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Monday, August 27, 2012

Archaeology News: August 27, 2012

tablet from the eighth century BC in an unknown language found at the Ziyarettepe excavation has stirred excitement among scientists. “The tablet in Ziyarettepe is quite important. The first evaluations and translation of the tablet were done in England. However, the first announcements are being made at our museum in Turkey,” said Nevin Soyukaya, director of the Diyarbakır Museum, which is supervising the excavation.

Archaeologists working on digs at the Roman Forum and Odeon sites in Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv have unearthed a number of interesting finds from various periods and the city now wants to expand excavations at the Forum site. The Forum site, near the current modern-era central Post Office, dates from the first to second centuries CE. Overall, it covers about 11 hectares, making it arguably the largest such Roman-era forum site in Bulgaria.

Natural gas and archaeology may turn the municipality of Shabla into the pearl of the Bulgarian northern Black Sea coast. Bulgaria’s PM Borissov surprised the small municipality with five presents. "We hope that if conventional gas be extracted in the Shabla region Bulgaria will have no problems with the natural gas supplies in the coming 30-40 years,” PM Borissov stated during his visit to the town of Shabla. At the request of the mayor the high guest made a special gift to Shabla – a big island in the Durankulak Lake. Europe’s earliest stone buildings and the oldest gold artifacts of the so-called European Troy have been discovered here. Borisov explained that so far the cabinet was trying to support archaeological research along Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea coast now time has come to lend a helping hand to the northern regions as well. “Shabla wants to become a magnet for tourists interested in archaeology and your Mayor Raina Bardarova who is a history professor will for sure contribute to it,” Borisov said.

Archaeology: Remembering the Human Element:  Within the relative comfort of a 21st century museum, it is easy to forget the sacrifices, challenges, and dedication involved in the discovery of antiquities. All too frequently when we see glamorous vases, sarcophagi glistening with gold, and jewelry enlivened with lapis lazuli, we assume that these objects tell the entire glorious story of both the civilization that produced them and the excavators who found them. However, the rest of the narrative is frequently full of nuance and intricate details. Along similar lines, the treasures of the Royal Tombs of Ur do not tell the entire story of the expedition; toil, frustration, and uncertainty were as much a part of the excavation as were the exhilaration of finding priceless historical treasures. As a volunteer working on the Ur Digitization Project, I came to understand this lesson more intimately through my discovery of a series of telegrams and letters.

In the summer of 2010, University of Missouri–St. Louis archaeologist Michael Cosmopoulos and his team uncovered the oldest written record in Europe. The rare artifact was unearthed at an excavation site in Iklaina, Greece, where for the past 15 years Cosmopoulos has led a team of students, staff and specialists. Now, thanks to a generous $275,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Cosmopoulos, the Hellenic Government Karakas Family Endowed Professor of Greek Studies at UMSL, will continue his summer dig project in Greece. The project serves as a field school for UMSL and other students.

Human bones have been found after a picnic table tumbled into a hole caused by heavy rain and stormwater runoff at Anzac Bay, near Waihi Beach. Western Bay of Plenty District Council's manager of reserves and facilities Peter Watson said police had been to the site, along with council staff, local Maori and a Historic Places Trust archaeologist.

Buried deep under a hill in central China, surrounded by an underground moat of poisonous mercury, lies an entombed emperor who's been undisturbed for more than two millennia. The tomb holds the secrets of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who died on Sept. 10, 210 B.C., after conquering six warring states to create the first unified nation of China. The answers to a number of historical mysteries may lie buried inside that tomb, but whether modern people will ever see inside this mausoleum depends not just on the Chinese government, but on science.


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