Roman-era sarcophagus found at Istanbul high school construction site

A Roman-era sarcophagus, believed to date back 2000 years, has been unearthed during a construction work in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, daily Habertürk has reported.

Roman-era sarcophagus found at Istanbul high school construction site
Credit: Hurriyet Daily News

Officials at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum Directorate found human bones inside the sarcophagus after conducting an examination in the area. The lid of the sarcophagus was found in a different place.

The tomb was later taken under protection by the Kadıköy police headquarters for 24 hours.

 According to a report by the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board, the tomb and bones inside are expected to be transferred to a museum.

It has also been reported that archaeological excavations could start in the construction field.

The bones inside the tomb will be examined and undergo DNA tests, officials said. The examinations will provide information about the residents of Kadıköy, now a culture hotspot in Istanbul, 2,000 years ago.

Speaking about the finding found in the Kuşdili Çayırı area, archaeologist Murar Sav said: “Kuşdili Çayırı and its vicinity are close to or inside the ancient city of Khalkedon. There was a settlement in Khalkedon in seventh century BC, when the ancient Greek city of Byzantion was founded. On the left side of Kurbağalıdere Stream is the necropolis of the ancient Khalkedon and the tomb was found on the right side of the stream. It is also believed that there was an old harbor at the spot where the stream meets the sea.”

Sav said that the tomb dated back to the Roman era, adding: “There is no relief or writing on the tomb. Had there been engravings, we could’ve said the tomb belonged to a rich person, but it didn’t belong to an ordinary person either. There was no gift in the tomb. The excavation area should be expanded to find other tombs around.”

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [february 28, 2018]



Archaeologist uncovers hidden history of conquistadors in American South


Chris Rodning, the Paul and Debra Gibbons Professor in the Tulane School of Liberal Arts’ Department of Anthropology, unravels early entanglements between Native Americans and European explorers, revealing how their interactions shaped the history of the American South.

“Native Americans’ responses to Spanish explorers and colonists form an important part of the story behind the history of European colonialism in North America,” said Rodning, who conducts archaeological research at Fort San Juan—the earliest known permanent European settlement in the interior United States, located near Morganton, North Carolina.

Since 2001, Rodning has collaborated with David Moore, an anthropology professor from Warren Wilson College, and Rob Beck, an associate professor of anthropology from the University of Michigan, to excavate the site.

“In 2013, we identified the archaeological footprint of the fort,” said Rodning, noting that the team has since focused on learning how the structure was built and where it was located in relation to a nearby Native American settlement called Joara. Read more.

Human dispersion through southern Europe in Early Pleistocene

Geochronologists from the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) have led a study published in the journal Quaternary Geochronology about the chronology of the archaeological site of Gran Dolina, situated in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos), whose results confirm a pulse of human dispersion in southern Europe around one million years ago..

Human dispersion through southern Europe in Early Pleistocene
TD4 Level at Gran Dolina site [Credit: CENIEH]

This is a paleomagnetic study of the lower stratigraphic levels of this archaeological site in Burgos, whose objective was to determine the possible presence of the Jaramillo subchron, a geological event of normal magnetic polarity about one million years ago, to improve the chronological framework for the lithic industry found at level TD4, and therefore for human presence in Atapuerca.

“Gran Dolina is one of the sites with the best-preserved sedimentary records of the Middle and Early Pleistocene in Europe, and therefore, knowing the chronology of the stratigraphic levels comprising it is an extremely important element in understanding the presence and development of human activity in the zone,” explains Claudia Álvarez Posada, lead author of this paper.

Samples from the levels TD4 to TD6 were analyzed using paleomagnetism, a methodology which is increasingly used for establishing absolute datings given its great versatility and the fact that it has an extremely wide chronological register, because the magnetic field remains captured in sediments when they are formed. These days there is a known register covering a timeline of over 180 million years up to the present, so that as Álvarez affirms, “it’s a very powerful tool for chronology.”

This method, together with the data furnished by biostratigraphy and the recent dating studies using Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) made at the site, has allowed an age later than the Jaramillo Subchron to be definitively established for the level TD4, that is, less than one million years, consistent with with a pulse of human dispersal across southern Europe during the time interval known as the Lower Pleistocene transition.

Dual study 

This paper forms part of a dual paleomagnetic study of Gran Dolina, encompassing levels TD1 to TD6, undertaken for better understanding of the ages of the different stratigraphic levels which comprise the fillings of the site.

The second paper, which has just been published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, focuses on the chronology of the lower sedimentary fillings, and corroborates the datings found for TD4.

Source: CENIEH [February 28, 2018]