October 31, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls update

Filed under: Biblical archaeology — acagle @ 8:48 am

Seminary’s Dead Sea fragments go hi-tech

A workshop hosted by the seminary’s Tandy Institute for Archaeology featured a team from the West Semitic Research Project at the University of Southern California that specializes in producing high-definition images of ancient texts and artifacts. The scholars made images of Southwestern’s collection of Dead Sea Scrolls fragments as well as some artifacts from the seminary’s Carlson Cuneiform Collection.

“The West Semitic Research Project is one of the best for the digital imaging of ancient manuscripts, particularly Dead Sea Scrolls fragments,” said Steven Ortiz, associate professor of archaeology and biblical backgrounds at Southwestern and director of the Charles D. Tandy Archaeology Museum.

Well, who isn’t anymore

Filed under: Rome — acagle @ 8:47 am

Green Romans? Evidence points towards a recycling empire

Archaeologists have found evidence of glass being recycled in Britain 1,500 years ago – long before 21st century councils were providing us with green bins.

Romans used the metals antimony or manganese in making glass – so when researchers found a large number of vessels contained both elements they deduced they must have been mixing broken pieces together to make new wares.

However, the study authors suspect that had little, if anything, to do with the first shoots of environmental awareness.

Kind of a dumb tie-in, but interesting. One would think that re-use would be prevalent nearly everywhere anyway, but I suppose it all depends on costs of used vs new in any context.

Forensic archaeology

Filed under: Forensic archaeology — acagle @ 8:44 am

From Saddleworth Moor to Waterfoot beach

Geoff Knupfer served with Greater Manchester Police for 30 years before becoming a senior investigator in the search for Northern Ireland’s so-called ‘disappeared’.

In the 1980s, Mr Knupfer helped to lead the search for the bodies of the victims of the Moors murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

He also heard Hindley’s confessions to a number of the murders.

Brady and Hindley buried the bodies of their young victims on the remote Saddleworth Moor, between Manchester and Leeds, in the early 1960s.

UPDATE: Related, and successful.

Experimental archaeology update

Filed under: Experimental archaeology — acagle @ 8:41 am

Roadkill classes

As part of the forensic archaeology degree at Bournemouth University, on the south coast of England, students have learnt about butchering methods from over the years by collecting animals killed in roadside collisions, and then chopping them up in class before enjoying a “barbeque”.

Better hope they’re fresh. . . . .

Not much else at the link but I thought it was kind of interesting. I seem to recall a few years ago that some zoo somewhere was obtaining fresh roadkill, like deer, and giving them to their big predators to enjoy. Always thought that was a neat idea. I thought it was a US zoo, but I’ve never been able to locate the story. There’s this but it’s fake roadkill. Eh, maybe someone was just thinking about doing that.

Mystery solv-ed?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:36 am

Mystery of why man-made mound at Silbury Hill was built is solved… It was all an accident

‘We don’t know what myths they were representing but they must have meant something quite compelling and personal.

‘What we do know is that by the time work on the hill had started in the later Neolithic period, the surrounding area was already saturated with evidence of past use; it was a place that was heavily inscribed with folk memories that recalled ancestors and their origins.

‘What is emerging is a picture of Neolithic people having the same need to anchor and share ideas and stories as we do now, and that built structures like Silbury Hill may not be conceived as grand monuments of worship but intimate gestures of communication.’

Not like there haven’t been other attempt before to solve it. I rather like this, but they don’t go into the range of modern modifications to the shape other than perhaps the flat top.

Back from the field

Filed under: Blogging update, Field photos — acagle @ 8:24 am

Actually, I got back last Friday, but I’ve spent the weekend so far recovering. Caught a cold two weeks ago and although it was better last week, I still had to stand around outside all day in the cold and damp and cough up lungs. So, yesterday (Saturday) I took it easy. We were supposed to go to the UW game at 4, but the ArchaeoWife was also ill (probably similar cold) so we decided against it as it was raining heavily. No big loss from our perspective since UW got a whoopin’.

ANYWAY. . .I was out doing this:

Desert Fox
(bigger image at the link)

Yours truly is the one farthest right in the background. They’re drilling bore holes all over the place and taking sediment and water samples to check for contamination and depth of various sediments. There is archy material here so it needs a monitor. It was supposed to be boring and uneventful, but on Tuesday they brought up what appeared to be shell midden at about 6 feet down. It was right at the base of the fill layer which is just globs of sand and rocks and junk that they laid over the whole site when they knocked down all of the lumbermill buildings. Only a 4″ boring so it’s difficult to tell if it’s really midden or some similar deposit of natural or historic origin. So, I made them stop, called the office, blah blah blah, sent a sample back, and finally they decided it was possible but not definite and they could go ahead and finish the hole there. That was the only excitement for the week. They’re still going this week, but someone else is going out.

Saw some wildlife. . . .they have a pair of bald eagles inhabiting the property, a gaggle of ninja raccoons — they climb chain link fences and climb down head first on the other side — seals/sea lions, etc. Great area.

October 27, 2010

Getting a PhD update

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 4:38 pm

Really, substitute ‘archaeology’ for ‘English’ and a few other terms and it works, mostly.

Why do they keep bouncing up and down?

October 26, 2010

Update from the field

Filed under: Blogging update, Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 7:18 pm

Haven’t blogged because I’ve been busy and beat. Sunday night I woke up at like 2 or 3 and never went back to sleep so all Monday I was dead tired and didn’t do squat when I got to the hotel except write up what I did to send back to the office. Today was more. . . . interesting.

We’re at the old Rayonier Mill in Port Angeles WA (48 07′ 0.19″N, 123 24′ 27.67″) where they are drilling holes looking for contaminated sediments. To do what, I don’t know. But I stand and watch the samples come up to make sure nothing’s in ‘em. There were some prehistoric (actually historic) Amerindian sites here, although none known in the area they’re (mostly) drilling in now. Of course, today we ran into what looked like shell midden so I had to make them stop on that hole, calls went out to the home office, the contractor, etc., so I went and started a big mess. Its not certain it’s midden, but I’m sending a sample back to the office so they can look at it more closely and then figure out what to do. So, little bit of excitement.

Perhaps if I get done earlier tomorrow I shall post some more. . . .

October 23, 2010

Also, blogging update

Filed under: Blogging update, Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 10:02 am

I’ll be out in the field all next week, but blogging will probably not take much of a hit and may be extensive. I’m going out to Port Angeles for the week and staying there the whole time which means boring nights alone in a motel. If they indeed have wireless access, I shall blog like no one’s business. If not. . . .well, I’ll be reading ebooks.

I spent this past Thursday recovering from my cold and doing little save reading a novel (Jampes P. Hogan’s The Multiplex Man) on my Nook. I am quite liking the Nook now. I find that unlike a regular book, I can put my legs up and just prop it up on my lap without having to hold it open. Great stuff. Conducive to dozing off, really.

I’m a gonna be out near the (in)famous Tse-whit-zen which I shall attempt to visit while I’m out there. Just monitoring a bunch of bore holes so probably nothing to see anyhow. They’ll be doing more extensive digging in a month or two so there might be more to see then.

Vegas on the Nile?

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 9:53 am

Egypt’s Plans for Luxor: Vegas on the Nile?

Luxor has long been Egypt’s prize possession. It was here that the ancient Egyptians at one time built their capital of Thebes; where Pharoahs dedicated massive temples to their gods; and where Howard Carter unearthed the world-famous boy King, Tutankhamen, in his tomb full of riches in 1922. “It has been one of the biggest and most famous tourist attractions for at least 200 years.”says Francesco Bandarin, the head of the World Heritage Center at UNESCO. Adds Mansour Boraik, who oversees Upper Egypt for for the country’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, “30% of world monuments lie in Luxor, and 70% of the monuments in Egypt are in Luxor.”

In an effort to preserve the riches — and beef up the number of tourists they attract — local authorities have been pressing an ambitious project to reinvent and revive Luxor; rehabilitating tombs, and expanding the city’s tourist infrastructure at a dizzying pace to the tune of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.

I haven’t been there in quite a while so I can’t comment on what’s going on now. I dunno though. On the one hand, they do need to plow some money into infrastructure. . .the hotel conclaves are nice and everything, but once you get off the beaten path even a little bit, you run smack into the squalor surrounding the monuments that the people live in. Some call that “charm” but it’s anything but for the actual inhabitants. On the other hand, if they’re just widening the conclaves so tourists can move around a little more then what’s the difference? I can certainly imagine the gov’t being pretty ham-handed about it, it’s not known as a model of civic democracy after all. I guess properly done, it needed it, but then whether it’s done that way is open to debate.

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