May 31, 2012

Now this is news

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:10 pm

Digging up dirt: Summer excavations under way at Cahokia Mounds

A group of Italian archaeologists recently kicked off another year of historical investigation at Cahokia Mounds.

For the past few weeks, a group from the University of Bologna in Italy was excavating a site west of Monks Mound.

“They’re focusing on an enclosure first located in the 1960s,” Assistant Site Manager Bill Iseminger. “It had bastions along it, a series of round and rectangular enclosures.”

Not the dig itself, but that it’s by Italians. Many years ago I wondered why it was that American archaeologists go all over the world — including Europe — to do archaeology, but at the time I’d never heard of anyone else coming here. At the time I more or less put it down to the utter banality of North American archaeology, which was thought of as generally late and not terribly exciting: no big (i.e., obvious) temples, no really old stuff, etc. This is really only the second time I’ve heard of something like this, maybe even the first if I’m remembering this same bunch.

Two linguas

Filed under: Biblical archaeology — acagle @ 7:06 pm

Bilingual Boundary Stone Discovered at Tel Gezer

Archaeologists working at the Biblical site of Tel Gezer discovered a boundary stone inscribed with both Greek and Hebrew text dating to the period of conflict between the Seleucids and the Maccabees. This is the thirteenth known boundary stone found after over a century of excavations at Gezer, and it is the first to be found in over a decade. Archaeologists from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary also rediscovered another boundary stone originally discovered in the 19th-century by the French explorer Charles Claremont-Ganneau, but lost to the archaeological community for over a century.

Any skeletons in cement overshoes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:04 pm

Archaeologists discover One thousand years of history in a Sicilian farmland estate

Sicily is popular – and not only for travellers to Italy. Its strategic location has garnered the attention of various historical superpowers. While the ancient era saw the island dominated first by the Greeks and later the Roman Empire, in the High Middle Ages it was the centre of the Norman state in Southern Italy. The full four centuries of Byzantine rule prior to that are less well known – not least due to the fact that the period has been the subject of little scientific analysis. Thanks to two projects at the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Vienna, however, important data has now been brought to light regarding settlement activity during this epoch, as well as the period´s economic and religious history.

Do tell

Filed under: Biblical archaeology — acagle @ 7:02 pm

Archaeology without conquest

First graders wearing yellow hard hats headed to Jerusalem’s Independence Park one day last week and dug with surprising determination, gradually revealing the floor of a large ancient cistern. As the buckets accumulated, the children lined up on the steps and created a human chain to remove the rubble.

. . .

The group has organized other public excavations in Lod and the Ir Ganim neighborhood of Jerusalem.

“We do this without very much philosophy and politics, in order to show that it is possible to enjoy archaeology even without kings and conquests,” said archaeologist Yoni Mizrahi, one of the two professionals running the dig.

I suppose I shouldn’t be cynical.

Well, yes I should.

Good news from Greece

Filed under: Underwater archaeology — acagle @ 7:00 pm

For a change: Ancient Roman shipwrecks found off Greek island

Two Roman-era shipwrecks have been found in deep water off a western Greek island, challenging the conventional theory that ancient shipmasters stuck to coastal routes rather than risking the open sea, an official said Tuesday.

Greece’s culture ministry said the two third-century wrecks were discovered earlier this month during a survey of an area where a Greek-Italian gas pipeline is to be sunk. They lay between 1.2 and 1.4 kilometers (0.7-0.9 miles) deep in the sea between Corfu and Italy.

That would place them among the deepest known ancient wrecks in the Mediterranean, apart from remains found in 1999 of an older vessel some 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) deep off Cyprus.

Another archaeologist is quoted in the story as saying that these finds may force a reevaluation of the coast-only idea. I was going to ponder whether that idea got started because the ships were only found in shallow water, which could be indicating the ease of finding them in shallow water rather than their actual absence in deep water. But maybe that’s still the case, if the ships like this are difficult to find in deep water in the first place.

A really difficult place to do a field school

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 9:18 am

On the island of Menorca in the Mediterranean off of Spain. From Lana Johnson:

We have been researching the Roman City of Sanisera for years now (via our international field school) and our program has grown to include not only the Roman City of Sanisera Dig, but also to include bioarchaeology (the Necropolis Dig), Underwater Archaeology in the Port of Sanitja and a more recent cave dig that focuses on the indigenous culture of Menorca (bronze age).

. . .

You can get a better idea of our organization from our webpage and see daily postings from each of our programs, as well as interaction with our participants on our facebook page.

Be sure to click around the site including the publications page, though most seem to be in Spanish.

Can’t say anything specific about the course itself, though the necropolis should be interesting from a morbidity, mortality, and demographic angle, especially since it seems to cover a range of time including the Roman and Christian occupations which would make for some interesting comparisons (especially if there are earlier assemblages as well).

May 30, 2012

Yeah, it happens(ed)

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:07 pm

An Ancient Civilization, Upended by Climate Change

“What we thought was missing was how to link climate to people,” said Liviu Giosan, a geologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the lead author of the study. “The answer came when we looked at the wide-scale morphology.”

Using satellite photos and topographical data, the researchers prepared digital maps of the Indus River landscape. They collected field samples to determine the age of sediments in the region and whether their structure was shaped by rivers or the wind. The information was then overlaid across prior archaeological findings, yielding a compelling new chronology of 10,000 years of human history and landscape changes, and what drove them.

A whale of a find

Filed under: Historic, Underwater archaeology — acagle @ 7:05 pm

Maybe: Warren whaling ship wreck found in Argentina?

A shipwreck that lies half buried in the muck and sand of an Argentinian bay could be the last remains of a whaling vessel that was built in and sailed out of Warren during the waning years of American whaling.

Marine archaeologists from Argentina’s National Institute of Anthropology believe they may have found the remains of the Dolphin, a 110-foot whaling bark built in 1850 by Chace and Davis, a shipbuilding firm in operation between Company and Sisson streets for much of the 19th century.

Neat story. Doesn’t indicate that. . . .well, what’s weird is that it’s so near shore and wasn’t identified all these years. One would have thought it could have been salvaged easily and no mystery about it at all. Hmmm.

Patrilocality and. . . .hot cave babes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:59 pm

Class system began 7,000 years ago, archaeologists find

THE idea of the “haves” and the “have-nots” may seem like a largely modern concept – but in reality social inequality dates back to the Stone Age, archaeologists have discovered.

By analysing 300 human skeletons from the early Neolithic era, scientists from three British universities have discovered that social inequality began more than 7,000 years ago.

It is the earliest evidence yet found of members of society having unequal access to land and possessions, and suggests that the concept of inherited wealth started with Neolithic man.

It actually sounds like a pretty neat study although it’s hard to tell how strong their conclusions are on the whole land-vs-wealth idea — it seems like they were able to tie them to specific regions with supposedly better soils, rather than more directly. The patrilocality aspect seems better grounded (so to speak, heh) and is a neat way of using strontium isotopes.

Oh, the hot cave babes part: They helpfully provide an artist’s conception of patrilocally moved Neolithic wife:

Of mice and men coffins

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:55 pm

Mice and coffins: Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology reopens

When a dig for a housing development in the Arbury area of Cambridge during the 1950s found a coffin containing the body of a middle-aged woman from Roman Britain, her corpse wasn’t all archaeologists would find inside the lead and stone tomb.

The remains of a mouse and a coffin were also in there. One or both of them had nibbled at the woman’s leg.

“Every one of the objects tells not just one stories, but many,” reflects curator Mark Elliott, who had the joy of reopening the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, one of Cambridge University’s most eye-catching museums, at the end of last week (May 25 2012).

I seriously don’t understand that second sentence. . . .

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