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Friday, 20 May 2011

Thracians on the Balkans, 2011

  1. Today:
  2. Ancient temple unearthed in western Turkey
  3. Obsidian used as ancient scalpel found in Turkey's Samsun
  4. Roman city emerges from Sofia metro excavations
  5. Archaeologists uncover early Neolithic activity on Cyprus
  6. California islands give up evidence of early seafaring

Ancient temple unearthed in western Turkey

Ongoing excavations at the Heraion-Teikhos ancient city in the western province of Tekirdağ have unearthed a temple at the city's acropolis. The temple, belonging to the ancient Thracian civilization, was thought to have disappeared in a fire that occurred in 2 BC.
Many important pieces of art have reportedly been unearthed in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ in a temple previously thought to have been destroyed in a fire in 2 B.C. The excavations, which have been conducted since 2000, have unearthed the ancient Thracian civilization for the first time, Atik said, adding that a team of 40 people, including workers, students, archaeologists and anthropologists, was carrying out the work.She said that they were working to uncover the temple at the acropolis (the highest hill) of the city. In just one week of work, the temple has yielded very interesting pieces of art, Atik said, noting that dogs were blessed animals in the Thracian civilization. “Dogs were sacrificed for good luck in this period. We saw light yellow spots in the earth when we first started the excavations. And then we found oblation valleys. We found the head of a bull last year, too,” she said, noting that the temple had three different phases. “According to our research, there hadhad been a holy place here since the 6th century. This magnificent temple was built in the 2nd century,” Atik said. “This temple sheltered many cultures.” Atik said previous excavations showed that there were different tumulus graves in the northwest part of the acropolis, and they wanted to unearth these graves. “These are extraordinary graves. In this year’s project we want to open one or two undisturbed graves. In this way, we will be able to prove that the Thracian men were buried with their wives, because according to the historian Herodotus, Thracian men had many wives,” she said. “When they died, their wives wanted to be buried with them. A council chose among these wives and these women were buried with their men. But this information has never been confirmed. We need to excavate an undisturbed grave to get definite information.” "We need support to reveal our history.” (?!!!! our ???!!!) source  
My comment: Erm, Thracian civilization uncovered for a first time?! Those guys need to read their textbooks again. Or maybe the authors of the article. But still, I'm happy they're working on Thracian temples, because in Greece for example, Thracians are taboo they prefer to ignore. Which is sad.  But as you can see Turkish archaeologists are doing something even worst. They call Thracian culture "our", when it's not theirs. You can read some very interesting comments after the article to see how confused are some people about the origin of the Thracian culture. I pasted my comment here, in case they deleted it. It's not very well stated, but I was badly pissed.     "I am sure the leader of the dig was just differentiating Thracian from other Greek cultures." There is absolutely nothing Greek in Thracian culture. Thracians were on the Balkans way before Greeks (like thousands of years before). They have different philosophies of life, even if later, they began to mix due to their interaction. But Thracians are NO GREEKS. Which can explain why Greek historians liked to blame Thracians for all kind of bad things. And what is more important - the article doesn't mention who were the Thracians and that most of their temples and buildings are found in Bulgaria. Nice work, neighbors! "We need support to reveal our history.” That's not your history! This is the history of the land you invaded - Thrakia. It is different.

Obsidian used as ancient scalpel found in Turkey's Samsun

A piece of obsidian (volcanic glass) dating back 4,000 years and believed to have been used as a scalpel for surgery has been unearthed during excavations carried out in the Black Sea province of Samsun. "We think obsidian was brought to this region through trade,” Bilgi said. “As this stone is very sharp and hygienic, it was [likely] used as a scalpel in brain surgeries. Glass scalpels are still available.” The excavations have also revealed that there was continuous settlement in the region between 4000 B.C. and 1700 B.C. source My comment: Nice, so that would imply that Thracians even performed brain surgeries?! That's quite cool! And it's not a Bulgarian result in case you think it's too crazy to be true.

Roman city emerges from Sofia metro excavations 

16.08.2010 @ 09:55 CET
SOFIA - The architectural heart of ancient Serdica, the Roman Empire-era predecessor of Bulgaria's capital of Sofia, is emerging amid excavations for the construction of the city metro system. In a couple of years, the finds will become part of an underground museum where visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of Constantine the Great (272-337 AD), the first Roman emperor to legalise Christianity and adopt it himself. Modern Sofia lies on several archaeological layers left by the Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, medieval Bulgarians and Ottoman Turks.- Yep, and I even spied on the remainings couple of times, they look amazing. I can only hope they won't destroy or sell them, but if they build the metro the way they promise, Sofia will become very interesting place.

Archaeologists uncover early Neolithic activity on Cyprus

October 20, 2010 By Daniel Aloi Cornell archaeologists are helping to rewrite the early prehistory of human civilization on Cyprus, with evidence that hunter-gatherers began to form agricultural settlements on the island half a millennium earlier than previously believed. "Up until two decades ago, nobody thought anybody had gone to Cyprus before about 8,000 years ago, and the island was treated as irrelevant to the development of the Neolithic in the Near East," Manning said. "Then Alan Simmons (now at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas) discovered a couple of sites that seemed to suggest Epipaleolithic peoples went there maybe about 12,000 or 13,000 years ago, much earlier than anyone had thought possible. The big question started to become in the field, well, what happened in between?" Subsequent finds pushed the Neolithic evidence on Cyprus back to around 10,000 years ago, but "no one has been able to fill in a 2,000-year gap between this possible first evidence of humans ever going near the island and apparent evidence of proper settlement and farming and agriculture," Manning said. Based on their survey work since 2006, Manning and colleagues focused efforts on a potentially very early Neolithic site in central Cyprus at Ayia Varvara Asprokremnos (AVA). The AVA site "had early Holocene soils, was near the key resources for a human population about 11,000 years ago, and [our surveys] produced lots of evidence of stone tool production," he said. "It was right in the bend of the only permanent river in this whole area of Cyprus, so it seemed to be a perfect strategic spot for an early hunter-gatherer."There was chert nearby to make stone tools, and hand augur tests found intact soil samples and a single small lithic flake "we thought to be of the right technology to be very early in date," Manning said. During seasons of fieldwork in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the team excavated several hundred square meters of the site, and intensively surveyed the surrounding area. Six different charcoal samples from the excavations were carbon-dated and securely estimated to be from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period, the initial phase of the Near Eastern Neolithic -- "the very origins of the agricultural revolution," Manning said. "The dates came out to be almost 11,000 years old from today, so we're talking the earlier ninth millennium B.C. … which puts them around half a millennium earlier than any other Neolithic that's ever been recognized or claimed and dated on the island of Cyprus," he said. "More dramatically, these dates mean that Cyprus, an island tens of miles off the Levantine coast, was involved in the very early Neolithic world, and thus long-distance sea travel and maritime communication must now be actively factored into discussions of how the Neolithic developed and spread." source My comment: Wow! That's quite early. Too bad they don't mention just how advanced were those societies. But still, I'm looking forward to discoveries about Cyprus, because of its relations with Thracian.

California islands give up evidence of early seafaring

March 3, 2011  Evidence for a diversified sea-based economy among North American inhabitants dating from 12,200 to 11,400 years ago is emerging from three sites on California's Channel Islands. The artifacts are associated with the remains of shellfish, seals, geese, cormorants and fish. ... the team also found thousands of artifacts made from chert, a flint-like rock used to make projectile points and other . Some of the intact projectiles are so delicate that their only practical use would have been for hunting on the water, said Jon Erlandson, professor of anthropology. "This is among the earliest evidence of seafaring and maritime adaptations in the Americas, and another extension of the diversity of Paleoindian economies," Erlandson said. "The points we are finding are extraordinary, the workmanship amazing. They are ultra thin, serrated and have incredible barbs on them. It's a very sophisticated chipped-stone technology." He also noted that the stemmed points are much different than the iconic fluted points left throughout North America by Clovis and Folsom peoples who hunted big game on land. The artifacts were recovered from three sites that date to the end of the on Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands, which in those days were connected as one island off the California coast. Sea levels then were 50 to 60 meters (about 160-200 feet) below modern levels. Rising seas have since flooded the shorelines and coastal lowlands where early populations would have spent most of their time. The technologies involved suggest that these early islanders were not members of the land-based Clovis culture, Erlandson said. No fluted points have been found on the islands. Instead, the points and crescents are similar to artifacts found in the Great Basin and Columbia Plateau areas, including pre-Clovis levels at Paisley Caves in eastern Oregon that are being studied by another UO archaeologist, Dennis Jenkins.Six years ago, Erlandson proposed that Late Pleistocene sea-going people may have followed a "kelp highway" stretching from Japan to Kamchatka, along the south coast of Beringia and Alaska, then southward down the Northwest Coast to California. Kelp forests are rich in seals, sea otters, fish, seabirds, and shellfish such as abalones and sea urchins. "These sites indicate very early and distinct coastal and island subsistence strategies, including harvest of red abalones and other shellfish and fish dependent on kelp forests, but also the exploitation of larger pinnipeds and waterfowl, including an extinct flightless duck. "This combination of unique hunting technologies found with marine mammal and migratory waterfowl bones provides a very different picture of the Channel Islands than what we know today, and indicates very early and diverse maritime life ways and foraging practices," Rick said. The stemmed points found on the Channel Islands range from tiny to large, probably indicating that they were used for hunting a variety of animals. "We think the crescents were used as transverse projectile points, probably for hunting birds. Their broad stone tips, when attached to a dart shaft provided a stone age shotgun-approach to hunting birds in flight," Erlandson said. " Often considered to be between 8,000 and 10,000 years old in California, "we now have crescents between 11,000 and 12,000 years old, some of them associated with thousands of bird bones."  source My comment: Another very interesting article, putting yet another date back with 2 000 years. But for me this doesn't come as a surprise because we already know that Neanderthals ate seals and other marine animals. If they could have done that 30 000 years ago, there's no reason why modern men wouldn't be able to do it 12 000 years ago. Archaeologists uncover oldest mine in the Americas  - Archaeologists have discovered a 12,000-year-old iron oxide mine in Chile that marks the oldest evidence of organized mining ever found in the Americas, according to a report in the June issue of Current Anthropology. А n estimated 700 cubic meters and 2,000 tons of rock were extracted from the mine. Carbon dates for charcoal and shells found in the mine suggest it was used continuously from around 12,000 years ago to 10,500 years ago, and then used again around 4,300 years ago. The researchers also found more than 500 hammerstones dating back to the earliest use of the mine. Japanese language traced to Korean Peninsula: study - Japan's many dialects originate in a migration of farmers from the Korean Peninsula some 2,200 years ago, a groundbreaking study borrowing the tools of evolutionary genetics reported Wednesday . Computer modelling showed that all of these "Japonic" languages descended from a some 2,182 years ago -- coinciding with the major wave of migration from the Korean Peninsula. Neanderthals did not make jewelry after all - October 19, 2010- (PhysOrg.com) -- The theory that later Neanderthals might have been sufficiently advanced to fashion jewellery and tools similar to those of incoming modern humans has suffered a setback. A new radiocarbon dating study, led by Oxford University, has found that an archaeological site that uniquely links Neanderthal remains to sophisticated tools and jewellery may be partially mixed.  Others: Tool-making and meat-eating began 3.5 million years ago -
Researchers have found evidence that hominins - early human ancestors - used stone tools to cleave meat from animal bones more than 3.2 million years ago.
That pushes back the earliest known tool use and meat-eating in such hominins by more than 800,000 years. Neanderthals more advanced than previously thought - About 42,000 years ago, the Aurignacian culture, attributed to modern Homo sapiens, appeared in northern Italy while central Italy continued to be occupied by Neanderthals of the Mousterian culture which had been around for at least 100,000 years. At this time a new culture arose in the south, one also thought to be created by Neanderthals. They were the Uluzzian and they were very different. Riel-Salvatore identified projectile points, ochre, bone tools, ornaments and possible evidence of fishing and small game hunting at Uluzzian archeological sites throughout southern Italy. Such innovations are not traditionally associated with Neanderthals, strongly suggesting that they evolved independently, possibly due to dramatic changes in climate. More importantly, they emerged in an area geographically separated from modern humans No Romans needed to explain Chinese blondes - East and West Eurasian ancestry seems pretty equitably distributed among the Uyghurs. Coca leaves first chewed 8,000 years ago, says research - Peruvian foraging societies were already chewing coca leaves 8,000 years ago, archaeological evidence has shown.