www.archaeology.ws/archive

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-05/04/content_865655.htm

Stone Age site yields evidence of advanced culture

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2007-05-04 20:48

 

Chinese archaeologists say they have uncovered strong evidence that Stone Age people in southern East Asia were at least as technologically advanced as their European cousins -- challenging the long-standing theory of "two cultures".

 

Excavations at the Dahe Stone Age site, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, had revealed elaborate stone tools and instruments that rivaled those of the Mousterian culture that existed at that time in Europe, said Ji Xueping, chief archaeologist at the site.

 

Dated as 36,000 to 44,000 years old, the Dahe site has since 1998 yielded cores -- stones or flints from which flakes had been removed -- including Levalloisian tortoiseshell-shaped and cylindrical blade cores,semicircular scrapers,end scrapers, denticulations (evenly spaced rectangular blocks set in a row), Mousterian-type points and beak-shaped stones.

 

Technologically they were very similar to European Mousterian cultures, which were characterized by flint flake tools dating from 70,000 to 32,000 BC and named after archaeological finds in the cave of Le Moustier, Dordogne, France. The Levalloisian technique describes the flaking method and is named after the French town of Levallois-Perret where it was identified.

 

"This may suggest that the theory of two cultures is not as accurate and complete as previously thought," said Ji, an archaeologist at the Yunnan Institute for Cultural Relics and Archaeological Research.

 

More than 60 years ago, Harvard University Professor Hallam Movius advanced a theory that divided the Stone Age world into two technological levels.

 

The theory held that western Eurasia and Africa had produced the advanced technology of percussion flaking, while East Asia cultures were comparatively backward having only developed simple choppers and, by implication, the people were less intelligent and adaptable than their African and western Eurasia relatives.

 

"The items are surprisingly similar to the European Mousterian culture, and there is no essential difference between early stone items of the East and West," said Huang Weiwen, an archaeologist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

 

"What impressed me most was a delicately crafted semicircular scraper made of chert. The dark grey scraper was in the shape of flat ellipsoid, and the size of a fist. It is delicate enough to be on a par with any stone implements discovered in Europe," said Huang.

 

"Dahe is the oldest Stone Age site of Mousterian culture that we have discovered in southern part of China, as other reliably dated Mousterian cultures in China are no more than 30,000 years old," said Ji.

 

The most famous site of Mousterian Culture in China was the Shuidonggou site in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, discovered in 1923. It was thousands of years younger than Dahe Paleolithic site.

 

A study by the Quaternary Dating Laboratory of Beijing University and Nanjing Normal University dated the Dahe site as at least 36,000 to 44,000 years old.

 

An artificial stone floor, a typical characteristic of advanced Stone Age, was also discovered at the Dahe site. The 30-square-meter cave floor was paved with white-yellow limestone.

 

"Artificial stone floors indicate that ancient people began to think about the environment and tried to improve their living conditions," said Ji. "It is further evidence that southern East Asia once fostered advanced Middle Paleolithic culture."

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2072736,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=12

Shepherd leads experts to ancient Buddha cave paintings

Maseeh Rahman

Friday May 4, 2007

Guardian Unlimited

 

A shepherd in a remote region of Nepal near the border with Tibet has been instrumental in the discovery of an extraordinary art treasure that lay hidden from the world for centuries - a collection of 55 exquisite cave paintings depicting the life of Buddha.

 

A partially collapsed cave containing the 12th to 14th century depictions of scenes from Buddha's life was unearthed last month by a team of Italian, US and Nepalese conservators and archaeologists in Mustang, a lost kingdom long forbidden to foreigners in the high Himalayas, 250-km north-west of Kathmandu.

 

"Finding the cave was almost like a miracle," said Luigi Fieni, a member of the team that used ice axes to cut its way into the inaccessible 3,400m-high cave in a region that for centuries was part of greater Tibet before being taken over by Nepal.

 

Foreigners were only permitted to enter Mustang in 1992, and Mr Fieni's team began work nine years ago, restoring the spectacular wall paintings in a 15th century Tibetan monastery.

 

When they inquired about other art treasures in the region, a villager remembered that as a boy he had seen a cave full of colourful paintings.

 

"Unlike the murals in the monastery, the Mustang cave paintings do not reveal a Tibetan but a strong Indian influence, including the animals they depict - leopard, tiger, monkey and deer," Mr Fieni said. "In fact, the style evokes the fabulous cave paintings of Ajanta, which predate the Mustang caves by several centuries."

 

The location of the cave has been kept secret to deter art smugglers, but the team call it "the snow leopard cave" as the animal's footprints were found inside.

 

"The cave paintings have been affected by wind and rain and really need restoration," Mr Fieni said. "It's a long process, and we're hoping now to raise funds for the project."

 

The simultaneous discovery of ancient Tibetan manuscripts in nearby caves has led to speculation that the caves might have been a teaching retreat on the lines of the Buddhist university in Nalanda.

 

Mustang is of special significance to Buddhist experts because it is perhaps the only region where Tibetan culture and religion have survived over the centuries virtually untouched by time and modern Chinese colonisation.

 

"The Mustang people are Tibetans. They speak the Tibetan language; their origin is in the Tibetan culture," said Lama Guru Gyaltsen.

 

The opening up of the region has brought inevitable challenges to Mustang way of life. Young men are leaving the tiny kingdom in search of work, and a modern road through the capital, Lo Manthang, is certain to affect the tradition of rearing horses for transport and agriculture. Building techniques using mud are likely to be abandoned in favour of modern construction methods.

 

http://en.tuvaonline.ru/2007/05/04/por-bazhyn-inspection.html

Tent Archeological Camp near the Tuvan Lake Prepared to Host First Specialists

 

A recent inspection to the Tere-Khol district in Tuva, where this summer a large-scale archaeological expedition will start excavations on the ancient Uyghur Fortress 'Por-Bazhyn', has proven tha camp is almost ready to host in late May the first shift of over 150 students and 50 specialists and service workers. The camp based on the former fish-storage site 8 km away from the Kungurtuk village, administrative center of the Tere-Khol district, comprises besides residential tents, bath-house, kitchen, dining house, first-aid post, etc. A pontoon bridge connects the island with the fortress ruins both to the district territory and the neighbouring island.

 

Students' recruitment into the summer expedition from universities in Moscow, Saint-Petersbourg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk and Kyzyl is also under way.

 

As Irina Arzhantseva, one of the scientific supervisors of the 'Por-Bazhyn' project, said to Tuva-Online, the first group of specialists would come to Tere-Khol in mid-May. Geoscientists would make a magnetic reconnaissance of the locality with geo-radar that would help to reveal the latent reliefs and make a map of cavities and anomalies. Survey engineers will carry out laser scanning of the island to make its three-dimension model, coordinate grid and fix ranging marks what would enable architects and archaeologists to do a primary marking of excavations.

 

A restorer would take on the spot samples of the construction materials to be further analysed in Moscow laboratories.

 

The idea to restore an ancient fortress belongs to Sergei Shoigu, federal minister for Emergencies, native Tuvan. He used to work in archaeological expeditions in his school years in Tuva. 'I remember quite well that the acheologists were always very concerned about the future of their outstanding finds" - Sergei Shoigu said to journalists - "They dreamed of the excavations to turn into museums in the open air. It was in regard of the ancient Uyguhr town near Shagonar (Ulug-Khem district) and Arzhaan-1 (1960-ties, Pii-Khem district) with a huge tsar burial mound 160 m in diameter. And their dreams never came true. We know about their unique findings now only by pictures and descriptions in scientific works.

 

We want it to be other way in case of Por-Bazhyn which I first saw on an aero film of the forest fires in Tuva, minister said. I got interested and now this project is far in process. We shall build there a Russian Shaolin and invite everybody to come there. And our youth will come I am sure. They will learn philosophy, Tibetan medicine, horseracing, and oriental martial arts in there,' Shoigu says.

 

The Uyghur town on a Tere-Khol island dates back to approximately the 8th century. It was ruined by fire. Little is known about its inhabitants. There were found rests of the only warrior who had been an extremely tall man with European features.

 

Nowadays the ruins of the Por-Bazhyn fortress, which is located on a Lake Tereh-Khol island in Tuva near Russian-Mongolian border, look like a rectangular labyrinth of structures similar to a Buddhist or Hindu mandala.

 

The scientists suggest that the fortress might be a palace or a temple complex, which could be destroyed in a war action over one thousand years ago.

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18445624/

Treasures found inside Bolivian pyramid

Bones, gold, jewels linked to 1,300-year-old Tiwanaku culture

Updated: 12:00 p.m. ET May 3, 2007

 

TIWANAKU, Bolivia - Archaeologists have uncovered the 1,300-year-old skeleton of a ruler or priest of the ancient Tiwanaku civilization, together with precious jewels inside a much-looted pyramid in western Bolivia.

 

The bones are “in very good condition” and belong to either ”a ruler or a priest,” Roger Angel Cossio, the Bolivian archaeologist who made the discovery, told Reuters on Wednesday.

 

He said the tomb — containing a diadem and a fist-sized carved pendant of solid gold — survived centuries of looting by Spanish invaders and unscrupulous raiders who depleted Tiwanaku of many precious treasures.

 

“After so much looting ... miraculously this has stayed to tell us the history,” Cossio said. “It’s a complete body... next to it are jewels, offerings and a llama.”

 

The llama may have been a status symbol or a source of food for the journey to the afterlife, archaeologists said.

 

The corpse was found in a niche carved inside the 15-yard-high (15-meter-high) Akapana pyramid, which was built around 1200 B.C. and is described by experts as one of the biggest pre-Columbian constructions in South America.

 

At its peak, the city of Tiwanaku stretched over 1,480 acres (600 hectares) and had a population of more than 100,000, according to chief archaeologist Javier Escalante, who presented the findings on Wednesday at a news conference near the pyramid.

 

An archaeologist walks near the base of the much-looted Akapana pyramid in the Tiwanaku archaeological site, on the shores of Bolivia's Lake Titicaca.

The Tiwanaku civilization spread throughout southwestern Bolivia and parts of neighbouring Peru, Argentina and Chile from around 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1200.

 

Although experts still have to do carbon dating to determine the age of the remains, archaeologists estimate they were buried 1,300 years ago, during the decline of the Tiwanaku empire.

 

Cossio believes the remains belong to someone of importance in the Tiwanaku society.

 

“Not just anyone would be buried under the Akapana pyramid,” he said.

 

In the 1900s, workers used the base of the pyramid as a quarry from which they extracted stones to build a rail line connecting the neighboring town of Guaqui with La Paz.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/content/science/stories/2007/05/01/sci_lepper01.ART_ART_05-01-07_B5_J06GK9I.html

'Woodhenge' at Fort Ancient raises interest in ritual past

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 3:25 AM

By Bradley T. Lepper

 

During a remote-sensing survey of the Fort Ancient Earthworks in 2005, Jarrod Burks of Ohio Valley Archaeological Consultants discovered a circular pattern in the soil that stretched nearly 200 feet in diameter.

 

Fort Ancient is a massive earthwork in Warren County that was built more than 2,000 years ago by the Hopewell culture.

 

Robert Riordan, an anthropology professor at Wright State University, directed excavations there in 2006 and last month completed a report on his initial explorations of the circles.

 

Dubbed the "Moorehead Circle" by Riordan in honor of pioneering archaeologist Warren K. Moorehead, the area was a "woodhenge," defined by a double ring of posts.

 

The outer ring consisted of large posts about 9 inches in diameter set about 30 inches apart in slip trenches filled with rock. The inner ring had similar-size posts set about 15 feet inside the outer ring.

 

Riordan estimates that the outer ring would have held more than 200 posts, each 10 to 15 feet tall. Inner posts likely were shorter.

 

At the center of the circle was a 2.5-foot-deep pit that was 15 feet long by 13 feet wide and filled with red, burned soil. The pit was ringed by a shallow trough in which large timbers of red oak had been burned. Excavators found little ash, so the burned soil must have been brought in.

 

A radiocarbon date on charcoal from a remnant trace of a post suggests it was built between 40 BC and AD 130. Burned timber fragments from the pit were dated AD 250 to AD 420.

 

The different ages suggest to Riordan that a "sequence of ceremonial events" took place at this location. The two rings of posts and the pit might be related, or they might represent three separate rituals.

 

With less than 5 percent of the circle investigated, Riordan warns, our understanding of it remains tentative.

 

"We avidly look forward to subsequent field seasons, new data and altered perspectives," he wrote.

 

More information about the excavation of the Moorehead Circle can be found on the Ohio Historical Society's archaeology blog: www.ohio-archaeology.blogspot.com/

 

Bradley T. Lepper is curator of archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society.

 

blepper@ohiohistory.org

 

http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0501/meath.html

Prehistoric site discovery halts M3 work

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, has ordered that work be stopped on the M3 motorway near Tara, Co Meath, because of the discovery of a substantial national monument.

 

Yesterday, the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen turned the first sod on the M3 motorway.

 

The archaeological site was discovered in Lismullen beside the Hill of Tara, and is said to be the size of three football fields.

 

It has been described as a massive prehistoric site.

 

http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0503/m3.html

New details emerge over Lismullen site

Thursday, 3 May 2007 16:19

 

Archaeologists working on the new national monument discovered at Lismullen, near the Hill of Tara, believe it was probably an important ceremonial site.

 

They also believe it may have been made of 'wattle and daub', similar to the way baskets are weaved together.

 

The site consists of two circular enclosures, the largest 80m in diameter, the smaller one inside just 16m in diameter.

 

The larger outer wall could have been reasonably small, with the wall of the inside enclosure probably taller.

 

As the site is in a small hollow, archaeologists believe it would have allowed others to stand on the nearby ridges to watch the ceremonies taking place inside the enclosures.

 

Mary Deevy, Chief Archaeologist with the National Roads Authority, said the structure dated from somewhere between 1000BC to 400AD.

 

Samples have been taken and are being sent away for radio carbon dating. That will give a more precise period.

 

Archaeologists started working on the site at Lismullen last February, but the enclosures were only fully uncovered about a month ago.

 

The archaeologists then mapped the area and notified the Department of the Environment of the significance of the discovery.

 

Ms Deevy said there was a similar enclosure found by geophysical surveying on the Hill of Tara, which, at 200m in diameter, was much larger.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6621319.stm

BBC NEWS

Native American DNA found in UK

By Paul Rincon

Science reporter, BBC News

 

DNA testing has uncovered British descendents of Native Americans brought to the UK centuries ago as slaves, translators or tribal representatives.

 

Genetic analysis turned up two white British women with a DNA signature characteristic of American Indians.

 

An Oxford scientist said it was extremely unusual to find these DNA lineages in Britons with no previous knowledge of Native American ancestry.

 

Indigenous Americans were brought over to the UK as early as the 1500s.

 

Many were brought over as curiosities; but others travelled here in delegations during the 18th Century to petition the British imperial government over trade or protection from other tribes.

 

Experts say it is probable that some stayed in Britain and married into local communities.

 

Doreen Isherwood, 64, from Putney, and Anne Hall, 53, of Huddersfield, only found out about their New World heritage after paying for commercial DNA ancestry tests.

 

Mrs Isherwood told BBC News: "I was expecting the results to say I belonged to one of the common European tribes, but when I got them back, my first thought was that they were a mistake.

 

"It rocked me completely. It made think: who am I?"

 

The chartered physiotherapist studied for a degree at the University of North Carolina, but had no idea she possessed Native American ancestors. She said she came from a long line of Lancashire cotton weavers.

 

Mrs Isherwood added that she was "immensely proud" of her newfound heritage, which has renewed a long-standing interest in Native American culture.

 

Anne Hall, who works as a private educational tutor, commented: "I was thrilled to bits. It was a very pleasant surprise. To have Native American blood is very exotic."

 

She said she now aimed to investigate her family history in an attempt to track down the source of her rare genetic lineage.

 

Mrs Isherwood says her American antecedent must have arrived in Britain in the 18th or 17th Centuries. She has traced her maternal ancestors back to 1798 and has found no sign of New World progenitors.

 

The tests taken by both women were based on analysis of DNA inside the "powerhouses" of our cells: the mitochondria.

 

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is passed down from mother to daughter more or less unchanged; but changes, or mutations, accumulate in the DNA sequence over successive generations.

 

Scientists can use these changes to classify mtDNAs into broad types (called haplogroups) which, to some extent, reflect a person's geographical origin.

 

Mrs Isherwood and Mrs Hall possessed haplogroups characteristic of the indigenous people of the Americas, which are referred to as A and C.

 

"It's very unusual. Most of the people we test belong to one of the European maternal clans," said Professor Bryan Sykes, whose company Oxford Ancestors carried out the tests for Doreen and Anne.

 

Professor Sykes, also a professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford, said: "There are matches between [Doreen and Anne] and particular Native American tribes, but that doesn't necessarily mean those are the tribes their ancestors came from."

 

This month marks the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the first permanent English-speaking settlement in North America.

 

Alden Vaughan, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, in New York, has written a book on American Indians in Britain. He said indigenous peoples from the New World began arriving in Britain as early as the sixteenth century.

           

"It started earlier than Jamestown. A number were brought over through the 1500s, mainly as curiosities," he told BBC News. Others were taken to Britain to learn English and go back to the colonies as translators.

 

"Sir Walter Raleigh brought back several individuals from the Jamestown area and from the Orinoco valley. Pocahontas went to England in 1616 and died there the next year.

 

"She was accompanied by several of her tribal associates. Some of them stayed in England for several years. I don't know of any marriages or even relationships between those women and Englishmen, but it is certainly possible.

 

"Later in the 17th Century, Native American slaves were brought over. I don't know much about them, because all the evidence I have are ads in London newspapers for runaway bond-servants, described as being Indians."

 

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6621319.stm

Published: 2007/05/04 08:44:52 GMT

© BBC MMVII

 

http://www.centredaily.com/129/story/85536.html

Remnants of Washington's house found near Liberty Bell

The Associated Press

 

PHILADELPHIA

Archeologists digging at a site where George Washington and his slaves once lived have unearthed portions of the president's house, a "long-shot" discovery that is already changing ideas about how the house was built.

 

Officials from Independence National Historical Park and the city announced Wednesday that a section of the kitchen wall as well the foundation walls from the main house had been unearthed at the site, about a block from Independence Mall.

 

Documentation about the house had led archaeologists to believe it had a one-story kitchen, but this week's find shows that a basement lay below the kitchen, possibly for storage, officials said.

 

The work is being done before construction of a new monument where the "President's House" once stood, intended to commemorate the daily life of the two presidents who lived there as well as the lives of the slaves.

 

Washington and John Adams each lived at the mansion between 1790 and 1800, when Philadelphia was the nation's capital. At least nine of Washington's slaves were also quartered there.

 

National Park Service archaeologist Jed Levin described the chances of any portion of the house having survived as "a long shot."

 

"In archaeology, you never know what you're going to find until you dig," he said in a written statement. "Now we're learning things we might otherwise never have known."

 

His team also found an 1833 coin in the basement floor of a house built over the site of the President's House, confirming historical records that Washington's residence was torn down in 1832.

 

The dig is expected to last through the end of May.

 

Construction will begin later on the monument, which will include a brick facade outlining the home's first floor and will hold video and audio exhibits about Washington and his slaves.

 

http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/1350_may_4_2007/n_1350_1.htm

Friday, May 4, 2007, #083 (1350)

Centuries on, but martyred queen's story still unfinished

By Anna Kamushadze

 

 

The history of the mortal remains of St Ketevan, Queen of Georgia, is as tragic as her life was. The Portuguese missionaries who witnessed her death and protected her remains left no precise account of where the body of the saint, canonised shortly after her death, lay. Contemporary reports from England speak of her being laid to rest in Goa, India, then a Portuguese colony. A bone belonging to Ketevan is housed in the church that bears her name in Tbilisi, and tradition has it that remains were buried in Alaverdi cathedral in her native Kakheti, but lost after raids by North Caucasian tribesmen.

 

Attempts to locate her remains in Goa began back in the Soviet era, and now, it seems, they have borne fruit.

 

Historian and archaeologist Aleksandre Noneshvili participated in the expedition to Goa, and says that this discovery is of great importance for Georgia.

 

"I think God punished our country. We did not deserve to have the body of a great queen in the country. I think it is a kind of symbol. The return of the holy relics of the queen to her home country means that Georgia will strengthen and stabilise," he says.

 

In February, an expedition to Goa under the leadership of Father Giorgi Razmadze of Tbilisi's St. Ketevan church. Father Razmadze searches for traces of Ketevan all over the world.

 

"People from different countries witnessed the torments of the saint, and among them were St Portuguese Catholic missionaries. When they saw the courage of the Georgian queen they stole her body and took the parts of it to different places. The main parts were brought to Georgia to her son Teimuraz." Noneshvili relates.

 

Later, when Lekebi, the tribes from North Caucasus invaded Kakheti, Georgians were running to escape with saint things, including with the parts of the Queen's body. But unfortunately the horse which was carrying the particles of St Ketevan slipped into the water and her remains were lost.

 

Noneshvili says it was Georgian film director Rezo Tabukashvili who began to systematically search for the saints remains, but in Soviet times this was extremely difficult.

 

Tabukashvili found a trail that led him to the St Augustine Tower in Old Goa, a convent founded by Portuguese Augustinian fathers in 1602, now in ruins, and a World Heritage site.

 

Tabukashvili was unable to locate the saint's remains, but expeditions continued after his death, but all in vain. In 1998, the Georgian Patriarch appealed to the Indian Ambassador in Ukraine to search for the remains in ernest.

 

"There was only a description that on one of the windows on the right side of the church there was a black stone box with an arm of St Ketevan in it. Tabukashvili addressed Indian archaeologists, but excavations at the ruined complex took years," Noneshvili says.

 

The archaeologists discovered a tombstone which allowed them to identify the place as the exact chapel where Ketevan's remains were supposed to have been laid to rest. The Georgian expedition learned about the exact location of Ketevan's remains from Indian archaeologist Dr. Taher.

 

"The emotional experience was incredible as we felt a great sacred power in the presence of St Ketevan's arm, Father Giorgi could not help but shed tears. We, people of all different faiths, lit candles in honour of St Ketevan," Noneshvili recalls.

 

Before the delegation left India Dr Taher and Noneshvili agreed to conduct DNA analysis as soon as possible. Noneshvili is sure the arm really belongs to St Ketevan, but says they need to be 100 percent sure. The analysis is expected to be conducted soon.

 

Meanwhile, Father Giorgi, assisted by Noneshvili, continues to look for other relics of St Ketevan all over the world.

"Other than Goa we think there are relics of St Ketevan in the depositories of the Vatican. In Namur Belgium we think there are Ketevan's remains also. We have publications that say that in 1976 relics of St Ketevan were exhibited in Namur. And also we think remains may be in Portugal, in a church where there are the frescoes describing Ketevan's torture on the walls," he says.

 

Father Giorgi and Noneshvili have already visited Portugal, and met with the archbishop of Lisbon, work has already begun to identify the remains buried there.

 

Father Giorgi and Noneshvili have also managed to return one of things that belonged to St Ketevan to Georgia. Queen Ketevan brought both a crucifix and an icon of the Virgin Mary with to Persia. The crucifix has disappeared but the icon, in front of which she prayed the night before she was martyred, was found in France

 

"After great efforts and hardships we managed to return it to Georgia. The family which owned it did not want to give it back," he says.

 

They took the icon to the Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II straight from the airport, and, reportedly, the icon has miracle working properties.

 

The passion of Saint Ketevan

 

The dowager queen of Kakheti lived during the worst days of Georgia's always tumultuous history. Her story reads like a Shakespearian tragedy, both Ketevan's father-in-law King Alexander II of Kakhetia (1577 - 1605) and her husband, Crown Prince David, were assassinated by the villainous Constantine, her husband's brother. Constantine, known to Georgia as 'the accursed', had converted to Islam, and was in the pay of the ruthless Iranian despot Shah Abbas, after murdering Ketevan's husband and his father, he had their mutilated bodies dispatched to the widowed queen on the backs of Camels. Constantine then demanded Ketevan become his wife or face the same fate.

 

Unbowed by the murders, Ketevan buried her husband and father-in-law in Alaverdi Cathedral and took up arms against the usurper and his Persian backers. She and rallied the people of Kakheti to her side, and after a ferocious battle, the evil Constantine and his Persian cohorts suffered an ignominious death at the hands of the Georgians.

 

Following her victory, a brief period of peace and prosperity settled over Kakheti. Ketevan rebuilt towns, monasteries and churches destroyed by years of warfare, and Ketevan's son Teimuraz I was even returned by Shah Abbas, who had been holding him hostage. However, this proved to be the calm before the storm.

 

Persia once again turned its attention to its errant Georgian vassals, and threatened to decimate the land if the Georgian rulers would not give up valuable hostages and tribute. Ketevan, seeking to preserve the hard won peace of Kakheti, volunteered to be taken into captivity, along with her two young grandsons Levan and Alexander.

 

After five years of cruelty and deprivation Ketevan was separated from her grandsons, who unbeknownst to her the shah had castrated. Years later, Shah Abbas sent messengers to Ketevan, who informed her of the fate of her grandsons, and demanded that Ketevan renounce her Christian faith, convert to Islam and enter his harem, or suffer a torturous death.

 

Ketevan's retinue pleaded with the queen to convert but remain Christian in her heart, but the queen refused, asking only that she be allowed to pray before her death. The queen was taken out to the city square in Shiraz, stripped to the waist and tortured cruelly. A red hot cooking pot was placed on her heard, and burning pincers tore away chunks of her flesh. Finally, as she lay dying, but still invoking the name of God, she was strangled with a bow string.

 

These horrible acts were witnessed by some Portuguese Augustinian priests, who in secret wrapped her remains in linen and incense hid them for three years, and then conveyed them from Persia.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/6610725.stm

Medieval find at new school site

 

Archaeologists in Kinross have uncovered a range of finds thought to be part of a medieval settlement.

 

The discovery was made on the site of the new Kinross High School, opposite Lethangie Farm.

 

The two fields forming the development site have been recognised as being of archaeological interest.

 

A Scheduled Ancient Monument - a site designated as being of archaeological importance - has been identified in the south field.

 

Excavation work, which began in March, was carried out by archaeological consultants SUAT Ltd as part of planning consent conditions imposed by Perth and Kinross Council before work on the new school begins.

 

During the planning application process, the development site was recognised as being of archaeological interest by archaeologists from Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust

Council spokesperson

 

Finds in the north field include a large pit with domestic rubbish in the form of small pieces of medieval pottery shards, bone and oyster shell.

 

A large pit with burnt stone was found, as well as a large circular enclosure ditch containing small broken pieces of medieval pottery and many rodent burrows.

 

Many of the deposits have been sampled for further analysis and charcoal has been recovered for dating.

 

Buried archaeology at the Scheduled Ancient Monument in the south field is considered to represent the remains of a prehistoric settlement which is at least 2,000 years old.

 

A spokesperson for the council said: "During the planning application process, the development site was recognised as being of archaeological interest by archaeologists from Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.

 

"The scheduled area will be protected and will be encompassed within the new school grounds."