Meet the gomphothere: Archaeologists discover bones of elephant ancestor
Archaeologists have discovered artifacts of the prehistoric Clovis culture mingled with the bones of two gomphotheres – an ancient ancestor of the elephant – at an archaeological site in northwestern Mexico.
The discovery suggests that the Clovis – the earliest widespread group of hunter-gatherers to inhabit North America – likely hunted and ate gomphotheres. The members of the Clovis culture were already well-known as hunters of the gomphotheres’ cousins, mammoths and mastodons.
Assuming it pans out as an actual kill site, it’s I think only the second genus known to have been hunted in North America.
Also: Nat Geo report
Summer camp offers archaeology dig at UTSA
Neat camp. Video at the link. I saw at least one filling out a form so it looks like they’re teaching them at least some of the tedious sort of paper-shuffling that goes on instead of just finding cool stuff.
1,500-Year-Old Claws Intrigue Archaeologists in Peru
Archaeologists in Peru say they have unearthed the previously unknown tomb of a nobleman from a pre-Inca civilization known as the Moche. The tomb contained the remains of an adult male, plus artifacts indicating the man’s elite status, according to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio.
Among the most intriguing artifacts are ornamental metal pieces fashioned to look like feline paws with claws. The paws may have been part of a ritual costume used in ceremonial combat, El Comercio reported. The loser would be sacrificed, while the winner would get the costume.
That’s something I’ve never seen before. I don’t know how much of that ritual combat stuff is speculation though.
Yet another one: Russian archaeologists unearth ‘Romeo and Juliet of the Bronze Age’
It’s another case of a couple of skeletons apparently positioned in some sort of embrace. This is probably the fourth of fifth one of these I’ve linked to over the years, so I’m starting to think it was more common than one might realize. Of course, it usually necessitates the two dying at the same time. Short film at the link which doesn’t provide much additional information.
Archaeology as a vital US strategic interest
China invests heavily on research and preservation of its archaeology and history — sometimes even controversially, such as its massive spending on maritime archaeology as part of the assertion of Chinese control of the South China Sea.
In contrast, the U.S. spends a tiny fraction of the money that China, or Europe, invests in archaeological research and preservation. Moreover, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation – the FIRST Act – that would devastate the already limited support the National Science Foundation (NSF) provides toward the U.S. archaeological effort.
Eh. I’m not sure that such analyses of varied ancient civilizations have all that much insight to provide and they’re subject to the political whims of the present set of archaeologists anyhow.
Archaeologists return western Wisconsin land to pre-historic conditions
For thousands of years before their arrival, fire defined the landscape.
Set by lighting or native hunters, it thinned out underbrush each year. Left behind were prairie grasses and a handful of oaks. This oak savannah covered roughly 5.5 million acres south of a line from Eau Claire to Madison, said Armund Bartz, Driftless Area ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
White settlers brought in fire suppression, and the forest took over.
Fewer than 500 acres of oak savannah remain.
I kind of wonder how close they are actually getting to what was “natural”. If, like many (most?) places, the aboriginal inhabitants may well have transformed the landscape for their own purposes and what we think of as ‘natural’ may be as artificial as what the Europeans did.
Norfolk delivers another major archaeological discovery – experts reveal second timber circle dates back to the time of Seahenge
The revelation is certain to spark fresh debate about why ancient people built the mysterious oak circles, during the early Bronze Age.
“The felling date on them is the spring or early summer of 2049BC, those trees were felled at exactly the same time,” said David Robertson, historic environment officer with Norfolk County Council.
“Having one was fantastic, having two adds to the story. We have to try and understand not just why they were built but what were they used for.”
Archaeologists find Thor’s hammer
Scandinavian archaeologists have found a 1000 year old amulet with engraved runes in Kobelev, on the Danish island of Lolland, reported the Daily Mail.
The latest discovery is unusual as it is the only ‘torshammere’ amulet found with an inscription that says “This is a hammer.” The object is cast in bronze and has traces of gold and silver plating.
Hah. I like that: “This is a hammer”.
One for the ladies:
Artist’s conception of what Thor may have looked like:
Archaeologists at Work in One of San Francisco’s Oldest Neighborhoods
The trio of archaeologists and helpers sat in a rectangular patch of dirt, scratching at the ground with hoes and trowels, shooing the dirt into dust pans which they delivered into plastic buckets.
That’s about it.
Annoying ad plays so be careful.