Tuesday, October 05, 2004

This. . . .is BNN Bulgarian Archaeologists Discover Ancient Greek Tombs

Archaeologists in Bulgaria’s historical Black Sea town of Nesebar discovered Monday two Ancient Greek tombs dated fourth and third century B.C., the Sofia-based Darik Radio reported.

The rectangular tombs were built of local limestone and contained fragments of bones, ceramic utensils and iron nails – indications that the dead have been buried in coffins.

The tombs seemed to have belonged to wealthy citizens of Messembria, a colony that ancient Greeks had established at the peninsula of today’s Nesebar, 436 kilometres (271 miles) east of Sofia.

Archaeologists have found gold decorations, ceramic and glass objects in three similar tombs uncovered during construction works in Nesebar last year.

That's the whole thing. Bit more here.

Experts Place Ancient Toolmakers on a Fast Track to Northern China (Free registration required)

Bands of early human ancestors became the first intercontinental migrants sometime before 1.75 million years ago. That was when they left their skulls and stone tools near the Black Sea in Georgia, the oldest clear evidence uncovered so far of an ancestral presence outside Africa.

Now a discovery of 1.66 million-year-old stone tools in northern China has produced the earliest evidence that some of these ancestors, probably the species Homo erectus, apparently dispersed across Asia at a relatively rapid clip and made a place for themselves in a wide range of environments.

Scientists report in the current issue of the journal Nature that these ancestors, referred to as hominids or hominins, were making and using "indisputable stone tools" at a lakeside site in upper Asia almost 340,000 years before any previously known settlement there.

Rescue archaeology in Dunwich Dig may unlock Dunwich secrets

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are hoping to carry out a major five-year dig at a nationally important historical site before it is lost to the sea.

They face a race against time to collect information about Greyfriars Priory at Dunwich before the site is washed away by coastal erosion.

Suffolk County Council is preparing a bid for a 90% grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help cover the dig, which is expected to cost around £750,000.

The ambitious excavation would involve the complete excavation and salvage of buried historical artefacts – including uncovering 1,000 burials at the site.

And in related news: Time team race to save history from the waves

THE sea has shaped Scotland’s coastline and given her people an abundance of food, wealth and play. But it is also rapidly erasing the nation’s history.

Coastal erosion - made worse by global warming - threatens to destroy an estimated 12,000 of Scotland’s 35,000 sites of archaeological importance, some of them in months and years rather than decades and centuries.

Experts say that 500 of the sites are of national and even international importance and they are in a race against time to salvage what artefacts they can before the seas claim them forever.

The warning follows research by experts at St Andrews University and Historic Scotland, who said last night that the country had turned a blind eye to an impending cultural disaster.

OOOOoooo. . . Archeologists discover ruins of Genghis Khan mausoleum in the central areas of Mongolia

A Genghis Khan mausoleum has been discovered in the central areas of Mongolia by a joint Japanese-Mongolian archeological expedition, the press here reported on Tuesday.

The scientists hope the discovery will help them find a place where Genghis Khan was buried. Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol empire that was established at the beginning of the 13th century and that put a yoke on vast territories of Asia and Eastern Europe. Genghis Khan's grandson Khubilai Khan conquered China and became the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty.

On numerous occasions, the finds corresponded to descriptions that are contained in ancient Chinese and Persian chronicles. This gives the scientists grounds to believe that the ruins they came across in Avraga area, 250 km east of Ulan Bator are really Genghis Khan's mausoleum. The archeologists found incense-burners with a representation of dragon that served as the symbol of the supreme ruler.

Genghis Khan's burial place was kept top secret so as to prevent the plunder of the tomb. The scientists, basing themselves on other precedents, believe that the burial place is within a radius of about 12 km from the mausoleum. Full-scale excavations are to be carried out in 2007.

That's the whole thing.

Trepidation by trepanning Medieval surgeons were advanced

Surgeons were carrying out complicated skull operations in medieval times, the remains of a body found at an archaeological dig show.

A skull belonging to a 40-year-old peasant man, who lived between 960 and 1100AD, is the firmest evidence yet of cranial surgery, say its discoverers.

The remains, found in Yorkshire, show the man survived an otherwise fatal blow to the head thanks to surgery.

Nearly 700 skeletons were unearthed by English Heritage at a site near Malton.

This is a fairly common find archaeologically. Ancient people knew a bit or two about what happens when you get clubbed in the head and that the brain is a fairly important organ. There is also evidence that many of the people survived for some time after the procedure. We'd provide some links, but we didn't find any particularly good ones.

SMUT! Pompeii's erotic murals closed for a year for renovations

A SERIES of erotic murals decorating a brothel in the buried city of Pompeii were closed off yesterday for a £250,000 makeover.

The paintings depict the services on offer in the Roman city before it was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79.

Souvenir stalls selling copies of the images do a brisk trade from the one million visitors a year who come to the town.

But now time has begun to tell on the fading images and the rooms of the Lupanare (Latin for brothel) are being closed for a year-long renovation project.

Some description of the murals here. Three of the murals are photographed here.

We'd provide more links but, you know, this is a family blog.