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Archeology Headlines of May 2009

While an array of artifacts from the Roman temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis have been found in the Florence area for the past 300 years, the actual temple itself remains illusive. In this article, you will encounter archeology headlines from May 2009 that involve well-preserved artifacts and the discovery of an early human jaw bone.

Closer to the Roman Temple Dedicated to the Egyptian Goddess Isis?

This month, fragments of a spiral column that may have once held up the sought-after temple were found close to a courthouse in Florence, Italy. Workmen inside the courthouse came across a collection of multi-hued fragments that experts would like to link to Isis, who was worshipped throughout the Roman-Greco world after Egyptian cultures hailed her as the goddess of motherhood and fertility.

Preparing for a new water cistern for the courthouse’s anti-incendiary system, workers dug a hole measuring 5 by 3 meters, and reaching 4 meters into the ground. What they discovered was dated back to the 2nd century AD. The archeologist called to oversee the investigation to the historical find called the artifact remains ‘extraordinary.’ The location of Isis’ temple remains unknown. What is known is that it was constructed just outside the Roman part of the city, but close to the where the current courthouse building stands.

What’s So Special About this Broom?

Discovered in a Benedictine monastery latrine in Germany, a broom made out of twigs was found on site and is believed to date back 300 years. Showcasing excellent preservation, archeologists from the Westphalia-Lippe regional authority were quite pleased to uncover the find while excavating under the St. Ulrich Church monastery. Soon, a new underground parking facility will be placed, but the researchers were called in to explore the unpleasant scent that construction workers detected at the site.

What construction workers had stumbled upon was the remains of a latrine used during the 1700s. Since the latrine was housed in an airtight space, the contents were easily preserved. Sifting through the organic material, the excavation team happened upon a handful of objects that wouldn’t have normally survived for centuries under any other conditions.

The broom uncovered at the site is the oldest of its kind ever located in the region. It isn’t everyday that natural materials (like wood and leather) are able to survive. Measuring 25 centimeters, the broom was bound with bast fiber. Other artifacts found included a spindle, a wooden bobbin, hazelnut shells and cherry pits. In the near future, the objects from the site may be put on display at the St. Ulrich Church or other archeology museum.

Early Human Jaw Bone Uncovered

Uncovered in a quarry in Casablanca, a piece of jaw bone belonging to an early human joined an array of animal bones, including remains of gazelles, antelopes, warthogs, bears, and monkeys. Pleased to have found the rear part of a human mandible, the Moroccan-French archaeology team responsible for the discovery dates the bones back to what was known as the prehistoric Acheulian phase.

What archeologists can reveal about the mandible is that it once belonged to a young human and that it still holds a premolar and a molar. Found on May 14, the fossil was nestled in what would have been its final resting place at the Thomas I quarry site in Casablanca. Stone tools were also found by the bone, which helped to date the remains as belonging to the Acheulian civilization.