More recent archaeological news from Biblical Archaeology Review‘s Daily News column, including the discovery of a 2600 year-old fortification in Egypt:
Cache of Antiquities Discovered Near the National Museum in Cairo
July 10, 2009
A hoard of archaeological treasures was recently found close to the Western gate of the National Museum in Cairo. Some of the items found in the cache date back to 1300 B.C. and include a limestone table, a slab fragment inscribed with hieroglyphics as well as the base of a pharaonic pillar.
The secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, speculates that these items may have already been discovered by archaeologists years ago when it was practice to bury finds that were considered useless or irrelevant in the Museum’s garden.
Preservation Attempts for World’s Oldest Underwater Town
July 09, 2009
The world’s oldest submerged city, Pavlopetri, located off the southern coast of Laconia in Greece, is undergoing a preservation attempt by the University of Nottingham. The site, which is being excavated by Dr. Jon Henderson, is believed to be almost 4,000 years old and was a prosperous and vital port for trade in the Mediterranean region in antiquity. Pavlopetri’s underwater ruins are at risk from treasure-seeking tourists, boats and marine life.
Preservation of this site will include a detailed millimeter underwater survey using an acoustic scanner. Henderson plans to publish his research in 2014, following four seasons of archaeological survey and excavations that began this past May.
Looting of Ancient Cyrene
July 08, 2009
Cultural heritage sites of Libya have been falling victim to destructive looters who have been impacting the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Cyrene. Poor locals have been pillaging the ancient site for objects they can sell to make money, such as coins, statue fragments and other treasures. Ecotourism plans for Cyrene and other historical sites throughout the country are being developed by the Libyan government as a means of protection and conservation.
This ancient city has been one of the best preserved and extraordinary sites from antiquity, in part due to the arid climate of the region. The city was established by Greek colonists from Thera in 440 B.C. Its subsequent rulers included Alexander the Great as well as Marc Antony and Cleopatra. Cyrene was destroyed in 365 A.D. by an earthquake and the resulting tidal wave.
Ancient Jar Burial Displayed in Iranian Museum
July 07, 2009
Iran’s most intact jar burial dating to 1500-1100 B.C.E. was moved to the Haft-Tappeh Museum in Dezful, Iran. The Middle Elamite-period burial is significant because it is presently the most intact jar burial to be discovered in the region. The jar will be put on display so that visitors to the museum will be able to view the skeleton, which is arranged in the fetal position, within the confines of the ancient clay jar. The item was unearthed a few months ago at the Haft-Tappeh site where it was found in-situ.
Ancient Fortified City Discovered in Egypt
July 06, 2009
A Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) archaeological mission in the northeastern delta of Egypt has uncovered the ruins of a 2,600-year-old military town. Located 15km northeast of the city of western Qantara, between El-Manzala Lake and the Suez Canal, the Tell Dafna site was once an important trading center during the 26th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. The location of the site was also chosen specifically for defensive purposes—it is the largest fortress discovered yet in the region.
Other archaeological finds at the site include a mudbrick temple structure, clay drainage pipes, and pottery. The pottery is from various locations, helping archaeologists obtain a clearer picture of the vast scope of trade during this time.