Janeites: The curious American cult of Jane Austen
Odd that. I’ve read one Austen novel — Northanger Abbey, which I just learned was released posthumously — and thoroughly enjoyed it, but haven’t been jumping into any others. They do seem to be chick-lit, but I still enjoyed reading it; just reading the words is a treat.
Although Jeremy Clarkson once referred to driving a Lexus as “like sitting in a warm bucket of wallpaper paste reading a Jane Austen novel”.
From The Beeb:
Archaeologists may not need to get their hands so dirty any more, thanks to the kind of digital technology being pioneered at Southampton University.
Its ‘µ-VIS Centre for Computed Tomography’ possesses the largest, high energy scanner of its kind in Europe: a ‘micro-CT’ machine manufactured by Nikon.
Capable of resolutions better than 0.1mm – the diameter of a human hair – it allows archaeologists to carefully examine material while still encased in soil.
An almost 5 minute video at the link (although it crapped out on me at about 3 minutes in). Worth watching, the scanning takes a LOT longer than I’d thought. I’ve posted on this before, basically seeing inside lumps of sediment and cemented globs of objects.
At WaPo. It becomes weirder:
The skulls were also found with a shorter length of vertebrae attached to the skulls than is the case of other such finds, suggesting the decapitation cut was made closer to the base of the skull.
Still other strange details emerged: Morehart said some of the skulls were found with finger bones inserted into the eye sockets. “It was common enough that it was intentionally placed there in the eye socket,” Morehart said, though the ritual significance of that remains unclear.
The former suggests to me that the skulls were removed postmortem. I have no idea what the other bit might mean.
Not to mention mesmerizing: For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II
Thus it was in the remote south of the forest in the summer of 1978. A helicopter sent to find a safe spot to land a party of geologists was skimming the treeline a hundred or so miles from the Mongolian border when it dropped into the thickly wooded valley of an unnamed tributary of the Abakan, a seething ribbon of water rushing through dangerous terrain. The valley walls were narrow, with sides that were close to vertical in places, and the skinny pine and birch trees swaying in the rotors’ downdraft were so thickly clustered that there was no chance of finding a spot to set the aircraft down. But, peering intently through his windscreen in search of a landing place, the pilot saw something that should not have been there. It was a clearing, 6,000 feet up a mountainside, wedged between the pine and larch and scored with what looked like long, dark furrows. The baffled helicopter crew made several passes before reluctantly concluding that this was evidence of human habitation—a garden that, from the size and shape of the clearing, must have been there for a long time.
It was an astounding discovery. The mountain was more than 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in a spot that had never been explored. The Soviet authorities had no records of anyone living in the district.
Apparently true. Kind of heartbreaking, too, in the end.
Artefacts discovered under Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royale
Archaeologists working in Christchurch have stumbled across a “massive” collection of artefacts under the quake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royale.
Eighteen boxes of artefacts were found under the theatre’s foundations during a partial demolition of the heritage building in December last year.
Katharine Watson, director of Underground Overground Archaeology, says the discovery came as a shock to the team.
“We weren’t expecting to find anything,” she says. “It was actually the digger driver who found it.”
UK archaeologist helps unearth artifacts from infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud
A discovery of artifacts associated with patriarch Randall McCoy’s home and site of an infamous 1888 attack were confirmed by Kim McBride, a historic archaeologist with the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, a joint partnership with the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology and the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office.
McBride’s work is central to the story of the site, and what the Hatfield and McCoy artifacts and the context of recovery can contribute to our understanding of the events that transpired, which will be featured on an upcoming episode of the National Geographic television series “Diggers,” airing at 10 p.m. tonight.
Yes, that ‘Diggers’. Apparently they’ve revamped the show’s operations and, at least in this instance, worked well with local archaeologists. I didn’t have too much beef with it originally because, well, archaeologists aren’t in too much of a position to be bragging on their conservation record. But enlisting amateurs can and does work elsewhere.
A Feud Between Biblical Archaeologists Goes to Court
In the Old City of Jerusalem, no one ever went broke underestimating the proof required to help the faithful suspend disbelief — or in a modern twist, allow the skeptical to bolster their heterodoxy. A million-dollar lawsuit in Israel has become the latest vehicle in the unending quest to redefine faith as the substance of things seen.
Simcha Jacobovici, a Canadian documentary maker specializing in biblical archaeology, is suing a retired scientist and former archaeological museum curator named Joe Zias, who has accused him of publicizing scientifically dubious theories.
Ha, I kind of like this Zias guy:
Zias is well known among Near East archaeologists for blasting cranky e-mails from his blog, Science and Archaeology Group, accusing filmmakers and writers of “pimping off the Bible.” He routinely writes Jacobovici’s first name with a dollar sign in place of the S.
I, of course, am above such snarkiness.
Sheesh, lots of ‘em: Pile of ancient skulls found: Archaeologists make ‘remarkable’ discovery
A pile of ancient skulls was found in Mexico. On Jan. 26, Yahoo! News reported that archaeologists found the skulls which date between A.D. 600 and 850. The discovery could provide a lot of information about the history of the area as the skulls are believed to have belonged to human sacrifice victims. Some think that the discoveries made here could “shatter existing notions about the ancient culture of the area.”
“It’s absolutely remarkable to think about this little nothing on the landscape having potentially evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice in ancient Meso-America,” said Christopher Morehart, an archaeologist at Georgia State University.
Probably more on this later as it’s kind of a gruesome, and therefore interesting, find. One would think they’d be war trophies of some sort, which would fit under the rubric of ‘human sacrifice’.
Ancient earthworks share similarities
One of the biggest puzzles in North American archaeology is how the relatively small bands of hunter-gatherers living at that time could have built monumental architecture on this scale without food surpluses provided by farming or the centralized leadership of a king or chief.
One theory is that many small groups of hunter-gatherers came together on a seasonal basis year after year for generations to slowly construct this complex of parallel embankments and mounds.
However, the results of new excavations into the largest of Poverty Point’s mounds refute this theory.
May have to go grab the paper that’s referenced and read it to see how they determined the building time. But it’s another indication that hunter-gatherers as a group need to be reassessed.