February 29, 2016

The Army of Davids strikes again!

Filed under: Amateur — acagle @ 9:32 am

Amateur archaeologist discovers lost Spanish settlement in Florida Panhandle

An amateur archaeologist’s discovery of 16th-century Spanish pottery shards has led to the unearthing of a long-lost settlement in the Florida Panhandle.

“There it was, artifacts from the 16th century lying on the ground,” said Tom Garner, a history buff whose discovery has made him a celebrity in archaeological circles.

According to experts, Garner’s find at a newly cleared lot along the Pensacola Bay was the landing site of a doomed 1559 expedition led by Tristan de Luna. The discovery bolsters Pensacola’s claim as the first European settlement in the modern-day United States, six years before Pedro Menendez founded St. Augustine on Florida’s Atlantic coast. The Luna expedition was scuttled by a hurricane that sank five ships in September 1559, shortly after the fleet arrived.

Imagine what would have happened had the Spanish gotten more of an early foothold in North America. Apart from that, this is the best use of trained amateurs since there are many potential eyes to find things.

September 14, 2015

Now this might be cool

Filed under: Amateur, Paleoanth, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 3:06 pm

Fossil Finder wants amateur archaeologists for online sleuthing

Ever dream of pulling an ancient jawbone from a hidden cave somewhere? A new interactive website could help you realize your archaeological aspirations.

The site, Fossil Finder, seeks volunteers to comb through its database of images from Kenya’s Turkana Basin, where numerous fossils of our human ancestors, as well as a range of other animals dating back millions of years, have been found.

I think this is an excellent use of the power of the Interwebs.

July 22, 2015

The controversy maybe doesn’t continue?

Filed under: Amateur, Media — acagle @ 7:09 pm

‘Diggers’ Returns For A New Season With Better Collaboration With Archaeologists

“Before encouraging archaeologists to work with the show,” Brock told me when I asked whether he thought others should get involved with Diggers, “I would encourage them to consider collaborating with metal detectorists in the first place. It’s a great tool for historical archaeology.” Montpelier runs regular metal detecting programs, for both hobbyist detectors and archaeologists who want to incorporate metal detecting into their survey and excavation, and people can learn more on their website or by contacting Reeves.

Gifford-Gonzalez comments that the episodes this season that include close involvement between archaeologists and metal detectorists from the outset, such as tonight’s Montpelier episode, “are excellent examples of how collaborative work can use the complementary skills of the two communities to enhance understanding of events at a locality.”

I didn’t really give a rip about the controversy. Hopefully we’ll eventually get something resembling the UK’s Treasure Act that should provide a workable framework for both camps.

Also see Kilgroves’ blurb on the great Alexander the. . .err Great’s father’s tomb controversy.

July 20, 2015

Nazis. . . .I hate these guys

Filed under: Amateur — acagle @ 7:17 pm

Hoard of Nazi Gold Discovered by Amateur Archaeologist

€45,000 worth of gold coins stamped with the symbols of the Third Reich, discovered by an amateur archaeologist in October of 2014, have gone on display in Lüneburg, Germany.

Certified metal detector operator Florian Bautsch was combing through burial mounds in the town less than 35 miles from the city of Hamburg when he discovered the first of ten gold coins hidden amongst the grass and leaves. Excited by his find, Bautsch contacted archaeologists local to the area, precipitating a two-week excavation that yielded another 207 gold coins alongside the remains of a sign stamped with the imperial eagle, two imperial seals emblazoned with the swastika, and lettering which read “Reichsbank Berlin 244.”

Apparently Germany has something similar to the UK’s practice of rewarding amateur metal detectorists with a portion of the value of objects they find.

June 15, 2015

Amateurs, digital archaeology. . . .it’s got it all!

Filed under: Amateur, Digital Archaeology — acagle @ 7:09 pm

Cyber Archaeologists Rebuild Destroyed Artifacts

Project Mosul has been launched by researchers from the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage, an EU-funded initiative aimed at preserving cultural heritage using digital technology.

The project consists of a team of volunteers working to digitally reconstruct ancient artifacts from the museum by using photographs and even video taken by tourists.

Anyone can upload images to the project’s website, where the team relies on crowdsourcing to sort them.

They have a couple of 3D models at the link there which are worth playing with. The resolution isn’t that great on either, but it’s far better than nothing.

Update: Related: Archaeologists use “lasers” and 3D models to reveal hidden details in fossils (plus a bonus bad archaeology reference!)

May 26, 2015

Nothing is given without a disadvantage to it

Filed under: Amateur, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 7:38 pm

Google Earth solves and creates problems for archaeologists

Increasingly, amateur archaeologists are using imaging technology like Google Earth to help them find indications of ancient sites – such as eroded agricultural furrows, defensive berms and burial mounds – that might go unnoticed at ground level.

While some archaeology hobbyists report their finds to the proper authorities and act responsibly, others despoil sites and their holdings through unintentionally improper excavations or outright looting.

May 20, 2015

“Until you can empty your own wheelbarrows, forget it.”

Filed under: Amateur, Rome — acagle @ 6:56 pm

An English ‘Family Business,’ Dedicated To A 2,000-Year-Old Roman Fort

For the last couple of millennia, Vindolanda was hidden underground. This ancient Roman fort was buried beneath trees, then fields where oblivious farmers planted crops and grazed their sheep for centuries. Under the farmer’s plow, the ruined city sat undisturbed — mostly.

“You can still see the plow marks on some of the stones in the streets here,” says Andrew Birley, an archaeologist. He points to a white line running down a flat stone. “Each individual stripe here on a stone touched by the plow represents the farmer swearing, and his arms jarring, and him being furious,” Birley says with a laugh.

Andrew Birley is not only the director of excavations at Vindolanda. He is also the son of Robin Birley, the former director of excavations. And he is the grandson of Eric Birley, a professor who bought this land and began excavating it in 1929.

Must be nice (not sarcastically, btw) to be able to excavate at your leisure

February 25, 2015

Almost irritating. . . .but kind of sweet

Filed under: Amateur — acagle @ 8:15 pm

No, not me: Rare Jurassic fossil found by Butleigh archaeologist while clearing stones for pond liner

A YOUNG woman with a passion for archaeology has uncovered a remarkable find near her home in Butleigh.

Cara Ault was helping her parents as they were working to clear stones before putting down the liner.

Her father Thomas Affleck said: “We were clearing out our pond, getting rid of stones. You can’t put the liner down without getting rid of them.

“Suddenly Cara shouted out, ‘I think I’ve found a fossil!’, and she help up this huge thing. I thought it looked like a ram’s horn at first, but it turned out to be this amazing ammonite.”

So no, technically she’s not an archaeologist. But she has a life-long interest in it, so we here at ArchaeoBlog will let it slide and wish her well.

January 8, 2015

Public archaeology III

Filed under: Amateur — acagle @ 7:58 pm

Amateur treasure hunter’s £1m find of Anglo Saxon coins

The perfectly preserved pieces, which feature the faces of Anglo Saxon kings, were in a lead bucket that was buried two feet underground.
Experts said the extremely rare pieces could be worth more than £1 million and Pete Welch, the club leader, said the find was “very significant”.
He said: “They’re like mirrors; no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down.

This falls under the Treasure Act which I’ve linked to here on a number of occasions. There have been so many of these hoards there must be something connecting them. Most often people have speculated that they’re buried in advance of invasions or suchlike and then either forgotten or the burier was killed or taken away.

Public archaeology

Filed under: Amateur — acagle @ 7:49 pm


Focused on Britain’s history, MicroPasts hosts a number of different applications that require user input. There are, for instance, transcription, photo tagging, and photo masking exercises. Photo masking asks users to outline artifacts pictured in photos, which will be used to create 3D versions of the artifacts.

In addition to this, there are active forums on the site, and the applications are all available on the open source platform Github, allowing anyone to make use of, and improve on, the code that MicroPasts uses.

This link was also there. I like this sort of thing, the tedious(ish) kind of tasks that interested lay people can do well and indulge their OCD and actually contribute to research.

I keep thinking of crowdsourcing ideas, but haven’t come up with anything yet.

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