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Archaeologists uncover 5,000-year-old water system in Iran

Archaeologists uncover 5,000-year-old water system in Iran


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Archaeologists in Iran made an unexpected discovery during excavations at the Farash ancient historical site at the Seimareh Dam reservoir – a 5,000-year-old water system . The research team is working hard to recover the water pipes, along with hundreds of other artifacts, before they are submerged by the new dam.

The Persians are one of earliest cultures to implement advanced systems of water distribution, and are among the greatest aqueduct builders of the ancient world. They are particularly well-known for their construction of qanāts, a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping tunnels, which were used to create a reliable supply of water for human settlements and for irrigation.

The water system comprises of a small pool and a long earthenware pipeline. Each earthenware conduit measures about one metre in length and the team leader Leili Niaken said it is likely that the structure was made and baked in the region.

The newly discovered water system. Photo source: CHN

In addition to the ancient water pipes, the team of archaeologists from the Iranian Centre for Archaeological Research (ICAR) have also uncovered more than 100 sites dating back to the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Copper Age, Stone Age, Parthian, Sassanid and early Islamic periods. Signs of the Mesopotamians' influence in the region were identified by studies carried out on the ancient strata at the reservoir.

The archaeological team is now working hard to unearth the rest of the pipeline, which may lead archaeologists to its source. The aim is to recover as much as possible before it all goes underwater when the filling of the dam is complete.

Featured image: The pipeline of a 5000-year-old water system is seen in a trench dug by an archaeological team during a rescue excavation project on the beach of the Seimareh Dam. Photo source: CHN


    Archaeology shock: Teens discover 1500-year-old church that redefines Israeli history

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    Roman Tunisia settlement archaeology is 'enigma' says expert

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    The church was discovered near Israel&rsquos Ramat Beit Shemesh neighbourhood. An excavation, largely completed by teens, unearthed the church which dated back to 543 AD during the time of Emperor Justinian. After three years of detailed digging, archaeologists came across mosaics, pillars, still-intact crypts, and frescoes that at one time came together to form a beautiful church.

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    Later on, during the reign of Emperor Tiberius II Constantine, a chapel was added.

    An inscription indicated the building was complete thanks to the financial support of the Emperor.

    Excavation director Benjamin Storchan, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, told CBN News: &ldquoNumerous written sources attest to imperial funding for churches in Israel, however, little is known from archaeological evidence such as dedicatory inscriptions like the one found in Beit Shemesh.

    &ldquoImperial involvement in the building's expansion is also evoked by the image of a large eagle with outspread wings.&rdquo

    A 1,500-year-old church was found in Israel (Image: CBN)

    The church is from the Byzantine era and dates back to 543 AD (Image: CBN)

    The eagle which appears in one of the mosaics is the symbol of the Byzantine empire.

    Mr Storchan added: &ldquoThousands of objects were uncovered in the dig, including a baptismal font.&rdquo

    Another inscription discovered, in what would have been the church&rsquos courtyard, says the church was dedicated to a &ldquoglorious martyr&rdquo.

    The identity of the &ldquomartyr&rdquo remains unknown.

    The eagle in the mosaic is the symbol of the Byzantine empire (Image: CBN)

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    Mr Storchan said: &ldquoThe martyr's identity is not known, but the exceptional opulence of the structure and its inscriptions indicate that this person was an important figure.&rdquo

    His team also uncovered a fully intact crypt beneath the church.

    According to Mr Storchan, only a few churches in Israel have been discovered with a fully intact crypts.

    He added: &ldquoThe crypt served as an underground burial chamber that apparently housed the remains of the martyr.

    Teenage volunteers discovered artefacts (Image: CBN)

    Benjamin Storchan said the identity of the martyr is 'not known' (Image: CBN)

    &ldquoThe crypt was accessed via parallel staircases, one leading down into the chamber and the other leading back up into the prayer hall.

    &ldquoThis enabled large groups of Christian pilgrims to visit the place."

    Thousands of teenagers were invited by the Israel Antiques Authority to help at the site.


    Archaeologists find 5,000-year-old 'New York' in Israel

    Researchers in Israel have discovered the remains of a 5,000 year old city that housed approximately 6,000 people in the 4th millennium BCE.

    Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered the remains of an "immense" 5,000-year-old city, the Israel Antiquities Authority said, shedding new light on a period when the region's rural population began building larger urban centers.

    Halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, the 160-acre site at En Esur was revealed during roadworks on a new interchange to the town of Harish.

    "Our site is more than two or three times larger than the largest sites (in this area) during this period," archaeologist Yitzhak Paz told CNN. "Most sites were excavated in very small scale, while our site was excavated on an immense scale."

    At the crossroads of two ancient trading routes, with fertile soil and two springs, the site was a prime location for ancient development. Archaeologists estimate that approximately 6,000 people lived here during the Bronze Age at the end of the 4th millennium BC.

    "This is the Early Bronze Age New York of our region," archaeologists working on the site said in a joint statement, "a cosmopolitan and planned city where thousands of inhabitants lived."

    The site was discovered on top of an even older, 7,000-year-old settlement, uncovered in excavations below the city's houses.

    Thousands of teenagers and volunteers helped in the excavations, which began two-and-a-half years ago.

    "For the first time, we find a site that includes each and every characteristic of organization, including fortification, urban planning, street systems, public spaces, public structures, and more," Paz said.

    At the time, the city was more than 10 times larger than Jericho, considered one of the the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world, Paz said. In the Early Bronze Age, Jericho covered some 13 acres, according to Paz, while the city at En Asur covered 160 acres.

    In the site's public area, archaeologists uncovered an "unusual" ritual temple with a large stone basin in its courtyard, apparently used during the performance of religious rituals, archaeologists involved in the project said.

    A structure with burnt animal bones from animal sacrifices and rare figurines were found inside the temple. Photos from the site show numerous small stone carvings of animals, as well as a carving of a human head and a seal of office.

    "Such a city could not develop without having behind it a guiding hand and an administrative mechanism," the archaeologists said in their statement. "Its impressive planning, the tools brought to Israel from Egypt found at the site, and its seal impressions are proof of this. This is a huge city -- a megalopolis in relation to the Early Bronze Age, where thousands of inhabitants, who made their living from agriculture, lived and traded with different regions and even with different cultures and kingdoms."

    However, within a few centuries of the city reaching its peak, the site was completely abandoned, Paz said. "There is some research that tried to look into natural reasons such as the rise of humidity that caused a process of flooding throughout the coastal plain," Paz said. "There is a possibility that the site was flooded and swamps made life unbearable."

    But Paz admits a definitive answer is elusive. There are no signs of violent destruction or a sudden natural disaster.


    A long-term project in Egypt

    For 50 years, the Cairo office of the German Archaeological institute (DAI) and Swiss partners have been carrying out excavations on the Egyptian island of Elephantine (above). With finds of clay, pottery, bone, stone and organic materials, the collaboration shows how much knowledge a long-term project can unearth. The team also helped restore the damaged beard on the mask of King Tutankhamun.

    The German Archaeological Institute celebrates 190 years


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    While civilizations rose and fell around them, the yeast colonies survived for millennia in their ceramic homes. They were buried underground but would occasionally perk up under appropriate circumstances, for instance when it rained, says Hazan, who did the work with his colleague Dr. Michael Klutstein, with archaeologists Prof. Aren Maier (at Gath) and Yuval Gadot (at Ramat Rahel), and with the beer maker Itai Gutman.

    Using light microscopy and genome sequencing, the researchers were able to locate and identify the descendants of the original population of yeasts hidden in the ceramic pores, he says.

    The researchers sampled pottery from different locations and periods, selecting vessels which could be linked to alcohol production or consumption, either because of their shape or the context in which they were found.

    The oldest vessels came from Ein Besor, an Egyptian site in the northern Negev desert, and from the remains of an Egyptian brewery uncovered during construction work in Tel Aviv. Both sites have been dated to the end of the 4th millennium B.C.E. &ndash more than 5,000 years ago.

    The archeologists also sampled jugs found in the Philistine city of Gath, today known as Tell es-Safi, and dated to around 850 B.C.E. The most recent remains were from the early Persian period, around 500 B.C.E., and were excavated at Ramat Rahel, which was an important administrative center near Jerusalem.

    In the pottery from all the sites, the scientists identified yeast strains associated with the production of alcoholic beverages: beer in most cases, and mead at Ramat Rahel. Genome sequencing showed that most of the strains are still commonly used in the production of traditional beverages in Africa, says the article in mBio.

    For example, the Ramat Rahel yeast is similar to the strain used to make tej, the traditional Ethiopian honey wine. The exception to this African link was found in one of the Philistine ceramics from Gath, which was shown to contain Saccharomyces cerevisiae, today the most commonly used species of domesticated yeast in the beer, wine, and bread industries.

    Philistine beer was wonderful

    But how do we know that the little fungi actually descended from yeasts used by the Egyptians or the Philistines and weren&rsquot from a later contamination of the vessels?

    The researchers were encouraged by the results from their control group, which sampled pottery and other remains not thought to be associated with alcoholic beverages. Out of 21 alcohol-related samples, six yielded yeast strains. Out of 110 control samples, only two contained yeasts, from strains commonly found in the soil and not linked to alcohol production.

    But the proof is always in the pudding &ndash or, rather, in the booze &ndash which is why the scientists decided to see if the age-old yeasts could actually make beer.

    Food experts and experimental archeologists have often tried to reproduce foods and beverages of yore, but they usually use modern ingredients to prepare recipes gleaned from ancient texts or archaeological evidence at production sites, Hazan says.

    &ldquoAs far as I know this was the first time that beer is made using the same yeasts that were in use thousands of years ago,&rdquo he says.

    The researchers used a basic modern beer recipe, meaning the results probably did not taste exactly like the brews quaffed in antiquity, when it was common to add flavors and additives to the mix, explains Yitzhak Paz, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority who took part in the project.

    &ldquoIn ancient Egypt for example they often added date or pomegranate juice to give it a sweeter, fruitier taste,&rdquo Paz says. &ldquoStill, most of the beers we made tasted very good.&rdquo

    According to expert tasters recruited for the study, three brews made from the samples taken at En Besor, the Philistine city of Gath and Ramat Rahel all scored high marks. A fourth beer, also from Gath, had a &ldquoslight spoiled off-taste&rdquo but was still considered drinkable, the report in mBio says.

    The researchers also looked for yeasts in glass bottles that were excavated at General Edmund Allenby&rsquos army camp in central Israel used by the British during World War I. But here they came up with nothing because glass doesn&rsquot have the same porous structure of ceramics that can make a comfortable home for these microorganisms, Hazan says.

    Be responsible, give the baby beer

    All this is fascinating, but how exactly does it help archaeologists?

    First of all, we need to remember that in antiquity, alcoholic beverages were much more than the social lubricants they are today. Beer, in particular, was ubiquitous in the Levant, and was drunk by all, from babies to the elderly, often instead of water, explains Paz. At a time when most water sources could be dangerously contaminated, drinking a slightly alcoholic beverage was probably a safer alternative, he says.

    Possibly a large percentage of ancient ceramics bear colonies of yeast or bacteria that were used to make not only beer but also other fermented foods, such as bread, cheese and pickles.

    Studying these microscopic critters could provide us with new information on the diets of ancient populations, not to mention, which vessels were used for which purpose. Unless they were lucky enough to find residual foodstuff at the bottom of ancient pottery, such as in the recent case of the &ldquooldest cheese in the world,&rdquo archaeologists have had to make educated guesses based on ancient texts &ndash for periods after writing was invented &ndash or their own hunches.

    For instance, archaeologists have no idea what was done with giant basalt mortars over 11,000 years old found in Israel. They may have been used to grind grain. Or they may have been pounded to make a sound that would summon the tribe. Those are just two of the theories.

    And for dessert, studying and comparing the microbes that different ancient civilizations used to make food and drink could bring us new knowledge about the links between these cultures, their trade routes, and the exchanges of technologies and populations that connected them.

    Dr Yitzhak Paz and Dr. Yuval Gadot among the ruins at Ramat Rahel Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority


    A 5000-year-old water system has been unearthed during the second season of a rescue excavation project at the Farash ancient historical site at the Seimareh Dam reservoir area in western Iran.

    The pipeline of a 5000-year-old water system is seen in a trench dug by an archaeological team during a rescue excavation project on the beach of the Seimareh Dam

    An archaeological team led by Leili Niakan has been carrying out a second season of rescue excavation since March after the Seimareh Dam came on stream, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday.

    The team plans to save ancients artifacts and gather information about the ancient sites, which are being submerged by the dam that became operational in early March.

    This system, which comprises a small pool and an earthenware pipeline, was discovered on the eastern beach of the dam on the border between Ilam Province and Lorestan Province, Niakan said.

    The archaeological team is now working hard to unearth the rest of the pipeline, which may lead archaeologists to its source. The aim is to recover as much as possible before it all goes underwater when the filling of the dam is complete.

    Part of the water system has been submerged as the water level has risen. However, the team covered that part of the system beforehand to save it for more archaeological excavations while the dam is out of commission.

    Each earthenware conduit measures about one meter in length and it is likely that they were made and baked in this region, Niakan stated.

    The team is still working on the site to unearth the rest of the pipeline, which may lead the archaeologists to the source of the pipeline, she added.

    An aerial photo of the Seimareh Dam region

    Over 100 sites dating back to the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Copper Age, Stone Age, Parthian, Sassanid, and early Islamic periods were identified at the dam’s reservoir in 2007.

    Afterwards, 40 archaeological teams from the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR) were assigned to carry out Iran’s largest rescue excavation operation on the 40 ancient sites at the reservoirs of the dam in the first season.

    Signs of the Mesopotamians’ influence in the region were also identified by studies carried out on the ancient strata at the reservoir.

    Most of the sites have been flooded by the dam and the rest will go underwater after the filling of the dam is completed.


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    US officials said that the body of IS group chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was buried at sea. "Baghdadi's remains were transported to a secure .

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    Tablet computer

    Dr Dahl, from the Oriental Studies Faculty, shipped his image-making device on the Eurostar to the Louvre Museum in Paris, which holds the most important collection of this writing.

    The clay tablets were put inside this machine, the Reflectance Transformation Imaging System, which uses a combination of 76 separate photographic lights and computer processing to capture every groove and notch on the surface of the clay tablets.

    It allows a virtual image to be turned around, as though being held up to the light at every possible angle.

    These images will be publicly available online, with the aim of using a kind of academic crowdsourcing.

    He says it's misleading to think that codebreaking is about some lonely genius suddenly understanding the meaning of a word. What works more often is patient teamwork and the sharing of theories. Putting the images online should accelerate this process.

    But this is painstaking work. So far Dr Dahl has deciphered 1,200 separate signs, but he says that after more than 10 years study much remains unknown, even such basic words as "cow" or "cattle".

    He admits to being "bitten" by this challenge. "It's an unknown, uncharted territory of human history," he says.


    Danish Archaeologists Uncover 5,000 Year Old Footprints

    Work on the Fehmarn belt tunnel system revealed the 5,000-year-old prints, which are the second-oldest to be discovered outside Africa. A tunnel is under construction which will connect the Danish island of Lolland with Fehmarn island, which is part of Germany.

    The oldest discovered human footprints were found in Happisburgh, Norfolk this past February, and date from 800,000 years ago.

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    5,000 year old footprints: Exciting times for archaeologists

    Terje Stafseth is an archaeologist at Museum Lolland-Falster, and claimed that discovering human footprints is extraordinary. “Normally, what we find is their rubbish in the form of tools and pottery, but here, we suddenly have a completely different type of traces from the past, footprints left by a human being.”

    “We are familiar with animal footprints, but to the best of my knowledge, we have never come across human footprints in Danish Stone Age archaeology before.”

    Archaeologists believe that the footprints belong to Stone Age fishermen, due to the presence of 5,000-year-old gillnets fixed on stakes in the immediate vicinity. The surrounding area is full of fjords and streams, and the island would have been very exposed to the elements. Researchers have speculated that the fishermen entered the water to protect their fishing weir from being swept away.

    Preserved by sand

    Evidence suggests that the gillnets were then moved to a more secure location. The footprints were formed after the fishing system was flooded by seawater, washing in sand which filled the indentations and preserved the prints.

    “The investigations have shown that the Stone Age population repeatedly repaired, and actually moved parts of the capture system in order to ensure that it always worked and that it was placed optimally in relation to the coast and currents,” said Stafseth.

    “We are able to follow the footprints and sense the importance of the capture system, which would have been important for the coastal population to retain a livelihood and therefore worth maintaining.”

    Not only do the prints represent a groundbreaking find in Danish archaeology, they also attest to the ingenuity of Stone Age man.


    Watch the video: Ancient Underground Water System Found Under Persian Castle (June 2022).


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