June 22, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:17 pm

Paleolithic Froot Loops Cereals Sought Much Earlier Than Previously Thought, Archaeologists Say

Pouring a bowl of cereal is a morning ritual for many people. Popular wisdom holds that our taste for grains goes back some 10,000 years. New findings may more than double that estimate.

This might be a subscription-only article, but we had no trouble getting to it. The ‘broad spectrum revolution’ is defined nicely here and more info can be gained by a simple search of the Web. For a rather interesting article on the use of a wide variety of plant foods in the American southeast, see Seed Processing and the Origins of Food Production in Eastern North America by Kristen J. Gremillion in the April 2004 American Antiquity (Volume 69 Number 2 April 2004). Fascinating study that describes in pretty good detail the different types of plants that were utilized before maize became so dominant.

Archaeologist Tries to Solve 1,500 Year Old Mystery

A Wichita State archaeologist is trying to learn more about the path the Hopewell people took as they traveled across the state from about 50 B.C. to 500 A.D.

The Hopewell culture is best known for the earth mounds along the Ohio River. But these early inhabitants also made religious pilgrimages to sacred sites in the Yellowstone National Park area and Idaho.

Jim Dougherty, of Wichita State University, is trying to trace their travel routes across Kansas. He believes the items they left behind can help. And he’s asking farmers, ranchers and amateur archaeologists in west-central and western Kansas to contact him if they’ve found particular kinds of pottery shards, certain styles of arrow points, and other objects.

This story also has a good description of the Hopewell phenomenon, or the Hopewell Interaction Sphere as it’s also known. It’s another fascinating aspect of North American prehistory that is not so well known popularly.

Yet another cemetery uncovered Indian burial ground discovered at Bay Area construction site

A centuries-old American Indian burial ground has been discovered at a construction site east of San Francisco, offering new clues about the people who inhabited the region long before the Spanish arrived.

About 80 sets of human remains and artifacts have already been unearthed, and at least as many are believed to be hidden beneath Lafayette’s Hidden Oaks housing development, where two dozen upscale homes are planned.

Construction on the two-acre site was halted last week when the first remains were uncovered, so Lafayette officials could review the project and ask experts to study the discovery’s significance.

Archeologists said they may have found one of the San Francisco Bay area’s last, mostly intact Indian burial sites of significant size. Among the items recovered are projectile points, stone mortars and beads.

Yet another story on the Stonehenge 3 Tooth enamel sheds light on ruin’s origin

Roadworks have unearthed clues to who built Stonehenge – long the source of speculation and myth, writes David Derbyshire from London.

Ever since the Romans stumbled across the crumbling ruins 2000 years ago, mankind has wondered at the mysterious origins of Stonehenge.

Julius Caesar thought the temple was the work of the Druids; the medieval writer Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that it had been magically whisked from Ireland by Merlin; folk tales claimed it as the work of the devil.

Now archaeologists believe they have finally unmasked the elusive Britons who dragged Stonehenge’s bluestones more than 160 kilometres from the Welsh mountains to Salisbury Plain to create Europe’s greatest prehistoric monument.

Chemical tests on the tooth enamel from Bronze Age skeletons buried in a mass grave near the site have revealed that they were almost certainly born in west Wales – close to the mountains where the stones originated.

Expert reveals Dilmun truths

Saudi archaeologist Nabiel Al Shaikh observes yesterday’s sunset from the remains of the 4,000-year-old Dilmun settlement in Saar.

Mr Al Shaikh, a photographer and archaeologist at Dammam Regional Museum, in Saudi Arabia, claims the landmark proves that the Dilmun civilisation was one of the first to use a solar calendar.

He says that on the summer solstice, which occurs every year on June 21, the sun sets directly over an odd triangular corner of the temple – suggesting the corner was some sort of astronomical device used to measure the position of the sun.

He has returned to the site every year since 1996 to witness the phenomenon, but has yet to convince the Bahraini authorities that his theory is correct.

1 Comment

  1. Dilmun Solar Calendar

    The Dilmun society depended on agriculture, trade and fishing required an accurate method for calculating the passage of time. The Dilmun priests introduced a revolutionary method which differed from the concepts followed by many ancient civilizations. The Dilmun calendar is a typical solar calendar where years were divided into 365 days, the time taken by the sun to reach the point from which it had started. This calendar method is very closed to the actual length of the year i.e. 365.2422 days the time taken by the earth go to around the sun. The Dilmun priests followed the movement of the sun and observed the phenomenon of summer Solstice, the time of year when the sun is highest in the northern hemisphere and directly overhead at latitude 23.7º N, the Tropic of Cancer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice occurs on 21st June.

    I believes that Dilmun people built their temple in the Saar settlement to allow observation of this phenomenon. They made the northwestern corner of the temple (the observation room) point towards the sunset on 21st June, i.e., at an angle of 295º. When the priest observed, through a small window or hole, that the sun was in line with this angle, he would declare the start of the New Year to the Dilmun people. Thus, the Dilmun were one of the first to use the solar calendar in the ancient world. This was an accurate calendar with only a slight margin of error in the number of annual days, which could easily be corrected by the priests. It is not clear whether the Saar priests used to apply this correction because the Dilmun did not leave us any writings or tablets. Fortunately many Dilmun seals were found in the cities and temples of Dilmun and hidden in their burial mounds. These seals tell us indirectly a great deal about the social, religious, intellectual, economic and political life of the Dilmun civilization. The type of symbols on the seals are described by researcher Ali Akbar Bushiri as “reconstructive writing” which originated from Sumerian pictographic writing. These seals depicted the sun in many forms which gives the impression that the sun had a very important religious significance for the Dilmun.

    Today, after almost 4000 years, the Saar temple can no longer serve to observe the phenomenon of Summer Solstice as the sun no longer sets exactly in alignment with the corner of the observation room. The corner of this room moved towards the east by approximately 10º, such that the new orientation of the Temple is 305º.

    It is a well known fact that the plate tectonic is in constant movement and that the island of the Kingdom of Bahrain sits on the Arab Plate, which moves towards the north east at a rate of about 1.5 cm per year – a movement of 60 m in 4000 years. However this does not explain any change in the sunset angle to the Temple because the sun’s orientation is almost constant and changes at a rate of one degree for every 100 km. Therefore it is more likely that the fact that the sun is not in alignment anymore with northwest corner of the Temple is explained by movement of the mound on which it was constructed. The Temple was built on the highest point of the mound which is located on the side of a ridge and its gradual subsidence downhill towards the east would be expected. Evidence of such movement can be seen on the leaning pillar of the temple. And reinforcement of the south and west walls of the temple. And also leaning walls and door ways in some part of the settlement.

    Saudi Arabia
    Dammam Regional Museum

    Nabiel al Shaikh
    nabielalshaikh@yahoo.com

    Comment by nabiel — June 24, 2007 @ 3:20 am

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