August 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:48 pm

Pipeline Project Makes Unintentional Historic Find

It’s being called one of the biggest infrastructure improvements for the nation in 25 years but as the 1,700 mile Rocky Mountain Natural Gas pipeline winds into the Tri-State, it’s making history in a way no one expected. Archaeologists said that what excavators found near Brookville, Ind., is so significant that it could help rewrite history books.

The workers uncovered what seems to be evidence of an unknown previous settlement that dates back thousands of years.

Some of the evidence that have been uncovered so far dated back 600, 1,000 and even 5,000 years old, archaeologists said.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:45 pm

Dead Sea Scrolls go from parchment to the Internet

More than 2,000 years after they were written, the Dead Sea Scrolls are going digital as part of an effort to better preserve the ancient texts and let more people see them than ever before.

The high-tech initiative, announced Wednesday, will also reveal text that was not visible to the naked eye.

Over the next two years, the Israel Antiquities Authority will digitally photograph and scan every bit of crumbling parchment and papyrus that makes up the scrolls, which include the oldest written record of the Bible’s Old Testament.

The images eventually will be posted on the Internet for anyone to see.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:21 pm

Prelimary report on Acadian village of Petite-Rochelle is released

People have been able to learn more about the excavations and the history of the long-gone Acadian village of Petite-Rochelle during talks which took place last week.

La Societe Historique Machault held three three separate events between Aug. 14 to 16 on the history of Petite-Rochelle and what has been learned from the archealogical digs that were conducted on the site where the village is believed to have stood.

During the first two meetings, the rooms were full, and the third was able to attract some thirty people at the Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site. Michel Goudreau, vice president of the Society explained that the public has expressed great interest in this story.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:08 pm

‘Pristine’ Amazonian region hosted large, urban civilization, study finds

They aren’t the lost cities early explorers sought fruitlessly to discover.

But ancient settlements in the Amazon, now almost entirely obscured by tropical forest, were once large and complex enough to be considered “urban” as the term is commonly applied to both medieval European and ancient Greek communities.

So says a paper set to appear Friday in Science co-authored by anthropologists from the University of Florida and Brazil, and a member of the Kuikuro, an indigenous Amazonian people who are the descendants of the settlements’ original inhabitants.

“If we look at your average medieval town or your average Greek polis, most are about the scale of those we find in this part of the Amazon,” said Mike Heckenberger, a UF professor of anthropology and the lead author of the paper. “Only the ones we find are much more complicated in terms of their planning.”

The paper also argues that the size and scale of the settlements in the southern Amazon in North Central Brazil means that what many scientists have considered virgin tropical forests are in fact heavily influenced by historic human activity.

There’s a LOT in that little article from the definition of what ‘cities’ are to what this means for ecological models that use the current landscape as ‘pristine’. That latter isn’t really new, but this ought to broaden the hypothesis beyond the Maya areas. I should be getting that issue tomorrow, too.

August 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:45 pm

A Small Empire Built on Cuddly and Fuzzy Branches Out From the Web

CALENDARS and coffee table books filled with pictures of cute, cuddly kitties and sad-eyed puppies have been around for decades. So what explains the success of Cute Overload, a new page-a-day desk calendar that recently shot to the top of its category on Amazon.com and, more remarkably, to the upper ranks of the site’s overall best-sellers list?

Stranger still, the birth of Cute Overload was almost purely accidental. Meg Frost, a 36-year-old design manager at Apple, started cuteoverload.com three years ago to test Web software. Within months, it became an online institution, drawing about 88,000 unique visitors a day — about the same as the political gossip blog Wonkette. BoingBoing linked to Cute Overload, saying that viewing the site “is like taking a happy pill.”

. . .

Ms. Frost will not talk about how much money she has made from the site, although it is enough money that she recently hired two part-time assistants.

See what I have to compete with????

I should try something like that.

Look at this perfectly adorable archaic point!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:20 pm

Tech-savvy Neanderthals couldn’t blame their tools

Some researchers have argued that this technological leap gave modern humans a decided advantage over Neanderthals, who went extinct in Europe around 28,000 years ago. They claimed that humans produced and wielded blade tools more efficiently than disc flakes.

“I put this to the test, I created thousands of tools,” Eren says. He and his colleagues focused on the process of creating the tools, not just the final product.

. . .

Disc flakes, Eren’s team discovered, waste less rock, suffer fewer breaks and have more cutting edge for their mass compared with straight blades.

There’s a lot that goes into stone tool technology so it’s difficult to make out what the significance is. Various researchers (e.g., Parry and Kelly 1987, McDonald 1991) have argued that a conversion to sedentism is often accompanied by a shift to more simple expedient tool production; more or less opposite of what one usually thinks of as ‘progress’. And it’s not like this is a new debate or anything.

REfs:
Parry, W. J., and R. L. Kelly
1987 Expeient core technology and sedentism. In The Organization of Core Technology, edited by J. K. Johnson, and C. A. Morrow. Westview Press, Boulder and London.

McDonald, M. M. A.
1991 Technological organization and sedentism in the Epipaleolithic of Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt. The African Archaeological Review 9:81-109.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:18 pm

Pictured: Divers discover amazingly preserved shipwreck of HMS London on bottom of Thames

The largest-ever post-war salvage operation on the Thames has discovered seven shipwrecks up to 350 years old.

They include a warship that was blown up in 1665, a yacht converted to a Second World War gunboat, and a mystery wreck in which divers found a personalised gin bottle.

The vessels, in the Thames Estuary, are just some of about 1,100 ships which went down in the whole of the river.

There are pictures at the link which appear to be #D renderings of sonar images or otherwise computer-generated.

August 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:11 pm

Unearthing long-buried secrets

The more dirt archaeologists clear away, the more old secrets they uncover.

Crews have discovered 58 whole and partial skeletons behind the old Broadway School and expect that number to climb easily past 60. They’re uncovering an old graveyard, cut through and ravaged by periodic construction during the past century.

A team from Landmark Archaeology spent the past two weeks unearthing more than a dozen people buried on either side of a thick concrete wall on the western edge of the site. Archaeologists found skeletons cut off at the ankles by the wall on the Robinson Avenue side and cut off just above the shoulders on the eastern side.

Maya caves

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:09 pm

Night-Vision Dogs and Underwater Pyramids: Bad-Ass Archaeologists Discover. . uhhh. . . .wait a minute. . .”Bad-Ass Archeologists”? There’s a new one! Portal to Maya Underworld

Even though real archaeology isn’t remotely like the way it’s portrayed in the movies, it still sounds like a pretty cool way to make a living. What adventure-loving soul wouldn’t have enjoyed working alongside Guillermo de Anda as he found fourteen caves filled with temples and pyramids in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula? National Geographic (of course) brings us the news of de Anda’s recent discovery, which reveals much about what the Mayan people believed about death and the afterlife.

Not much there, but anything with that title had to be posted.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:06 pm

Mounds supporters hope for a takeover

Timothy R. Pauketat, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign archaeology professor, has spent close to 25 years poking around the earth near Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville looking for relics of the centuries-old village that once dominated the site.But with a state budget crisis, massive cost concerns and reduced staffing, Pauketat and others who support the ancient ruins are asking why state leaders don’t hand Cahokia Mounds over to a new, better-funded owner: the federal government.

“Given the recent efforts with state economy and the cuts, yes, I think that would be a good idea,” Pauketat said.

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