Vanished cities abound in Iraq —Babylon, Nineveh and Ur just for starters — so much that archaeologists joked that the only advice needed to uncover history is “just dig.”
War and international sanctions closed these locations off to the world and to scholars. The ruins of ancient Mesopotamia, in modern-day Iraq, have mostly seen visits from looters for the last two decades.
But that may be changing. A U.S. archaeology team that was one of the first to visit Iraq in more than two decades, has just returned from a dig there. They are now among a growing list of other archaeologistsreturning to the war-ravaged nations.
“There is so much gloom and doom in news from Iraq, this is a really hopeful moment,” says archaeologist Elizabeth Stone of Stony Brook (N.Y) University. “Iraq, Mesopotamia, is so rich in archaeological sites. It was wonderful to be back.” Read more.
More details have emerged about the archaeological find of Roman ruins at a spot near Bourgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast – including the fact that they have been found before and funding already has been allocated to investigate them.
The ruins emerged after huge seas scoured the Black Sea coast earlier in February 2012, prompting speculation whether this represented a hitherto unknown Roman settlement or just a small sewerage or sanitation installation.
Bourgas mayor Dimitar Nikolov went to see for himself and trumpeted the find, which hit national headlines amid the bitter winter weather chaos.
But it turned out that the existence of the ruins was well-known to archaeologists and 120 000 leva (about 60 000 euro) already had earmarked to investigate the site.
Builders discovered the ruins of an old wooden barge while working on an office development at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Wednesday.
V&A Waterfront spokesperson Lynette Lambert said the discovery was made at Number One Silo in the Clock Tower precinct.
“The affected development area has been cordoned off until such time as their contracted marine archaeologist has the opportunity to assess the find,” she said.
“The initial findings of the ruins appear to be that of an old wooden barge.”
The discovery would be carefully examined by the marine archaeologists who had been part of the team regularly checking works since inception.
“The V&A Waterfront area is rich with history and this is not the first time that we have encountered really fascinating discoveries which form part of the legacy of Cape Town,” Lambert said. Read more.
The ruins aren’t particularly impressive, just some stone and clay footings for houses that probably supported walls of wood or clay wattle. And it’s that very ordinariness that has experts excited.
The remnants being uncovered in the hills east of Mexico City at a spot known as Amecameca are from an ancient neighborhood — a home to regular folks.
“What makes this important is that it is a residential area, not a ceremonial or religious site,” said Felipe Echenique, a historian for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, which is in charge of reviewing the site.
“In Mexico, we really have very little evidence of how the cities really were, or how people lived,” said Echenique, who was not involved in the dig but is familiar with preliminary findings.
Towering pyramids in Mexico like Chichen Itza or temple complexes like Uxmal are well known, but the vast urban centers that supported those ceremonial centers largely disappeared. Read more.
BASTROP, La. — Recent archaeological discoveries in Bayou Bartholomew are getting some ink in state and national publications.
The Louisiana Division of Archaeology studied and recorded the first non-American Indian sites in Morehouse Parish during record low water levels in the bayou this year.
The ruins and debris field of Vester’s Ferry, a small cable ferry in central Morehouse Parish that fell into disuse circa 1925, have been recorded with the state as Archaeological Site No. 16MO186. The 16 stands for Louisiana’s place in the alphabet, the MO stands for Morehouse and the 186 means it is the 186th site recorded here. Read more.
JAMESTOWN — For more than a decade, the marshy island in Virginia where British colonists landed in 1607 has yielded uncounted surprises. And yet William M. Kelso’s voice still brims with excitement as he plants his feet atop a long-buried discovery at the settlement’s heart: what he believes are the nation’s oldest remains of a Protestant church.
The discovery has excited scholars and preservationists, and unearthed a long-hidden dimension of religious life in the first permanent colony.
It may prove to be an attraction for another reason: the church would have been the site of America’s first celebrity wedding, so to speak, where the Indian princess Pocahontas was baptized and married to the settler John Rolfe in 1614. The union temporarily halted warfare with the region’s tribal federation. Read more.
MILAN — Officials at Pompeii’s archaeological site say part of a wall has collapsed due to heavy rains in recent days.
Spokeswoman Daniela Leone said Saturday an external layer of a roughly two-meter (six-foot) section of wall collapsed at the northern end of the ancient ruins. Leone said it was of no artistic value and stressed that the wall itself remained standing. The area was closed to the public.
There were two collapses at the 2,000-year-old archaeological site last year, emphasizing concerns about the state of Italy’s cultural treasures.
Some 3 million people a year visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii, a teeming Roman city destroyed in A.D. 79 by a volcanic eruption. (source)
Archaeologists say they’ve discovered the ruins of what is believed to be Peru’s oldest Roman Catholic church.
Archaeologist Cesar Astuhuaman says the church outside the northern coastal city of Piura was built in 1534 but its mud walls deteriorated over time as Spanish conquistadors abandoned the area.
Scientists say historical documents discovered in an archive in Sevilla, Spain, helped them find the ruins, whose rectangular stone perimeter remains intact along with an altar.
Piura was the first city established in Peru by adventurers led by Francisco Pizarro.
Archaeologist Ines del Aguila of Lima’s Catholic University says it’s an important contribution to Peruvian history. (source)