September 23, 2013

Archaeology down under over

Filed under: Abandonment, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 6:12 am

Australian archaeologists seek to solve mystery of the lost city of Zagora

BEFORE the first ancient Olympics, as Homer was writing his Iliad, there was a bustling early Iron Age city in Greece. And then it all but disappeared.

Australian archaeologists will try to solve the ancient mystery of why the city was abandoned and whether a lack of fresh water was the cause.
. . .
They are curious about whether hydrology might have something to do with the abandonment of the settlement that had been growing at an extraordinary rate.

“One of the ideas we are investigating is whether there has been an earthquake because the ground rock is layers of schist and marble, and marble can be permeated by water but schist can’t.

“If there was a shifting of the layers because of earthquake the water courses could have been altered and the site that was once able to have water may suddenly run dry.”

That’s a pretty clever idea, although one presumes they don’t need 50 people just to do GPR. . . .

June 25, 2013

Abandonment update

Filed under: Abandonment — acagle @ 4:42 am

Archaeologists find evidence of Highland Clearance violence

A smashed pot uncovered at the site of an 1800s longhouse could be evidence of a potentially violent eviction, archaeologists have suggested.

Hundreds of the homes were abandoned during the Highland Clearances, when families were moved off land to make way for large-scale sheep production.

Thatched roofs of longhouses were set on fire and walls toppled to prevent people from moving back into them.

They say “violence” but it’s mostly just forced abandonment. Not sure I buy the evidence for it in this case. . .seems to me it could be quite a while between the two events (broken pot and wall collapse) but there might be something not in the artlcle.

February 13, 2013

Modern Artifacts: Abandonment

Filed under: Abandonment, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 8:37 pm

30+ of the most beautiful abandoned places and modern ruins i’ve ever seen

Desert Fox

Lots of really stunning photography, some more modern than others.

July 18, 2012

Speaking of Herculaneum …

Filed under: Abandonment — ArchaeoFriend @ 7:52 am

Akra, a recently discovered site near the Black Sea, is being billed as the Bulgarian Herculaneum. Different time period, different culture, and different demise, but I think the link to Herculaneum is intended to imply that it is another well-preserved site that was part of the Byzantine empire & abandoned in haste during battle.  Part of the site (fortress) lies underwater, with the remainder of the site currently on land.  It sounds like an awesome excavation:

Dimitrov told 24 Chassa that the finds included several fully preserved vessels, clay amphorae, lamps, gorgeous tiny glass cups, along with a number of ceramic fragments, which will be restored. The items were made at the time by craftsmen in northern Africa and then taken to Akin by ships.

Akra

January 13, 2012

Auto archaeology?

Filed under: Abandonment, Car Lust — acagle @ 9:56 am

Thought I’d link this blog. It kind of feeds into the occasional theme of abandonment I have around here and also my usual Car Lust gig. I like it, more so because he’s an observer rather than a collector, at least for these purposes. I especially like how he puts vintage ads in with the photos of the wrecks (which they are, really, even if not in an accident) to remind us that these were once new and shiny and people bought them and were proud to drive them around. Definitely worth perusing if you like old cars.

October 13, 2011

Abandonment archaeology, modern artifacts, and amateurs. . . .combined!

Filed under: Abandonment, Amateur, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 9:44 am

So I need to enlist the help of the ArchaeoBlog. . .minions? Nah, we’ll call them shock troops. I’m working on a post over at Car Lust to look at what’s happened to various auto dealerships that have been closed. It’s going to be a follow-on post to one about old auto factories that have since been abandoned. Some of both will have obviously been re-purposed into something else, either with all new buildings or the same buildings, while others might have been taken over from a different manufacturer or simply abandoned and awaiting new owners. Either way, I want to see ‘em.

Photos are valuable, but not absolutely necessary if you have a good story or description of one. Hmmmmm. . . where to send. Here:
– Post on ArchaeoBlog’s Facebook page
– Post comment here
– Mail to archaeoblog at acagle dot net

February 24, 2011

Abandonment

Filed under: Abandonment, Historic — acagle @ 8:21 pm

This time of a Chinese theme park. In Florida. (it’s this one)

Doesn’t really seem creepy to me, but I wasn’t there.

December 22, 2010

Egyptian toilets and other paraphernalia

Filed under: Abandonment, Egypt, Public Health — acagle @ 10:38 am

I’m slogging through The City of Akhenaten, Part II The North Suburb and The Desert Altars by Frankfort and Pendlebury (1933) for seasons 1926-32 at Amarna. Specifically, I’m looking for, well, descriptions of toilet and other sanitary facilities. Unfortunately for me, that means reading endless ruminations on the significance of colored plaster in nearly every room and detailed descriptions of rafter decorations and arrangements. Any mention of lavatory facilities is incidental and so I have to read everything to find them. Well, I’m also trying to get a feeling for how residences were structured in general, so it’s not a waste of time or anything.

Interesting stuff. They’re Brits so I had to recall that “bathrooms” were for bathing, not for. . .’evacuation’ purposes. The latter they tended to refer to as lavatories (oddly, in my view, since the ‘lavare’ root means ‘to wash’). They haven’t yet described why they call certain areas lavatories, that is, no description of what objects or features need to be present to identify them as such. They also don’t identify them in all houses/residences either. The photos provided also don’t show anything in particular that would cause one to think ‘lavatory’. The bathrooms seem to be represented by sunken areas with some sort of outlet (maybe not always?) for water to drain out of, presumably as more of a shower stall. In a couple of places they note that a drain channel or in one case a pipe-like thing:

“The outlet from the bath pierces the outer wall of the house; at the outside a pot is sunk into the soil to take the wastewater”
. . .

“a pottery tube, no doubt an outlet for the bath or lavatory, which is found piercing the small screen wall in the northernmost room to the east of the vestibule, and to the west of the screen wall a pot is dug in where the tube ends” (p.27 for house V.36.5)

So it seems that for either the bath or lavatory, at least in one instance some sort of plumbing was added to drain the water to the outside where it collected in a pot or a dish (mentioned elsewhere). I’ve seen this mentioned on the Interwebs before, that some kind of crude plumbing was employed, though apparently not extensively. I wonder about the pot it drains into, and also from another area where the “ladies’ toilet apartment” had a “pot dug in”. Were they secured into the earth and not moveable, or placed in a depression to remain stable but able to be moved/emptied? If it was for bath water, why was it held in a pot? Was it later used for some purpose? How big was the pot? A couple of sources I’ve come across mentioned that pots were used for toilet duties inside buildings that were then emptied in some location on the outskirts of town with the rest of the trash. It also occurred to me that, at least in the case of bath water and perhaps even sewage, if the drain pots were large and porous enough, could they have been some sort of primitive septic system where water would slowly drain out? I’m hoping that when I get Petrie’s volume on his Amarna excavations he will have more detail on what exactly constitutes a bath/toilet facility.

Some other odds and ends are kind of interesting. One building (U.35.6 I believe) was apparently used by a painter since all sorts of pots with colored residues were found and in this one several human bones were found at the base of a wall: Two skulls (1 male, 1 female), 2 femurs, 1 scapula, 2 vertebrae, 1 tibia, and two pelvii which were apparently from two different people (or two halves from different people?). Odd that.

Although in the main Amarna was only used for a few years during Akhenaten’s reign, there seem to have been additional habitations afterwards (before as well?). Trash dumping occurred in common ground behind houses that were on the outskirts of town, but as the town expanded these were used as foundations for new buildings. In one case, an owner (building T.35.18) needed a storage pit (for grain, presumably) and dug it into old trash deposits and sterilized it by burning the base deposits and building above that.

They also argue that the place was initially abandoned, but it was unclear whether the owners thought it was permanent or not, as many houses had their doors bricked up as if they thought they might be returning at some point. They note that the richer houses seem to have been cleared out, while poorer ones had more stuff in them, which they hypothesize could be because the richer folks had the means to return and clear their junk out, while the poorer people just left their stuff there. Parts were also reused later, after the initial abandonment so it’s not quite a Pompeii-like situation.

August 30, 2010

A classic Maya abandonment more swift than Tikal …

Filed under: Abandonment — ArchaeoFriend @ 6:21 am

Except for the northern lowlands, classic Maya cities throughout the Maya world were abandoned relatively rapidly — over about 150 years or so.  Tikal was a huge city that emptied within 20 or 30 years.  But new work on a site, Kiuic, that John Lloyd Stephens first visited in 1841 (it’s been known about for quite some time), has revealed that some of the abandonments were pretty much instantaneous, at least at Kiuic. 

But the Stairway to Heaven homes high above the site now attract as much, or more, attention from the archaeologists. During excavations last year, archaeologists found pottery and stone tools left in place inside homes, including a wealthy farmer’s kitchen room perched on the edge of the hill. Corn grinding stones called metates still rest on their sides next to doorways, at the ready for preparing another meal.  (from USA today http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2010-08-25-maya-pompeii_N.htm)

(Stephens:  dude was my age when he died)

June 7, 2010

Abandonment update

Filed under: Abandonment — acagle @ 7:59 am

Battleship Island.

I wonder if anyone is studying the decay process at places like this in any detail.

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