July 30, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:47 am

Urban legend alert Legend: Egyptian explorers find and eat a jar of honey, then discover a child’s body was stored inside it.

Not too long ago a party of Egyptians were digging near the pyramids when they uncovered a large tightly sealed jar of honey. Since Egyptians always seem to be hungry, they sat down and dug into it with their fingers. Presently one of them complained he’d found a hair. Then they discovered more hairs, finally pulling out the body of a small child which had been buried centuries before!

A quick search of the Web found this story in a slightly different context. Alexander the Great was also said to have had his body returned to Egypt preserved in honey. This makes some sense as honey is known to be a reasonably effective antibiotic, and thus could halt the decomposition of a body. Apparently, however, apart from this one story, no actual “honey mummies” have ever been found.

Archaeologists unearth more burials; expect more unscheduled delays to give time for investigation

An unexpected two-week delay in the excavation of the Tice Creek detention basin outside Rossmoor’s gate allowed archaeologists further investigation of the site, yielding five more burials and objects of interest. This brings to eight the number of burials, and archaeologists expect more as the project progresses.

Archaeologists from William Self Associates (the firm contracted by the county to excavate and document the cultural history of the site) uncovered five additional burials and a possible fire pit.

Note this: Last week an expert operator gingerly scraped the floor of the excavation pit with a 30,000-pound backhoe to peel back one-inch layers of blackish brown clay while archaeologists watched for signs of burials or artifacts. It’s true, some of these backhoe operators could empty a teacup with one of those things.

Okay, we exaggerate a bit. But they really can be delicate.

Biblical Archaeology update Archeologists claim Essenes never wrote Dead Sea Scrolls

Located on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, Qumran is famous throughout the world as the place where the Essenes, who have been widely described in studies, conferences and exhibitions as a type of Jewish “monk,” are said to have lived and written the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, based on findings soon to be published, Israeli archaeologists now argue that Qumran “lacks any uniqueness.”

The latest research joins a growing school of thought attempting to explode the “Qumran myth” by stating that not only did the residents of Qumran live lives of comfort, they did not write the scrolls at all.


A Roman font dating back more than 1,600 years has been unearthed in a Lincolnshire field.

The 4th century artefact is one of only 18 to be discovered in Britain and has been described by archaeologists as a “significant” find.

It is thought the find, which has been cut into pieces, reflects a period of religious tension in the country between Christianity and Paganism.

The font was located by metal detector experts Gary Lee and Jim Wilkinson in a farmer’s field near Market Rasen two weeks ago.

Following courtesy of the EEF.

At last: THe Inside story.

Since early this month, the British Museum’s special exhibitions gallery above the old British Library Reading Room has been converted into a theatre with a 12-metre curved screen for the virtual viewing of the mummy of Nesperennub, an ancient Egyptian priest who served the cult of Khonsu in Karnak Temple about 800 BC. The technology is by Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI), of Mountain View, California.

The museum no longer unwraps mummies as it did in the past, and this interactive, 3-D visualisation has been brought about by non-invasive techniques. The tour inside Nesperennub’s corpse probes his secret layers and reveals details of his age, lifestyle, appearance, state of health and how he was mummified. A number of gold shields, amulets and scarabs of carved stone ceramic and wax were also located on his body.

We liked the orange glowy pictures of Nesperennub better:

Following submitted by Michael Tilgner

* The Rosetta Stone

– Hierolyphic text: Urk. II, 166-198

URL: http://snipurl.com/83px

– English translation of the Greek Section

URL: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/rosetta-stone-translation.html

– photograph – 650 KB

URL: http://www.hi.is/~marj/kennsla/rosetta.jpg

– photograph – 785 KB

URL: http://snipurl.com/83pz

– drawing – 570 KB

URL: http://snipurl.com/83q1

This is cool: Website with all Egyptian articles of the Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, (BMFA) in PDF:


And two excellent sites:

The database of all 5398 objects found in the tomb of Tutankhamun is now complete and can be consulted at the web pages of the Griffith Institute in Oxford:


Further, ca. 850 tracings made by Norman and Nina de Garis Davies in various Theban tombs are now available for consultation at the Archive of this Institute. (Source: two messages by Jaromir Malek on ANE-L)


These last two are really neat, especially the first one as it has images of original documents and photos from that most famous of excavations. You can spend hours perusing them.

July 29, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:54 am

So that’s where it ended up. . .

Dig hits rich vein of medieval history

The jewelled cross pulled from an archaeological dig in rural Aberdeenshire does not, admittedly, look like much. Caked in heavy mud and withered by age, it could easily be overlooked. But the cross is the latest piece in a jigsaw puzzle that is casting new light on the remarkable life of a medieval community.

“It promises quite a lot,” says Penny Dransart, who is leading the dig at Fetternear. “We don’t clean items like that on site so we can’t say too much about it yet. But, at the very least, it will add to the cumulative knowledge we are building about life at Fetternear.”

ArchaeoBlog reconstruction of what the jewelled cross may look like:

Oddly enough, we found this site while researching this story: IndyGear.com. Neat site. Especially check out the section by a Dr. David West Reynolds on The Archaeology of Indiana Jones. Lots of neat trivia, and some real archaeology, too.

News from Wausau, Wisconsin! Digging up the Past

On the Northeast shore of Butternut Lake, archaeologists, volunteers, and students are digging for archaeological deposits from early native cultures. Their purpose, to learn more about their hunting, eating habits, and seasonal movements in the region.

“It’s just very important to learn about the people that lived here because there was no written word like there may have been from Europeans,” says Kristine Werhand, archaeological volunteer.

Short story, little information there, but hey, it’s Wausau.

“Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!” Bone return consultation launched

The UK government has launched a consultation document to consider the repatriation of human remains held in Britain to aboriginal groups.

Thousands of ancient human parts – from hair samples to whole skeletons – have been collected by UK museums.

The latest initiative will review the report issued last year by the Working Group on Human Remains.

It recommended scientists should seek out descendants for permission to hold on to body parts up to 500 years old.

And on a related note New wrangle over Kennewick bones

The legal battle over the ancient bones of Kennewick Man has been won by the scientists, but they now face a new wrangle over access to the remains.

The 9,300-year-old skeleton is among the most complete specimens of its period known from the Americas.

Four Native American tribes that sought to re-bury the bones have announced they will not be taking their fight to the US Supreme Court.

But they still regard the skeleton as an ancestor and call it “ancient one”.

And something we missed earlier in the week Date limit set on first Americans

A new genetic study deals a blow to claims that humans reached America at least 30,000 years ago – around the same time that people were colonising Europe.

The subject of when humans first arrived in America is hotly contested by academics.

On one side of the argument are researchers who claim America was first populated around 13,000 years ago, toward the end of the last Ice Age. On the other are those who propose a much earlier date for colonisation of the continent – possibly around 30,000-40,000 years ago.

The authors of the latest study reject the latter theory, proposing that humans entered America no earlier than 18,000 years ago.

Neat study. The weakness in it, of course, is recognized by the scientist in question: But Dr Wells acknowledged the possibility that even more ancient American populations carrying unidentified Y chromosome haplotypes could have been swamped by later migrations, resulting in their genetic legacy being erased. That is, only the survivors were tested; it doesn’t rule out the possibility of earlier migrations.

Finally, golf meets archaeology Caesar’s Camp: ancient enigma

A mysterious bump in Wimbledon Common’s golf course has intrigued residents, archaeologists and developers since the 19th century.

An excavation by a London water board in 1937 dated the site, known as Caesar’s Camp, back to the third century BC.

More recent discoveries indicate the period between the Bronze and Iron Age the sixth to eighth century BC.

Archaeologists have discovered that the site had formidable defences. The original ditch was 30ft wide and probably 12ft deep. The main wall had retaining walls of wood inside and outside, with a wooden fence on top for extra protection.

Ancientg engineering update Archaeologists Discover How Achaemenid Architects Buttressed Pasargadae

Achaemenid architects knew properly applied foundation-making principles in Pasargadae to boost its resilience, Iranian archaeologists have concluded.

Having studied techniques applied in construction of the Achaemenids’ first capital city over the past year, experts with Pars-Pasargadae Project decided the designers used the foundation method since the area’s land was unstable. “We have come to the conclusion that Achaemenid architects built the monuments on two layers of stone foundation,” said Babak Kial, head of the site. “This technique has enabled the ancient city to withstand quakes over the centuries.”

While they didn’t (generally) have the mathematical tools to work out problems ahead of time, the ancient engineers were not the simpletons many would have us believe. Much of the “ancient astronauts” literature, or the more recent new agey stuff that requires poor, prehistoric people to only know how to build things using psychokinetic powers, relies on the assumption that ancient people were just plain dumb and couldn’t figure out a natural mechanical way to lift and place large objects.

July 28, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:04 pm

Note to faithful readers (and anyone else): We have JUST NOW implemented comments for posts. We do this partially so that we may receive commentary and critique on any posts herein, but mostly because we never look at the Contact email address (left) and mostly just get Nigerian banking scam messages there anyway.

But, um, just lodge the memory in your mind that we did this purely as a service to you, our faithful readers.

[Edit] Well, we thought we’d added comments, but we don’t see any. Stay tuned.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:14 pm

The Beer That Made Cerro Baúl Famous

Ancient brewery discovered on mountaintop in Peru

Archaeologists working in southern Peru found an ancient brewery more than 1,000 years old. Remains of the brewing facility were uncovered on Cerro Baúl, a mountaintop city over 8,000 feet above sea level, which was home to elite members of the Wari Empire from AD 600-1000.

Predating the Inca Empire by at least four centuries, this Wari brewery was used to make chicha, a fermented beverage similar to beer that played an important role in ritual feasting and drinking during Peru’s first empire. Ancient Peruvians made chicha with local grains and fruit, which is quite different from today’s commercial beers typically made with barley and hops.

“We believe this important find may be the oldest large-scale brewery ever found in the Andes,” said Patrick Ryan Williams, PhD, Assistant Curator of Anthropology at The Field Museum.

Fight! Fight! Countries battle over artefacts

An Aboriginal group has prevented native Australian artefacts from returning to the UK museums from which they were loaned. BBC News Online looks at other disputed treasures and the growing calls to have them repatriated.

In 1810, a total of 56 sculpted friezes, depicting gods, men and monsters, were removed from the Parthenon in Athens by British ambassador Lord Elgin.

They were brought to Britain and housed in the British Museum where they have remained.

Repeated calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles to their homeland have fallen on deaf ears, with the British Museum adamant they should remain in a place where they can be seen by international visitors.

The ‘Pompeii Principle’ for real. No, really. What Lies Beneath in Pompeii (Registration required. GO to BugMeNot.com and get a username and password)

For Pompeii’s 2 million yearly visitors, the overwhelming attraction is the captivating view of daily life in the Roman Empire evoked by the city’s temples, taverns, houses and public baths, and by its ever-popular brothels with their erotic frescoes.

Note: Thieves frequently raid the sites. During the past 30 years, more than 600 items, from frescoes to bricks, have been pilfered from Pompeii. One of the worst thefts occurred in 1977, when someone hacked 14 frescoes from a villa known as the House of the Gladiators. And in January, thieves cut two frescoes from the House of the Chaste Lovers. (Pompeii houses are usually named after prominent paintings, sculptures or other artifacts.)

Kinda makes you wonder why anything else ought to be dug up and put on display.

Iron Age ‘nerve centre’ uncovered on hill

EXCAVATIONS at a large hill fort in East Lothian have uncovered what archaeologists believe to be one of the nerve centres of Iron Age Scotland.

The new findings at Traprain Law, near Haddington, include the first coal jewellery workshop unearthed in Scotland as well as hundreds of artefacts giving new insight into life in the 700BC-AD43 era.

Experts who have been working on the site for several weeks are now able to paint a picture of a densely populated hilltop town which was home to leaders of local tribes, following the discovery of multiple ramparts, Roman pottery, gaming pieces, tools and beads.

At the centre of the archaeological site, which is one of the most important in Scotland, a medieval building, first uncovered by a fire in 1996, has now been fully excavated by the 20-strong team of archaeologists, also showing the area was occupied hundreds of years later.

Really, “St. Mungo” is just killing us here.

But, as we so often do here at ArchaeoBlog, a silly off-the-cuff joke brings up something interesting (and boring and pedantic, but that’s our idiom anyhow). There is an interesting paleoanthropological connection to ‘Mungo’, though not to St. Mungo, Mungo Jerry, or any other Mungo you may have heard of. The peopling of Australia is perhaps on par with the peopling of the New World (N and S America) as far as Big Archaeological Problems go. In some ways, it’s even more important since it seems to be more difficult to get people from Asia to Australia over a lot of open ocean than just skipping across the Bering Land Bridge.

Within this context is some skeletal material recovered from Lake Mungo in New South Wales. The importance of these skeletons lies in their early date and apparent burial practices, especially Lake Mungo 3 (see this page for several PDF copies of original papers). This seems to be a really good site all around, with a lot of good information, references, and links to original source articles.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:36 am

Something we’ve never heard of Archaeologists take care with moving project

The wooden sides of the coffin are still visible in the clayish soil where it was laid a century ago, but this coffin and the two next to it in the newly excavated trench are less than 2 feet long.

These were infants or toddlers laid to rest in the Montgomery Square United Methodist Church cemetery, at the intersection of what are now Routes 202 and 309, sometime in the 19th century.

The widening of the roads long ago hemmed in the church and its cemetery, and the congregation has sold the site to build, bigger and better, a few miles away, as churches have been doing for centuries.

But, first, the cemetery’s 209 graves have to be relocated to Beulah Cemetery in New Britain, Bucks County. That is the job for about a dozen experts, mostly trained as archaeologists or in forensics, who go over the site with hand tools and a careful eye.

Fascinating article. This is one avenue of archaeology that we had never considered. Makes sense though since it’s basically excavation. We are going to look into this more and see how widespread the phenomenon is. (Note: This may require registration. We hit the story on the first try, but when we went back to it, it demanded registration, although that appears to be free)

Archaeologists digging through trash to find Bowling Green history

One man’s trash is another’s treasure, or so the saying goes, and state archaeologists are hoping that trash from the 19th and early 20th centuries will help shed some light on life in Bowling Green.

“This stuff is basically trash – things people threw out, things they lost, things they broke,” said Jay Stottman, an archaeologist with the Kentucky Archaeological Survey. “But this is the stuff that gives us an idea what life was like during this time period.”

A table of artifacts collected at a site near 629 Center St. was on display at a press conference this morning about the Phase II archaeological survey of the site that was recently completed.

Archaeologists identified 18 features, archaeological formations that generally cannot be collected, such as foundations, walkways, pits or holes, on the site, Stottman said.

News from Iraq British School of Archaeology in Iraq

Since its foundation in 1932 as a memorial to the life and work of Gertrude Bell, the British School of Archaeology in Iraq (BSAI) has been the main institution in the United Kingdom responsible for organising archaeological fieldwork in Iraq, Mesopotamian Syria and the Persian Gulf. It was funded from private sources, principally the Gertrude Bell Memorial Fund but also a considerable sum deriving from individual subscriptions donated to an Appeal Fund. It first received a Treasury grant in 1947, which enabled it to appoint its first Director in Iraq (Professor Sir Max Mallowan, Agatha Christie’s husband). It carried out excavations in Iraq and Syria before World War II and again from 1948 had worked continuously in Iraq until 1990.

The secretary, Joan Porter MacIver, normally steers clear of politics but she could not help commenting on the shortsightedness of failing to establish a Ministry of Tourism in the interim government announced at the beginning of June. “I can’t understand why that happened. Maybe there is more information that we just do not have. I know that tourism is something they are counting on in the future, especially as Iraq is so important in terms of its historical legacy. The Iraqis have always been very proud of that and it is important to show what the country has to offer – it is the cradle of civilisation.

Eh, not really archaeology, but cool Small ship would be a big discovery

Treasure hunter Steve Libert has spent much of the past three decades scouring the bottom of Lake Michigan for stockpiles of lost gold.

He’s never found so much as a nugget, but now the 50-year-old is hinting that he might have struck upon something some would see as far more precious – the lost Griffin, the first European ship to sail the Great Lakes, and the first to sink.

Researchers are dubious that the fabled vessel from the 17th century has finally been found.

“It’s possible, but I’d be very surprised,” said Ron Mason, a professor emeritus of anthropology at Lawrence University. “If it sank into very shallow water, then it was probably broken up by wave action. If it sank into deeper water, then there would be a good chance of preservation, but it would be very hard to find.”

More later.

July 27, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:57 am

ArchaeoFashion Report Chinese archaeologists find ‘world’s oldest earrings’

Chinese archaeologists have discovered earrings they believe are the oldest found in the world.

The jade earrings, which date to between 7500 and 8200 years ago, were unearthed at the Xinglongwa culture site in Chifeng city in Inner Mongolia, the Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

The jade rings, called “Jue” in old Chinese, have diameters that measure 2.5 to six centimetres.

And another construction-area find Athletic fields yield artifacts

Taking refuge from the sweltering mid-afternoon sun, archaeologist Richard Franz stood under a large tree, holding in his dusty hands what appeared simply to be a rock.

But to Franz, a chip on that rock is a flake scar or a fracture point. In the eyes of an archaeologist this stone is an artifact, lending clues to the area’s history.

A team of four archaeologists finished work last week on an excavation project at Fisk Fields, searching for American Indian artifacts. The borough’s youth athletic teams can resume play on the fields, but it will be weeks until the borough learns how it can develop the property.

And another. . . . . Indian artifacts near Ohio River could be sign of ancient village

Remains of an ancient American Indian settlement have been uncovered along the Ohio River shoreline in Clarksville, Ind.

Archaeologists say the discovery of about two dozen artifacts, from pottery shards to stone tools, is significant because the density of the site suggests a prolonged settlement instead of a temporary camp or hunting ground.

The artifacts, found near a two-lane road that collapsed in January, are believed to be 700 to 900 years old, placing the settlement in what is known as the Mississippian period.

Full excavation of the site is expected to start this week.

Well. Iranian Director To Produce Doc On Darius’ Headless Statue

Iranian documentary filmmaker Orod Attarpur plans to produce a film about the headless statue of Persian emperor Darius the Great (580-529 B.C.).

A group of French archaeologists unearthed the statue in 1971 in the historical city of Susa in southwestern Iran. It is headless, but no one is certain about the reason. Now Atapur has decided to make a documentary about the discovery and the ensuing events. Pivotal to the chronicle will be the story of the archaeologists who dug up the statue of Darius I, the great king of the Achaemenid dynasty.

There are several theories explaining the reasons why the statue is headless; from an outburst of resentment by people toward Persian monarchs to a devastating earthquake.

Now there’s something you don’t see every day, an ancient headless statue.

Historians excited by rare Italian pottery found in dig

In the shadow of a crumbling mansion, a team of archaeologists have made one of the most exciting discoveries of a 10-year dig.

It may only be a small fragment of marbled pottery from northern Italy, dated around 1600 to 1650, but it is the only piece of its kind found in Scotland and is one of only three ever to be found in Britain.

Archeologists at the dig, at Fetternear in rural Aberdeenshire, said that it casts important light on Scotland in the Middle Ages.

Bronze age knife found in veg plot

A NORTH Wales housewife found a bronze age knife crafted 4,500 years ago while digging in her vegetable patch.

Marylyn Sheldon knew she had discovered something special after unearthing the flint blade at her Llanarmon-yn-Iâl home, in Denbighshire.

On Wednesday experts at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, confirmed it was a bronze aged blade forged around 2,500BC.

“I was digging in my vegetable patch in April last year to put broad beans in,” she said.

We admit we are somewhat perplexed as to how one forges a flint knife.

Skinny chariots Discovery rewrites Chinese vehicle history

The discovery of 3,700-year-old chariot tracks has pushed back the appearance of vehicles in China by 200 years, the country’s media has reported.

“It advances the history of China’s vehicle use up to the Xia Dynasty (2100 – 1600 BC),” said Xu Hong, who leads the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ archaeological investigation team at the Erlitou archaeological site in Yanshi city, central Henan province.

The two parallel tracks were discovered on the grounds of a palace at the site, Xinhua news agency reported.

‘Upped sticks’??? Dig team baffled over tribe who suddenly upped sticks

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are investigating a 2200-year-old mystery surrounding one of Scotland’s rare Iron Age clifftop forts.

Excavations have revealed that the unusual fortification, 100ft up a cliff on the Galloway coast, was suddenly and inexplicably abandoned by the Novantae, an early Scottish people.

Work at the prehistoric settlement at Carghidown, near the Isle of Whithorn, has contributed to a better understanding of the little-known tribe who lived in what today is south-west Scotland.

As we posted yesterday, this illustrates one way to interpret how a site was abandoned. Note that they found three floor surfaces, the last of which was unfinished, which suggests fairly rapid abandonment. This has implications for what will be found on the floor surfaces. Do a quick search on the ‘Pompeii Premise’ over the Web and the findings will explain more on this type of thing.

July 26, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:26 pm

Hmmmmm. . . .Radiocarbon Dating and Questions

Libby’s discovery, now known as the carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) technique, was a method that could be used to determine the age of organic remains. In the following years, archeologists used this technique extensively and determined exact dates for pre-historic settlements in the ancient world. Some Neolithic (later stone age) remains were dated back to fifty thousand years in Russia and Africa. The city of Eriha in Palestine was dated back to eleven thousand years, and was designated as the first permanent human settlement. Today, archeologists and paleontologists employ this technique to determine the age of organic materials (bones, teeth, wood, etc.) that are less than fifty thousand years in age.

We were directed to this page by another archaeological links page and are having some difficulty deciding what to make of it. On the one hand, it kind of provides a good summary of the C-14 method and theory. On the other hand, some of the statements seem to us a bit on the extreme side. For example “ages determined by the radiocarbon method are not taken seriously by archeologists” is simply untrue. There is always some consideration given to the context of the samples, contamination, etc., and often dates that seem out of whack are discarded (or held in abeyance until independently verified).

Many of the issues raised in this little blurb have long been considered by everyone working with radiocarbon dating. It is not assumed, a priori, that the C-14/C-12 ratio has been constant through time. In fact, it has been known for a long time that it has not been constant, and calibration curves have been calculated to correct for this.

For far more (and better) information, check out C14Dating.com maintained by Tom Higham. He’s pretty good about answering serious emails regarding C-14 issues.

Fat monks Study: Medieval Monks Were Obese

The jolly image of rotund Friar Tuck could be only partially true, according to a recent study of skeletal remains from monks that lived during the Middle Ages (476-1450 A.D.) that revealed most monks were overweight, but perhaps not entirely jolly because they suffered from conditions associated with obesity, such as arthritis.

The findings, presented last week at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds University in England, shed light on the monastic lifestyle from that period and could help to explain the development of civil unrest against monasteries toward the latter part of the medieval age.

Philippa Patrick, author of the paper and an archaeologist at University College London, made the determinations after analyzing the skeletal collections of the Museum of London, which include remains of medieval monks from St. Mary Graces Abbey, Tower Hill, St. Saviour’s Abbey, Bermondsey and Merton Priory.

Patrick, whose study was funded by the U.K. Arts and Humanities Research Board, told Discovery News that by the time most monks were 45 and over, they were three times more likely than the overall population to develop a condition linked to obesity known as DISH, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis. DISH affects a victim’s spine with lesions, making it harder for the person to walk and move.

Experts try to discover diet of 7,000 years ago in Sialk

Iranian archeologists plan to identify the food basket and diet of the people who lived in the historical site of Sialk over 7,000 years ago, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported on Friday.

Located at the edge of the central desert of Iran, near “Kashan”, Sialk is considered one of most important and archeologically-rich areas in Iran and experts have already discovered artifacts dating from the fifth to first millennium B.C. there. They have also found out one of the oldest ziggurats of the world in this civilization basin.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:52 pm

Say, more skeletons found at a construction site Another burial find halts work at Wal-Mart site

Amid the flap surrounding a set of human remains found last week at the Wal-Mart construction site that were improperly moved, yet another set of remains was found Thursday, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has confirmed.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Lin said construction has stopped in both areas of the Ke’eaumoku Street site where remains were most recently found.

Lin said the site has been fenced off, and the remains — one set found July 17 and the other on Thursday — covered.

That settles it: Ancient peoples buried their dead according to the spatial configurations of future construction sites.

And. . . . .Skull could be talk of school

An exciting but gruesome discovery made by two Auckland schoolboys will be examined by an archaeologist tomorrow.

The boys were digging in their parents’ Mount Roskill garden yesterday when they uncovered a human skull.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Benefield says the boys took the find to their parents, who called in the police.

He says the kids were pretty excited, and not traumatised by the find at all.

He says it will make a good story for school tomorrow.

Mark Benefield says initial enquiries would suggest the bones are at least a hundred years old.

Yet another update on the Port Angeles excavation Non-Native skeleton found on graving yard property will be investigated, tribe says

A Lower Elwha Klallam tribal official says the discovery of complete skeletal remains of a non-tribal woman found on the graving yard site will be investigated in more detail.

The remains were discovered in an isolated grave early last week during the archaeological excavation of the former Klallam village to recover Native remains and artifacts.

Port Angeles police were called to the 22-acre graving yard Tuesday to determine if they had a crime scene.

News with photos! Earliest palace city discovered in Henan

Archaeologists said that the palace city discovered last spring at the Erlitou site in Yanshi City, central China’s Henan Province, may be the earliest palace city ever discovered in China.

“The design of the city had erected a model for later dynasties in designing their capital,” said Dr. Xu Hong, who leads the archaeological investigation team at the Erlitou site of the Institute of Archaeology, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The rectangular city is 300 meters wide from the east to the west, and 360 to 370 meters long from the north to the south.

(Please note that the following link — http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-07/22/content_1626995.htm — that appears at the bottom of this news article does not in any way have anything to do with archaeology. And since this is a family blog, we urge cautious readers to not click the following link — http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-07/22/content_1626995.htm — if they find celebrity women in seductive poses to be offensive, in bad taste, or generally not to their liking.)

Biblical Archaeology update Two American cultural titans share thoughts about the Bible

They are titans in their respective fields who have taught within miles of each other. But they never met until a journalist brought them together to talk about the Bible.

The talkers were Frank Moore Cross, 82, the distinguished professor of Hebrew literature at Harvard University since 1957 (now emeritus); and Boston University’s Elie Wiesel, 75, Holocaust survivor, author and winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. Their chat was arranged by Hershel Shanks for the magazine he edits, Biblical Archaeology Review.

The origins of their interest in the Bible are quite different.

Biblical archaeology is. . . .a bit on the odd side of archaeology. We will discuss this at some length later on, for in the meantime, the sun is shining and awaits us outside. For lunch.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:43 am

There seems to be great heaping gobs of news today, so we’ll just post links and what-not throughout the day. We wish our faithful readers a happy and productive Monday.

The Beauties of Backyard Archaeology

Audio story from NPR. Short, but sweet, basically describing archaeology we come across every day. Well, give it a listen.

This is exciting History lesson:prehistoric findings excite archaeologists

Two rocks may be the secret to unlocking the past of the middle Susitna Valley.

Of course, they aren’t just two ordinary rocks, but two rocks that were probably used by people in the Chulitna area thousands of years ago, prior to European contact. The finding, at the Screaming Hawk site, makes archaeologists such as the Mat-Su Borough’s Fran Seager-Boss excited.

“It shows an early population there, probably at least 3,000 years ago,” Seager-Boss said. “It would tie more into an archaeological finding. We haven’t found a single sign of European goods with the artifacts. It’s very exciting.”

Well, yes they do. . . ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNCOVER

THE last time I tried to dig something up, my mum gave me a “talk” about how the hamster had gone to heaven and was no longer under the rose bush at the bottom of the garden.

So, given my distinct lack of even the most simple skills with a trowel, I breathed a sigh of relief when I was not asked to have a go at excavating some precious ancient Roman stones.

Instead, it was left to the professionals and many trained volunteers to work on what is one of the most important archaeological excavations to take place in Tynedale.

I stopped by at the Corbridge site on Monday to see how the work was going and immediately saw that the remains of the spectacular Roman bridge were clearly visible.

Already, just three weeks into the excavation of what is a majestic reminder that the Romans could carry out the work of giants, hidden secrets are being uncovered.

More bone controversies Exhumation of skeletons to proceed

Exhumation of the human skeletons at Prestwich Street can go ahead, according to Ari Efstathiou, the developer of the site.

This comes after months of protests and formal appeals by the Hands-off Prestwich Place Committee, formed by people strongly opposed to the skeletons being exhumed.

Efstathiou, whose construction has been held up for 14 months, said on Thursday he had been informed that the appeal to the minister of arts and culture by the committee had been dismissed.

He said he did not want to give details about the decision until he had received the full report from the independent tribunal set up by the minister to consider the appeal.

“I’m relieved. Unfortunately it took 14 months to get to this decision. This wasted time has cost me millions of rands. I played by the law, but still I got the bad end of the deal,” Efstathiou said on Thursday.

Note that up until now we have refrained from using the obvious ‘bone(s) of contention’ pun. This may not last.

And yet another surprise finding Archaeologists recover items at La Crosse road construction site

A road construction project on the city’s south side is helping local archaeologists dig into the past.

Archaeologists from the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have excavated a number of sites on South Third and Fourth streets in what had been the road, once it was torn up for the reconstruction project.

“The road project is giving us a last chance to find out what’s here,” said Wendy Holtz-Leith, a research archaeologist with MVAC.

Standing in a long trench about four feet deep, Bob Cronk, shirtless in the summer heat, peels layer after layer of soil away from an area darker than the dirt around it.

Cronk, an archaeology student at MVAC, said the stained soil indicates the remains of a storage pit.

“The pits were originally used to store food, like corn, beans and squash, said Holtz-Leith.

When the food was gone, the pit was turned into a garbage dump, she said.

We included a bit more from the story to get those last two sentences. This is common practice, archaeologically speaking, the reuse of structures for other purposes. Oftentimes, archaeologists will try to determine the uses to which various structures in a site were put. That way, they can determine how complex the social structure was, how much specialization went on (ceramic production over here, food processing over there, etc.) which has implications for how power and authority was organized. They generally do this by analyzing the artifacts within buildings. So, for example, in a modern house you would find kitchen implements in the kitchen, car and gardening implements in the garage, toiletries in the bathrooms, etc. Trouble is (among others), spaces can be reused over time and thus what artifacts you find are only the last ones that were used there.

THe pit example is one of these. In Egypt, we often find this to be the case. For example, one of our staff dealt extensively with this issue in an outstanding study on the deposits of an Old Kingdom Delta town (which, you too can purchase for — not £99.95, not £59.95, not even £49.95the amazing price of only £36.00!). What was found there were several classic storae pits built of mud brick, but a detailed analysis of the sediments within came up with a large number of fish cranial elements. This implies that after use as grain storage, they were subsequently used as dumps for (minimally) fish heads.

Studies like this are generally subsumed under the rubric of “formation processes” which looks at the various ways sites are changed over time through natural (sedimentation) or cultural processes and how this should inform our interpretations of the distributions of artifacts. Michael Schiffer is often cited as one of the primary proponents of these analyses.

Update on Petersburg bones Archaeologists Find Prehistoric Native American Village

Kentucky archaeologists say it may take them months to fully analyze all the 800-year-old Native American bones and artifacts they are pulling up from a northern Boone County construction site.

The small town of Petersburg, located along the Ohio River, is confirming much of what archaeological experts thought about the Tri-state’s first human inhabitants.

Kentucky’s State Archaeologist came back to front street in Petersburg Thursday, along with almost a dozen trained volunteers and colleagues to take a peek back into the Tri-state’s history.

Seems to be an entire village instead of just a few isolated burials.

What, no Brad Pitt? Museum hosts exhibit on warriors

A shrunken head, Native American spears and other tools used by warriors through the ages will be the focus of the next Family Day event at the Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural History in Dania Beach.

The event, dubbed “Warriors — Past and Present,” will feature talks and craft projects from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Speakers and craft projects will be in different areas throughout the museum, said Peter Ferdinando, the museum’s adult education coordinator.

“It’s set up so that visitors go through the entire museum,” he said. “It’s a great way of seeing everything.”

More on the Port Angeles site A Significant Archaeological Find Near Port Angeles

The lower Elwha Klallam tribe opened up an archeological dig for the news media Thursday, saying that 150 intact bodies and 300 partial remains had been found during excavation of the site prior to the area becoming a staging point for construction of a new portion of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge.

Earlier, when the Klallam tribal artifacts were found at the facility in Port Angeles, the tribe signed an agreement with the state to allow construction of a so-called graving yard for construction of pontoons. In return, the state would give reinternmnet of any tribal remains found on the site and preservation of artifacts.

Thursday, the senior archaeologist on the site, Dennis Lewarch described the site as, “one of the most significant sites excavated in North America and the largest one in the Pacific Northwest.”

July 23, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:17 pm

Way WAY advance notice of television programming Egypt Week Uses 21st Century Technology to Unwrap 3,000-Year-Old Mysteries Buried in the Desert Sand

This winter Discovery Channel will warm up viewers by transporting them to a far-away place and time. Egypt Week will show how modern science is solving the enduring mysteries of ancient Egypt. During prime time from December 5-11, mummified pharaohs and hidden tombs will surrender their secrets to portable X-ray machines, ground-penetrating radar and other high-tech methods.

Egypt Week will open with the world premiere of RAMESES: MYSTERY IN THE

VALLEY OF THE KINGS December 5, 9-11 PM (ET/PT). In this two-hour special,

Discovery Channel follows Dr. Kent Weeks, a widely respected Egyptologist from

the American University in Cairo, on his quest to uncover new clues to the

story of Exodus. In tomb KV5 in the Valley of the Kings, the tomb that he

himself re-discovered in 1987, Weeks searches for clues among the mummies of

Rameses the Great (1278-1212 BC) in order to uncover long-lost details of the

famous Bible story.

We here at ArchaeoBlog think Egypt Week is a fine idea. We’re just wondering when camera crews will start showing up to ask us about our studies on diversity issues in intrasite ceramic distributions and its implications for spatial models of site function.

Yeah, that was sarcasm.

Bones popping up all over the place Archaeologists find even more skeletons

THE EXTRAORDINARY human remains found on Worksop’s Raymoth Lane went on display to an excited public during a special open-day.

Notts County Council’s archaeology team were keen to give the people of Bassetlaw the chance to experience their history first hand.

Then last Wedenesday there was yet more excitement on the site when ANOTHER skeleton was uncovered, this time an adult.

That now leaves the total of human remains as one adult, four babies and the child of around eight, Alex.

“We have been very pleased by the response,” said Ursilla Spence, the council’s senior archaeological officer. “We had over 100 people visiting before the first hour was through. I have seen lots of smiling faces going away.”

Port Angeles (WA) site update Ancient civilization slowly returns to the surface

The Native American site blocking one of Washington State’s largest transportation projects just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It has grown from a small discovery to an enormous archaeological find.

On the shores of Port Angeles, an ancient civilization is slowly returning to the surface.

“I’d say it’s one of the more important sites in North America, especially in the Pacific Northwest,” said Dennis Lewarch, principal investigator.

A team of archaeologists helps dozens of members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe chip away the centuries that cover a village dating back 1,700 years, possibly much further. Few sites this old are as vast and complete.

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