Dana Lepofsky, an archaeologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, believes these gardens and traps, found up and down the coast, could be up to 2,000 years old. They were used by the indigenous population and serve as artifacts that dispute what the archaeological record has to this point claimed was the area’s primary staple: salmon.
Closer inspection of middens, or trash heaps, where the natives in long-gone settlements close to the shore once dumped food waste, suggests that while the red, fatty fish might have been prized, salmon was only available during seasonal runs. Though the early North Americans dried and stored the salmon they caught, it would have taken more than just the seasonal catch to feed these ancient communities.
Lepofsky believes that the native British Columbians deliberately and consciously managed their marine and other food resources. By combining archaeology with local oral history, she and others are concluding that these societies oversaw an entire oceanfront ecosystem that offered a diverse bounty of marine life, including little fish (such as anchovies), roe, clams, cockles, sea urchins, and eelgrass.
Dana was in my class, but got out way before me. Salmon were a big part, to be sure, but that was also seasonal.
When Plato first came up with the myth of Atlantis, he probably didn’t expect that the mysterious island would keep stirring debates and feeding popular imagination for over 2000 years. Yet, Atlantis fantasies say a lot about the mysteries still surrounding Earth’s seabeds: Whilst our seas and oceans are packed with inviolate submerged sites and shipwrecks, archaeological and scientific discoveries are still hindered by logistical and financial barriers, and low-cost, flexible solutions are desperately needed.
Aiming to boost research in this field, the EUR 4 million ARROWS (Archaeological Robot systems for the World’s Seas) project picks up where military security and offshore oil and gas technologies left off by creating underwater exploration vehicles tailored to the needs and expectations of deep-sea archaeologists.
My first target would be the Black Sea. If there’s anything representing a truly lost civilization out there, it’s at the bottom of the Black Sea.
Using methods pioneered in Pääbo’s lab, Fu enriched the proportion of human DNA in the sample, using genetic probes to retrieve pieces of DNA that spanned any of 3.7 million positions in the human genome that are considered useful in evaluating variation between human populations. Most of the DNA she ended up with was human, but came from people who had handled the jawbone since 2002, rather than the jawbone itself. Fu, who is now a postdoctoral researcher in Reich’s group, solved that problem by restricting her analysis to DNA with a kind of damage that deteriorates the molecule over tens of thousands of years. Once they had discarded the contaminating DNA, Reich’s team could then compare the fossil’s genome to genetic data from other groups. Through a series of statistical analyses, a surprising conclusion emerged.
“The sample is more closely related to Neanderthals than any other modern human we’ve ever looked at before,” Reich says. “We estimate that six to nine percent of its genome is from Neanderthals. This is an unprecedented amount. Europeans and East Asians today have more like two percent.”
I would think any excavation where ancient human/hominid bones were being excavated people would at least be wearing rubber gloves and masks anymore. This one was found by amateurs more than 10 years ago, so it need not apply, but I was wondering if anyone out there knows if precautions are being taken these days?
Colonial Americans, as my colleague Emma Green points out, drank far than modern ones do. Much of that, however, was in the form of “small beer”—a diluted, fermented slurry of grains and water that was consumed at breakfast and lunch, including by children and servants on the job. Often brewed from the “second runnings” of grains first used to make a higher-quality beer, small beer had a much lower alcohol percentage than so-called “strong beer.” Before water filtration was commonplace, small beer guarded against cholera and other infections because it was mashed and fermented.
It’s something to consider this Fourth of July, a day for outdoor festivities, copious drinking, and honoring enlightenment-era American values. Guzzling low- and no-alcohol fermented beverages might be the perfect way to avoid the common frustration of being uncomfortably drunk and still standing in the afternoon sun.
Based on what they make in Kenya (busaa) most premodern home-made beer was probably much lower in alcohol than we’re used to, while still giving the drinker a pleasant feeling and also making it safe to drink.
I’ve known about “short beer” for a while and it’s actually my goal of home brewing: I can’t really drink much alkyhol anymore, so I’d like to find something that has enough to render that delicious beer taste but not enough to set my metabolism into fits. The quest continues. . . . .
8 million mummified animals, mostly dogs, in catacombs at Egypt site For centuries, dogs have been humans’ loyal, domesticated companions. They’ve been wild animals, doing what’s needed to survive. And in ancient Egypt, they served as bridges to the afterlife, with the hope that they’d intercede with the god Anubis on their owner’s behalf.
But only now is it becoming known the extent to which dogs served this latter role — 8 million times over.
That is the number of dead animals, most of them dogs, estimated to have laid in the catacombs of Anubis around Saqqara, one of Egypt’s most historic and oft-visited sites, according to a group of British researchers. While such mass burials aren’t unprecedented, given the numerous animal cults of ancient Egypt, this one’s scale makes it unique.
Not sure the link is right. The “8 million” figure isn’t what they’ve found, but an extrapolation. That’s not necessarily an inaccurate estimate since they could have been using it for hundreds of years with thousands of people bringing sacrifices every year. Remember that when someone mentions how an animal was “sacred” to the Egyptians; it likely means they killed an awful lot of them.
But unlike Pompeii, this Roman town, known as Ammaia, has been the subject of an intense, comprehensive focus through the remarkable new advances of what is being penned ‘non-invasive archaeology’—the application of state-of-the-art remote sensing, mapping and visualization technologies to uncover what an otherwise prohibitively expensive and lengthy archaeological investigation might reveal. Efforts began in 2009 with the launch of the Radio-Past (an acronym for Radiography of the Past) under the coordinative co-direction of Cristina Corsi of the Universita degli Studi di Cassino, Italy, and Frank Vermeulen of the Universiteit Gent in Belgium. Through the collective efforts of a consortium of European institutions spearheaded by the University of Evora in Portugal, as well as a broad array of experts, Radio-Past approached the site with a non-invasive research strategy, collecting data not as much through traditional excavation as through the application of technology and a multi-disciplinary plan to, in essence, ‘see’ what was hidden beneath the surface without digging it up. In the end, the results were both abundantly informative and visually stunning.
Neat little video at the link. I like the music but it’s mostly unnecessary. Much of it is reconstruction though; for example, when they have the base of a ruined temple, they make a guess as to what it looked like. As I’ve said before, that can be dangerous because it can set in people’s minds that what they’re seeing is what it looked like. But still, getting that much information without excavating is awesome.
Thousands of pieces of trash were inside four large bags awaiting sorting, identification and analysis. In the field of archaeology, taxonomy is what we call this rubbish, “divisive and judgmental” is the way we categorize the story of humans.
So, what exactly was washing up on the west side of San Juan Island? In volume, the grand total was 12 cubic feet; 16.8 pounds, 2,737 pieces with 51 percent being plastic, 39 percent foam, with the remainder being mixed metal, paper, nylon and glass. The plastic types included: water bottles, straws, hygiene, sheet plastic, hard plastic shards, plastic apparel, cigarette butts, bottle caps, 157 shotgun wads, 175 food wrappers, and nylon rope.
The students used divisive methodology to separate the waste by material, then by types and then further by attributes. Their research tracked the food wrappers to China, to the cargo vessels in Haro Strait, 35 percent came from Canada, being dropped by boaters, crabbers and fisherman in the San Juan waters and from the bad habits of people visiting the beach.
Kinda of a neat story. I’ve been there many times myself.
The archaeological sites of the ancient Roman Empire constitute without rival the most prolific array of ancient architecture and artifacts that can be attributed to any single civilization or culture. Its remains pockmark the Old World landscape from North Africa and Egypt to Hadrian’s Wall in Britain. The artifacts populate museums the world over.
But comparatively rarely does one find the preserved footprint of an ancient Roman citizen.
I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study of “Footprint Archaeology”? Apart from Laetoli I think I’ve come across a couple stories on footprints, but not many.