March 31, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:17 am

Breaking news. . . From Aayko at EEF:

Press report: “New discovery in Luxor”

“An Egyptian-Spanish archaeological team, operating on the West
Bank in Luxor, have discovered a room housing the tomb of the
foreman responsible for decorating all the temples and palaces
in Thebes in the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. The discovery also
includes a collection of wooden and clay artifacts. “

Just guessing: with “tomb” they probably mean the entry to the
tomb chamber which could be in a corner of the transverse hall
of the tomb (like in the tombs of Paser and Amenemopet)?

Another press report pinpoints it at Zira Abu al-Naga [Dra Abu
el-Naga], and speaks of a “34 metre “hall” located in a rock
cut tomb (..) which opens into the tomb area”:
“Pharaonic tomb may hold ancient secrets”

Found inside are “inscriptions on its walls and scenes that explain
religious rituals practised by ancient Egyptians [rather than "sermons"]
and show how they dug tombs.”

And a third press report: “Parlour of Hatshepsut time unearthed”

This one reveals the name of the tomb owner as “Gihoti” [surely:
Djehuty - also the name of Hatshepsut's overseer of the treasury]
and adds that also a game board and house utensils were found.

Aayko Eyma

Stay tuned. . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:43 am

The debate continues. . . Is It All Loot? Tackling The Antiquities Problem

On March 6, at the New School in New York, Michael Kimmelman, The Times’s chief art critic, moderated a discussion about antiquities and their provenance. He opened by delving into the topic of the Euphronios krater, a 2,500-year-old Greek bowl that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently agreed to return to Italy. Here are excerpts, edited for clarity, from the conversation:

Some highlights:

JAMES CUNO: The same people who argue for agreements like Unesco say the illicit trade in antiquities has increased exponentially. Actually, the trade has gone elsewhere than to museums. Museums are collecting far fewer objects of antiquity than ever before. But private collectors are not. And those private collectors may not be in the United States. They may be in the Gulf states, in Japan, wherever. What the agreement has done is drive the market from the public to the private domain.

KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH: The Unesco system shares an assumption that the goal is to get everything into some public domain. I think that for the vast bulk of art, the right place for it to be is in the private world, governed by market rules. It’s a very important fact about art, including antiquities, that it enriches the lives of people who live with it, not just people who visit museums.

That is, museums are not buying much of the stuff anymore so the market has shifted to private collectors.

DE MONTEBELLO: Between 1970 and 2006, we’re talking about 36, 37 years, during which time a great number of very substantial objects of great merit have found their way into collections and onto the market. Archaeologists say we should not buy them. Then what should be done with them? Condemn them to oblivion? Or bring them into the public domain and to the attention of possible claimant nations?

CUNO: Or what about the Dead Sea Scrolls? We don’t know where they were found. Some Bedouin showed up with them. Should people have said, Nope, sorry, we can’t touch them? That’s the choice museums now are told to make.

And here’s an interesting exchange:

DE MONTEBELLO: If one of those tablet fragments Elizabeth Stone spoke about earlier chanced upon her desk with a fascinating inscription on it but no legitimate provenance, she would not be allowed to publish it: the Archaeological Institute of America forbids it.

STONE: And I won’t.

DE MONTEBELLO: Does that advance knowledge?

STONE: No, but when you publish, as a scholar, you’re authenticating the object. And when you authenticate it, its value goes up.

As I’ve repeatedly said, a sticky problem.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:42 am

Italians find ancient Ur tablets

Italian archeologists working in Iraq have found a trove of ancient stone tablets from the fabled civilisation of Ur .

The tablets bear around 500 engravings of a literary and historical nature, according to team leader Silvia Chiodi .

“This is an an exceptional find,” she said, noting that the area in question had previously only yielded prehistoric artefacts .

She said the tablets, made of clay and bitumen, were discovered by chance at an archaeological site not far from the location of the ancient city .

March 30, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:54 pm

Italians find ancient Ur tablets

Italian archeologists working in Iraq have found a trove of ancient stone tablets from the fabled civilisation of Ur .

The tablets bear around 500 engravings of a literary and historical nature, according to team leader Silvia Chiodi .

“This is an an exceptional find,” she said, noting that the area in question had previously only yielded prehistoric artefacts .

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:35 pm

And now. . . .news from theEEF

The season reports 2003-2004 of the archaeological mission in Schedia
(a Ptolemaic-Roman town 30 km SE of Alexandria) are available online at:

At the Columbia University, Excavations at Amheida website (Dakhleh Oasis Project site no. 33/390-L9-1), the Director’s Report 2006 has appeared online:
(Source: Andie Byrnes’ blog –
Cp. EEF NEWS 360 for earlier season reports.

[Submitted by Michael Tilgner]
“Dakhleh Oasis Project”
The following reports have been added:
– “Report on the 2003-2004 season” – 72 pp., pdf-file (22.7 MB)
– “Report on the 2004-2005 season” – 139 pp., pdf-file (15.5 MB)
Cp. EEF NEWS 312 for earlier season reports.

[Submitted by Michael Tilgner]
“Belzoni – Killjoy woz ere”
“While agreeing with Caminos, that both ancient and modern graffiti can
be of historical and philological significance, and that both should be
recorded by the epigraphist, the writing of modern graffiti on ancient
monuments must be discouraged.”
pdf-file (109 KB) of this article:

Michael Rostovtzeff, A large estate in Egypt in the third century B. C. :
a study in economic history. Madison, 1922. 209 pp. (University of
Wisconsin studies in the social sciences and history 6). PDF, 7.64 MB. [Ed. Looks interesting but sloooooooow loading.]

Salvador Carmona and Mahmoud Ezzamel, “Accounting and Forms of
Accountability in Ancient Civilizations: Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt”,
paper presented at the Annual Conference of the European Accounting
Organisation, 2005. PDF, 138kB.

[Submitted by Michael Tilgner]
Online version of: Kevin Cain, Philippe Martinez, “Multiple Realities:
Video Projection in the Tomb of Ramsses II”, paper presented at the Congress
of Cultural Atlases: The Human Record, May 7-10, 2004, University of
California, Berkeley – pdf-file (1.3 MB)
“Here we present a new approach to archaeological reconstruction, in which
we project digitally reconstructed iconography within a damaged Egyptian
tomb. Combining video projection, computer animation, and digital
compositing, a kind of ‘plural space’ is generated in the tomb’s burial
chamber; this work is designed to enable visitors to view elements that were
destroyed in antiquity. Also, we suggest that the act of projecting computer
graphics reconstructions onto the walls of the tomb mirrors the ritual
animation of the tomb’s inscriptions during the Egyptian ‘opening of the
mouth’ ceremony. Our applicationmis grounded in art installation,
traditional archaeology, and the use of computers as theatre.”

Errrrr. . .what?
[Submitted by Elisabeth Kerner
* The metal band 'Nile' have several albums out and are currently
on a world tour. See:
"They do proper research and even sometimes sing/chant in ancient Egyptian. Well worth checking out!" [EK]

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:47 pm

More on the House of Ajax Archaeologist links ancient palace, Ajax

Among the ruins of a 3,200-year-old palace near Athens, researchers are piecing together the story of legendary Greek warrior-king Ajax, hero of the Trojan War.

Archaeologist Yiannis Lolos found remains of the palace while hiking on the island of Salamis in 1999, and has led excavations there for the past six years.

Now, he’s confident he’s found the site where Ajax ruled, which has also provided evidence to support a theory that residents of the Mycenean island kingdom fled to Cyprus after the king’s death.

“This was Ajax’ capital,” excavation leader Lolos, professor of archaeology at Ioannina University, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Seems to make a better case for it than the earlier article did, though obviously it’s a ways from being definitive.

But at least it’s very clean. . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:45 pm

Neale archaeological dig into fifth month

LAST Tuesday marked the five-month anniversary of the erection of ‘temporary’ traffic lights at The Neale and with no clear light at the end of the tunnel, the local Councillors are demanding answers from Mayo County Council, as they wonder exactly how long more this situation will continue.

Now the council has said that it is looking to get more staff on the site to speed up the work. Last year, the Council began work on a stretch of road between The Neale and Cross, in an effort to realign and redevelop the R334. Initially, motorists had welcomed the work on the R334, as there was a clear need to reduce the incline on the road and fill in the valley that existed. However, in late October, when workers on this stretch of road uncovered an area of archaeological importance and were forced to call off all works until the site had been fully excavated, the road was immediately reduced to one line of traffic.

Apparently there is a need for more archys but they’re having trouble finding enough to work on the site.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:43 pm

Lost civilization wells. . .found 1,000-year-old wells discovered in central China

Chinese archaeologists have discovered 18 ancient wells dating back 1,000 years in Ezhou City in Central China’s Hubei Province.

The wells, located at the ruins of the ancient capital of the Wu Kingdom (A.D. 222 to 280), lie side by side in a variety of shapes, such as cylindrical and polygonal.

The well mouths were found 2.5 meters underground, with diameters ranging from 0.8 meter to 2.2 meters and depths from 4 to 12 meters. The building materials of the wells include earth, china clay, brick and wood.

Totally unsure what the significance here is.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:41 pm

Saloon archaeology update Archaeologist shares the dirt on Virginia City

Kelly Dixon believes there’s a lot more to western archaeology than digging up coins and old bones.

Dixon, an assistant anthropology professor at the University of Montana, and author of “Boomtown Saloons: Archaeology and History in Virginia City, Nevada,” is excited about “discoveries that deepen the understanding of saloon diversity to include women and African Americans.”

“African-American women are a double minority historically, so when you can find the DNA of a woman on a tobacco pipe stem from an African-American saloon, you’re able to insert tidbits of the past back into history books,” Dixon said.

See more on Dixon here.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:22 am

Extinctions update More evidence chicxulub was too early

A new study of melted rock ejected far from the Yucatan’s Chicxulub impact crater bolsters the idea that the famed impact was too early to have caused the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

A careful geochemical fingerprinting of glass spherules found in multiple layers of sediments from northeast Mexico, Texas, Guatemala, Belize, and Haiti all point back to Chicxulub as their source. But the analysis places the impact at about 300,000 years before the infamous extinctions marking the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, a.k.a. the K-T boundary.

Using an array of electron microscopy techniques, Markus Harting of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands has found that chemical compositions of the spherules all match what would be expected of rocks melted at the Chicxulub impact. The spherules are now found in several layers because after they originally hit the ground, they were “reworked” by erosion to create later layers of sediments, he said. It’s this reworking long after the impact that has misplaced some of the spherules into sediments that, based on the fossils in the same sediments, are misleadingly close to the K-T boundary.

Upshot: Chicxulub was too early to have caused the K-T extinctions and also the irridium layer seen worldwide. The article suggests that the irridium layer may have been caused by numerous smaller particles depositing their irridium in the atmosphere without actually colliding with the earth’s surface. Still missing is a cause of the extinctions. But see other posts on this elsewhere.

Also compare to this: Climate blamed for mass extictions

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