August 13, 2015

And more!

Filed under: Bodies, China, bodies everywhere! — acagle @ 7:13 pm

A Pompeii of China? Archaeologists discover heartbreaking remains of mum who died protecting her baby boy from an earthquake

Archaeologists have discovered the skeletal remains of a mum who died trying to protect her child.

Anthropologists studying the Lajia archaeological site in Minhe County, in north-west China’s Qinghai Province, came across the mother and her son while unearthing a large-scale burial caused by a devastating earthquake some 4,000 years ago.

Some really nice photos. They don’t appear to have been staged (that is, excavated, removed, cleaned, and then repositioned) and if not someone did a fabulous job excavating them.

June 8, 2015

Held within the pleasure dome. . . . .

Filed under: China — acagle @ 6:56 pm

decreed by Kubla Khan?

Dragons of Xanadu: Sculptures Discovered in Legendary City

The remains of three colorful dragon heads made of clay have been discovered in a huge palace in Xanadu, a city constructed by the grandsons of Genghis Khan.

The palace sprawls over 9,000 square meters (about 100,000 square feet), or nearly twice the floor space of the modern-day White House.Archaeologists have been excavating the palace, learning how it was designed and decorated.

Bonus points for the nerds who get the reference.

June 29, 2014

Public health alert

Filed under: China, Egypt, Public Health — acagle @ 7:23 pm

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient evidence of infection by a parasitic worm that causes schistosomiasis, a disease that ails millions of people today.

The eggs of the parasitic worm were found in a child’s skeleton, unearthed in northern Syria, which was deemed to be more than 6,200 years old. The archaeologists said the parasite’s eggs were lodged in the pelvic area of the child’s skeleton.

I’m not actually sure when the oldest signs of schisto are. Certainly it was a problem in Egypt, but I’m not remembering what evidence there was for it and when.

UPDATE: Checked a paper I had and it’s been found in Egyptian mummies as far back as 3200 BC which is in line with this one.

May 13, 2014

Lost civilization graves . . . . found.

Filed under: China — acagle @ 6:54 pm

Someone Had to Build the Terracotta Army—Archaeologists Just Found Their Humbler Grave Sites “There are thousands of terracotta warriors, first discovered in 1974, guarding the mauseleum of the first emperor of China, Qin Shihuang. An army that big must have needed an army of workers to build it. And now archaeologists in China think they may have found the graves of some of the people who built the tomb.”

One would think there’d be something similar to the Giza workers’ village for these things somewhere nearby, which it looks like they already knew about?

February 10, 2014

Don’t believe everything you see

Filed under: China, Egypt — acagle @ 12:01 pm

Egyptian team finds trove of ancient artifacts

Oh, okay, that’s pretty neat.

Egypt´s Ministry of Antiquities says that one of its teams has found a cache of artifacts dating to roughly 600 B.C. in a northern Nile Delta province of the country.

Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim says in a statement Sunday that the team found 43 amulets, a gold-plated mummy mask and nearly 600 small funerary statues inside a pharaonic cemetery in the northern Dakahliya province.

Still, very interesting.

Except. . . . . . the photograph they use to illustrate:

Is from a Chinese grave!

January 2, 2013

“This site also demonstrates one of the great dangers of archaeology; not to life and limb, although that does sometimes take place.”

Filed under: China — acagle @ 8:55 am

Archaeologists Think Hidden Imperial Tomb May Be Too Deadly To Explore

After discovering a secret palace hidden in China’s first emperor massive burial complex, Chinese technicians are nervous. Not because Qin Shi Huang’s tomb is the most important archaeological discovery since Tutankhamen, but because they believe his burial place is full of deadly traps that will kill any trespassers. Not to talk about deadly quantities of mercury.

The secret courtyard-style palace tomb is a mind-numbing discovery. Situated in the heart of the Emperor’s 56km² mortuary compound, guarded by more than 6000 (and counting) full-size statues of warriors, musicians and acrobats, the buried palace is 690 x 250m. It includes 18 courtyard houses overlooked by one main building, where the emperor is supposed to be. The palace — which has already been partially mapped in 3D using volumetric scanners — occupied a space of 170,000m². That’s one fourth the size of the Forbidden City in Beijing — for just one tomb.

They mention the possibility of large amounts of mercury present — thought to be fashioned into a ‘river’ — but I consider it unlikely that there are any booby traps. There may actually have been some such traps in Egypt, a few tombs in the Valley of the Kings have a very deep shaft before getting to the burial chamber, but those are not entirely understood anyway. Definitely a case where keeping it intact is probably well worth the effort.

December 4, 2012

More Terra Cotta Army finds

Filed under: China — acagle @ 7:40 pm

Archaeologists discover Imperial palace near terra-cotta army

Archaeologists announced this morning that they had found the remains of an Imperial Palace near the near the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi, the tomb which is famously home to China’s popular terra-cotta army.

Both sites lay on the edge of Xi’an, an ancient capital city now located in central China. The palace is estimated to be roughly a quarter of the size of Beijing’s Forbidden City and is the largest complex yet found in Qin Shi’s twenty-two square mile mausoleum.

Eh, there’s not that much there, but it’s such an extensive site I suppose there’s much, much more to be found.

August 20, 2012

Chinese chipwreck archaeology

Filed under: China — acagle @ 6:54 pm

Estimated 30,000 antiques to be salvaged from sunken ship

More than 30,000 pieces of antiques are expected to be salvaged from Nan’ao-1, an ancient merchant vessel that sank about 500 years ago off the coast of Guangdong Province.

Upon the conclusion of an underwater archaeological mission, about 10,000 pieces of newly salvaged antiques will be exhibited in the Nan’ao Museum in Shantou, said Huang Yingtao, director of the museum.

The salvage operation, which started in June, was suspended due to the effects of typhoon Kai-Tak, which made landfall in the coastal area of Guangdong at noon on Friday.

Which is very interesting, albeit not so much so as the bikini models cheering for high-quality cows.

And waits. . . ..and waits. . . .and waits. . . . .

Filed under: China — acagle @ 12:01 pm

Opening secret tomb of China’s first emperor waits for science

The tomb holds the secrets of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who died on Sept. 10, 210 B.C., after conquering six warring states to create the first unified nation of China.

The answers to a number of historical mysteries may lie buried inside that tomb, but whether modern people will ever see inside this mausoleum depends not just on the Chinese government, but on science.

“The big hill, where the emperor is buried — nobody’s been in there,” said archaeologist Kristin Romey, curatorial consultant for the Terracotta Warrior exhibition at New York City’s Discovery Times Square. “Partly it’s out of respect for the elders, but they also realize that nobody in the world right now has the technology to properly go in and excavate it.”

Hopefully remote sensing will enable us to see what’s there without any excavation whatever.

July 25, 2012

Embarrassing find of … er … a “marital aid” thought to be fungus

Filed under: China, Humor, Modern artifacts — ArchaeoFriend @ 3:19 pm

sex toy thought to be fungus

Proving yet again that fact can be stranger than fiction.  (Or if this is fiction, someone has a WICKED sense of humor).  A friend of mine (a primatologist) sent me a link to this news story about a village in China (Liucunbu, near Xian) where an artifact from a well turned out to be a naughty sex toy.  I thought this might be a prank story, but ABC picked it up, so that lends credibility to the story in my mind.  You could say that the mistaken fungus Ganoderma lucidum has gone “VIRAL”.  The whole thing is nicely written with double-entendres, however, such as this short quote:

Villagers from Liucunbu, a rural community outside western Chinese city of Xi’an, encountered the sex toy while drilling a new well shaft. Hard-pressed to identify the flexible, fungi-like object, perplexed residents alerted the local news station, which immediately sent reporter Yunfeng Ye to the scene.

[....]  The report opens with Ye proclaiming the discovery of the mysterious object, the likes of which “not even an 80-year-old local man has seen.” Villagers crouch around the object, floating innocently in a water-filled bucket. “It has an eye and a nose, but we don’t know what it is,” says a man who was among the drillers who discovered the sex toy.

Describing the object’s qualities in explicit detail [....]

Oh, my, someone had fun writing that story.  Xian is much more famous (in my mind) for the tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di. 

terra cotta warriors

Legend has it that the actual tomb of the emporer has a map of his empire with his body at the center.  Above him are the stars of his realm, represented by pearls in the tomb’s ceiling.  Scarily enough, the map also contains 100 rivers of his empire, created with mercury in the floor of the tomb.  I don’t think I want to be the one to excavate that tomb.

qin shi huang di

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