Park rangers who patrol the combined 8,500 acres of the Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain battlefields try keep a close eye on the sprawling woods, fields and monuments.
But careless visitors and deliberate thieves can damage historic sites, which historians say are irreplaceable pieces of large historical puzzles.
“(Artifacts) are not like a tree,” said Guy Prentice, an archaeologist with the Southeastern Archaeological Center in Tallahassee, Fla. “Once they’re disturbed, that can never be regained.”
February 27, 2009
THE tale of the swift Geelong schooner the Miranda may not be exactly like a Dirk Pitt novel but it is still exciting.
It is 1881 and loaded with 600 bags of potatoes the Melbourne-bound boat took to calm oceans but soon hit a storm and ended up in Davey Jones’ locker.
The crew survived.
The spuds were never seen again.
The Israel Antiquities Authority on Monday announced the discovery of a large building dating to the time of the First and Second Temples during an excavation in the village of Umm Tuba in southern Jerusalem.
The excavation was conducted by Zubair Adawi on behalf of the antiquities authority, prior to the start of construction there by a private contractor.
The archaeological remains include several rooms arranged around a courtyard, in which researchers found a potter’s kiln and pottery vessels. The pottery remains seem to date from the eighth century B.C.E. (First Temple period).
According to the antiquities authority, the site was destroyed along with Jerusalem and all of Judah during the Babylonian conquest.
Cottrell is the base’s cultural resource officer. For 14 years she has been picking over the desert terrain, identifying and assessing sites that contain 2 million-year-old fossils, petroglyphs and the remnants of mining operations. She identifies the locations and tells the Marines to stay out.
Other military bases, particularly those in sensitive ecological areas, have similar personnel. They keep the guns and tanks from destroying the heritage of areas under military control.
At Twentynine Palms, Cottrell says the system works well.
The Marines, she says, “are pretty good about not violating that space. Once every two or three years, you have to fuss at someone. But they’re easy to work with. You only have to tell them once and they get it.”
I can imagine you wouldn’t have too many looters trying to sneak in either. . . .
February 26, 2009
Like a toy surprise in a box of Cracker Jacks – er, slightly water-logged Cracker Jacks, that is – a Civil War era shipwreck turned up among Hurricane Ike debris.
The discovery, thought to be previously uncharted, was made by crews last week scanning the bays around Galveston to chart debris.
While the find came as a kind of fun surprise to the contractors doing the work, State Marine Archeologist Steve Hoyt was pleased – but not terribly surprised.
“There have been nearly 2,000 ship wrecks (in Texas coastal waters), with a lot of those concentrated around the Galveston area,” Hoyt said.
A biochemical analysis of a rare Clovis-era stone tool cache recently unearthed in the city limits of Boulder, Colo., indicates some of the implements were used to butcher ice-age camels and horses that roamed North America until their extinction about 13,000 years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study.
The study is the first to identify protein residue from extinct camels on North American stone tools and only the second to identify horse protein residue on a Clovis-age tool, said CU-Boulder Anthropology Professor Douglas Bamforth, who led the study. The cache is one of only a handful of Clovis-age artifact caches that have been unearthed in North America, said Bamforth, who studies Paleoindian culture and tools.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 25, 2009) — A new facility opening later this year at the Diamond synchrotron is set to revolutionise world heritage science. A new research platform soon to be available at the leading UK science facility, Diamond Light Source, will help uncover ancient secrets that have been locked away for centuries. For the first time ever, cultural heritage scientists will be able to scan and image large relics and artifacts up to two tonnes in weight in incredible precision. They will no longer be restricted to examining small items.
Speaking at the AAAS Meeting in Chicago Dr Jen Hiller, Diamond’s resident archaeologist, announced that the UK synchrotron will open a powerful new experimental station this autumn. Called the Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing (JEEP) beamline, it will carry out experiments in a variety of areas including the growing field of world heritage science.
Very neat. I thought it was just another 3D scanner but it’s really a powerful X-ray scanner allowing for inside views. Like a high-energy CT scanner that can image metal as well.
The George Washington University professor Brian Richmond and his colleagues have discovered a set of 1.5 million-year-old human ancestor footprints in Kenya that show the earliest direct evidence of a modern human style of upright walking called bipedalism. The discovery of ancient hominin footprints is an incredibly rare event, and the new prints are the second oldest in the world after the 3.7-million year-old prints in Laetoli, Tanzania, making this one of the most important discoveries in recent years regarding the evolution of human walking. For the first time ever, research establishes a methodology for three-dimensional analysis and comparison of ancient human footprints.
Matthew Bennett, Bournemouth University professor and lead of the study, said, “Our findings from Ileret show that by 1.5 million years ago, hominins had evolved an essentially modern human foot function and a style of bipedal locomotion that we would recognize today.”
Not the oldest — that’s still Laetoli — but thse are supposedly in the Homo line rather than Australopithecus.
More good stuff found: Wooden sarcophaguses found in Egypt tomb
Japanese archaeologists working in Egypt have found four wooden sarcophaguses and associated grave goods which could date back up to 3,300 years, the Egyptian government said on Thursday.
The team from Waseda University in Tokyo discovered the anthropomorphic sarcophaguses in a tomb in the Sakkara necropolis, about 25 km (15 miles) south of Cairo, the Supreme Council for Antiquities said in a statement.
With photos. The top one looks like some of it is covered in pitch with the designs engraved into it.
February 25, 2009
The most puzzling aspect of the jokes in the Philogelos is the fact that so many of them still seem vaguely funny. Across two millennia, their hit-rate for raising a smile is better than that of most modern joke books. And unlike the impenetrably obscure cartoons in nineteenth-century editions of Punch, these seem to speak our own comic language. In fact, the stand-up comedian Jim Bowen has recently managed to get a good laugh out of twenty-first-century audiences with a show entirely based on jokes from the Philogelos (including one he claims – a little generously – to be a direct ancestor of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch).
You just can’t keep a good fart joke down, as they say.
Long article but worth reading. Also see Ancient Egyptian humor.
All of which are roughly 1023 times as funny as your average Russian joke:
Stirlitz was walking through the forest when he saw two eyes staring at him in the darkness. “An owl,” thought Stirlitz. “You’re an owl yourself!” thought Müller.