суббота, 20 июля 2019 г.

Rouaite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Tenke,…

Rouaite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Tenke, Tenke-Fungurume, Kolwezi, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Size: 5.5 × 3.5 × 3.5 cm

Photo Copyright © Joy Desor Mineralanalytik /e-rocks. com

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Do the Twist Sharing creativity with architects and designers,…

Do the Twist

Sharing creativity with architects and designers, bioengineers are exploring innovative ways to create intricate medical devices, albeit at a scale 10,000 times smaller than the Sydney Opera House. These tiny structures perfect a new trick – designs with a twist. A gold material is placed in patterns onto a stretched surface peppered with tiny cuts (top left). As the surface relaxes, the gold structures buckle, spiral or pop up into a 3D shape (bottom right), similar to the Japanese art of kirigami. As scientists know how the materials behave, these structures can be designed using computer models first, much like how computer-aided design is used for buildings and machines. Putting a twist into new artificial particles increases the flexibility of designs used in medical implants or sensors.

Written by John Ankers

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Bottomonium particles don’t go with the flow

CERN — European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

20 July, 2019

The first measurement, by the ALICE collaboration, of an elliptic-shaped flow for bottomonium particles could help shed light on the early universe 

The ALICE experiment (Image: CERN)

A few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the universe was so dense and hot that the quarks and gluons that make up protons, neutrons and other hadrons existed freely in what is known as the quark–gluon plasma. The ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can recreate this plasma in high-energy collisions of beams of heavy ions of lead. However, ALICE, as well as any other collision experiments that can recreate the plasma, cannot observe this state of matter directly. The presence and properties of the plasma can only be deduced from the signatures it leaves on the particles that are produced in the collisions.

In a new article, presented at the ongoing European Physical Society conference on High-Energy Physics, the ALICE collaboration reports the first measurement of one such signature – the elliptic flow – for upsilon particles produced in lead–lead LHC collisions.

The upsilon is a bottomonium particle, consisting of a bottom (often also called beauty) quark and its antiquark. Bottomonia and their charm-quark counterparts, charmonium particles, are excellent probes of the quark–gluon plasma. They are created in the initial stages of a heavy-ion collision and therefore experience the entire evolution of the plasma, from the moment it is produced to the moment it cools down and gives way to a state in which hadrons can form.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Animation Credit: CERN

One indication that the quark–gluon plasma forms is the collective motion, or flow, of the produced particles. This flow is generated by the expansion of the hot plasma after the collision, and its magnitude depends on several factors, including: the particle type and mass; how central, or “head on”, the collision is; and the momenta of the particles at right angles to the collision line. One type of flow, called elliptic flow, results from the initial elliptic shape of non-central collisions.

In their new study, the ALICE team determined the elliptic flow of the upsilons by observing the pairs of muons (heavier cousins of the electron) into which they transform, or “decay”. They found that the magnitude of the upsilon elliptic flow for a range of momenta and collision centralities is small, making the upsilons the first hadrons that don’t seem to exhibit a significant elliptic flow.

The results are consistent with the prediction that the upsilons are largely split up into their constituent quarks in the early stages of their interaction with the plasma, and they pave the way to higher-precision measurements using data from ALICE’s upgraded detector, which will be able to record ten times more upsilons. Such data should also cast light on the curious case of the J/psi flow. This lighter charmonium particle has a larger flow and is believed to re-form after being split up by the plasma.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related links:

ALICE experiment: https://home.cern/science/experiments/alice

Large Hadron Collider (LHC): https://home.cern/science/accelerators/large-hadron-collider

European Physical Society conference on High-Energy Physics: http://eps-hep2019.eu/

Science article: https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.03169

ALICE’s upgraded detector: https://home.cern/news/news/experiments/upgrading-alice-whats-store-next-two-years

The curious case of the J/psi flow: https://cerncourier.com/the-curious-case-of-the-j-%CF%88-flow/

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Ana Lopes.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Space Tourism — We must better protect the sites of Lunar missions

Space Tourism logo.

July 20, 2019

Hundreds of objects dot the moon, and experts would like to inscribe them with the equivalent of a lunar heritage of humanity.

Landing sites on the Moon

It all started on September 13, 1959 when the Soviet Luna 2 probe crashed into the Sea of ​​Rains: 390 kilos probably sprayed on impact. Russian (Luna) and American (Ranger, Surveyor) probes followed, to the first humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the night of July 20th to 21st, 1969.

The two astronauts stayed for 22 hours in the Sea of ​​Tranquility. Before taking off again, they left on the ground any useless mass. NASA has cataloged some fifty objects: the lunar module descent stage (LEM), cameras, boots, clips, but also commemorative objects, as well as four «defecation collection devices».

Buzz Aldrin’s footprint on the surface of the moon, Apollo 11, 20 July 1969

Five other Apollo crews left hundreds of extra items. In total, the Moon has a hundred sites with a human trace, according to the organization For All Moonkind. At least 167 tons of material in total, according to its register.

Sites not protected

Legally, «the sites are not protected at all,» says Michelle Hanlon, a law professor at the University of Mississippi who co-founded For All Moonkind in 2017 after a joke from European Space Agency boss Jan Wörner, who said he wanted to return to the moon to bring back an American flag.

Footprints and lunar rovers prints on the Moon, Apollo 17 landing site

«Footprints, traces of rover tires and places where archeologically important objects are found have no protection,» says Michelle Hanlon to AFP. She fears that Apollo sites will one day attract interest from tourists. But the slightest projection of lunar dust, cutting like glass, can damage the materials. «If anyone wants to get closer to the LEM, nothing in international law prohibits driving a rover to him,» she says. «We need protections against accidental or deliberate acts.»

Treaty on space

NASA has adopted «recommendations»: for example, do not land within 2 km of Apollo sites. In the US Congress, senators tabled a text to create de facto protected cultural heritage sites and prohibited areas. But the Treaty on Space (1967) is very clear: the moon «can not be the object of national appropriation by proclamation of sovereignty, nor by way of use or occupation».

«Preventing countries from freely using and exploring space is contrary to a fundamental principle of the Space Treaty,» says space law professor Jack Beard at the University of Nebraska. Admittedly, the treaty contains safeguards: every space object must be registered by a state, which is perpetually responsible for it. This limits the risk of lunar anarchy. The treaty also clearly forbids any theft, for example, of Apollo’s memories. Objects launched by a country remain its property, wherever they are in the universe.

NASA to future moon explorers: Do not ruin our Apollo landing sites

But gaps in space law are of concern to lawyers, space agencies and the United Nations, not just for the protection of heritage. Moon traffic is likely to grow in the coming decades; the vague principles of cooperation enshrined in the treaty will not suffice to regulate it.

In 2019 alone, a Chinese robot has landed, a private Israeli probe has crashed into it, and India is going to send back a probe. Americans are expected to moon in 2024 at the South Pole, where there is ice. Hundreds of space start-ups have sprung up, many of whom want to exploit the water and mineral resources of the Moon and asteroids. What would happen if two entities quarreled one another?

Potential for conflict

«It is clear that there is potential for conflict,» says AFP Tanja Masson, a professor of space law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. «There is a need for rules so that it does not become the Wild West.»

It suggests the creation of an international body to equitably distribute priority rights, without granting sovereignty, as is done to manage satellites in geostationary orbit. As for the risk of «pollution», she concludes: «It may be waste dumps on the moon!»

Related links:

NASA History: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/history/index.html

The Outer Space Treaty — UNOOSA: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html

Outer Space Treaty — United States Department of State: https://2009-2017.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm

Images, Text, Credits: NASA/ATS/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel

Excavations in Israel’s Galilee have uncovered remains of an ancient church said to mark the home of the apostles Peter and Andrew, the dig’s archaeological director said Friday.

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel
Credit: El Araj Excavations

Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret Academic College, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, said this season’s dig at nearby El-Araj confirmed it as the site of Bethsaida, a fishing village where Peter and his brother Andrew were born according to the Gospel of John.
The Byzantine church was found near remnants of a Roman-era settlement, matching the location of Bethsaida as described by the first century AD Roman historian Flavius Josephus, Aviam said.

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel
Credit: El Araj Excavations

The newly-discovered church, he added, fitted the account of Willibald, the Bavarian bishop of Eichstaett who visited the area around 725 AD and reported that a church at Bethsaida had been built on the site of Peter and Andrew’s home.

According to Willibald, Aviam says, Bethsaida lay between the biblical sites of Capernaum and Kursi.

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel
Credit: El Araj Excavations

«We excavated only one third of the church, a bit less, but we have a church and that’s for sure,» Aviam told AFP.
«The plan is of a church, the dates are Byzantine, the mosaic floors are typical… chancel screens, everything that is typical of a church. Between Capernaum and Kursi there is only one place where a church is described by the visitor in the eighth century and we discovered it, so this is the one,» he said.

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel
Credit: El Araj Excavations

Christians recognize Saint Peter, originally a fisherman, as one of the first followers of Jesus and the leader of the early Church following the ascension. The Catholic Church also venerates him as its first pope.

El-Araj, known as Beit Habeck in Hebrew, is not the only candidate for the site of Bethsaida.

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel
Credit: El Araj Excavations

About two kilometres (more than a mile) away at e-Tell, digging has been going on since 1987 and according to the National Geographic website has unearthed major ninth-century BC fortifications and «Roman-period houses with fishing equipment, including iron anchors and fishing hooks, and the remains of what may be a Roman temple».
Aviam is convinced that he and his international team, with professor R. Steven Notley of New York City’s Nyack College as academic director, are digging in the right spot.

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel
Credit: El Araj Excavations

«We have a Roman village, in the village we have pottery, coins, also stone vessels which are typical of first century Jewish life, so now we strengthen our suggestion and identification that El-Araj is a much better candidate for Bethsaida than e-Tell,» he said.

«It has been excavated for the past 32 years. We started digging two years ago because we thought it’s the better one and now we have the proofs.»

Byzantine Church of the Apostles unearthed in northern Israel
Credit: El Araj Excavations

Notley, interviewed in Israeli daily Haaretz, is a little more cautious, saying the clincher will be if complete excavation of the El-Araj church reveals an inscription.

«It would be normal to find an inscription in a church of the Byzantine period, describing in whose memory it was built, for instance,» he told the paper.

Source: AFP [July 19, 2019]



New Roman mosaic floor from Alexandria

The site of Kom el-Dikka, located in the heart of Alexandria, has been excavated archaeologically since 1960 by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw expedition in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. Digging has uncovered successively a vast fragment of the Late Antique city (4th–7th centuries AD) including a small theatre, the grand Imperial bath and a unique group of twenty-two lecture halls – apparently the remains of an ancient “university”.

New Roman mosaic floor from Alexandria
The small theatre at the Kom el-Dikka site in Alexandria
[Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

In recent years, excavation work concentrated on the study of the still mostly unknown residential architecture of Roman Alexandria (1st–3rd centuries AD). “The buildings of that period are known to have often been lavishly decorated – a rule that found confirmation in Alexandria this season: in one of such houses we have discovered a fine Roman floor mosaic,” says Dr. Grzegorz Majcherek, the director of the team of PCMA archaeologists working at the site.
The main square field of this multi-coloured pavement (measuring 2.60 by 2.60 m) is composed of six hexagonal panels featuring lotus flowers, framed by a circular guilloche pattern. Lotus buds can also be seen in spandrels.

New Roman mosaic floor from Alexandria

New Roman mosaic floor from Alexandria

New Roman mosaic floor from Alexandria
The main square field of this multi-coloured pavement (measuring 2.60 by 2.60 m) is composed
of six hexagonal panels featuring lotus flowers, framed by a circular guilloche pattern
[Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

Overall, the design of the mosaic, additionally equipped with a transversal field in front decorated with astragals and rosettes, is typical for the triclinia – the most imposing of the dining rooms in a Roman house. The composition, featuring a circle inscribed into a square, so exceptionally popular in Roman Egypt, is considered distinctive of Alexandrian style.
This latest discovery, coupled with other polychrome tessellated floors previously found at the Kom el-Dikka site and displayed in the mosaic shelter (“Villa of the Birds”), once again points not only to the affluence of the residents of these houses, but also to the popularity of mosaic art in Alexandria.

Source: Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw expedition [July 19, 2019]



2019 July 20 Apollo 11 Landing Panorama Image Credit: Neil…

2019 July 20

Apollo 11 Landing Panorama
Image Credit: Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11, NASA

Explanation: Have you seen a panorama from another world lately? Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original film frames, this one sweeps across the magnificent desolation of the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility. The images were taken by Neil Armstrong looking out his window of the Eagle Lunar Module fifty years ago, shortly after the July 20, 1969 landing. The frame at the far left (AS11-37-5449) is the first picture taken by a person on another world. Toward the south, thruster nozzles can be seen in the foreground on the left, while at the right, the shadow of the Eagle is visible to the west. For scale, the large, shallow crater on the right has a diameter of about 12 meters. Frames taken from the Lunar Module windows about an hour and a half after landing, before walking on the lunar surface, were intended to initially document the landing site in case an early departure was necessary.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190720.html

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site

Human leg bones have been unearthed in the first excavation of the main allied field hospital used in the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site
Four human bones have been unearthed on the dig so far 
[Credit: Waterloo Uncovered]

Experts believe they are the remains of limbs amputated by medics at the former Mont-St-Jean field hospital in Belgium.
Archaeologists and veterans also found musket balls and a cannon ball, which shed new light on the famous battle.

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site
Archaeologists believe surgeons at the field hospital amputated the limbs
 in an effort to save soldiers’ lives [Credit: Waterloo Uncovered]

Tens of thousands died in the battle, which saw the French army defeated by the allied British and Prussian troops.
Waterloo Uncovered — the charity organising the dig — said the discovery of at least four leg bones had changed the atmosphere of the excavation.

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site
The cannon ball was French in origin [Credit: Waterloo Uncovered]

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site
Artillery shells have provided evidence of a possible unrecorded battle 
at the gates of the field hospital [Credit: Waterloo Uncovered]

«Suddenly there is a very poignant connection with the people who suffered here in 1815,» it said in a statement.
One of the limbs had suffered from a «catastrophic wound», while another bore the mark of a surgeon’s saw. The bones are now set to undergo further examination.

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site
The Mont-St-Jean field hospital was located about 600m (2,000ft) behind the main allied line 
[Credit: Waterloo Uncovered]

Amputated limbs unearthed at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site
Dozens of musket balls were found [Credit: Waterloo Uncovered]

«We’d like to think the men survived, but we don’t know,» team member Mike Greenwood told the BBC, adding that the bones provided direct evidence of the work surgeons were doing to save lives during the battle.
Archaeologists said musket balls they discovered from both sides at the site indicated that there had been a previously unrecorded fight at the doors of the field hospital.

The discovery of a six-pound (2.7kg) French cannon ball at the site also provided further indication of how close Napoleon Bonaparte came to winning the battle, they said.

Military veterans have joined archaeologists on the dig, which aims to further understanding of what happened during the battle on 18 June 1815.

Mr Greenwood said the discoveries had fascinated the veterans taking part and helped them come to terms with their own experiences.

Source: BBC News Website [July 17, 2019]



Dripstone cave in Hungary hides ancient treasures

Archaeologists of Eötvös Loránd University found unparalleled treasure in the Baradla cave, a part of the Aggtelek Karst, a more than 25 kilometre long cave system. The cave will be used to help people with respiratory diseases heal, but before the development could begin, archaeologists had to assess the area. A week ago the metal detector started signalling in an area which they checked at least ten times with no results. The decorations of the Bronze-age ceremonial vestments were hiding under the rocks, and now they will be taken to the Hungarian National Museum from their mystical surroundings. Dr. Gábor Szabó, the archaeologist who made the discovery, spoke to Index News.

Dripstone cave in Hungary hides ancient treasures
Credit: Peter Komka/MTI

The Baradla cave, which spreads over to the Slovakian side of the border, is one of Hungary’s most well-known dripstone caves, and it has been the subject of exploration for over 150 years. The chance of a great discovery is rather low: people had been robbing it since the 1700s, and these days, thousands of visitors are walking through the paved path that leads through the cave.
This is where an in-depth archaeological assessment managed to unearth a group of 5000-year-old, and a group of approximately 3200-year-old findings from the Bronze Age. The latter one was discovered entombed within the stones.

«The 59-piece finding was noticed near an underground stream, under rocks stacked in the shape of a little house, exactly in the kind of place where one imagines a treasure trove. Usually, these sort of places are not hiding anything, this time though, we were lucky», said Dr. Gábor Szabó, archaeology professor and department leader of Eötvös Loránd University.

Dripstone cave in Hungary hides ancient treasures
Credit: Peter Komka/MTI

Szabó began to explore the area as a part of his metal detector archaeology project which resulted in at least thirty bronze and gold findings in the country so far. Gold treasures were already found in the Baradla cave in the 1920s, and Szabó and his team had also found a golden ring for braids. The fact that the cave is not exactly an untouched spot is supported by the wide variety of findings — sometimes, archaeologists find valuable spearheads, but twenty-year-old light fittings are not uncommon either, sometimes immediately next to each other.

The archaeologists were lucky that the area that they explored was previously paved. As a result of the stream’s deposits, the ancient layers were protected by 20-30 centimetres of limestone, and the pavement (placed right onto the cave’s tufa) hid the materials underneath from prying eyes.

One of the people manning the metal detectors, Lajos Sándor had walked through his designated path numerous times, but the detector did not go off until suddenly it started furiously beeping over a crevice behind the rocks. It was immediately apparent that it is not a 20th century finding.

Dripstone cave in Hungary hides ancient treasures
Credit: Peter Komka/MTI

Hearing this, the archaeologists ran through the narrow and winding corridors (the current dig explores a larger, 80-90 square metre room and the 120-metre-long corridor leading there), and they have started removing dirt and soil from the Bronze Age objects with their special wooden tools. By midnight, they had success.
The 59-piece finding mostly consists of round, richly decorated bronze mountings and sparrow-tail shaped pendants, archaeologists think that they might have been pieces of some kind of a ceremonial vestment. The location of the objects suggests that they might have been on folded a piece of clothing similar to a chasuble, but that completely disintegrated — not even organic traces of it were found. The archaeologists of Eötvös Loránd University also found ornate ceramics, human remains, and animal bones, some in large piles, that seem to have been ritually sacrificed. These all point to the Baradla cave having been a sacred place thousands of years ago.

Szabó said: «These days, the cave walls are covered in black soot, but back then they were glowing white, it had to be a beautiful space. Even today, smelling the air of the Baradla cave, you feel that it is a mystical place. It is an astounding interior.»

Dripstone cave in Hungary hides ancient treasures
Credit: Peter Komka/MTI

Szabó thinks that similarly to Stonehenge, the Baradla cave must have been an ancient holy place where communities arrived even from far-away lands to witness the rituals performed there.

«This place could have functioned as a destination for pilgrimages. Sacrifices were made, sacred places were established, there were initiation rituals — the quality ceramics, the piles of animal bones, remains of food materials serve as proof for that.»

The functions of such spacious caves had long since been polemised amongst archaeologists. Szabó thinks it is unlikely that these would have been used as permanent habitats: the constant 12 C° temperature along with the 100% humidity may be useful for treating asthmatic diseases, however, it makes the cave a place unfit for people to have lived in it. It could have functioned at most as a temporary shelter, and first and foremost, a ritual place.

Dripstone cave in Hungary hides ancient treasures
Credit: Peter Komka/MTI

The most archaeologically interesting caves of Hungary are usually hiding palaeolithic findings, but the Baradla is an exception. There are no Old Stone Age artefacts, but it is rich in Neolithic findings on both the Hungarian and the Slovakian side of the cave. There are two periods represented there: the objects left behind by the Bükk culture that appeared around 5000 B.C., and the Bronze Age findings from around 1200 B.C.
There are great numbers of ornate pottery fragments that differ from the kind typical to the era’s settlements in the area: The abstract, geometric patterns, the ceramics with yellow, red, white and black paint over the engravings are trademarks of the Bükk culture. The people assumed to have arrived from the direction of the Hungarian Great Plains carried their culture with them to the hills, along with the knowledge of animal husbandry and agriculture.

«They were born explorers, they had to terraform an unknown world,» as Szabó painted their portrait.

Dripstone cave in Hungary hides ancient treasures
Credit: Peter Komka/MTI

Few artefacts remain from the 2000 years following the downfall of the Bükk culture, the next vibrant era for this country of hills and caves was ushered in by the Kyjatice culture (named after a southern Slovakian town). The most significant finding, comprised of 59 bronze pieces, that was hidden behind the rocks can also be tied to the rites of this culture that was mostly known for its warring clans, spectacular swords, and fortified settlements. They had more refined idols, and probably more complex mythology, most of which is a mystery even for researchers due to the lack of written sources. What they imagine is that they had a shamanistic religion with a complex relationship to the supernatural; their colourful rites and the rich sacrifices, however, are proven by the Baradla findings.

The objects found with metal detectors by Eötvös Loránd University’s archaeologists will be taken to the Hungarian National Museum. Isotope scans will be done to reveal from where the animal bones remaining from the sacrifice feasts were taken to the Baradla cave, and the human remains assumed to originate from the neolithic era will be carbon-dated. The cold air of caves tends to preserve DNA in the bones really well, so the findings could have a huge archaeogenetic significance as well. The archaeological excavation will continue in August and next year.

Author: Adam Kolozsi | Source: Index [July 18, 2019]



Tutankhamun golden coffin under restoration for the first time since 1922

Experts have begun restoration work on the golden-plated coffin of Egypt’s boy-king Tutankhamun for the first time since the discovery of the tomb in 1922, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said on Wednesday.

Tutankhamun golden coffin under restoration for the first time since 1922
Tutankhamun’s gilded outer coffin; one of three that protected the royal mummy
[Credit: Nariman El-Mofty]

The coffin and the treasured collection of Tutankhamun’s tomb are expected to be the centrepiece of the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) that Egypt will open next year near the Pyramids of Giza.

British archaeologist Haward Carter discovered the tomb of the 18th dynasty king in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor in 1922. The tomb was untouched and included about 5,000 artefacts.

The ministry said the coffin was transported from southern Egypt to the GEM three days ago “in order to be restored for the first time since the tomb’s discovery”.

“The coffin has suffered a lot of damage, including cracks in the golden layers of plaster and a general weakness in all golden layers,” said Eissa Zidan, Head of the First Aid Restoration Department at the GEM.

“The restoration work will take about eight months” he added.

Egypt has previously announced that the GEM, which has been under construction for about 15 years and is partially funded by Japan, will officially open by the end of 2020.

Author: Sameh Elkhatib | Source: Reuters [July 18, 2019]



Excavation reveals complex story of ancient Tas-Silġ site

Right from the first excavations carried out in the area known as Tas-Silġ, Marsaxlokk in the 1960s by the Missione Archeologica Italiana, it was evident that this was a significant archaeological site.

Excavation reveals complex story of ancient Tas-Silġ site
The current excavations revealed ancient remains beneath the floor
of a 19th-century farmhouse [Credit: Times of Malta]

Throughout the years, the site continued to unravel further discoveries and a current excavation by Heritage Malta − in collaboration with the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta and with support by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage − confirmed once more that the ancient site has a more complex story than previously thought.

The new findings came to light when Heritage Malta and the Ministry for  Culture embarked on a new project to restore and transform a 19th-century farmhouse to serve as a small visitor centre.

“The farmhouse was never excavated and so this project offered a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of what has been hiding beneath it,” David Cardona, Heritage Malta, senior curator and Tas-Silġ project director, said.

This project also served as an opportunity to a group of students reading for an undergraduate degree in archaeology at the University who were involved in this excavation as part of their formal fieldwork training.

Excavation reveals complex story of ancient Tas-Silġ site
Finds of the latest excavations being documented
[Credit: Times of Malta]

The first systematic archaeological investigations of the site which were carried out by the Missione Archeologica Italiana had uncovered substantial structural remains of a multi-period sanctuary, ranging from the Neolithic to the Phoenician, Punic and Late Republican Roman period.  On the other hand, the University studies, which took place to the south of the main site, led to the discovery of a substantial amount of pottery fragments and animal bones.

Tas-Silġ site director and University lecturer Maxine Anastasi explained that pottery fragments can reveal much information, including the different periods when the site was in use, how the pottery was made and from where the material was obtained, how the pottery was utilised and what people were eating.

“Inscribed pottery can provide further data and these were found in their hundreds at the southern site of Tas-Silġ,” she said.

Dr Anastasi revealed that the current excavations have also yielded pottery, some of which had inscriptions, animal bones, as well as other artefacts such as Punic and Roman building materials and fragments of architectural cornices that once adorned the temple façade.

Excavation reveals complex story of ancient Tas-Silġ site
Pottery fragment with an inscription found during the current excavations
[Credit: Times of Malta]

According to Heritage Malta field archaeologist and Tas-Silġ site director Francesco Fontanelli, a strong point of this site is that it offers unparalleled insights about the various cultures that were present on the islands since the Temple Period and how every new culture interacted with their predecessors and the structures left there by them.

“Even the farmhouse forms part of this narrative and this year it was time to disclose its story,” he said.

The removal of the floors of the farmhouse has, in fact, uncovered further important archaeological remains, including a succession of floors and walls, mostly related to the extensions constructed in the Republican period.

The new discoveries have also identified a number of ‘robber’ or spoliation trenches which were dug in more modern times to exploit the good building stone of the ancient temple.

John C. Betts, senior lecturer at the University and also Tas-Silġ site director, explained that all the excavations inside and around the farmhouse were duly documented.

Excavation reveals complex story of ancient Tas-Silġ site
Newly-found pottery fragments being washed
[Credit: Times of Malta]

Photos were taken in all the areas to produce 3D models of the site during and after the excavations.

A drone will eventually also be used to produce a photographic map of the entire site and a 3D model of the area.

Asked whether the Tas-Silġ site could be far more extensive than what was discovered until now, Dr Cardona explained that the present boundaries of the site were built on the same lines of the properties which were expropriated at the time of the original 1960s excavations.

Therefore, it is possible that these do not necessarily reflect the size of the site.

“The main hindrance in understanding the site as one complex remains the road that splits the temple precinct in two,” Dr Cardona noted.

“Both sides of the road have been investigated by extensive excavations but the link between the two areas and how they both worked together within the complex religious, social and cultural processes of this important temple is still missing; buried under a road that has been present on site since at least the 1600s,” he added.

Excavation reveals complex story of ancient Tas-Silġ site
The extensive site of Tas-Silg, in the limits of Marsaxlokk
[Credit: Times of Malta]

Nicholas Vella, head of the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University and Tas-Silġ project director, fully agrees.

He remarked that the time was ripe to consider rerouting the road so that the whole of Tas-Silġ can be enjoyed as one important archaeological site.

“It is likely that beneath the road lie the remains of the large area that served as the place where pilgrims to this sanctuary congregated in Punic and Roman times before accessing the holy precincts − a sort of parvis that we get in front of parish churches locally,” Prof. Vella said.

Heritage Malta has recently launched a long-term plan to protect, conserve and make the site more accessible to the public.

“A management brief is currently being drafted to put on paper Heritage Malta’s future vision of this site,” Dr Cardona said.

“This is being done through consultation with the different stakeholders. The restoration and transformation of this farmhouse into a small visitor facility centre is just one of many steps required to make Heritage Malta’s final vision possible.”

Author: Fiona Vella | Source: Times of Malta [July 18, 2019]



Iron Age tools found in Kerala’s Malampuzha

A team of explorers from Government Victoria College here have stumbled upon iron implements belonging to the Iron Age in Kerala from the catchment area of the Malampuzha dam.

Iron Age tools found in Kerala's Malampuzha
The iron implements can throw light on the life of people in the centuries before
the beginning of the Christian era [Credit: The Hindu]

K. Rajan, former head of the History Department at the college who led the exploration, said the find had immense potential to throw light on the life of people in the centuries immediately before the beginning of the Christian era. V. Selvakumar, archaeologist from Tamil University, Thanjavur, has corroborated the finding. An expert in Stone Age and Iron Age archaeology, Dr. Selvakumar will examine the site next week.

The iron implement included a nail, a chisel, a wedge, a knife and a dagger. The broken pieces of the dagger were recovered from a cist burial found at the location.

Mr. Rajan said that when the knife was found beside another cist burial, the nail, chisel, wedge and two other tools were recovered from the top of a broken urn near a stone circle at South Malampuzha.

He said the tools that could not be identified might be a spear-head and the top portion of a sickle.

The iron implements were spotted during a survey of Iron Age sites and burials as part of a University Grants Commission (UGC)-aided project that began in 2014. “The region has many varieties of Iron Age burials, including cairn circles, stone circles, cist burials, dolmens, urn burials, and menhirs,” said Mr. Rajan.

An exploration conducted by M.G. Sasibhooshan in 1980s had found burial sites within the catchment areas of Malampuzha. Archaeological Survey of India director M. Nandiraju has asked the Victoria team to survey the region thoroughly and to document it in detail. The survey is expected to continue for a few more weeks.

Mr. Rajan said that deeper studies were required to find the exact date of the implements recovered from Malampuzha. He said the Iron Age of Europe and India could be traced to different periods. In Kerala, the Iron Age burials dated back to 700 BC, he said.

Author: Abdul Latheef Naha | Source: The Hindu [July 18, 2019]



41 Baekje-era tumuli found near South Korea’s Gongju city

A state-run research center has found traces of 41 Baekje-era tumuli near the tomb of King Muryeong in Gongju, some of which could turn out to be newfound royal tombs, the Cultural Heritage Administration said Wednesday.

41 Baekje-era tumuli found near South Korea's Gongju city
This photo shows the locations of Baekje-era tumuli. The yellow ellipsis indicates the tomb of King Muryeong, and the
green ellipses indicate tumuli found during the Japanese colonial period. Blue ellipses indicate tombs that
have been repaired and are under maintenance, and red ellipses indicate newly discovered tumuli
[Credit: Cultural Heritage Administration]

The discovery was made during research conducted as part of a long-term study on the tumuli at Songsan-ri — part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Baekje Historic Areas — according to the CHA affiliate the Buyeo National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. The tumuli are thought to belong to members of the royal family and nobility of the Baekje Kingdom (18 BC-AD 660).
Unlike the Silla and Gaya kingdoms, which coexisted on the Korean Peninsula along with Baekje, Baekje tumuli were hard to identify until recently as the people of Baekje did not create large mounds and the tombs were mostly underground.

41 Baekje-era tumuli found near South Korea's Gongju city
Geophysical surveys identified the underground structures around the tomb of King Muraung
[Credit: Cultural Properties Administration]

Researchers found traces of tumuli Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 29, for which records had been lost after the tumuli were reportedly discovered between 1927 and 1933 when the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule. Of the 29 tumuli discovered during those years, records remain for only eight.
While previous research established that royal tombs existed in this area, King Muryeong’s tomb is the only one whose occupant researchers have been able identify.

41 Baekje-era tumuli found near South Korea's Gongju city
King Mureung’s tomb and the «Chungbang» brick. Inside the square, the Chinese word
«Zhongbang» is clear [Credit: National Burial Cultural Property Research Institute,
National Gongju Museum]

The Buyeo institute also found “jungbang” bricks — similar to eight of the bricks found in King Muryeong’s tomb, which were used to form the shape of a window.
Because the bricks were found 80 meters away from King Muryeong’s tomb and 70 meters away from tumulus No. 17, a brick-based tomb that was already known to archaeologists, researchers say it is possible that another brick-based tomb may be in the area.

41 Baekje-era tumuli found near South Korea's Gongju city
Interior of King Mureung’s tomb [Credit: Cultural Heritage Administration]

“Most of the research on the tumuli in Songsan-ri had been conducted by the Japanese, and not much follow-up study has taken place since then. This research is very meaningful because it has been done by us (Koreans) with a systematic plan,” the CHA said.

Author: Yoon Min-sik | Source: The Korea Herald [July 18, 2019]




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