April 30, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:57 am

We owe relative ease of our lives today to families like the Hatts and Cooleys

Like war monuments that help remind us of those who gave their lives for our freedom, cemeteries are monuments to remind us of lives that once were like our own. Ones that should never be forgotten, or swept aside because of the passage of time. They created our towns. We have a duty to care for them.

We have a great place to live in this area not just because of the people who now reside here, but also because of the people who came before us and shaped it into what it is today. The most important of these are the very first settlers who had the courage to carve out of the wilderness a better place to live and to share with their fellow neighbours. Things it seems today most people take for granted.

This is opinion piece directed at a developer wishing to move a cemetery. This sort of controversy is likely to continue coming up more often as cemeteries that were once on the periphery are now in suburbs and exurbs. Sticky situation. In some cases, it might be a draw to hve a nice, quiet, neatly maintained cemetery nearby, but often it’s on prime land. There is some point to developers’ arguments that many of these cemeteries are largely forgotten and poorly maintained, especially small ones in rural areas. I’d like to hear more about what local people are doing about old cemeteries, so email or post a comment if you have anything to add.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:56 am

Village to give up its secrets

THE buried past of a Fenland village is about to be unearthed with the help of an archaeologist from TV’s Time Team programme.

Carenza Lewis will lead the big dig at Wisbech St Mary next week when at least 10 sites throughout the village will be excavated over two days.

Owners of land throughout the oldest part of the village have been asked to give permission for excavations to take place. The test pits of a square metre will also go down about one metre.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:39 am

History Is Moved, One Skeleton at a Time

The dirt that was trowled out of the graves was put into buckets, which were emptied atop a chicken-wire screen and sifted. Each bone fragment and coffin nail was retrieved.

“We’re going at a slower pace, just to try and get everything,” said Charlie Rinehart , the senior archaeologist.

The conditions of the skeletons varied. A few had clumps of hair. Others were crumbling into dust. All of the people were buried so the tops of their heads pointed west. Their sightless eyes faced east and the rising sun.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:23 am

Ajax’s long-lost palace discovered on island

On a deserted green hill above the Aegean Sea, archaeologists have unearthed what may be the palace of Ajax, one of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology.

From a rocky outcrop among the tranquil ruins, it is easy to imagine the warrior-king of Homer’s Iliad setting sail from the island for Troy more than 3 300 years ago, as crowds lined the pine-covered slopes to wave farewell.

The idyllic location on Salamina island perfectly matches historical references, a fact which led archaeologists to wonder whether the scattered stones here might have formed one the most famous kingdoms of pre-historic Greece.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:21 am

Shifting Ground in the Holy Land

Clutching a Bible and a bag of oranges he picked at the kibbutz where he lives, Haifa University archaeologist Adam Zertal climbs into an armored van beside me. A vehicle full of soldiers is in front of us; two Israeli Army vans are behind us. The convoy sets off through the heavily guarded gates of the settlement of Karnei Shomron and onto a dusty mountain road in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Through bulletproof windows six inches thick, we soon see the Palestinian city of Nablus in the valley below. After ten minutes the convoy stops, and an officer from the lead vehicle, an Uzi automatic weapon slung over his shoulder, runs back to consult with Zertal’s driver in Hebrew. “We are waiting for clearance for this section of the road,” Zertal tells me. “There has been trouble here in the past.”

It’s the full article so be sure to read it all if it’s of interest.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:20 am

Late Bronze Age in Aegean a Century Older, Study Says (Update1)

Radiocarbon dating pushes some events in the middle of the second millennium B.C. 100 years back into the past, possibly revising history in the Aegean Sea area near Greece and Turkey, a study in tomorrow’s Science said.

“A new story may be written on the origins of early classical and Aegean civilization, which effectively becomes much of Western civilization,” said Stuart Manning, a Cornell University professor of classics.

The findings concern a critical time for development of Late Bronze Age cultures in the Aegean, Cyprus, Anatolia and others and may change how cultural relations are viewed in the period, said Manning, the lead investigator, in a telephone interview from London. The conclusion solves one of the big challenges to archeologists in the past 30 years, he said.

More here.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:18 am

Mark Rose at Archaeology.Com throws cold water on the Bosnian pyramids:

And there it is. A self-described archaeologist, who believes the Maya and others are descended from Atlanteans who came from the Pleiades, has been accepted as a legitimate researcher by many news outlets. His ideas of early pyramids in Bosnia, which is simply not possible, has been accepted as a major discovery. How could this happen?

If you want to categorize this farce, it seems a standard-issue “amateur/maverick confounds establishment with great discovery” story, which no doubt makes it appealing to uncritical reporters looking for a big story. This kind of tale is a staple of the pseudoarchaeology or fantastic archaeology genre. And the term “pyramidiot” has been applied to those obsessed with pyramids and who offer strange interpretations of them on websites and in books and televsion programs.

April 28, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:07 pm

Donald Sensing says that single-author blogs are the wave of the past and that videoblogging is the wave of the future. Okay, so I can see if I were a young, attractive female, videoblogging might send my hit count up. Y’all can see that, right? Lounging on a couch, staring seductively into the webcam. . . .”Today from Mehr News we hear that the Burnt City has offerred up yet another treasure, this time a cache of red-burnished vases that appear to date 300 years earlier than archaeologists previously thought.”

Yes, indeedy, 2,000-a-day right there.

And here I discover the occasional (prefectly integral to the story, of course) picture of Keira Knightley only fetches maybe 5-6 extra hits.

OTOH, if I could get Scarlett Johansson to do the videoblogging, I’d hit both up-and-coming trends at once and soar to altogether new heights of blogging success. . . .

April 27, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:43 pm

Let’s hope so Czech archaeologists may uncover royal palace in Egypt

Czech archaeologists have a chance to uncover a royal palace and a royal government seat from the Pharaohs’ era in Abusir, Egypt.

Miroslav Verner, long-term head of the Czech archaeological expedition in Egypt, told the Czech Archaeology Abroad conference that the royal buildings were probably situated at the border between the Nile valley and large burial grounds.

Czech archaeologists have also uncovered a number of shaft graves in Abusir dating back to 530-525 B.C.

One of the large tombs they have studied belonged to admiral Wedjahor-Resne, labelled as “the traitor of Egypt” over his collaboration with the Persians, said Czech Egyptologist Ladislav Bares.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:35 pm

Good question Archaeology: Digital digs: Archaeologists are bringing past worlds vividly to life on the computer screen. But are the high-tech graphics helping science, or are they just pretty pictures?

There’s more than one way to sink a ship, as Donald Sanders knows. President of the Institute for the Visualization of History in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Sanders spends a lot of his time repeatedly sinking a vessel off the coast of Cyprus.

The ship isn’t real — it’s a computer model of a vessel that sank in the fourth century BC. Sanders is trying to recreate what happened when the ship went down, leaving nearly 500 intact amphorae, or storage vessels, to be found centuries later on the sea floor. By loading his ship with a virtual crew and cargo, then sinking it in a number of different potential disasters, Sanders hopes to find a sequence of events that closely matches the archaeological evidence, and so work out might have happened centuries ago.

That’s a good article. One might add, however, that a lot of archaeologists are probably wary of this stuff because the actual explanatory power of it is . . .at best, unclear most of the time. Sure it looks nice, but most archaeologists are more interested in theoretical models of how people adapt, organize their societies, etc., rather than just recreating what it looked like. No doubt it can be useful and is appealing to the general public, but it’s a lot of expensive work for returns that basicaly don’t get you published in mainline journals. Very often.

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