January 30, 2010

Bamboo books

Filed under: China — acagle @ 10:22 am

Rare Bamboo-Strip Books Discovered in Chinese Tomb

Archaeologists in China have discovered a trove of rare bamboo-strip books uncovered within an excavated tomb in Yancang, a village near Jingmen in Hubei province.

Experts believe the site dates back to the Warring States Period (475 BC to 221 BC) and hope that the books will reveal the name of the entombed owner; it is possible that the strips contain a written introduction by the owner of the tomb, “like a letter of recommendation the deceased would carry with them to the underworld to give Yanluo, the god of death,” Shen Haining, director of the provincial cultural heritage bureau, told China Daily.

Seem to be roughly equivalent to the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

WWI archaeology

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology, Forensic archaeology, Historic — acagle @ 10:20 am

Fromelles scots soldiers to be reburied

The remains of 250 World War I soldiers, including several Scots, who were killed in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles have now been recovered.

They will be reburied with full military honours at a new cemetery close to the site in northern France.

Relatives of Private John Smith from Forfar said it was important to give the soldiers a proper burial.

Previous stories on this here, here, and here.

Lunar archaeology

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 10:09 am

Yes, you read that right: Putting the moon in the state’s orbit

There are countless places on Earth that have been awarded protection to preserve their historic or cultural importance. The moon has none. But that may be about to change.

California is poised to become the first state to register the items at Tranquility Base as an official State Historical Resource. If the State Historical Resources Commission approves the idea at a meeting in Sacramento today, it would be a victory for scientists who want to build support for having Tranquility Base designated a United Nations World Heritage Site in advance of what they believe will be unmanned trips to the moon by private groups, and even someday by tourists. Proposals to place the items on historic registries in Texas and New Mexico are planned for later this year.

Read the whole thing. I would have thought Armstrong’s footprint would have been wiped out by them walking all over the place after he plopped down the first time.

Biblical archaeology update

Filed under: Biblical archaeology — acagle @ 10:04 am

Archaeology in Jerusalem: Digging Up Trouble

Because it involves burrowing near the geographic core of three faiths — Christianity, Islam and Judaism — archaeology in Jerusalem has always been fraught. All three religions believe that it was here, on a stony hill, under roiling clouds speared by light, that God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son. Christians also believe that Jesus walked, taught and was crucified in Jerusalem, and that he rose from the dead there. Muslims say that in the early days of Islam, Prophet Muhammad prayed first in the direction of Jerusalem before turning to Mecca, and that he was once transported by a flying horse to Jerusalem where he ascended to heaven. The city is embedded in the psyche of every Christian, Jew and Muslim.

More of an opinion piece than a news report, but there you go.

January 28, 2010

What I’m doing right now

Filed under: Blogging update — acagle @ 8:09 pm

Sitting downstairs, blogging obviously, with a heating pad under my sorry butt. Wiped it out again this morning. I say “again” because I’ve had problems with my lower back for years. It likes to spasm which, if you know what that feels like, is rather painful. It started about. . .10-15 years ago? More like 15. I don’t know if it came from squats (at the weight room) or something else, but squats have traditionally irritated it the most. Personally, I think squatting didn’t do it because I was doing >300 lbs for quite a while before it got hurt the first time. And I love squats, too, darn it. I was doing lunges with a fixed-track squat rack (they have a name but I forget what it is) and that did it. Not debilitating, and it ought to be fine by Saturday, but it still hurts.

My dad had lower back problems, so I’m sure there’s a genetic component. I’ve often read that this is an artifact of bipedality, such that the lumbar curve tends to weaken muscles, put pressure on the disks, etc. It rather appeals to me, but I’m not sure. We’ve apparently been bipedal to going on 5-7 million years now, so one would think. . .well, I dunno. Most of this doesn’t develop until later in life and it’s only recently that people have really been living long enough for a lot of stuff to occur.

Anyway, I’m sure our Pleistocene forebears must have been pseudo-squatting something analogous to a barbell. . .rack of giant beaver maybe.

More tombs, Maya this time

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:57 pm

Mexican archaeologist finds tomb in Mayan area, say it could shed light on collapse

Mexican archaeologists have found an 1,100-year-old tomb from the twilight of the Maya civilization that they hope may shed light on what happened to the once-glorious culture.

Archaeologist Juan Yadeun said the tomb, and ceramics from another culture found in it, may reveal who occupied the Maya site of Tonina in southern Chiapas state after the culture’s Classic period began fading.

Giza caves?

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 7:56 pm

There has been some discussion on the EEF lists the past couple of days on the “Giza caves” which I had never heard of. Turns out they were discovered (well, excavated/explored) by Hawass in 1999. Called the Shaft of Osiris it’s been flooded since. . .well, it doesn’t say since when, but presumably since the Aswan dam was built and the water table rose accordingly, I would think. turns out to be a pretty big complex. He mentions Herodotus naming it as the burial place of Khufu, but they found mostly remains from the Late period, and a few sherds which may be Old Kingdom. I wouldn’t rule it out as Old Kingdom in origin; it certainly could have been reused in later times after having been largely cleared of earlier remains.

But I thought that was way cool.

UPDATE: Also see Al Ahram’s article on Abydos.

January 27, 2010

More celebrity archaeology

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:04 pm

Back in harmony: Jett and Currie boost “The Runaways”

Joan Larkin “was told by my parents I could do anything I wanted. So I wanted to be an astronaut or an archaeologist.” At least until she heard the proto-punk music of Suzy Quattro and Gary Glitter. Then she changed her name to Joan Jett, fought with the high school music teacher who informed her girls don’t play electric guitar, and became the driving force behind L.A.’s first all-girl rock band, and eventually a feminist icon.

Ooogh, they have unkind words for Rush, one of my favorite bands. Gotta hand it to Jett and Billy Idol, they haven’t changed much.

UPDATE: Interview with Jett here.

Zahi Hawass on money

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 8:00 pm

Egypt Relics Chief Pulls in Revenue as He Fights for Nefertiti

Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt’s antiquities department, promotes his country’s cultural treasures with a showman’s skills and an entrepreneur’s instincts.

His Indiana Jones-style hat and vest and television- documentary appearances put an Egyptian face on Egyptology after two centuries of foreign domination, he says. His goals include recovering icons such as a 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti from abroad and restoring national pride in Egypt’s relics — even in someone else’s museum.

Some pretty choice quotes in that article, such as this one on his efforts to repatriate some monuments and artifacts: “These are Egyptian monuments. I will make life miserable for anyone who keeps them.”

Of course, all the museums have to do is hold out for ten or fifteen more years until he dies and they’re off the hook.

Shroud of Turin update

Filed under: Biblical archaeology — acagle @ 7:54 pm

British archaeologist: Find shows Turin shroud not from Jesus’ time

Results from studies on the remains of a first-century shroud discovered on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem prove that the famous Shroud of Turin could not have originated from Jerusalem of Jesus’ time, said a prominent archaeologist.

The first-century shroud was discovered in a tomb in the Hinnom Valley in 2000, but the results of tests run on the shroud and other artifacts found with it were only completed in December 2009.

“This is the first shroud from Jesus’ time found in Jerusalem and the first shroud found in a type of burial cave similar to that which Jesus would have been buried in and (because of this) it is the first shroud which can be compared to the Turin shroud,” said British-born archaeologist Shimon Gibson, basing his conclusion on the full study results, which are scheduled to be published in a scholarly volume within the next year.

What a neat find. Be sure to read to the end for some interesting information. Doesn’t prove logically the Turin shroud is a fake (which we know it is anyway) but being so different certainly doesn’t help it either.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress