Monday, July 03, 2017

UNUSUAL SITE DISCOVERED IN PERU AT 12,500 FEET DATING TO 7,000 YEARS AGO

A site discovered in Peru at 12,500 feet above sea level suggests that hunter-gatherers lived all-year-round at very high altitudes beginning at least 7,000 years ago.

USA TODAY reports that archaeologists uncovered the remains of 16 individuals at the site of Soro Mik'aya Patjxa in the Andean Highlands, as well as stone points, animal bones—likely of the vicuña, a relative of the llama—and evidence of wild tubers.

According to the researchers, several factors point to the group's permanent residence in upper altitudes, including the lack of any imported materials found at the site, the great distance to lower elevations in the area, and the results of stable isotope analysis on their bone material, which yielded low oxygen and high carbon isotope ratios, indicating a life spent in thin air and dizzying heights.

UNIQUE SQUARE MONUMENT FOUND BENEATH FAMOUS AVEBURY STONE CIRCLE IN WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND


The UNESCO World Heritage Site, cared for by the National Trust, was built over several hundred years in the third millennium BC and contains three stone circles – including the largest stone circle in Europe which is 330m across and originally comprised around 100 huge standing stones.

Dr Mark Gillings, Academic Director and Reader in Archaeology at the University of Leicester, said: "Our research has revealed previously unknown megaliths inside the world-famous Avebury stone circle. We have detected and mapped a series of prehistoric standing stones that were subsequently hidden and buried, along with the positions of others likely destroyed during the 17th and 18th centuries. Together, these reveal a striking and apparently unique square megalithic monument within the Avebury circles that has the potential to be one of the very earliest structures on this remarkable site."

Avebury has been the subject of considerable archaeological interest since the 17th century. The discovery of new megaliths inside the monument was therefore a great surprise, pointing to the need for further archaeological investigations of this kind at the site.

The survey took place inside the Southern Inner Circle, contained within the bank and ditch, and colossal Outer Stone Circle of the Avebury henge. Excavations here by the archaeologist and marmalade magnate Alexander Keiller in 1939 demonstrated the existence of a curious angular setting of small standing stones set close to a single huge upright known since the 18th century as the Obelisk. Unfortunately, the outbreak of war left this feature only partially investigated.

Dr Joshua Pollard, from the University of Southampton, said: "Our careful program of geophysical survey has finally completed the work begun by Keiller. It has shown the line of stones he identified was one side of a square of megaliths about 30m across and enclosing the Obelisk. Also visible are short lines of former standing stones radiating from this square and connecting with the Southern Inner Circle. Megalithic circles are well known from the time when Avebury was built during the late Neolithic (3rd millennium BC), but square megalithic settings of this kind are highly unusual."

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist at Avebury, said: "This discovery has been almost 80 years in the making but it's been well worth waiting for. The completion of the work first started by Keiller in the 1930s has revealed an entirely new type of monument at the heart of the world's largest prehistoric stone circle, using techniques he never dreamed of. And goes to show how much more is still to be revealed at Avebury if we ask the right questions."

The archaeologists who undertook the work think the construction of the square megalithic setting might have commemorated and monumentalized the location of an early Neolithic house – perhaps part of a founding settlement – subsequently used as the center point of the Southern Inner Circle. At the time of excavation in 1939 the house was erroneously considered by Keiller to be a medieval cart shed.

If proved correct, it may help understand the beginnings of the remarkable Avebury monument complex, and help explain why it was built where it was.

















ROME'S CONSTRUCTION OF NEW METRO LINE UNCOVERING ANCIENT BUILDINGS DATING TO THE 3RD CENTURY A.D.


(Courtesy Italy’s Ministry of Culture)


Construction of Rome’s new metro Line C has uncovered traces of buildings dating to the third century A.D., according to a report in The Local, Italy.

The buildings were found more than 30 feet below ground level on the Caelian Hill, near the Aurelian Walls, which were also built during the third century to surround the ancient city.

A fire on the site preserved wood from the structures. The excavation also uncovered plaster fragments and frescoes, pieces of furniture, sculptures, windows, and the skeleton of a dog, which was found on the building’s doorstep. Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology will try to determine whether seismic activity could have ignited the fire.

ISIS HAS DESTROYED 360 HISTORICAL SITES IN NINEVEH

Iraq’s security directorate has revealed that ISIS has destroyed about 360 historical sites in Nineveh since its occupation by the terrorist group in 2014.

According to sources speaking to Al Arabiya, around 300 historical mosques and many churches were amongst the vandalized structures.

Sources have confirmed that the most prominent areas destroyed by ISIS include the Grand Mosque, Manara Mosque in al-Hadbba, prophet Yunus’s shrine and Saint Elijah's monastery, one of Iraq’s and the city of al-Hadar’s oldest churches.

The same sources added that the goal behind ISIS’s vandalizing attacks is to cover up its smuggling activities of other antiquities.

PALMYRA DESPITE BEING DAMAGED BY ISIS, CAN BE REBUILT

The large archaeological site Palmyra in Syria was severely damaged by the Islamic State (ISIS) but not pulverized and can be almost entirely rebuilt, said Paolo Matthiae.

The archaeologist, a prominent international expert, said that most of the ruins can be restored using traditional methods. Speaking at the presentation of the exhibition 'I Volti di Palmira' ('The Faces of Palmyra') in Aquileia, which will run from July 2 until October 3 at the National Archaeological Museum of the Friuli city, the discoverer of Ebla said that the Syrian authorities had begun to carefully study the parts that have collapsed and that an initial analysis had shown that many of the stones can be restored.

A French company was tasked with the initial assessment but Italy's Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro has restored two damaged sculptures currently at an exhibition at the Colosseum, after which they will be given back to Syrian.

The archaeological site of Palmyra is a vast field of ruins and only 20-30% of it is seriously damaged. Unfortunately these included important parts, such as the Temple of Bel, while the Arc of Triumph can be rebuilt,' he said. In any case, by using both traditional methods and advanced technologies, it might be possible to restore 98% of the site.