Spain’s seabed goldmine
Freak storms, the gall of audacious pirates or the guns of rival navies all sent them to the bottom while they sailed the perilous India Run, bringing treasures from Spain’s colonies in the Philippines and the Americas. Marine archaeologists believe that lying under the waves in the Mediterranean alone could be sunken treasure worth ¿100bn (£73bn), but all acknowledge the real value will probably never be known. Elsewhere, scattered around parts of the globe, in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific, lie more sunken millions. Now, hundreds of years after the gold baubles and silver ducats went to the bottom of the briny, there is an international battle to lay claim to this treasure.
Centuries on from the Spanish conquistadores, their modern descendants are determined the millions in gold and silver will not be claimed by 21st-century pirates who employ hi-tech gear to retrieve the treasures.
This is an update on earlier stories relating how countries are attempting to lay claim to wrecks outside of their territorial waters by arguing that they were, for example, Spanish ships then and should still be Spanish ships now.
Non-archaeological post Tied Up in Knots: Anything that can tangle up, will, including DNA
Call it Murphy’s Law of knots: If something can get tangled up, it will. “Anything that’s long and flexible seems to somehow end up knotted,” says Andrew Belmonte, an applied mathematician at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. Belmonte has plenty of alarming anecdotal evidence. “It certainly happens in my house, with the cords of the venetian blind.” But the knot scourge is a global one, as anyone who owns a desktop computer can confirm after peeking at the mess of connection cables and power cords behind the desk.
Now, scientists think they may have found out how and why things find their way into knotty arrangements. By tumbling a string of rope inside a box, biophysicists Dorian Raymer and Douglas Smith have discovered that knots—even complex knots—form surprisingly fast and often.
YES. I was thinking about this the last few weeks as I was getting extension cords unraveled to put up Xmas lights. I vaguely remembered something about a special mathematics that described knots and tangles forming. It always amazes me how you can carefully coil up a cord, flops it on the ground, plug it in and start dragging it away and THE FRICKIN’ THING SPONTANEOUSLY KNOTS UP. Infuriating. A friend of mine and I spent like an hour in an Egyptian apartment untangling wires for some pieces of equipment and I remember him adminishing me that, whatever you do, don’t pull on it. Hardest thing to do.
Anyway, it’s a pretty good article. Via Insty.
A paper from the British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan has a free paper up: The possible existence of Third Intermediate Period elite tombs at el-Ashmunein. I should probably post a permalink to that site as all of the papers are downloadable for free.
Al-Ahram has a review of the Egyptian finds from 2007.
civilization civili-. . .hey! Archaeologists discover remains of 2500-year-old advanced civilization in Russia
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2500-year-old advanced civilization at the bottom of Lake Issyk Kul in the Kyrgyz mountains in Russia.
According to a report in RIA Novosti, the team consisted of Kyrgyz historians, led by Vladimir Ploskikh, vice president of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, and other Russian colleagues, like historian Svetlana Lukashova.
The expedition resulted in sensational finds, including the discovery of major settlements, presently buried underwater.
More here. There’s not a lot of explanation as to why the lake levels rose except to attribute it to various events like earthquakes.
civilization pyramid. . . .found Ancient pyramid found in central Mexico City
Archeologists have discovered the ruins of an 800-year-old Aztec pyramid in the heart of the Mexican capital that could show the ancient city is at least a century older than previously thought.
Mexican archeologists found the ruins, which are about 36 feet (11 metres) high, in the central Tlatelolco area, once a major religious and political centre for the Aztec elite.
Since the discovery of another pyramid at the site 15 years ago, historians have thought Tlatelolco was founded by the Aztecs in 1325, the same year as the twin city of Tenochtitlan nearby, the capital of the Aztec empire, which the Spanish razed in 1521 to found Mexico City, conquering the Aztecs.
There’s junk all over the place, but it’s the date that’s significant.
Yeah, light on the posting the last few days. Busy! I’ve had to get a paper in shape among other things and at home it’s been busy as well. I finally got the ArchaeoWife’s computer set up, mostly with the wireless network and transferring files and such. And, um, watching bowl games. The “Meineke Car Care Bowl” is on now, UConn and Wake Forest. I admit to not particularly liking the whole corporate bowl idea. Lame. I noticed over the years that various bowls went from, say, the Orange Bowl, to the FedEx Orange Bowl to the FEDEX orange bowl. I always liked the bowl system, anachronistic as it is, but if we end up with all-corporate bowls then bring on playoffs as far as I’m concerned. Thankfully the Rose Bowl has stayed the Rose Bowl, albeit nowadays it’s starting corporate creep: it’s the Rose Bowl presented by Citi.
I’ve only been to two bowl games, both in Seattle at the short-lived Seattle Bowl. I saw Georgia Tech vs Stanford in the first one (played in the baseball stadium) and Wake Forest against Oregon in the second, played at Seahawks Stadium. The latter is a NICE place for football. I guess they both made money, but there was little enthusiasm for it. Two of the old Hawaii bowls moved one year and one went to Seattle and the other went to San Fran. as the Emerald Bowl, which is still around. I still have a single souvenir from the first one, a Seattle Bowl pint glass. I can’t even find one on eBay so they’re obviously quite rare and valuable.
Anyway, UConn just ran back a punt for a TD. Must continue regular archaeoblogging.
Book unearths village past
THE publication of a book about an archaeological project which unearthed fascinating discoveries in Downley has brought the past back to vivid life.
The scheme, which saw schoolchildren digging holes and people scurrying through the woods with strange contraptions, won £23,000 of lottery funding.
A free book of the findings is available to anyone who wants to learn more about the village’s intriguing past.
Dr Jill Eyers, a geologist and archaeologist from Pusey Way, Lane End, was one of the guiding lights of the project. She said: “I’m feeling a bit like Santa, giving away all these books. I have been overwhelmed – people are absolutely loving them. I have had them saying to me how wonderful it is.
Archaeologists Dig in the Panhandle
Kristy Mickwee is in a hole. But she is in no hurry to climb out; this hole has yielded treasure.
“Most of it came from this lighter area,” she said, pointing out the different layers of earth with her spade.
Mickwee is part of a University of West Florida archaeology team surveying 168 acres of the Falling Waters State Park in Chipley. During the past few weeks, the team has dug the park full of “shovel tests” in search of American Indian artifacts. Fieldwork was extended because of the bountiful findings.
Ancient petroglyphs rest among suburban sprawl
An ancient 40-ton jungle gym of sorts, the massive burnt umber boulder anchors a neighborhood park and beckons suburban kids to clamber over its mysterious Anasazi etchings.
And climb aboard they do, sometimes even attempting to scratch their own marks before the adults run them off, neighbors say. Archaeologists typically warn against even smudging natural skin oils on the chiseled drawings or the rock’s natural mineral glaze so they won’t slowly melt away.
“I’ve climbed on it,” acknowledged Melissa Cornwall, whose in-laws live next to backyard-sized Petroglyph Park in the city’s Bloomington subdivision, near the meeting place of southern Utah’s Great Basin and the Mojave Desert. “It’s just kind of cool to see something from the old, ancient people who used to live here, and to think what it used to look like before all the houses were here.”