March 5, 2015

And speaking of action/adventure. . . .

Filed under: Media — acagle @ 8:29 pm

Have you seen the adverts for the series ‘Dig’? I’ll probably catch it on Demand later on. Looks kind of fun though.


Filed under: Battlefield archaeology, Forensic archaeology — acagle @ 8:26 pm

Archaeologists discover remains of medieval knight with extensive jousting injuries

A study of the bones of 700 people unearthed at Hereford Cathedral in England has shown that one may have been a medieval knight. Archaeologists noted many broken bones, some knitted, on the skeleton of a man whose remains were unearthed. They believe the man may have sustained the injuries jousting.
The cathedral’s graveyard was excavated from 2009 to 2011. Other skeletal remains drew the notice of scholars: Was one woman’s hand severed because she was a thief? Was the man suffering from leprosy buried around the same time that the bishop of Hereford suffered from the same disease? The skeletons date from the Norman Conquest of 1066 A.D. to the 19th century.

As they say, it’s difficult to pin down how the injuries actually occurred so ‘jousting’ is a handy hypothesis in the absence of any direct evidence linking him to that particular activity.

As an aside, I’ve been reading Ivanhoe lately. I was supposed to read it in high school or something but I probably skimmed it, or just read the Cliff’s Notes version. Quite enjoyable now. I’m starting to think it was the template for nearly every Hollywood action/adventure movie ever made.


Filed under: Remote Sensing — acagle @ 8:21 pm

High-Tech Tools Map Baptistery of St. John

Using Lidar technology, ultra-high-resolution photography, and thermal imaging techniques, Mike Hess and Mike Yeager of the University of California, San Diego, created a 3-D digital model of the interior, exterior, and façade of the Baptistery of St. John, which sits in Florence’s Piazza del Duomo. “The point cloud data—taken from 80 Lidar scans—becomes the geometric scaffold for the high-resolution thermal imagery. The data can be projected into 3-D space so we know exactly what we’re looking at spatially. The drawings are spatially accurate and we can now pull a measurement for any part of the building we want to look at, down to the millimeter,” Yeager said in a University of California, San Diego press release.

I love this sort of thing. Accurate mapping and imaging some together to make a super precise digital copy of virtually anything. I can’t wait for 3D printing to become cheap enough (and colorful enough) that you could download and print out a copy of virtually any art object. And scale it to any size! Imagine having a near-perfect replica of the Venus de Milo sitting on your desk within an hour of deciding you want one. Or a Nefertiti head for the front entry. Or line the walls of your living room with the Elgin marbles. Yeah. . . . . .


Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 8:15 pm

Destroying humanity’s history: ISIS smash priceless 2,000 year-old archaeological artefacts at Iraq museum

is why I think having a country’s objects in other countries isn’t so bad. The more they’re spread out the less chance they’ll all have of being wiped out when things like this happen.

Caveman blogging legal

Filed under: Paleodiet — acagle @ 9:28 am

You might think this referred to me: ‘Caveman’ blogger vindicated in free-speech fight

A North Carolina blogger who writes about nutrition said Friday he feels vindicated in his long-running free speech fight with a state agency over his online posts.

Steve Cooksey sued the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition three years ago after it tried to censor his blog. The agency said it had received a complaint that he provided “nutrition care services” without a license.

But the board this month adopted new guidelines allowing people to give ordinary diet advice without a government license. In return, Cooksey dropped his First Amendment rights lawsuit.

I’m unsold on the whole Paleodiet thing (at least its implications for past diets and their effects on health), but don’t really care what anyone else wants to blather about it. I was a bit concerned when he started taking money for it, although given the track record of actual nutritionists lately. . . . .

March 3, 2015

They’re just getting to this?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:19 pm

Scientist ‘killed Amazon indians to test race theory’

Actually, a friend of mine posted this just recently and I was wondering if there was something new coming out. I finally got around to seeing the date of the article: September 2000. Most of it was later debunked.

They did that

Filed under: Egypt, Forensic archaeology — acagle @ 8:14 pm

More on the violent death of Pharaoh Senebkay
Pharaoh Woseribre Senebkay, who lived during the later part of Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1650–1550 BCE), is now the earliest Egyptian pharaoh whose remains show he died in battle. Detailed analysis by Dr. Maria Rosado and Dr. Jane Hill of Rowan University has documented an extensive array of wounds on Senebkay’s skeleton showing he died aged 35-40 years old during a vicious assault from multiple assailants. The king’s skeleton has an astounding eighteen wounds that penetrated to the bone. The trauma includes major cuts to his feet, ankles, knees, hands, and lower back. Three major blows to Senebkay’s skull preserve the distinctive size and curvature of battle axes used during Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period. This evidence indicates the king died violently during a military confrontation, or in an ambush.

That’s actually a pretty good article. I was confused by the lower limb injuries (especially the feet) but if he were on horseback (did they ride like that?) it makes some sense: hit the parts you can reach and then finish him off with head shots when he’s on the ground. War wasn’t pretty. Well, not like it ever is.

Cleanup in the burial aisle?

Filed under: Cemeteries — acagle @ 8:10 pm

This has been all over the place: 200 skeletons found in medieval mass grave beneath Paris supermarket

They had expected to find some bodies. The site, after all, had once been a medieval hospital and cemetery. But they never expected to find anything like this.

Underneath a supermarket in the middle of Paris, littered among scraps of medieval pottery, archaeologists have discovered what local media call the “city’s archaeological find of the year”: 200 skeletons, many of which are buried head to toe, six corpses deep. “We expected it to have a few bones to the extent that it had been a cemetery, but not to find mass graves,” the manager of the supermarket told Agence France-Presse. The supermarket allowed in researchers to examine during construction.

They don’t give anything on the demographics of the sample so we don’t know if it was a decent cross section of a living population or not. If it had a distribution of ages similar to a loving population you could say that it was some sort of Big Event that cause mass mortality; otherwise, it could be a relatively quick “death population” of the more or less usual sort. They seem to imply the former though. Still, the way they are laid out suggests that maybe it wasn’t maybe a plague where they might be tossing them into the grave to get rid of them ASAP in hopes of keeping the corpses from spreading disease.

I didn’t feel it

Filed under: Cemeteries, Rome — acagle @ 8:01 pm

The rocking, that is: Rare Roman tombstone found in Cirencester makes archaeological history

The world of archaeology was rocked yesterday after an incredibly rare Roman grave stone was uncovered in Cirencester.

The 1,800-year-old inscribed tombstone, made from Cotswold limestone, was found by Cotswold Archaeology at St James’s Place in Tetbury Road.

It is one of only a handful of surviving examples in the world; the nearest from the same period being in Pompeii.

I jest, but that is actually pretty important, although I didn’t know having (Roman) graves with inscribed stones are that rare in the UK. Nice to be able to put a name with the face; looks like she was 27 (Vixit annos XXVII) when she died. Seems to have a pretty good dentition, too (minus much of the maxilla). I hope they eventually do a facial reconstruction.

Well, okay then.

Filed under: Mummies — acagle @ 7:55 pm

Great Gouda! World’s oldest cheese found – on mummies

Vintage Gouda may be aged for five years, some cheddar for a decade. They’re both under-ripe youngsters compared with yellowish clumps – found on the necks and chests of Chinese mummies – now revealed to be the world’s oldest cheese.

The Chinese cheese dates back as early as 1615 BC, making it by far the most ancient ever discovered. Thanks to the quick decay of most dairy products, there isn’t even a runner-up. The world’s best-aged cheese seems to be a lactose-free variety that was quick and convenient to make and may have played a role in the spread of herding and dairying across Asia.

There’s a couple of interesting items in there, namely on the method for producing the cheese. I may have had that kefir cheese in Egypt once, although I may be projecting. But the preservation looks to be superb.

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