Why yes; yes, it is: The Hangman’s Tale: Archaeologists Dig into History of Execution
Her interests initially focused on fashion, but then they migrated to murder and decay. Marita Genesis, 42, worked as a runway model for Escada after graduating from secondary school. Later, she studied ancient and early history, and learned about criminal law.
Now, the archaeologist is surrounded by criminals. She is standing in a storeroom belonging to the Thuringia State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and pointing at a number of bones. These are the remains of thieves, sodomites and child murderers.
The skeletons were found near Alkersleben, not far from the eastern German city of Erfurt, where the counts of Kevernburg punished criminals over 700 years ago.
Actually, not much there about Ms. Genesis, but a pretty good article on Medieval executioners and some methods. Pretty much the usual beheadings and hangings and such.
Body of Evidence: UT using donated corpses in mass grave project with international aspirations
While the images can pick up large graves filled with hundreds of people, it’s more difficult to locate the more common plots with 10 or 20 or 30 bodies, said Dawnie Steadman, director of the Forensic Anthropology Center at UT who has also done extensive human-rights work in Argentina, Cyprus and Spain.
“So the focus of this project is on those smaller graves and trying to see if we can get the acumen of the technology to be that fine-grained,” said Steadman, whose role in the project is more of a logistics coordinator. “Are they only sensitive over fresh graves, and do we lose that sensitivity over time?
Very good stuff in that (nice and long) article. Especially interesting is the hypothesis of nitrogen enrichment from decomposing bodies.
‘Black Death pit’ unearthed by Crossrail project
Excavations for London’s Crossrail project have unearthed bodies believed to date from the time of the Black Death.
A burial ground was known to be in an area outside the City of London, but its exact location remained a mystery.
Thirteen bodies have been found so far in the 5.5m-wide shaft at the edge of Charterhouse Square, alongside pottery dated to the mid-14th Century.
Analysis will shed light on the plague and the Londoners of the day.
Short video at the link which adds a little bit to the article.
Archaeologists uncover Europe’s oldest preserved human dissection
The recent discovery of a well-preserved dissected head dating back to the 1200s has shown that the middle ages weren’t as anti-science as many scholars would have us believe. While it looks pretty horrific, this mummified head was a medieval science project — a dissection that wasn’t simply meant to be gawked at and tossed away. Given its remarkably well preserved state, scientists suspect that it was used for ongoing medical education.
I’m not entirely sure “scholars” think of the Middle Ages as an anti-science period, but that’s what’s stuck in the popular imagination anyway.
Ah, the source article gives much more background. Another photo, too. It looks as if the trachea had also been exposed for study. I wonder if the V-shaped section in the front of the head was part of the dissection or if it might have been what killed him originally? Anyway, read the latter article, it’s quite fascinating.
At the Mail. Not much new. I wonder if they could get dental DNA from inside the teeth? That might be uncontaminated.
Well, maybe her sibling: Archaeologist says bones found in Turkey are probably those of Cleopatra’s half-sister
“When I was working with the architecture of The Octagon and the building next to it, it wasn’t known whose skeleton was inside. Then I found some ancient writers telling us that in the year 41 B.C., Arsinoe IV – the half-sister of Cleopatra – was murdered in Ephesus by Cleopatra and her Roman lover, Marc Antony. Because the building is dated by its type and decoration to the second half of the first century B.C., this fits quite well.
“I put the pieces of the puzzle together.”
Iffy, of course, but I like that it’s a relative this time rather than the lady herself.
UPDATE: More here along with an artist’s conception.
‘Sacrificial’ skulls puzzle archaeologists in Mexico
Not much new info in the text, but there’s a video on it at the link.
Richard, that is. Some are skeptical as well: King Richard Found? Some Archaeologists Skeptical Of DNA Evidence
But some scientists struck a more sober note, warning that ancient DNA analysis is subject to contamination, and grumbling that the results were revealed via press conference prior to peer-review by fellow researchers. [Gallery: The Search for Richard III]
“The DNA results presented today are too weak, as they stand, to support the claim that DNA is actually from Richard III,” said Maria Avila, a computational biologist at the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. “Perhaps more in-depth DNA analysis summed to the archaeological and osteological [bone analysis] results would make a round story.”
. . .
“Before being convinced of ANY aDNA study, it should be explicit that all possible cautions were taken to avoid potential contamination,” Avila wrote in an email to LiveScience. “It is just part of the protocol.” (aDNA refers to ancient DNA.)
Avila also warned that people could share mitochondrial DNA even if they didn’t share a family tree. To be confident that Ibsen is related to the owner of the disinterred skeleton, the researchers must present statistics showing how common the DNA profile is in the United Kingdom, she said. Otherwise, the similarities between Ibsen’s mitochondrial DNA and the skeleton’s could be coincidental.
I dunno, the contamination thing would really only be an issue if the mtDNA is a common one — otherwise, what are the chances it would be contaminated with a very close match? Not that I’m going to make a stink about it. . . .
At WaPo. It becomes weirder:
The skulls were also found with a shorter length of vertebrae attached to the skulls than is the case of other such finds, suggesting the decapitation cut was made closer to the base of the skull.
Still other strange details emerged: Morehart said some of the skulls were found with finger bones inserted into the eye sockets. “It was common enough that it was intentionally placed there in the eye socket,” Morehart said, though the ritual significance of that remains unclear.
The former suggests to me that the skulls were removed postmortem. I have no idea what the other bit might mean.
Archaeologists to investigate after human skull found on golf course
Archaeologists are to investigate an East Lothian golf course after a human skull was dug up.
The bones were found by council workers who were carrying out winter maintenance on a bunker on Musselburgh Links Golf Course at 12pm Tuesday.
Officers from Lothian and Borders Police dug up the remains and sent them to Dundee University to be examined.
Well, you know, wrong continent and all. . . . .