May 31, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:21 pm

Loch Ness update Man says he’s got a new Loch Ness video

She’s as much an emblem, and a tourist draw, as tartan, bagpipes, and shortbread. And now Nessie’s back. An amateur scientist has captured what Loch Ness Monster watchers say is among the finest footage ever taken of the elusive mythical creature reputed to swim beneath the waters of Scotland’s most mysterious lake.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this jet black thing, about 45-feet long, moving fairly fast in the water,” said Gordon Holmes, the 55-year-old a lab technician from Shipley, Yorkshire, who took the video this past Saturday.

He said it moved at about 6 mph and kept a fairly straight course.

OOOooooo another small, dark lump moving around in the water. That certainly seals it!

May 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:03 pm

European Man Found in Ancient Chinese Tomb, Study Reveals

Human remains found in a 1,400-year-old Chinese tomb belonged to a man of European origin, DNA evidence shows.

Chinese scientists who analyzed the DNA of the remains say the man, named Yu Hong, belonged to one of the oldest genetic groups from western Eurasia.

The tomb, in Taiyuan in central China, marks the easternmost spot where the ancient European lineage has been found.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:57 pm

Evidence from ancient European graves raises questions about ritual human sacrifice

A fascinating new paper from the June issue of Current Anthropology explores ancient multiple graves and raises the possibility that hunter gatherers in what is now Europe may have practiced ritual human sacrifice. This practice � well-known in large, stratified societies � supports data emerging from different lines of research that the level of social complexity reached in the distant past by groups of hunter gatherers was well beyond that of many more recent small bands of modern foragers.

Due to their number, state of preservation, richness, and variety of associated grave goods, burials from the Upper Paleolithic (26,000-8,000 BC) represent an important source of information on ideological beliefs that may have influenced funerary behavior. In an analysis of the European record, Vincenzo Formicola (University of Pisa, Italy) points to a high frequency of multiple burials, commonly attributed to simultaneous death due to natural disaster or disease.

The interesting part seems to be this: This practice – well-known in large, stratified societies – supports data emerging from different lines of research that the level of social complexity reached in the distant past by groups of hunter gatherers was well beyond that of many more recent small bands of modern foragers. Which would tend to (further) undermine the idea that modern groups of H-G’s can serve as useful analogs for ancient ones. Must check the actual paper out though. Can’t tell if these are new graves or a review of previously ublished material.

Also see this piece on sacrifice in the Andes.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:55 pm

History at risk from erosion by the sea

KEY coastal sites which tell the story of Scotland’s ancient past are in danger of being washed away, experts warned yesterday.

Archaeologists said that historic treasures could be lost forever unless action is taken now.

The most endangered sites include Viking and Iron Age remains in Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides – where rare dry-stone brochs and Viking houses are threatened by global warming, rising sea levels, storms and erosion.

Researchers from the charity SCAPE – Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion, based at St Andrews University – expressed concern over the situation.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:47 pm

Archaeologists find skeleton of eleventh century child

Archaeologists have found the skeleton of a child aged two to four during excavations at Täby kyrkby to the north of Stockholm. The remains found inside a wooden coffin are thought to date back to the eleventh century.

As children’s graves from this period are so rare, the archaeologists were enthusiastic about the discovery.

“This is a unique find. We know that children are always the first to perish during bad times so it’s a bit strange that we haven’t found more,” archaeologist MatsVänehem told Dagens Nyheter.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:45 pm

Archaeologist discovers 1814 breastwork in Sackets Harbor

Part of long-forgotten War of 1812 fortifications have been rediscovered in Sackets Harbor.

Local archaeologist Dr. Timothy Abel says he has uncovered remains of a palisaded breastwork in the village.

Sackets Harbor was a major Navy base and shipbuilding site during the War of 1812. It saw heavy fighting during a brief British invasion in 1813.

There are several comments I could make right now.

But I won’t.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:43 pm

Time teams to dig up sites along planned extension to M74

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are being brought in to carry out excavation work on sites located along the proposed M74 extension.

They will dig up the city’s past ahead of construction work which will end a 40-year wait and complete the motorway.

Work could start as early as July ahead of construction work starting on the “missing link”next year.

Teams will work at a number of urban, industrial and abandoned brownfield locations along the five-mile route stretching from Cambuslang in Lanarkshire to Glasgow’s Kingston Bridge.

May 29, 2007

Shaveblogging update

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:14 pm

Quickie shaveblogging update

Back at this post I mentioned getting a Schick Quattro Titanium in the mail. Verdict thus far: Not great. Very uncomfortable the first day using my usual Noxzema-in-a-can. Next two days a gel worked better, but still hurt the further down my neck it went. Maybe my face has gotten all wussy from using a single blade, but I don’t think so. I use my old Sensor Excel twin blade every now and then and that feels fine. Nice and close though, on the cheeks anyway; either it sucks on the neck or it hurts too much down there to do a proper job.

Tomorrow I’m using cheap-ass Barbasol and then I’ll have a go with the Alba junk.

Automobile archaeology

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:09 pm

Automobile archaeology Hey, am I prescient or what? The newest Archaeology Channel video:

In 2006, University of Bristol archaeologists launched an innovative
project: “excavating” a 1991 Ford transit van, used by archaeologists
and others. This is an exercise in methodology: to see what can be
learnt about a commonplace but complex object through modern
archaeological analysis. It explores archaeology’s potential
contribution to understanding society’s use of such objects and
examines the very nature of contemporary archaeology. See in this
video how, amid science and method, a rusting transit van can conjure
up both enchantment and melancholy.

I’m actually rather dubious that these exercies really contribute much of anything to archaeological research, but at least they’re interesting.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:34 pm

Egyptology, archaeology, what’s the diff?

A topic on the EEF lists has been on ethics of Egytpologists, with a subthread of what the difference between Egyptologists and archaeologists is. FWIW, I think they’re two separate fields that overlap, not unlike that between zoologists and archaeozoologists.

When fresh-faced undergrads (or high schoolers) as me “ArchaeoBlog, what do I need to do to become an Egyptologist?” my first question back is to ask if they really want to be an “Egyptologist” or an “archaeologist who works in Egypt”. The stock answer is that Egyptologists are largely art historians/philologists who sometimes, but not necessarily always, use some archaeological techniques to obtain data. Archaeologists, conversely, sometimes but not necessarily always, use some analysis gleaned from Egyptological studies to further their archaeological aims.

Generally, I think, Egyptologists tend to go through Classics departments while archaeologists go through the archaeology departments. I suppose one could start all sorts of arguments here, but you can probably throw out a few generalities as well:

– Egytpologists tend to excavate tombs and temples; archaeologists go after settlements
– Egyptologists use archaeological data to enhance their text/epigraphic interpretations, while archaeologists use text/epigraphic sources to enhance their archaeological interpretations
– Archaeologists have different problem sets that range across civilizations worldwide, where Egytpologists concentrate more closely on the Middle/Near East.

Of course, a dozen Egyptologists right now could spend 25 pages debating those, but I’ll stick with the general propositions.

It’s been my experience that, at least among American archaeologists, and definitely among Americanist archaeologists, that Egyptologists and those archaeologists working in Egypt are sorta inferior, methodologically and theoretically. I would argue it’s probably a result of the whole New Archaeology fascination with Science and the hypothetico-deductive method. They’re probably right, in a way, that Egyptian archaeology is less methodologically developed and rigorous than that in North America. Much of that is historical; Egypt had abundant textual material that set up a good Egyptian chronology long before that of much of North America was established, and it was far easier to do, at least in the sense of requiring unintuitive methodologies (though see Predynastic Egypt). Egypt had king lists and tombs and temples and loads of inscriptions that structured the record while North American archaeologists had to develop chronologies using a combination of stratified sites and fairly sophisticated seriation techniques. And, not having any epigraphic data to interpret what they found in any sort of commonsense way, NA archaeologists have had to develop other methods of interpreting the rocks and stones and sticks and bones they found.

I know that the professor that directed my first project in Egypt had some struggles with other faculty members justifying the “seriousness” of the work there. The automatic response of NA people to anyone working in Egypt is sort of a mixture of envy and disdain. “Wow, Egypt, that sounds so exciting. But you’re just digging up cool stuff, while we’re doing Significant Archaeological Work.” Certainly, there are many who work in Egypt who found our anal retentiveness on sampling, stratigraphic techniques, and general proclivity toward recovering boring old sherds, sherds, and more sherds pretty, well, boring as snot. But then, people start talking about temple architecture and I’m asleep.

And yes, I still look with some suspicion on anyone who works in Egypt wearing khaki field coats and pith helmets. AND THERE ARE MANY.

But, eh, kind of a rambling post, but there it is. I could actually yak about this for hours. I shall spare you that.

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