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Benvenuti in queste pagine dedicate all'archeologia. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Longobard Necropolis near the Asti-Cuneo motorway

The largest Longobard necropolis in Italy, having 760 tombs - one of the most important in Europe because being of a specific century, the VII - is  emerged at Sant'Albano Stura, during the works for the Asti-Cuneo motorway. It is a great discovery, because of the many tombs have funerary items. The necropolis was discovered in the spring 2009; just today the supervisor of Archaeological Studies, Egle Micheletto, gives the announcement, a few weeks after the conclusion of  excavations.
  http://torino.repubblica.it/cronaca/2011/07/25/news/una_necropoli_longobarda_negli_scavi_della_asti-cuneo-19567203/

Necropoli longobarda sulla Asti-Cuneo

"La più grande necropoli longobarda in Italia, ricca di 760 tombe, una tra le principali anche in Europa in quanto ascrivibile a un unico secolo, il VII, e’ emersa a Sant’Albano Stura, durante i lavori per l’autostrada Asti-Cuneo. Un ritrovamento eccezionale – anche perché più della metà delle sepolture è dotata di corredi funerari - venuto alla luce a partire dalla primavera 2009, ma di cui la soprintendente ai Beni archeologici Egle Micheletto dà notizia solo ora, a poche settimane dalla conclusione degli scavi"
http://torino.repubblica.it/cronaca/2011/07/25/news/una_necropoli_longobarda_negli_scavi_della_asti-cuneo-19567203/

Sitio arqueológico similar a Caral en Chimbote

"Una importante ciudadela similar a Caral fue hallada en Pueblo Viejo, provincia de Chimbote, departamento de Áncash, la cual tendría una antigüedad de cinco mil años...Esta civilización tendría una antigüedad de al menos cinco mil años y por sus características, guarda similitud con los restos arqueológicos de Caral y Bandurria, según la arqueóloga Ruth Shady, directora del Proyecto Especial Arqueológico Caral-Supe."
Hallan sitio arqueológico similar a Caral en Chimbote



Friday, 22 July 2011

100 años de Machu Picchu a 100 km de indígenas aislados

100 años de Machu Picchu a 100 km de indígenas aislados - ConNuestroPeru
"El 24 de julio se celebra el centenario del "descubrimiento" de Machu Picchu, la ciudadela inca en lo alto de los Andes peruanos, por el explorador y académico estadounidense Hiram Bingham. Pero al tiempo que Perú celebra el legado de los indígenas incas, también planea garantizar a las empresas de hidrocarburos el acceso a las tierras de los indígenas aislados en la reserva de Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti, lo que supondría un riesgo extremo para sus vidas. "
More
100 años de Machu Picchu a 100 km de indígenas aislados

Adam's Calendar

"A 75,000 year-old stone calendar - In the cradle of humankind.
A new discovery of an ancient circular monolithic stone calendar site in Mpumalanga has proven to be at least 75,000 years old, pre-dating any other structure found to date. Southern Africa holds some of the deepest mysteries in all of human history... at around 60,000 years ago the early humans migrated from Africa and populated the rest of the world.... Modern historians have been speculating about the origins of these ruins, often calling them ‘cattle kraal of little historic importance’. The truth of the matter is that closer scientific inspection shows that we actually know very little about these spectacular ancient ruins. ...Adam’s Calendar is the flagship among these ruins because we can date this monolithic calendar with relative certainty to at least 75,000 years of age based on a number of scientific evaluations."

Scarab seals

"Ancient Egyptian scarabs were popular amulets in ancient Egypt. According to ancient Egyptian myths, the sun  rolls across the sky each day and transforms bodies and souls. Modeled upon the Scarabaeidae family dung beetle, which rolls dung into a ball for the purposes of eating and laying eggs that are later transformed into larva, the scarab was seen as an earthly symbol of this heavenly cycle. This came to be iconographic, and ideological symbols were incorporated into Ancient Egyptian society."
From Wiki


Heart-scarab with a decoration on the back
(Egyptian Museum, Torino)

See my book

Gold


Inca Gold  

Painted egyptian ostraca



Painted ostraca
Egyptian Museum, Torino

Pyramids

In 2300 BC, Nubia was first mentioned in Old Kingdom Egyptian accounts of trade missions. From Aswan, right above the First Cataract, southern limit of Egyptian control at the time, Egyptians imported gold, incense, ebony, ivory, and exotic animals from tropical Africa through Nubia. As trade between Egypt and Nubia increased so did wealth and stability."
More http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nubia

Makara

Museo Arte Orientale
Uttar Pradesh, II d.C.

Il Makara è una creatura mitica della mitologia indiana. La tradizione lo descrive come una creatura acquatica. Questa creatura rappresenta l'acqua, fonte di vita e di fertilità. In astrologia è il segno del Capricorno. Nell'arte indiana il makara è un motivo ricorrente sulle entrate (toran) di templi e monumenti. Da Wikipedia
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makara_(mitologia_indiana)

Makara (Sanskrit: मकर) is a sea-creature in Hindu mythology. It is generally depicted as half animal (in the frontal part in animal forms of elephant or crocodile or stag, or deer) and in hind part as aquatic creature, in the tail part, as a fish tail or also as seal. Sometimes, even a peacock tail is depicted.
Makara is the vahana (vehicle) of the Ganga - the goddess of river Ganges (Ganga) and the sea god Varuna. ... Makara is the astrological sign of Capricorn, one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac. It is often portrayed protecting entryways to Hindu and Buddhist temples. Read more
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makara_(Hindu_mythology)

Le qochas dell'altopiano andino

Le "qochas" dell'altopiano andino.

In quechua, il termine "qocha" si riferisce a un piccolo lago o stagno o di origine naturale o artificiale, oppure ad un tipo di vasellame. Una "qocha" artificiale del periodo Inca si trova alla periferia di Cuzco, vicino al Rodadero, ed è la monumentale  "Qocha Chincanas", un lago artificiale creato per scopi cerimoniali.
Un'antica tecnica agricola è basata sull'impiego delle qochas, sia naturali o create artificialmente, collegate tra loro da una rete di canali. Esse formano un sistema di gestione delle acque e del suolo adatto a coltivare patate e quinoa a rotazione col pascolo. Queste strutture si trovano in alcune aree pianeggianti di Perù e Bolivia, nei pressi del lago Titicaca, ad un'altitudine media di 4000 metri. Le qochas sono molto numerose  nel dipartimento di Puno (Perù).
Un libro molto interessante intitolato "Agricultures Singulières", che discute alcune antiche tecniche agricole, dedica un capitolo alle qochas: secondo questo testo [1], i popoli andini hanno potuto prosperare grazie a dei sistemi agricoli, tra cui le qochas, che permettevano un utilizzo flessibile del suolo in una regione che spesso subisce periodi di siccità seguiti da inondazioni.
La forma più comune della qocha è rotonda e misura dai 30 ai 200 metri di diametro. La sua struttura concava raccoglie la pioggia tramite i suoi canali radiali e circolari (vedi figura), riducendone anche la forte evaporazione provocata dalla radiazione solare e dal vento. Adriano Forgione suggerisce che una tale struttura potrebbe permettere di misurare il tempo. In effetti, la struttura concava radiale può fornire molti punti di riferimento, per verificare il momento migliore per la semina.
Fino a cinquant'anni fa, qochas e waru-warus erano molto più utilizzati. L'introduzione dei macchinari agricoli sta portando all'abbandono o alla distruzione di queste forme tradizionali di agricoltura [2].  I waru-warus sono i "campi rialzati", un'altra tecnica agricola molto utilizzata nei pressi del Lago Titicaca.  Oltre a qochas e waru-warus, vi sono altre antiche strutture agricole in Perù e Bolivia: ci sono i "bofedales", zone umide artificiali, le "andenes", che sono le colline terrazzate e i "puquios". I puquios più noti sono quelli di Nasca. Sono un sistema di gallerie sotterranee di filtraggio che forniscono l'acqua per l'irrigazione e gli usi domestici nell'area centrale di Nasca e in altre zone del Perù [3].
Il sistema di qochas ha una origine pre-incaica, come mostrato dai frammenti di ceramica trovati nelle loro vicinanze. Sebbene il sistema agricolo delle qochas sia probabilmente anteriore, di solito è associato alla cultura Pukara. Pukara era un centro importante per centinaia di anni dal 1300 aC. Tra il 250 aC e il 380 dC, divenne un importante sito religioso, densamente popolato. La società dei Pukara aveva una  gestione centralizzata delle acque. Con l'ascesa di Tiwanaku,  l'area è stata progressivamente abbandonata. Dopo la sua caduta, attorno al 1000 DC, l'area si ripopolò e le qochas vennero di nuovo usate. Durante i seguenti prolungati periodi di siccità, l'uso delle qochas divenne essenziale per la sopravvivenza delle popolazioni locali. Il successo di queste strutture sta nel fatto che esse sono abbastanza semplici e piccole: ognuna può essere gestita da una sola famiglia garantendone la sussistenza alimentare, mentre il terreno che la circonda è lasciato a pascolo.  Oggi, molte qochas sono state abbandonate per la crescente salinità del suolo e per l'uso di macchinari agricola. La loro lunga persistenza nella storia passata dice però  che il loro uso è forse quello più adatto e sostenibile dall'ambiente andino.

1. Agricultures Singulières, Mollard Eric, Walter Annie, Editors, IRD Éditions, Institute of Development Research, Paris, 2008.
2. Los camellones alrededor del lago Titicaca, Pierre Morlon, in Agricultura ancestral: camellones y albarradas. Institut français d'études andines. Quito, 2006.
3.The Puquios of Nasca, Katharina Jeanne Schreiber, Josué Lancho Rojas, Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 6, No. 3, Sep., 1995



Solo metà della struttura originaria di questa qocha in Perù si è salvata.

The Pleiades in Peru

On an ancient calendar
"Most historians agree that the Inca had a calendar based on the observation of both the Sun and the Moon, and their relationship to the stars. Names of 12 lunar months are recorded, as well as their association with festivities of the agricultural cycle... A count of this sort was described by Alexander von Humboldt for a Chibcha tribe living outside of the Inca Empire, in the mountainous region of Colombia... The smallest unit of this calendar was a numerical count of three days, which, interacting with a similar count of 10 days, formed a standard 30-day month. Every third year was made up of 13 moons, the others having 12. This formed a cycle of 37 moons, and 20 of these cycles made up a period of 60 years, which was subdivided into four parts and could be multiplied by 100. A period of 20 months is also mentioned. ...
In one account, it is said that the Inca Veracocha established a year of 12 months, each beginning with the New Moon, and that his successor, Pachacuti, finding confusion in regard to the year, built the sun towers in order to keep a check on the calendar. Since Pachacuti reigned less than a century before the conquest, it may be that the contradictions and the meagerness of information on the Inca calendar are due to the fact that the system was still in the process of being revised when the Spaniards first arrived.
Despite the uncertainties, further research has made it clear that at least at Cuzco, the capital city of the Inca, there was an official calendar of the sidereal-lunar type, based on the sidereal month of 27 1/3 days. It consisted of 328 nights (12X271/3) and began on June 8/9, coinciding with the heliacal rising (the rising just after sunset) of the Pleiades; it ended on the first Full Moon after the June solstice (the winter solstice for the Southern Hemisphere). This sidereal-lunar calendar fell short of the solar year by 37 days, which consequently were intercalated. This intercalation, and thus the place of the sidereal-lunar within the solar year, was fixed by following the cycle of the Sun as it strengthened to summer (December) solstice and weakened afterward, and by noting a similar cycle in the visibility of the Pleiades."
This is what we find at the page
http://www.lost-civilizations.net/inca-civilization-page-5.html


On Pleiades see
The Pleiades: the celestial herd of ancient timekeepers by Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, (Submitted on 9 Oct 2008). In the ancient Egypt seven goddesses, represented by seven cows, composed the celestial herd that provides the nourishment to her worshippers. This herd is observed in the sky as a group of stars, the Pleiades, close to Aldebaran, the main star in the Taurus constellation. For many ancient populations, Pleiades were relevant stars and their rising was marked as a special time of the year. In this paper, we will discuss the presence of these stars in ancient cultures. Moreover, we will report some results of archeoastronomy on the role for timekeeping of these stars, results which show that for hunter-gatherers at Palaeolithic times, they were linked to the seasonal cycles of aurochs.
http://philosophyofscienceportal.blogspot.com/2008/10/pleiades-and-mythology.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurus_(constellation)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_chart

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The first ever ancient Egyptian epigraphy

"Following the relocation of the artefacts, a team from Yale University, the University of Bologna and the Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg, Belgium, has completed the first epigraphic and digital record of a site near Nag El-Hamdulab on the west bank of the Nile, north of Aswan. The site was discovered nearly half a century ago by the famous Egyptian Egyptologist Labib Habachi. Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass said this new and thorough study has brought to light a previously unknown Early Dynastic cycle of royal images and an early hieroglyphic inscription. This work was carried out by the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project (AKAP)..., lead by Maria Carmela Gatto and Antonio Curci, ... Now in its seventh season, the project aims to survey and rescue the archaeology of the region between Aswan and Kom Ombo, in the southern part of Upper Egypt. Gatto said that this group of images and the short inscription—carved around 3200 BCE, at the dawn of the dynastic period—record the earliest depiction of a royal Jubilee complete of all the elements known from later documents: an Egyptian ruler wearing a recognizable crown of Egypt; “the following of Horus”; and the royal court as known it is known to have been in Early Dynastic accounts such as the Palermo Stone."
The first ever ancient Egyptian epigraphy - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Monday, 18 July 2011

Harappa

An interesting problem concerning the development of  writing systems, is the following: where had they first appeared? Probably, writing systems developed independently in at least three places, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Harappa. In places where an agricultural civilization flourished, the passage from the use of symbols to a true writing system was early accomplished. It means that, at certain period in some densely populated area, signs and symbols were eventually used to create a writing system, the more complex society requiring an increase in recording and communication media.


The earliest signs of human activities in India go back to the Palaeolithic Age, roughly between 400,000 and 200,000 B.C. Stone objects and cave paintings from this period have been discovered in many parts of the South Asia. Evidence of domestication of animals, agriculture, permanent village settlements, and wheel-turned pottery, dating from the middle of the sixth millennium B.C., has been found in Sindh and Baluchistan, (both in Pakistan). One of the first great civilizations--with a writing system, urban centers, and a diversified social and economic system--appeared around 3,000 B.C. along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh.
The remains of two major cities - Mohenjo-daro and Harappa - reveal remarkable urban planning, systems of water supply and drainage. Excavations at these sites and later archaeological digs at about seventy other locations in India and Pakistan provide the knowledge of what is now generally known as the Harappan culture (2500-1600 B.C.).
The major cities contained a few large buildings including a citadel, a large bath, flat-roofed brick houses, fortified administrative or religious centers having meeting halls and granaries. Essentially a city culture, Harappa civilization flourished  because it was supported by a solid agricultural production and by the commerce, which included trade with Sumer in Mesopotamia. The people made tools and weapons from copper and bronze but not iron. Cotton was woven and dyed for clothing. Wheat, rice, and several vegetables and fruits were cultivated. A number of animals, including the humped bull, were domesticated. The scholars consider the Harappan culture as conservative, because it seems that it remained relatively unchanged for centuries: for instance, when the villages were rebuilt after flooding, the new constructions closely followed the previous ones. Stability seems then  to have been one of the features of this civilization, but it is not yet clear who had the power, whether an aristocracy of priests or the community of traders.
Interesting artifacts of Harappa are steatite seals. These small, flat, squared objects with human or animal motifs provide a picture of the Harappan life. They also have inscriptions generally thought to be in the Harappan script, which has eluded the scholarly attempts at deciphering it. There is a large debate whether these signs represent numbers or are an alphabet. If there is an Harappan alphabet is proto-Dravidian or proto-Sanskrit?
A possible reasons for the decline of civilization of Harappa was the invasions from central and western Asia,  destroyers of Harappan cities. Other causes were several  recurrent floods, earthquakes, the increases of soil salinity and desertification.
Let me compare in  the following figures, a small terracotta elephant head from Harappa and a representation of Ganesha (Museo Arti Orientali, Torino), and a small statue form Mohenjo-Daro with a statue of Parvati.



For more references on the problem of Harappa writing system, see
“Icons and signs for the ancient Harappa”, http://cogprints.org/6179/

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Lady of Introd

Notizia ANSA
Trovato in Valle d'Aosta scheletro donna di 5.000 anni fa. Contemporanea di Oetzi, l'uomo del Similaun, ritrovato nel '91 l confine tra l'Italia e il Tirolo austriaco. E' ora chiamata la Signora di Introd, 16 luglio, 2011.
Found in Valle d'Aosta the skeleton of a woman, lived 5,000 years ago. She was contemporary of Oetzi the Iceman, discovered in '91 at the Italian border with Austria. She is called the "Lady of Introd", July 16, 2011.


"La Stampa" 
http://multimedia.lastampa.it/multimedia/in-italia/lstp/65668/

E' stata soprannominata la "Signora di Introd" e dopo 5000 anni la sua sepoltura è ancora perfetta. Lo scheletro di questa donna ancora misteriosa e ancora senza età, è stata ritrovato all’interno di una tomba ad Introd, paese alpino di poco più di 600 abitanti, non lontano da Aosta. Rannicchiata sul fianco destro e con il capo rivolto a nord ovest, non ha attorno nessun oggetto di corredo funebre. I resti della signora sono già stati trasferiti in laboratorio, dove nei prossimi giorni saranno oggetto di analisi approfondite per determinarne l'età, le abitudini alimentari e la causa di morte. L’Assessore all’Istruzione e Cultura Laurent Viérin esprime“grande soddisfazione per questo importante ritrovamento, unico nel suo genere, che testimonia la ricchezza e la qualità del patrimonio archeologico valdostano e della nostra storia.”

She is the "Lady of Introd" and 5000 years after  burial her skeleton is still perfect. This woman is a mystery and her age has yet to be determined. She was found in a tomb, at Introd, a mountain village with 600 inhabitants, not far from Aosta. Huddled on her right side and with the head facing west, no objects had accompanied her burial place. The remains of the woman have already been transferred in a laboratory, where, over the next few days, it will be determined the age, habits and cause of death. The Head of the Education and Culture Council, Laurent Vierin, told that there is a great satisfaction for this important and unique discovery, demonstrating the abundance and quality of the archaeological heritage of the Aosta Valley.

La Signora di Introd

"AOSTA - E' un ritrovamento eccezionale quello dello scheletro di una donna avvenuto in Valle D'aosta e ribattezzato per ora come la  "La Signora di Introd". Tuttavia saranno i bambini della scuola di a scegliere il nome di questa persona vissuta 5.000 anni fa e ritrovata sepolta in condizioni perfette all'interno della propria tomba ad Introd, paese alpino di poco più di 600 abitanti non lontano da Aosta."
More
http://www.dazebaonews.it/dazebao-news/societa/item/4613-valle-daosta-scoperto-scheletro-di-donna-di-5-mila-anni-fa

Friday, 15 July 2011

Fotografías de Hiram Bingham en Machu Picchu

La National Geographic Society ha donado un histórico material que muestra a la ciudadela entre 1911 y 1915, perennizada para el mundo en el lente de explorador norteamericano.
Ministerio de cultura exhibe fotografías de Hiram Bingham en Machu Picchu
Source: ConNuestroPeru

Workers in Egypt




Museo Egizio - Torino

The digital restoration of ancient papyri

My paper on the Digital Restoration of Ancient Papyri has been selected by
Drives 'n' droves
The best of the rest from the physics arXiv this week

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/23293/


You can read it at the site
arXiv:0903.5045 http://arxiv.org/abs/0903.5045
Amelia Carolina Sparavigna
Computer Science > Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
Digital Restoration of Ancient Papyri
(Submitted on 30 Mar 2009)
Image processing can be used for digital restoration of ancient papyri, that is, for a restoration performed on their digital images. The digital manipulation allows reducing the background signals and enhancing the readability of texts. In the case of very old and damaged documents, this is fundamental for identification of the patterns of letters. Some examples of restoration, obtained with an image processing which uses edges detection and Fourier filtering, are shown. One of them concerns 7Q5 fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Faience of Egypt

"Egyptian faience is a non-clay based ceramic displaying surface vitrification which creates a bright lustre of various blue-green colours. Having not been made from clay it is often not classed as pottery. It is called "Egyptian faience" to distinguish it from faience, the tin glazed pottery associated with Faenza in northern Italy. Egyptian faience, both locally produced and exported from Egypt, occurs widely in the ancient world, and is well known from Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean and in northern Europe as far away as Scotland." Wiki





Faience bowl blue-glazed decorated with lotus flowers and the face of the goddess Hathor, symbol of rebirth are the decoration.
Faience. Provenance unknown. New Kingdom, dynasty XVIII-XX (1350-1070 B.C.)
Egyptian Museum, Turin.

Weighing of the Heart

"In Egyptian religion, the heart was the key to the afterlife. It was conceived as surviving death in the nether world, where it gave evidence for, or against, its possessor. It was thought that the heart was examined by Anubis and the deities during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. If the heart weighed more than the feather of Maat, it was immediately consumed by the monster Ammit."
Wiki



Egyptian Museum Torino

Four sons of Horus


Statuette dei quattro figli di Horus: Duamutef, a testa di sciacallo, Hapi, a testa di babbuino, Qebehsebuf, a testa di falco, Amset, a testa umana erano i protettori delle viscere del defunto, XXV-XXXI dinastia. Statuettes of the four sons of Horus:  Duamutef, jackal headed, Hapi, baboon headed,  Qebehsebuf, falcon headed, and human headed Amset, protectors of the deceased's viscera,  Dinasty XXV-XXXI
(712-332 BC)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Earliest Roman basilica found outside Alexandria - Ahram Online

"At Al-Baron area in Semouha district, south of Alexandria, an Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered several significant monuments and artefacts that will help in the writing of the history of the area.

During excavations, archaeologists uncovered the earliest Roman civil basilica yet found on top of a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the three Alexandria deities (Isis, Serapis, Harpocrates) along with a collection of terracotta statues."
Earliest ever civil Roman basilica found outside Alexandria - Greco-Roman - Heritage - Ahram Online

Monday, 4 July 2011

Ice Age Art

L’arte più antica d’America trovata su un osso di mammut, LUGLIO 4, 2011. di Aezio
"I ricercatori dello Smithsonian Institution e dell’Università della Florida hanno confermato la veridicità di un misterioso manufatto scoperto in Florida nel 2006: un frammento osseo, di circa 13.000 anni fa, con incisa l’immagine di un mammut o un mastodonte. Questa incisione è l’esempio più antico e l’unico conosciuto di arte dell’era glaciale a raffigurare un Proboscidato nelle Americhe. La ricerca del team è stato pubblicata sul Journal of Archaeological Science."
" Scientists Reveal a First in Ice Age Art. June 22, 2011. Researchers from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Florida have announced the discovery of a bone fragment, approximately 13,000 years old, in Florida with an incised image of a mammoth or mastodon. This engraving is the oldest and only known example of Ice Age art to depict a proboscidean (the order of animals with trunks) in the Americas. The team’s research is published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science. The bone was discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., by James Kennedy, an avocational fossil hunter, who collected the bone and later, while cleaning it, discovered the engraving. Recognizing its potential importance, Kennedy contacted scientists at the University of Florida and the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute and National Museum of Natural History."