www.archaeology.ws/archive

http://www.stonepages.com/news/archives/005189.html?

Ice Age tools unearthed in Surrey

11 January 2014

 

Ancient artefacts uncovered at the building site for the new Guildford fire station (Surrey, South East England) have been dated back to the Ice Age. More than 2,400 flints shaped into tools and blades were dug up by archaeologists in the summer and are said to be 14,000 years old.

     Nick Truckle, a member of the Surrey County Council heritage conservation team, recommended the dig and said the rare artefacts were in excellent condition, and despite river flooding and development they were found exactly where hunter-gathers had left them in around 12,000 BCE.

     Councillor Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council's cabinet member for community services, said: "This is a particularly rare find because there are very few intact British sites as old or complex as this one. We now have experts doing detailed studies on these flints, which we hope will give us more answers about the lives of the people that used them and how they lived."

     The flints are now undergoing further research at Oxford University and there are plans to display them at the Surrey History Centre in Woking when the work is finished.

 

Edited from GetSurrey (10 January 2014)

 

http://www.nzweek.com/technology/chinese-archaeologists-uncover-4000-year-old-fortifications-109117/

Chinese archaeologists uncover 4,000-year-old fortifications

Source:Xinhua Published By Daisey Stodola Updated 10/01/2014 12:47 pm in Technology / no comments

 XI’AN, Nov. 28

 

Archaeologists said fortifications of the largest neolithic Chinese city ever discovered were excavated on Wednesday and Thursday in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

 

The ruins of two square beacon towers, once part of the city wall of the 4,000-year-old Shimao Ruins in Shenmu County, have been uncovered, according to Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology.

 

One of the towers is 18 meters long, 16 meters wide and four meters tall, while the other is 11.7 meters long, about 10 meters wide and three meters tall, said Su Zhouyong, deputy head of the institute.

 

Sun said the discovery is a breakthrough and contributes greatly to archaeological research on ancient Chinese fortifications.

 

The Shimao Ruins were first found in 1976 in the form of a small town, and archaeological authorities only identified the ruins as part of a much larger city — the largest of its kind from neolithic time — last year after measuring the exact size of the ancient stone city.

 

The city was found to have a central area, and inner and outer structures. The walls surrounding the outer city extended over an area of 4.25 square kilometers.

 

Archaeologists said it was built about 4,300 years ago and was abandoned roughly 300 years later during the Xia Dynasty, the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles.

 

http://www.stonepages.com/news/archives/005190.html?

Chinese archaeologists uncover Neolithic beacon towers

11 January 2014

 

Archaeologists said fortifications of the largest Neolithic Chinese city ever discovered were excavated in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The ruins of two square beacon towers, once part of the city wall of the 4,000-year-old Shimao Ruins in Shenmu County, have been uncovered, according to Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology.

     One of the towers is 18 meters long, 16 meters wide and four meters tall, while the other is 11.7 meters long, about 10 meters wide and three meters tall, said Su Zhouyong, deputy head of the institute.

     The Shimao Ruins were first found in 1976 in the form of a small town, and archaeological authorities only identified the ruins as part of a much larger city - the largest of its kind from Neolithic era - last year after measuring the exact size of the ancient stone city. The city was found to have a central area, and inner and outer structures. The walls surrounding the outer city extended over an area of 4.25 square kilometers. Archaeologists said it was built about 4,300 years ago and was abandoned roughly 300 years later during the Xia Dynasty, the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles.

 

Edited from NZweek.com (10 January 2014)

 

http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084711

Volcanic rock age suggests Catalhoyuk mural may be based on Turkish eruption

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE: 8-Jan-2014

Contact: Kayla Graham

onepress@plos.org

415-568-4532

Public Library of Science

Neolithic mural may depict ancient eruption

 

Volcanic rock dating suggests the painting of a Çatalhöyük mural may have overlapped with an eruption in Turkey according to results published January 8, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Axel Schmitt from the University of California Los Angeles and colleagues from other institutions.

 

Scientists analyzed rocks from the nearby Hasan Dagi volcano in order to determine whether it was the volcano depicted in the mural from ~6600 BC in the Catalhöyük Neolithic site in central Turkey. To determine if Hasan Dagi was active during that time, scientists collected and analyzed volcanic rock samples from the summit and flanks of the Hasan Dagi volcano using (U-Th)/He zircon geochronology. These ages were then compared to the archeological date of the mural.

 

Volcanic rock textures and ages support the interpretation that residents of Çatalhöyük may have recorded an explosive eruption of Hasan Dagi volcano. The dating of the volcanic rock indicated an eruption around 6900 BC, which closely overlaps with the time the mural was estimated to have been painted in Çatalhöyük. The overlapping timeframes indicate humans in the region may have witnessed this eruption.

 

Alternative interpretations of the mural include the depiction of a leopard skin, consistent with other art at the Çatalhöyük site.

 

Schmitt adds, "We tested the hypothesis that the Çatalhöyük mural depicts a volcanic eruption and discovered a geological record consistent with this hypothesis. Our work also demonstrates that Hasan Dagi volcano has potential for future eruptions."

 

Citation: Schmitt AK, Danišík M, Aydar E, Şen E, Ulusoy İ, et al. (2014) Identifying the Volcanic Eruption Depicted in a Neolithic Painting at Çatalhöyük, Central Anatolia, Turkey. PLoS ONE 9(1): e84711. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084711

 

Financial Disclosure: Partial support for this study comes from NSF EAR 1029193 "Facility Support: The UCLA National Ion Microprobe". The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. No additional external funding was received for this study.

 

Competing Interest Statement: Erkan Aydar is employed by ATERRA R&D. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials, as detailed online in the guide for authors.

 

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084711

 

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/12012013/article/neolithic-mural-in-turkey-may-illustrate-ancient-volcanic-eruption

Neolithic Mural in Turkey May Illustrate Ancient Volcanic Eruption

Wed, Jan 08, 2014

 

Study indicates a correlation between the ancient mural image and date of the Hasan Dagi volcanic eruption.

Neolithic Mural in Turkey May Illustrate Ancient Volcanic Eruption

First discovered and excavated in the 1960's by British archaeologist James Mellaart, the world-famous 9,000-year-old Neolithic site of Catälhöyuk in Central Anatolia, Turkey, has provided a unique window on the lives of humans at the transition from hunter-gatherer to settled agriculture societies. Among the spectacular finds was a mural or wall-painting dated to about 6600 BCE and described by its discoverer and others as depicting a volcanic eruption. Arguably regarded as the first map or graphical representation of a landscape, it featured "a rendering of a mountain with two peaks with the cell-like patterns representing a plan view of a village with a general layout of the houses similar to that of Catälhöyuk and other nearby Neolithic settlements"......"with the summit region showing ‘‘falling volcanic ‘bombs’ or large semiliquid lava.’’*

This description or interpretation has been contested, however, as critics have maintained that there has been little or no geologic evidence for an explosive volcanic eruption in the area contemporaneous with the age of the site, and other scholars have descibed the painting as representing a "leopard skin with its extremities cut off".*

Now, new volcanic rock dating suggests the mural date may have overlapped with the date of an eruption from the nearby Hasan Dagi volcano. Led by Axel Schmitt from the University of California Los Angeles and colleagues from other institutions, an international team of scientists analyzed rocks from the nearby Hasan Dagi volcano in order to determine whether it was the volcano depicted in the mural from ~6600 BC. To determine if Hasan Dagi was active during that time, scientists collected and analyzed volcanic rock samples from the summit and flanks of the Hasan Dagi volcano using (U-Th)/He zircon geochronology. This resulted in the first radiometric ages for a Holocene volcanic eruption in the area. The ages were then compared to the archaeological date of the mural.

They found that volcanic rock textures and ages support the interpretation that residents of Çatalhöyük may have recorded an explosive eruption of Hasan Dagi volcano. The dating of the volcanic rock indicated an eruption around 6900 BC, which closely overlaps with the time the mural was estimated to have been painted in Çatalhöyük. The overlapping timeframes thus indicate humans in the region may have witnessed this eruption.

Says Schmitt, "We tested the hypothesis that the Çatalhöyük mural depicts a volcanic eruption and discovered a geological record consistent with this hypothesis. Our work also demonstrates that Hasan Dagi volcano has potential for future eruptions."

The sudy results are published in detail in the January 8, 2014, open access journal PLOS ONE.

____________________________________________________________________________________

CatalHoyukSouthAreaziggurat

Excavations at Çatalhöyük first began under James Mellaart in 1958 and were later renewed under Ian Hodder in 1993. Ziggurat, Wikimedia Commons

 

*Schmitt AK, Danišík M, Aydar E, Şen E, Ulusoy İ, et al. (2014) Identifying the Volcanic Eruption Depicted in a Neolithic Painting at Çatalhöyük, Central Anatolia, Turkey. PLoS ONE 9(1): e84711. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084711

 

Partial support for this study comes from NSF EAR 1029193 "Facility Support: The UCLA National Ion Microprobe". The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. No additional external funding was received for this study.

Cover Photo, Top Left: The Hasan Dagi volcano. Credit: Janet C. Harvey

Source: Adaped and edited from a press release for the Public Library of Science and relevant excerpts from the detailed study cited above.

 

http://news.yahoo.com/ancient-greeks-used-portable-grills-picnics-160136661.html

Ancient Greeks Used Portable Grills at Their Picnics

Cooking experiments suggest that Mycenaean souvlaki trays would have been portable.

LiveScience.com By by Megan Gannon, News Editor

January 9, 2014 11:01 AM

 

CHICAGO — The ancient Mycenaeans have a reputation as palace-builders and warriors, but they were also quite sophisticated cooks. More than 3,000 years ago, they used portable grill pits to make souvlaki and non-stick pans to make bread, new cooking experiments suggest.

 

The Mycenaean civilization, which was the backdrop for Homer's "Odyssey" and "Iliad," thrived in Greece during the late Bronze Age from around 1700 B.C. until the society mysteriously collapsed around 1200 B.C. The Mycenaeans left behind amazing palaces and gold-littered tombs at sites like Pylos and Mycenae, but in these places, archaeologists also have found less glamorous artifacts, such as souvlaki trays and griddles made from gritty clays.

 

It wasn't clear how these two types of pans were used, said Julie Hruby of Dartmouth College, presenting her research at the Archaeological Institute of America's annual meeting here on Saturday (Jan. 4). [The 7 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth]

 

"We don't have any recipes," Hruby told LiveScience. "What we do have are tablets that talk about provisions for feasts, so we have some idea of what the ingredients might have been, but in terms of understanding how people cooked, the cooking pots are really our best bet."

 

The souvlaki trays were rectangular ceramic pans that sat underneath skewers of meat. Scientists weren't sure whether these trays would have been placed directly over a fire, catching fat drippings from the meat, or if the pans would have held hot coals like a portable barbeque pit. The round griddles, meanwhile, had one smooth side and one side covered with tiny holes, and archaeologists have debated which side would have been facing up during cooking.

 

To solve these culinary mysteries, Hruby and ceramicist Connie Podleski, of the Oregon College of Art and Craft, mixed American clays to mimic Mycenaean clay and created two griddles and two souvlaki trays in the ancient style. With their replica coarsewares, they tried to cook meat and bread.

 

Hruby and Podleski found that the souvlaki trays were too thick to transfer heat when placed over a fire pit, resulting in a pretty raw meal; placing the coals inside the tray was a much more effective cooking method.

 

"We should probably envision these as portable cooking devices — perhaps used during Mycenaean picnics," Hruby said.

 

As for the griddles, bread was more likely to stick when it was cooked on the smooth side of the pan. The holes, however, seemed to be an ancient non-sticking technology, ensuring that oil spread quite evenly over the griddle.

 

Lowly cooking pots were often overlooked, or even thrown out, during early excavations at Mycenaean sites in the 20th century, but researchers are starting to pay more attention to these vessels to glean a full picture of ancient lifestyles.

 

As for who was using the souvlaki trays and griddles, Hruby says it was likely chefs cooking for the Mycenaean ruling class.

 

"They're coming from elite structures, but I doubt very much that the elites were doing their own cooking," Hruby told LiveScience. "There are cooks mentioned in the Linear B [a Mycenaean syllabic script] record who have that as a profession — that's their job — so we should envision professional cooks using these."

 

http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/2014/01/06/us-diggers-identify-tomb-of-pharoah-sobekhotep-i

US diggers identify tomb of Pharoah Sobekhotep I

Sapa-AFP | 06 January, 2014 17:22

 

A US team in Egypt has identified the tomb of pharaoh Sobekhotep I, believed to be the founder of the 13th dynasty 3,800 years ago, the antiquities minister said.

 

The team from the University of Pennsylvania had discovered the quartzite sarcophagus of Sobekhotep I, which weighed about 60 tonnes, a year ago, but was unable to identify who it belonged to until last week, the ministry said.

 

Its identity was established after the team found fragments of a slab inscribed with the pharaoh's name and showed him sitting on a throne, Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said in a statement.

 

"He is likely the first who ruled Egypt at the start of the 13th dynasty during the second intermediate period," the minister said.

 

The discovery is important as not much information was available about Sobekhotep I "who ruled Egypt for four years and a half, the longest rule at this time," said Ayman El-Damarani, a ministry official.

 

The tomb's discovery in the southern archaeological site of Abydos is expected to reveal more details about his life and rule, he added.

 

The team also discovered the remnants of canopic vases traditionally used to preserve internal body organs, along with gold objects owned by the king.

 

http://www.livescience.com/42398-ark-of-covenant-fate-revealed-in-hebrew-text.html

Fate of Ark of the Covenant Revealed in Hebrew Text

By Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor   |   January 07, 2014 09:07pm ET

 

A newly translated Hebrew text claims to reveal where treasures from King Solomon's temple were hidden and discusses the fate of the Ark of the Covenant itself.

 

But unlike the Indiana Jones movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the text leaves the exact location of the Ark unclear and states that it, and the other treasures, "shall not be revealed until the day of the coming of the Messiah son of David …" putting it out of reach of any would-be treasure seeker.

 

King Solomon's Temple, also called the First Temple, was plundered and torched by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century B.C., according to the Hebrew Bible. The Ark of the Covenant is a chest that, when originally built, was said to have held tablets containing the 10 commandments. It was housed in Solomon's Temple, a place that contained many different treasures.

 

The newly translated text, called "Treatise of the Vessels" (Massekhet Kelim in Hebrew), says the "treasures were concealed by a number of Levites and prophets," writes James Davila, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, in an article in the book "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha More Noncanonical Scriptures Volume 1" (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013).

 

"Some of these (treasures) were hidden in various locations in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, while others were delivered into the hands of the angels Shamshiel, Michael, Gabriel and perhaps Sariel …" writes Davila in his article.

 

The treatise is similar in some ways to the metallic "Copper Scroll," one of the Dead Sea Scrolls found near the site of Qumran in the West Bank. The Copper Scroll also discusses the location of hidden treasure, although not from Solomon's Temple.

 

The treatise describes the treasures in an imaginative way. One part refers to "seventy-seven tables of gold, and their gold was from the walls of the Garden of Eden that was revealed to Solomon, and they radiated like the radiance of the sun and moon, which radiate at the height of the world."

 

The oldest confirmed example of the treatise, which survives to present day, is from a book published in Amsterdam in 1648 called "Emek Halachah." In 1876, a scholar named Adolph Jellinek published another copy of the text, which was virtually identical to the 1648 version. Davila is the first to translate the text fully into English.

 

The writer of the text likely was not trying to convey factual locations of the hidden treasures of Solomon's Temple, but rather was writing a work of fiction, based on different legends, Davila told LiveScience. [In Photos: Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World]

 

"The writer draws on traditional methods of scriptural exegesis [interpretation] to deduce where the treasures might have been hidden, but I think the writer was approaching the story as a piece of entertaining fiction, not any kind of real guide for finding the lost Temple treasures," he wrote in the email.

 

The structure of the story is confusing. In the prologue it states that Shimmur the Levite (he doesn't appear to be a biblical figure) and his companions hid the treasures, "but later on the text mentions the treasures being in the keeping of or hidden by Shamshiel and other angels," Davila said. "I suspect the author collected various legends without too much concern about making them consistent."

 

The Copper Scroll, which dates back around 1,900 years, and is made of copper, shows several "striking parallels" with the newly translated treatise, Davila said.

 

The treatise says that the treasures from Solomon's Temple were recorded "on a tablet of bronze," a metal like the Copper Scroll. Additionally, among other similarities, the Treatise of the Vessels and Copper Scroll both refer to "vessels" or "implements," including examples made of gold and silver.

 

These similarities could be a coincidence or part of a tradition of recording important information on metal.

 

"My guess is that whoever wrote the Treatise of Vessels came up with the same idea [of writing a treasure list on metal] coincidentally on their own, although it is not unthinkable that the writer knew of some ancient tradition or custom about inscribing important information on metal," wrote Davila in the email, noting that metal is a more durable material than parchment or papyrus.

 

The study of the treatise is ongoing, and discoveries continue to be made. For instance, in the mid-20th century a copy of it (with some variations) was discovered and recorded in Beirut, Lebanon, at the end of a series of inscribed plates that record the Book of Ezekiel.

 

Those plates are now at the Yad Ben Zvi Institute in Israel, although the plates containing the treatise itself are now missing. Recent research has revealed, however, these plates were created in Syria at the turn of the 20th century, about 100 years ago, suggesting the treatise was being told in an elaborate way up until relatively modern times.

 

- See more at: http://www.livescience.com/42398-ark-of-covenant-fate-revealed-in-hebrew-text.html#sthash.kWryKQVj.dpuf