Executed Vikings were inexperienced raiders who oozed smelly pus, say archaeologists
The individuals are thought to have been executed at the graveside and stripped of their clothes, with defence wounds on their hands, arms and skulls and injuries to their necks and shoulders suggesting a bloodbath in which several blows were required to remove each head.
“Curiously, many of the individuals had suffered from infections and physical impairment,” says Louise Loe, a member of the Oxford Archaeology team and co-author of the revealing book.
Good little article. Several bits and pieces of the osetological/pathology findings. One set of photos is captioned wrong though: it shows a sword wound on the top of the head (left parietal actually) but the caption talks about decapitation marks.
The corner of an English field that is for ever a foreign ‘no man’s land’: WWI training camp found on south coast
It’s the most sophisticated and best preserved First World War battle-training complex ever found in Britain.
Covering some 50 acres, the long-forgotten facility consists of opposing ‘British’ and ‘German’ trench systems – with a 300 metre wide no-mans-land in between.
Both systems consist of a frontline trench, rear ‘support trenches’ and a network of communication trenches. Several forward observation trenches, protruding from what was probably intended to represent the British front line, have also been found.
Wall collapse at Pompeii: Italian archaeologists call emergency meeting, seek answers
Italy’s top cultural official scheduled an emergency for Tuesday morning after heavy rains led to the collapse of a section of wall in ancient Pompeii, the famous city buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
The damage is in an area long closed to the public, at the edge of the excavations of the ancient Roman city. Officials said inadequate drainage in the unexcavated part is particularly worrisome. Rains lashing the Naples area recently were also blamed for damage discovered Sunday in other parts of Pompeii, the Associated Press reported.
It’s inevitable that it will all succumb. It wasn’t preserved for 2,000 years by being exposed to the elements.
Revealed: How climate change ended world’s first great civilisations
The world’s first great civilisations appear to have collapsed because of an ancient episode of climate change – according to new research carried out by scientists and archaeologists.
Their investigation demonstrates that the Bronze Age ‘megacities’ of the Indus Valley region of Pakistan and north-west India declined during the 21st and 20th centuries BC and never recovered – because of a dramatic increase in drought conditions.
The research, carried out by the University of Cambridge and India’s Banaras Hindu University, reveals that a series of droughts lasting some 200 years hit the Indus Valley zone – and was probably responsible for the rapid decline of the great Bronze Age urban civilization of that region.
Nothing really new here, I don’t think, climate-related ‘collapses’ have been batted around for decades. Egypt’s Old Kingdom is thought to have ended due to a series of famine-causing drops in the Nile floods.
10,000 years on the Bering land bridge
O’Rourke and colleagues point to a study of mitochondrial DNA – genetic information passed by mothers – sampled from Native Americans throughout the Americas. The study found that the unique genome or genetic blueprint of Native Americans arose sometime before 25,000 years ago but didn’t spread through the Americas until about 15,000 years ago.
“This result indicated that a substantial population existed somewhere, in isolation from the rest of Asia, while its genome differentiated from the parental Asian genome,” O’Rourke says. “The researchers suggested Beringia as the location for this isolated population, and suggested it existed there for several thousand years before members of the population migrated southward into the rest of North and, ultimately, South America as retreating glaciers provided routes for southern migration.”
You really have to think of it not as a “land bridge” but more of almost a continent in and of itself, such that people living there wouldn’t even think of themselves as “crossing over to” anywhere. Then it makes more sense.
Hopewell skulls pose a mystery
How can we determine whether an isolated skull is a war trophy or an honored ancestor? A study recently published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology offers some clues.
Anthropologists at the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Cambridge analyzed 112 human skulls collected in Borneo in the late 19th century. This collection represents well-documented cases of headhunting and, therefore, might provide a yardstick with which to compare the Hopewell skulls.
A bit too binary for my tastes, but interesting.
Northwestern University broke a cardinal rule of campus litigation last week: it issued a press release responding to specific allegations in a student’s lawsuit, which accuses the institution of violating Title IX and failing to discipline a tenured professor who sexually assaulted her.
In her suit, the student says that after a night of bar-hopping and coerced drinking, which started as an invitation from Ludlow to attend a Chicago art exhibit that she pointed out, Ludlow took her up to his apartment, assaulting her as she faded in and out of consciousness. She says she “begged” Ludlow to stop kissing her, but he “groped her breast and buttocks,” and told her that “it was ‘inevitable’ that they would have sex.” Her next recollection is waking up in bed with Ludlow’s arms around her at 4 a.m., the lawsuit says. “She panicked and blacked out.”.
In its filing, Northwestern acknowledges that Ludlow drove around Chicago with the student and drank alcohol with her throughout the night, and that “Ludlow engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances toward plaintiff by initiating rubbing her back and kissing her.” Its investigation did not find evidence of groping but did find, as the student said, that she woke up in Ludlow’s bed with his arms around her.
Got this via Althouse. I’m not going to comment on anything except to reiterate my position:
1) Do NOT initiate any romantic contact with one of your students.
2) Do NOT respond to any romantic contact with one of your students.
3) Do NOT initiate any romantic contact with one of your former students.
4) Think very carefully before responding to any romantic contact with one of your former students.
I mean, it’s all very ego-gratifying to have some hot little undergrad on your arm with at least the potential of a roll in the hay, but it’s Just. Not. Worth. It. Especially in today’s (actually the last 20 years’) environment.
Although I suppose if the genders were reversed no one would be saying anything.
The musical banging and clanging of the radiator in my office once again reminds me of the beautiful musical tones from ordinary everyday objects. Take this recent composition, featuring the dulcet tones of the Epson LQ 850:
Dot matrix printer plays Eye of the Tiger
Could material culture get any better than this? It almost brings a tear to my eye, thinking about dot matrix printers. (Almost). Each Tuesday and Thursday, by the way, I pass by an Epson dot matrix printer, covered in dust and dead flies, in the main hall of the Physics department (where I teach Intro Archaeology). The poor thing looks so sad. And so old. But it reminds me of the re-purposing of objects that we see in archaeology, and of curation behaviors. I think I will even use it as an example of technology, style, and function for class on Thursday. This poor printer also reminds me of my trip last spring to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View CA. More on that trip, later.
Ottoman tower tops list of buildings made with bones
Using the skulls of your enemies to build a tower sends one powerful message—even if the structure winds up measuring a scant 15 feet in height. In 1809, midway through the first Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire, Turkish general Hurshid Pasha gathered 952 rebel skulls for this grisly project near the city of Niš. All but 58 were later removed and given dignified funerals, but thanks to the Serbian government’s preservation efforts, you can still see the building today.