February 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:21 pm

19 th-century Greek divers paved way for Lake Erie team

In 1884, the Archaeological Society of Athens attempted a survey of the Straits of Salamis.

Using Greek divers, the team attempted to locate shipwrecks associated with the sea battle of 480 B.C. when the Greek fleet defeated the invading navy of the Persian King Xerxes.

The report languished in obscurity for so long probably because it was, according to the society’s secretary, “a complete failure.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:20 pm

Early Europeans unable to stomach milk

The first direct evidence that early Europeans were unable to digest milk has been found by scientists at UCL (University College London) and Mainz University.

In a study, published in the journal ‘PNAS’, the team shows that the gene that controls our ability to digest milk was missing from Neolithic skeletons dating to between 5840 and 5000 BC. However, through exposure to milk, lactose tolerance evolved extremely rapidly, in evolutionary terms. Today, it is present in over ninety per cent of the population of northern Europe and is also found in some African and Middle Eastern populations but is missing from the majority of the adult population globally.

Dr Mark Thomas, UCL Biology, said: “The ability to drink milk is the most advantageous trait that’s evolved in Europeans in the recent past. Without the enzyme lactase, drinking milk in adulthood causes bloating and diarrhoea. Although the benefits of milk tolerance are not fully understood yet, they probably include: the continuous supply of milk compared to the boom and bust of seasonal crops; its nourishing qualities; and the fact that it’s uncontaminated by parasites, unlike stream water, making it a safer drink. All in all, the ability to drink milk gave some early Europeans a big survival advantage.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:20 pm

‘First’ Sicilian woman gets face

The face of a late Stone Age woman who lived in Sicily has been reconstructed by a sculptor working with anthropologists at Palermo University.

The skeleton of the woman, who lived 14,000 years ago, was discovered in a cave near Messina in 1937, along with the incomplete skeletons of six other humans, presumably her family.

The face was reproduced using reconstruction techniques that calculate the appearance of features from the form of the cranium. The same techniques have been used recently to recreate the faces of Egyptian pharaohs and Italy’s own Count Ugolino, a 13th-century Tuscan noble whose bones were found in 2001.

Somewhere, a sculptor is being severely haunted by the ghost of a 14,000 year old Sicilian woman.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:06 pm

UNESCO experts tour controversial Jerusalem dig

A team of experts from UNESCO toured on Wednesday an Israeli archaeological excavation that Muslims fear could damage Islam’s holiest site in Jerusalem.

Israel says the dig, 50 meters (165 feet) from a religious compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, will do no harm to the Dome of Rock and al-Aqsa mosques on the plaza, which overlooks Judaism’s Western Wall.

Israeli archaeologists began what they called a “rescue excavation” at the site on February 7 to salvage artifacts before planned construction of a walkway leading up to the complex, where the two biblical Jewish Temples once stood.

The dig touched off violent Muslim protests in Arab East Jerusalem, which includes the walled Old City where the compound is located.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:43 am

Lost Tomb of Jesus update The Washington Post has a story on the brewing kerfuffle wherein William Dever weighs in on the supposed significance of this group of names:

Dever, a retired professor of archaeology at the University of Arizona, said that some of the inscriptions on the Talpiyot ossuaries are unclear, but that all of the names are common.

“I’ve know about these ossuaries for many years and so have many other archaeologists, and none of us thought it was much of a story, because these are rather common Jewish names from that period,” he said. “It’s a publicity stunt, and it will make these guys very rich, and it will upset millions of innocent people because they don’t know enough to separate fact from fiction.”

The fact that Jacobovici is bringing in the James ossuary as a legitimate find really weakens the whole thing from the get-go. Still, I’m not overly concerned about their broadcasting it. Throw it out there and let everyone criticise it.

Dever kinda blew a perfect opportunity for a wicked pun though: “I’m not a Christian. I’m not a believer. I don’t have a dog in this fight,” said William G. Dever . He really didn’t have a. . .god in this fight.

Maybe he’s just dyslexic. . . . .

February 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:56 pm

Mummy found

In New York.

But of fairly recent vintage:

Police called to a Long Island man’s house discovered the mummified remains of the resident, dead for more than a year, sitting in front of a blaring television set.

The 70-year-old Hampton Bays, New York, resident, identified as Vincenzo Ricardo, appeared to have died of natural causes. Police said on Saturday his body was discovered on Thursday when they went to the house to investigate a report of a burst water pipe.

“You could see his face. He still had hair on his head,” Newsday quoted morgue assistant Jeff Bacchus as saying.

And there’s video! Not of the stiff though. Apparently his house had a rather low humidity. Probably would have had to have died in winter sometime, else one would presume even the house atmosphere would have not been able to dessicate the body. But, who knows. And, as FFT (hat tip) notes, why was a blind guy sitting in front of a turned-on TV?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:18 pm

Skull man suffered bad toothache

A human skull found in woodland in Buckinghamshire belonged to an 18th Century man with severe toothache.

The skull was found on 7 January by a member of the public walking his dog in Wendover Woods near Aylesbury.

Forensic archaeologists took DNA samples from a tooth and dated the skull between 1757 and 1788.

“Skull Man”. Must be one of them Skeleton People.

This is also a strange link at the bottom of that page: The European Constitution returns with this picture:

Looks Egyptian. Can’t tell who it is though.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:15 pm

Tourist invasion threatens to ruin glories of Angkor Wat

It has survived the collapse of the sophisticated civilisation that built it, centuries of consumption by the suffocating jungle and the nihilism of the Khmer Rouge, who beheaded its stone Buddhas and used its walls for target practice. Now, Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Wat complex is facing the biggest threat in a millennium – the fastest-growing tourist onslaught of any World Heritage site, which conservationists warn is already damaging its treasures irreparably.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:13 pm

Find of Roman coin shows ancient Britons in a new light

Experts are excited about a rare coin unearthed by an amateur treasure hunter which could change the accepted ancient history of Britain.

The silver denarius which dates back to the Roman Republic — before Julius Caesar made Rome an empire — was unearthed near Fowey in Cornwall.

Dating from 146 BC, it shows how ancient Britons were trading with the Romans well before the country was conquered in AD 43.

“It proves that there was a lot more going on between the continent and ourselves,” said Anna Tyacke, Finds Liaison Officer at the Royal Cornwall Museum.

February 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:37 pm

Connecticut housing site could hold ancient graves, artifacts

The Connecticut state archaeologist has asked the private developer of a high-end residential complex to conduct an archaeological survey of the site, which is located near the mouth of a tidal river where indigenous people hunted, fished, grew corn, beans and squash, and buried their dead thousands of years ago.

State archaeologist Nick Bellantoni said the 42-acre Madison Landing site near the Hammonasset River, where LeylandAlliance LLC, of Tuxedo, N.Y., plans to build 127 units of age-restricted houses and condominiums, has a ”high probability” of being an ancient American Indian site.

A pre-contact Native site located on the property is documented in the state’s archaeological site files. The site was reported to the state more than 30 years ago by people who said they had found stone tools there. The property includes a small-plane airport that recently shut down after 60 years of operation.

That’s a pretty good article. That publication has seemed to produce some pretty good articles in the past, too.

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