Archeologists ascertain 4,000-year-old characters on Mongolian pottery

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Archeologists have found characters older than oracle-bone scripts in the city of Chifeng in North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

National Museum of China experts confirmed the 4,000-year-old marks were three or four characters left by animal-fur brush with ink, said Lian Jilin, a staff member at the regional research institute of cultural heritage and archeology institute.

They were found on a pottery piece unearthed by the institute and Jilin University at Gaojiataizi, an area of over 10,000 square meters of ruins from the Lower Xiajiadian Culture. The words, written smoothly, are believed to be connected with sacrificial activities. Pottery scripts, together with oracle bones and bronze objects, are known for their longevity.

“The oracle bones, scripts from some 3,000 years ago in the Shang Dynasty [C.1600-1046 BC], may have originated with pottery scripts,” Li said, adding the discovery has offered new evidence to trace the origin. Animal bones, pottery and stone articles were also unearthed at the ruins.

The Lower Xiajiadian Culture, a branch of the northern bronze culture during the Xia (C.2070-C.1600 BC) and Shang dynasties, dates back to 3,500-4,000 years ago, between the late Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age.

The Lower Xiajiadian site in Chifeng was listed as one of the top archeological discoveries in China in 2009.

World Tourism hits 7-year high record in 2017 led by arrivals to Med destinations

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The number of global tourists increased 7 % in 2017, the biggest increase in seven years led by Europe with the lure of the Mediterranean’s sea and sun, the U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced Monday.

The sharp rise was mostly due to the economic recovery around the world, it added.

International tourist arrivals increased by a remarkable 7% in 2017 to reach a total of 1.32 billion, the source pointed out.

This strong momentum is forecast to continue in 2018 at a rate of 4% to 5%.

Led by Mediterranean destinations, Europe showed extraordinary results for such a large and rather mature region, with 8% more international arrivals than in 2016. Africa consolidated its 2016 rebound with an 8% increase. Asia and the Pacific recorded 6% growth, the Middle East 5% and the Americas 3%.

The year was characterized by sustained growth in many destinations and a firm recovery in those that suffered decreases in previous years, UNWTO said. Results were partly shaped by the global economic upswing and the robust outbound demand from many traditional and emerging source markets, particularly a rebound in tourism spending from Brazil and the Russian Federation after a few years of declines.

Two Roman Sarcophagi Discovered in Rome

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Two Roman sarcophagi in marble, one of which is decorated in bas-relief, were discovered in the area around Rome’s Stadio Olimpico stadium during a preventative archaeological dig at a construction site of public utility ACEA, according to the city’s special superintendency.

The finds were most likely burials of children from a well-off Roman family.

“At first analysis, they could be from between the 3rd and 4th century A.D., but dating can only be confirmed after a thorough examination,” the special superintendency said.

The tombs were found at a depth of about 2.5 metres on the northwest slope of Monte Mario, behind the stadium’s north curve, during work to place utility service pipes underground.

The dig is being led by Dr. Marina Piranomonte with archaeologist Alice Ceazzi, restoration expert Andrea Venier, anthropologist Giordana Amicucci and topographer Alessandro Del Brusco.

The finds were removed and brought to the special superintendency’s workshops in Rome for analysis, study, and restoration in the coming months.

The results of the research will be released in the fall.

Ancient Decorated Stone Block Found in Egypt

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A stone block decorated with a cartouche of the pharaoh Nectanebo II was discovered in a hole in the floor of a home in the Egyptian city of Abydos.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities say they caught looters digging up an ancient stone block carved with an image of a pharaoh

Images of the discovery show that the block is decorated with the cartouche of Nectanebo II. (A cartouche is a symbol consisting of ovals that frame a set of hieroglyphs indicating a royal name). Nectanebo II ruled during Egypt’s 30th Dynasty, from 360 to 342 B.C., and was the last native Egyptian pharaoh before his defeat during the Persian conquest.

Abydos is in Upper Egypt about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the Nile River. The earliest kings of Egypt were buried at the site, and it remained an important religious place for thousands of years.

2,400-Year-Old Tomb discovered in Iraq

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A 2,400-year-old tomb filled with skeletons – along with other artefacts including earrings and ceramic vessels – has been discovered in Iraq, scientists say. Among the artifacts found in the tomb, researchers found a bracelet decorated with images of two snake heads peering at each other.

The tomb was constructed toward the end of the Achaemenid Empire (550 to 330 BC), an empire in the Middle East that was conquered by Alexander the Great in a series of campaigns, researchers said.

The skeletons were found in a jumbled state making it difficult to determine exactly how many people were buried in the tomb. The disarray indicates that someone had entered, and possibly robbed, the tomb in ancient times, researchers said.

Led by Michael Danti from Boston University in the US, researchers also found a pair of bronze earrings and the remains of at least 48 pottery vessels, five of which were still intact.

“There were five complete vessels found in the tomb: one bridge-spouted jar, three pitchers and one miniature jar. They were all found near the heads of skeletons,” researchers told ‘Live Science’.