A major ancient human settlement — including pit houses, the likely remnants of an irrigation canal and human burials possibly dating back 4,000 years — has been discovered under the site of a planned outlet center along Interstate 10 in Marana.
Experts agree discovery is significant archaeologically — the settlement is likely from the Early Agricultural Period, which predates even the Hohokam culture that was in Southern and Central Arizona from 500 to about 1450 A.D. The find will add additional knowledge about agricultural practices that may be the oldest known in the United States, archaeologists say.
But it’s unclear if it will affect the outlet center’s progress. Its Indianapolis-based developer is already in competition with a Florida developer to build outlet centers on the northwest side.
So far, about 145 archaeological features, including six burials, have been found on the site, said a letter written last week by the State Historic Preservation Office. More investigation of the site, including some level of excavation, is almost certain.
How long that investigation will take is far from certain. While archaeological ruins don’t stop projects, they must be studied in detail.
A percentage of remains are typically excavated so they can be preserved for future study. Human burial remains typically are repatriated to the Tohono O’odham and other tribes, which has been done with those from this site.
HADDENHAM, ENGLAND—Archaeologists excavating the parking lot of a village pub have discovered nine burials that are believed to date to the early Saxon era, around the sixth century A.D. Though early Saxons were pagan, the burials are oriented east to west, which was a Christian practice. Among the grave goods unearthed were a spear, knife, and a shield found with a male burial. “Projects such as these prove how even the smallest developments can yield a wealth of archaeological information and details not only of how people lived but also of their treatment toward the dead more than 1,400 years ago," archaeologist Jonathan House told the Cambs Times.
A medieval pilgrimage “round”, or circuit, has been identified on the Mayo island of Caher, which archaeologists believe shines fresh light on religious practices in the west of Ireland up to 1,000 years ago.
Caher, a rocky outcrop lying between the southern tip of Clew Bay and Inishturk, marks the sea end of Bóthair na Naomh, the so-called saint’s road, up to the summit of Croagh Patrick and down towards the Atlantic.
A maritime pilgrimage comprising a circuit of the island takes place annually a fortnight after Reek Sunday, but recent fieldwork has identified an outer arc of altars or “leachts”, making up a second and larger pilgrimage circuit on the south and west sides of the island.
Some of these are now only faintly visible and their existence appeared to have been lost in local folk memory, after the island was abandoned in 1838, according to archaeologist Michael Gibbons.
Material collected in the 1940s by Brian McLoughlin of Cleggan, Connemara, which is in the archives of the Irish Folklore Commission, describes the use of at least some of these pilgrimage stations as a living memory at that time, he says, and he matched this up with his own field work and aerial photography.
The circuit may be the first of its type to have been discovered in recent years. Portions of it would have been in use “almost into living memory”, Mr Gibbons suggests, and the entire round “represents a now rare example of a form of religious devotion stretching back at least a millennium on Ireland’s Atlantic coast”.
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists excavate a 1,700-year-old tablet with an etched curse, in the City of David in Jerusalem.
A lead curse tablet, dating back around 1,700 years and likely written by a magician, has been discovered in a collapsed Roman mansion in Jerusalem, archaeologists report.
The mansion, which is being excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Givati Parking Lot, is located in what is known as the "City of David," an area that holds at least 6,000 years of human occupation. The mansion itself covers at least 2,000 square meters (about half an acre) and contains two large open courtyards adjacent to each other. It was in use between the late third century and A.D. 363, when it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes on May 18 or 19.
The text is written in Greek and, in it a woman named Kyrilla invokes the names of six gods to cast a curse on a man named Iennys, apparently over a legal case.
Website funding from Polonsky Foundation includes Bodleian's 1455 Gutenberg Bible and aims to put 1.5m pages online
Some of the rarest and most fragile religious texts in the Vatican and Bodleian libraries, including ancient bibles and some of the oldest Hebrew manuscript and printed books, are being placed online in a joint project by the two great libraries, which will eventually create an online archive of 1.5m pages.
The website launched on Tuesday with funding from the Polonsky Foundation includes the first results of the four-year project, including the Bodleian's 1455 Gutenberg Bible, one of only 50 surviving copies of the first major book printed in the west with metal type.
The site will also host a growing collection of scholarly essays, and interviews with the Oxford and Vatican librarians, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who said the digitisation was of huge international significance.
"Where you can see these ancient texts there is just a lifting of the spirits … I think those who did the printing in the past would think the scanning was a very considerable improvement, it must have been very hard work. Essentially the scanners of today and the printers of the past are engaged in very similar work."
MILAN, ITALY—A temple thought to have been dedicated to the goddess Minerva has been discovered beneath Milan’s cathedral, and a stone floor and a section of an arcade of the ancient Mediolanum Forum have been found under the basement of the seventeenth-century building that houses the historic art gallery, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, and the library, Biblioteca Ambrosiana. In A.D. 292 Mediolanum became the capital of the Western Roman Empire, and it remained so until 402.
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A temple thought to have been dedicated to the goddess Minerva has been discovered beneath Milan’s cathedral.
Archaeologists in China have unearthed the skulls of more than 80 young women who may have been sacrificed more than 4,000 years ago, state media reported Monday.
The skulls were found in what appears to have been a mass grave at the Shimao Ruins, the site of a neolithic stone city in the northern province of Shaanxi.
The women’s bodies were not present, the official news agency Xinhua said, adding that archaeologists concluded that the skulls were “likely to be related to the construction of the city wall” in “ancient religious activities or foundation ceremonies” before construction began.
Archaeologists digging in southern Turkey say they've discovered more than 600 stamp seals, cylinder seals and amulets left as religious offerings in an ancient sanctuary.
Carved with images of animals, people, deities and geometric figures, the small artifacts date from the seventh to fourth centuries B.C. and were found near the site of the ancient city of Doliche, which has a long history of worship. Researchers think the place was revered as early as the Iron Age (around the beginning of the first millennium B.C.). It later became a famous sacred site of the Roman era, dedicated to Jupiter Dolichenus, the god of storms and weather, and then it was used as a Christian monastery.
People used stamp seals and cylinder seals to impress images into wet clay. These objects were sometimes used as a way to authenticate documents (in this case, tablets), but they also seem to have been used as religious offerings. [Images: Ancient Carving of Roman God]