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.
Or at least worth some silver: Tablet about payment of donkey debt discovered in Kültepe believed to be oldest trade document
“We found an interesting thing in the grave. For the first time in Kültepe, a tablet was found in a grave. We were very happy. We thought that it was a prayer text for the dead to pass to the other world easily. We had a philologist friend and he read it. It turned out to be a text about the sale of a donkey. It was a surprise for us. The text says ‘when you read this letter of me, go to the owner of the donkey and give him silver,’” the professor said.
Most early writing tends to revolve around commerce.
Wooden Chariots Unearthed At 4000-Year-Old Burial Site In Georgia
Archaeologists in the country of Georgia have discovered an ancient burial site that dates all the way back to the Early Bronze Age. Entombed within the chamber, which researchers say was intended for a chief, were seven bodies, a variety of ceremonial artifacts, and two well-preserved chariots, each with four wooden wheels.
I dunno, they look more like cart wheels to me. Well, it’s definitional I guess. The wheels are solid and made up of several separate pieces, not the sort of spoked wheels one would expect from a ‘chariot’.
Ancient Sumerian Relics Found in English Cupboard
The staff of the archaeology and anthropology department at Britain’s University of Bristol recently began the tedious work of emptying a laboratory to prepare for the installation of a state-of-the-art facility that will allow for the radiocarbon dating of ancient artifacts and organic material unearthed at archaeological sites. As they worked to clear one of the laboratory’s cupboards, they found a weathered wooden crate stamped with the address of an Army and Navy store in the Lambeth district of London. When the staff examined its contents, they quickly discovered that in the process of making room for the most cutting-edge of technologies that they had found the most ancient of artifacts.
Happily in this case there was enough information to at least figure out what it was.
Archaeologists Whip Up ‘Elixir of Long Life’
Archaeologists were digging under a former German beer garden in New York City’s Lower East Side when they came upon a stash of 150-year-old liquor bottles. Among them was a small vial—once the container for an “Elixir of Long Life,” DNAInfo reports. “We wanted to know what this stuff actually tasted like,” says Alyssa Loorya, president of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, which is supervising the excavation.
Not a long story, but kinda neat. It’s amazing how much they can get from some residue, although apparently they got the full recipe from the Germans. One assumes they got many of the chemical constituents themselves and then submitted that to the historians.
Techno-archaeologists calling back abandoned ISEE3 spacecraft from graveyard
The International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, The Spacecraft Which Was Launched By NASA 36 Years Ago And Was Abandoned By The World’s Premier Agency In 1997 Is Finally Heading Back Home From The Graveyard Of Space.
Some civilians who have urged NASA to bring the spacecraft back. The civilians have collected some money to own this antique spacecraft.
I think I’d heard of this a little while ago. More here along with a video and a link to a NYT article. I think it’s kind of cool what they’re doing, although when I first looked at it I thought they were trying to land it or something.