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Archaeological links for the first week in June

6 June 2012

At www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/06/2012/excavation-of-a-solutr… … prior to construction work archaeologists did a survey and came across a Solutreean hunting camp – buried 2m deep. The Palaeolithic site, on an island in the Dordogne region, dates back to the Late Glacial Maximum some 20,000 years ago. Several thousand flint objects and flakes were unearthed and the site appears to have been both a place where animals were butchered and a place where stone tools were manufactured. The Solutrean points have been compared to Clovis points – look at the pictures and see if you think that is viable.

At www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/06/2012/life-and-death-of-an-e… … the Etruscans influenced the Romans and were absorbed by them – but their origins remain a mystery. At the beginning of the Iron Age the Villanovan culture appears, an embryonic Etruscan society (but not everybody agrees). By the end of the 8th century BC a rich culture had emerged that was clearly influenced via contact with the east Mediterranean world (ceramics and metals and generally, trade). In the 7th century urban centres had sprouted along the coastline indicating continuing development – with agricultural improvements visible in the hinterland. In the 6th century some 12 autonomous city states had evolved and Etruscan dominated most of Italy, from the Po Valley to Campania, including Rome. After the latter defeated the Etruscans they were granted Roman citizenship and became Roman – but their sphere of influencewas already in decline. Syracuse in the south, and migrant Greeks, defeated the southern coastal cities while in the north Gallic tribes occupied tracts of the Po Valley.

The identity of the Etruscans has perplexed historians. Etruscan writing, for example, was written right to left, and the language was non-IndoEuropean. Their origins have been looked for in the east – assuning civilisation spread from that direction. According to Herodotus they came from what is now Turkey, following a famine. In contrast, Dionysius of Halicarnassus said they were indigenous to Italy – a people who developed a distinct culture as a result of trade contact with the East. This theory is supported by the gradual change within the archaeological record and the factg there was no break in favoured traditions going back long before the Etruscan city states evolved. A DNA study suggested the Etruscans came from somewhere in Anatolia, heralded as solving the long-time mystery. However, DNA is not explicit – particularly when applied to date. It is just as likely the Anatolian connection was derived from a much earlier period, around 6000BC, as the first farmers came by way of Anatolia.

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604125603.htm we have 'Ancient Jugs hold the secret to practical mathematics in Biblical times' – a wonderful piece of detective work focussing on ancient jugs and their capacity to hold liquids such as olive oil and wine. The mathematics was used to create a standard volume allowing the contents to be measured and divided when necessary. Such jugs were in use as early as 1500BC (at least) and the system it seems was Egyptian. It had been transferred to the Levant during the dynasty 18 imperial period – and it fell out of use with the Assyro-Babylonian annexation of the region. In particular, the famous Phoenician torpedo jars, found packed into ships on the bottom of the sea, also used the Egyptian system – so it was alive and well during the early first millennium BC.

At http://phys.org/print258015221.html … ceramics in an Arizona museum  are being used to plot a migration around 800 years ago when people, fleeing drought and famine on the Colorado plateau, moved south into Arizona and New Mexico.

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