October 18, 2014

Ancient cancer?

Filed under: Public Health — acagle @ 3:58 pm

Ancient Siberian mummy had breast cancer and self-medicated with marijuana

team of Russian scientists has determined that the Siberian “ice maiden” likely died of breast cancer and used marijuana to treat the pain, The Siberian Times reports.

An investigation of the mummified, 2,400 year old remains of the young woman indicates that the young woman died of breast cancer, and the researchers speculate that the marijuana found in her burial chamber was used to mitigate the pain it caused.

“During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal,” Andrey Letyagin, a physiology professor from the Russian Academy of Medical Science, told the Times. “We are dealing with a primary tumour in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases.”

Kind of a confusing article. They say she died of breast cancer, but also had quite a few apparently very traumatic injuries and also a bone infection. So maybe she was just one sick individual who happened to take a bad fall before succumbing to all the other things? At any rate, they seem pretty certain of the cancer diagnosis so at least we have a very old mummy with cancer.

Link via PRO.

October 17, 2014

Friday humor

Filed under: Egypt, Humor — acagle @ 4:03 pm

Desert Fox

Via the Petrie Museum via Facebook

And speaking of vampires. . . .

Filed under: Cemeteries — acagle @ 8:32 am

‘Vampire grave’ found in Bulgaria

A “vampire grave” containing a skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed by a man known as “Bulgaria’s Indiana Jones”.

That seems like a bad sign. . . .

Professor Nikolai Ovcharov – a crusading archaeologist who has dedicated his life to unearthing mysteries of ancient civilisations – said that he had made the discovery while excavating the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient Thracian city located in southern Bulgaria, close to the border with Greece.
The city, inhabited since 5,000 BC but only discovered 20 years ago, is believed to be the site of the Temple of Dionysius – the Greek God of wine and fertility. And among the finds at the site, which includes a hilltop citadel, a fortress and a sanctuary, are a series of “vampire graves”.

Only one is described in the article so I’m not sure how they gt to “a series” of vampire graves. It seems about the right time for plague so one might assume that, rather than ‘vampires’, it might be something more akin to ’spreader of disease’ (or at least an assumed spreader of disease) that they were trying to keep down.

I don’t really mind the whole Indiana Jones thing, by the way, but it sounds like yet another elective excavation which I take a dim view of anymore.

October 16, 2014

Back from the field

Filed under: Blogging update, Car Lust — acagle @ 6:55 pm

Sorry, forgot to mention it. Was out in the field on a project since Tuesday. Nothing at all found except a collapsed old building.

And cows.

Pictures tomorrow.

In the meantime, I had some Car Lust posts up this week y’all might enjoy:
Monday Mystery Trucks.
Lust for the Honda CRV.
Monday Mystery Solved.

October 13, 2014

Of course they like beer. . . .

Filed under: Beer — acagle @ 11:40 am

Doesn’t everybodything? The Science of Why Beer Is So Delicious

Yet even though we know yeast is the reason beer tastes so good, we don’t know exactly why it does it. But in a new study, a team of scientists led by Kevin Verstrepen, a yeast geneticist at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology and the Belgian University of Leuven, has showed why these tiny microbes make the flavors we savor.

In a new paper in the journal Cell, the scientists detail the results of four experiments on yeast. It turns out that for yeast, producing these delicious aromatic molecules is a bit like hailing a taxi. The smell lures in wandering flies, to which yeasts hitch a ride so they can disperse throughout nature.

Well, going from fruit fly preferences to human preferences takes a bit of a leap. But I like the serendipity aspect of it all.

October 12, 2014

Yes, I’m back.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 9:14 am

Halfway decent trip. We did the Olympic Peninsula circle again this year, first spending a few days in and around Lake Quinault, in the rainforest. Of course, as like previous years, save for one, there was no rain in the rain forest. Which was fine by me, the rain looks neat for a few hours but then you get tired of everything being all wet all the time. We mostly did some minor hiking around, mostly unlaxing and eating. Then around and up to Sequim for somewhat more civilized environs and activities.

Following is a photographic essay with very little archaeological content, but there is some. This first photo is the view out of the cabin on Lake Quinault. More photos after the break.
Desert Fox
(more…)

DESTROY THE BEER??!!!

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology, Historic — acagle @ 8:45 am

Kent archaeologists discover Sheppey WW1 trenches

It was once known as “Barbed Wire Island”: a flat, marshy area in the Thames Estuary that was heavily fortified and bristled with guns in anticipation of a German invasion that never came.

But when archaeologists began excavating the island of Sheppey off the north Kent coast, what they found took them by surprise.

They expected to uncover structures from World War Two, but instead discovered “fantastic” trenches dating back to World War One that they believe to be of national importance.

Beer, you say? What about the beer?

he network of trenches was just one aspect of a huge security operation centred on the island during war. Residents were issued with “Sheppey passports” and plans were drawn up that would have seen the entire north Kent community facing evacuation and the loss of their livelihoods.

A devastating “scorched earth” policy aimed at hindering and frustrating the invaders would have seen livestock slaughtered and even beer destroyed.

These seem to have been actual defensive structures rather than for training which is primarily what the other WWI trench systems I’ve linked to before were used for.

September 29, 2014

Gone fishin’

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology, Blogging update — acagle @ 6:36 pm

It’s that time again, off to a short vacation. First one in over a year. Will be out at the Olympic Peninsula again. Be back sometime in a week or 10 days.

In the meantime, enjoy this short series of photographs of preserved underground ‘cities’ from WWI. One could argue with some of the author’s conclusions — it’s a slide show with captions (which go by too quickly, IMO) — but the photos are stunning and worth remembering:

Cloaked in darkness under private land in the beautiful French countryside, these underground cities are bristling with artifacts, sculptures and emotionally charged “graffiti” created by WWI soldiers a century ago. Frozen-in-time, these cities beneath the trenches form a direct human connection to men who lived a century ago. They make hundred years ago seem like yesterday. They are a Hidden World of WWI that is all but unknown, even to the French.

Finding Avondale

Filed under: Cemeteries, Historic, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 12:47 pm

Neat article and video on locating burials in a cemetery under realistic conditions: Finding Avondale: Remote Sensing for an Unmarked Cemetery in Difficult Subsurface Conditions>

Cemetery researchers frequently turn to remote sensing technics when there are little to no trace of a burial ground visible on the surface. The effectiveness of these methods has been evaluated by numerous case studies however, these studies tend to be conducted under optimal and under more controlled conditions then we tend to find in the field. In this study we used real world situation where the adverse settings encountered at the Avondale burial place also known as 9BI164, an unmarked cemetery in southern Bibb County Georgia.

In short, records were nonexistent, informative data was sparse and we only had a rough estimate of where the cemetery was located. The grounds were over a century old. There were no surface features and it was situated in Georgia red clay, a notoriously difficult substrate for successful remote sensing.

I haven’t watched the video yet. As I’ve said, this sort of thing is getting more and more common, finding disused private and even public cemeteries that have long since been forgotten, often with no headstones or decayed monuments (wood). And in this case they not only used hi-tech remote sensing technologies, but also dogs! Well worth a viewing and a read.

September 25, 2014

Bodies, bodies Body everywhere! here!

Filed under: Bodies, bodies everywhere! — acagle @ 7:31 pm

Ancient bog body found in Meath to be carbon dated

Experts from the National Museum of Ireland plan to radiocarbon date an ancient bog body found at a Midlands bog today. It is the second one to be found at the midlands bog in two years.
The partial remains, comprising of adult leg and foot bones and flesh, were discovered by Bord Na Móna workers at Rossan Bog close to the Westmeath border in Co Meath on Saturday.
Once the find was made, a Bord Na Móna worker initiated company protocol and called gardai to examine the scene. Work was stopped and the National Museum of Ireland was notified.

Couple of years old — the find — but I missed it the first time around.

More here

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