AFP - A 16th century religious tapestry stolen from a Spanish cathedral in 1979 and sold at auction three years ago for $369,000 was returned to Spain on Wednesday by the US customs service.
In a statement, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said special agents from its Homeland Security Investigations unit seized the artifact last November from the unidentified Texas business that had bought it.
The wool and silk tapestry, depicting the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, had been stolen in December 1979 from the Cathedral of Saint Vincent, Martyr of Roda de Isabena in the Aragon region of northeastern Spain.
After it turned up in a Brussels art fair catalog in 2010, Belgian, Spanish and US investigators established it had been acquired in 2008 by a gallery owner in Belgium along with two partners from Milan and Paris. Read more.
Neanderthals may have died out earlier than before thought, researchers say.
These findings hint that Neanderthals did not coexist with modern humans as long as previously suggested, investigators added.
Modern humans once shared the planet with now-departed human lineages, including the Neanderthals, our closest known extinct relatives. However, there has been heated debate over just how much time and interaction, or interbreeding, Neanderthals had with modern humans.
To help solve the mystery, an international team of researchers investigated 215 bones previously excavated from 11 sites in southern Iberia, in an area known as Spain today. Read more.
La Roca dels Bous, a Paleolithic site located near the southeastern Pyrenees of Spain, has been cited by archaeologists as a key location with Neanderthal-related remains that may shed light on the changes that may have contributed to the demise of the Neanderthals in Europe. Now, a team led by Dr. Rafael Mora of the University Autonomous of Barcelona will be returning to the site in 2013 to excavate and explore lithic assemblages, fossil bone, and other remains that may date as far back as 50,000 BP.
The excavations may help research efforts focused on constructing a better understanding of the factors that may have contributed to the decline and eventual disappearance of humanity’s most closely related extinct human species. Read more.
In a necropolis in Spain, archaeologists have found the remains of a Roman woman who died in her 30s with a calcified tumor in her pelvis, a bone and four deformed teeth embedded within it.
Two of the teeth are still attached to the wall of the tumor researchers say.
The woman, who died some 1,600 years ago, had a condition known today as an ovarian teratoma which, as its name indicates, occurs in the ovaries . The word Teratoma comes from the Greek words “teras” and “onkoma” which translate to “monster” and “swelling,” respectively. The tumor is about 1.7 inches (44 millimeters) in diameter at its largest point.
“Ovarian teratomas are bizarre, but benign tumors,” writes lead researcher Núria Armentano, of the ANTROPÒLEGS.LAB company and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in an email to LiveScience. Read more.
MADRID - The owner of an antique shop in Spain was arrested after police investigators found a vase there dating back to the late second century B.C., officials said Saturday.
The antiquity had been illegally plundered from an Iberian era archaeological site in the province of Alicante, an Interior Ministry statement said.
Inspectors found it in a cardboard box during a routine search of the shop in the eastern town of El Campello.
“We are not yet aware of the full importance of this discovery, but in 20 years’ time we will still be talking about this vase,” said Jose Luis Simon, an expert from the cultural heritage service of the Ministry of Culture.
Simon said the piece showed decorative paintwork from the Iberian era that tells the story of a hunter who had managed to kill a wild boar, one of the rituals of the time that proved a youth had attained the status of manhood. Read more.
Spanish archaeologists have discovered an impressive structure with 4,200-year-old outer walls and six pyramid-shaped towers, representing the most architecturally advanced Bronze Age fortress.
Called La Bastida, the Spanish fortification system stood in the sierras of Totana, in the southeastern Murcia region. It was built with large stones and lime mortar and consisted of 10-foot-thick walls that were once 22 feet high and imposing pyramid-based towers.
So far the archaeologists led by Vicente Lull, professor of prehistory of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, have unearthed six towers along a length of 230 feet, although the full perimeter of the fortification measured about 1,000 feet.
The entrance to the enclosure consisted of a passageway built with strong walls and large doors at the end, held shut with thick wooden beams. Read more.
A study at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili and the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) reveals that humans from the Upper Palaeolithic Age recycled their stone artefacts to be put to other uses. The study is based on burnt artefacts found in the Molí del Salt site in Tarragona, Spain.
The recycling of stone tools during Prehistoric times has hardly been dealt with due to the difficulties in verifying such practices in archaeological records. Nonetheless, it is possible to find some evidence, as demonstrated in a study published in the ‘Journal of Archaeological Science’.
“In order to identify the recycling, it is necessary to differentiate the two stages of the manipulation sequence of an object: the moment before it is altered and the moment after. The two are separated by an interval in which the artefact has undergone some form of alteration. This is the first time a systematic study of this type has been performed,” as explained to SINC by Manuel Vaquero, researcher at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Read more.
Archaeologists are digging up the necropolis of Baelo Claudia, one of the best preserved Roman cities in Spain, and they report that they’ve already uncovered several intact graves that likely date back more than 2,000 years.
Founded in the late second century B.C., Baelo Claudia lies near today’s town of Tarifa at the southernmost tip of Spain, separated from Morocco by the Strait of Gibraltar. Since 2009, scientists at the University of Alicante have led excavations at the site, which is considered by some the best preserved city from the high imperial Roman period of the Iberian Peninsula. Read more.