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.
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.
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).
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.