Archaeology Winter 2015

1. MEXICO CITY.- This past Wednesday, December 17th, marked the 224th Anniversary of the discovery of the emblematic monument currently on display in the Mexica Hall of the National Anthropology Museum. After more than 200 years of being buried, the Aztec Sun Stone, the colossal monument that synthesizes the astronomical knowledge that the Mexica society (also known as Aztecs) developed before the Spanish conquest, was fortuitously found on December 17th, 1790 in the southern part of the Plaza Mayor (today known as the Zócalo) of Mexico City.
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2. JERUSALEM.- Archaeologists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology have discovered a monumental entryway to the Herodian Hilltop Palace at the Herodium National Park. The unique complex was uncovered during excavations by The Herodium Expedition in Memory of Ehud Netzer over the past year, as part of a project to develop the site for tourism.
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3. MADRID (AFP).- Researchers looking for the remains of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes said Monday they found part of a casket at a Madrid convent bearing the initials of the "Don Quixote" author. The team made the find over the weekend inside an alcove in the crypt at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians during excavations aimed at solving the mystery of the writer's final resting
place.  "Remains of caskets were found, wood, rocks, some bone fragments, and indeed one of the fragments of a board of one of the caskets had the letters 'M.C.' formed in tacks," forensic anthropologist Francisco Etxeberria, who is leading the search, told a news conference. Cervantes is recorded as having been buried at the convent's chapel in the centre of the Spanish capital a day after his April 22, 1616 death -- the same week that William Shakespeare died -- but the exact whereabouts of his grave are unknown.
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4. MEXICO CITY.- A linen that protected for more than a century the remains of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes was restored by specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico. This piece, elaborated with white linen and black silk embroidery, belongs to the National Museum of History (MNH) of Mexico, at Castillo de Chapultepec.
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5. ATHENS (AFP).- Bones from at least five people, including a baby and an elderly woman, were identified in a massive tomb in Greece dating back to the era of Alexander the Great, the culture
ministry said Monday. "A minimum number of five people have been identified from bone remains, four of whom were buried and one of whom was burned," the ministry said in a statement.
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6. PARIS (AFP).- A tomb from the fifth century BC, likely that of a Celtic prince, has been unearthed in a small French town, shedding light on Iron Age European trade, researchers said Wednesday. The "exceptional" grave, crammed with Greek and possibly Etruscan artefacts, was discovered in a business zone on the outskirts of Lavau in France's Champagne region, said the National Archaeological Research Institute, Inrap.
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7. MIAMI (AFP).- A piece of jawbone with teeth attached, uncovered in Ethiopia, is the earliest known fossil of the genus Homo, to which humans belong, researchers said Wednesday. The discovery suggests that humankind's ancestors were living in what is now the Ledi-Geraru research area of Afar Regional State, Ethiopia, in open grassland environments, near lakes, rivers, and active volcanoes, about 2.8 million years ago, or 400,000 years earlier than previously thought. "It is the first fossil we have on the branch that leads toward us," said Brian Villmoare, assistant professor at the University of Nevada, lead author of the study in the journal Science.More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/76919/Jawbone-found-in-Ethiopia-sheds-light-on-the-earliest-known-fossil-of-the-genus-Homo#.VP5PQ_50xGE Copyright © artdaily.org


8. SYRIA.- Syria has seen damage to hundreds of historically significant cultural heritage sites since the outbreak of war three years ago, according to a new report released this week by the United Nations. The study finds that 290 culturally important areas in the Middle Eastern country have sustained damage or have been totally destroyed. More Information: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-syria-cultural-heritage-sites-20141226-story.html


9. BAGHDAD (AFP).- Islamic State militants armed with sledgehammers and jackhammers have destroyed priceless ancient artefacts in Iraq's city of Mosul, a video released by the jihadists Thursday shows. The destruction sparked widespread consternation and alarm, with some archaeologists and heritage experts comparing it to the 2001 demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban. The United Nations' cultural agency immediately demanded an emergency meeting of the Security Council, arguing that heritage protection was an integral part of Iraq's security. The video shows IS militants knocking statues off their plinths and rampaging through the Mosul museum's collection, which includes artifacts from the Assyrian and Hellenistic periods dating back to several centuries before Christ. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/76763/ISIS-jihadists-armed-with-sledgehammers-destroy-ancient-artefacts-in-Iraq#.VPo9f1PF9oE[/url]
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10.BAGHDAD (AFP).- The Islamic State group began bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq on Thursday, the government said, in the jihadists' latest attack on the country's historical heritage. IS "assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy vehicles," the tourism and antiquities ministry said on an official Facebook page. An Iraqi antiquities official confirmed the news, saying the destruction began after noon prayers on Thursday and that trucks that may have been used to haul away artefacts had also been spotted at the site. More Information:
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