Monday, June 18, 2018

OLDEST ROCK ART DISCOVERED IN CHINA

In China archaeologists have found the oldest rocks pictures

Experts explained that this discovery will push you to new stages of the study of life in ancient times. As shown by the results of the examination, inscriptions due to the unusual method of mixing paint with glue.

In China in the area of the Small Hinggan mountains (province of Kalunasan) archaeologists have found drawings on the rocks by the age of 12 thousand years. Scientists have suggested that this area was populated by hunters, because the quality of the images the artists chose mammoths. This fact also gave experts reason to believe that this is the age of the drawings.

Archaeologists said that in those days, to draw on the rocks could be using a paint called ochre, but without the impurities the duration of its preservation was not so good. Therefore, experts have suggested that the ancient inhabitants of the area mixed with glue of animal origin, so that the drawings still adorn rocks.

BURIAL CAVE IN TIBERIUS, ISRAEL DATES TO 2,000 YEARS AGO

A fine and complex burial cave dating from the Roman period (c. 2,000 years ago) came to light a few days ago in Tiberias, in the course of development works carried out by the Tiberias municipality for a new neighborhood in the northern part of town. The contractor immediately informed the Israel Antiquities Authority after a mechanical digger exposed the cave entrance, and an antiquities inspector rushed to the site.

The rock-hewn cave comprised an entrance hall decorated with colored plaster, a central room with several burial niches, decorated ceramic and stone ossuaries (burial chambers), and a small inner chamber. Carved stone doors stood at the entrances into the rooms. In one of the chambers, Greek inscriptions were engraved with the names of the interred. These inscriptions will be studied by specialists.
The cave was probably robbed in antiquity. According to Yair Amitsur, Antiquities Inspector of Tiberias and Eastern Lower Galilee for the IAA, “the cave must have served as a burial complex for a family who lived in the town of Tiberias or in one of the adjacent villages.”

Two thousand years ago, in 18 CE, Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great and Governor of the Galilee, established the city of Tiberias and named it in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Over the centuries, Tiberias served as the capital of the Galilee, and was one of the largest cities in the country. The city extended from south of the Hamei Tveria hot springs to the center of the modern city.

In the Roman and Byzantine periods, several smaller villages grew up on the outskirts of the city, including Bet Ma’on, the home of gladiator-turned-rabbi Reish Lakish, Kofra, and Be’er Meziga. The cave must have been owned by a family from Tiberias, or from one of the surrounding villages, who chose to be interred north of Tiberias, overlooking the Lake of Galilee.

According to Amitsur, “the burial cave is a fascinating discovery since it is an almost unique find in this area. The high-quality rock-hewing, the complexity of the cave, the decorations, and the Greek inscriptions point to the cave belonging to a wealthy family, who lived in the area in the Roman period.”

ROCK ART DISCOVERED IN EGYPT'S EASTERN DESERT

—According to an Associated Press report, rock art panels and extensive flint-working areas have been discovered in Egypt’s Eastern Desert by a team of Egyptian archaeologists and researchers led by John Coleman Darnielen of Yale University.

Bulls, donkeys, Barbary sheep, an addax, and a giraffe are said to be among the images found in three areas in the Wadi Umm Tineidba.
The oldest of the panels is thought to date to the Predynastic period, between 3500 and 3100 B.C.

The team also found an ancient well, burial tumuli, and a previously unrecorded settlement dating to the Late Roman period. One of the burial tumuli contained the remains of a woman who had been buried with a strand of carnelian beads and shells from the Red Sea.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

THE IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCE OF RETURNING GREEK SCULPTURES TO GREECE

Why returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece would be madness
99
The Parthenon Sculptures have been on display in the British Museum for more than 200 years
The Parthenon Sculptures have been on display in the British Museum for more than 200 years CREDIT: GETTY
Nick Trend
5 JUNE 2018 • 10:53AM
Jeremy Corbyn declared in an interview with the Greek newspaper Ta Nea this week that, as prime minister, he would open negotiations for the return of the Elgin Marbles - more properly known as the Parthenon Sculptures - to Athens. This apparently on the grounds that the original permission for their removal 200 years ago came not from the Greeks, but from the Ottoman Empire which occupied Greece from 1458 until the 1820s.

Mr Corbyn has been making this argument for many years, but I don’t know how much thought he has given to the ramifications. From his latest statement it seems that he is anticipating a widespread repatriation of all artefacts “stolen or taken from occupied or colonial possession” included those “looted from other countries in the past”. That could quite conceivably leave the archaeological galleries of the British Museum denuded and, if applied in other countries, virtually empty many of the world’s great museums.

Let’s take this one step at a time. First, in pure academic terms, it would surely be a good thing to see all the surviving sculptures and friezes that once adorned the Parthenon re-united (and - in a perfect world - remounted on the building). That wouldn’t happen if the British Museum returned its marbles. The risk from pollution and earthquake is too great to re-install them and they would therefore join the other remnants already in the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, which has a view over the original building. And there would still be lots of missing pieces - other decorative fragments and panels from the Parthenon are held in seven other museums around the world.

There are fragments from the Parthenon held in museums around the world The immediate consequence of the repatriation would then be that the sculptures are seen by far fewer people. The Acropolis Museum gets about 1.5m a year compared with over 6m who come to the British Museum. Those 6m would not only miss out one of the high points of world art, but the sculptures could no longer be studied or appreciated against the relics of other great cultures from around the globe.

Because that is why the British Museum is so important. It - and great museums like it, from the Louvre, to the Pergamon, the Hermitage and the Met - are not just some of the biggest academic institutions and tourist attractions in the world, each is a world in it own right, an extraordinary repository of the high points of human achievement across many different cultures. For 250 years, visitors have been able to walk into the British Museum and travel in wonder through both time and space. We owe two of Keats’ greatest poems - Ode on a Grecian Urn and On Seeing the Elgin Marbles - to his visits to the British Museum. In many, many ways, the museum it is a far more important and influential cultural construct than the Parthenon. Repatriation of its treasures would destroy it forever.

And now perhaps you think I am just over-complicating things. Not that many artifacts are, in practice, being argued over. But how that would surely change if the sculptures were returned and other countries saw a chance to build new museums and fresh tourist attractions. And then it wouldn’t be me who was complicating the argument, it would be the international lawyers and nationalist politicians sensing a precedent. And once legal arguments start, things rarely end well.

IF ELECTED PRIME MINISTER, CORBYN WOULD RETURN THE ELGIN MARBLES TO GREECE


Jeremy Corbyn will order the British Museum to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece if elected Prime Minister, opening the door to dozens of historical artifacts being repatriated under a Labour government.

The Labour leader has claimed that the Parthenon sculptures “belong to Greece” and that on entering Downing Street he would begin “constructive talks” with its government to begin the process of their return.

In an interview with the Greek newspaper Ta Nea, Mr Corbyn said that the Marbles had been made in Athens and had adorned the Parthenon temple for “hundreds of years” prior to some being brought to Britain in the 19th century.


NEW DISCOVERIES IN POMPEI --- REGIO V -- SHOW VIVID PIX OF ANCIENT ROMAN LIFE

Not a day goes by without new archaeological discoveries in Regio V, a hitherto largely unexplored area of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted, spewing hot ash and rubble over the settlement and killing over 1,000 of its inhabitants. According to Laura D’Esposito, one of the many experts toiling away to uncover the buried remains of Pompeii, the site has become an area of archaeological interest unmatched by any other.

This was the first time the press had been invited for a tour of the Regio V site since archaeologists began the painstaking work of excavation there a year ago. Since then, experts have uncovered three new domus residences, which once housed the upper echelons of Roman society. The vibrant walls, often red in typical Pompeii fashion and only slightly dulled by the passage of time, slowly come to light as excavators chip away at the layers of encrusted ash.

One such domus was dubbed the “house of the dolphins” after a depiction of two golden dolphins adorning its interior wall. Teams on site have also found upturned Roman pots and jugs, left in situ where they were laid out in the sun to dry on that fateful day.

These relics owe their well-preserved condition to the fact that they have spent the better part of two millennia suspended in a pile of ash and rubble sandwiched between the ground and a collapsing wall.

Perhaps the best-known finding in Regio V so far is the skeleton of a man whose flight from the eruption was brought to an abrupt end when a huge rock smashed him in the face. Images of his remains were shared by media the world over.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

RECENT EXCAVATIONS IN AND AROUND JERUSALEM'S OLD CITY ARE HELPING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CITY LOOKED LIKE 2 AND 3 THOUSAND YEARS AGO


In an area below the southern wall of the Temple Mount, across the road from the City of David, Hebrew University Prof. Eilat Mazar revealed construction and fortification walls, which she contends date back to the time of King Solomon. Based on distinctive pottery shards, she identified the city wall which Solomon built on the edge of the Kidron Valley (Kings, I, 3:1). The 6-meter-high wall, built on bedrock, she says, was part of a 10th century BCE city gate and tower system that provided access to and protected the entrance to the royal quarter.

In addition, she found dozens of small seals used for official documents, bullae, and engraved jug handles in ancient Hebrew script from the 7th and 8th centuries BCE. She recently discovered a seal thought to be used by the Prophet Isaiah. Over 50 such seals were found inside the City of David 30 years ago – bearing names found in the Bible.

Mazar is also excavating what she believes was the palace of King David in the City of David, although she has yet to find enough evidence to prove her contention conclusively. Also in the City of David, at Warren’s Shaft and at the bottom of the valley below, around the Gihon Spring, Prof. Ronnie Reich and Eli Shukron have exposed structures which date back to the pre-Israelite Jebusite period. At the southern end of the City of David, they excavated what they believe was a large open ritual bath, mikve, from the Second Temple period, a site mentioned in John 9, as “the pool of Siloam,” where, according to the New Testament, Jesus healed a blind man.

Adjacent to the pool, Reich and his team uncovered a stairway used during the Second Temple period which reached the Temple Mount. Recently, a tiny seal from the First Temple period was found with the word “Bethlehem” – the earliest proof that the city of Bethlehem existed at that time.

Excavations just inside the Jaffa Gate, led by Prof. Ofer Sion, of the Israel Antiquities Authority, exposed a Byzantine-era street depicted in the 6th century CE Madaba Map, part of a mosaic floor from that period found in a church in Jordan. Discovered about a hundred years ago, the Madaba Map includes major churches and streets of “Holy Jerusalem” at the time. After 1967, archaeologists revealed many of these sites, including the Cardo, in the Jewish Quarter, and a secondary Cardo near the Western Wall. The dig at the Jaffa Gate is the first confirmation of a street depicted in the Madaba Map, which is now called the Arab shuk (market) and an aqueduct from the late Second Temple (Roman) period.

As Mazar says, stones and artifacts can’t speak, but, as silent witnesses, they often reveal the authenticity of Biblical sources and provide a link between the Jewish people and their ancient homeland. Contested by those who believe that Biblical stories are myths with no connection to archaeology, these discoveries are also disputed by Arab and Muslim activists and academics who view them as “Palestinian,” rejecting their origins and Jewish history.

Regardless of which side you’re on, archaeological discoveries in areas once under Jordanian occupation and often claimed by Palestinians are impacting not only our historical understanding, but are shaping political reality based on Jewish history. Archaeology provides the most powerful proof of the authenticity of Jewish history and the connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and particularly, Jerusalem.

The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

HOMER'S ODYSSEY NOW CALLED THE MOST INFLUENTIAL STORY -- ALSO CHECK THE TOP 10

Homer’s Odyssey has been voted as the most influential story to have shaped the world, according to a poll of more than 100 international authors, academics, journalists and critics conducted by Britain’s BBC. The Odyssey is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other great work ascribed to Homer, and is the second-oldest extant work in Western literature. Scholars believe the Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.

The poem mainly focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus a decade to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War.

Explaining why she voted for Homer’s Odyssey, Natalie Haynes, a writer and broadcaster in the U.K. said: “Because it is one of the great foundational myths of Western culture, because it asks what it means to be a hero, because it has great female characters in it, as well as men, because it is full of gods and monsters and is properly epic and because it forces us to question the assumptions we might have about quests, war, and the ever-current issue of what it means to return home.” Bethanne Patrick, a contributing editor at Lit Hub, added: “I believe the journey of Odysseus defined a streak of individualism particular to Western culture that has led to much change in the world — good and bad.”

The top 10 stories are:

The Odyssey (Homer, 8th Century BC)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852)

Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, 1818)

Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell, 1949)

Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe, 1958)

One Thousand and One Nights (various authors, 8th-18th centuries)

Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes, 1605-1615)

Hamlet (William Shakespeare, 1603)

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez, 1967)

The Iliad (Homer, 8th Century BC)

FIRST SILVER COIN IN GREEK HISTORIAN SERIES IS HERODOTUS --KNOWN AS THE FATHER OF HISTORY

The Bank of Greece has unveiled (30th May) the first new coins which launch a new series entitled “Greek Historians,” focusing on the many personalities who have shaped the nature of recorded history since the practise began. The first coin focuses on the man considered to be the Father of History, Herodotus from Halicarnassus (c. 484-425 B.C.). He is remembered as an ancient Greek historian, whose work and recordings during the Persian Wars with the Greek states constituted a greater and permanent knowledge of the events which occurred.

Believed to have been born in the settlement of Halicarnassus, a Greek city in southwest Asia Minor that was then a part of the Persian Empire, the precise dates of his birth and death are unknown. Herodotus is thought to have moved to Athens, then the primary city-state within the Greek-speaking world, and to have been a contemporary of the writer Sophocles. Herodotus later moved to the Greek colony of Thourias (present-day Sibari in the province of Cosenza, Italy), which was populated with Athenians around the year 448 B.C. Scholars believe that he was in Athens or close by during the early years of the Peloponnesian War from 431 B.C. and that his work was published and known there before 425 B.C. Known to have been widely travelled, his recordings attest to having visited a large part of the Persian Empire, including Egypt, as far south as Elephantine (present-Day Aswan), located in Upper Egypt and is known to have visited Libya, Syria, Babylonia, Lydia, and Phrygia in Western and Central Anatolia. During his lifetime, he also journeyed to parts of Byzantium such as the Dardanelles, Thrace, and Macedonia, and travelled as far north beyond the Danube and to Scythia along the northern shores of the Black Sea.

His narrative contained a number of excursions that provided a huge wealth of information for the people of his time. Although in the explanation of historical events, Herodotus was the first to apply fundamental principles of historical science such as criticism and an approximation of sources, the intersection of information, and dissection of events. Although his writings have been available for a long time, there has been little raised regarding a credible doubt about the accuracy of his testaments and recordings over the years since recent historical and archaeological research has generally lead to a positive valuation of his work and to the recognition his pioneering contribution to historical science has left to western civilization.

The silver Proof-quality coins are produced by the Hellenic State Mint at their facilities in Athens, on behalf of the Bank of Greece, and are designed by engraver and artist George Stamatopolous. The obverse of the coin includes a front-facing depiction of Herodotus, which is based on an ancient bust of the historian. The text ΗΡΟΔΟΤΟS 484-425 π.Χ. (Herodotus 484–425 B.C.) is placed along the left side of the portrait along the rim with the year of issue, 2018, placed to the right of the primary design with the mintmark of the Greek Mint above the year.

The reverse depicts a stylized version of the typical type of sailing ship prevalent in ancient times, which were used both for the transport of goods and people to the colony of Thouras, the one-time home of Herodotus. The value of 10 EYPΩ (EURO) is placed below the primary design and the text ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΉ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΊΑ (Hellenic Republic) is seen along the upper left edge.

EXCITING NEW DISCOVERY AT POMPEII OF MAN IN HIS 30S TRAPPED MORE THAN 1500 YEARS AGI


The man, believed to be in his 30s, was fleeing the spectacular explosion of Mount Vesuvius that buried the Italian city of Pompeii in A.D. 79. He had an infection of the tibia that may have made walking difficult, archaeologists say. So while he fled the first furious eruption, when the volcano fully rumbled to life after being dormant for more than 1,500 years, he did not get very far.

The man died not in contorted agony, buried in pumice and ash, but by decapitation from a large block of stone that had most likely been propelled through the air by volcanic gases, crushing his thorax and his head.

Officials at the Pompeii archaeological site announced on Tuesday that they had found the man’s remains, almost 2,000 years after he died. They released a photograph showing the skeleton protruding from beneath a large block of stone, believed to have been a door jamb that had been “violently thrown by the volcanic cloud.”

The skeleton showed evidence of a bone infection in one leg, which could have hindered the man’s ability to escape “at the first dramatic signs which preceded the eruption,” officials said. Archaeologists have yet to find his head, though they believe it may lie “probably under the stone block,” according to a statement sent by email on Wednesday.

Massimo Osanna, general director of the archaeological site, called it “an exceptional find” that contributed to a better “picture of the history and civilization of the age.”

“This discovery has shown the leaps in the archaeological field,” he said in another statement to CNN. “The team on site are not just archaeologists, but experts in many fields: engineers, restorers,” he said, who used technical tools like drones and 3-D scanners.




NEW DATING TECHNIQUE USED ON SITE OF GRAN DOLINA


To obtain this dating and overcome the different challenges which arose over the study duration of almost three years, collaboration was needed from specialists in different scientific disciplines such as geochronologists, geologists, archaeologists and paleoanthropologists, among whom are included several researchers from the CENIEH such as Josep María Parés and José María Bermúdez de Castro, coordinators of the program, as well as Laura Martín-Francés and Isidoro Campaña.

With the constant improvement over time of the analytical techniques and dating methods, it has been possible to progressively refine the chronology of the archaeological site of Gran Dolina since its initial study, published in 1995.

The present work joins other recent studies centering on the lower levels. In fact, relatively recently the chronology of the level TD4, where the oldest lithic industries of the site were identified, was successfully refined.

In TD1, it has likewise been possible to date a level at the base of the sedimentary fillings, where a change of magnetic polarity, identified as the Jaramillo event, was observed: this is very difficult to detect at archaeological sites in caves and it marks a very well-defined moment approximately one million years ago.

"Gran Dolina thus becomes one of the best-dated archaeological sites in the world, adding this new direct dating of a human fossil," says Bermúdez de Castro.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-05-dating-homo-antecessor.html#jCp