Incredible discovery of boat wreck in Croatia dated to 3,200 years

18 MARCH, 2014 - 12:29 APRILHOLLOWAY


Marine archaeologist and researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, Giulia Boetto, has announced the incredible discovery of a boat wreck in Zambratija Cove, Croatia, which has just been dated to 1,200 BC.  The unique and rare finding is a Bronze Age sewn boat, a type of wooden boat which is literally sewn together using ropes, roots, or willow branches.

The boat wreck was first seen by fishermen in 2008, just 600 metres from the beach and only two metres below the surface; however, they believed it to be a fairly recent wreck.  Giulia Boetto, and two of her Croatian colleagues, Ida Koncani from the Archaeological Museum of Istria, and her husband Marko Uhac from the Ministry of Culture, investigated the site and believed the boat to be quite old.  Initial dating led to the surprise discovery that the boat was from pre-Roman times.

The research team returned to the site in 2011 to take further samples and to conduct more rigorous analyses.  Finally, results of radiocarbon dating have revealed that the boat dates to a much earlier period – the 12th century BC.  Ms Boetto described the finding as “an extraordinary discovery [translated]”. She added, “It is extremely rare to find a wreck dating from the Bronze Age [translated]”.


The boat measures 7 metres in length and 2.5 metres in width and is a sewn boat, which was a technique of shipbuilding practiced in the Adriatic until the Roman era. Sewn boat construction techniques were used in many parts of the world prior to the development of metal fasteners, and continued to be used long after that time for small boats to reduce construction costs where metal fasteners were too expensive. Carefully shaped planks are connected at the edges with overlapping sections, which are sewn together.


The remains of the boat found in Zambratija Cove are incredibly well-preserved for its age, with stitching still visible in some areas and the frame largely undamaged.  The different types of wood used to construct it have been identified as elm, alder, and fir, and tree ring dating is currently underway, which will provide the date the tree was cut to the nearest year.  Ms Boetto said that they hope to finalise a 3D model of the boat and, eventually, a complete reconstruction.

The boat remains underwater for now, but there are plans to move it to a boat museum in Pula once further tests have been carried out.


By April Holloway


Un bateau de l'âge de bronze retrouvé en Méditerranée! – Le Point

Prehistoric Boat from Zambratija Cove – The First Campaign of Exploration - Portal of scientific journals of Croatia


Investigating the Submerged Prehistory of the Eastern Adriatic: progress and prospects in ‘An Offprint of Submerged Prehistory’.

Sewn Boats - The World of Boats

Sewn Boat – Fotevikens Museum

- See more at: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/incredible-discovery-boat-wreck-croatia-dated-3200-years-001458#sthash.nJOo1XsK.dpuf



Egypt unveils two massive restored pharaoh statues

By CNN Staff

March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)


Two colossal statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III were unveiled by archaeologists Sunday -- after being moved to their original sites and restored -- in the funerary temple of the king, on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, Egypt


(CNN) -- Archeologists in the historic city of Luxor, Egypt have unveiled two massive ancient statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III to the public.

The newly restored quartzite statues, one of which is more than 11 meters high and weighs 250 tonnes, can be found at the funerary temple of Amenhotep III.

They join a pair of already famous giants at the temple known as the Colossi of Memnon -- two 16-meter-high images of King Amenhotep III seated on his throne, also made of quartzite.

The unveiling was presided over by German archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian, who heads the temple of Amenhotep III conservation project.

The two new statues, discovered during excavations at the site, were originally in pieces before being restored and raised to their current standing position at the temple.

According to the World Monument Fund (WMF), the temple of Amenhotep III was erected between 1390 and 1353 B.C. for the pharaoh. It was 100 meters wide and 600 meters long, but only the lower sections of the structure remain.

The Colossi of Memnon, which mark the entrance of the temple of Amenhotep III, are the most visible remains of what was once the most richly ornamented of all Theban monuments, says the WMF.

"The temple structure was originally destroyed by earthquakes, and, since it was never fully excavated, the site was overgrown with vegetation and threatened by seasonal floods and agricultural development," says the organization.

"These problems were compounded by an increase in surface salts from rising groundwater, a by-product of the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s."

Luxor, 635 kilometers from Cairo, is divided by the Nile into two areas commonly referred to as the East and West Bank -- the latter home to some of Egypt's most prized ancient temples and monuments.

The unveiling comes at a time when Egypt's tourism sector is fighting to pull itself out of a slump due to political instability that's lingered since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

According to the Daily News Egypt, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said on Saturday that the tourism sector is completely collapsed, adding that great changes are needed to improve conditions.



Museum visitors can 'unwrap' a mummy

The digital unwrapping of the Egyptian priest Neswaiu

By Neil Bowdler

20 March 2014 Last updated at 23:45

Science and technology reporter, BBC News


In the 19th century and even later, there was no shortage of people eager to watch the unwrapping of an Egyptian mummy.


In 1908 in Manchester, some 500 people gathered in a lecture theatre to see prominent Egyptologist Margaret Murray supervise the unwrapping of a body from the Tomb of the Two Brothers from Manchester Museum's mummy collection.


As Egyptology and archaeology evolved, the destructive practise came to an end, but it didn't mean researchers and the public were any less curious about what lies within a mummy.


Now 21st Century technology is being used to virtually unwrap mummies without causing any damage to the body and wrappings.


Museums around the world, including the very same Manchester Museum, have been sending their mummies to hospitals to undergo computed tomography (CT) scanning, creating density maps of their insides for researchers to analyse.


And now comes a chance for the public to digitally unwrap a mummified body themselves.


Stockholm's Medelhavsmuseet, the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, has been working with the research group Interactive Institute Swedish ICT to digitally scan their eight human mummies as part of preparations for a new permanent exhibition.


The results for one of their mummies, the Egyptian priest Neswaiu, are now on show in the form of a digital autopsy table in an "embalmment room" beside his real mummified remains and coffins.


Using the table, visitors can virtually open the two coffins and then unpeel each layer of the mummy from his highly decorated cartonnage (the mummy's outer layer) down to his skeleton. They can also cut a cross-section through the multiple layers of the coffins and body.


Sofia Häggman, museum curator, told the BBC she wanted users to be able to "see this information first hand" and not always have to count on researchers explaining what can be found on this mummy.


"Now you can simply unwrap it virtually yourself," she said.


The autopsy table uses software called Inside Explorer developed by the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT.


The group first developed the platform for use in hospitals and by medical students but they've since gone on to work with the British Museum on a virtual autopsy table for the museum's Gebelein Man, a naturally mummified Egyptian man some 5,500 years old.


They've also worked with London's Natural History Museum, the Smithsonian in Washington and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.


The Interactive Institute Swedish ICT say the Neswaiu project represents their most advanced work yet, combining data from both CT scanning and photogrammetry, by which 2D pictures of the coffins and mummy were taken from multiple angles to build an accurate 3D surface model using Autodesk's Recap Photo software.


"CT scanning gives you information about the interior of the mummy but it doesn't give you any colour or surface information," the research institute's Thomas Rydell told the BBC.


"So we continued the process by doing laser scanning and photogrammetry and that process gave us information about the surface and textures and colours of the mummy and then we're taking all that data and putting it on the table and making it accessible for museum visitors."


Neswaiu lived in the third century BC at the temple of the god Montu in Thebes - modern-day Luxor. His remains were gifted to the Medelhavsmuseet in 1928 when it first opened.


"We know that his mother's name was Takerheb and we also know that he belonged to the upper classes of Egyptian society because he could afford an expensive mummification. Not everybody could," said Sofia Häggman.


"He also has a gilded cartonnage, he has two coffins and he has a lot of amulets on his mummy, small pieces of jewellery that would aid him into eternal life."


Researchers have tried to see what was inside his mummy before. His stomach was opened in 1962 and a tissue sample removed and X-rays have also been taken previously. But the digital autopsy has added much more detail to their understanding.


"He was healthy, pretty muscular apparently. He lived until he was 50 or 60 years old which was comparatively old in ancient Egypt and he might have died from an infection in one of his teeth which affected the bone and could have caused blood poisoning," said Ms Häggman.


The scanning process has also given them further insight into the mummification process.


"You can see the cut where the internal organs were taken out. You can see the wrapped packages of intestines, of the lungs and the liver they put back inside the body and you can see how the cut was then resealed and they put an amulet in the shape of the embalmer's two fingers across the cut to protect it."


Scanning also pinpointed in three dimensions where 120 amulets found on his body were placed, including a falcon-shaped one. The data was used to 3D print a mould and then cast an exact replica of the falcon while leaving the original undisturbed on the mummy.


What Neswaiu doesn't have any more is a brain - that was not preserved. Humans, the Egyptians believed, thought with their hearts.



Iron Age woman's footless body found near West Knoyle

18 March 2014 Last updated at 19:35


Along with the female skeleton were found the remains of a 10-year-old child and two males with sword wounds


A skeleton of an Iron Age woman with her feet chopped off has been discovered in a field in Wiltshire.


The remains were found along the A303, near West Knoyle, by archaeologists ahead of a new water main being laid.


Wessex Water said the woman's feet were found "reburied alongside her" along with the carcasses of at least two sheep or goats "on her head".


Peter Cox, from AC Archaeology, said: "We're unsure why - but it must have some link to beliefs at the time."


The female skeleton was found alongside the remains of a child aged about 10 and two males with sword wounds to their hips.


Wessex Water is currently building a 40-mile (64km) pipeline to carry water from a Dorset treatment plant into Wiltshire.


It was during a pre-work survey of the West Knoyle area that AC Archaeology unearthed the Iron Age burial site.


"Human remains from these periods are very rare and indicate the long period of settlement that has occurred in the area," said Mr Cox.


"But we're unsure why the female skeleton has been found without her feet or why she may have been buried with sheep, but perhaps it was to protect her soul from bad spirits."


The bones have been removed from the site and will undergo radiocarbon dating to determine their age.



Cambridge University archaeologists find 'oldest' Roman irrigation system

18 March 2014 Last updated at 15:09


Excavations at a Cambridge University development have revealed what archaeologists believe is Britain's oldest-known Roman irrigation system.


Planting beds and pit wells were unearthed at the North West Cambridge site near Huntingdon Road.


Chris Evans from the university's archaeological unit said they dated from between 70 AD and 120 AD.


It was an "unparalleled discovery" and "effectively the first irrigation system we've seen", he said.


Excavations have so far uncovered evidence of settlements and habitation on the site from as early as the later Neolithic period, about 2800 BC to 2200 BC, to the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman period as well as more modern finds including World War II practice trenches.


The team has been investigating how people through the ages adapted to living in an inland area away from main river valleys.


"Our findings have unearthed zebra-like stripes of Roman planting beds that are encircled on their higher northern side by more deep pit wells," Mr Evans said.


"The gully-defined planting beds were closely set and were probably grapevines or possibly asparagus."


During dry spells water would have been poured from the wells into the ditches to irrigate crops, he added.


"I'm not aware of an irrigation system of this kind before," he said.


"There has been evidence of gardens and wells, but the extent to which there are planting beds arranged in parallel and along a slope, connecting directly to a water source, is new territory.


"It points to the sophisticated knowledge of hydrology and the introduction of horticulture the Romans had."


Excavation is continuing at the 370-acre (150 hectares) planned development on Cambridge University farmland between Huntingdon Road, Madingley Road and the M11.


The site is expected to include 3,000 homes and accommodation for 2,000 postgraduate students, together with research and community facilities.



2,000-year-old Roman sculpture unearthed in Lincoln garden

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: March 23, 2014


A rare Roman sculpture dating back nearly 2,000 years has been dug up in a Lincoln garden.


City jeweller Liz Rowlett, her boyfriend Surjeet Mann and dad Peter were shocked to find that the long-buried marble bull is a genuine artefact.


Experts called in to verify its age are convinced that the foot-long headless sculpture dates back to the Roman occupation of the city.


Now the family is awaiting further tests – and will allow the treasure to go on show at The Collection in Lincoln until they make a decision on its future.


“Surjeet and my dad were digging out the drains on the extension to the back of our house in Thonock Close when they found the statue,” said Miss Rowlett, who helps run the Lincoln High Street family jewellers’ business and lectures part-time at the University of Lincoln.


“We were just going to put it back in the hardcore, but my dad has a background in antiques and he thought it might be worth something.


“So he contacted The Collection and the rest is history!


“To me it just seemed to be a weird piece of rock, but it’s turned out to be quite a find.”


Archaeologist Antony Lee is the access officer at The Collection who sent the find to Roman expert Professor Martin Henig at Oxford University.


Mr Lee said: “Professor Henig is firmly of the opinion that the bull is Roman in date, and most likely earlier in the period rather than later, probably first or second century.


“He has compared it to examples of bull imagery from Pompeii and on jewellery of the Augustan period.


“Professor Henig believes that it was probably an item of household or garden decoration, perhaps one of a group surrounding a water feature in a large house in or just outside of Roman Lincoln.


“He is very excited indeed about the discovery.”


In the absence of a grand country house in the vicinity, it seems unlikely that it is a Grand Tour piece collected by a rich Lincolnshire landowner and brought back to the city.


The remaining possibilities are that it represents a very important example of sculptural work from Roman Lincoln – or was an item brought in with building materials during the construction of the estate.


Mr Lee said the latter “sadly remains a possibility” but added: “The potential importance of the former being true means that Professor Henig suggests that the statue should be published in a future volume of the Britannia Journal, which is dedicated to the study of Roman Britain.”


Mr Lee is now organising a marble test, which will shed more light on the bull’s origin, age – and on its potential value.


Read more: http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/2-000-year-old-Roman-sculpture-unearthed-Lincoln/story-20833277-detail/story.html#ixzz2wukSthwq