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Archaeological Headlines By JESSICA E. SARACENI
Monday, November 17

Amphipolis Research Will Take Months

AMPHIPOLIS, GREECE—Lina Mendoni of the Greek Culture Ministry announced that most of the field work at the Amphipolis tomb has been completed, but archaeologists have plenty of work to do to analyze what they have found. For example, it could take more than eight months to complete tests on the human remains. According to a report in eKathimerini, the research has not yet been assigned to a university or other organization. To read about the search for Alexander the Great's tomb, see "In Search of History's Lost Rulers."

Turkish & Italian Archaeologists Dig at Karkemish

BOLOGNA, ITALY—Nicolo Marchetti of the University of Bologna is project director of the excavation at Karkemish, a 5,000-year-old city located along the Turkey-Syria border. About one-third of the site lies inside Syria and is off-limits. The site is also very close to Jarablous, a Syrian city that is now ISIS-controlled territory. “Still, we have had no problem at all.…We work in a military area. It is very well protected,” Marchetti told the Associated Press. This year his team has recovered sculptures from the palace of King Katuwa that date to 900 B.C., and a 700 B.C. mosaic floor in the palace of Sargon II. They also examined the ruins of the expedition house used by Lawrence of Arabia between 1911 and 1914. Karkemish could open to tourists next spring.

Anglo-Saxon Cemetery Unearthed in Suffolk

EXNING, ENGLAND—Twenty-one skeletons have been recovered from 20 burials found in eastern England. The Anglo-Saxon burials also contained a spear, a glass bowl, gold-plated brooches, a cloak pin, and a dagger. “We were very lucky they had survived because they were less than a foot down and the land had been plowed very recently,” Andrew Peachey of Archaeological Solutions told The Cambridge News. Additional testing will attempt to determine the age and sex of the skeletons. The site is slated for development. To read more about Anglo-Saxons, see "The Kings of Kent."

Friday, November 14

A 7,000-Year-Old Story in Turkey

MISIS, TURKEY—An enduring history is being revealed in southern Turkey at the ancient site of Misis, reports Hurriet Daily News. Located on the Silk Road, Misis was first settled some time in the fifth millennium B.C. during the Neolithic period, and, according to Giovanni Salmeri of Pisa University, who is leading the excavations, has been host to various civilizations including Chalcolithic, Hittite, Roman, and Byzantine settlements over its millennia-long history. Thus far Salmeri’s team has uncovered innumerable artifacts and impressive examples of monumental architecture—including a stone bridge, aqueduct, a city bath, tombs, and a Byzantine caravanserai—some of which were decorated with mosaics. The excavated material from Misis will be housed in the Misis Mosaic Museum along with a large mosaic that was discovered when the first digs were undertaken by German archaeologists on the 1950s. To read more about Turkey's fantastic Roman mosaics, go to "Zeugma After the Flood." 

Bronze Age Razor Unearthed in Siberia

NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA—Excavations at a 4,000-year-old site in Siberia have revealed a thin bronze plate that could have been used as a shaving implement, reports the Siberian Times. Expedition leader Vyacheslav Molodin of the Siberian Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography says that while his team has provisionally identified the artifact as a razor, it was probably also used as a knife. The practice of shaving likely dates far back in prehistory, but appears to have become particularly popular in the Bronze Age, as evidenced by the fact that many graves of the period contain what are believed to be razor knives. To read about another Bronze Age discovery in Siberia, see "Elite Warrior's Bone Armor Unearthed."

Thursday, November 13

Coin Cache, Ovens Unearthed in Egypt

CRAWLEY, AUSTRALIA—Archaeologists from the University of Western Australia are part of an international team excavating Tell Timai, the remains of the Greco-Roman town of Thmuis in Egypt. Student Liesel Gentelli found a cache of 2,200-year-old coins that she thinks may have been placed under the building’s foundation as an offering. The 13 coins date to the reigns of Ptolemy II, III, and IV, suggesting that the building was constructed no later than 221 B.C. In another part of the site, archaeologist Sean Winter found a number of ovens that may have been part of an industrial-scale bakery or a tavern sometime around the first century. “Nowhere in the published literature can we find an equivalent number of ovens in the same place,” he told Science Network Western Australia. Food remains show that the people of Thmuis ate fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean, birds, and mammals. To read more about life in Egypt during this period, see "Documents Tell of Childhood in Roman Egypt."

Intact Macedonian Tomb Discovered in Northern Greece

VERGINA, GREECE—According to The Greek Reporter, an intact tomb dating to the fourth century B.C. has been discovered at the necropolis in Aigai in northern Greece. Archaeologist Angeliki Kottaridi, head of the excavation, found a gold-plated bronze vessel and a gold-plated bronze wreath among the tomb’s burial offerings. The krater, used for mixing wine and water, was found surrounded by pieces of wood that may have been a piece of furniture. The artifacts will become part of a new archaeology museum in Aigai. To read about Roman-era funeral rites in Macedonia, see "Burial Customs."

CT Scans Reveal Contents of Viking Hoard Pot

MELROSE, SCOTLAND—The Carolingian pot discovered in Dumfries and Galloway last September was given a CT scan at Borders General Hospital. The resulting image shows that the ninth-century pot contains at least 20 objects, including five silver brooches, gold ingots, and an ornate ivory beads coated in gold. The items had been wrapped in an organic material that may be leather. “Nothing else has been on my mind for two-and-a-half months than seeing what was inside the pot, and then seeing it, there was a rush of emotion and was incredibly exciting,” Derek McLennan told the Daily Mail. McLennan was investigating property belonging to the Church of Scotland with the Reverend Dr. David Bartholomew when he discovered the Viking treasures. To read about the initial discovery, see "Viking Hoard Discovered in Scotland."

Imported Glass in Japanese Tomb Identified

KASHIHARA, JAPAN—A dark blue dish and a clear painted bowl recovered together from a fifth-century tomb in Nara Prefecture are evidence of Japan’s far-reaching trade networks. The dish has been confirmed to have been imported from the Roman Empire. Its chemical composition, analyzed with a fluorescence X-ray device, is almost identical to Roman glasswork made in the second century or earlier in the Mediterranean region. The chemical composition of the painted glass bowl matches glass fragments unearthed at the palace in the ancient Persian capital of Ctesiphon. “Japan aggressively traded with other countries in the fifth century, and (the latest findings) show various elements were entering Japan at the time. Because the glass dish may have been transported via Central Asia, it is no wonder that there was a time lag (between its production and arrival in Japan),” Takashi Taniichi of Sanyo Gakuen University told The Asahi Shimbun.