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Interesting Finds

It is not every day that an archaeologist can find a spectacular treasure like Tutankhamun's tomb. However, interesting discoveries still occur from time to time.

Göbekli Tepe

"Potbelly Hill" in southeastern Anatolia, Turkey was first discovered in 1963, then excavated since 1994 by Klaus Schmidt, now at the German Archaeological Institute.

The tell (hillock) includes two settlement phases dating back to the 10th-8th millennium BC.

During the first phase (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected. More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys. Each pillar has a height of up to 6 metres and a weight of up to 20 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the underlying bedrock.

The PPNA site - Pillars with bas reliefs of: a bull, fox, and crane; a predatory animal; a fox.

In the second phase (PPNB), the erected pillars are smaller. They stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime.

It is one of several sites in the vicinity of Karaca Dag, an area which geneticists suspect may have been the original source of at least some of our cultivated grains: recent DNA analysis of modern domesticated wheat compared with wild wheat has shown that its DNA is closest in sequence to wild wheat found on Mount Karaca Dag 20 miles (32 km) away from the site, suggesting that this is where modern wheat was first domesticated.

Such scholars suggest that the Neolithic revolution, i.e. the beginnings of grain cultivation, may have taken place also here as well as in the Middle East.

Bronzes from the Kingdom of Shu

Shu was a pre-dynastic Chinese kingdom in the Sichuan basin and in 1987 a site named Sanxingdui (Three stars mound) was discovered there.

The discovery was a major surprise since it indicated a significant semi-Chinese culture that was previously unknown. In 2050-1250 BC the site, 40 km north of Chengdu, appears to have been the centre of a fairly extensive Bronze Age kingdom.

The most interesting finds were bronze works in a peculiar style never seen before or after. The two central masks in the top row below bear a vague resemblance to the faces of the moai in Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Head from the 13th-12th century BC - Cancong, the semi-legendary first king of Shu - Bronze mask - Bronze animal masks

Bronze figure of the High Priest - Sacrificial altar - Bronze Tree
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