Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Research from the University of Sheffield (UK) shows that the ancient Minoan civilisation of Crete had strong martial traditions, contradicting the commonly held view of Minoans as a peace-loving people. The research, carried out by Dr Barry Molloy of the University's Department of Archaeology, investigated the Bronze Age people of Crete who created the very first complex urban civilisation in Europe. Molloy's research reveals that war was in fact a defining characteristic of the Minoan society, and that warrior identity was one of the dominant expressions of male identity.

"The study shows that the activities of warriors included such diverse things as public displays of bull-leaping, boxing contests, wrestling, hunting, sparring and duelling. Ideologies of war are shown to have permeated religion, art, industry, politics and trade, and the social practices surrounding martial traditions were demonstrably a structural part of how this society evolved and how they saw themselves."

Even the famous Mycenaeans - Greek heroes of the Trojan War - took up the Minoan ways, adopting their weaponry, practices and ideologies. "In fact," said Molloy, "it is to Crete we must look for the origin of those weapons that were to dominate Europe until the Middle Ages - namely swords, metal battle-axes, shields, spears and probably armour also." Weapons and warrior culture materialised in sanctuaries, graves, domestic units and hoards, and could also be found in portable media intended for use during social interactions. "There were few spheres of interaction in Crete that did not have a martial component, right down to the symbols used in their written scripts." says Dr Molloy.

Edited from The Annual of the British School at Athens (November 2012), The University of Sheffield (15 January 2013)
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Genetic analysis of more than 300 Aborigines, Indians, and people from Papua New Guinea and islands of south-east Asia has found a "significant gene flow" from India to Australia about 4230 years ago, reports a new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Irina Pugach, the study's lead researcher, says "[There was] a sudden change in plant processing and stone tool technologies, with microliths appearing for the first time, and the first appearance of the dingo in the fossil record," adding, "it is likely that these changes were related to this migration."

The study also found a common origin between Aboriginal Australians, New Guinea populations, and a Negrito group from the Philippines. The researchers estimate these groups split from each other about 36,000 years ago, when Australia and New Guinea formed one land mass. "Outside Africa, Aboriginial Australians are the oldest continuous population in the world," said Pugach, a molecular anthropologist.

Australia offers some of the earliest archaeological evidence for the presence of humans outside Africa, with sites dated to at least 45,000 years ago.

Edited from Zeenews (16 January 2012), AFP, Yahoo! News (15 January 2013)
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Archaeologists say an ancient Chinese arrowhead unearthed in Okayama City in Western Japan is the first of its kind discovered in the country. The bronze arrowhead has been dated to the Warring States period of ancient Chinese history, 475 BCE to 221 BCE.

Researchers said the Chinese artifact, a 'double-winged bronze arrowhead,' was unearthed at the Minamigata ruins located in the city center of Okayama. The arrowhead, 1.4 inches long by a half inch wide, was found together with pottery fragments and pieces of stoneware dated to Japan's Iron Age Middle Yayoi period, about 300 BCE to 100 BCE. The double-winged shape of the arrowhead represents a distinctive manufacturing style from the era of ancient China, suggesting it was imported by an influential group with care from the continent to western Japan, archaeologists said.

"Considering that there is a considerable time gap between its original production in China and the actual usage in Japan, the thin bronze arrowhead must have been used as a ritual item or burial good rather than a weapon," Minoru Norioka, director of Okayama City's properties division, said.

Edited from UPI.com (24 January 2013)
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Archaeologists have proved for the first time that people started living in the Didcot area, 90 kilometres west of London, as early as 9,000 years ago. Rob Masefield, director of archaeology at RPS Planning, said one of the most important discoveries was hundreds of flints dating to the Mesolithic period: "...these were working flints used around campfires about 9,000 years ago." Oxford Archaeology project manager Steve Lawrence added: "The site demonstrates about 1,000 years of continuous settlement."

Investigations in 2011 unearthed finds including a complete Neolithic bowl from about 3600 BCE. Excavations in 2012 revealed a rare example of a late Neolithic to early Bronze Age ceremonial pond barrow from about 2000 BCE, containing arrowheads.

The two-and-a-half-year dig has also uncovered the remains of a Roman villa, a piece of Roman pottery featuring a face design, and located a large Iron Age hilltop settlement with up to 60 roundhouses. Hundreds of grain storage pits, human burials, domestic rubbish, pottery dumps and animal bones have been found as well.

Edited from Herald Series (22 January 2013)
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The Celts were long considered a barbaric and violent society, but new findings from a 2,600-year-old grave in southwest Germany suggest the ancient people were much more sophisticated.

In 2010, on the site of an early Celtic settlement not far from the Heuneburg, beside a small tributary of the Danube called Bettelbuehl, researchers stumbled upon the elaborate grave of a Celtic princess - a 3.6 by 4.6 meter subterranean burial chamber fitted with massive oak beams.

It was an archeological sensation. After 2,600 years, the chamber was completely intact, preserved by the constant flow of water.

The Heuneburg is a center of Celtic culture in south-western Germany. In its heyday, giant walls protected a city of as many as 10,000 people. Wealthy members of society led lives of luxury: Etruscan gold jewellery, Greek wine, and Spanish tableware were all traded here.

Elaborate pearl earrings, solid gold clasps, an amber necklace and a bronze belt are just some of the findings from the grave. Stacks of burial objects made of gold, amber, jet and bronze were discovered alongside the skeletons of the princess and an unidentified child.

Researchers are also particularly interested in the plant and animal remains found in the chamber. "The organic material is actually just as important as the artifacts because it gives us information about their burial rituals," said Nicole Ebinger-Rist, director of the research project handling the find.

The researchers are also hoping to learn more about the Celts' wars of domination - one of the greatest mysteries of central European history. We still don't know why the Celts were advancing quickly from the sixth century BCE until the birth of Christ, and then abruptly disappeared.


Archaeologists are to investigate a human skull found by council workers carrying out winter maintenance in a sand bunker by the fourth hole on Musselburgh Links Golf Course - officially the oldest golf course in the world.

Officers from Lothian and Borders Police despatched the remains to Dundee University, who sent their archaeologists to look at the site. They believe the skull, which belonged to a mid-to-late teenage female (nicknamed 'Betty'), is around 2500 years old - possibly part of an Iron Age graveyard.

As there is no pressing archaeological reason to remove the rest of her remains, East Lothian Council have no plans to investigate further.

My comment -- and the golfers might be upset if the greens were disturbed!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Archaeologists have presented the completed excavation of a 900-seat auditorium under Rome's Piazza Venezia, which they are hailing as the city's most significant discovery since the Roman Forum was unearthed 80 years ago.

The ancient arts complex or "Athenaeum", which lies 5.5m underground, dates to 123 AD. It comprises three halls whose 13m-high arched ceilings and terraced marble seating once provided space for Rome's noblemen to listen to poetry and philosophy. Its construction is believed to have been funded by Emperor Hadrian, who was a keen patron of the arts.

After the fall of the Roman empire, archaeologists believe that the complex was used to smelt ingots and mint coins during the Byzantine era, while from the 16th- to the 19th centuries one of the halls served as a hospital cellar. An earthquake in 848 AD led to a large part of the structure’s roof collapsing onto the floor of one of the halls, where it still remains.

The archaeologists' discovery follows five years of excavations and came about as a result of digging for the capital’s third underground line, the troubled Metro C, part of whose route was designed to run from the Colosseum to St Peter’s.

Work began on the project in 1990 but its construction has been hampered consistently by the extensive archaeological heritage buried beneath the city, leading to the scrapping of plans for two stations so far. In February 2012 the line's spiralling costs prompted the Audit Court to describe it as "the most expensive and slowest public works project in Europe and the world."

The new discovery will force engineers to rework their plans yet again and may even result in the abandoning of the line’s last proposed station in the centre. However Rossella Rea, the archaeologist in charge of the excavation, told The Guardian newspaper that the Piazza Venezia station and the ruins could coexist. "I believe we can run one of the exits from the station along the original corridor of the complex where Romans entered the halls," she said.

The archaeological site, which is currently surrounded by a taxi rank, is expected to be opened to the public in three years.


Archaeologists from the University of Southampton (England) studying a Neolithic archaeological site in central Greece have helped unearth over 300 clay figurines, one of the highest density for such finds in south-eastern Europe.

The Southampton team, working in collaboration with the Greek Archaeological Service and the British School at Athens, is studying the site of Koutroulou Magoula near the Greek village of Neo Monastiri, around 160 miles from Athens.

Koutroulou Magoula was occupied during the Middle Neolithic period (c. 5800 - 5300 BCE) by a community of a few hundred people who made architecturally sophisticated houses from stone and mud-bricks. The figurines were found all over the site, with some located on wall foundations. It's believed the purpose of figurines was not only as aesthetic art, but also to convey and reflect ideas about a community's culture, society and identity.

"Figurines were thought to typically depict the female form, but our find is not only extraordinary in terms of quantity, but also quite diverse - male, female and non-gender specific ones have been found and several depict a hybrid human-bird figure," says Professor Yannis Hamilakis, Co-Director of the Koutroulou Magoula Archaeology and Archaeological Ethnography project.

The site consists of a mound up to 18 feet high featuring at least three terraces surrounded by ditches. The people who lived in the settlement appear to have rebuilt their homes on the same building footprint generation after generation, and there is also evidence that some of the houses were unusual in their construction.

Professor Hamilakis comments, "This type of home would normally have stone foundations with mud-bricks on top, but our investigations have found some preserved with stone walls up to a metre in height, suggesting that the walls may have been built entirely of stone, something not typical of the period. The people would have been farmers who kept domestic animals, used flint or obsidian tools and had connections with settlements in the nearby area. The construction of parts of the settlement suggests they worked communally, for example, to construct the concentric ditches surrounding their homes.

In later centuries, the settlement mount became an important memory place. For example, at the end of the Bronze Age, a 'tholos' or beehive-shaped tomb was constructed at the top and in Medieval times (12-13th c. CE) at least one person (a young woman) was buried amongst the Neolithic houses.

The project team will carry out two study seasons in 2013 and 2014.

Edited from EurekAlert!, Southern Daily Echo (7 January 2013)
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Recent excavations in the Vietnamese central province of Thanh Hoa have revealed evidence of occupation of a particular cave, known as Con Moong, over a continuous period from 18,000 BCE to 7,000 BCE, and it is believed to be the longest continuously occupied cave in the whole of Southeast Asia.

The cave is located on a cliff and penetrates over 40 metres into the heart of a mountain. The sediment lining the cave has been excavated to a depth of 3.6 metres and has revealed artefacts from Old Stone Age through to the Neolithic period. These artefacts include skeletons from the Old Stone Age and a well preserved tomb.

The discovery is of such importance that the Director of the Thanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism, Nguyen Van Tuan, has requested the Vietnamese Government to name it a special national relic and he is also seeking UNESCO World Heritage status.

Edited from VietnamNet (3 January 2013)
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A team of Turkish archeologists has unearthed traces of a Neolithic settlement dating back over eight millennia in Pendik district in Istanbul (Turkey).

The site was uncovered during the construction of a railway project in Istanbul's Marmaray. The findings include ancient houses, skeletons, cemeteries and various tools such as spoons, needles and axes that indicate a history of 8,500-year-old settlement at the area.

Most of the found skeletons were buried in a fetal position, where the arms are embracing the lower limbs. As thousands of mussel shells were discovered in the area, experts suggest that the residents of the ancient village must have consumed large amounts of clams.

The Culture and Tourism Provincial Manager Ahmet Emre Bilgili said that a new museum is needed to display the discoveries that date back to the Neolithic.

Edited from PressTV (14 January 2013)
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Thursday, January 10, 2013


The Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York has acquired two significant works – an opaque turquoise portrait inlay of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and a Late Roman bowl featuring a colorful inlaid Nilotic scene. Preserved for over three millennia, these works showcase the ingenuity and creativity of ancient glassmakers.

"These rare and exceptionally beautiful works bring a new level of excellence to a collection already noted for its depth and aesthetic quality," stated Karol Wight, executive director. "They are important and powerful not only as works of art, but as windows for our visitors to see into the lives, tastes, and ideas of ancient societies." Wight, an internationally renowned specialist in Roman glass and the Museum's curator of ancient and Islamic glass, oversees the strategic growth of the Museum's ancient glass collections.

The Roman bowl, which dates from the 4th - 5th century A.D., has never been published or publicly displayed and is the only complete or nearly complete example of this type of inlaid vessel. Against a background of a dark, aubergine glass, a fantastic Nile Valley landscape with colorful birds, an insect, plants, and flowers unfolds across the surface of bowl's interior. The birds, among them a flamingo, a heron, ducks, and a partridge, are all meant to be seen from a single vantage point, and are shown in an aquatic environment. Hemispherical bowls of this nature were often used to consume wine. When filled with liquid, the bowl's decorative scheme would have been enhanced, as if the birds and flowers were actually situated within a watery landscape.

Preserved from around about 1353–1336 B.C., the highly stylized portrait of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten reflects the finest level of craftsmanship from this period. The father of King Tutankhamen, Akhenaten moved the capital from Thebes to the site of Amarna, where an entire city rose from the sands. The group of artists whose work decorated the new capital broke from the established traditional style of Egyptian art, which was idealized and severely formal. Their depiction of the human form was exaggerated, with sagging bellies, thin arms and legs, sumptuous lips, long oval eyes, and high, carefully carved cheekbones. These characteristics are present in the inlay acquired by the Corning Museum, a blue portrait featuring a long neck, high cheekbone, full lips, and long, slanted eye.

Both works complement and enhance the Museum's current holdings in these areas. The collection includes fragments from vessels similar to the Roman bowl as well as a number of Egyptian inlays, none of which are royal portraits. Overall, the antiquities collection includes many fine examples of vessels, jewelry, and sculptural objects from ancient Egypt and Rome, as well as Western Asia and the Hellenistic world of the eastern Mediterranean.


Israel's National Library has unveiled the cache of recently purchased documents that run the gamut of life experiences, including biblical commentaries, personal letters and financial records.

Researchers say the "Afghan Genizah" marks the greatest such archive found since the "Cairo Genizah" was discovered in an Egyptian synagogue more than 100 years ago, a vast depository of medieval manuscripts considered to be among the most valuable collections of historical documents ever found.

Genizah, a Hebrew term that loosely translates as "storage," refers to a storeroom adjacent to a synagogue or Jewish cemetery where Hebrew-language books and papers are kept. Under Jewish law, it is forbidden to throw away writings containing the formal names of God, so they are either buried or stashed away.

The Afghan collection gives an unprecedented look into the lives of Jews in ancient Persia in the 11th century. The paper manuscripts, preserved over the centuries by the dry, shady conditions of the caves, include writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, Judea-Arabic and the unique Judeo-Persian language from that era, which was written in Hebrew letters.

CBS News' Jere van Dyk reports it will most probably show, if the dates are true, that Jews and Muslims once lived together in harmony in Afghanistan, as they did at one point in the modern era. If the manuscripts can be shown to be older than 1,000 years or make references to previous centuries, then this will change many perspectives; Islam has only existed for 1,500 years.

This discovery will put pressure on the Taliban who, while not anti-Jewish, are political and thus, like their mothers and fathers in the Mujahideen, are pro-Palestinian. They have adopted some of the anti-Israeli sentiment that comes from the Arabs who have been there, and are now in Pakistan, since the 1980s.

The documents are believed to have come from caves in the northeast region of modern-day Afghanistan, once at the outer reaches of the Persian empire. In recent years, the same caves have served as hideouts for Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

It remains unclear how the ancient manuscripts emerged. Ben-Shammai said the library was contacted by various antiquities dealers who got their hands on them

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


The scene of a battle mentioned in the Bible, it lies smack on the border between Turkey and Syria, where civil war rages today. Twenty-first century Turkish sentries occupy an acropolis dating back more than 5,000 years, and the ruins were recently de-mined. Visible from crumbling, earthen ramparts, a Syrian rebel flag flies in a town that regime forces fled just months ago.

A Turkish-Italian team is conducting the most extensive excavations there in nearly a century, building on the work of British Museum teams that included T.E.Lawrence, the adventurer known as Lawrence of Arabia. The plan is to open the site along the Euphrates river to tourists in late 2014.

The strategic city, its importance long known to scholars because of references in ancient texts, was under the sway of Hittites and other imperial rulers and independent kings. However, archaeological investigation there was halted by World War I, and then by hostilities between Turkish nationalists and French colonizers from Syria who built machine gun nests in its ramparts. Part of the frontier was mined in the 1950s, and in later years, creating deadly obstacles to archaeological inquiry at a site symbolic of modern strife and intrigue.

The project director is from the University of Bologna. Turkish military let archaeologists resume work last year for the first time since its troops occupied the site about 90 years ago. At around the same time, the Syrian uprising against President Bashar Assad was escalating. More than 100,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering in Turkish camps, and cross-border shelling last month sharpened tension between Syria and Turkey, which backs the rebellion along with its Western and Arab allies. Nuh Kocaslan, mayor of the nearby Turkish town of Karkamis, said he hoped the Syrian war would end "as soon as possible so that our region can find calm," and that the area urgently needs revenue from tourists, barred for now from Karkemish because it is designated a military zone.

Archaeologists say they felt secure during a 10-week season of excavation on the Turkish side of Karkemish that ended in late October. One big eruption of gunfire from the Syrian side turned out to be part of a wedding celebration. The team arrived in August, one month after Syrian insurgents ousted troops from the Syrian border town of Jarablous. A Syrian government airstrike near Jarablous killed at least eight people that same month.

About one-third of the 90-hectare (222-acre) archaeological site lies inside Syria and is therefore off-limits; construction and farming in Jarablous have encroached on what was the outer edge of the ancient city. Most discoveries have been made on what is now Turkish territory.

When a British team began work in 1911, the undivided area was part of the weakening Ottoman Empire. Germans nearby were constructing the Berlin-Baghdad railway, which traverses the ancient site along the border. Archaeologist C.L. Woolley and his assistant, Lawrence, found basalt and limestone slabs carved with soldiers, chariots, animals and kings; many are displayed today in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, the Turkish capital. The remains of palaces and temples were also uncovered.

Lawrence wrote letters about making casts of Hittite inscriptions, mending pottery, photographing items, settling "blood feuds" among workers on the dig, a foray into gun-running in Beirut, and a sense of wonder on a visit to nearby Aleppo, today the scene of fierce battles in Syria's civil war.

"Aleppo is all compact of colour, and sense of line: you inhale Orient in lungloads, and glut your appetite with silks and dyed fantasies of clothes," he wrote. "Today there came in through the busiest vault in the bazaar a long caravan of 100 mules of Baghdad, marching in line rhythmically to the boom of two huge iron bells swinging under the belly of the foremost."

Lawrence later acquired fame for his role in an Arab revolt against the Ottomans, who allied with the Germans during World War I. Photographs of Lawrence in Arab garb, his later writing, and eventually the cinema epic "Lawrence of Arabia" elevated his legend.

In the ruins of the excavation house of its British predecessors, the Turkish-Italian team discovered old archaeological tools, statue fragments and a Roman mosaic. Elsewhere, they found a bronze cylinder seal inscribed with hieroglyphs that belonged to a town official and a bronze statuette of a god with a double-horned tiara and a skirt, along with a silver dagger set into the left hand.

"You do feel a connection with what has been written, with what has been found and, of course, with the people who were here," said Marchetti, whose team used a laser scanner to create digital models of artifacts. It got a more complete picture with satellite imagery as well as aerial photos taken from a kite.

Philologist Hasan Peker of Istanbul University, deputy director of the project, said he hoped to find the city's "royal archives" dating from the height of the Hittite empire more than 3,000 years ago. The team has asked the Turkish military for access to the acropolis, where a watch tower stands.

In 2009 and 2010, professor Tony Wilkinson, an archaeologist at Durham University in Britain, participated in a survey of the Syrian side of Karkemish. He could not return in 2011 because of the uprising. As late as May this year, Wilkinson said, Syrian colleagues from the archaeological museum in Aleppo reported that they were checking the Karkemish site.

Read more: Archaeologists explore site on Syria-Turkey border - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_21954725#ixzz2GrSjPLxU


“The Presidio, founded by Spanish soldiers, sailors and missionaries, and in use from 1769 to 1834, was the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast. It marks the origin site of San Diego, California. Buried beneath the grass on Presidio Hill is a large fortress about 300 feet square, with walls, bastions, living units, chapels and a cemetery where more than 200 of San Diego's first citizens are buried.

“This site needs to be studied and interpreted and brought to the attention of the world as a World Heritage site,” said Paul Chace, who is not alone in his evaluation of the importance of the Royal Presidio. Tim Gross, Ph.D., a professor of archaeology at the University of San Diego, said, “The most significant archaeological landmark in San Diego has to be the Presidio. There is a city and its history buried up there that needs to be brought to light.”

Archaeologist Jack Williams, Ph.D., who conducted the last excavations at the Presidio, called it, “One of the most important and best-preserved Spanish colonial sites in the entire Western United States.”

But if the Royal Presidio is so important, why is it buried under four feet of earth and covered with grass? Why hasn’t it been unearthed, restored, and turned into an educational and cultural center that could benefit the city of San Diego?

The San Diego Presidio was the first of four military forts (presidios) built by the Spanish military in California in the 1700s. The other presidios are at Santa Barbara, Monterey and San Francisco, but they were built later. At its heyday, the San Diego Presidio housed upwards of 100 leather-jacketed soldiers and 500 civilians, including Native Americans from various tribes in upper and lower California. Although there were “pure-blooded” Spanish, as well as other nationalities (including English and Russian), living at the presidio, most of the soldiers and civilians were from Baja California or Sonora.

“For the first 60 years of operation,” Chace explained, “everyone had to live inside the walls of the fort made from adobe bricks. But after the Mexican Revolution, which freed Mexico from the rule of Spain, the Presidio was not funded and it fell into disrepair. Soon after that, the people of the Presidio began to move down the hill to live in Old Town. By 1835, the Presidio was totally abandoned.”

The Presidio was also the first site of interaction between Native Americans and Europeans in California. When the Spanish arrived, they were confronted with a large Native American village at the foot of Presidio Hill called “Cosoy.”

Although there were some instances of conflict, the Native Americans were soon integrated into the daily life at the Presidio. Native American expert Richard Carrico discovered that the first five marriages at the Presidio were between Hispanics and local Native American women and the first six burials were Native American.

Through the years, the fortress at the Presidio has been subject to six archeological investigations. In 1999, after the last one, the city reburied the entire site under 4 feet of earth to try and protect it from vandalism and the elements. Since then, there has not been any further excavation, but the existing collections of archaeological artifacts have been subject to a small amount of study.

There are some people who say, off the record, that the city does not want to promote the Presidio because its points out that San Diego was developed by meztizos from Baja California and Sonora, who were the first settlers and soldiers, and by the local Indian groups with who they intermarried and not Anglo Saxon entrepreneurs, cowboys and pioneers.

To confront these issues, Chace conducts a monthly sharing circle in the second-floor meeting room above El Fandango restaurant, 2734 Calhoun St. in Old Town State Park. During the gathering, 6-7:30 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month, attendees discuss the past and future of the Presidio. Attendees have included historians, archeologists, natural scientists, city officials, park rangers, Native Americans, Presidio descendants and concerned citizens.

“Everyone is invited. There is coffee and Mexican beer provided to all, free of charge,” Chace said. “We would like more of the public to come to our meetings, get involved and share their opinions about this important site.

“The Presidio should be an important historical and culture resource center in San Diego on the order of a United Nations-type of world-class site. I invite those interested in the realization of this dream to join me in my quest.”




The Moorehead Circle is a woodhenge at the Fort Ancient Earthworks (Ohio, USA): a monumental hilltop enclosure built by the Hopewell culture 2,000 years ago. Now, thanks to Robert Riordan and his team of students and volunteers, a general picture of this amazingly complicated site is coming into focus.

The Moorehead Circle was a triple ring of large, wooden posts surrounding a central pit filled with red earth. A 40 by 50 ft rectangular structure was located adjacent to this central altar. An arc of alternating trenches and prepared floors on the southern half of the circle may have been something like bleachers, though Riordan doesn't think it necessarily had wooden seats.

Riordan discussed the site at a recent meeting and focused on the culmination of the active ceremonial life of the Moorehead Circle. He said that the Hopewell people did not just abandon this remarkable 'ceremonial machine' letting it fall slowly into ruin. Instead, they carefully dismantled its components and then sealed the site beneath a layer of gravel - but not with an earthen mound.

Typically, the people of the Hopewell culture would have covered a place of such intense ritual activity beneath a mound. The fact that they did not do so here is one of the mysteries of the Moorehead Circle and one reason why it was not discovered prior to 2005. This suggests that there likely are more sites like the Moorehead Circle out there waiting to be discovered.

The Fort Ancient Earthworks is a part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, which is on the United States' Tentative List for eventual consideration for nomination to the World Heritage List.

Edited from Ohio Archaeology Blog (23 December 2012)
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A discovery of graves by Royal Oman Police (ROP) while digging for the new border check post in the Aswad area of the province of Shinas in northern Oman has led archaeologists to the discovery of a settlement dating back to 2000 BCE,according to a senior archaeologist at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

"The check post will be built at the spot but the archaeology site will be protected," Sultan Al Bakri, Director of Antiquity Department at the Ministry, said.

Omani archaeologists, some of them Sultan Qaboos University (SQU)graduates and some trained by the ministry, began working on the site. "The team has unearthed a settlement and an archaeological cemetery that dates back to 2000 BCE, which is also called the Wadi Souq period," the ministry official said referring to a period between 1900 BCE and 1100 BCE.

The excavation revealed a number of tombs of the Wadi Souq period. "The oval, rectangular tombs look like the letter 'U'," the official added. The tombs include body remains, arrow heads, daggers, knives, needles, brass necklaces,local and imported beads from neighboring cultures, clay utensils and soapstone. The ministry official said that the team had completed the work on a site that spans over three kilometers and next season further surveys will be carried out to see if there are similar sites around the area.

Al Bakri said that this was the second such discovery of a 2000 BCE site in northern Oman. "These discoveries further establishes proof of northern Oman being a vital copper trade link during the bronze age between the Harappa civilization, Bahrain's Delmon civilization and Iran's civilization in Mesopotamia," the senior archaeologist said.

Edited from Times of Oman (29 December 2012), Gulf News (30 December 2012)
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