Secret HistoryS


New finds at ancient burial mound near Bulgarian village

© Julia LazarovaArchaeologist Daniela Agre, photographed in 2005 with Thracian artifacts found near Yambol.
A team of archaeologists has reported significant finds in a burial mound from the time of Roman Thrace near the Bulgarian village of Borissovo.

Findings in a tomb, estimated to date from the first and second centuries and believed to have been that of a wealthy noble, include a number of artifacts that archaeologists say were placed there to serve the occupant in the afterlife.

These include a very rare object from the time, a portable table, a stylishly decorated large circular plate, a special form of drinking vessel which archaeologists jokingly dubbed a champagne cup. The latter, according to archaeologist Daniela Agre of the National Archaeological Institute and Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, has no equivalent among previous finds in the country.

The team also found a decoration from a burial chariot, although previously illegal treasure hunters previously dug up and almost completely destroyed the chariot itself, according to a report by Bulgarian-language mass-circulation daily 24 Chassa.

The chariot decoration includes four eagles whose wings intertwine with dragons' heads. Each eagle's head is different and overall decoration, which also includes other elements, served as the "face" of the vehicle.


Scotland: Archaeologists probe Abbey Craig secrets

© PAThe fort is on the site of the Wallace Monument in Stirling
Archaeologists are leading volunteers in a four-day dig to uncover the hidden history beneath one of Scotland's most famous landmarks.

Experts are hoping to discover more about a tribe that lived in the fort below Abbey Craig in Stirling, on the site of the National Wallace monument.

The fort was destroyed in 780 AD, more than 500 years before William Wallace watched the English army approach.

The dig is one of a series of events to mark Scottish archaeology month.

Archaeologists first discovered the 1,300-year-old fort 10 years ago and concluded it was engulfed by a ferocious fire that fused together - or vitrified - the stone walls during a siege.


Riddle in the Sands: Thousands of Strange 'Nazca Lines' Discovered in the Middle East

© David BoyerAncient mystery: The stone wheels are thought to be 2,000 years old
Peru's Nazca Lines, the mysterious geoglyphs etched into the desert centuries ago by indigenous groups, are world famous - and now thousands of similar patterns have been found in the Middle East.

Satellite and aerial photography has revealed mysterious stone 'wheels' that are more numerous and older than the Nazca Lines in countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The structures are thought to date back 2,000 years, but why they were built is baffling archaeologists and historians.


New Archeological Discovery May Change Historical Date of Tbilisi

Metekhi Bridge

While exploring the vicinity of the 40 martyrs' church, Georgian archaeologists have discovered the remains of an ancient mother-fortress at the Metekhi Bridge, located in the old part of Tbilisi. This find could potentially change the historical date that Tbilisi was actually founded.

Scientists found that layers of the ancient palace date back to an earlier period than current historical records suggest. It is during the reign of King Vakhtang Gorgasali that Tbilisi was previously believed to have been founded. They also found the fence of the fortress, which dates back to the fourth century. This discovery confirms the version that the territory of current Tbilisi was populated before the era of the King Vakhtang Gorgasali.

"This discovery may completely change the history of the founding of Tbilisi, as these ancient constructions existed before Gorgasali discovered hot water and ordered the construction of a city there," Merab Dzneladze, instructor of the ongoing archaeological expedition told Georgia Today.

Scientists also discovered ancient baths there, which they say were constructed in the first and second centuries AD. Scientists are also exploring several dishes and some jewelry that was found in the sepulcher of an 11-12 year-old girl.


Israel: Final Stronghold for Early Islamic Power Uncovered

An ancient harbor at Yavneh-Yam was used for hostage exchange, a Tel Aviv University (TAU) researcher says.

© SkyviewAn aerial view of the excavated areas at Yavneh-Yam.
Archaeologists have always known that Yavneh-Yam, an archaeological site between the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Ashdod on the Mediterranean coast, was a functioning harbor from the second millennium B.C. until the Middle Ages.

But researchers at TAU said they have uncovered evidence to suggest that the site was one of the final strongholds of Early Islamic power in the region.

Prof. Moshe Fischer of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures and head of the Yavneh-Yam dig, says the recent discovery of a bath house from the Early Islamic period made use of Roman techniques such as heated floors and walls, which is an indication that Arabic rulers maintained control of the site up until the end of the Early Islamic period in the 12th century AD.

© SkyviewAn aerial view of the promonotory on which Yavneh-Yam is located.


5,900-Year-Old Dress Found in Armenia

© Unknown
Archaeologists have found parts of a woman's colorful dress, which they say dates back 5,900 years, reported AFP on Sept. 14.

The dress is made from straw material, "[The dress] is the only example of clothing made of such an ancient vegetable material," Pavel Avetisian, director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology at Armenia's Academy of Sciences, told AFP.

It was dated by scientists at the University of California, and it is currently being restored, according to Avetisian.

The dress was found in the Areni cave where recent excavations have yielded what archaeologists say is the world's oldest known leather shoe, about 5,500 years old, and a 6,100 year old winery.


London - Remains of Roman bath house found on Borough High Street

The remains of a Roman bath house have been found by Network Rail engineers working on the site at the corner of Borough High Street and London Bridge Street which is being redeveloped as part of the Thameslink Programme.

© Unknown
The site, formerly occupied by a fish and chip shop and a nightclub, was cleared to make room for the new railway bridge across Borough High Street which was installed earlier this year. A new office building is planned for the corner site.

Network Rail has commissioned a team of specialist archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology to excavate the site.


US: Connecticut - Milford archaeologist finds area a trove of riches

© Connecticut Post ContributedTim Chaucer, director of the Milford Marine Institute, holds a stone axe believed to be more than 2,000 years old, that he found this summer in river silt in Milford. Chaucer will speak to the Milford Historical Society on Monday Sept. 19, 2011 about the Paugussett Indians who inhabited the area before the European settlers.
Tim Chaucer really does leave no stone unturned and no mudhole unexamined. That dedication has led the archaeologist to several significant finds, including a stone ax head estimated to be more than 2,000 years old.

Chaucer will bring that item and several other Paugussett Indian artifacts to his presentation to the Milford Historical Society at 7 p.m. Monday night in the basement of the Mary Taylor Methodist Church. Through the years the retired science teacher has given several presentations on the birds, marine life and environment of Milford, along with Indian lore and history.

The ax he and a friend found alongside the river this summer appears to date to the Late Archaic Period, generally given as 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C., but that is still not the oldest artifact found here, collectors say.


Visible Only From Above, Mystifying 'Nazca Lines' Discovered in Mideast

Azraq Oasis
© David D. Boyer APAAME_20080925_DDB-0237The giant stone structures form wheel shapes with spokes often radiating inside. Here a cluster of wheels in the Azraq Oasis.
They stretch from Syria to Saudi Arabia, can be seen from the air but not the ground, and are virtually unknown to the public.

They are the Middle East's own version of the Nazca Lines - ancient "geolyphs," or drawings, that span deserts in southern Peru - and now, thanks to new satellite-mapping technologies, and an aerial photography program in Jordan, researchers are discovering more of them than ever before. They number well into the thousands.

Referred to by archaeologists as "wheels," these stone structures have a wide variety of designs, with a common one being a circle with spokes radiating inside. Researchers believe that they date back to antiquity, at least 2,000 years ago. They are often found on lava fields and range from 82 feet to 230 feet (25 meters to 70 meters) across.

"In Jordan alone we've got stone-built structures that are far more numerous than (the) Nazca Lines, far more extensive in the area that they cover, and far older," said David Kennedy, a professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Western Australia.

Kennedy's new research, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, reveals that these wheels form part of a variety of stone landscapes. These include kites (stone structures used for funnelling and killing animals); pendants (lines of stone cairns that run from burials); and walls, mysterious structures that meander across the landscape for up to several hundred feet and have no apparent practical use.

His team's studies are part of a long-term aerial reconnaissance project that is looking at archaeological sites across Jordan. As of now, Kennedy and his colleagues are puzzled as to what the structures may have been used for or what meaning they held.


Israeli archaeologists unearth Islamic-period fortress

Israeli archaeologists announced Tuesday they have discovered the remains of an early Islamic fortress and Roman-style bathhouse at a dig along the country's southern Mediterranean coastline.

The finds uncovered at the Yavneh-Yam promontory apparently served as part of a string of fortifications against Crusaders invaders, Prof. Moshe Fischer of the Department and the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University told Xinhua.

Both the fortress and the bathhouse are from the Early Islamic period (8th-12th centuries CE) and were part of the Islamic defensive system against the crusaders that had taken Jerusalem and the port city of Jaffa, Fischer said.

Yavneh-Yam was an important port town during the early Islamic period and it served as a port for inland settlements almost without interruption between the Bronze Age (mid-2nd millennium BCE) and the Middle Ages.