Mamma Maya! 2,000-year-old skeleton of Queen discovered among treasures in rodent-infested tomb
The skeleton of a Maya Queen – with her head mysteriously placed between two bowls – is just one of the treasures found in a 2,000-year-old rodent-infested tomb.
Priceless jade gorgets, beads, and ceremonial knives were also discovered in the cavern – which was found underneath a younger 1,300-year-old tomb which also contained a body – in the Guatemalan ruins of Nakum.
The two royal burials are the first to be discovered at the site, which was once a densely packed Maya centre.
That’s not actually a bad article and it’s got quite a few good quality photos. I’ve never seen the head-between-the-bowls thing, although we had a burial with a bowl (actually a jar) instead of a head once.
Plus it’s the Daily Mail so you can also learn why ‘I think Victoria Beckham would love a vajazzle’. Errr, not me.
Colonial-era artifacts found at Kempsville work site
Kempsville’s early life as a bustling river port 250 years ago has only been hinted at in old city documents, its history traced by a paper trail of deeds and tax records.
But last Friday, amid a road construction site and mounds of dirt, area archaeologists got their first glimpse of Colonial Kempsville. As excavators dug trenches to reroute storm drains and sewer pipes along Princess Anne Road, the heavy equipment dug up more than just dirt.
“There was brick flying everywhere,” said Tony Smith, an archaeologist who was at the site when the 18th century bricks were found. “When you get a bucketful of bricks, you kind of think, ‘Hey, something’s going on here.’ “
Archaeologists look to uncover mystery near Cathedral Park
As he did three years ago, archaeologist Guadalupe Martinez this week unearthed, at about three feet, pieces of red-brick wall from a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients that collapsed into the muck and ashes after it burned in the 1890s. But he was more interested in reaching a cobble surface he encountered at 4 1/2 feet in 2008.
“It looked like some kind of cobbled flooring. That’s what it looked like to me,” he said. “Now, I’ve been to Mexico, Spain and all over Latin America and I have seen this sort of cobbling before. They use it either on streets, sometimes on driveways, sometimes inside stables. So all we may have over there is a stable.”
Not terribly controversialist, is he? I suppose most people end up hating controversialists anyway for always claiming to have found something spectacular — e.g., Atlantis — when all they ever really find is a few funny looking features.
Here’s Why No One Reads Your Blog
She gives three reasons: You’re boring, You’re a waffler, You’re not a controversialist.
I actually can relate to some of that. Which is why I don’t regularly regale you, the loyal reader, with the various cute and rambunctious antics of my various cats, except on rare occasions. Admittedly, I kind of fail on the second two. I could, of course, blurt out my opinion on various aspects of archaeological theory and practice — say, for example, by taking a purely hypothetical example of perhaps saying that post-processualism is a waste of time — but mostly only tenured professors can get away with that stuff since they can piss off whoever they want and still have a job. I remain committed to criticizing things fairly gently since A) I still have to work, and B) It’s not like we’re usually talking about life and death here anyway. Oh! Maybe that will be my controversialist stand! “Archaeology is not all that.” Go ahead and disagree with me vociferously, commenting furiously and linking to it all over the place!
Dated my first historic artifact, that is. Well, maybe not the first, I’m fairly certain that I’ve done something similar with some odd objects or other in the past, but this one was actually recovered on an archaeological project — monitoring anyway — and, without the date actually being stamped on the thing, I have assigned a secure date for its manufacture. To wit:
It’s got a makers mark of an overlaid diamond and ‘O’ (see here) with a 20 to the left and a 2 to the right. It’s also got “Duraglas” stamped into the side. I found that this was an Owens-Illinois Glass Co. bottle and their Duraglass product was not produced until 1940. The 20 represents its Oakland CA plant — 20 had been used until 1940 for it Backinridge, PA plant also — and the ‘2′ represents 1942. . . .hmmmm. Something doesn’t make sense. Before 1940, the date digit was supposed to represent the last digit of the year — 0 for 1931, 1 for 1931, etc. — but after 1940 they either added a period to indicate 1940+ or two digits — 4. or 44 = 1944 — but this has no period, but if Duraglas wasn’t used until 1940. . . . .a quandary. Maybe I’m not as certain as I thought. Well, needs more study, I think. Seems to be a beer bottle as well, since I have read that the stipling it has was used in conjunction with the script ‘Duraglas’ for beer bottles. Well, at any rate, I was quite thrilled at at least begin to pin a date on something. Hopefully, I can resolve the discrepancies at some point.
CSI Sittingbourne archaeology project closes
An archaeology project which probed scores of Anglo Saxon graves in Kent is closing because it has run out of cash.
CSI: Sittingbourne had been running since 2008 when a 1,400 year-old graveyard was uncovered on The Meads development site in the town.
Volunteers have spent the last two years analysing hundreds of items, including 69 Anglo-Saxon graves.
The project is now unable to find the £1,000 a week it needs to stay open and conserve the finds.
Clever though, they call it Conservation Science Investigation. Looks like it was fully excavated, so it’s just a delay in examining the materials. The web site is definitely worth poking around.
Sada Mire: Uncovering Somalia’s heritage
Sada Mire fled Somalia’s civil war as a child, and lived as a refugee in Sweden. But now she is back in the Horn of Africa as an archaeologist, making some incredible discoveries.
Sada Mire is only 35, but she has already revealed a dozen sites that could be candidates for Unesco world heritage status.
She has a fellowship in the department of art and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and is head of the department of antiquities in the breakaway territory of Somaliland, in the north-west region of Somalia. She is the only archaeologist working in the region.
I thought I recognized her. Which is pretty much the same article. . . .
Excavation of islands around Britain to establish origins of Neolithic period
Archaeologists at the University of Liverpool are investigating three island groups around Britain to further understanding of why, in approximately 4,000 BC, humans altered their lifestyle from hunting and gathering to farming the land.
Some scholars believe that this change occurred due to colonists from the continent moving into Britain, bringing farming and pottery-making skills with them, but others argue that the indigenous population of Britain adopted this new lifestyle gradually on their own terms.
To shed new light on the debate, archaeologists, in collaboration with the University of Southampton, are excavating three island groups in the western seaways and producing oceanographic models to understand what sailing across this area would have been like in 4,000 BC. The team will also construct a database of 5th and 4th millennium occupation sites.
It will be interesting to see how they interpret what they find. It could be that people were moving over bringing farming with them (along with their artifacts) or diffusion of farming practices and trade/exchange with artifacts, although if everything was coming over as a set piece, one would tend to argue for migration. I believe in other parts of Europe genetic evidence has trended towards migration of agriculturalists rather than diffusion of practices.
UPDATE: More at The Independent.
Aboriginal genome rewrites human dispersal story
For the first time, the genome of an Aboriginal Australian has been sequenced, shedding new light on the journey that early humans took out of Africa as they spread across the globe.
The discovery, which was made by an international team of scientists and is published today in the journal Science, contradicts the accepted wisdom that modern humans descend from a single wave of migration out of Africa.
Instead, it seems that the ancestors of Aboriginal Australians set off some 24,000 years before the ancestors of modern populations in Asia and Europe in an earlier migration wave.
Hawks has it covered. It nicely does away with the single dispersal theory, and also brings in the Denisovan angle (there are actually two complimentary studies involved). I does accord fairly well with the archaeological record of initial occupation although their dates for European expansion seem a bit too recent.
Ugh, I was horribly remiss in blogging the last few days. Of course I had excuses! Saturday I had to paint the front steps (concrete) in the morning, then to football game, then back home to paint front steps again for second coat before it started raining, and then, er, well, watching more football on TV. Sunday I was just plain dead because I went and woke up at like 3:45. Blehh. I did manage to go to a gigantic used book and CD/DVD sale and snagged 7 CDs for $3.50:
– Aerosmith, Pump
– The Breeders, Last Splash
– Cake, Fashion Nugget
– Maroon 5, Songs about Jane
– And a Chinese X-Files CD or DVD, haven’t found out which yet.
The Aerosmith one I almost played to being sick of it back when it was released, I had a tape of it that I played nearly every morning walking to the gym at 6 am. The Cake one I only got for The Distance, although I’m finding it’s a fabulous CD if you are into them at all. The recording is absolutely brilliant; there’s a cool bass line at the beginning of The Distance that I never knew existed and my Advents play it brilliantly.
I am, however, quite distressed that I neglected to pick up one I saw by the Screaming Divas called ‘Joie de Beavre’.