Gruesome Unfortunately Typical Evidence Of Political Torture Found On Precolumbian Skulls
In the Central Andes, there is copious evidence in Precolumbian art of detached heads: stone sculptures and serving vessels found in ceremonial areas depict deities with an axe in one hand and a freshly decapitated head in the other. But until now, archaeologists have assumed these depictions were more figurative than literal, as very little physical evidence of this kind of violence has been found. Writing in the latest issue of Latin American Antiquity, bioarchaeologist Sara Becker now at the University of California at Riverside and archaeologist Sonia Alconini of the University of Texas at San Antonio detail a chilling new discovery: a cache of butchered human heads.
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This strategic form of ritualized violence may have struck fear into the hearts of those on the wrong side of the political aisle.
Sadly, lots of others had the same basic idea. . . .
(Link to KRISTINA KILLGROVE, btw. Follow her blog. Tell her how awesome I am. And how awesome she is! Revel in our mutual awesomeness.
UPDATE: Dunno if this means anything in particular, but this ad was displayed on KK’s blog for me: Sexy Cut-outs Roman Style Stiletto Heels:
Really says “Roman” to me. . . . .
As the river rises: Cahokia’s emergence and decline linked to Mississippi River flooding
At Cahokia, the largest prehistoric settlement in the Americas north of Mexico, new evidence suggests that major flood events in the Mississippi River valley are tied to the cultural center’s emergence and ultimately, to its decline.
Publishing May 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a research team led by UW-Madison geographers Samuel Munoz and Jack Williams provides this evidence, hidden beneath two lakes in the Mississippi floodplain. Sediment cores from these lakes, dating back nearly 2,000 years, provide evidence of at least eight major flood events in the central Mississippi River valley that could help explain the enigmatic rise and fall of Cahokia, near present-day St. Louis.
While the region saw frequent flood events before A.D. 600 and after A.D. 1200, Cahokia rose to prominence during a relatively arid and flood-free period and flourished in the years before a major flood in 1200, the study reveals. That was also a time of political instability and population decline. Two hundred years later, Cahokia was completely abandoned.
Ancient Irish ate very little beef or fish despite abundance of both
There was an “extraordinarily high” number of cattle here from earliest times and an abundance of fish in the waters, yet Irish people ate very little beef or fish, a new paper has found.
UCD honorary professor of archaeology Liam Downey and environmental archaeologist Dr Ingelise Stuijts collated and analysed a body of research that looked at food consumed from the time of the earliest documentary sources up to the late 17th century.
Dr Downey, a former Teagasc director, said some of the findings were surprising. “Ireland was covered with cattle from time immemorial. In fact, cows were the currency,” he said. “Therefore, isn’t it very surprising that the ordinary people were not eating much beef? Now the wealthier classes undoubtedly were eating beef but not the ordinary people.”
I’m a little skeptical. They seem to be relying on documentary evidence rather than archaeological, which can be quite biased. They note that beef was primarily consumed by the elites, while the lower classes made do with sheep/goat and pig — similar to Egypt in that regard — but the fish part is surprising. Perhaps it wasn’t mentioned because it was so common? Just guessing there, but I’d be surprised if the picture wasn’t quite different archaeologically.
Medieval ‘Witch Girl’ Likely Just Suffered From Scurvy
A Medieval teenage girl found buried face-down last year in northern Italy suffered from scurvy and was rejected by her community, according to new study of her burial.
Dubbed by Italian media as “the witch girl,” the skeleton was unearthed in September 2014 at the complex of San Calocero in Albenga on the Ligurian Riviera, by a team of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology at the Vatican.
The site, a burial ground on which a martyr church dedicated to San Calocero was built around the 5th and 6th centuries A.D., was completely abandoned in 1593.
That’s too bad, as she was probably chronically ill and had a short unhappy life. The article speculates that she may have been prone to other behavioral anomalies such as seizures.
Here’s hoping they give her a pleasant place to rest in peace once the analysis is done.
Rethinking Roman-Era Skulls From London’s Liverpool Street Dig
Cremated human bones have been found packed in an old cooking pot, near the site where Roman-era skulls had been found along the former banks of the Walbrook River. It had been thought that the skulls had eroded out of burials and tumbled downstream, but the cremation burial suggests that skulls could have been placed there. “Certainly no river ever carried off the cooking pot with its cremated bones which was unquestionably deliberately placed here. And the horse skull we found with one of the skulls didn’t come out of some equine graveyard, that was clearly also placed there,” Jay Carver, lead archaeologist of the Crossrail project, told The Guardian.
I recall linking to the original story and wondering whether the whole skulls washing downriver was really the case or not.
British archeologist ‘terrified’ after narrowly escaping death in Nepalese earthquake
A 32-year-old doctor who specialises in Himalayan archaeology was said to be “absolutely terrified” and incredibly shaken after narrowly avoiding death in the devastating earthquake.
Hayley Saul, from Northampton, had left Langtang village in Kathmandu just two hours before it was completely wiped out in the quake.
As the disaster hit, she was trekking with her friend and a guide, en route to Lama Hotel, the next village on the trail.
Liquid Mercury Found in Mexican Pyramid Could Hold Secrets of Teotihuacan
Archaeologists may be a step closer to discovering the secrets of the ancient city of Teotihuacan: They have unearthed liquid mercury deep beneath the Mexican Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent. The “large quantities” of the toxic liquid metal leads researchers to believe that an undiscovered ancient ritual chamber or even the tomb of a king could rest below the ruins of the ancient city that sits about 30 miles from Mexico City, reports Reuters.
On Friday, The Guardian reported that researcher Sergio Gómez stumbled upon the liquid mercury after six years of gradually uncovering a tunnel underneath the Teotihuacan pyramids.
They din’t really say how much mercury was found, unfortunately.
Indeed. Touch-Free Archaeology Reveals History With “Lasers”, Drones
It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes archaeologists can learn more by not digging up the past. In fact, noninvasive methods—including lasers, ground-penetrating radar, and drone photography—are changing the way they do their work.
One of the latest examples: a project at Ammaia, in southern Portugal, where researchers have been able to create detailed, three-dimensional illustrations of a now-underground Roman village in its heyday.
Data from the site show that the town flourished in the first century A.D.—at its peak it was home to more than 2,000 inhabitants—but gradually declined in the fourth century. By the Middle Ages it was abandoned.
Digging anything up ought to be a last resort.
Archaeologists Unearth Ottoman War Camel in Austria
“The partly excavated skeleton was at first suspected to be a large horse or cattle. But one look at the cervical vertebrae, the lower jaw and the metacarpal bones immediately revealed that this was a camel,” said Dr Galik, who is the first author of the paper published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Camel bones have been found in Europe dating back to the Roman period. Isolated bones or incomplete skeletons are known from Mauerbach near Vienna as well as from Serbia and Belgium. But a complete camel skeleton is unique for Central Europe.
The original paper is here if you want to read the source.
have to do with archaeology?
Who knows? But see here.