and cylindrical shapes but all have rounded tops with a simple hole in the upper part and no vertical groove. “it is possible that these anchors were placed permanently in the water for mooring boats in transit,” Tallet said.
 Almost 200 metres from the shore the mission uncovered the remains of an Old Kingdom structure where 99 stone anchors were stored. Some were inscribed with hieroglyphic texts bearing the names of boats.
 Tallet told the Weekly that among the most important artefacts found were 40 papyrus fragments from the reign of Khufu detailing daily life for the crews in Wadi Al-Jarf and the food sent by the central administration to the officials and workmen involved in the expeditions departing from the port. These are the most ancient written papyri found so far in Egypt.
 Tallet said one of the papyri was the diary of Merrer, an Old Kingdom official involved in the building of the Great Pyramid. “Merrer mainly reported about his many trips to the Turah limestone quarry to fetch blocks for the construction of the pyramid,” Tallet told Discovery News. “Although we will not learn anything new about the construction of Khufu’s monument, this diary provides for the first time an insight on this matter.”
The discovery at Wadi Al-Jarf is important because it not only shows the oldest port in history, but proves that the ancient Egyptians were good sailors.
“It also reveals economic conditions in Egypt during the early Old Kingdom and the state-of-the-art maritime techniques they used,” Abdel-Maguid said.
 Tallet says the use of the site was probably limited to the early Fourth Dynasty, and more specifically the reign of King Khufu. This was, he says, the first Red Sea coastal structure, providing a function later taken over by the site at Ain Sokhna, which was closer to the administrative capital of Memphis. The question remains as to the essential purpose of a complex as vast as the one at Wadi Al-Jarf.
“Expeditions could clearly be sent to Sinai from this location, as attested by the discovery of abundant ceramic material produced at Wadi Al-Jarf on the southwest coast of Sinai, at Al-Markha,” Tallet said. “But the massive production of these water containers may also have been intended for the equipment of long-haul boats, and we think it possible, despite the absence of formal proof so far, that the site may have also served as a stopover point on the journey to Punt during an extremely ancient period of Egyptian history.”


http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/2263/17/The-real-boats-of-King-Khufu-.aspx

Descubren en Australia fragmentos de importante papiro egipcio

El texto, hallado en el sótano del museo de Queensland, forma parte del "Libro de los muertos de Amenhotep"

SYDNEY.- Un egiptólogo británico descubrió en el sótano del museo de Queensland, en la ciudad australiana de Brisbane, fragmentos de un importante papiro egipcio que se creían desaparecidos, según informaron hoy medios australianos.

John Taylor, comisario del British Museum de Londres, había viajado como invitado a Brisbane para preparar una exposición. Allí dio con los fragmentos del papiro, que llevaban 99 años olvidados en el sótano del museo.

Según afirma, resuelven una parte de un puzzle arqueológico, pues en uno de ellos se reconoce la escritura jeroglífica del nombre del sacerdote y maestro constructor Amenhotep.

El fragmento forma parte del "Libro de los muertos de Amenhotep". El sacerdote fue responsable de la construcción del famoso templo de Amon-Ra, en Karnak, hace 3.400 años.

"No es un papiro de cualquiera", explicó Taylor. Amenhotep "fue uno de los principales funcionarios cuando Egipto estaba en lo más alto de su esplendor. Un descubrimiento así sólo se produce una vez en la vida".

Una mujer había donado los fragmentos del papiro al museo hace 99 años, pero en aquel entonces nadie descubrió su importancia. El "Libro de los muertos" fue descubierto en 1890, y parte de él fue vendido a coleccionistas y museos.

Ahora, Taylor planea fotografiar los delicados fragmentos y unirlos digitalmente a los de los museos de Londres, Boston y Nueva York.

El director del museo Queensland, Ian Galloway, señaló que con el hallazgo quizás pueda aclararse algo más sobre la historia de los papiros. "Estamos increíblemente sorprendidos de que tuviéramos un objeto tan importante en nuestra colección", añadió.
 http://www.emol.com/noticias/tecnologia/2012/04/21/536770/descubren-en-australia-fragmentos-de-importante-papiro-egipcio.html



lunes, 22 de abril de 2013

Unearthing A Thousand Year Old Burial Crypt At Santa Rita

Two months ago, we told you about the work to restore the Santa Rita Mayan temple in Corozal to its former glory. The project, funded by NICH and the US Embassy simply hoped to remove some of the rubble that was obscuring the grandeur of the site. But in what started out as a restoration effort, the team from the Institute of Archeology has come upon some major finds, like that pelican figure we showed you last time. Well that’s minor compared to what we were called out to see yesterday. 7news was there as Dr. Jaime Awe opened a Mayan burial crypt for the first time in over a thousand years! It’s an epic moment and we caught it all on camera. Jules Vasquez has the story:…
Jules Vasquez reporting
All this week, conservatory work at Santa Rita slowed as under this tent site workers made what’s being called “an incredible discovery.” It's only what's known as a stair block, the site manager saw tell-tale signs.

Dr. Jaime Awe - Director Of The Institute Of Archaeology
"A few days ago, Jorge came and said, 'You know, we have the stair block, which is located right in the middle of the stair way at the center line of the temple.' Well when we started to discuss this, and we agreed that we needed to put an excavation there because these stair-blocks, everywhere we find them on temples we often find tombs associated with them. We decided we have to excavate there. They started to go down and they found these capstones."
They left the three capstones and waited for the Director of the institute of archaeology Dr. Jaime Awe to come and open up a vault that no one had seen for over a thousand years. 7news was there yesterday as Awe lowered himself into the crypt to see for the first time what lies beneath. With some heavy lifting they removed the three capstones – weighty limestone slabs - to reveal a narrow opening – hardly wide enough for any modern person to wriggle into. But Awe just about fit into the crypt barely two feet high.

Dr. Jaime Awe
"Not a lot of space in this small tomb"
A small tomb indeed but fit for a big reveal as Awe led us on something like a live dig narrating his discovery in real time – all from a crouching position:
Dr. Jaime Awe
"Man, this is very interesting stuff down here. I can make out two individuals. We have one that looks male because of the size, extended, the head to the north, the feet to the south. We also have a second individual which is really interesting because the second individual is at the north end of the tomb. What I can say is that the person at the top, at that end, has two pots on top of the chest. Now, the individual that's lined fully extended, looks pretty tall. In fact if I can get a tape measure from somebody, I can get a sense of length of the skull. About 5 feet 6 inches, so probably male, just based on that height. Now, there are some really interesting artifacts associated with this individual lying down. I can see right by the side of the head there are two figurines. This one looks like it's made from resin poured in a mold, and if that's true that would make that a very unique artifact. I don't think we've ever found a figurine that's made from resin and poured into a mold. So that's awesome!
We lowered our camera in going down a few feet and a maybe a dozen centuries for a fascinating first-hand view at what has not been seen in a thousand years.
Dr. Jaime Awe
"Nobody has seen this since perhaps between 5 and 600 A.D. So far, it's more than a thousand years ago since anybody has been looking at this burial, and we get this opportunity for the first time today. So we're looking at the two figurines, that just passed by the camera. As you go further north, you can see the other younger individual, fetal position with two of the pots that are placed right over the chest area. You can also see some bits and pieces of the painted stuckle. We think those pots date to the early Catholic Period somewhere between 350 - 600A.D. You can see all the teeth, it's only the right side of the face that's smashed. It looks like a younger person than the fully extended one. So we don't know if that was a victim sacrificed to accompany the other person or a member of the family, perhaps the wife."
That’s believed to be a child or female with a smashed skull. The other figure is believed to be a male:
Dr. Jaime Awe
"So we're going over the chest area right now.As you can see, there are hundreds of small bones. Now, you're coming over the mandible; that’s the lower jaw. You can still see how the teeth within the mandible are really nicely preserved. Higher up from the mandible is the skull, but that skull has been crushed; it's not complete. Just above there you can see a big shell object. You can see one of the figurines on the screen right now. One of them is made from manatee bone or some other kind of bone. Just above that, there is a small little circle, ceramic, and then another figurine made out of resin, or you know, some kind of material that had to be melted and poured into a mold. But right in that little are there, there are all kinds of artifacts that we won't know exactly what we have there until we start take them out. But there a lot of little pieces that may be part of a mosaic."
And for their thousands of years, these bones hold so much data and the discovery opens up so many new questions. Long study will have to be made of everything in here.
Dr. Jaime Awe
"The discovery of this tomb is a really amazing discovery. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn more about the ancient Maya that lived at Santa Rita."
And it is also a lucky dig because usually burials are not so easily revealed.
Dr. Jaime Awe
"What was really good about this tomb is that often the Maya fill in the tomb with dirt. This one, they didn't do that, so as soon we lifted the capstones, we could see just about everything they had placed in there. We could see the two skeletons, the one that's extended, head to the north. We also saw the other skeleton that's to the north end of the chamber in fetal position. It also allowed us to see some of the artifacts, that one figurine that's made up of probably resin. It's a first for the country of Belize. I can't remember anything like that being found anywhere in the central Maya area."
And now it will form a part of the legend of Santa Rita
Dr. Jaime Awe
"People will be able to talk about these things to the visitors, both Belizean vistors and foreing visitors that come to see the capital of the Ancienty city of Chetumal."
A city that still has secrets to reveal.
According to published data, four other burial sites were previously found at Santa Rita – and these also date to the pre-classic period, which is 1200 to 900 BC. 
 http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=25192

King David Era Find ‘Buried’ by Authorities for Political Reasons

Soon the area will be handed over to the PA.
The initial discovery was made by Benjamin Troper, the training coordinator of the Kfar Etzion field school, who suddenly, while aiding a troubled tourist down a deep cave south of Jerusalem, turned to look at the nearby wall and saw an ancient stone column.
“I had gone down that hole dozens of times,” Tropper told Makor Rishon, “but this was the first time, because I was helping the tourist, that I came down looking in that direction.”
What he saw was a bona fide ancient column with a capital, which he recognized from his years as tour guide and from the time he spent working in excavating ancient Jerusalem.
That’s the story of a remarkably rare archeological discovery, which no one has heard about. For some reason, possibly political, the Israeli authorities have been trying to silence this discovery which could usher in a breakthrough in our understanding of the periods of King David and his son, King Solomon.
The column capital Tropper ran, or rather climbed down into, is very likely part of a complete temple or palace buried underground.
Tropper, who expected nothing short of a medal for his fortunate discovery, called over the field school’s director, Yaron Rosenthal, who in turn alerted a senior employee of Israel’s Antiquities Authority. But no medals were to come any time soon.
The find is really big, according to Rosenthal. It may also be a singular opportunity to unearth a whole structure that hadn’t undergone “secondary use,” meaning that it hasn’t been altered by later dwellers of the area. Often, later period folks utilize the components of older structures as building blocks for their own structures.
But even better than that: there are still, to this day, raging debates between the school of archeologists who claim there was a great Jewish dynasty begun by David and Solomon, and the school that doubts there ever really existed two people by those names.
Rosenthal (you know which school he belongs to) believes the discovery will offer startling details about the everyday lives of those Jewish kings.
According to Rosenthal, the reaction of the Antiquities official was “astonishing.” He told him: “Yaron, please, you found it, but we know about it. Now forget the whole thing and keep your mouth shut.”
Apparently they’re very blunt over at Antiquities.
Later, Rosenthal found out that the authority had indeed been aware of the artifact for a year and a half. He is upset both for the fact that they avoided digging up the area to discover what’s down there, and for the fact that they took no steps to mark off the cave, to protect it from damage.
Over the past few months, the defense ministry was drawing the path of the section of the security fence that will separate the Palestinian Authority’s Bethlehem County from South Jerusalem. They knew about it at Antiquities, reports Makor Rishon, but kept mum and let the fence line be drawn about a hundred yards from the site, effectively leaving it in Palestinian hands.
According to Makor Rishon, Antiquities’ director-general Shuka Dorfman and former chief of the central front Gen. Avi Mizrahi were called in to look at the find, a year and a half ago and decided together to silence the discovery.
The question is, based on their track record, how respectful would the future owners of the area, the PA, of a site that could prove beyond doubt that it used to belong to a Jewish empire – the very empire the PA officially says never existed.
The Antiquities Authority’s response to the Makor Rishon inquiry has been that it is aware of the situation and is already making efforts to excavate the important find, while cooperating with all relevant entities.
That’s a huge relief.
Incidentally, inside the cave where the exposed column capital is situated, there is a water hole, where local Arab children go bathing. How long before one of them discovers the ancient relic and calls his daddy over?

The initial discovery was made by Benjamin Troper, the training coordinator of the Kfar Etzion field school, who suddenly, while aiding a troubled tourist down a deep cave south of Jerusalem, turned to look at the nearby wall and saw an ancient stone column.
“I had gone down that hole dozens of times,” Tropper told Makor Rishon, “but this was the first time, because I was helping the tourist, that I came down looking in that direction.”
What he saw was a bona fide ancient column with a capital, which he recognized from his years as tour guide and from the time he spent working in excavating ancient Jerusalem.
That’s the story of a remarkably rare archeological discovery, which no one has heard about. For some reason, possibly political, the Israeli authorities have been trying to silence this discovery which could usher in a breakthrough in our understanding of the periods of King David and his son, King Solomon.
The column capital Tropper ran, or rather climbed down into, is very likely part of a complete temple or palace buried underground.
Tropper, who expected nothing short of a medal for his fortunate discovery, called over the field school’s director, Yaron Rosenthal, who in turn alerted a senior employee of Israel’s Antiquities Authority. But no medals were to come any time soon.
The find is really big, according to Rosenthal. It may also be a singular opportunity to unearth a whole structure that hadn’t undergone “secondary use,” meaning that it hasn’t been altered by later dwellers of the area. Often, later period folks utilize the components of older structures as building blocks for their own structures.
But even better than that: there are still, to this day, raging debates between the school of archeologists who claim there was a great Jewish dynasty begun by David and Solomon, and the school that doubts there ever really existed two people by those names.
Rosenthal (you know which school he belongs to) believes the discovery will offer startling details about the everyday lives of those Jewish kings.
According to Rosenthal, the reaction of the Antiquities official was “astonishing.” He told him: “Yaron, please, you found it, but we know about it. Now forget the whole thing and keep your mouth shut.”
Apparently they’re very blunt over at Antiquities.
Later, Rosenthal found out that the authority had indeed been aware of the artifact for a year and a half. He is upset both for the fact that they avoided digging up the area to discover what’s down there, and for the fact that they took no steps to mark off the cave, to protect it from damage.
Over the past few months, the defense ministry was drawing the path of the section of the security fence that will separate the Palestinian Authority’s Bethlehem County from South Jerusalem. They knew about it at Antiquities, reports Makor Rishon, but kept mum and let the fence line be drawn about a hundred yards from the site, effectively leaving it in Palestinian hands.
According to Makor Rishon, Antiquities’ director-general Shuka Dorfman and former chief of the central front Gen. Avi Mizrahi were called in to look at the find, a year and a half ago and decided together to silence the discovery.
The question is, based on their track record, how respectful would the future owners of the area, the PA, of a site that could prove beyond doubt that
it used to belong to a Jewish empire – the very empire the PA officially says never existed.
The Antiquities Authority’s response to the Makor Rishon inquiry has been that it is aware of the situation and is already making efforts to excavate the important find, while cooperating with all relevant entities.
That’s a huge relief.
Incidentally, inside the cave where the exposed column capital is situated, there is a water hole, where local Arab children go bathing. How long before one of them discovers the ancient relic and calls his daddy over?

The initial discovery was made by Benjamin Troper, the training coordinator of the Kfar Etzion field school, who suddenly, while aiding a troubled tourist down a deep cave south of Jerusalem, turned to look at the nearby wall and saw an ancient stone column.“I had gone down that hole dozens of times,” Tropper told Makor Rishon, “but this was the first time, because I was helping the tourist, that I came down looking in that direction.”What he saw was a bona fide ancient column with a capital, which he recognized from his years as tour guide and from the time he spent working in excavating ancient Jerusalem.That’s the story of a remarkably rare archeological discovery, which no one has heard about. For some reason, possibly political, the Israeli authorities have been trying to silence this discovery which could usher in a breakthrough in our understanding of the periods of King David and his son, King Solomon.The column capital Tropper ran, or rather climbed down into, is very likely part of a complete temple or palace buried underground.Tropper, who expected nothing short of a medal for his fortunate discovery, called over the field school’s director, Yaron Rosenthal, who in turn alerted a senior employee of Israel’s Antiquities Authority. But no medals were to come any time soon.The find is really big, according to Rosenthal. It may also be a singular opportunity to unearth a whole structure that hadn’t undergone “secondary use,” meaning that it hasn’t been altered by later dwellers of the area. Often, later period folks utilize the components of older structures as building blocks for their own structures.But even better than that: there are still, to this day, raging debates between the school of archeologists who claim there was a great Jewish dynasty begun by David and Solomon, and the school that doubts there ever really existed two people by those names.Rosenthal (you know which school he belongs to) believes the discovery will offer startling details about the everyday lives of those Jewish kings.Accord

 The initial discovery was made by Benjamin Troper, the training coordinator of the Kfar Etzion field school, who suddenly, while aiding a troubled tourist down a deep cave south of Jerusalem, turned to look at the nearby wall and saw an ancient stone column.“I had gone down that hole dozens of times,” Tropper told Makor Rishon, “but this was the first time, because I was helping the tourist, that I came down looking in that direction.”What he saw was a bona fide ancient column with a capital, which he recognized from his years as tour guide and from the time he spent working in excavating ancient Jerusalem.That’s the story of a remarkably rare archeological discovery, which no one has heard about. For some reason, possibly political, the Israeli authorities have been trying to silence this discovery which could usher in a breakthrough in our understanding of the periods of King David and his son, King Solomon.The column capital Tropper ran, or rather climbed down into, is very likely part of a complete temple or palace buried underground.Tropper, who expected nothing short of a medal for his fortunate discovery, called over the field school’s director, Yaron Rosenthal, who in turn alerted a senior employee of Israel’s Antiquities Authority. But no medals were to come any time soon.The find is really big, according to Rosenthal. It may also be a singular opportunity to unearth a whole structure that hadn’t undergone “secondary use,” meaning that it hasn’t been altered by later dwellers of the area. Often, later period folks utilize the components of older structures as building blocks for their own structures.But even better than that: there are still, to this day, raging debates between the school of archeologists who claim there was a great Jewish dynasty begun by David and Solomon, and the school that doubts there ever really existed two people by those names.Rosenthal (you know which school he belongs to) believes the discovery will offer startling details about the everyday lives of those Jewish kings.Accord

Aparecen nuevos restos arqueológicos en la Catedral de Tarazona

Este proyecto se está llevando a cabo en el marco del convenio de colaboración suscrito hasta el año 2014, por importe de 1.812.000 euros

Los trabajos que se están desarrollando en la Catedral de Tarazona han permitido descubrir nuevos restos arqueológicos, como un nuevo mosaico romano en el templo. El hallazgo es resultado del desarrollo de las labores de restauración del pórtico mayor, protección de restos arqueológicos y adecuación de la plaza de la Seo.

Este proyecto se está llevando a cabo en el marco del convenio de colaboración suscrito hasta el año 2014, por importe de 1.812.000 euros, entre el Gobierno de Aragón, la Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza, el Ayuntamiento de Tarazona, el Obispado y la Fundación Tarazona Monumental, dirigidos a la restauración del pórtico mayor, protección de los restos arqueológicos del siglo IV y adecuación del entorno de la plaza de la Seo.

Estos trabajos previos, dirigidos por los arquitectos Fernando y José Ignacio Aguerri Martínez, tienen entre otros objetivos delimitar los restos arqueológicos aparecidos en el año 2008, algo que está siendo posible gracias al desmontaje de las escaleras y parterres de la plaza de la Seo.

Los hallazgos conocidos hasta el momento se trataban de restos tardo romanos del siglo IV después de Cristo, correspondientes a un edificio de grandes proporciones y carácter representativo que conserva gran parte de sus pavimentos mosaicos, explica la Fundación Tarazona Monumental en una nota de prensa.

Los sondeos y catas arqueológicas iniciadas el pasado mes de marzo por el arqueólogo José Francisco Casabona han sacado a la luz un nuevo hallazgo. Se trata de los restos de un mosaico de tipo policromo decorado con motivos geométricos de tipo circular, que se correspondería con un espacio de grandes dimensiones y con una evidente relación formal con el aparecido en 2008, de carácter monumental y abierto hacia la ciudad.

Asociados al mosaico, se han recuperado fragmentos de cerámica romana y materiales de construcción, y también se han recuperado restos materiales de otros períodos, relacionados con la historia de la catedral y de la ciudad de Tarazona.

En esta primera fase de investigación "todavía no se puede determinar la importancia y envergadura del hallazgo arqueológico, pero se espera que a lo largo de esta actuación sigan apareciendo nuevas evidencias que permitan determinar ante qué edificio nos encontramos", indica la fundación.

El plan director de la Catedral contempla la conservación de los restos y en la medida de lo posible su musealización, algo que no impide la ejecución material de la obras de urbanización de la plaza. 

http://www.heraldo.es/noticias/aragon/zaragoza_provincia/2013/04/12/aparecen_nuevos_restos_arqueologicos_catedral_tarazona_230142_1101025.html