www.archaeology.ws/archive

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4010303.stm

Tests may end Tutankhamen mystery 

Tutankhamen's cause of death remains a mystery

 

Egypt is to test the Tutankhamen mummy to try to discover what the young king died of more than 3,000 years ago.

 

The mummy will be moved from the tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings where it was discovered in 1922 to Cairo for the tests by the end of November.

 

"We will know about any diseases he had, any kind of injuries and his real age," Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass told Reuters news agency.

 

Whether the pharaoh died of illness or was murdered has never been resolved.

 

When the coffin was last opened in 1968, an x-ray revealed a chip of bone in his skull, prompting speculation that the boy-pharaoh, had been murdered.

 

But other evidence suggests the pharaoh, thought to have died in his teens, was ill.

 

We will know the answer to whether he died normally or was he killed

Zahi Hawass, Egyptian antiquities chief 

 

The treasures found in the tomb along with the mummy, including a fantastic gold death mask, were removed by the British discoverer Howard Carter and are usually on show in Cairo Museum.

 

But the mummy itself has remained sealed in the tomb.

 

Now Culture Minister Farouk Hosni has approved a plan to move Tutankhamen's body for the first time, to the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo.

 

Reports suggest the mummified remains, consisting of his skull, chest bones and two other bones, will undergo three-dimensional CAT x-rays and a radio scan using equipment newly donated to the museum.

 

"We will know the answer to whether he died normally or was he killed," Mr Hawass told Reuters.

 

 http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2004-11-08-thebes-usat_x.htm

Posted 11/8/2004 9:05 PM

A new look at ancient tombs

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

 

Home to the Valley of the Kings, storied burial ground of the Pharaohs, Egypt's ancient necropolis of Thebes is yielding its secrets to the most modern of technologies: high-resolution satellite photos.

 

Egyptologists take photographs from space to study burial sites in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. 

By Peter Piccione

 

"Welcome to the 21st century," says Egyptologist Peter Piccione of the College of Charleston (S.C.). "We've found a new way to look at old tombs."

 

These photos are one more way archaeological riddles are increasingly yielding to modern technology. Investigators also are using CT scans of mummies and loading three-dimensional views of cuneiform texts onto the Internet.

 

Since the 1920s, archaeologists have been looking for insights into the lives of the ancients by exploring the tombs of the Theban necropolis, where Egyptian rulers, priests and their servants were entombed from roughly 2,300 B.C. to 30 B.C. Since 1978, the Theban Mapping Project based at the American University in Cairo, for example, has used aerial photos to map the necropolis and related sites, as well as nearby temples and palaces at Luxor and Karnak.

 

Piccione is looking to complement that effort, using high-resolution satellite photos, able to resolve features as small as 2 feet across. The images, only available commercially within the past two years, can't look under the earth to find tombs but can spot entrances and, more important, feed the information onto a Web site so scholars can search and locate clusters of tombs complete with descriptions and geologic data.

 

Announced in September, the team's geographic information system, or GIS, has mapped and cataloged 514 tombs on the hill of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna.

 

Thebes was the capital of ancient Egypt at the height of Egyptian power. Outside the city is the necropolis, a collection of thousands of tombs. By finely mapping the location of many tombs, archaeologists can ask new questions about ancient Egyptian burial practices, Piccione says.

 

Some hillsides are completely carved away by tombs, for example. "Why? Certain people wanted (burial site) views of the valley below," Piccione says.

 

The map shows that servants of Pharaoh Thutmose III craved tombs looking down on a temple sacred to the ruler. They also sought to place their burial site on a line between the temple and the ruler's tomb for luck.

 

"Considering the Egyptians were using ropes and sticks and eyeballing it, they were really great at placing tombs," Piccione says.

 

More broadly, the team hopes that studying the strata of hillside rock will give clues about the status of those buried there. Sometimes, the best rock was at the bottom of the hill. Determining where high-status burials took place may define where to concentrate efforts.

 

Widely used by civil servants, GIS systems layer information about a place into databases that can be used for purposes ranging from plotting new roads to detecting crime waves.

 

"I would say that GIS is much more than a trend" for researchers, says geographer Dan Blumberg of Israel's Ben-Gurion University. He says it's a "breakthrough" not only for archaeology, but geology, oceanography and even medicine. Blumberg, who heads the Israel Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, is part of an archaeological team examining the use of radar satellite data to detect buried man-made objects. And in Jordan, satellite data has mapped the entire country for archaeologists, reports Stephen Savage of Arizona State University in the current American Journal of Archaeology.

 

One added benefit involves putting geographic information online. Once there, researchers worldwide can then test their own theories about a site, sharing a common set of data on which to base arguments. And researchers should be able to look across cultures more easily someday, comparing sites located at disparate locales with far more ease than is possible today.

 

"The availability of GIS tools and satellite data will certainly broaden the understanding of past cultures and improve the transparency of data shared between scientists within and around the discipline of archaeology," Blumberg says.

 

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=6804134

Atlantis Hunt Reveals Structures in Sea Off Cyprus

Sat Nov 13, 2004 06:33 AM ET

 

NICOSIA (Reuters) - An American researcher on the trail of the lost city of Atlantis has discovered evidence of man-made structures submerged in the sea between Cyprus and Syria, a member of his team said Saturday.

Robert Sarmast, who is convinced the fabled city lurks in the watery depths off Cyprus, will give details of his findings Sunday.

 

"Something has been found to indicate very strongly that there are man-made structures somewhere between Cyprus and Syria," a spokesperson for the mission told Reuters.

 

The mystery of Atlantis, both whether it existed and why it disappeared, has fired the imagination of explorers for decades.

 

Many believe the ancient civilization was destroyed in a massive flood, a cataclysm which many ancient cultures believe occurred around 9,000 BC.

 

Greek mythology says Atlantis was a powerful nation whose residents were so corrupted by greed and power that Zeus destroyed it.

 

Theories place Atlantis either somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, or the Greek island of Santorini, or off the Celtic Ridge of Britain or even further afield in the South China Sea.

 

Sarmast's theory is that Cyprus is the pinnacle of Atlantis, with the rest of it about a mile below sea level.

 

His expedition took place some 70 miles off the eastern coast of Cyprus toward Syria.

 

© Copyright Reuters 2004. All rights reserved. Any copying, re-publication or re-distribution of Reuters content or of any content used on this site, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent of Reuters.

 


 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4616281,00.html

American Claims Discovery of Atlantis

Monday November 15, 2004 3:01 PM

By ALEX EFTY

Associated Press Writer

 

LIMASSOL, Cyprus (AP) - An American researcher claimed Sunday to have discovered the remains of the legendary lost city of Atlantis on the bottom of the east Mediterranean Sea, but Cyprus' chief government archaeologist was skeptical.

 

Robert Sarmast said sonar scanning 50 miles southeast of Cyprus revealed man-made walls, one as long as 2 miles, and trenches at a depth of 1,640 yards.

 

``It is a miracle we found these walls as their location and lengths match exactly the description of the acropolis of Atlantis provided by Plato in his writings,'' Sarmast said, referring to the ancient Greek philosopher.

 

The chief government archaeologist of Cyprus, Pavlos Flourentzos, reacted with skepticism, telling The Associated Press: ``More proof is necessary.''

 

Sarmast, 38, is an architect by training from Los Angeles. He has devoted the past 2 years to trying to locate the lost city described by Plato in his dialogues, the Timaeous and the Critias. He spoke to reporters on the ``Flying Enterprise,'' his expeditionary ship, after six days of taking highly sophisticated ``side scan'' sonars of the seabed.

 

He said he had chosen the area from data provided by two earlier sonar scans of the east Mediterranean by Russian and French expeditions. His own expedition used more sophisticated equipment, he said.

 

``We found more than 60-70 points that are a perfect match with Plato's detailed description of the general layout of the acropolis hill of Atlantis. The match of the dimensions and the coordinates provided by our sonar with Plato's description are so accurate that, if this is not indeed the acropolis of Atlantis, then this is the world's greatest coincidence,'' he said.

 

Tests of that part of the seabed showed it had once been above sea level, he said.

 

``We cannot yet provide tangible proof in the form of bricks and mortar as the artifacts are still buried under several meters of sediment at a depth of 1,500 meters (1,640 yards), but the evidence is now irrefutable,'' he added.

 

Asked if the ruins could not be that of another city that sank beneath the waves, Sarmast said the remains match Plato's description of Atlantis so closely that they could not be anything else.

 

``If you compare it with Plato, you will be astonished,'' he said. ``We hope that future expeditions will be able to uncover the sediment and bring back physical proof.''

 

Plato wrote of Atlantis as an island in the western sea, which has been widely interpreted to mean the Atlantic Ocean. An earthquake undermined the island and it was submerged. But societies dedicated to finding Atlantis remain.

 

For its time, Atlantis was a highly civilized nation and in legend it has become associated with utopia. The English philosopher Francis Bacon called his 1627 book on the ideal state The New Atlantis.

 

Chief government archaeologist Flourentzos said it was possible that Atlantis was near Cyprus.

 

``The myth of Atlantis has been around for ages and it is generally believed that, if it ever existed, it was somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean - hence its name. But ancient cities and civilizations in the Mediterranean region, such as the Minoan civilization of Crete, have disappeared as a result of major volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. For all we know, Atlantis may well have existed in our region.''

 

Sarmast said his expedition had cost about a $250,000. The funds came from public donations to his US-based company ``First Source Enterprise,'' which is devoted to the project, sales of his book ``The Discovery of Atlantis,'' and the Cypriot Tourist Organization, which donated $60,000.

 

He said the book, published in September 2003, said Atlantis was in the east Mediterranean and his latest sonars confirmed it.

 

http://en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?msg_id=5081228

2004-11-12 18:08     

ARCHEOLOGISTS UNCOVER A RUSSIAN "STONEHENGE"

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti commentator Olga Sobolevskaya)--

 

Russia now has a Stonehenge of its own. In the summer, a 4,000-year-old megalithic structure was uncovered at a Spasskaya Luka site, in the central Russian region of Ryazan. This structure, which, archeologists believe, was built as a sanctuary, sits on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Oka and the Pron rivers. The surrounding area has always been seen as an "archeological encyclopedia," a kaleidoscope of cultures ranging from the Upper Paleolithic to the Dark Ages.

 

"If we look at this archeological site as represented on a map, it will be a circle seven meters in diameter, marked with pillars, half a meter thick and the same distance apart from each other," says the expedition leader Ilya Akhmedov, who works in the Moscow Historical Museum's Archeological Monuments Department. "Here's a large rectangular hole and a pillar in the center of the circle. The wooden pillars have not survived, of course, but the large holes from which they once stuck out can be seen pretty clearly. Along the edges of the site there are two more holes. Originally, there may have been four of them, but the bank over here is being destroyed by a ravine, so the temple has caved in partially."

 

Another hole with a pillar has been unearthed several meters east of the site. And there is also one to the south, which was discovered three years ago. "In all probability, there's a second row of pillars surrounding the shrine, a dozen meters away," Mr. Akhmedov says.

 

The two pillar pairs form a gateway, which, if looked through from the center, will provide a spectacular sunset view in the summertime. Another pillar, behind the circular fence, points to where the sun rises. The monument's structure has prompted scholars to advance a hypothesis about its astronomical purpose. The objects found here must have been designed with religious ritual in mind.

 

The size of the holes varies from 44x46cm to 75x56cm. A small ceramic vessel has been found in the central hole. It is finely decorated with zigzags, resembling sunrays, and with curly lines, which symbolize water. Archeologists specializing in the Bronze Period have recognized the artifact as dating back to "their age." Visually, it is reminiscent of objects produced by southern Eurasian tribes.

 

Fragments of long bones and teeth have been extracted from one of the holes outside the sanctuary. These are believed to be the remains of a sacrifice. But neither can we disregard the fact that the large holes were used for burial. A layer of organic decay has been discovered on the bottom of the central hole-archeologists put the decomposition of bones down to some peculiar properties of the local soils. The remains found here may well have belonged to a posthumously sanctified tribal chief.

 

Old sanctuaries are often located beside burial sites. This is attributable to pagans' view of death as the point of transition to the afterlife. In ancient folklore, not only the life of nature was seen as a cycle, but human life was, too. The solar and the lunar cults were related to the cult of fertility and to the mythological link between life and death. There are numerous tombs at Stonehenge and Avebury - Europe's most famous circular-shaped sanctuaries. The very idea of a circular structure goes back to ancient legends about the Creation. The circle - a magic geometrical shape with no beginning or end - was regarded as a symbol of eternity and infinity.

 

There is more than one cemetery at the Spassakya Luka site. Finno-Ugric tribes arrived here at some point during the period known as the Great Resettlement. Interestingly enough, not a single one of their tombs encroached upon the ancient observatory, a fact suggesting that they must have known about the structure's sacral significance.

 

The old Ryazan sanctuary is, indeed, a unique monument. Similar monuments have been found in southern Russian steppes and in the trans-Urals tundra, but these are not as representative and have few artifacts.

 

Sanctuaries with pillars began spreading across Europe at the end of the 1st millennium AD. Some examples have been excavated in the modern-day Czech Republic and Slovakia. "There can be no blood kinship between the ethnic groups who erected Stonehenge and the Ryazan observatory," Mr. Akhmedov contends. "The latter obviously points to some influence by migrant groups from the southeast of the Eurasian steppe."

 

http://www.stonepages.com/news/archives/001014.html

13 November 2004

Megalithic sanctuary discovered in Russia

Russia now may have a Stonehenge of its own. Last summer, a 4,000-year-old megalithic structure was uncovered at a Spasskaya Luka site, in the central Russian region of Ryazan. This structure, which, archeologists believe, was built as a sanctuary, sits on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Oka and the Pron rivers. 

     "If we look at this archeological site as represented on a map, it will be a circle seven meters in diameter, marked with standing stons, half a meter thick and evenly spaced one from each other," says the expedition leader Ilya Akhmedov, who works in the Moscow Historical Museum's Archeological Monuments Department. "There was a large rectangular hole and a standing stone in the center of the circle. The wooden poles have not survived, of course, but the large holes from which they once stuck out can be seen pretty clearly.

     Along the edges of the site there are two more holes. Originally, there may have been four of them, but the bank over here is being destroyed by a ravine, so the temple has caved in partially." Another hole with a stone has been unearthed several meters east of the site. And there is also one to the south, which was discovered three years ago. "In all probability, there's a second row of standing stones surrounding the shrine, a dozen meters away," Mr. Akhmedov says.

     The two stone pairs form a gateway, which, if looked through from the center, will provide a spectacular sunset view in the summertime. Another stone, behind the circular fence, points to where the sun rises. The monument's structure has prompted scholars to advance a hypothesis about its astronomical purpose.

     The size of the holes varies from 44x46cm to 75x56cm. A small ceramic vessel has been found in the central hole. It is finely decorated with zigzags, resembling sunrays, and with curly lines, which may symbolize water. Archeologists have recognized the artifact as dating back to the Bronze Age. Fragments of long bones and teeth have been extracted from one of the holes outside the sanctuary. These could be the remains of a sacrifice. But the large holes could have been used for burial. A layer of organic decay has been discovered on the bottom of the central hole.

     Ancient sanctuaries are often located beside burial sites and there is more than one cemetery at the Spassakya Luka site. Finno-Ugric tribes arrived here at some point during the period known as the Great Resettlement. Interestingly enough, not a single one of their tombs encroached upon the ancient observatory, a fact suggesting that they must have known about the structure's sacral significance.

     The old Ryazan sanctuary is, indeed, a unique monument. Similar monuments have been found in southern Russian steppes and in the trans-Urals tundra, but these are not as representative and have few artifacts.

 

Source: Russian Information Agency Novosti (12 November 2004)

 

http://www.kataweb.it/news/detail.jsp?idCategory=2220&idContent=873205

Vienna, 12 nov 2004 - 17:45

Archeologia, scoperta in Austria graticola sacrificale celtica

 

Una graticola di ferro del periodo celtico-retico probabilmente utilizzata per riti sacrificali, risalente al primo secolo avanti Cristo, è stata ritrovata in un bosco nei pressi del convento benedettino di Fiecht vicino a Schwaz, in Tirolo (Austria occidentale). Lo riferisce oggi il sito internet dell'emittente radio-televisiva austriaca Orf.

 

Lo spettacolare ritrovamento archeologico è una complessa costruzione in ferro che originariamente aveva quattro teste di toro, di cui tre sono ancora conservate. Le testine - ciascuna misura pochi centimetri - sono tra le prime raffigurazioni in ferro conosciute in Mitteleuropa. Il ritrovamento del prezioso oggetto è avvenuto nel 2002 per opera del ricercatore privato Alexander Altenburger, ma finora era stato mantenuto il segreto sulla scoperta mentre veniva restaurata all' università di Innsbruck. La graticola di Fiecht sarà ora messa in mostra a Wattens, in Tirolo.

 

 

http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=1312322004

Hill dig yields treasure from 5000 years ago

JANE BRADLEY

 

ROCK art dating back 5000 years and an ancient jewellery workshop are among the treasures discovered in a Lothians excavation site ravaged by fire last year.

 

Details of the finds, from Traprain Law in East Lothian, were due to be unveiled at a conference in the Capital today.

 

Fraser Hunter, a National Museums of Scotland archaeology expert, is set to reveal the fruits of an intensive search of the area at the Edinburgh and East Lothian Archaeological Conference.

 

Mr Hunter’s talk, Archaeology from the Ashes, charts the recent work at Traprain Law following a massive blaze in 2003, when some historical remains were destroyed.

 

The six-acre fire, which is believed to have been sparked by a carelessly dropped cigarette, burnt out dry grass and hedgerows, putting the site’s ancient fort and the buried treasures at risk.

 

Experts were unable to examine the site for several weeks, after the flames made the ground too hot for them to get close. But the burned ground meant archaeologists were able to access artefacts that were previously too deeply buried.

 

Mr Hunter said: "The fire has been a double-edged sword - it has meant we have found things we otherwise would not have seen, but also, having a fire raging over the surface of the site has not done it any good.

 

"Essentially, it has burnt off the protective layer of turf covering the archaeological finds. What we have been doing is trying to minimise the damage to the finds."

 

Mr Hunter, a curator of the National Museums’s Iron Age and Roman collection, will tell the history enthusiasts and amateur archaeologists at today’s conference how the team of 20 archaeologists from Edinburgh and Queen’s University, Belfast, uncovered Neolithic rock carvings dating back 5000 years. "One of the most exciting things was the carvings, which is a link to the early history of the site," said Mr Hunter.

 

"You often find carvings similar to this in Scotland, but not usually in East Lothian. The shape of the carvings, which are sort of geometric shapes, show that the site was at one point thought to be a sacred area."

 

Other discoveries included part of a roadway and Bronze Age axes.

 

Mr Hunter said: "The roadway that we found, which is around 1500 years old, is amazing because you can still walk on it.

 

"It’s better than most roads you find today."

 

He said the ancient jewellery workshop, discovered as one of a number of terraces, was a one-off discovery.

 

"We found a series of little flat terraces and then realised one of them had the remains of a jewellery workshop inside it. They made bangles and beads from a material called cannel coal, which, when it is polished looks like jet.

 

"We knew they were making things like this already, but we have never before had the chance to see the process involved."

 

He added: "Work has stopped now because we have no more money.

 

"We desperately need funding because there is so much more to find on this site. It’s one of the most important prehistoric sites in Scotland.

 

"Every time you scratch the surface at Traprain you find something new."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/3999895.stm

Divers find French invasion wreck 

 Members of the Fishguard Sub-Aqua Club who have visited the wreck

Divers off the Pembrokeshire coast may be about to re-write history after discovering an unidentified shipwreck.

Until now it was widely believed that no ships were lost when the French invaded Fishguard in 1797 - the last foreign invasion of mainland Britain.

 

But items found off Strumble Head appear to be from a large warship dating back to the Napoleonic era.

 

Sub-aqua club members have discovered copper drift pins, large pieces of iron, a swivel gun and three cannons.

 

Strumble Head has a legendary reputation for wrecking trading ships and is just as dangerous today as it was hundreds of years ago

 

The finds have sparked interest from a number of official bodies, including the historic buildings agency Cadw.

 

The wreck, which lies in 30m (98ft) of water, was found by chance last year by Richard and Rebecca Hughes of Merlin's Bridge, near Haverfordwest.

 

Because of strong currents and poor weather they and other members of the Fishguard Sub-Aqua Club were unable to return to the site until this summer.

 

After several false starts they eventually located the wreck and over the course of several dives have started to get an idea of the importance of their discovery.

 

Mr Hughes, the club's diving officer, said: "Strumble Head has a legendary reputation for wrecking trading ships and is just as dangerous today as it was hundreds of years ago.

 

"Conditions for diving are rarely favourable so expeditions to this area have to be carefully planned.

 

Two the keel pins recovered next to a two litre bottle for size comparison

 

"Underwater visibility is often very poor so with no surface light at times we can only see what is visible in the beams of our torches.

 

"The day we first discovered the wreck visibility was unusually good, otherwise we would never have found it."

 

Club members have been able to recover a few small items from the sea floor including copper drift pins.

 

The Government's Receiver of Wreck has appointed the club as the official guardian of the site and the small finds to date have been donated to St Mary's Church Hall in Fishguard as part of the Last Invasion exhibition of artefacts.

 

According to legend, the 1797 invasion was repelled by Jemima Nicholas and other local women dressed in Welsh costume who were mistaken from a distance by the French as British troops.

 

The Welsh assembly's historic monuments agency Cadw and the Nautical Archaeological Society are hoping to send specialist divers to find out more about the wreck next year.

 

A spokeswoman for Cadw said: "Cadw is hoping to arrange for divers to explore the wreck early next year."

 

http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/tm_objectid=14867658&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=--divers-find-mystery-napoleonic-warship-name_page.html

Divers find mystery Napoleonic warship

Nov 13 2004

Gareth Morgan, Western Mail

 

DIVERS off the Welsh coast may have found the wreck of a ship from the last foreign invasion of mainland Britain, over 200 years ago.

 

The discovery by a husband-and-wife diving team off the Pembrokeshire coast could rewrite history, once it is formally identified.

 

Until now it was widely believed no ships were lost when the French landed at Carregwasted near Fishguard, in 1797.

 

But items found off Strumble Head by Pembrokeshire Scuba Diving Club appear to be from a large warship dating back to the Napoleonic era.

 

The wreck, which lies under 30 metres of water, was found by chance last year by Richard and Rebecca Hughes of Merlin's Bridge, near Haverfordwest.

 

They realised it was not recorded on charts or in books of local shipwrecks and since then have been working to confirm it is a new discovery.

 

Because of strong currents and poor weather they and other members of the club were unable to return to the site until this summer.

 

Sub-aqua members have now discovered copper drift pins, large pieces of twisted metal, a swivel gun and three cannons - the largest about eight feet long.

 

The finds have sparked interest from several official bodies, including the historic preservation organisation Cadw.

 

It wants to send a specialist archaeological team to the site next year, and the Nautical Archeological Society also hopes to survey the wreckage.

 

The divers said it took several false starts before they eventually located the wreck again and over the course of several dives have started to get an idea of their discovery's importance.

 

Mrs Hughes, who has not been diving this summer because she was pregnant with newborn baby Harriet, said, "It is very exciting and my husband Richard has had a very good season researching the wreck.

 

"When we first saw it we assumed it had been recorded, but it was not in any of the documents.

 

"We have been keeping the discovery secret for a bit, because we did not want every Tom, Dick and Harry diving down there, but now we decided to announce it."

 

Mr Hughes, the club's diving officer, said, "Strumble Head has a legendary reputation for wrecking trading ships and is just as dangerous today as it was hundreds of years ago.

 

"Conditions for diving are rarely favourable so expeditions to this area have to be carefully planned.

 

"Despite being pregnant Rebecca has been brilliant recently, driving the boat for us to dive for the wreck."

 

The 33-year-old A & E technician, who works at Withybush Hospital, added that luck was on their side when they discovered the wreck.

 

"Visibility was unusually good, otherwise we would never have found it," he said.

 

"Underwater visibility is often very poor with no surface light and at times we can only see what is visible in the beams of our torches."

 

Club members have been able to recover a few small items from the sea floor including copper drift pins.

 

The Government's Receiver of Wreck has appointed the club as the official guardian of the site and the small finds to date have been donated to St Mary's Church Hall in Fishguard as part of the Last Invasion exhibition of artifacts.

 

Club spokeswoman Jackie Williamston said, "It has been very exciting and already there has been a lot of interest from all sorts of places."

 

A spokeswoman for Cadw said, "Cadw is hoping to arrange for divers to explore the wreck early next year."

 

http://www.nola.com/newsflash/louisiana/index.ssf?/base/news-12/1100369042310500.xml&storylist=louisiana

Historic Civil War gunship in the muddy Mississippi River

11/13/2004, 11:57 a.m. CT

By CAIN BURDEAU

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — On a bend in the Mississippi River, beneath the chocolate brown water, archeologists have come across a surprising find: A sunken, hulking Civil War gunship that played a heroic role in the Battle of Mobile Bay.

    

The USS Chickasaw — brainchild of engineering genius James Buchanan Eads and Union stalwart in the Battle of Mobile Bay — was recently rediscovered in a graveyard of shipwrecks in the area known as Carrollton, once a town upriver from the French Quarter.

 

"It was designated as shipwreck No. 2," said Duke Rivet, a state archaeologist. "They had a total of 19 shipwrecks there."

 

The Chickasaw, which is now the only known Milwaukee class ironclad river monitor left, was put to rest in 1944 at that spot on the river, fading into memory along with other outdated and unusable vessels and barges.

 

The story of the USS Chickasaw is one of fame and ignominy.

 

With the onset of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln spoke with Eads — by then a famous engineer — about designing a fleet of new gunships — the steam-powered ironclads Eads had long championed.

 

Quickly, in 45 days, Eads built his first ironclad, the St. Louis. The Confederacy soon launched its own ironclads, changing the face of the Civil War's battle over the rivers and bays of the country.

 

Eads, an energetic and self-taught young man who turned his inventions into money making enterprises, became world-renowned after the Civil War when he built a 520-foot long steel bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis, completed in 1874.

 

His fame was bolstered when he used his knowledge of the Mississippi's mysterious ways — as a young man he'd spent years walking the river's bottoms in diving bells in his vessel salvage business — and built a navigation channel from the mouth of the river to the Gulf of Mexico.

 

"On his death bed, Eads said something to this effect: 'I can't die, I have too much to do.' That sort of gives you an insight to his personality," Rivet said.

 

Six months after being commissioned into the Union navy in February 1864, the Chickasaw entered the Civil War as one of four monitors covering Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut's entry into the torpedo-filled Mobile Bay.

 

After a fierce battle at Fort Morgan, the fleet made it into the bay to then face the CSS Tennessee, a Confederate ironclad. In the ensuing battle, the Chickasaw was credited with hammering away at the Tennessee with its guns.

 

At the end of the war, the Chickasaw saw no more action and the Navy decommissioned it in 1874. In the ensuing years it was made into a coal ferry and later it carried railroad cars across the Mississippi in New Orleans. It was fitted with side-wheel propulsion.

 

"The propeller shaft is the only thing that looks like it did under Eads," said archaeologist Joan Exnicios about what remains of the Chickasaw.

 

During World War II, the country kept the heavy-duty Chickasaw around just in case German saboteurs destroyed the Huey P. Long bridge across the Mississippi, said Exnicios, who works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.

 

The vessel was never needed to carry goods and trains across the river again, and its owners sank it.

 

"It sorted of faded from memory after that," Rivet said.

 

The Chickasaw was rediscovered during recent survey work by the Corps of Engineers to stabilize the bed and bank of the Mississippi near the shipwreck graveyard.

 

There are no plans to raise the vessel, but rock will be placed around it to keep the vessel from moving.

 

"Preservation in place is the No. 1 preferred route that they go," Exnicios said. Officials said raising the vessel would be too costly.

 

But with the mind of Eads behind its design, its storied war record and its being the only known example left of the Milwaukee class of monitors, officials are hopeful to get it on the national historic registry.

 

On The Web:

Naval Historical Center Web page on Chickasaw: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-c/chika-k.htm

 

POSTSCRIPT 21 November 2004

Another Stonehenge Found in Russia?

By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Nov. 17, 2004 — Russian archaeologists have announced that they have found the remains of a 4,000-year-old structure that they compare to England's Stonehenge, according to recent reports issued by Pravda and Novosti, two Russian news services.

 

If the comparison holds true, the finding suggests that both ancient European and Russian populations held similar pagan beliefs that wove celestial cycles with human and animal life.

 

Since devotional objects and symbols are at the Russian site in the region of Ryazan, their meanings might shed light on pagan ceremonies that likely also took place at Stonehenge.

 

Just as the location of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, appeared to be significant for the megalith's creators, so too did Ryazan for the Russian builders. The site overlooks the junction of two rivers, the Oka and Pronya. It was highly traveled by numerous cultures in ancient times.

 

Ilya Ahmedov, lead archaeologist of the Ryazan excavation and a researcher in the State History Museum of Russia's department of archaeological monuments, described the remains of the structure to Novosti.

 

Ahmedov said he and his team found ground holes indicating a monument with a 22.97-feet diameter circle consisting of 1.6-foot thick wooden poles spaced at equal distances from each other. Inside the circle is a large rectangular hole with evidence that four posts once stood in that spot.

 

The archaeologists believe the central structure would have led to spectacular views.

 

"Within the circle, two couples of the poles (in the rectangular area) make up gates," Ahmedov told Pravda. "Sunset can be seen through the gates if an observer stands in the center of the circle. One more pole outside the circle points at the sunrise."

 

The researchers found a small ceramic vessel in the central hole. The vessel is decorated with a zigzag design, which Ahmedov said resembles the rays of the sun, and wavy lines that he believes symbolize water. Lying next to the vessel was a bronze awl in a birch bark casing and an "altar of animal bones," according to a press release from Informnauka, the Russian science news agency .

 

Outside of the circle, the archaeologists excavated two other vessels without any ornamentation. The research team said forest dwellers that originally came from Iran likely made these two objects. They lived in the Ryazan area during the Bronze Age 4,000 years ago.

 

Fragments of human bones and teeth also were found outside the circle's boundary. Ahmedov and his colleagues think they might have belonged to a tribal chief who was posthumously sanctified. Burial tombs also exist near Stonehenge.

 

Ahmedov explained that solar and lunar cults were related to a fertility cult and to the mythological link between life and death. The circular shape was thought to hold magical properties because it has no beginning or end and was regarded as a symbol of eternity.

 

"(A) parallel can be drawn to Stonehenge, which is close to our monument in terms of the erection date and initially also was made of wood," Ahmedov told Pravda. "However, no blood relationship could have existed between the peoples who erected Stonehenge and the Ryazan observatory. The latter evidently indicates the influence of (an) alien population (the Iranian forest dwellers) from the South-East of the Eurasian steppe."

 

Mike Pitts, author of the book "Hengeworld" and the editor of British Archaeology magazine, told Discovery News that he doubts Stonehenge directly influenced the construction of the Russian monument.

 

"There are no known connections between Russia and Britain at the time Stonehenge was built, so if there were any similarities between the two structures, they would have to be coincidence," Pitts said.

 

He added, "Stonehenge is unique, but it is possible to see precursors and inspiration for its design in timber structures that are now quite common in Britain, not least around Stonehenge, but as yet seen nowhere else, not even across the Channel in France."

 

Ahmedov and his team plan to excavate the Ryazan site again in the summer, when they hope to investigate another line of pole holes that they spotted 32.8 feet away from the circular monument.