May 31, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:17 am

Olympics update Olympic Games: Athletics, ancient and modern.

THE MODERN OLYMPIC MARATHON derives its name, of course, from the famous victory of the Greeks over the invading Persians in 490 B.C. at the town of Marathon, about twenty-six-and-a-half miles from Athens–which is the distance the runner Pheidippides covered to bring home the news of the victory, after which he dropped dead. As it happens, the story is a myth. Even the distance between Athens and Marathon isn’t accurate. The modern race actually duplicates the distance from Windsor Castle to the Olympic stadium, established at the London games in 1908.

The truth about the marathon is just one of many debunking facts that Stephen G. Miller presents in Ancient Greek Athletics, his well-researched, comprehensive survey of ancient sports.

I wish this paragraph:

THE FREQUENT BRUTALITY of ancient sports reinforced this vision of life’s hard limits. Important functionaries of the games were the rabdoi: judges armed with willow switches who punished fouls and false starts with a flogging. Even more indicative of the Greek acceptance of life’s brutal limits were events like boxing and the pankration, a fierce combination of wrestling and boxing, with strangulation, finger-breaking, and eye-gouging (ostensibly forbidden) thrown in. Boxers fought with hard leather strips wrapped around their fists and pounded each other’s heads until somebody gave up. Blood flowed freely, and fighters died, none more spectacularly than a certain Kreugas, who had his guts torn out by his sharp-nailed opponent.

Had gotten a bit more detailed. One wonders how many of the myths involving the brutality are actually true. We rather doubt that anyone could actually reach through someone’s abdomen with their bare hands and pull out said guts. After all, there’s quite a bit of muscle to go through. Similarly, there is a story of a long jumper who leapt so far that he broke both legs on landing. But the boxing/wrestling competition was apparently as brutal as made out above.

Sorry, I’ve got the wickiups. . .Utah Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Hut

An archaeological survey in central Utah has yielded a “wickiup” — a temporary log and brush hut commonly used by ancient inhabitants on the west side of the Rocky Mountains.

The Carbon County find is helping scholars learn more about people who occupied Utah about nine thousand years before the arrival of Europeans.

Utah State University archaeologists discovered the wickiup on state school trust lands being sold to the Hunt Oil Company.

Oil company officials say they plan to preserve the hut at its location.

Of more recent vintage Downed WW2 plane dug up in London

Archaeologists say they have unearthed parts of a World War II fighter plane that crashed after downing a German bomber near Buckingham Palace.

Archaeologist Christopher Bennett said on Monday the plane’s engine and control panel had been located during excavations in Buckingham Palace Road in the center of the capital.

The Battle of Britain was raging over the skies of London when pilot Ray Holmes spotted the German Dornier bomber on September 15, 1940.

Historians believe the German plane may have been on a mission to destroy Buckingham Palace.

New archaelogical findings may re-shape Sudanese history

Khartoum, Sudan, 05/03 – Historians may have to revise their previous beliefs about the history of the Nile River valley and human history following the recent discovery of seven statues in Karma, northern Sudan, south of the Third Cataract, which represented monarchs during the ancient Nubian Kingdom.

In a recent report, Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) reported that a group of archaeologists working in the Sudan discovered the statues.

These researchers established that five of them, namely Taharqa, Tanoutamon, Senkamanisken, Anlamani and Aspelta, date back to the era of Nubian Kings.

“The statues are sculptural masterpieces and important additions to our knowledge of the history of the region” the national news agency quoted Charles Bonnet, an archaeologist with the University of Geneva, Switzerland, as saying.

Archaeologists startled to discover Neolithic ritual site

THE setting for one of the most famous castles in Scotland’s North-east was first used as the site for a high-status building almost 6,000 years ago, it was revealed yesterday.

A team of archaeologists began work earlier this month at the Crathes Castle Estate, on Royal Deeside, to investigate what was thought to be the remains of a timber hall from the Dark Ages, 1,500 years ago.

But they have instead found the remains of a large Neolithic building which may have been used as a prehistoric ritual site.

First news from Syria! Syria -Archeological Findings

The Finnish archeological team working in Bashir Mount in the desert area of Palmyra ( Tadmor ) has unearthed 46 archeological sites that date back to80 , 000 years B.C.

Member of the team Prof. Margo Alstawt Watsing of Helsinki University said her group used sophisticated equipment to survey the mountain’s archeological traces that extend along the Euphrates River on the ancient famous Silk Road, some 180 KM east of Palmyra.

Very confusing article. We are assuming that whatever sites these (80,000 years B.C.” sites were, they were incidental to the archaeologist’s other work involving Ebla, which is, needless to say, a few years after 80,000 BC.

Then again, this sort of thing happens a lot during surveys. YOu are looking for one thing, but end up finding a lot of something else.

Thousand-year-old human remains found

HUMAN remains of an early Christian female dating from 1000 AD have been unearthed at an archaeological site in the Moira area.

The find was made by six archaeologists who have been working on the site for a several weeks.

The remains include legs, a pelvis and an upper torso and were found in what is believed to be an old Christian grave.

ArchaeoBlogue travelogue Petra remains a lost city for many

Despite continuing problems in the Middle East, Jordan remains quite safe for travel.

Before his death in 1999, Jordan’s King Hussein was considered one of the most modern-thinking and respected rulers of the Middle East. His Western-educated son and successor to the throne, King Abdullah II, has continued his father’s pragmatic, peaceful and progressive approach to governing. All of this makes Jordan open to visitors, and Jordanians are among the region’s most hospitable people.

Famous as the site of the final scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. While we here at ArchaeoBlog rarely find time (or opportunity) to comment on popular culture, we feel we must restate, for the record, what all have known for some time:

Raiders of the Lost Ark absolutely rocks.

The Temple of Doom does not.

The Last Crusade is almost as good as Raiders.

We keep hearing rumors of an impending fourth installment of the Indiana Jones chronicles, but it never seems to make it past the “They’re reviewing an actual script draft!” rumor. They’d better do it quickly or both Connery and Ford will be battling Nazis from wheelchairs.

May 28, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:37 am

CSI: Cumbria Replica of Roman murder victim

The face of a man murdered 1,700 years ago in Cumbria has been reconstructed for a museum exhibition.

The skull, which had a hole caused by a weapon, was discovered during building work at The Lanes shopping centre, in Carlisle.

The city’s Tullie House museum was awarded funding from the Local Heritage Initiative to reconstruct his face and it goes on display on Wednesday.

Staff will tell the man’s story as part of a Roman death in Cumbria exhibition.

Can’t help it: “The poor man – named Duncan by the excavators – must have been killed unlawfully as the skull has a small entry and large exit [wound] visible, probably cause[d] by a weapon of some kind. . .

Now there’s a leap.

Return of antiquities I Roman relic is returned to Syria

A fragment of a Roman sarcophagus is being returned to Syria thanks to the efforts of experts on Tyneside.

The decorated fragment, which was brought into Newcastle University by a city resident, dates between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD.

Months of detective work led experts to the island city of Aradus on the Ile d’Arwad, off the coast of Syria.

Now the artefact is being returned to a more appropriate home at the Syrian national Museum.

More on the University/Library of Alexandria Group Unearths Part of Ancient University

CAIRO, Egypt – Polish archaeologists have unearthed 13 lecture halls believed to be the first traces ever found of ancient Egypt’s University of Alexandria, the head of the project said Wednesday.

“This is the oldest university ever found in the world,” Grzegory Majderek, head of the Polish mission, told The Associated Press.

The lecture halls, with a capacity of 5,000 students, are part of the 5th century university, which functioned until the 7th century, according to a statement from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

“This is the first material evidence of the existence of academic life in Alexandria,” Majderek said. Knowledge of earlier intellectual pursuits in the Mediterranean coastal city came through historical and literary documents and materials.

Return of antiquities II Petition calls for return of Koori etchings

An Aboriginal ceremony at the Melbourne Museum tonight is the first step leading to a petition to the British Museum calling for the return of the earliest surviving Aboriginal bark etchings.

The two fragile artefacts were made by members of the Dja Dja Wurrung tribe near Boort in the Wimmera 150 years ago and were sent to a Paris exhibition before being bought by the London institution.

The etchings are on display until June 27 at the Melbourne Museum in an exhibition, Etched On Bark 1854, as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations.

More tombs in China Ancient tombs of royal standard discovered in Shaanxi

A large-scale tomb group of the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century B.C.- 771 B.C.) was discovered at the Zhougong Temple site in Qishan County in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, Chinese archaeologists said Tuesday.

The tombs are of the highest standard of the Western Zhou Dynasty ever discovered in China, they said.

“Judging from the scale of the tombs, the owner might be somebody of high rank, a duke, a prince, or even a king of the Western Zhou Dynasty,” said Lei Xingshan, associate professor withthe School of Archaeology and Museology at Beijing University, whoparticipated in the archaeological excavation at the Zhougong Temple site.

Jewish Artifacts Remain in Limbo in Iraq

A damaged Torah, a centuries-old Bible and other rare documents important to Iraq’s few remaining Jews were rescued from a flooded cellar in Baghdad, only to remain in limbo here.

Their restoration, like so much else these days, awaits the emergence of a new Iraq.

Historians at the National Archives, which preserves such priceless artifacts as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, are examining the treasure trove of materials found in the basement of the headquarters for Saddam Hussein’s secret police.

This is someone we’ve never heard of Two linked by history likely united in death

The mystery of Jane McCrea and Sara McNeil, whose involvement in the Revolutionary War became legend, is closer to being solved. DNA tests have confirmed that McNeil is buried in a grave that may also contain McCrea’s remains.

Archaeologist David Starbuck and a team of forensic experts dug up McCrea’s Union Cemetery plot in Fort Edward last April at the request of a descendant who wanted to determine how she had died. Stories of her gruesome murder by gunshot or scalping by Indians allied with the British became a rebel propaganda tool and rallying cry in 1777.

Found! Lost bridge of Belfast uncovered

A PLAN to reshape the centre of Belfast for the future has led to the biggest dig exploring the city’s past.

Archaeologists have peeled back at least four centuries of urban history as they work ahead of builders in Victoria Square – turning up evidence suggesting why the city grew where it did.

And they appear to have found new evidence of the medieval settlement on the site. which will host a £300m development.

One of the largest discoveries so far is the remains of a lost bridge which spanned a river that is no longer there.

[insert clever line here] Microbes consuming Mayan ruins

Researchers from Harvard University have discovered a previously unidentified microbial community inside the porous stone of the Maya ruins in Mexico.

The microbes might be capable of causing rapid deterioration of these sites, researchers said.

“The presence of a previously undescribed endolithic microbial community that is different than the surface community has important implications for the conservation of Maya ruins as well as other stone objects and structures,” said researcher Christopher McNamara.

“This castle hath a pleasant seat. . .” Macbeth’s castle unearthed in Inverness garden?

LOCAL history enthusiasts believe they have unearthed positive evidence that a former King of Scotland maintained a castle in Inverness.

Tradition has persisted that Macbeth had a stronghold at Auldcastle Road in the Crown area of the city – hence the name.

Now an archaeological dig by members of the Inverness Local History Forum in the garden of the appropriately-named house Dun Macbeth has uncovered what could be the most important finds to date.

Some artefacts, including pieces of medieval glass and what are thought to be whalebone and porpoise or dolphin bones have been sent away for examination.

But what has really excited the Forum is the discovery of a dressed stone wall underneath what was a raised feature in the garden.

World record for copper mines

A copper mine has struck gold by earning a place in the 50th anniversary edition of Guinness World Records.

The Great Orme Copper Mine has been named as the largest Bronze Age copper mine in the world.

Dating back up to 4,000 years, the mines have been excavated for the last 15 years.

“We’ve always been recognised by the academic world but are delighted to get public recognition in this way – and one which will go around the world,” said director Ann Hammond.

Return of antiquities III Science speaks out on bone return

Anthropologists say their discipline may be plunged into crisis if thousands of human remains stored in the UK are sent back to their countries of origin.

An advisory group has recommended scientists seek out descendants for permission to retain bones and other body parts up to 500 years old.

A special panel could also be set up to settle cases in which researchers and claiming individuals dispute ownership.

Ministers are expected to announce their position on the issue shortly.

May 27, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:48 pm

The view from space What’s Really Visible from Space

There is a longstanding myth that the Great Wall of China is the only manmade object visible from space. It and several variations on the theme are great fodder for water cooler arguments. In reality, many human constructs can be seen from Earth orbit.

Shuttle astronauts can see highways, airports, dams and even large vehicles from an Earth orbit that is about 135 miles (217 kilometers) high. Cities are clearly distinct from surrounding countryside, and that’s true even from the higher perch of the International Space Station, which circles the planet at about 250 miles (400 kilometers) up.

Hat tip to Sara Orel of Truman State U.

Michelangelo’s David Restoration Complete

After a clean-up marked by bitter controversy, Italian cultural authorities have unveiled Michelangelo’s restored David, saying that the project was a success.

Funded in equal parts by two charities — the Dutch foundation Ars Longa and Friends of Florence, whose members include the singer Sting and the actor Mel Gibson — the 400,000-euro ($480,200) cleaning program removed gypsum and yellowish spots of beeswax but left the masterpiece “the same as ever,” according to the restoration team.

Unusual antler tool latest find at Macktown dig

About 400 years ago, before Europeans began settling North America, a native hunter sat and cleaned his latest kill where the Pecatonica and Rock rivers merge.

The hunter used a prehistoric pocketknife of sorts, fashioned from a deer antler, to scrape the flesh from a bear, elk or other animal that was common to the area now known as Rockton.

Fast-forward to fall 2003. Archaeologists and students discovered the hunting tool buried deep within the soil of the Macktown settlement, home of what is believed to be Winnebago County’s first white settler.

The antler remained intact, much to their surprise. The acidic soils common to northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin had spared this artifact from ruin.

The burning issue

The discovery and control of fire by our early human ancestors is considered a milestone in man’s evolution. Not only was it a technological achievement that provided humans with a wider choice of food and an extended geographical range, it was also a sign of intelligence. Keeping a fire going showed that we could plan ahead, and its presence on dark nights must have provided a unique focus of social interaction – the caveman’s equivalent of a modern dinner party.

Fire’s importance cannot be overestimated. It provided heat and light and scared away dangerous predators at night. Fire also allowed humans to smoke and dry fish and meat, offering an early and invaluable form of food preservation. It also enabled them to experiment with a range of foods that could not be easily eaten raw or uncooked: the discovery of fire led to the invention of cooking.

‘If you like, this is where Greek history starts’

‘I have seen the face of Agamemnon.” No, not the reaction of filmgoers after seeing Brian Cox’s depiction of the Greek king in Troy, but that of the celebrated 19th century archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann after digging up a striking Bronze Age gold mask from ancient Greece.

Schliemann was not known for understatement – on excavating the ruins of Troy he said he had “opened a new world” for archaeology – but on this occasion he was wrong. The shaft graves at Mycenae where he found the mask have now been dated to 1500BC, and it would stretch even the historical flexibility of a Hollywood scriptwriter to place Agamemnon there several centuries before he led the Greeks in the Trojan war. The glittering death mask, treasure and the rest of the haul recovered from the graves were not his, but whose were they? The question has long puzzled archaeologists.

Iraq update UN-sponsored experts draw up blueprint to safeguard Iraq’s cultural heritage (subscriber restricted)

26 May 2004 – Girding itself for the “immense and vital” challenge of safeguarding Iraq’s cultural heritage, a United Nations-sponsored group of international experts today drew up a seven-point blueprint for comprehensive conservation, rehabilitation, capacity building, training and coordination.

The International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq, established under the joint auspices of the Iraqi authorities and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), concluded its first meeting today at the Organization’s Paris headquarters, chaired by Iraqi Minister for Culture Moufid al Jazairi.

Several young Indiana Jones’ in the making Young Indianas try out archaeology

Whoever lived on the site of K.I. Jones Elementary School sure knew how to get their groove on.

Sixth-graders from Shadia Jones’ class unearthed evidence of the ancient party animals Wednesday during a social studies lesson. The students excavated two pits in a small courtyard and found several items, including a Styrofoam ball studded with colorful glass discs.

“Maybe it’s a disco ball,” said Britney Hart, 11.

This is a great idea.

Translation and Commentary of the Hieroglyphic Inscriptions on the Late 21st Dynasty Egyptian Coffin and Lid in the Burke Museum

“What follows is a listing of the hieroglyphic inscriptions, their

translation, and a brief explanation of the scenes found on the 21st Dynasty

Egyptian coffin in the Burke Museum. In addition, a review of both texts and

scenes within the context of Egyptian religious beliefs of the period is

given.” – 19 pp., pdf-file: 950 KB

Thanks to Michael Tilgner and The EEF

The Demotic Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

he Oriental Institute announces the on-line publication of CDD G.

The Demotic Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of

Chicago, Letter G. Janet H. Johnson, editor. Chicago: The Oriental

Institute, 2004. Pp. 1-82.

And two web site updates, courtesy Mike Brass and The EEF:

The Antiquity of Man website has been updated. Amongst others,:

– Two archaeology courses to be run,

– World Archaeology: from Sunday 18 July – Saturday 11 September 2004

– The Ancient Egyptian Past: from Sunday 18 July – Saturday 04

September 2004

http://www.antiquityofman.com/courses.html

– How can we attempt to assess what real power the scribes

of ancient Egypt wielded?, by Mikey Brass (unpublished Masters

degree essay, 2004, in pdf format)

http://www.antiquityofman.com/Ancient_Egypt_articles.html

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:08 am

Not another ‘mummy’ joke. . . Young archaeologists can explore Egyptian antiques

Fifth and sixth graders can experience a cool blast to the ancient past – without their mummies.

Cal State San Bernardino once again offers the popular Summer Egyptian Art Workshops to budding artists and archaeologists from throughout the Inland Empire.

Kids can learn about ancient art and archaeology during two sessions, July 12-15. Mornings, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and afternoons, from 3 to 6 p.m., at Cal State’s Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino.

Ancient Indian burial site uncovered

ROCKPORT, Ind. — Remains found at an Indian burial site in southern Indiana are likely 2,000 to 4,000 years old, a state archaeologist said.

Jim Mohow, senior archaeologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said the site was significant because fire pits or hearths also were found along with the burials.

“This is certainly an above average site,” he told the Evansville Courier & Press for a story today. “It holds significantly more information about Indiana’s prehistoric past than the average site.”

A backhoe operator unearthed two skeletons while working on a construction project in western Spencer County. The property owner contacted the Sheriff’s Department, which then notified the DNR.

More here.

And still more here.

We reported on this story Monday, but these have more detail.

Hierakonpolis Interactive Dig update Nubians at Hierakonpolis: Week 5, Part 2

We had made good progress in the analysis and examination of most of our finds, but we had to wait for the physical anthropologists to provide answers for perhaps the most important aspect of any cemetery excavations: who were the people buried there. When physical anthropologists Bernadette Dickman from Belfast, Ireland, and Sean Dougherty from Indiana University, Bloomington, arrived and were finally able to stand upright (they had an unfortunate run in with a bad bowl of guacamole while in transit and it stayed with them for some time), we had many questions for them, especially with regard to Tomb 9–just who was the owner of all that fancy leather?

“they had an unfortunate run in with a bad bowl of guacamole while in transit and it stayed with them for some time”

TMI! TMI!

Don’t sit under the Bodhi tree. . .with anyone else but me. . . Buddha’s new birthplace discovered

A team of archeological experts from Orissa say their recent findings at the Kapileshwar village may help establish the small hamlet as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, instead of Lumbini, in Nepal. Officials at the Orissa State Museum, which conducted the excavation, said that the new findings, which included artefacts dating back to 6th century BC, supported the claims of Kapileshwar being Lord Buddha’s birthplace. Buddhism was founded in India, when Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, attained supreme enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya in 6th century B.C.

Pioneering archaeological research charts African links with the Roman world

University of Southampton archaeologists Professor David Peacock and Dr Lucy Blue have just returned from a pioneering expedition investigating Roman sites in the East African country of Eritrea alongside colleagues from the University of Asmara. The University group is the first from the UK to work in the country since it won its independence more than a decade ago. They are already planning to return to this remote area on the shores of the Red Sea, previously part of Ethiopia.

Investigations centre on the ancient settlement of Adulis, which was known in Roman times as a fair sized settlement and mentioned in ancient chronicles as a key port in trade with India.

The researchers also believe they have found the site of the 6th century harbour of Adulis, known as Gabaza and a mausoleum called Samidi, both hitherto only known from documentary sources.

‘These exciting discoveries are of greatest significance and it is quite remarkable that we were led to them by a map drawn in the 6th century,’ said Professor Peacock. The map appears in a Christian topographical text written in the 6th century by a trader turned monk, to promote his belief that the earth was flat, not spherical.

Note: Contrary to popular myth, Columbus (Christopher) did not set out to prove the Earth was round/spherical. That had been known in many circles for some time, and even in Europe the ‘flat Earth hypothesis’ was not particularly in vogue. Columbus was, in part, trying to demonstrate that the circumference of the Earth was much smaller than previously believed, and by going west to find Asia, he thought it would be less expensive than going around Africa. Turns out he was wrong and would have failed in spectacular fashion had he not run into the New World en route.

‘Titanic’ wreck being destroyed by tourists, marine expert warns

The wreck of the Titanic is being slowly destroyed by tour operators, film crews and trophy hunters who have stripped more than 6,000 objects from the ship since it was discovered on the Atlantic seabed in 1985.

Robert Ballard, who found the Titanic, said that a “circus” has developed around the shipwreck over the past 20 years despite it being the last resting place of the people who drowned when it struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912.

More Iran International Conference to Discuss Archeological Explorations in Northwestern Iran

An international conference is set to take stock of the archeological findings in northwestern Iran in June, the secretary of the gathering announced.

Hamid Fahimi said the three day conference would discuss archeological findings made in northwestern Iran, including the provinces of West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Ardabil and Zanjan.

“Exploring the archeological relationship between northwestern Iran and other cultural areas in Iran and neighboring lands is another focus of the conference,” Fahimi noted.

The conference was slated for last march but had to be postponed for unspecified reasons. Six foreign experts as well as 19 domestic experts are scheduled to address the conference.

Thus far we have refrained from making any references to A Flock of Seagulls but there is some doubt how long we can continue to do so.

Keeping up with the empire

The Roman Empire has been well documented. Over the years written history and archaeology have brought to the surface, sometimes literally unearthed, a whole society. Thus Roman architecture, religion, military strategy and legal structures hold little mystery. Compared to this depth of knowledge, many of those living outside the boundaries of the Empire are lost in time. But now an archaeological excavation in the north of the Netherlands had begun to tell the story of the Roman’s neighbours.

At first glance the “De Bloemert” excavation, in the northern province of Drenthe and named after the holiday resort De Bloemert, seems an archaeological site like any other; dark colourations in the ground, people digging carefully, artefacts and broken pottery being photographed, nothing unusual. But according to Johan Nicolai, archaeologist from the University of Groningen and project leader of the excavation, this dig is very special indeed.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:08 am

Not another ‘mummy’ joke. . . Young archaeologists can explore Egyptian antiques

Fifth and sixth graders can experience a cool blast to the ancient past – without their mummies.

Cal State San Bernardino once again offers the popular Summer Egyptian Art Workshops to budding artists and archaeologists from throughout the Inland Empire.

Kids can learn about ancient art and archaeology during two sessions, July 12-15. Mornings, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and afternoons, from 3 to 6 p.m., at Cal State’s Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino.

Ancient Indian burial site uncovered

ROCKPORT, Ind. — Remains found at an Indian burial site in southern Indiana are likely 2,000 to 4,000 years old, a state archaeologist said.

Jim Mohow, senior archaeologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said the site was significant because fire pits or hearths also were found along with the burials.

“This is certainly an above average site,” he told the Evansville Courier & Press for a story today. “It holds significantly more information about Indiana’s prehistoric past than the average site.”

A backhoe operator unearthed two skeletons while working on a construction project in western Spencer County. The property owner contacted the Sheriff’s Department, which then notified the DNR.

More here.

And still more here.

We reported on this story Monday, but these have more detail.

Hierakonpolis Interactive Dig update Nubians at Hierakonpolis: Week 5, Part 2

We had made good progress in the analysis and examination of most of our finds, but we had to wait for the physical anthropologists to provide answers for perhaps the most important aspect of any cemetery excavations: who were the people buried there. When physical anthropologists Bernadette Dickman from Belfast, Ireland, and Sean Dougherty from Indiana University, Bloomington, arrived and were finally able to stand upright (they had an unfortunate run in with a bad bowl of guacamole while in transit and it stayed with them for some time), we had many questions for them, especially with regard to Tomb 9–just who was the owner of all that fancy leather?

“they had an unfortunate run in with a bad bowl of guacamole while in transit and it stayed with them for some time”

TMI! TMI!

Don’t sit under the Bodhi tree. . .with anyone else but me. . . Buddha’s new birthplace discovered

A team of archeological experts from Orissa say their recent findings at the Kapileshwar village may help establish the small hamlet as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, instead of Lumbini, in Nepal. Officials at the Orissa State Museum, which conducted the excavation, said that the new findings, which included artefacts dating back to 6th century BC, supported the claims of Kapileshwar being Lord Buddha’s birthplace. Buddhism was founded in India, when Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, attained supreme enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya in 6th century B.C.

Pioneering archaeological research charts African links with the Roman world

University of Southampton archaeologists Professor David Peacock and Dr Lucy Blue have just returned from a pioneering expedition investigating Roman sites in the East African country of Eritrea alongside colleagues from the University of Asmara. The University group is the first from the UK to work in the country since it won its independence more than a decade ago. They are already planning to return to this remote area on the shores of the Red Sea, previously part of Ethiopia.

Investigations centre on the ancient settlement of Adulis, which was known in Roman times as a fair sized settlement and mentioned in ancient chronicles as a key port in trade with India.

The researchers also believe they have found the site of the 6th century harbour of Adulis, known as Gabaza and a mausoleum called Samidi, both hitherto only known from documentary sources.

‘These exciting discoveries are of greatest significance and it is quite remarkable that we were led to them by a map drawn in the 6th century,’ said Professor Peacock. The map appears in a Christian topographical text written in the 6th century by a trader turned monk, to promote his belief that the earth was flat, not spherical.

Note: Contrary to popular myth, Columbus (Christopher) did not set out to prove the Earth was round/spherical. That had been known in many circles for some time, and even in Europe the ‘flat Earth hypothesis’ was not particularly in vogue. Columbus was, in part, trying to demonstrate that the circumference of the Earth was much smaller than previously believed, and by going west to find Asia, he thought it would be less expensive than going around Africa. Turns out he was wrong and would have failed in spectacular fashion had he not run into the New World en route.

‘Titanic’ wreck being destroyed by tourists, marine expert warns

The wreck of the Titanic is being slowly destroyed by tour operators, film crews and trophy hunters who have stripped more than 6,000 objects from the ship since it was discovered on the Atlantic seabed in 1985.

Robert Ballard, who found the Titanic, said that a “circus” has developed around the shipwreck over the past 20 years despite it being the last resting place of the people who drowned when it struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912.

More Iran Keeping up with the empire

The Roman Empire has been well documented. Over the years written history and archaeology have brought to the surface, sometimes literally unearthed, a whole society. Thus Roman architecture, religion, military strategy and legal structures hold little mystery. Compared to this depth of knowledge, many of those living outside the boundaries of the Empire are lost in time. But now an archaeological excavation in the north of the Netherlands had begun to tell the story of the Roman’s neighbours.

At first glance the “De Bloemert” excavation, in the northern province of Drenthe and named after the holiday resort De Bloemert, seems an archaeological site like any other; dark colourations in the ground, people digging carefully, artefacts and broken pottery being photographed, nothing unusual. But according to Johan Nicolai, archaeologist from the University of Groningen and project leader of the excavation, this dig is very special indeed.

May 26, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:23 pm

Today’s topic: The humble turd. Poop. Crap. Dung. Whatever you want to call it, it is one of those topics of archaeological conversation not generally seen on the Discovery Channel and the like. Nevertheless, it makes up a very important part of archaeological analyses. The main reason it does so is because it is a direct piece of output from an animal’s body. And seeing as it’s coming from the digestive system, it often contains the remains of what was once eaten, thereby giving direct access to dietary data. And since it also can contain parts of the critter itself, you have a handy source of DNA and other molecules it picks up on the way through and out.

There are many ways to use fecal matter (both Numbers 1 and 2) for archaeological purposes. Obviously, the ’steaming pile’ (or not steaming as the case may be) is one. In polite company, turds, particularly the human variety, are usually called ‘coprolites’. Another is the packrat midden (midden being an accumulation of junk). These middens consist of large amounts of packrat excrement and other stuff they carry in to use as nesting material. Obviously, the seeds and what-not incorporated into the rat dung gives information on rat diet. Pollen can also find its way in, and by analyzing the relative proportions of different pollens at different levels one can say something about the types of plants in the neighboring area.

Other forms of animal poop can also tell you something about the kinds of animals that were around at any given time. Not only the types of animals that left the scat, but also the kinds of animals they were eating. Owl pellets, for example, often contain the partial remains of the critters (mostly rodents) that the owls ate and the changing abundances of prey items can tell you something about climatic conditions at the time.

E.g.:

The Packrat Midden Database including a Bibliography for the packrat midden database.

The main USGS packrat midden page long with Ken Cole’s Capital Reef Packrat Midden Page, including a paper.

Use of giant ground sloth fecal material to extract DNA

Human excrement has seen much use in dietary studies. Not only can one examine the undigested detritus of individual plants and animals, but one can also analyze the fecal material chemically and, in some cases, make indirect observations of what was part of the diet.

It also helped to demonstrate fairly conclusively the presence of cannibalism in the US southwest.

A general list of references (multiple pages) of all sorts of dung-related types of analyses: The Dung File which, according to the author is “a list of references dealing with pollen, parasites, and plant remains in coprolites and latrine fills from archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sites”.

And this delightful site, An Idiosyncratic and Not Exhaustive Bibliography for Animal Dung and Archaeology

Finally, an important article on this subject involving plant studies, otherwise known as paleobotany, is:

Miller, Naomi F. and Tristine Lee Smart1 1984 Intentional Burning of Dung as Fuel: A Mechanism for the Incorporation of Charred Seeds into the Archeological Record. Journal of Ethnobiology 4: 15-28.

Prior to this paper, much research on the diet of ancient peoples (particularly in the Near East) assumed that the plant material found in hearths and such represented cooking debris from food preparation. This made it seem all the more unusual that people were finding a wide variety of plants heretofore not really considered viable (although still edible) human food plants. Why were they apparently consuming clover, for example? Then along came Miller and Tristine who demonstrated that in many cases, the people were using animal dung as fuel, which is still done today in many parts of the world. Since some plant material will pass through the gut of herbivores largely or partially intact, some of it will wind up in the dung and hence may be preserved in the hearth by virtue of charring while the dung is being used as fuel. This creates an “Aha” moment with many people. The upshot is that much of the plant remains thought to indicate human diet were really indicating sheep, goat, or cattle diet instead.

This has many other applications as well. As Cagle argued (in a brilliantly researched piece of work which YOU can purchase yourself for only £36.00!) at the Egyptian site of Kom el-Hisn, cattle dung may have been preferentially used as fuel by the elite members of the community since it provided a more controlled burning temperature and was generally a better alternative to the other available materials (very little wood was in the neighborhood). This conclusion also led to a number of others involving dietary preference (the elites probably ate more sheep/goat while the poorer folk consumed mostly pigs) and use/discard patterns for certain ceramic forms.

So really, there is a great deal one can learn from a turd.

Lighthouse museum? Proposal for a Pharos Museum

Designed by Sostratus during the reign of King Ptolemy II, Pharos was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World due to its immense height that reached 400 feet. Standing on a little island of the same name opposite Alexandria, it would guide sailors into the city harbour for 1,500 years till it was toppled by earthquakes around 1345. . . .

The site has repeatedly caught the attention of the archaeological community seeking to both showcase its rich history and increase public awareness about the world’s underwater archaeological heritage. Suggestions voiced during a Unesco conference in Alexandria in 1997 included the creation of an underwater museum in the form of a glass tunnel, an underwater archaeological park for visitors in wetsuits and a marine museum. The marine museum would be located in Qait Bey castle, built in 1477, where Pharos used to stand.

The underwater glass tunnell would be truly spectacular, but I have a feeling it will never get off the ground (or under the water). It would be extremely expensive, and would probably require inordinate maintenance, since the bay in which it would reside is incredibly polluted. But the concept of walking underwater and actually seeing many of these monuments where they lay on the sea floor is very tantalizing.

Road workmen find Norman causeway

Builders working on an Oxfordshire highway have uncovered 1,000-year-old ruins built by a Norman adventurer. Workmen found part of a Norman causeway and arches under Abingdon Road and archaeologists were called in.

The road has now reopened after six weeks and it is hoped the ruins will go on show to the public.

Plenty of Incan secrets still await discovery

CUZCO, Peru · It was just a sparkle on the horizon, where the sun hit what appeared to be a flat plain on an otherwise steep, untamed mountain in the Peruvian Andes. But Peter Frost, a British-born explorer and mountain guide, surmised that the perch would have made a perfect ceremonial platform for Incan rulers.

So Frost and the adventure hikers he was leading slogged through heavy jungle growth and at 13,000 feet uncovered remnants of the Incan civilization that flourished there. They found looted tombs, a circular building foundation and the stonework of an aqueduct.

The discovery in 1999 of Qoriwayrachina (pronounced co-ree-why-rah-CHEE-nah) was instantly hailed as a major find. It evoked the romantic image of the swashbuckling explorer unearthing a Lost City, an image embodied by Hiram Bingham, the American who in 1911 made the greatest Incan discovery of them all, Machu Picchu.

In the 21st century it would seem that the remote, rugged mountains around Cuzco have given up all of their secrets. But this region of southern Peru is still chock-full of ruins.

Ditto on much of the Maya area which is now overgrown. There are probably thousands of smaller temples (and even some big ones) and settlements that have yet to be discovered.

More reconstruction controversy Burma temples in red brick

For centuries this vast plain of temples has cast a spell over visitors to Burma (Myanmar), long after its imperial reign faded into history. Built using slave labor during two and a half centuries of dynastic rule, Bagan became a byword for Buddhist meritmaking.

. . .

Over the last decade, Burma’s military rulers have rebuilt many of the site’s temples using garish modern materials, piling bright red bricks atop crumbling ruins and erecting entire temples alongside ancient structures. Rich donors are urged to fund reconstruction as a way of earning religious merit.

The result, according to foreign experts, is the transformation of Bagan into a string of cookie-cutter pagodas that bear scant resemblance to the originals.

Okay, not much controversy here. This just appears to be dumb.

News from Iraq Airmen, Iraqis dig up ancient site

An ages-old mystery is being unearthed here thanks to some amateur archeologists serving with the 506th Air Expeditionary Group.

Iraqi archeologists have determined the air base has at least one site with artifacts dating back to between 1200 B.C. and 2600 B.C., possibly predating the ancient Assyrians. Other sites have been identified as potentially containing precious antiquities, but have yet to be excavated.

Okay, so not much excavation really.

Elgin marbles update New strategy to `reunite’ Elgin marbles

Sold by Elgin to the British Museum, the marbles of ancient Greek gods and warriors make up at least half of the Parthenon’s surviving sculptures, most of the rest of which remain in Greece.

The latest Greek campaign to regain them is pegged to the return of the Olympic Games to the country of their birth in August, when the government hoped it could unveil the “reunited” marbles to the world.

But the British Museum shows no sign of parting with its half.

And it sees Greece’s request of a loan during the Games as little more than a ruse.

Remote sensing archaeologists trade shovels for georadar to find clues to Balkans history

n search of clues they believe could cast light on 10,000 years of Balkans history, archaeologists working in a key wetland along the Cetina river in southern Croatia have modernized their approach, switching shovels for a georadar.

Children ran in awe around the cart with the georadar as it circled around a village playground pulled by a small four-wheeler. Several meters (feet) beneath the concrete the radar found remains of a medieval church.

May 25, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:26 pm

ARCHAEOLOGY: “ARCHEOMAR”, FOR A TOTAL MAP OF SUBMERGED ITEMS

The “Archeomar” project has started, which is a census project for the total of archaeological goods submerged in four southern regions, Campania, Basilicata, Apulia and Calabria. The initiative, which began 1 April and will last until October 2005, was presented to the Roman National Museum in the presence of Minister Urbani, on the occasion of the week of culture. The project, for which 7.5 million euro has been invested, will create an important instrument of knowledge of the archaeological wealth submerged in deep in the southern seas, with the aim of knowing archaeological treasures, which have never been heard of and to protect and control goods entombed in the coastal waters of four of the regions most at risk in this field.

Archaeologist honored for contribution to history

Betty Graham Lee was honored during the recent Arizona History Convention on her 84th birthday.

During a recent dinner at the Graham County Historical Society Museum, she was recognized for her many years of work with the society and as an instructor of archaeology at Eastern Arizona College.

She and her husband, Bob, came to the Gila Valley in 1967, when they began operating the Best Drug Store on Main Street in Safford.

Many artifacts from that historic business have been given to the society over the years.

Well, this is interesting ACT’s ‘First Look’ series returns with three new works

ACT artistic director Carey Perloff’s “Luminescence Dating” is at 3 p.m. Thursday. The play deals with a maverick archaeologist who attempts to reassemble an ancient statue of Aphrodite while the real goddess wreaks havoc with the archaeologist’s heart.

Human settlements already existed in the Amazon Basin (Ecuador) 4000 years ago

July 2003 saw a significant discovery in Ecuador by IRD archaeologists: 4000-year-old structures indicating the presence of one of the first great Andean civilizations in the upper Amazon Basin, where their presence had not been suspected. The site is at Santa Ana- La Florida in the south of Ecuador. Subsequent systematic excavations of other parts of the site led to the discovery of sophisticated architectural complexes. Among these are a tomb and a range of diverse vestiges: ceramic bottles, plain or ornamented stone bowls, medallions and pieces of necklace in turquoise, malachite and other green stones. These objects convey the refinement achieved in lapidary art of this new Pre-Columbian civilization. They provide proof that this site was used for ceremonial purposes and funerary rites. These discoveries confirm the hypothesis put forward following the first excavations. They highlight the importance of the site and of the people who were settled there. They call into question theories on how the first great Andean civilizations emerged and the supposed interactions that took place between the different populations of these regions.

Ancient bones of mother and child found

Archeologists say an aboriginal grave they found during a routine survey in northern Manitoba is 6,500 years old and contains the bones of a mother and child.

They are among the oldest human remains found in Manitoba, independent archeological contractor David Finch said.

These sorts of mother/child remains are not, sad to say, altogether rare. One of the most important causes of mortality among women used to be childbirth. One reason why women were generally encouraged to have lots of children as early as possible.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:04 am

Discovery shows ancient mining evidence

An Israeli research team has discovered evidence that suggests some cave-dwellers were mining flint 300,000 years ago.

Flint blades from Tabun Cave, near present-day Haifa, in northern Israel, had an isotope called beryllium-10 in levels indicating they were made from mined flint. However, tools found in Qesem Cave, barely 60 miles to the south, bore the hallmarks of surface rock, indicating these individuals were still using whatever stones were lying around.

Not entirely sure of the significance of this find. As we are not all that well-versed on the early history of flint mining, this may represent an early (earliest?) example of attention being paid to raw material characteristics. OTOH, there can be little doubt that people making stone tools had always paid some attention to the raw material, since you need some minimal control over the stuff you start out with so you can get what you want. After all, you can’t make a 10cm axe out of 3cm stone.

The mining part may be the key as it represents a more significant increase in the cost of manufacture. This is always a tradeoff and the costs/benefits of various technologies occupies quite a bit of many archaeologists’ time. In fact, for the last several years, raw material acquisition has been one of the hot topics in lithic (i.e., stone tool) analysis. Obtaining the raw material is part of the production process and therefore incurs costs. You weight the costs of obtaining particular raw materials with the benefits which may accrue. So in some situations where a crucial tool can only be made with a particular form of stone, it might be cost-effective to go elsewhere and mine it rather than make do with what you have.

Raw material studies can also inform on trade and the movement of populations around the landscape. Showing how different raw materials were used over time can tell you how settlement patterns changed (e.g., they became less mobile and ceased using certain sources far away), how subsistance patterns changed, etc. It’s one part of the whole chain of Manufacture ==> Use ==> Discard.

And speaking of which. . . Stone tools suggest bison hunting site in Alberta on trade route

PURPLE SPRINGS, ALTA. – Archeologists in Alberta have found a large bison kill site containing stone tools that point to an early trade route.

The bison bones are behind wind-swept sand dunes in a small, shallow valley near Purple Springs, Alta., about 70 kilometres from Lethbridge.

Archeologists think more than 1,000 years ago, hunters stalked, slaughtered and processed thousands of the animals at the site, primarily in the winter.

Since arrowheads and tools found at the site are made from materials found only in North and South Dakota, scientists think the tools were brought from hundreds of kilometres away.

Remote sensing update Survey of commons maps buried history

One of the last great mysteries of Britain’s past is being unravelled by archaeologists in the first ever survey of the “people’s land” – urban commons that have been protected from development for up to 1,000 years.

Significant finds are expected from up to four years’ research into swaths of open space close to the heart of some of the country’s busiest cities and towns, from undisturbed bronze age burial sites to temporary medieval fairgrounds.

Archaeologists using satellite mapping techniques moved on to one of the most promising sites yesterday – the network of three large commons which almost encircle the Yorkshire market town of Beverley. Traces of the original 18th-century local racecourse have already been detected by aerial surveys, along with telltale signs of bronze and iron age barrows.

Ancient Moabite fort provides insight into history of weaving

Weaving has existed in the Middle East for thousands of years. And yet exactly how far back in the history of the region it goes is a matter of some debate.

However, a recent discovery of a cache of clay loom weights at Khirbat al-Mudaybi in Central Jordan is shedding new light on ancient textile crafts and industries.

While scholars have long assumed weaving was both an important cottage as well as specialized industry in ancient Moab, physical evidence for such manufacturing has not always been forthcoming. Now, the evidence that the early Mudaybi weaver left behind is permitting scholars to reconstruct the details of this ancient industry.

This is a great article and highlights one of those situations archaeologists long for: a pretty clear and unambiguous set of remains that indicates the function of a structure. A lot of times (probably most of the time) a given structure or room within a structure just has a few odd artifacts and you can’t tell what the heck they were doing there. When you can find a bunch of objects that you have a good idea of what they were used for and you can be reasonably sure that they are about where the people left them, it’s a Godsend. Lewis Binford called this the ‘Pompeii Premise’, after (duh) Pompeii where daily life was literally stopped in its tracks.

But that’s the trick, of course. People generally didn’t just drop whatever they were doing and leave a place, never to return. They usually end up doing their thing in a place, picking up all their junk, going somewhere else to do it, and maybe doing something else in the original place. Again, a great deal of ink has been used trying to determine ‘room function’.

A perfectly splendid study of this concept can be found in The Spatial Structure of Kom el-Hisn, a truly remarkable work that belongs on everyone’s bookshelf.

Roman remains found at an airport

The remains of five Roman bodies have been uncovered during redevelopment work at Humberside airport.

The bodies of four adults and one child were found when archaeologists carried out excavation work.

The bodies are at least 1,700 years old and were lying east to west, which suggests they were Christians. One body was lying face down.

The remains have been taken to Lincoln where they will be cleaned up and examined.

Don’t bother clicking, that’s the whole thing.

Antiquities Market update Feds offer looted artifact deal

Federal prosecutors in the Four Corners states began a 90-day amnesty Thursday for people with illegally obtained ancient Indian artifacts, such as pots or stone tools.

Looters or buyers of artifacts can return them by August 18, “no questions asked,” said U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico. Federal prosecutors in Arizona, Colorado and Utah also are taking part in the amnesty.

Looting ancient sites has been illegal since 1990, when a federal law was enacted protecting sacred objects and sacred places on federal and Indian land. Objects gathered before the law was enacted are exempt.

Egypt in Nubia and vice versa

An exhibition featuring photographs of the dismantling and re-erection of the temples of Abu Simbel held in the Egyptian Museum last month reminds Jill Kamil of the debate fuelled during the UNESCO salvage operations

Today we remember the dramatic dismantling, transportation and reconstruction of the great temples of Nubia, now tourist attractions at their relocated sites at home and abroad. We tend to forget the specialised studies carried out by international experts who worked there between 1958 and 1971, when the High Dam was completed, that cast light on Nubia’s many cultures. So many blanks in the history of the region were filled in during those years that more is known about the indigenous cultures of Nubia than many archaeological zones in the world, even in Egypt.

This is a FANTASTIC article. Jill Kamill is a terrific writer on things Egyptological and this piece of work provides a lot of good information about a generally under-appreciated aspect (at least popularly) of Egyptian history.

An additional note, the construction of the Aswan High Dam and subsequent flooding of a large area, jump started a LOT of archaeology in Egypt. Besides the Scandinavian expedition noted in the text, is the Combined Prehistoric Expedition that began as a salvage operation to survey and excavate prehistoric sites within the flood area of Lake Nasser. It was led by Fred Wendorf, late of the Southern Methodist University, and Romuald Schild, and included several luminaries of Egyptian prehistoric archaeology such as Angela Close and Bahay Issawi (the latter a geologist). The CPE has been ongoing and has produced an extraordinary number of papers and books, and is largely responsible for our current views of ‘Egypt before the pharaohs’. Here are a few links, but many more can be found just by Googling/Yahooing the researcher’s names.

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wadi/hd_wadi.htm

http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/publicat/frontier/11-98/11astronomical.htm

http://www.caller2.com/autoconv/newsworld99/newsworld11.html

May 24, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:14 pm

County works to preserve site where Yemassee Indians once lived

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Clues about the culture of the Yemassee Indian tribe that settled several towns in colonial Carolina may lie beneath the packed sand of a parcel of land Beaufort County hopes to purchase for preservation.

County officials voted to purchase a 100-acre parcel this month from the LandPlan Partnership, a company developing luxury homes on the 615-acre property. The Trust for Public Land, the nonprofit organization that manages Beaufort County’s $40 million land-buying program, plans to purchase and conveyed to the county this summer, officials said.

Family Discovers Ancient Bones During Construction

A family adding to their Southern Indiana home have discovered bones and Native American artifacts that could be more than 2,000 years old. Contractors started digging last week to build the home addition in Spencer County, east of Evansville.

By Saturday, bones, stone artifacts and a piece of a skull had been found. Homeowner Russ Meyer said he first thought the bones were from an animal, but he and his family called authorities to check.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources Archaeologist Jim Mohow says it’s an important discovery. He says there’s evidence of at least two human burials. It could take several months for all the forensic testing to be completed.

Never mind clicking, that’s the entire story.

Why can’t we ever find those. . .3000-year-old tomb found by accident

Chinese archaeologists accidentally discovered a cemetery that may include the oldest tomb ever discovered of the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century to 771 BC).

This week’s find in Qishan County, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province may shed light on the mystifying history of the dynasty.

The four centuries of its rule mark the basis for ancient China’s political and cultural systems.

The systems that originated then prevailed until the 19th century, said Li Xueqin, a historian with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

To date, historians have mainly depended on documents rather than relics as no other large-sized tombs from the period are known except for a few that were raided and empty.

Remains shed light on the northern `barbarians’

In ancient times, northern Honshu and southern Hokkaido were considered untamed lands inhabited by mysterious barbarians who refused to be ruled by Japanese emperors.

Much remains a mystery about the northern “Emishi” people, but a recent excavation in Aomori Prefecture sheds some light on the tribes that had a long history of conflict.

Researchers have dug up an unprecedented number of iron arrowheads, as well as human remains-one with its hands bound-from the Hayashinomae ruins near Hachinohe. The discovery suggests a fierce war was fought at the settlement site in the 10th or 11th century.

Looking for miracles

Findings unearthed at the ancient city of Bethsaida near the Sea of Galilee – where Jesus and his apostles ostensibly lived, and where the grand capital of a First Temple period kingdom was located – have excited tremendous attention all over the world for 17 years. Everywhere, that is, except in Israel.

The Polish priest stood opposite archaeologist Prof. Rami Arav at the heart of the excavation site of the ancient city of Bethsaida, on the north shore of Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). It was the summer of 2000, recalls Arav, director of the dig.

“Could it be that we are now standing in the house of the apostle St. Peter?” the priest asked him.

“It could be, but it’s also possible that we’re not,” replied Arav. “We don’t know exactly who lived in every home here …”

The first section of this article is unbearably funny. One can readily sympathize with the poor archaeologist who can’t really say anything definitive, but whose answers are taken as definitive anyway.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:08 am

Education alert Lava Lands looking for young archaeologists

Deschutes National Forest, Newberry National Volcanic Monument is now taking reservations for the Time, Tracks and Trails archaeology program. The program is free of charge and open to students in grades 5-12.

Reservations are required and you will need to provide your own transportation. The program will be offered September 20-October 15, Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 to 12:45.

Time, Tracks and Trails is an outdoor education program located at Lava Lands Visitor Center that focuses on the science of archaeology. “The program is an innovative, hands-on opportunity for students to experience what it is like to be an archaeologist. Students gain new knowledge and respect for people and resources throughout history; setting the stage for students to become familiar with concepts of conservation and cultural resource management,” stated Sara Callies, Conservation Education Coordinator.

During your visit, students will set up archaeological study plots and perform an archaeological excavation to find artifacts. Students will explore a wickiup and a pioneer trunk and discover their cultural importance. Students make observations, create hypotheses, and report conclusions on their findings.

Local museum boasts rare finds

Buried in the basement of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Highland Park is a small archaeological treasure: The James L. Kelso Bible Lands Museum.

It is more staid than the upcoming touring exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls, but appeals to the same interests with rare finds of its own. In addition to pottery, jewelry and other items unearthed in the Holy Land, it features newly digitized films of early 20th-century digs. And it’s free.

“This institution has not only taught archaeology, but it has been doing archaeology since the 1920s,” said Ronald Tappy, professor of Bible and archaeology and director of the museum. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary stands alongside Harvard and the University of Chicago as schools that changed archaeology from the hobby of treasure seekers to a meticulous science.

Maybe they were just bored. . . Rock art stumps experts

Thousands of years ago, images of giraffe, antelope, elephant and rhino were scratched onto rock faces in the middle of a desert near Kalacha, in the extreme northeast of Kenya.

To this day there is no consensus on exactly why.

Almost every twist of the path along the base of the embellished hill offers another tableau.

“Hunters would come here, where they could look down at a sunken waterhole where animals came to drink. They just had to block the way out and would kill their prey with spears and arrows safely from their own sort of balcony,” explained Worabu, a guide.

The animal images look like hunting trophies, or perhaps a score-card of kills, or some sort of prehistoric shopping list.

A lifelong devotion leads to an archaeological gift

For decades, Dick and Marjorie Johnson walked the fields of rural southern Anne Arundel County, visually scouring the dirt for stones and pottery shards that a plow’s blade unearthed.

The Native American artifacts the couple amassed form a collection that experts consider archaeologically priceless. Last month, the Deale couple gave two dozen cartons of spear points, axes, pestles and other items to Anne Arundel County’s archaeology program.

Experts hope studies of the artifacts will help them understand what life was like for Native Americans over thousands of years.

“This will be the primary collection of the Indians of the south side of the county for generations to come,” said Wayne Clark, chief of the Maryland Office of Museum Services. “For decades to come, some of this may be the only collection because of development” and a shift toward no-till farming.

Ancient monument may be reclassified

An attempt will be made today to have a hill reclassified as a building to protect one of the most enigmatic prehistoric structures in Europe.

Ramblers may gain a theoretical entitlement to walk up the sides of Silbury Hill in Wiltshire if the largest manmade mound in Europe is classified as “open countryside” under the countryside and rights of way bill.

The highest profile objectors to the draft maps so far are celebrities including Madonna, anxious to protect their privacy.

Amateur dig strikes a Roman treasure

A ROMAN settlement full of fascinating artefacts has been uncovered near Burton Dassett. But funding is urgently needed if the local volunteer archaeologists are to complete the important excavation.

Volunteers from the Felden Archaeological Society have discovered an array of items dating as far back as 500 BC, including flints, pottery and metal clips believed to be from a toga.

Aerial photos and geophysical tests have shown evidence of a one km sq stone settlement between Northend and Burton Dassett lying underneath the earth.

The society, which was formed in 2000 and has 20 members from the local area, is now appealing for volunteers and £38,000 to enable it to complete the research in five years, resulting in a published survey of the site.

Finding a civilization: Glen Carbon dig unearths pre-Cahokia community

The glass and steel skyline of St. Louis rises just 10 miles from the excavation pits in Glen Carbon, where archaeologists are sifting through the soil for pottery shards and flint chips, clues to another civilization that vanished a millennium ago.

The 1 1/2-acre excavation site is one of only a few sites in the Metro East area dating to the end of the Woodland period. The village that archaeologists are poring over preceded the Mississippian culture, which produced the fabled Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville.

The end of the Woodland period is “a time period we don’t know much about,” said Thomas Emerson of Champaign, Ill., director of the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program, which is conducting the excavation. “The events that took place a bit before (Cahokia) are kind of a mystery to us.”

Cahokia is probably one of the least known archaeological manifestations in North America (not that there are a lot of well-known ones anyway), but it is of major importance. Here are some links to learn more:

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology/sites/northamerica/cahokia.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/march/12/cahokia.htm (Good overview)

http://www.mississippian-artifacts.com/ (more on Mississippian archaeology, but useful nonetheless)

Digging up the past

John Fiveash huddled over a clipboard yesterday, soaked in sweat, with dirt under his nails as he stood in a meadow near Annapolis.

Pencil in hand, he helped to translate what he and his comrades saw in the soil into a map on graph paper: a foot of dirt containing clues to what is believed to be the earliest Colonial-era tobacco pipe manufacturing operation in America.

Fiveash was among dozens of members of the Archeological Society of Maryland from around the state — some professional archaeologists, some amateurs — who have been laboring over the past week and a half at this site north of Severn River, where archaeologists hope to find the kiln of 17th-century pipe-maker Emanuel Drue.

That first sentence really nails the essence of field archaeology.

And yet another story on Troy The Real Trojan War

Legendary Troy, perched on a hilltop in what’s now northwestern Turkey, draws thousands of visitors every year. And their overwhelming reaction is disappointment. “Most tourists get there and say, ‘This is it?’ ” says Eric Cline, an archaeologist at George Washington University. The place of which Homer sang–a rich city with “lofty gates” and “fine towers,” temples to Apollo and to Athena, the palace of King Priam with a grand throne room and 50 marble chambers, a land in which thousands of warriors defended the beautiful Helen against an invading Greek force–looks like a rude ruin on a dusty hill. Mostly, there’s a fort with big walls, but they encircle an area only about 200 yards across. Around it are some scattered stones. Says Andrew Sherratt, an archaeologist at Oxford University: “It seems like pretty small beer.”

This is actually a nice long article with much good information.

Iran update International Experts Back in Iran to Resume Archeological Studies

TEHTAN (CHN) — International archeologists are set to return to Iran, a quarter of a century after they left in the wake of events that led to the Islamic Revolution. They are going to complete their unfinished explorations reports and present new ones based on their previous and novel findings in the historical sites in the country.

Under agreements reached, the international experts are expected to visit Iran in order to set up joint explorations teams with their Iranian counterparts.

This is simply an update of a continuing story we posted a while back. It looks very good for those whose archaeology careers were thrown into a tizzy because of the Islamist revolution.

Also note that cooperation with Iranian counterparts is emphasized. This is an increasingly common practice, which one can see happening in Egypt as well.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress