June 30, 2008
You might be surprised what you can learn from a campfire. A campfire that has been cold for, say, 300 years.
Stacey Lengyel hopes she can tell, within 30 years or so, when it was used.
Lengyel, a research associate in anthropology at the Illinois State Museum, is the country’s leading authority on archeomagnetic dating, a process built around two phenomena: when heated, magnetic particles reorient themselves to magnetic north; and over time, magnetic north is, literally, all over the map.
A complete mandible of Homo erectus was discovered at the Thomas I quarry in Casablanca by a French-Moroccan team co-led by Jean-Paul Raynal, CNRS senior researcher at the PACEA laboratory (CNRS/Université Bordeaux 1/ Ministry of Culture and Communication). This mandible is the oldest human fossil uncovered from scientific excavations in Morocco. The discovery will help better define northern Africa’s possible role in first populating southern Europe.
The place is the Isis-Hathor Temple of Denderah, where the priests hasten along the columned aisle to witness an important event. The principal temple is dedicated to Hathor, whereas a small adjacent one is dedicated to Isis in which a statue of the goddess is located at the end of the aisle.
It is a little before 5am on 22 July, 700 BC, the summer solstice; the priests wait to watch Sirius rise and its rays penetrate the temple to fall on Isis’s gem. As they arrive the sun is still below the horizon, and they gaze impatiently for the apparent heliacal rising of the Dog Star. For the priests already knew that the appearance of Sepdet lasts only for a brief moment before Ra brightens the sky.
The “stylish” lives of the affluent have been unearthed at one of the “best preserved” Roman towns in Britain by a TV archaeology team.
A bath house, villa and artefacts including a penknife were found at Caerwent, Monmouthshire by Channel 4’s Time Team.
What are believed to be shop buildings on a Roman high street were also found during the dig by a team of 50.
June 28, 2008
A team of Egyptian archaeologists have discovered several painted wooden coffins, including some dating back to the 13th century BC rule of pharaoh Ramses II.
“These coffins were found in the tombs of senior officials of the 18th and 19th dynasties,” near Saqqara, Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Thursday.
“Some coloured unopened coffins dating back to the sixth century BC were found as well as some coffins dating back to the time of Ramses II,” who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC, he said.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered was appears to have been a jewellery workshop during excavations at the 5,000-year old Souskiou-Laona settlement.
According to the Antiquities Department, a dense concentration of the mineral picrolite in the west ridge of the cliff-top settlement indicates that the spot was a workshop for the production of the cruciform figurines and large pendants.
“The assemblage mainly consists of the raw picrolite material, possibly quarried from the Troodos Mountains rather than imported in pebble form from the Kouris River valley, many waste chips flaked from that raw material in order to reduce it to convenient form and a roughout for a probable figurine,” the Department said in a statement.
Paris has long been known to be a very old city but its history as a settlement has just been extended by more than 3,000 years.
An archaeological dig, whose findings were revealed yesterday, moves back Paris’s first known human occupation to about 7600BC, in the Mesolithic period between the two stone ages.
An area about the size of a football field on the south-western edge of the city, close to the banks of the river Seine, has yielded thousands of flint arrowheads and fragments of animal bone. The site, between the Paris ring road and the city’s helicopter port, is believed by archaeologists to have been used, nearly 10,000 years ago, as a kind of sorting and finishing station for flint pebbles washed up on the banks of the river.
A replica 3000-year-old Pacific canoe, modelled on the world’s first ocean-going vessels, has been tested in a world-leading Auckland wind tunnel.
Preliminary results show the canoes of the type sailed from New Guinea to Fiji, Tonga and Samoa about 1000BC were so well designed they could probably sail against the wind.
The 3m-long scale model has been tested and analysed in the University of Auckland’s Tamaki campus wind tunnel, famed for its role in America’s Cup yacht design.
Archaeologists have uncovered four Colonial Period graves and the remains of a fence that bound the community cemetery in Port Tobacco, according to the Port Tobacco Archaeological Project.
The remains were found during a two-week study of historic Port Tobacco. Volunteers from Maryland, New York and New Jersey participated in the excavation of four sites that had been identified during an archaeological survey of the Colonial town site last fall.