martes, 26 de noviembre de 2013

Egypt: Italian technology to save Egyptian museum papyri

(ANSAmed) - CAIRO, NOVEMBER 18 - Italian technology will allow the restoration and preservation of thousands of very delicate papyri at the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

The initiative was presented on Monday morning during a ceremony at the museum attended by Gianpaolo Cantini, director general for the cooperation for development, Egyptian antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Italian ambassador Maurizio Massari and the museum's director Tarek el Awadi. It is part of the 'commodity aid' programme of Italian cooperation.

High tech instruments in particular provided by Italtrend Spa and produced by Bresciani Srl, which will play a role in saving the museum's secular papyri, were shown during the ceremony. They are a laser and a portable instrument. The laser, an Italian-made groundbreaking tool in the preservation of artwork, uses non-invasive technology to clean very delicate and sensitive surfaces and allows not to use chemical products. The spectrometer is used for chemical-physical measurements and to analyze material without the extraction of samples.

In order to save and preserve the precious papyri of the Egyptian museum, a low-pressure table with a humidifier to restore paper documents has been provided together with ten humidifiers and thermometers and five climatic chambers to preserve the findings to recreate the same condition as in the tombs where the papyri were found.

They were also especially planned for the museum overlooking the famous Tahrir square, one of the busiest in Cairo, and were made with special gas filters against pollution.

The initiative in favour of the Egyptian antiquities ministry is part of a programme of aid which aims to import to Egypt high tech Italian products and train specialized personnel in a number of sectors.

The programme which spans almost two decades was agreed in 1994, kicked off in 1996 and has funded until today the importation of Italian goods worth 37 million euros. The instalment for the Egyptian museum has a value of 300,000 euros.

The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon

The legendary ‘Hanging Garden of Babylon’ has since ancient times been recognised as one of the Seven Wonders of the World – but no trace of it has ever been found.

After 20 years of research, Dr Stephanie Dalley may have discovered why.

Dr Dalley, an honorary research fellow at Somerville College and part of the Oriental Institute at Oxford University, believes the garden was actually created at Nineveh, 300 miles from Babylon, in the early seventh century BC. She argues that it was built by the Assyrians in the north of Mesopotamia – modern-day Iraq – at the instigation of the Assyrian king, Sennacherib.
Unrivalled palace

One piece of evidence is a record of description by Sennacherib of an ‘unrivalled palace’ and a ‘wonder for all peoples’. He describes the marvel of a water-raising screw made using a new method of casting bronze.

A recent excavation near Nineveh found traces of an aqueduct with the inscription: ‘Sennacherib king of the world … Over a great distance I had a watercourse directed to the environs of Nineveh‘.

Dr Dalley also believes the landscapes of Babylon and Nineveh support her conclusion – the flat countryside around Babylon would have made it impossible to deliver water to the raised gardens as described in classical sources.

New Babylon

Dr Dalley suggests that after Assyria conquered Babylon in 689BC, the Assyrian capital Nineveh may have been seen as the ‘New Babylon’, which could have created the confusion. Earlier research showed that after Sennacherib conquered Babylon, he renamed all the gates of Nineveh after the names used for Babylon’s city gates.

Moreover, Dr Dalley believes the Hanging Garden may in fact have been depicted in a bas-relief from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh, which shows trees growing on a roofed colonnade as described in classical accounts of the ‘Babylon’ gardens (see header image).

‘It has taken many years to find the evidence to demonstrate that the gardens and associated system of aqueducts and canals were built by Sennacherib at Nineveh and not by Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon,’ Dr Dalley says.

‘For the first time it can be shown that the Hanging Gardens really did exist.’

Source: University of  Oxford

sábado, 23 de noviembre de 2013

Archeologist find shiloh altar using during Temple Era

Shiloh, in Samaria, was the site of the first Tabernacle in Israel. Archaeologists now have found evidence that after Shilo was destroyed and Jews returned, they sacrificed even during the First Temple period.
A dramatic discovery at the ancient site of Shiloh, located in Samaria, provides the first–ever evidence that it continued to be a religious center after it was destroyed by the Philistines and Jews returned to the city, home of the Tabernacle.

The altar is thought to have been used to offer sacrifices even after the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.

The stone from the Iron Age, coinciding with the period of the first kings of Israel, was found in a wall built later in the Byzantine period.

Archaeologists think that Byzantines took the stone altar from its original site, which might have been in the same location as the Tabernacle. There are two conflicting theories on its location, one stating it is on the northern side of ancient Shiloh and the other placing it on the southern side.

Avital Faleh, administrator of the Tel Shiloh site, told The Jewish Press Wednesday that the wall was on the southern side and that it is more reasonable that the Byzantines carried the altar from nearby rather than several hundred yards, which would be the case if the Tabernacle were located on the northern side.

The stone was measured at two feet by two feet and almost 16 inches high.

Other altars used for sacrificial worship during the First Temple era have been discovered in Be’er Sheva and near Arad in the south and in Tel Dan and near Shiloh in the north. Faleh explained that the stone altar is almost identical with others that have been discovered.

The revelation on Tuesday of the discovery at Shiloh is the first evidence of post-Tabernacle sacrificial worship at the same site where the Bible states the first Tabernacle was erected after the Jews entered Israel following the Exodus from Egypt and the 40 years of living in the Sinai.

Joshua 18:1 states, “The whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh and erected there the Tent of Assembly, and the land was conquered before them.” The Tabernacle remained at Shiloh for 369 years, according to the Talmud.

The Philistines went to war against the Jews, destroyed the city, and captured the Holy Ark. The Tabernacle probably had been removed before the end of the war but was not used when sacrificial offerings were later offered at two other places, Nov and Gideon, until King Solomon built the First Temple.

However, it took years before Jewish communities, especially Shiloh that was the home of the first sacrifices Israel, adjusted to the cultural and religious change.

In July, archaeologists  said they believed they discovered the remains of the Biblical tabernacle site, after finding holes carved into the rock and which may have been used to hold beams for the Tabernacle.

The Jewish Press reported here in January, that the discovery of  an uncovered broken clay pitcher, embedded in a layer of reddish ashes, is from the time of the devastation of Shiloh, offering detailed evidence of the destruction.

Shiloh was the most significant religious center for Israel before the Philistines destroyed it. The Jewish people offered mandatory sacrifices, and it was there that lots were cast for tribal areas and the cities of the Levites.

Deuteronomy 12:4-7, states,  “You should not do any [act of sacrificial worship] to God, your God, other than at the site which God, your God will choose, to place His Name there, from amongst all your tribes. You should seek out His dwelling [place in the Tabernacle at Shiloh] and come there. You should bring there your burnt offerings, and your [obligatory peace] offerings, your tithes, [first fruits] lifted from your hand [by the priests]—your vows, your pledges, and the firstborn of your cattle and of your sheep [which are to be given to the priests]. [It is] there that you should eat [your sacrifices] before God your God. Then you and your households will rejoice in all the work of your hands. [You should bring offerings according to the means with] which God, your God, blesses you.”

  print tell a friendTell A FriendYour Name(required)Your Email(valid email required)Your Friend's Name(required)Your Friend's Email(valid email required)Optional Comment         
cforms contact form by delicious:days

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the
Jewish Press.

The stone altar above may have been used for sacrificial offerings in ancient Shiloh long after the time of the Tabernacle.
Photo Credit: Ancient Shiloh.

Rome ancient frescoes reignite debate over women priests

The reopening of a labyrinth of catacombs in Rome has reignited a debate over women priests in early Christianity.

Women's groups say frescoes on the walls at the Catacombs of Priscilla are evidence that women occupied the role of priests in ancient times.

A major clean-up operation that took five years has revealed the images in greater clarity.

But the Vatican has dismissed them as pure "fable, a legend".

The catacombs - discovered in the 16th Century - are famous for housing the oldest known image of the Madonna and Child dating from around AD230-240.

They were originally built as Christian burial sites between the Second and Fifth Centuries and stretch 13km (8 miles) over several levels.

But two rooms in particular have been a source of lively debate for years.

In one, known as the Cubiculum of the Veiled Woman, there is an image of a woman with arms outstretched as if saying Mass. She is wearing what some say are garments worn by priests.

In another room, known as the Greek Chapel, a group of women sit at a table with arms outstretched and celebrating a banquet.

Organisations promoting a female priesthood, such as the Women's Ordination Conference and the Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests, say these scenes are evidence of a female priesthood in the early Church.

Fabrizio Bisconti of the Vatican's archaeology commission said the fresco of the woman was "a depiction of a deceased person now in paradise", and that the women sitting at the table were taking part in a "funeral banquet".

The Vatican has restricted the priesthood for men and teaches that women cannot become priests because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles.

domingo, 17 de noviembre de 2013

William Blake, el hombre que vio el lado oscuro de la modernidad

Día 17/11/2013 - 01.45h

Autor fundamental, anunció en pleno siglo XVIII que el racionalismo y el materialismo traerían la destrucción de la naturaleza y la alienación del hombre. Ahora sus «Libros Proféticos» se editan completos en español

«No hay nadie como William Blake en la literatura y el arte ingleses». Esta vigorosa afirmación abre la primera edición completa de los «Libros Proféticos» del autor británico, que acaba de publicar Atalanta. ¿Por qué no tiene comparación? A la vista de este libro resulta asombrosamente fácil responder: Blake vivió entre 1757 y 1827, es uno de los autores fundamentales de la modernidad y, sin embargo, fue el único moderno capaz de atisbar los peligros del racionalismo y el materialismo, aun en pleno siglo XVIII: advierte de que el materialismo traerá la destrucción de la naturaleza y la alienación del hombre. O tal vez habría que decir que lo vio.
Para ser exactos, los llamados «Libros Proféticos» de William Blake no lo son tanto por su capacidad de anticipación de hechos o situaciones como por la claridad de su visión, espiritual, del alma, la naturaleza y la sociedad. El poeta y grabador hace una crítica feroz al racionalismo –es para él como perder la visión– ya que percibió como ningún otro las sombras agazapadas en el Siglo de las Luces. Para formular sus visiones acude a los arquetipos y construye con ellos una mitología propia. Era consciente de que, «si no creaba una mitología, sería esclavizado por la de otro hombre», como advierte Patrick Harpur en la brillante introducción. Y son muy pocos, verdaderamente, los creadores que han logrado ese acto supremo de dar vida a una mitología nueva, un conjunto profundo y coherente de mitos verdaderos, símbolos que despiertan en los hombres una nueva explicación del mundo. «Está Wagner, está Blake –nos recuerda el editor, Jacobo Siruela– y muy pocos más».

Un místico excéntrico

Blake fue tomado por loco por la mayoría de sus contemporáneos. Poco o mal comprendido, su carácter místico y a veces colérico le aisló notablemente. Veía desde niño ángeles en los árboles y se comunicaba con presencias que nadie más podía percibir. Resultaría excéntrico cuando leía bajo una parra, junto a su esposa, ambos desnudos, «El Paraíso Perdido» de Milton.
Se adelantó a su época. Aquella temprana visión crítica del progreso no ayudaba, ni lo hacían las críticas a la represión sexual y moral (antes que Freud) o la intolerancia que sentía ante todas las religiones organizadas. También apoyó la efervescencia de las revoluciones (América y Francia, con lo que preocupaban en Gran Bretaña) hasta que llegó el Terror y abjuró del camino que tomaban: el baño de sangre. Incluso William Hayley, su mecenas, trató de apartarle paulatinamente de los infructíferos «Libros Proféticos» y le animaba a convertirse en un autor más amable y comercial. La brecha se agrandó entre ambos hasta la ruptura.

La Imaginación de Blake

Su trabajo artístico es inseparable del literario y por ello el lector español no había tenido hasta ahora en sus manos una plasmación tan fiel de la mezcla de sus poemas y grabados (que él individualizaba «iluminándolos» con acuarela). Son como obras miniadas, que tardaron mucho tiempo en ser comprendidas. Sus mitos, extraídos de la Biblia, de la mitología celta y las leyendas artúricas y orientales, cobran nuevo y profundo sentido en la Imaginación de Blake, así escrita, con mayúsculas, puesto que ese es el sustrato de la realidad con el que quiere conectar.
El racionalismo ha reducido la imaginación a fantasía, a ficción contrafactual. Para el poeta, el mundo que percibimos es tan solo como una ventana que nos permite contemplar ese reino de la Imaginación, hirviente de vida y habitado por dioses, ángeles y demonios. En lugar de contemplar el cristal de la ventana, dedicó toda su vida a la invocación poética de ese mundo desterrado por la modernidad materialista.

Contra Bacon y Newton

Esta visión neoplatónica que adquirió en intensas lecturas de Swedenborg y Böhme le pone en contacto con la tradición hermética de Paracelso. Pero el mundo al que arroja su energía crítica es contemporáneo. Su mística busca una Inglaterra ideal. Y culpa a John Locke, por encima de todo, por su dogma de la tabula rasa que indica que venimos al mundo como un folio en blanco. Pero también se enfurece contra Francis Bacon (el filósofo) y contra Isaac Newton. En este punto hay que subrayar que, como hombre moderno e ilustrado, no critica la ciencia: admira la capacidad de medición y exactitud pero le exaspera el culto a la Razón.
La única exposición de sus grabados recibió críticas tan destructivas –«un desgraciado lunático»– que pocos podían suponer su enorme influencia: Coleridge, Worsworth, Keats, Yeats, Eliot... Y en el presente, como en toda época de cambio, su canto a la Imaginación, vuelven a ponerlo de actualidad.

Por primera vez podemos entenderle


martes, 12 de noviembre de 2013

'Roman child's coffin' opened for first time

A coffin dating back more than 1,600 years has been opened by scientists in a bid to learn more about life and death in Roman Britain.
Tests being carried out are expected to confirm later this week that it contains the remains of a child.
Made of lead, the coffin was discovered last month in a field in Witherley, west Leicestershire.
Scientists said they hoped it would reveal more about the culture of Roman Britain and even Romans' diets.
They had previously used an endoscope to probe inside the coffin, but said it was "almost entirely full of clay silt".
Stuart Palmer, from Archaeology Warwickshire, which is leading the work, said the contents could also show more about burial rites, clothing, disease and even drug use at the time.
The group is asking for the public's help in naming the child, running a poll on its website.
'Rare and exciting'
The lead coffin was discovered by metal detecting enthusiasts Chris Wright and Steve Waterall.
Mr Wright, 30, from Derby, is a member of the Digging Up the Past Club. He discovered the coffin three weeks ago during an organised dig.
He has been a member of the club for about a year and his most impressive find was a Crimean War medal until the coffin.
He said he initially thought he had found a hoard but was thrilled when he realised it was a grave.
"The response I've had has been interesting," he said.
"To be associated with an object that will help build a picture of what this period was like is an honour."
Archaeology Warwickshire spokesman Stuart Palmer said: "It's important because it's a rare opportunity to look at the burial customs, the environment and the type of clothing.
"At the moment we don't know - it's all guesswork. We hope it will shed much needed light on a remote period of our past."
Before Monday, analysis of the coffin had shown it was made from a single sheet of lead, with hammer marks still visible. The corners were sealed with molten lead.
Archaeologists believe the coffin belongs to the ch
ild of a wealthy family and represents an early example of Christian burial.
Mr Palmer said the find was as exciting as the recent discovery of King Richard III's skeleton beneath a Leicester car park.
"This is a different story and will allow us to ask different sorts of questions," he said.

'Roman child's coffin' opened for first time

Archaeologists discover ruins of Elymais temple in southwestern Iran

TEHRAN -- A team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists has unearthed ruins of an ancient temple in an Elymais site in the Kaleh Chendar region in southwestern Iran, the Iranian director of the team announced on Saturday.
Most parts of the structure have been built with large stones without mortar in form of a broad platform like those built at Persepolis, Jafar Mehrkian told the Persian service of CHN.
The structure also includes platforms made of brick, which were usually built in the ancient temples, he added.
Vito Messina of the University of Turin and a number of his colleagues accompanied the team during the excavation intended to gather information about the Elymais period, about which little is known in Iranian history, he stated.
According to Britannica, Elymais was an ancient Parthian vassal state located east of the lower Tigris River and usually considered part of the larger district of Susiana.
It incorporated much of the area of the biblical region of Elam, approximately equivalent to the modern region of Khuzestan, Iran.
Though the capital city of Susa belonged to Elymais, it seems to have been administered by a Persian satrap. The heart of the kingdom centered near the mountains of Lorestan near modern Behbehan and Izeh, where the local dynasty left rock reliefs and inscriptions in a form of Aramaic. 
The dynasty seems to have been founded by Kamnaskires, known from coins dated 81 BC. The kingdom, though seldom mentioned, survived until its extinction by the Sassanid king Ardashir I (reigned 224–241 CE).
The Iranian-Italian team dug six trenches at the site located near the village of Shami, Mehrkian said.
“A structure entirely built from rectangular bricks was uncovered in the third trench… A member of the team says that it was an altar or a small platform for worship,” he added.
The first trench was dug in a spot that had first been excavated by Polish-born British archaeologist A. Stein about 77 years ago during his project “Old Routes of Western Iran”. The life-size bronze figure of a Parthian prince, which is on display at the National Museum
of Iran, is surmised to have been discovered at this site.
In the sixth trench, the archaeologists have discovered an ancient family grave which was used by members of a family for about one hundred years during the period. 
“This tomb represents a style of burial. It is a small rectangular room with a stone structure,” Mehrkian stated.
This season of excavation was carried out based on a five-year agreement between Iran and Italy under the auspices of the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research and the Archaeological Excavations and Research Center of Turin.
Illegal excavations by artifact smugglers are currently threatening the site.

New Peruvian archaeological finds at Caral, 19 years after its discovery

Lima, Nov 9 (EFE).- The city of Caral, considered the oldest in the Americas, celebrates the 19th anniversary of its discovery in Peru with new finds among its urban remains, even as studies continue to indicate that climate change ended this civilization that existed more than 5,000 years ago.
Located in a desert region north of Lima between the valley of the Supe River and the country's coastline, the archaeological site was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2009.
As part of the anniversary celebration, a number of activities are being offered over the weekend, beginning Friday with the inauguration of the Supe Community Museum and the ceremony of the cult of Pachamama (Mother Earth) in Caral.
Being held on Saturday is the "Catu Caralino," or the fair of sustainable agricultural and handcrafted products produced by settlers of the Barranca and Huaura provinces, the "Taste of the Land" gastronomic festival, and the artistic/cultural event "Runa Raymi."
Nineteen years after research uncovered the remains of this civilization, which was contemporaneous with Egypt and Sumeria, the head of the Caral Archaeological Area, Ruth Shady, told Efe that researchers have discovered a path which they have dubbed "Social Integration Street" because it connects the center with an outlying district.
Caral's central core is the sector of the city with the most noteworthy public buildings and homes of the elite, while on the periphery were this civilization's humbler abodes.
Here on the periphery is where a somewhat smaller public building was discovered this year, along with a street that connected the area with the central core, which according to Shady shows that both areas "were connected and participated in the same social and cultural system."
The archaeologist said she is currently working on 11 different settlements, which indicates that this civilization had "great prestige which it maintained for more than 1,000 years" until it was plunged into crisis by an overpowering "climate change."


More burials from the 12th - 18th century discovered in the oldest Polish school

More human remains from burials in the period from the 12th to the 18th century have been discovered during the renovation of the oldest school in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe, the Marshal Stanisław Małachowski High School in Płock (Mazowieckie).
Excavation work coordinator archaeologist Dr. Marek Barański told PAP that in the immediate vicinity of the foundations of the Romanesque Collegiate Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, archaeologists found the remains of about 70 people, including children, in successive layers.

Earlier, in February, in the basement of early school buildings - in preserved part of the collegiate church and adjacent area, archaeologists discovered the remains of about 100 people.

"Małachowianka", as the school is popularly called, was founded in 1180 at the Collegiate Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, and has operated continuously in the same place since. It is one of the oldest schools in Europe. According to recent studies , reconstructed the Romanesque collegiate church was one of the earliest Gothic buildings in Poland.
"Remains recently discovered on the south side of the Collegiate Church confirmed that this was the location of a large cemetery complex, where the people of Płock were being buried since the early Middle Ages" - Dr. Barański told PAP. He explained that the oldest burials were found at a depth of about two and a half meters in the layer from the 12th and 13th centuries, and others in successive layers to the most recent one, dating back to the 18th century.

Barański added that only few artefacts had been discovered in these burials, mostly fragments of pottery and a medieval spur. "This is a curiosity, because we expected to find more artefacts, such as clothing accessories of coffin nails. It was probably the custom here to bury the dead in the shroud only" - said the archaeologist.

Barański announced that the recently discovered remains , as those found previously, would be subjected to detailed anthropological research. Upon completion of excavation and research, all the remains found during excavations will be buried again on the school area, at the location chosen specifically for this purpose.

Renovation work at "Małachowianka" began in September 2012 and will continue until 2014. They include the renovation of the roof and facades of historic buildings, and the foundations will be drained. Renovation and modernization will also cover the museum located in the school basement. The cost of the works, exceeding PLN 29.9 million, will be covered mostly by the European Union, and the Płock City Hall will cover the rest.

The Marshal Stanisław Małachowski High School received its current name by resolution of the Płock City Council in 1921. The school was founded in 1180 at the Collegiate Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, as a foundation of Dobiechna, widow of Wojsław, guardian of Bolesław III Wrymouth, the ruler of Poland, buried in the crypt of the cathedral of Płock. Since then, many times rebuilt, the school has been on the same site.

The oldest preserved part of the school are the foundation and part of the walls of the early medieval Collegiate Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Other surviving objects ate the 15th century tower and the 17th century wing of the Jesuit College, which existed from 1611 until the second half of the 18th century.

The teachers of the school included: professor of rhetoric St. Andrew Bobola (c. 1591-1657), Wojciech Szweykowski (1773-1838) - the first rector of the University of Warsaw. Famous students include: Hieronim Napoleon Bońkowski (1807-1886), who later became a teacher of children of Adam Mickiewicz; Honorat Koźmiński (1829-1916) beatified by Pope John Paul II, president of the Second Republic of Poland, professor at the Lviv Polytechnic Ignacy Moscicki (1867-1946) , colonel of aviation, fighter in the Battle of Britain, commander of the Polish wing and the famous 303 Squadron Jan Zumbach (1915-1986) and Tadeusz Mazowiecki (1927-2013) - the first Prime Minister of the Third Republic of Poland.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland,397913,more-burials-from-the-12th---18th-century-discovered-in-the-oldest-polish-school.html

Written on her bones: the life of a Mixtec woman

A study of the skeleton of a young Mixtec woman who lived in the Late Post Classic period (A.D. 1250-1540) in Mexico, has revealed a range of both genetic diseases and work related skeletal damage. The results are now part of an exhibition in the Regional Historical Museum of Ensenada, Baja California called Itandikaa Ndiko’o Flor de la eternidad (Itandikaa Ndiko’o -  Flower of Eternity).
Physical anthropologist Martha Alfaro Castro and a teams of doctors from the Civil Hospital of Oaxaca who are specialists in genetics, orthopaedics, radiology and dentistry, conducted an interdisciplinary study of the skeleton, found in 2007 in the Mixteca Alta of Oaxaca during a rescue excavation.
The different phases of the analysis, as well as some of the major pathologies detected in the skeletal remains, are presented in 37 photographs as well as seven watercolours created by Oaxacan artist Arrona Ernesto Santiago and acrylic on bark paper by Juan Francisco Lopez Ruiz.

Genetic syndrome

The archaeological materials were transferred to the laboratory of the Centro INAH Oaxaca Osteology, where anthropologist Alfaro Castro performed the analysis of the skeletal remains.
“She suffered a genetic syndrome known as Klippel-Feil Syndrome, that usually causes facial asymmetry and merging of some cervical vertebrae, with the consequent shortening of the neck and mobility limitation in this anatomic region,”  explained Alfaro.
“She also presented a deformation of the shoulder blades, caled Sprengel Deformation , responsible for further asymmetry of the shoulders that gave the women the appearance of having one shoulder higher than the other”  the researcher concluded.

An active life

The osteological evidence, the archaeological context and ethnohistoric sources indicate that women probably belonged to a lower social stratum and despite the health problems associated with the genetic syndrome had an active life and performed a variety of physical tasks from a very early age.
There is osteological evidence to suggest that she was carrying heavy loads on her back with the help of a band or backstrap – which caused vertebrae compression (see painting above).  She also spent much of her time squatting or kneeling which corresponds to tasks such as shelling corn and maize cobs, as well as preparing clay for pottery making, which caused some changes in bones in the region of the knee and feet.
Normally we see the elite of the society, but here we can meet and appreciate the life and work of an ordinary person from the Mixtec culture.” said Alfaro Castro
The exhibition is presented in the city of Ensenada on the initiative of the director of the Baja California INAH Centre, archaeologist Bendímez Julia Patterson, and the director of the Regional Historical Museum of Ensenada, Mario Acevedo Andrade, with the purpose of making aspects of ancient cultures of the south such as the Mixteca more accessible.


The exhibition will be at the Regional Historical Museum of Ensenada, until January 2014, the site is located in avenue Gastelum s/n, Ensenada, Baja California.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00.
Admission is free.

lunes, 11 de noviembre de 2013

1,000 Year-Old Dog Skeletons Found in Lima, Peru

Peruvian archaeologists have uncovered remains of over 100 dogs thought to be 1,000 years old in the ancient ruins of Parque de las Leyendas in Lima, Peru.
Sixty-two complete canine remains were found along with seventy-five incomplete remains according to Peru’s El Comercio.  All the dog skeletons w
ere found in resting positions alongside human remains.  The dogs are thought to be companions to the humans they were buried with and part of a ritual ceremony.
The remains were found in the Maranga Archaeological Complex located inside the Parque de las Leyendas.  The park houses the city zoo and botanical gardens of Lima but are also home to one of the country’s most important pre-Hispanic complexes.
The dogs found are not thought to be the native pre-Incan hairless dog breed (Perro Sin Pelo) but rather dogs that possessed yellowish/brown fur. Evolutionary geneticists concur that dogs have been on this earth since humans have been.
In 2006 archaeologists unearthed forty mummified dogs in a 1,000 year-old pet cemetery south of the capital city.  Many of the dogs had llama and fish bones next to their noses to make sure they had something to eat in the afterlife. In 2010 the remains of six canines and four children were found also thought to be 1,000 years old.
These discoveries highlight the important status dogs had in ancient pre-Hispanic cultures

White-lipped peccary trails lead to archeological discovery in Brazil

WCS researchers discover 4,000- to 10,000-year-old cave drawings

IMAGE: This is a drawing of a large cat and prey. A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient...
Click here for more information.
While tracking white-lipped peccaries and gathering environmental data in forests that link Brazil's Pantanal and Cerrado biomes, a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient cave drawings made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago.
The drawings are the subject of a recently published study by archeologists Rodrigo Luis Simas de Aguiar and Keny Marques Lima in the journal Revista Clio Arqueológica (see link below). The diversity of the renderings, according to the authors, adds significantly to our knowledge of rock art from the Cerrado plateau region that borders the Pantanal.

Our work with the Wildlife Conservation Society focuses on promoting sustainable land use practices that help protect important wildlife species and the wild places where they live," said Dr. Alexine Keuroghlian, researcher with WCS's Brazil Program. "Since we often work in remote locations, we sometimes make surprising discoveries, in this case, one that appears to be important for our understanding of human cultural history in the region."
The discovery was made on Brazil's Cerrado plateau in 2009, when Keuroghlian and her team were conducting surveys of white-lipped peccaries, herd-forming pig-like animals that travel long distances and are environmental indicators of healthy forests. The peccaries are vulnerable to human activities, such as deforestation and hunting, and are disappearing from large swaths of their former range from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. While following signals from radio-collared white-lipped peccaries and the foraging trails of peccary herds, the team encountered a series of prominent sandstone formations with caves containing drawings of animals and geometric figures.
IMAGE: This is a drawing of an assortment of animals. A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient cave...
Click here for more information.
Keuroghlian contacted Aguiar, a regional specialist in cave drawings who determined that the drawings were made between 4,000-10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer societies that either occupied the caves, or used them specifically for their artistic activities. The style of some drawings, Aguiar noted, was consistent with what archeologists call the Planalto (central Brazilian plateau) tradition, while others, surprisingly, were more similar to Nordeste (northeastern Brazil) or Agreste (forest to arid-land transition in NE Brazil) style drawings. The drawings depict an assemblage of animals including armadillos, deer, large cats, birds, and reptiles, as well as human-like figures and geometric symbols. Oddly, the subject of the WCS surveys in the area—peccaries—are absent from the illustrations. Aguiar hopes to conduct cave floor excavations and geological dating at the sites in order to fully interpret the drawings.
"These discoveries of cave drawings emphasize the importance of protecting the Cerrado and Pantanal ecosystems, both for their cultural and natural heritage," said Dr. Julie Kunen, Director of WCS's Latin America and the Caribbean Program and an expert on Mayan archeology. "We hope to partner with local landowners to protect these cave sites, as well as the forests that surround them, so that the cultural heritage and wildlife depicted in the drawings are preserved for future generations."

Peterborough solar farm: Archaeologists unearth Roman finds

Roman pottery, evidence of a Roman settlement and "possibly Saxon" artefacts have been found at a proposed solar farm site near Peterborough.
The land at Newborough is being excavated ahead of a city council decision about the solar farm plan.
Richard O'Neill, from Wessex Archaeology, described the finds as "locally and regionally significant".
Work is expected to continue for three weeks, after which the council will consider the archaeologists' report.
Plans for the solar energy farm at three council-owned sites at Newborough, Morris Fen and America Farm were put on hold after English Heritage stepped in suggesting the area could be "nationally important".
'Not a Flag Fen' Mr O'Neill described the finds at Newborough as "the most interesting".
"We've got a number of fragments of pottery dating from between the 1st and 3rd Centuries AD, and one potential Romano-British settlement.
"It's quite a small farmstead with perhaps a number of roundhouses," he said.
"We've also identified a couple of sites that may be late prehistoric, possibly settlements or funerary sites which we still need to look at."
Mr O'Neill confirmed experts were examining artefacts believed to date from the Saxon era.
Archaeologist Dr Francis Pryor discovered the nearby Bronze Age settlement of Flag Fen in 1982 which comprises thousands of timbers connecting Whittlesey Island with Peterborough and was used for ritual and worship for 1,000 years.
He believes the three sites could be historically significant.
"The edges of the Fen are where people have stayed and settled in prehistory, and there's absolutely no reason why there shouldn't be another Flag Fen out there, or a site that we can't imagine," he said.
Mr O'Neill said the discoveries made so far were "not a Flag Fen, but of local and regional significance".
Archaeologists are expected to continue excavating for three weeks, although Mr O'Neill said work would continue beyond that if evidence of older settlements was found.
Nick Harding, from the City Council's planning services department, said: "We will discuss the results of the survey with English Heritage and that will help us decide what to do next.
"The relative quality and the rarity of the finds... will determine how best to deal with them, whether that involves keeping developments clear of those sensitive areas or whether once those sites are recorded for posterity they can be covered over and development allowed to continue.
"Clearly we are not at a stage to make that decision yet."

Researchers uncover origins of cattle farming in China

An international team of researchers, co-led by scientists at the University of York and Yunnan Normal University, has produced the first multi-disciplinary evidence for management of cattle populations in northern China, around the same time cattle domestication took place in the Near East, over 10,000 years ago.
The domestication of cattle is a key achievement in human history. Until now, researchers believed that humans started domesticating cattle around 10,000 years ago in the Near East, which gave rise to humpless (taurine) cattle, while two thousand years later humans began managing humped cattle (zebu) in Southern Asia.
However, the new research, which is published in Nature Communications, reveals morphological and genetic evidence for management of cattle in north-eastern China around 10,000 years ago, around the same time the first domestication of taurine cattle took place in the Near East. This indicates that humans may have started domesticating cows in more regions around the world than was previously believed.
A lower jaw of an ancient cattle specimen was discovered during an excavation in north-east China, and was carbon dated to be 10,660 years old. The jaw displayed a unique pattern of wear on the molars, which, the researchers say, is best explained to be the results of long-term human management of the animal. Ancient DNA from the jaw revealed that the animal did not belong to the same cattle lineages that were domesticated in the Near East and South Asia.
The combination of the age of the jaw, the unique wear and genetic signature suggests that this find represents the earliest evidence for cattle management in north-east China; a time and place not previously considered as potential domestication centre for cattle.
The research was co-led in the Department of Biology at the University of York by Professor Michi Hofreiter and Professor Hucai Zhang of Yunnan Normal University.
Professor Hofreiter said: "The specimen is unique and suggests that, similar to other species such as pigs and dogs, cattle domestication was probably also a complex process rather than a sudden event." Johanna Paijmans, the PhD student at York who performed the DNA analysis, said: "This is a really exciting example of the power of multi-disciplinary research; the wear pattern on the lower jaw itself is already really interesting, and together with the carbon dating and ancient DNA we have been able to place it in an even bigger picture of early cattle management."
As well as researchers from the Departments of Biology and Archaeology at York, the research team also included scientists from Yunnan Normal University, Kunming; Peking University, Beijing; Northwest A & F University, Yangling, and the Museum of Haelongjiang in China, Trinity College, Dublin and the Natural History Museum in Copenhagen.

Roman statue found at underwater palace near Naples

Italian archaeologists on Thursday said they have recovered an ancient Roman marble statue spotted by a diver in an imperial palace that is now under water in the Bay of Naples.
"The discovery is significant and quite important for us because of the quality of the marble and the excellent workmanship of the sculpture," said Paolo Caputo, a local heritage official.
The statue is of a woman and was discovered in October just off the shore near the town of Baia in what is already an underwater archaeological park.
The figure is headless and without arms.
"We do not yet know whether it is a divinity or a member of the imperial family," Caputo said.
The area around Baia was a thermal resort that was popular in Roman times and has several villas.
One of them was confiscated by the Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) and turned into a summer residence and it was there that the statue was found.

Preparing for death in Bronze Age Galloway