January 31, 2011

Tools o’ the trade

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:11 pm

A buddy of mine hath just waxed poetic about WHS trowels. Never heard of ‘em myself. We in the States, of course, tend to be fairly devoted to our Marshalltowns.

Ooooo, I kinda like the idea of a soft-handled trowel. . . .

Battlefield archaeology update

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology, Historic — acagle @ 3:58 pm

Of the Civil War variety: Civil War Reconstructed

Today, metro Atlanta—a land of expressways, subdivisions and shopping malls—has grown to about 5.7 million people, from about 10,000 in the 1860s. So it’s easy to assume that evidence of the famous clash of armies has been obliterated except for that preserved in museums, parks and monuments.

That assumption is wrong, according to Garrett Silliman, a 36-year-old archaeologist for an environmental and land-use consulting firm. Mr. Silliman’s employer, Edwards-Pitman Environmental Inc., has a contract with Cobb County and the Georgia Department of Transportation to identify battle sites to preserve—or at least excavate—before bulldozers plow them under.

Lost civilization cathedral. . ..found

Filed under: Historic — acagle @ 3:56 pm

Bath Abbey archaeologists discover cathedral remains

Archaeologists at Bath Abbey have unearthed the remains of a Norman cathedral, thought to be the first ever built on the site.

The foundations, which stand 3m to 4m high (9ft to 13ft), have been buried for several hundred years.

Archaeologists believe that they may have also found what is left of a medieval abbot’s lodgings nearby.

They still are. . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 3:54 pm

Was Fox, Not Dog, Man’s First Best Friend?

Dogs may be man’s best friend now — but the fox may have been his first boon companion.

Archaeologists digging in Jordan may have shed new light on human-animal relationships, with the discovery of a fox buried beside a human about 16,500 years ago — some 4,000 years before the earliest known human-dog burial.

Led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, the group claim that their findings indicates a time when foxes were kept as pets, in this case one buried beside his master to accompany him to the afterlife.

I’m not putting too much onto this as part of a trend. One would guess that people had been adopting various critters for a long time without really domesticating them.

Did I post this before?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 3:38 pm

It sounds familiar: Sharjah find may rewrite history of man

Archaeologists have discovered ancient artefacts in Sharjah that may rewrite the history books on human migration.

Ancient stone tools excavated from a dig site in Jebel Faya suggest that early humans may have emerged from Africa around 50,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Until now it was believed humankind left Africa around 60,000-70,000 years ago. The new data, published yesterday in the US journal Science, pushes the departure date to around 125,000 years ago.

Yeesh

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 3:35 pm

What a job: Berlin museum restores war-shattered artefacts

Archaeologists pieced together some 25,000 bits and shards of basalt over nine years to reconstruct about 40 giant figures from a temple at the ancient Tell Halaf settlement in present day northern Syria. It had been in a Berlin museum since 1930.

“Thousands of fragments had to be painstakingly put back together with epoxy,” Nadja Cholidis, the leading archaeologist on the project, told Reuters.

Archaeologists used historical photographs to identify fragments and reconstruct the 3,000-year-old sculptures and objects, Cholidis said. She added that it is probably the largest restoration of its kind undertaken by a museum.

UPDATE: BBC has more including more photos.

What’s it like to be an archaeologist?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 3:29 pm

Kris tells you!

Digital inroads

Filed under: Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 3:26 pm

Archaeology: A New Skill in World of Warcraft

Around 12 million people play Blizzard’s online game World of Warcraft – and they are, obviously, overflowing with an insatiable curiosity about the game’s nonsensical fantasy world. In a recently released expansion pack to the game, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the developers offer a new way for players to explore that world: as archaeologists. “Archaeology,” they explain, “is a new secondary profession introduced in Cataclysm that can be trained along with Cooking, First Aid, and Fishing.”

I liked this quote: “You place what looks like an old-school theodolite and evaluate the flashing light next to it. If the light is flashing green, then you are close to treasure. If it is flashing red, then you are far away. What archaeologist wouldn’t like that?”

There’s a long video at the link demonstrating the play of the game for this. As they explain, “artifacts” can be almost anything including fossils.

More Egypt

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 1:38 pm

Again, from EEF. These two are from archaeologists on the ground (well, the ARCE guy is the director there). Looks like Betsy Bryan is closing up shop at Luxor. OMG I wonder if the crate full of debitage I left at the Fayum in 1994 is okay!!!!

Prof. Miroslav Bárta reports from Cairo:

“(..) A number of sites including in Giza, Abusir and Saqqara
were also targeted by gangs of thieves. According to the latest
news, almost all the archeological objects in Saqqara were
forced open, including the famous tombs of high-ranking
dignitaries situated next to the Step Pyramid of Djoser,
which dates back to 2700 BC.
Archeological objects in the pyramid field of Abusir uncovered
by Czech expeditions over the last 50 years were also targeted
by thieves. The extent of the damage caused will have to be
examined later because organized gangs are operating in the
dessert both night and day. Although these gangs’ raids are
haphazard, it’s almost certain that artifacts of immeasurable
historical value have been destroyed or damaged. The museum
and store of artifacts in Mit Rahina (or Memphis), the heart
of the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt have also been damaged. (…)
The information about the state of the monuments in the pyramid
field came from Egyptian colleagues who had been shot at by
gangs of raiders. (..)”
(more…)

So long, Mr. G. (update)

Filed under: Cemeteries — acagle @ 12:46 pm

As mentioned here, my across-the-street neighbor died last week and we went to the funeral yesterday (Sunday). It was a Jewish service which I’d never been to before so it was all new to me. He was in a plain wooden box which was odd since I had thought a concrete vault was required — I guess they make religious exceptions. There wasn’t much a a formal service, it was just a rabbi — who was actually a former neighbor as well — who eulogized him (“the greatness of Norton”. .I liked that) and he said a couple of prayers. He was very good about explaining some of the things he was doing and saying for the benefit of the Gentiles in the audience, we appreciated that. One thing I didn’t quite understand was something like a “rending of the garment” thing. He explained that but I didn’t know what they actually did.

After the inside ceremony, we followed the casket outside and it was lowered into the grave — light enough to be done by the pallbearers and not a complicated apparatus like is needed with a full casket and vault lid. Then any of us could shovel some dirt in, which I thought was quite a nice thing to do. Only a few people did, me being one of them. I, of course, had to, since I figured ol’ Norton would get a kick out of his archaeologist neighbor covering him up instead of digging him up. Unfortunately, I misunderstood the instruction to make the first shovelfull off the back of the shovel for some reason; I’d thought he meant just the very first one thrown in. I was kind of thinking they’d want us to completely fill it in, but we just did about half the dirt. Still, I kind of like that idea.

To get all geeky for a moment, (more…)

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