lunes, 30 de septiembre de 2013

.Old Horse Remains in Bulgaria Suggest Creatures Were Buried

2500-Year-Old Horse Remains in Bulgaria Suggest Creatures Were Buried Upright
by Sarah Griffiths The Daily Mail Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Thracian carriage and two horses that appear to have been buried upright. The chariot and horse skeletons are 2,500-years-old and were discovered in the village of Svestari in north-east Bulgaria. The two-wheeled carriage and carcasses of the horses were found in a Thracian tomb along with some decorations. Professor Diana Gergova of the National Archaeology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who led the dig, said: 'The find is unique, it is not resembling any other carriage dating from the Thracian era ever uncovered in Bulgaria.' According to Sofia News Agency, the discovery of the carriage was unexpected as treasure hunters have plundered many of the ancient mounds found in the region in a bid to find gold, despite a UNESCO ban of this activity. The particular mound where the carriage was discovered, is adjacent to the well known Mound of Bulgarian Khan Imurtag, where the same research team uncovered a hoard of gold last year. A Roman chariot complete with a seat and boot was unearthed along with two buried horses in the village of Borissvovo in Bulgaria in 2010, which shows similarities to the new find, despite being younger in age. It was thought to belong to Thracian nobility living in the second half of the 1st century AD, judging by the imported goods found in nearby graves. The burial mount yielded seven burial structures and two pits, one of which held the carriage and horses, HorseTalk revealed. Experts believe the chariot was placed in a narrow hole with a sloping side to allow horses, decorated with elaborate harnesses, to pull it into its final resting place, after which they were killed. The evidence of small metal disks on the horses' heads at the new sight, suggest they too were wearing harnesses. The Borissovo chariot was supported by stones in order to keep it in its final position and offers res
earchers the chance to see how the vehicles were put together, including a 'boot' which held a bronze pan and ladle, grill and bottles. A skeleton of a dog chained to the cart was also discovered, and nearby the grave of the warrior who is presumed to have owned the carriage, complete with his armour, spears and swords as well as medication and an inkwell, signifying he was well educated. Archaeologist Veselin Ignatov, who was involved in the discoveryry of another the chariot near the southeastern village of Karanovo, said around 10,000 Thracian mounds - part of them covering monumental stone tombs - are scattered across the country. Mr Ignatov said up to 90 per cent of the tombs in the region have been completely or partially destroyed by treasure hunters who smuggle the most precious objects abroad. *The title has been changed by (Sofia News Agency) - See more at:*#sthash.G8KwNRIJ.dpuf

Roman ruins could have been a temple

PETERSFIELD Archaeological Group is aiming to discover the size of a buried Roman villa at Stroud, as it may be far more significant than was first thought.
When the field south of Finchmead Lane was excavated in 1907, it was believed to be one of a scattering of such villas in the area, including at Colemore and Liss, built by the Celts under Roman rule.
After the Roman invasion of 43AD, attempts to stamp out the Druid religion were at first prosecuted with zeal, but as the Romans and Celts mingled and inter-married so their religions merged with both Roman and Celtic deities worshipped until long after the Romans’ departure in 410AD.
And a recent theory suggests that the Stroud building, which measures 140ft by 52 ft with wings off rooms, may not be a house, or a farm after all, but a Romano-Celtic temple.
Archaeological group chairman Peter Price said: “There are oddities – the bath house is larger than a villa of this size might need, perhaps more fitting as a bath-house for a temple settlement.
“And an octagonal building between the wings is distinctly odd and un-villa like.
Octagonal Romano- Celtic shrines have been found elsewhere in Roman Britain, and there is a Roman bronze statue of a Belgic winged figure on a horse which may have been a deity of the Celts, which it is thought was found at Stroud.
“Another artefact found near Petersfield also provides some evidence for religious practice in the Petersfield area, called the Petersfield Cernunnos Coin.
“It is an interesting Celtic Iron Age silver coin and quite unique as it shows the Celtic horned god Cernunnos on one side with a wheel device centred between his antler-like horns.
“Some experts are of the opinion that it may be evidence of Druids.”
Druids were Celtic priests who believed water features such as springs were home to deities.
There are springs near the Stroud Roman site.
And if the building was a temple it may have supported a thriving community.
Mr Price added: “We hope to carry out fieldwork, geophysics, a landscape survey and micro scale excavations around Stroud to try to find more clues to the size of the Roman settlement and how it connects to nearby villas.”

The group also hopes to combine with Liss Archaeological Group to trace Roman roads and other prehistoric track ways and compile a database of Roman sites in the area, such as the one at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
Mr Price said: “We hope to be able to add a number of new sites by recording features in the landscape as well as documenting any artefacts that we find.”
Petersfield Archaeological Group meets monthly. For more details about forthcoming projects, contact Mr Price on 01730 233964

New Finds Uncovered at Ancient Greek Site of Argilos

Excavations to shed light on life at an early Greek colony in the 7th through 5th centuries B.C.
With a team of 50 students and additional help from workmen, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of structures at the site of ancient Argilos on the coast of Macedonia, reporting that the finds will help open an additional window on the development and economy of one of the earliest Greek colonies in an area that was previously settled by the Thracians.
Among the discoveries was a large portico consisting of at least seven storerooms.
"The building is in a remarkable state of preservation, and five rooms have been partially excavated this year," report excavation co-directors Zizis Bonias of Greece's 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and Jacques Perreault of the University of Montreal. "In its early state, the building probably dates back to the 6th century BC."*
The portico is just one of a number of well-preserved finds at the site, colonized, according to the literary tradition, by Greeks during the 7th century, around 655/654 B.C., making Argilos "the earliest greek colony on the Thracian coast".** Though the settlement was established in what at the time was territory inhabited by the ancient Thracians (a civilization of Indo-European tribes occupying a large region of Central and Southeastern Europe), archaeologists have thus far uncovered no clear signs of conflict between the two co-existing cultures at the site during that time, and one of the goals of the investigations is to explore the nature of the relationship between the Greeks and the Thracians at that location.
Four kilometers West of the Strymona river delta, the ancient city is set on a hill known as Palaiokastro. The site was first identified by P. Perdrizet in 1883 by referencing the writings of Herodotus, who wrote that the Persians encountered Argilos after crossing the Strymona river on their way to conquer Athens. The first limited excavations were conducted by the Greek archaeological service in the 70's, uncovering several tombs of the ancient city's necropolis. But the first serious systematic research did not begin until 1992 by a joint Greek-Canadian team.
The current excavations are being conducted by the Greek-Canadian Archaeological Mission of Argilos, a collaborative effort between the Ephoria of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Kavala and the University of Montreal. The excavations have revealed a significant number of architectural structures, including a large 5-meter wide street leading from what has been identified as a port, to the acropolis on the hill. According to the archaeologists, buildings, both public and domestic, lined this street. "Some of these buildings are extremely well preserved, with walls up to 4 meters high," report Bonias and Perreault. "This state of preservation helps us understand the way they were built and, thus, enables us to propose realistic reconstructions of the main buildings."***
View of excavations at Argilos. Credit: The Greek-Canadian Archaeological Mission of Argilos
Small pottery finds uncovered at Argilos. Credit: The Greek-Canadian Archaeological Mission of Argilos
But there is more beneath the structures.
"In the deepest levels, however, the excavators only found pottery of Thracian origin or vases which come from the chalcidiki peninsula," the authors continue. "This tends to show that the site of Argilos was already occupied before the arrival of the Greeks. Since there is no trace of a violent destruction of this local habitat, it seems that Greeks and Thracians cohabited on the site, probably for about one century. These findings give us the opportunity to question some passages of ancient greek literature, that tend to present Greek colonists as brutal and not hesitating to chase off local inhabitants by force."***
In 2014, archaeologists hope to continue excavating the portico and the area around the structure, including an area east of a Hellenistic mansion on the Acropolis, where they believe they have discovered evidence of the fortification wall of the city.
For more information about the excavations and how one can participate and support the project, see the project website. For more specific information about how one can donate to financially support the mission, please go to financing.

Ancient human remains in Palawan reveal ritual burial, possible cannibalism

9,000 years ago, in El Nido, Palawan, a woman was buried in a cave after she was disposed of in an elaborate and bizarre ritual.

The bones of this woman were defleshed and crushed. They were burned and put in a small box before she was put in her final resting place.
A group of scientists have since found her remains: well-preserved fragments of bones, likely of a young or middle-aged woman, uncovered underneath the cave of Ille in the Dewil Valley, in El Nido. Direct dating showed that her bones are between 9,000 to 9,400 years old. 
A study of her remains was recently published in the International Journal of Osteoarcheology by Myra Lara, Victor Paz of the Archaeological Studies Program of the University of the Philippines – Diliman, and H. Lewis, and W. Solheim II of the School of Archaeology of the University College Dublin.

Cut marks on joints

Cut marks were found in her joints, which indicate that the people who conducted the ritual knew how to disarticulate the bones of a human body. Scrape marks on her bones and skull meanwhile proved that she was defleshed and skinned, Nathaniel Hermosa, a science blogger, said in his blog entry.
Bigger bones like the skull, thigh bone, shinbone, and arm bones were smashed with an anvil or a hammer; all these and the rest of her bones were then collected for cremation. Though, what her tribe mates did to her flesh is still very much questionable and suspicously like cannibalism. 

Ancient civilizations were rumored to have practiced cannibalism in their religious rituals. The Aztecs of Mexico, for instance, allegedly sacrificed their human captives to their gods and ate their corpses.
The Wari' tribe of Brazil, on the other hand, ate their dead relatives. Part of their ritual is eating a small shred of their deceased relative's corpse that was previously barbecued. The close kin of the deceased will then decide whether to burn or bury the bones.

Was this what was done to the ancient woman before she was buried?

“The ritual indicates a sophistication in their expression of their cosmology,” said Victor Paz to Hermosa in an interview. “Now, regarding what happened to the flesh, this is anyone´s [guess].”
Eaters of the dead?

While the removal of flesh might be plain mortuary ritualistic behavior, scientists are not discounting the possibility for cannibals; that her flesh was eaten by the people who buried her.

“Inferring cannibalism is such a contentious issue in archaeological discourse. While other researchers might readily infer cannibalism from the modifications in C.758, we prefer to tread with caution and infer the minimum, which is a mortuary ritual,” said Myra Lara, proponent of the study.
While consumption of all or some of the remains might have occurred, cutmarks and scrape marks are not enough evidence to prove this. 
“If in case we see human gnaw marks on other remains, then that will change the story,” Lara said.
Ritualistic burial is a rare practice in the Philippines. This is only the second archaeological cremation burial in the country, following the remains found in Pila, Laguna that could have been cremated later in the 13th to 14th century. 
More cremated remains were excavated by Paz and Lara's team, and are already in various stages of analysis. Results of these might shed light into this possible ancient practice. – Kim Luces / KDM, GMA News

El hallazgo del tesoro de el carambolo cumple 55 años

En colaboración con Mathaf: Museo Árabe de Arte Moderno de Doha y el Institut du Monde Arabe de París, el IVAM se complace en acoger la exposición Té con Nefertiti:  creación de una obra de arte por el artista, el museo y el público. Dentro del ámbito de la celebración del 100 aniversario del descubrimiento del busto de Nefertiti, la exposición revisa las historias controvertidas de cómo las colecciones egipcias a partir del siglo XIX.han pasado a formar parte de numerosos museos.

Se exploran los mecanismos por los que las obras de arte llegan a adquirir una variedad de significados y funciones que pueden expresar una serie relatos que pueden llegar a ser contradictorios. Comisariada por Sam Bardaouil y Till Fellrath,  de Art Reoriented,  Té con Nefertiti se organiza en torno a tres capítulos temáticos que reflexionan sobre el proceso de apropiación que la obra sufre a medida que viaja a través del tiempo y el lugar.

En el apartado artístico, la atención se centra en las desviaciones  formales del artista y de su aportación como se evidencia a través de las obras expuestas. En la sección Museo, el énfasis se desplaza al contexto en el que se presenta una obra de arte. En la sección pública, al espectador se le presenta una serie de incidentes en los que las obras de arte se han ampliado, tanto física como ideológicamente, más allá del estudio del artista y las paredes del museo en el ámbito público.

Té con Nefertiti  integra más de 100 obras de arte que datan desde el  1800 aC hasta la actualidad y que van desde la pintura, la escultura y la fotografía a la instalación de vídeo y técnicas mixtas. También incluye una instalación de Bassem Yousri. Junto con estas obras antiguas, modernas y contemporáneas, se podrá ver alrededor de 50 fondos documentales entre ellos algunos que se exhibirán por primera vez.

domingo, 29 de septiembre de 2013

Localizan en Bulgaria una cuadriga tracia de 2.500 años en una tumba real

Un equipo de arqueólogos búlgaros ha excavado una biga, una cuadriga tirada por dos caballos, en una tumba de la realeza tracia datada hace 2.500 años, en la que se hallaron los esqueletos de los dos animales aún enganchados al vehículo, informaron hoy varios medios locales.
Sofía, 27 sep.- Un equipo de arqueólogos búlgaros ha excavado una biga, una cuadriga tirada por dos caballos, en una tumba de la realeza tracia datada hace 2.500 años, en la que se hallaron los esqueletos de los dos animales aún enganchados al vehículo, informaron hoy varios medios locales.
El descubrimiento se ha producido en el yacimiento arqueológico de Sboryanovo, al norte de Bulgaria, y se cree que formaba parte del rito de enterramiento del rey Kotela de los getas, una de las tribus de la antigua Tracia."Según las creencias tracias, la biga y los dos caballos de pura raza debían llevar el alma del soberano al más allá", explicó a la emisora Nova TV Diana Guergova, jefa del equipo arqueológico.
La experta indicó que, normalmente, la biga era conducida por un guerrero que, según la mitología de los tracios, actuaba de guía y mediador en el viaje hacia la muerte.
La científica añadió que cerca de la tumba han sido encontrados otros objetos relacionados con el enterramiento y que se espera que aparezcan incluso los restos del conductor de la carroza o del propio soberano.
Sboryanovo, cerca del río Danubio, alberga restos de 140 poblados, santuarios o tumbas de distintas épocas y culturas, desde la tracia hasta la musulmana.
Guergova reveló que los caballos habían sido ejecutados con veneno dentro de la tumba, inmediatamente antes del entierro del rey.
En Bulgaria hay unos 10.000 tumbas de nobles tracios, pero una gran parte de ellas han sido destruidas y desvalijadas.
(Agencia EFE)

domingo, 15 de septiembre de 2013

Uros people found to have distinctive genetic ancestries

New genetic research led by the Genographic Project consortium shows a distinctive ancestry for the Uros populations of Peru and Bolivia that pre-dates the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and may date back to the earliest settlement of the Altiplano, or high plain, of the central Andes some 3,700 years ago.
Despite the fact that the Uros today share many lineages with the surrounding Andean populations, they have maintained their own divergent genetic ancestry.
Community gathering on one of the Uros Islands on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. Image: Eduardo Rubiano
Community gathering on one of the Uros Islands on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. Image: Eduardo Rubiano
The Uros are a self-identified ethnic group, about 2,000 of whom live in Peru, many of them on artificial floating islands on Lake Titicaca. Another 2,600 individuals live beside lakes and rivers of Bolivia. According to some anthropologists, the Uros are descendants of the first settlers of the Altiplano — the Andean plateau — yet their origin has been subjected to considerable academic debate.

Target of discrimination

Those from Peru have long claimed to descend from the ancient Urus (Uruquilla speakers), using their differentiated ethnic identity to assert rights and prerogatives for their use of Titicaca’s natural resources. The Uros have historically been the target of discrimination by the pre-Inca, Inca and the Spanish, and this continues today. Some people have alleged that the Uros disappeared a long time ago and that the new islanders have conjured up an ancient heritage in order to attract tourists and receive special recognition and rights.
The timing of human settlement in the Andean Altiplano is one of the great mysteries of our species’ worldwide odyssey — a vast, high-altitude plain that seems utterly inhospitable, yet it has apparently nurtured a complex culture for millennia,” said Spencer Wells, Genographic Project director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.
Representatives of the Genographic Project, compared the Uros’ haplotype (genetic lineages) profiles with those of eight Aymara-, nine Quechua- and two Arawak-speaking populations from the western region of South America.
Uros reed houses. Image: Emre Safak (Wikimedia, used under a CC BY-SA 3.0)
Uros reed houses. Image: Emre Safak (Wikimedia, used under a CC BY-SA 3.0)

Confined to floating islands and small villages

The Andean highlands are home to a vast indigenous population of several million, mostly Aymaras and Quechuas. The Uros are a minority group that consider themselves descendants of the ancient Urus, who are generally recognized as the first major ethnic group to have settled in the Andes, specifically the Lake Titicaca watershed. As a result of successive invasions by Aymara populations and the Incas, an increasing proportion of the Uros became confined to floating islands and small villages around the lake.
Today, the Uros of Peru and Bolivia are also known as Qhas Qut suñi, which means “people of the lake” in the ancient Uruquilla language. Their economy was originally based on aquatic resources, especially fishing, bird hunting and gathering of bird eggs. Using the lake’s reeds for construction of islands, houses and handicrafts for tourism, the Uros have become a fascination to visitors, and the Altiplano is now Peru’s second most important tourist destination.
Source: National Geographic Society

China finds ancient tomb of 'female prime minister'

The ancient tomb of a female politician in China, described as the country's "female prime minister", has been discovered, Chinese media say.
The tomb of Shangguan Wan'er, who lived from 664-710 AD, was recently found in Shaanxi province. Archaeologists confirmed the tomb was hers this week.
She was a famous politician and poet who served empress Wu Zetian, China's first female ruler.
However, the tomb was badly damaged, reports said.
The grave was discovered near an airport in Xianyang, Shaanxi province, reports said.
A badly damaged epitaph on the tomb helped archaeologists confirm that the tomb was Shangguan Wan'er's, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
Experts described the discovery as one of "major significance", even though it had been subject to "large-scale damage".
"The roof had completely collapsed, the four walls were damaged, and all the tiles on the floor had been lifted up," Geng Qinggang, an archaeology research associate in Shaanxi, told Chinese media.
"Hence, we think it must have been subject to large-scale, organised damage... quite possibly damage organised by officials," he said.
Shangguan Wan'er was a trusted aide of Wu Zetian, who ruled during China's prosperous Tang dynasty.
She was killed in a palace coup in 710 AD.
Her story has intrigued many in China, and has even inspired a TV series

Underwater survey in TN to verify Ptolemy’s account

Chennai: A coa­s­tal survey is being carried out in Tamil Nadu by a te­am of professors and students, seeking to throw mo­re light on the ancient po­rts in south India, mentio­ned in Greco Roman geographer Ptolemy’s accounts.

The survey is being done by experts, specialising in underwater archaeology of Thanjavur-based Tamil Un­i­versity, in two coastal str­etches-  one between Kan­ya­kumari and Rameswa­ram and another between Rameswaram and Poompu­har in Nagapattinam district intends to gather more information from ruins of coastal towns, which are believed to have existed during the Sangam literature era.

Facilitated by the Central Institute of Classical Tamil with a funding of Rs 5 lakh, the survey is headed by N. Athiyaman of the Centre for Underwater Archaeolo­gy in Tamil University.
“The survey intends to study the ancient coastal towns, which have functioned as ports. Our preliminary survey is to locate the area, over which we can focus for further res­earch. We are now looking at ports,” Athiyaman said.

Ancient Tamil literature, including ‘Akananuru’ of the Sangam era, referred to the period between 600 BCE and 300 CE, suggest that some 20 to 25 ports had existed in the region. “Greco Roman writer Ptolemy’s geographical ac­c­ounts mention some 15 po­rts.

We want to find out whether these ports menti­o­ned in the Sangam era literature and by Ptolemy are the same,” Athiyaman said. For instance, a port known as Manamelkudi near Thondi Port, is mentioned in the ‘Akananuru’ as Sellur.

But ambiguity st­ill remains as to whether that is the same town ref­e­r­red to by Ptolemy as Sallur in his accounts, he said.

Asked how has the team planned to conduct the survey, Athiyaman said, “We are presently surveying coastal towns, near where we believe ports might ha­ve existed. If they have ex­isted, there would have be­en a heavy traffic of boats and ships. Also in towns, we are looking for pot shreds and other remains, which can indicate a lot.”

Once the preliminary su­r­vey is over, information fr­om fishermen, who frequ­ent the particular area in the sea would be collected.

“Based on the information from fishermen, we would employ scientific equipment including SON­AR to detect objects under the sea. There are state-of-the-art equipment, which will help us detect objects, if any, under sheets of clay,” he said.

Athiyaman is leading the team in the Kanyakumari-Rameswaram stretch, while his colleague Rajavelu is looking after the Rameswaram-Poompuhar leg, with the help of research scholars and Ph.D students of Tamil University.

The heavy traffic between coastal towns in Tamil Nadu and commercial hubs in the West has already been established with the use of various text from the ancient times.

“In one of the accounts, Ptolemy talked of a ‘emporia’ north of Cauvery river in the peninsula. When historians and archaeologists looked for the same in the Sangam literature, it was established to be Kaveripoompattinam also known as Poompuhar (a famous port in the Chola period),” Athiyaman said, adding they were hopeful of getting something concrete before this year end.

martes, 10 de septiembre de 2013

Hallan un tesoro de hace 1.400 años en Jerusalén

Sal Emergui | Jerusalén
"Se trata de un descubrimiento que ocurre una vez en la vida. Nos ha dejado a todos asombrados y casi sin palabras", confiesa la profesora israelí Eilat Mazar. Encabezando un proyecto de excavación de la Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalén, ha anunciado este lunes el hallazgo de un auténtico tesoro arqueológico. Va más allá de su naturaleza (oro) o edad (1.400 años, época bizantina) ya que, como dicen en el centro universitario, "posee una dimensión internacional".
El equipo de Mazar ha hallado un medallón dorado con famosos símbolos judíos como el candelabro (Menorá), el instrumento ritual en base a un cuerno de animal (Shofar) y un rollo de la Torá. A su lado, 36 monedas y cadenas de oro y plata. Y todo escondido a sólo 50 metros de una pared del Monte del Templo o Explanada de las Mezquitas de Jerusalén, al sur del Muro de las Lamentaciones. Es decir, en el centro neurológico, religioso y conflictivo de la ciudad tres veces santa.
"No todos los días encontramos al lado del Monte del Templo una Menorá con siete brazos de oro de una época tan antigua", explica Mazar que lleva menos tiempo -"sólo" 30 años- excavando en la ciudad. El hallazgo reflejaría la presencia de la comunidad judía en Jerusalén durante el breve imperio persa en el siglo VII.
Según ella, tras la conquista persa de Jerusalén, muchos judíos regresaron a Jerusalén con la esperanza (destrozada posteriormente) de disfrutar de libertad política y religiosa. Se cree que los valiosos objetos fueron escondidos en una bolsa y enterrados por sus dueños judíos.
"Hemos estado haciendo hallazgos significativos desde la época del Primer Templo en una época mucho más antigua en la historia de Jerusalén, por lo que descubrir ahora esta Menorá de siete brazos de oro del siglo VII a los pies del Monte del Templo es una sorpresa completa", concluye Mazar en rueda de prensa.
Según el experto en numismática Lior Sandberg, el 'Tesoro Ophel' (bautizado así por el nombre de la zona de excavación) es la tercera colección de monedas de oro encontradas en Jerusalén.
Con la ciudad -con su kilómetro cuadrado más sagrado- siempre discutida en la mesa de negociaciones entre israelíes y palestinos, Mazar afirma que el hallazgo refleja la "conexión histórica e indudable del pueblo judío con Jerusalén".

 Con un enfoque menos histórico-político-religioso-cultural y más personal, la veterana arqueóloga israelí reconoce, bromeando: "¡Nunca había encontrado tanto oro en mi vida!".

The blue-white ceramics of China and İznik

Niki GAMMHürriyet Daily News

One of the areas to which blue-white Chinese porcelain was exported was Istanbul and in particular to the imperial court at Topkapı Palace. The first use of Chinese porcelain was in 1457


Blue-white pottery refers to the elegantly painted, blue and white Chinese and İznik tiles and ceramics that were and are highly prized by their owners. Their journey has been a long one, starting with the discovery of cobalt blue in Iran that was mined from the 9th century CE and exported to China mostly as a raw material. There are, however, a very few examples of blue-white pottery that have been found in Iran, with Arabic inscriptions on them from about the same period, suggesting that the blue-white technique went along with the raw material.

The first Chinese blue-white also occur in the 9th century although only fragments have been found. The earthenware continued to be used and admired until it reached an apex in the 14th century. By then, blue-white was being extensively exported to other lands in the Far East and along the famed Silk Road, thanks to the spread of Islam. Early in the 14th century, the blue-white technique was applied to porcelain and the results produced were filled with floral and geometric patterns that suited Muslim tastes. Better quality cobalt blue from Persia contributed to the finer designs. Robert Finlay, in his book “The Pilgrim Art,” notes that cobalt blue went for twice the price of gold.

First use of Chinese porcelain

One of the areas to which blue-white Chinese porcelain was exported was Istanbul, and in particular to the imperial court at Topkapı Palace. The first recorded of Chinese porcelain was in 1457 at the circumcision ceremonies for Fatih Sultan Mehmed II’s two sons, Bayezid and Mustafa, but we aren’t told if these were blue-white. An inventory at Topkapı in 1496 is the first time porcelain is mentioned in that location. The total collection at Topkapı, achieved through war, plunder, gifts and unclaimed inheritance, numbers more than 10,000. Of this, more than half of these are blue-whites and represent a timeframe dating from the middle of the 14th century to the nineteenth.

Alongside the Chinese porcelain are the blue-white tiles and porcelain produced at İznik from the first half of the 15th century to the middle of the 16th. These were at first based on fifteenth century Ming dynasty porcelains that included flowers, clouds and even dragons. İznik was the first Turkish capital in Anatolia and it never lost its importance in the Ottoman period for its successful production of tiles.

 Topkapı Palace supported İznik tile-making, gradually increasing the orders it placed with ateliers there.
Ceramic items for daily use are to be found in the Topkapı kitchens and on the tables of the wealthy.

İznik tiles were also exported even through special offers from abroad. In the recently published book “Turkish Tiles” by Ozlem İnay Erten and Oğuz Erten, the authors noted that the palace kitchen registers dated 1582 show that 541 İznik plates and cooking pans were purchased from the Istanbul market for the circumcision of Sultan Murad III’s son Prince Mehmed.

In fact, the İznik ceramics were fashionable throughout the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Europe. The early works produced in Italy seemed to have been a mixture of Islamic and Chinese designs which would hardly be surprising as both would have arrived there via the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. Direct imitation of the Chinese ware, however, had to wait until the next century when civil disturbances in China disrupted trade. The Italians then turned to copying from already extant pieces and after the Italians the production of ceramic wares began to emerge in the Netherlands.
In a recent CNN interview with the Netherlands’ 360-year-old Royal Delft Group CEO Henk Schouten, the point was made that “Royal Delft itself was influenced by Chinese pottery, after Dutch tradesmen brought back porcelain from the Far East in the 1600s. It proved popular with the Dutch, and potters began developing a similar style with local clay.” This was the result of Dutch trading directly with the Far East. Today blue-white Delft ware is among the finest produced throughout the world.

HDN Technique matters

Blue-white may be divided into four types including the best tiles produced in İznik in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. They can be either blue on white or white on blue on smooth, hard dough. The transparent underglazing has differing shades of blue for such designs as flowers, stylized clouds and dragons that show the influence of the Chinese. In some cases kufic and nesih calligraphy appears. Between 1520 and 1540 turquoise was added from time to time to the blue-white.

Rare blue-white ceramics 

 The best of the blue-white ceramics are the extremely rare examples in which delicate flowers and tiny leaves form a chain around a spiral. This design for a long time was called “Golden Horn” ware but now that many examples have been found in excavations in İznik it is acknowledged that the center of production was İznik.

 Underglazing, a basic method applied for centuries in Anatolia, is used to produce the stunning blue-white porcelain. It consists of firing the clay that has been molded or hand-shaped into the desired form and glazed with a tin-based glaze. It is then taken out, cooled and painted with designs which are applied by drawing them on paper and then pricking small holes in the paper. The paper is then fitted over the clay surface and charcoal dust poured over it. This leaves the design right on the clay surface, ready for the paint to be applied. Once the painting is finished, a colored or colorless tine-based glaze is applied over it and it’s re-fired.

For those people interested in blue-white İznik and Chinese porcelain, Topkapı Palace Museum has examples in its Çinili Köşk (Tile Villa) located on the grounds of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. By the end of the year the Topkapı kitchens should once again be open to the public where the palace collection of Chinese porcelains will be on display. It has the largest collection of Chinese porcelain outside of China. Another place in Istanbul where İznik tiles and Chinese porcelain can be seen, according to its website, is “the Sadberk Hanım Museum which has one of the leading collections in the world.

İznik ceramics on display including wares for daily use like plates, bowls, vases and jugs decorated in a naturalistic style with rose, tulip, carnation and hyacinths motifs and tiles manufactured for mosques, tombs, madrasahs, hammams w
ith designs prepared in the palace workshop, show the development in İznik ceramic art from the end of 15th till the middle of the 17th century.
Sadberk Hanım Museum’s collection of Chinese porcelain is a modest one, but it includes unique pieces. The collection is an important treasure for the ones who are interested in examining the Chinese porcelains used during the Ottoman period.”


First world war model battlefield to be dug up

Archaeologists will begin charting site in Staffordshire, the only example of its kind left in Britain
A dig to uncover a scale model of one of the first world war's bloodiest battlefields – created by soldiers in tribute to their dead comrades – is about to start.
Archaeologists will begin charting the site, the only example of its kind left in Britain, which was planned in painstaking detail by troops returned from the battle of Messines, fought in June 1917 on the western front.
Experts said the terrain model was built not only as a training aid for soldiers at Brocton Camp, Staffordshire, but also in recognition of the horrific toll the battle fought around Messines ridge took on the brigade.
The ridge formed an anchor in the German front lines but the week of infantry attack, aerial bombardment and heavy shelling resulted in an Allied victory, with four Victoria crosses awarded to empire soldiers.
The human cost of the battle ran to 50,000 men killed, wounded or missing on both sides.

The battle was fought in the buildup to the larger and even bloodier Passchendaele offensive, which began in July of that year.
Staffordshire county council, in a project funded by Natural England, is to make a record of the model for future generations before re-covering the site, on Cannock Chase, in October.
The model was built by German prisoners of war, supervised by New Zealanders, and then rendered in concrete.
It includes small-scale reconstructions of Messines village's buildings, including its church, together with trench positions, railway lines, roads, and accurate contours of the surrounding terrain.

viernes, 6 de septiembre de 2013

Archaeologists discover burials from the Roman period in Czelin

Crematory pit and urn grave from the 1st/2nd century AD have been discovered by archaeologists during excavations in the Roman period cemetery in Czelin (Zachodniopomorskie).
Bartłomiej Rogalski from the National Museum in Szczecin , who conducts research, said in an interview with PAP that the form of the clay urn and the specific "toothed wheel" decorating technique are typical for the Elbe area, lying west of the Oder .

According to Rogalski, the ornament on the vessel is in turn typical for the Przeworsk culture , which at that time occupied territories of Wielkopolska and Silesia. "This conglomerate of various cultural trends is symptomatic of Lubusz group" - added Rogalski. In the second, pit burial, in addition to bone archaeologists have also found pieces of similarly ornamented pottery. In the immediate vicinity of the burials, archaeologists have discovered the complex of furnaces and setts. Researchers believe that this could be the place of preparation for burial ceremonies and other rituals. According to Rogalski, burials belong to the Lubusz group, which from the 1st to the 3rd century AD occupied Lower Nadodrze , Wkra Land, Pyrzyce Land and Mysliborskie Lakes. Lubusz group is poorly explored archaeologically and it characteristics still await clear definition, added Rogalski.
Since 2004, archaeologists discovered nearly 100 objects in the cemetery in Czelin, including about 50 burials, as well as traces of the devices associated with the operation of the cemetery .

Noteworthy urn graves include burials of warriors containing the armour. Last year, archaeologists found three graves of warriors that contained shield fittings and spearheads. Also in the cemetery in Czelin, they found the second tomb of a rider buried with a spur. "This is a unique find, as monuments connected with horse riding are a rare discovery. Cavalry was a marginal formation in the armies of the barbaric tribes" - said Rogalski .

According to Rogalski, objects found in Czelin indicate a very high political importance of the local tribes in the contemporary world. As he said, in one of the tombs archaeologists found a double-edged sword, made in the Roman Empire. Earlier discoveries include a Roman bronze vessel, made in Naples area, and an exclusive buckle for garments made in the bronze workshops of Noricum and Pannonia. Rogalski believes that the luxury items did not arrive to the Oder area directly from the Roman Empire, but were probably imported from the territory of the Marcomanni in today's Czech Republic.

An open-air museum dedicated to the cemetery operates in Czelin since March. Visitors can see a reconstruction of a warrior's grave with equipment and a cremation pyre with a warrior lying on top.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland,396912,archaeologists-discover-burials-from-the-roman-period-in-czelin.html

Melting Snow Reveals Iron Age Sweater

A boat neck sweater made of warm wool and woven in diamond twill was a dominating fashion trend among reindeer hunters 1,700 years ago, according to researchers who have investigated an extremely well preserved Iron Age tunic found two years ago under melting snow in Norway.
Announced last March, the finding has been detailed in the current issue of the journal Antiquity.
“Due to global warming, rapid melting of snow patches and glaciers is taking place in the mountains of Norway as in other parts of the world, and hundreds of archaeological finds emerge from the ice each year,” Marianne Vedeler, from the University of Oslo, Norway, and Lise Bender Jørgensen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, wrote.
PHOTOS: See Images of the Tunic
Found in an hunting area on the Norwegian Lendbreen glacier at 6,560 feet above the sea level, the well-preserved tunic was made between 230 and 390 A.D., according to radiocarbon dating.
“It is a very rare item. Complete garments from early first millennium A.D. Europe can be counted on the fingers of one hand,” Bender Jørgensen told Discovery News.
Examinations with a scanning electron microscope and light microscopy revealed that two different fabrics, made of lamb’s wool or wool from adult sheep, are present in the tunic.
“There is no doubt that the wool was carefully chosen for both fabrics, and that both quality and natural pigmentation were taken into consideration,” the researchers said.
NEWS: Oldest Shoe Preserved in Sheep Dung
Indeed, the fabric was deliberately and evenly mottled, the effect obtained using two light and two dark brown alternating wool threads.
Relatively short and constructed from a simple cut, the greenish-brown tunic would have fitted a slender man about 5 feet, 9 inches tall. It featured a boat neck, had no buttons or fastenings, but was simply drawn over the head like a sweater.
The cut and size of the tunic closely resembles that of a garment excavated more than 150 years ago in a bog at Thorsbjerg, Schleswig-Holsten. Now in the Archaeological Museum in Schleswig, Germany, it was found in an early first millennium weapon deposit offering, and presumably had belonged to an officer.
“The similarity between the two tunics is very interesting as it suggests that a specific style was intended, and that this ‘fashion’ was known over a wide area. Both are woven in a weave called diamond twill that was popular over large parts of northern Europe in the period,” Bender Jørgensen said.
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The sweater-like tunic showed hard wear and tear and had been mended with two patches.
“This suggest that the hunter looked after his clothing. He may, however, not have been its first owner,” Bender Jørgensen said.
According to the researchers, it is quite possible that the tunic was originally sleeveless, and that the sleeves were added at the time of the second repair.
“For the first repair the mender used a patch of the same fabric as used in the body section, while the second patch derived from the fabric used for the sleeves. The seams on this second patch are made with the same yarn as used for sewing on the sleeves,” Vedeler and Bender Jørgensen wrote.
PHOTOS: Iceman Mummy 20 Yrs On: Mysteries Remain
A question remains why the tunic was left in the mountains.
“The hunter may, perhaps, have been surprised by sudden fog or snow, and not been able to retrieve his garment. This can easily hap
pen in these surroundings,” Bender Jørgensen said.
The tunic is not the only textile item recovered from the Norwegian ice patches.
“Currently, approximately 50 fragments await dating and analysis and, as global warming progresses, more can be expected. They promise to shed further light on dress, textile design and textile production in the first millennium AD — and earlier,” the researchers said.

UK treasure hunters make archeologists see red

With a metal detector and some luck, hobbyist treasure hunters in the UK can end up owning highly valuable artifacts. But archeologists are speaking out against treasure hunting, saying it damages key historical traces.
Hobbyists scavenging for ancient jewelry or a cache of Roman coins are an increasingly common sight in the UK's countryside. With some enthusiasts having unearthed thousands of pounds worth of treasure, the lure of heading out with a metal detector can be potent.
Historical artifacts, including coins, old tools and weaponry, turn up with some regularity among the thousands of objects dug up each year. But hobbyists have been so successful that some archeologists are accusing them of looting Britain's heritage. Some even want the practice banned.
Striking gold
In the backyard of his house in southeastern England, Roger Mintey demonstrates how to use a metal detector, sweeping the machine over the ground in front of him like a vacuum. He listens intently to the tones it emits.
For Mintey, metal detecting was just a hobby until 30 years ago. While scanning the ground in an old school yard, he quite literally struck gold.
Roger Mintey discovered old coins worth thousands
"I removed what I thought was a piece of land drain, and I saw two groats," Mintey recalls. "I pulled away another piece of land drain and suddenly saw all these coins stacked vertically in concentric circles."
He had detected 6,705 gold and silver coins dating back to the Middle Ages - a find now dubbed the Reigate hoard.
"I think then I just said, 'What on earth is this?'" he says. "I went weak at the knees and thought, 'What am I supposed to do now?'"
10,000 on the hunt
Mintey handed the find over to the authorities. Some coins were distributed to museums, but the rest were returned to him. In the end, it netted him a tidy sum of money, 184,000 pounds ($286,561 or 217,499 euros).
"In 1992, that wasn't too bad really," he says with a smile.
It's estimated that there are now more than 10,000 metal detector users in England and Wales alone.
They've been making an impact. In 2011, close to a million artifacts were found by hobbyists. Nearly 1,000 of those could be classed as treasure - precious metals discovered by metal detector users.
No harm done?
But not everyone is pleased. Archaeologist and illicit antiquities researcher at Cambridge University, Christos Tsirogiannis, is one of those concerned. He says the amateur archeologists are damaging important sites.

"Every object has an amazing historical value, especially when it's found in its actual and original archeological context," Christos Tsirogiannis explains. "If something is extracted violently and by an uneducated, non-specialist person from its original context, this cannot be reconstructed."
Metal detecting does have some unscrupulous practitioners. Referred to by some as "nighthawks" because of their habit of searching under the cover of darkness, these artifact hunters have been known to trespass on land and steal objects they find.
Some of the most egregious ransacking took place at a Roman-British temple site in Surrey in the 1980s. It's estimated up to 20,000 historical objects were removed and sold world-wide.
An Iron Age hill fort in Northumberland was looted in 2002. Witnesses reported it was left pitted with dozens of holes.

Experts say it's all too easy to sell finds to dealers who don't check whether they're obtained legitimately. As such, there have been calls for increased penalties for handling looted antiquities.
Boon to war researchers
Archeologist Christos Tsirogiannis says the solution is simple: ban all metal detecting completely.

"I'm sure that there are several people who are operating metal detectors and they do it just for excitement," he says. "But even in a legal way, the destruction that they generate is really big, and it is an unfortunate phenomenon that it is still legal."
But not everyone agrees that they should be banned. Archeologist Suzie Thomas is working on a research project in Scotland investigating the international trade in illicit antiquities. She has surveyed hundreds of metal detector users over her career.
"Metal detector users are changing what we know," Thomas says, noting that users who record their finds are producing vast amounts of data. "The sub-discipline of battle archeology makes a lot of use of metal detected data because they're looking at objects like cannon balls and musket balls that are, of course, metal. Having the data of where on the field they've been found can help you reconstruct how the battle went, and that's incredibly useful information."
Easy to overlook

Roger Mintey agrees that amateurs have an important role to play, including finding things that have been missed by the professionals.
"Many medieval early coins, especially small halfpennies and farthings have now been revealed as having existed, when maybe 20 years ago, people didn't realize that," he explains. "These are quite often very small and difficult to find. Often they'd be missed on an archeological dig."
"So I would agree that metal detecting has m
ade a tremendous amount of difference," Mintey concludes.
And unless laws change soon in the UK, stories like his are sure to inspire even more hunters to grab a metal detector and hit the fields.

Richard III had roundworm infection, scientists claim

Researchers from Cambridge University analyse soil sample from pelvis and find eggs where intestine would have been
Richard III suffered from a roundworm infection, according to research carried out on his skeleton.
The body of the king, who ruled England from 1483-85, was discovered last year by archaeologists at the University of Leicester, and scientists have since been undertaking careful analysis of the remains.
A team of researchers led by Dr Piers Mitchell, of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University, used a powerful microscope to examine soil samples taken from the skeleton's pelvis and skull, as well as from the soil surrounding the grave.
It revealed multiple roundworm eggs in the soil sample taken from the pelvis, where the intestines would have been situated. However, there was no sign of eggs in soil from the skull, and very few in the soil that surrounded the grave, suggesting the eggs in the pelvis area resulted from a roundworm infection, rather than external contamination by the later dumping of human waste in the area.
Roundworms infect humans when people ingest their eggs via contaminated food, water, or soil. Once eaten, the eggs hatch into larvae, which migrate through the tissues of the body to the lungs where they mature. They then crawl up the airways to the throat to be swallowed back into the intestines, where they can grow into adults around a foot long. Roundworm infection is thought to be one of the commonest health conditions in the world, affecting up to a quarter of all people globally, though it is rare in the UK today.
It is spread by the faecal contamination of food by dirty hands, or use of faeces as a crop fertiliser.
Dr Mitchell said: "Our results show that Richard was infected with roundworms in his intestines, although no other species of intestinal parasite were present in the samples we studied. We would expect nobles of this period to have eaten meats such as beef, pork and fish regularly, but there was no evidence for the eggs of the beef, pork or fish tapeworm. This may suggest that his food was cooked thoroughly, which would have prevented the transmission of these parasites."
Dr Jo Appleby, lecturer in human bioarchaeology at the University of Leicester, said: "Despite Richard's noble background, it appears that his lifestyle did not completely protect him from intestinal parasite infection, which would have been very common at the time."
Richard, who was killed at the battle of Bosworth Field near Leicester, is one of England's best known medieval kings because of his portrayal as a villain in Shakespeare's play Richard III.
His body was buried in Greyfriars Church in Leicester. His remains were excavated from under a council car park, the former site of the church, last September.
The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richar
d III Society.
The research is published in The Lancet.