February 28, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:31 pm

Breaking news Ancient earth drawings found in Peru

Archaeologists have discovered a group of giant figures scraped into the hills of Peru’s southern coastal desert that are believed to predate the country’s famed Nazca lines.

About 50 figures were etched into the earth over an area roughly 90 square miles near the city of Palpa, 220 miles southeast of Lima, El Comercio newspaper reported.

The drawings – which include human figures as well as animals such as birds, monkeys, and felines – are believed to be created by members of the Paracas culture sometime between 600 and 100 B.C., Johny Islas, the director of the Andean Institute of Archaeological Studies, told the newspaper.

We don’t know if “mystified” is really the correct word. True, we’re mystified at how cranks like Erich von Daniken can continually make great heaping gobs of money off of promoting their crackpot theories, but we think “intrigued” is probably a better term for what we think about the lines.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:33 pm

Many, many things to post today. Here is the first batch.

Seattle-area construction find update Archaeological find shouldn’t delay Sound Transit project, officials say

The discovery of a significant Indian archaeological site where Sound Transit’s light-rail line crosses the Duwamish River probably won’t delay or disrupt construction, Sound Transit and the state archaeologist say.

“I wouldn’t expect anything like that at this point, given what the professional archaeologists have found,” Rob Whitlam, state archaeologist with the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, said yesterday.

“We’re very confident of our ability to build our project on our timeline,” said Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick.

More here.

Slavery archaeology update Researchers explore Southern slave site

Sifting through dirt from the floor of a small cabin made from oyster shells and sand, archaeologist Dan Elliott is finding unexpected treasures.

He unearthed a doll-sized porcelain plate, clay marbles, lead shot and a French-made gunflint – fascinating finds from a cabin that once housed plantation slaves.

“We’re dealing with the facts. These are all things they left behind,” says Elliott, noting that toys and firearms’ material “could suggest their masters were letting them have a little bit of latitude.”

Researchers say three cabins made of tabby – a cement mixture of oyster shells, lime and sand – on this undeveloped, state-owned barrier island are among the best-preserved slave quarters in the South.

More here.

Please note: We don’t usually do much with historic archaeology, but research relating to slavery is interesting for the cultural issues it brings out, namely, the blending of aboriginal (i.e., African) and western traits that one sees in such material remains.

Calling Lara Croft and Indiana Jones. . . Drug traffickers overrun ancient Mayan city

Heavily-armed drug traffickers have taken control of an ancient Mayan city in Guatemala, setting up camp amid pyramids and threatening academic research, archaeologists say.

The Piedras Negras site, in a pristine jungle reserve in the northern department of El Peten, is considered one of the most important cities in the ancient Maya world.

Archaeologist Stephen Houston, from Brown University in the United States, says dangerous drug traffickers had now made Piedras Negras their own.

Tsunami finds update Underwater find in tsunami region – Structures off TN coast may answer questions about Seven Pagodas

Among the few strange acts of the killer tsunami was blowing the sand cover off seven boulders with various carved figures on the coast of this ancient town.

Off the coast now, archaeologists have found several “promising structures” that have kindled hopes of cracking a long-standing mystery about the Seven Pagodas described by western scholars in and around Mamallapuram, 55 km from Chennai.

“We find some man-made structures, some wall-like structures, some step-like structures, besides perfectly cut stone blocks arranged in a pattern,” said Alok Tripathy, a senior official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

More here.

We’ve never heard of it, but. . . Experts: Tamil civilisation over 4,000 years old

TAMIL civilisation existed more than 4,000 years ago, said archaeologists excavating near Chennai, India.

The archaeologists are studying inscriptions on stones and artefacts at a site in Athicha Nallur, which is believed to be the cradle of Tamil civilisation, both Tamil Nesan and Malaysia Nanban reported.

They also concluded that the Tamils were already an advanced society before the Mogul emperors invaded India.

Attention wealthy ArchaeoBlog readers Hard times for history

Wanted: A permanent home for pottery pieces, pipe stems, and the more than 2 million other artifacts excavated from New York City archaeological sites during the past two decades.

Since 1990, the artifacts have been housed at New York Unearthed, an urban archaeology laboratory and conservation center, the city’s only such repository, located at 17 State St. in lower Manhattan. However, recent budget cuts and a decline in visitor traffic have caused the center’s parent organization, the South Street Seaport Museum, to lay off members of the archaeology department, including its former curator, effectively shutting the lab.

James Ossuary update Biblical find or basic forgery, burial box open to legal debate

The first group of experts heralded it as one of archaeology’s greatest discoveries, a burial box inscribed with the earliest reference to Jesus ever found.

But after a closer look, another group of specialists debunked the find as an elaborate hoax.

Now Israeli authorities have indicted the owner of the “James Ossuary” as a serial forger. The indictment has further polarized opposing sides in an increasingly vitriolic dispute.

Good summary of what’s been going on with it.

Cave Creek woman is expert on ancient drawings in area

Grace Schoonover sees ancient people when she walks in the desert hills near her Cave Creek home.

New suburban-style houses are taking up more of the area’s landscape each day, but you still can find remnants of the Hohokam and others who began roaming and settling there as many as 2,000 years ago.

After spending much of the past 60 years helping uncover the earliest signs of civilization in the Valley, Schoonover, 79, has amassed considerable knowledge about its first human inhabitants.

When she looks across her neighborhood near Tonto National Forest, Schoonover said, she can imagine how they looked and lived.

Semi-breaking news 2500-year-old coffins unearthed in Egypt

An Australian archeological team working in Egypt has unearthed three ancient wooden coffins in the past two months.

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni told reporters Saturday that the coffins, which he described as “wonderfully beautiful,” were uncovered in Sakkara, 10 kilometers south of Cairo.

He said the coffins, shaped like human bodies, go back to the 26th Pharaoh Dynasty that ruled from 672 BC to 525 BC.

The minister added the coffins contained mummies wrapped up in cloth and decorated with colorful beads.

Hosni said that other ancient artifacts were found near the coffins, including statues of Pharaoh gods.

That’s the whole thing.

Antiquities Market update A rich handover

At No. 8 Al-Alfi Street downtown last week, the scene was more bustling than usual. A large number of police officers, archaeologists and journalists were on hand as a huge cache of artefacts — hidden since 1971 — finally saw the light again.

The collection includes a number of anthropoid sarcophagi, painted mummy masks, Ancient Egyptian ushabti figurines (wooden statuettes), limestone reliefs, necklaces, amulets, and scarabs, as well as a group of Graeco-Roman statues, Islamic vessels, clay chandeliers and coloured textiles.

Brigadier Abdel-Hafez Abdel-Karim, head of the antiquities police, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the story of the hidden collection began in 1971, when a Frenchman named Gérard Razier was arrested at this same address, and charged with illegal possession of antiquities. The Frenchman was sentenced to six months in prison; an appeal led to the sentence eventually being cancelled.

Cypriot perfumery update Archaeological dig sniffs out world’s oldest perfumery

MUSKY, with a woody tone and spicy hints of cinnamon – the perfect fragrance for a Bronze Age date.

Italian archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest perfumery and have identified the smells popular with the people of the time.

The perfumery was found at a sprawling archaeological site on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean at Pyrgos-Mavroraki, 55 miles south-west of Nicosia.

Congratulations! ASU archaeologist honored for research on early man

Ana Pinto, a Spanish archaeologist working at Arizona State University, knows the clan of the cave bear.

Thanks to her research, we understand more about these extinct animals and their relationship to early humans. Pinto has explored caves to study fossils of mammoths, elephants, rhinoceros, lions and leopards, work that affords new perspectives on the extinction of these creatures in southern Europe.

While excavating the Sopeña cave in northern Spain in 2002, Pinto discovered massive archaeological deposits produced by the continuous inhabitation of humans from Neanderthal times to the earliest arrival of our modern ancestors into Europe.

And now, the daily news from Mehr Unique column bases of Palace of Cyrus unearthed in Charkhab

Archaeologists have excavated three column bases with wonderfully unique masonry at the Palace of Cyrus the Great in Charkhab near Borazjan in Iran’s southern province of Bushehr, the director of the Iranian archaeological team working in the region announced on Saturday.

“The bases are from three of the four columns, which were located at the main gate of the palace. Archaeologists have not yet found the fourth one,” Ali-Akbar Sarfaraz added.

February 26, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:02 am

Yet another NW site found by construction crews Artifacts dug up at light rail bridge site

A significant Indian archaeological site has been uncovered on the banks of the Duwamish River exactly where Sound Transit plans to build columns to carry its elevated light rail line across the river.

Archaeologists hired to survey likely spots in advance of construction have discovered more than 900 artifacts in just several small digs so far, including fire-cracked rocks, stone tools, animal bones, shells and evidence of a structure with a hearth.

The site is believed to be more than several hundred years old, going back to a time before white people arrived in the Northwest.

Apparently not anywhere near as major a site as the one found in Port Angeles (the infamous Graving Yard site). This one may be fully excavated as well.


US hero’s relation’s body ‘found’

Archaeologists believe they have found the pioneer’s remains
Scientists may have found the bodies of two maternal relations of the man who established the first English-speaking colony in America in 1607.

They hope to find a DNA match of a relation of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold at a church in Stowmarket, Suffolk.

Archaeologists want to trace the relation to authenticate the remains of Gosnold found in the US.

Using radar they think they have found Gosnold’s niece’s remains at the St Peter and St Mary church.

Lost city. . . .not found yet. . .but they’re looking Expedition group to be split into three teams

The group that will be setting out in search of a lost city in Johor will be split into three teams and enter three different parts of the possible location of the ancient site, most likely in early April.

Department of Museums and Antiquities director-general Datuk Dr Adi Taha said the area located around the Linggiu River would be divided into Kangkar, Kahang and Madek.

“We are writing a research proposal to guide us in this research and to have a more focused approach with the same level of expertise at the different locations.

“We have identified the areas and the approach will be concentrated at the mentioned areas. Archaeologists from the universities have agreed to work together,” he said yesterday after chairing a meeting between various parties.

Oxford Center Raises Controversy

Ancient Alexandria was famed for its philosophical disputes, and that tradition is very much alive in excavations now under way in the Egyptian port. Scholars are hotly debating a controversial agreement that gives a nonscientist, French businessman Franck Goddio, control over underwater archaeological data collection for Oxford University. At a conference held in December–a coming-out party for Oxford’s new Center for Maritime Archaeology–dozens of scholars discussed new finds (see main text). But others avoided the event, arguing that contracting out the leadership of maritime digs to nonscientists sets a poor precedent.

Subscription-only link. The gist is found in these sentences: But Goddio’s deal with Oxford raises concerns among many maritime archaeologists uncomfortable with turning over part of the scientific process to those who lack formal training. . .Robert Grenier, head of Ottawa’s Parks Canada maritime archaeology unit, adds that Goddio’s record is big on coffee-table books but small on scholarly publications.

and

Cunliffe insists that skilled nonscientists can make an enormous contribution because retrieving information from underwater digs is so technologically intensive and expensive. The choice he sees is to ignore nonscientists’ expertise and funding, or to find a creative way to work with it.

It is controversial. Much work could be done with private money, but at what cost? The true difference between professionals and amateurs is in the publication. A dissertation isn’t just a device that one does to show that one has “paid his/her dues”, it’s a testament to the ability to carry out original, significant research. Something that contributes to the field of knowledge rather than to the load-bearing abilities of coffee tables. We are confident that some of these joint ventures can be productive scientifically, but that needs to be demonstrated beforehand and judged ruthlessly. Once it’s gone you can’t go put it back together.

February 25, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:12 pm

This weeks’ EEF news as promised:

“Curse of King Tut haunts mourning woman”
http://iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=qw1108983601114B221
The SCA will repatriate from South Africa a scarab believed stolen from the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

“Mubarak congratulates the eminent French Egyptologist”
http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/050221/2005022130.html
“President Hosni Mubarak sent a congratulation cable to the 92 years old French archaeologist Christiane Desroches Noblecourt on the occasion of her obtaining the highest French decoration for her distinguished contributions in Egyptology.”

“Livonia firm’s X-ray system will help unravel ancient Egypt’s mysteries”
http://www.detnews.com/2005/wayne/0502/23/B03-98436.htm
“Mikron Digital Imaging Inc. has developed a portable system for digitally X-raying artifacts and some researchers believe the technology will become an indispensable tool at museums and archaeological digs.”

A press report about an upcoming ‘loft sale’ in Taunton, Cornwall, of a 13th c. collection which includes “part of a carved wood coffin panel, a bird figure, a New Kingdom parchment fragment, a spearhead in bronze, and a figure of Teti.”
http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=144694&command=displayContent&sourceNode=144660&contentPK=11816479

“A Rich Handover”: a cache of stolen antiquities in Cairo was recoverd.
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/731/eg7.htm
” The collection includes a number of anthropoid sarcophagi, painted mummy masks, Ancient Egyptian ushabti figurines (wooden statuettes), limestone reliefs, necklaces, amulets, and scarabs, as well as a group of Graeco-Roman statues, Islamic vessels, clay chandeliers and coloured textiles.”

Online dissertation: Andrzej Cwiek, Relief Decoration in the Royal Funerary Complexes of the Old Kingdom. Studies in the Development, Scene Content and Iconography, Institute of Archaeology, Faculty of History, Warsaw University, Warsaw, 2003. xxxv, 357 pp., 98 figs. on 60 unnumbered pp. – pdf-file: 16.4 MB
“It is the ancient Egyptian kingship that is the true subject of this work. Decoration of the royal funerary monuments, alongside with the architecture, statuary programme, texts and cult arrangements, expressed an idea
fundamental for the Egyptians: that of a man existing in between the two realms, the one of humanity and the one of gods.”
http://www.gizapyramids.org/pdf%20library/cwiek_royal_relief_dec.pdf

Online version of: Jan Assmann, Preservation and Presentation of Self in Ancient Egyptian Portraiture, in: Peter Der Manuelian (ed.), Studies in Honor of William Kelly Simpson, vol. 1, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1996,
pp. 55-81 – pdf-file: 5.1 MB
http://www.gizapyramids.org/pdf%20library/assmann_fs_simpson1996.pdf

Online version of Chapter 1: Introduction, pp. 1-28 of Barbara Johnstone, Discourse Analysis, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford / Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001. Pb., ISBN: 0631208763, price: USD 40.95, GBP 19.99
info about the book:
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/book.asp?ref=0631208763&site=1
“The discourse to be analyzed here [in this chapter] consists of what might be called popular Egyptology, in the form of advertising for and informational material about a museum exhibit called ‘Splendors of Ancient
Egypt.’” – pdf-file: 218 KB Can Cyprus claim world’s oldest perfumery?

gypt’s Queen Cleopatra showed how to woo members of the opposite sex with it, the French may have perfected it, but it is the Cypriots who can now lay claim to the world’s oldest perfumery.

Nestled among the overgrown weeds on a Cypriot hillside offering stunning views of the Mediterranean, is a pit containing circular imprints which held perfume jars which Italian archaeologists believe is the oldest source of the multi-billion industry of today.

“This is 4,000 years old. Without a doubt, it is the oldest production site for perfume in the world,” said Italian archaeologist Maria Rosaria Belgiorno, team leader of a mission excavating the Pyrgos-Mavroraki site 55 miles southwest of Cyprus’s capital Nicosia.

Artist’s conception of what an ancient Cypriot perfume spokesmodel may have looked like:

Archaeology Rapid Response Team update Island storms uncover medieval bones

SEVERE storms which hit Orkney last month have exposed human skeletons at a historic burial site.

Now a team of archaeologists are racing against time to excavate and study the site before the sea destroys it altogether.

The January storms revealed the remains on the foreshore below St Thomas’s Kirk and the broch at Hall of Rendall, near Tingwall. The Orkney Archaeological Trust informed Historic Scotland of the damage, and a decision was taken to move forward an excavation planned for this summer.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:57 pm

Busy day here at ArchaeoBlog’s spacious metropolitan offices. Consequently, we will be posting some items (including EEF news) later on this afternoon.

February 24, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:29 pm

Pun alert! House decides to dig deeper into archaeology issue

The House of Representatives has backed away from a proposal to transfer the state archaeologist and staff to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Instead, a substitute bill passed Tuesday calls for a study of where best to put these experts — destination not specified, as long they are kicked out of their present home in the state Division of State History.
“What that means,” commented Duncan Metcalfe, curator of archaeology at the Utah Museum of Natural History, “is that they can choose the second best.”

Ewwww. . . . Archaeologists Baffled by Headless Bodies Find

Archaeologists have been left mystified by the discovery of 36 decapitated bodies, it was revealed today.

Experts from the York Archaeological Trust unearthed the skeletons of 49 young men and seven children at a Roman cemetery they discovered in The Mount area of the city.

But they were stunned to find that most of the men had had their heads chopped off, while another was bound with iron shackles.

Out from underfoot

Southwest Ranches · It wasn’t a housing development or retail complex that put a prehistoric Indian site at risk.

It was a herd of cows.

Although registered with the state as a protected site, few residents know that deep in Southwest Ranches is a former Everglades tree island, with artifacts from a civilization dating back more than a thousand years.

We here at ArchaeoBlog really like cows and hope some accomodation may be made for them.

1st century Buddha relics unearthed near Taxila

A group of South Korean team of archaeologists has discovered rare artefacts dating back to the early Kushan period in the 1st Century AD near the ancient city of Taxila.

According to The News, archaeologists have unearthed more than 200 remains, including one Buddha stupa belonging to the Buddha civilisation in Jaulian near Taxila. The Jaulian monastery is located atop the hill some 300 feet high, about six kms northeast of the Taxila Museum.

Saving Norwich market’s history

Archaeologists from Norfolk Archaeological Unit are working closely with Norwich City Council to ensure that important remains of the historic market place in Norwich are not lost during the current refurbishment works.

The market, established between 1071 and 1074, is one of the oldest and largest in England. It once contained major buildings such as the Market cross, first built in 1411 and which stood over 60 feet high. This structure contained a chapel on top of a plinth 30 feet wide.

The refurbishment works require reduction of the entire area of the market by nearly two feet in depth, destroying almost all surviving medieval deposits. Staff of the Norfolk Archaeological Unit have therefore been appointed to ensure that any archaeological features, surfaces and finds are recorded.

Santa Fe civic center update Archaeologists: Stop Civic Center

The Santa Fe Archaeological Review Committee recommends the city avoid building a new civic center at the site of the Sweeney Convention Center because of the remains of a pre-Columbian village at the downtown site.

But two city councilors reached Friday said the report won’t necessarily stop plans for a new center there.

“The preference is not to go ahead with it, but, if we do, that we get somebody good to come in and do the rest of the archaeology and try to get the best picture of what’s down there and then also incorporate it into the design,” said Councilor Karen Heldmeyer.

Heh. Probably swooped in by Blackhawk helicopter — with trowels drawn! Experts have bones to pick on seashore

A RAPID response archaeology team has been sent to Orkney after storms exposed skeletons on the shore below St Thomas’ Kirk.
Orkney Archaeological Trust informed Historic Scotland of the damage and the decision was taken to move forward a planned excavation which Historic Scotland had agreed to fund this summer.
The team will excavate, record and assess storm damage to the medieval graveyard at the kirk and the broch at Hall of Rendall.

Not too much coming over the wires today besides that. EEF news should be arriving shortly, and we’ll post that. . . .errrrr, whenever. Probably tomorrow actually.

In the meantime, enjoy some pictures of dairy cows:

This one is out standing in his field. (Okay, her field. Probably).

This is what happens when Cows Go Bad:

A lovely cow in bas relief:

EEEEK!

What cows do most of the time:

This one is called “Dairy Cow Incarnate”:

And finally, an “Awwwwww…” cow:

February 23, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:44 pm

Were bigger brains really smarter?

Bigger is smarter is better. That’s the conventional wisdom for why the human brain gradually became three times larger than the ancestral brain.

“But bigger brains were not generally smarter brains,” said neurobiologist William H. Calvin at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Feb. 18. “Thanks to the archaeologists, we know that our ancestors went through two periods, each lasting more than a million years, when toolmaking techniques didn’t gradually improve, despite a lot of gradual brain size increase.”

Field school alert This was sent to us by a colleague. Sounds pretty good as students even get paid for working.

Please let your students know about a paid internship opportunity sponsored by
the National Science Foundations Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
program and the University of Michigan. Students will participate in archaeological field work and undertake their own research project, which will become a component of a public outreach project at the Homolovi Ruins State Park in northeastern Arizona. This program is an exciting collaboration between archaeologists with long-term research interests in the Homol’ovi area and museum studies professionals.

Here is website address for information and an application (due April 1,
2005):
http://www.lsa.umich.edu/umma/umma_detail/0,2644,13904%255Farticle%255F26996,00.html

You can also find the information on the Museum of Anthropology website at http://www.lsa.umich.edu/umma, go to the faculty and student resources, then field training opportunity, then Homol’ovi Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:09 am

Update on cooperative humans All For One? Why Humans Cooperate

Despite the fact that humans sometimes fight fiercely among themselves, one of our most distinctive human traits is our willingness to cooperate with others. Why we are like that is one of the really big questions confronting evolutionary psychologists.

“The fact that people cooperate is quite mysterious,” says Robert Kurzban, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. “People are constantly talking about how organisms are competing, but one thing that humans do that’s distinctive is they cooperate in groups.”

Of course, we wonder what precise relevance a bunch of college students might have to Homo habili.

Okay, maybe a LOT. But that’s not important right now. . . .

Neanderthal update For Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, Was It De-Lovely? (Free reg required)

he scientists did not get around to the nitty-gritty question until the fourth hour of a two-and-a-half-day symposium on Neanderthals, held recently at New York University.

A strong consensus was emerging, they agreed, that the now-extinct Neanderthals were a distinct evolutionary entity from modern humans, presumably a different species. They were archaic members of the human family, robust with heavy brow ridges and forward-projecting faces, who lived in Europe and western Asia from at least 250,000 years ago until they vanished from the fossil record about 28,000 years ago.

Neanderthals may have seen their first modern Homo sapiens some 100,000 years ago in what is now Israel. The two people almost certainly came in contact in Europe in the last centuries before the dwindling Neanderthal population was replaced forever by the intruding modern humans.

Good review article on the state of Neanderthal/Homo relations.

Convert back to grayscale, please Color Restored to Ancient Sculptures

Spurting red blood and flowing black dreadlocks are just a few of the details revealed on ancient sculptures at a Web site devoted to virtual color restoration, a growing trend that has resulted in a recent Vatican Museum exhibit on colored statues, as well as actual restoration of the world’s best-preserved painted sculpture.

Before these projects, most all Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman and other early sculptures only were seen in the monotone colors of the sculpture’s primary material, such as clay or marble, even though many of the objects originally were covered with gilt and bright paints.

AIIIIIEEEE!!!!

Probably the reaction they wanted, however.

Gold! Digs at Archontiko, Pella uncover more gold-clad warriors

The gold of the ancient Macedonians still gleams on the soldiers’ uniforms being unearthed by excavations in the ancient necropolis of Archontiko in Pella.

Fully armed Macedonian aristocrats, gold-bedecked women in elaborate jewelry, faience idols and clay vases of exceptional beauty had lain concealed for centuries in 141 simple rectangular trench graves that were discovered recently in the ancient settlement.

In their tombs, Macedonian officers wore armor and — in the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods — were equipped for the journey after death with coins for Charon, copper utensils made by local metalworkers, and rare incense or oil containers with the war of the giants depicted in relief.

We’d never thought of that Panda skeleton found in ancient tomb

The skeleton of a giant panda has been found in a 4,000-year-old tomb in central China.

Wu Xianzhu from the Hubei Provincial Archaeology Research Institute says the giant panda was most likely part of a burial ritual.

Wu says pigs and dogs have been used in burials as funerary objects since the early New Stone Age, dating back about 8,000 years.

We probably should have assumed pandas — cute little buggers that they are — would have been in tombs, but we are distressed to learn they may have been hunted.

Mohr from Mehr Archaeologists save 2500-year-old shards of Tang-e Bolaghi

A team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists collected 4000 shards, some dating back to about 2500 years ago, from Tang-e Bolaghi, which will be flooded by the waters of the Sivand Dam, the director of the Iranian archaeological group said on Wednesday.

Situated in Fars Province, Tang-e Bolaghi is located only four kilometers away from Pasargadae, the first capital of the Achaemenid dynasty (about 550-331 B.C.) and the residence of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire. Pasargadae was registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List last July.

That’s the great thing about pottery sherds, you can get a good sample of ‘em in a couple of hours, since there’s so many of the durn things lying around. Good to see they’re getting the attention usually reserved for gold, silver, and inscribed tablets.

A Place to Rest for German Kings

Usually the western city of Aachen gets all the press — at least when it comes to Charlemagne. It was the favorite residence of the emperor and served as the principal coronation site of Holy Roman emperors and German kings from the Middle Ages to the Reformation.

But now Aachen’s been upstaged somewhat since an archeologist at the Roman-Germanic Museum in Mainz has uncovered part of an armrest that supported Charlemagne’s royal left arm when he was visiting the city of Mainz.

February 22, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:22 pm

Well, thanks to the geniuses at Microsoft who have still managed to create an operating system (i.e., XP) that any random Singaporean grade school student could completely disable with a simple VB script in an afternoon (not to mention knocking off a more secure and robust OS the next morning), we lost an entire post after a complete system crash (that don’t occur anymore because, you know, XP is so much better). Please deluge Microsoft with emails requesting that they recreate said post for you.

Heck, maybe even ask a random Singaporean grade school student to write a quick VB script to co-opt thousands of Windows computers worldwide to forward said email. . . .

Picking up where we left off. .. . .

“Evolving to Eat Mush”: How Meat Changed Our Bodies

Meat-eating has impacted the evolution of the human body, scientists reported today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Our fondness for a juicy steak triggered a number of adaptations over countless generations. For instance, our jaws have gotten smaller, and we have an improved ability to process cholesterol and fat.

Our taste for meat has also led us into some trouble—our teeth are too big for our downsized jaws and most of us need dental work.

Interesting article, although it doesn’t really give any answers to the question of Why We Started Eating Meat. We find the whole chimps/gorillas analogy somewhat dubious, since it assumes modern chimps and gorillas are somehow suitable analogs for , say, Australopithecines and H. habili, but the genetic work sounds interesting.

And now for something completely different. . .

We here at ArchaeolBlog continue to scour the Web for anything of possible interest to our faithful readers. To wit, we were alerted to a new web site called Egyptomania.Org dedicated to “the fascination with ancient Egypt and its myriad manifestations”. The site is still under construction, but we urge readers to go check it out and send along any suggestions to the site designers for content.

Also along those lines, we can also suggest Egiptomania.com for our Spanish-speaking denizen. Also of interest is Gavin’s Egyptomania Pages with a LOT of cultural items with Egyptian influences from art to advertising (especially the Rameses underwear!) to 1920s cigarette cards.

Also check out George Mason University’s American Egyptomania site.

We here at ArchaeoBlog are also quite fond of art deco stuff, which may or may not be a result of its roots in archaeology early in the last century. Explore this connection more at Jackie Craven’s Art Deco pages at About.Com.

February 21, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:42 am

Stop the. . .bulldozers! City Urged To Avoid Building on Indian Village Site

A city committee of archaeologists has recommended that Santa Fe leaders avoid building a new civic center on a downtown site because of concerns that construction could ruin an undisturbed Indian village buried there.
The group’s recommendation Thursday follows the same recommendation from Museum of New Mexico archaeologists this week, who, during excavations last fall, found what appears to be a relatively undisturbed village dating to between A.D. 1350 and 1400. The settlement, possibly a Tewa village, is concentrated in the area around the Sweeney Convention Center, City Hall and federal buildings across the street to the north.

This: One idea floated during Thursday’s meeting was to build a section of the civic center that keeps intact any unearthed pueblo village remnants in a public viewing area — might be kind of a neat idea, though who knows if it’s architecturally feasible or not. One would think a convention center with a set of preserved ancient buildings displayed within would be a big draw.

Also from Albuquerque. . . Groups sue over Paseo extension

Work hasn’t started on pushing Paseo del Norte through Petroglyph National Monument, and a lawsuit seeks to keep it that way.

A coalition of environmentalists, activists and archaeologists filed a lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque, Mayor Martin Chavez, the City Council and the city Department of Municipal Development seeking to halt all work on the controversial project.

It is the latest skirmish in a battle extending over years, pitting developers and traffic-weary West Side residents against groups seeking to preserve the 1.4-mile stretch of Petroglyph National Monument from potentially damaging effects of the commuter route.

Yes, do it Peoria weighs hiring own archaeologist

The city will consider hiring a part-time archaeologist and will explore other ways of protecting ancient Native American cultural sites turned up as development invades desert areas.

At a City Council study session Tuesday, city staff agreed to research various strategies, such as having trained volunteers watch the sites and arranging for storage of items found there.

Items could be stored with archaeologists who survey the sites, at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson or at a city-owned site.

Hot issue: Who gets access to artifacts in Alabama’s rivers?

One of the hottest debates at the Alabama Legislature has nothing to do with taxes, budgets or pay raises. It’s about access to the artifacts submerged in the muddy rivers throughout the state.

The battle pits divers and amateur collectors against historical groups and descendants of Alabama’s earliest residents.

It’s so hot that a hearing Wednesday on the issue drew about 100 people to the Statehouse_ far more than attended a hearing the same day on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

This:

“No group of bureaucrats ought to have the right or authority to shackle private people,” said Archie Phillips, host of an outdoors TV show in Birmingham and no relation to Steve Phillips.

George Ewert, director of the Museum of Mobile and a member of the Historical Commission’s maritime advisory council, said the public wouldn’t want someone with a metal detector digging up state parks to look for old coins, and the same standard should apply to state-owned waters.

seems to slam-dunk the issue if, in fact, rivers and what not are actually state property.

Good for them Italians and Iranians Join to Save Bolaghi Ancient Sites

A joint team of Italian and Iranian experts will start next week to explore the ancient cemeteries and settlements of Bolaghi gorge, behind the Sivand Dam, as part of the project to save the archeological site.

Bolaghi little valley, located 84 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae, in Fars province, has once been, according to some experts, home to the King Road. The Road is considered the major ancient road of Iran which connected Pasargadae to Persepolis and Susa, and includes some remains as old as the time that human beings were cave dwellers, to the prehistoric era, up to the Islamic times.

Update on Mexican pyramid sub-atomic physics project Cosmic Rays to Solve Ancient Mexican Mystery

Sub-atomic particles created by cosmic rays from space are to be used to probe a giant Mexican pyramid and solve one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries.

Investigators are to install detectors beneath the Pyramid of the Sun that look for muons – charged particles generated when cosmic rays hit the atmosphere which continuously shower the Earth.

They hope the rate at which muons pass through the pyramid will reveal any hidden burial chambers inside.

Archeologists discover St Paul´s tomb

Vatican archeologists believe that they have identified the tomb in Rome´s St Paul Outside the Walls basilica, following the discovery of a stone coffin during excavations carried out over the past three years.

Catholic World News reports that a sarcophagus – or stone coffin – which may contain the remains of St Paul has been identified in the basilica, according to Giorgio Filippi, a archeology specialist with the Vatican Museums.

“The tomb that we discovered is the one that the popes and the Emperor Theodosius (379- 395) saved and presented to the whole world as being the tomb of the apostle,” Filippi reports.

More later.

We promise this time.

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