Fight! Fight! (update) Plagiarism Charge Flies Over Discovery
A Peruvian archaeologist is hurling allegations of plagiarism and intellectual plunder at American colleagues over a barren desert landscape where a mysterious culture built pyramids nearly 5,000 years ago.
Peru’s government and some U.S. researchers have lined up firmly behind Ruth Shady, who has long researched the ruins of Caral, the oldest known city in the Americas. She contends that Americans Jonathan Haas and Winifred Creamer lifted conclusions from her work to advance their own broader study, published last month in the prestigious science journal Nature.
The article, based on radiocarbon dating of samples taken in three Peruvian valleys known collectively as the Norte Chico, attracted worldwide news coverage. The Chicago-area husband-and-wife team documented more than 20 major residential centers with platform mounds and pyramids along the Peruvian coast. The article showed that Caral was part of a complex society that flourished at the same time the pyramids of Egypt were being built.
We’re not sure what to make of this. Certainly, some of the blame goes to the press which — surprise, surprise — seems to have gone bonkers in crediting Haas and Creamer with everything. Still, the fact that several professionals have commented negatively on their work seems to argue that perhaps H&C did not, perhaps, extend enough professional courtesy to their South American colleague when publishing the work.
Fight! Fight! This time to the death. . . The mysterious end of Essex man
Archaeologists now believe two groups of early humans fought for dominance in ancient Britain – and the axe-wielders won
Divisions in British culture may be deeper than we thought. Scientists have discovered startling evidence that suggests different species of early humans may have fought to settle within our shores almost half a million years ago.
They have found that two different groups – one wielding hand-axes, the other using Stone Age Stanley knives to slash and kill – could have been rivals for control of ancient Britain.
‘The evidence is only tantalising, but it is intriguing,’ said palaeontologist Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, London. ‘Certainly it suggests Britain may well have been multicultural 400,000 years ago.’
Update on Alexandrian lecture halls Intellectual life in Roman Alexandria
The discovery of lecture halls at Kom Al-Dikka has generated popular interest, hasty conclusions and a number of revelations. Jill Kamil assesses the evidence
The Polish mission at Kom Al-Dikka in Alexandria has made several exciting finds over the years, but their latest discovery hard on the heels of the establishment of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has set tongues buzzing.
Grzegorz Majcherek, director of the Polish-Egyptian mission which has been excavating at Kom Al-Dikka for the past 40 or more years, insists that overzealous journalists have rather too hastily linked this latest discovery in Alexandria to the ancient library.
“In fact, the newly-excavated complex of lecture halls brings us no closer to determining the actual position of the famous library of antiquity,” he says.
This seems like a good idea
Farmers given ancient site advice
A new service has been launched to advise farmers and estate managers in North Yorkshire how to preserve important ancient sites on their land.
The county council has appointed Linda Smith to the new post of rural archaeologist.
She will advise on how land can be farmed without damaging historic landscape features.
This seems preferable to having a bunch of archaeologists blasting in after the fact and telling landowners what they shouldn’t have done. The problem, of course, will be documenting where all the stuff is so they can let people know ahead of time.
Not that Angola Group digs for artifacts, memories of Angola
On a quiet, residential street, archaeologist Bill Burger goes about his task, digging holes in yards and methodically sifting through piles of dirt. He perks up when a round, black piece of glass emerges in his shaker box.
His hands, deft at sifting after decades of archaeology work, finger a sliver of black glass. It fits perfectly into the side of the broken chunk of glass he has just unearthed.
“That’s about as exciting as we’ve seen so far,” Burger said about his recent find.
Actually, a very interesting project from the looks of it.
Not aerial archaeology CAVE MAY REVEAL SECRETS OF PAST
Archaeologists are hoping investigation of a cave on the Isle of Skye will provide a snapshot of life 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.
Skye-based archaeologists Steven Birch, Martin Wildgoose and George Kozikowski began work on the site at Uamh an Ard Achadh – also known as High Pasture Cave – at Strath last year and have secured Highland Council and European Leader+ funding to continue their investigations this year.
Finds so far have included stone, iron, antler and bone tools; remnants of pottery; around 6,000 pieces of animal bone; a tooth from a brown bear and a wolf canine.
Classical treasures threatened by Vesuvius
An earthquake or volcanic eruption is likely to destroy a library of ancient books at Herculaneum, near Pompeii, before they can be excavated unless urgent action is taken, according to the founder of a new group based in Oxford.
Scientists have discovered new ways to read 1,800 charred manuscript scrolls already found in the ruins of the so-called Villa of Papyri at Herculaneum, a city that, like neighbouring Pompeii, was buried in volcanic matter when Vesuvius erupted in AD79.
Key quote: But strong opposition to immediate excavation came from Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the British School at Rome and an acknowledged expert on Herculaneum.
“It would be a scandal to expose the Villa of the Papyri to the daylight now, before we can guarantee that it would be saved for the future,” he said.
We tend to agree with this. Certainly there is the possibility that a new earthquake or eruption could distroy the existing (buried) remains, but our money is on 2,000 years of preservation up to this point. People have a far worse track record.