There seems to be great heaping gobs of news today, so we’ll just post links and what-not throughout the day. We wish our faithful readers a happy and productive Monday.
Audio story from NPR. Short, but sweet, basically describing archaeology we come across every day. Well, give it a listen.
This is exciting History lesson:prehistoric findings excite archaeologists
Two rocks may be the secret to unlocking the past of the middle Susitna Valley.
Of course, they aren’t just two ordinary rocks, but two rocks that were probably used by people in the Chulitna area thousands of years ago, prior to European contact. The finding, at the Screaming Hawk site, makes archaeologists such as the Mat-Su Borough’s Fran Seager-Boss excited.
“It shows an early population there, probably at least 3,000 years ago,” Seager-Boss said. “It would tie more into an archaeological finding. We haven’t found a single sign of European goods with the artifacts. It’s very exciting.”
Well, yes they do. . . ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNCOVER
THE last time I tried to dig something up, my mum gave me a “talk” about how the hamster had gone to heaven and was no longer under the rose bush at the bottom of the garden.
So, given my distinct lack of even the most simple skills with a trowel, I breathed a sigh of relief when I was not asked to have a go at excavating some precious ancient Roman stones.
Instead, it was left to the professionals and many trained volunteers to work on what is one of the most important archaeological excavations to take place in Tynedale.
I stopped by at the Corbridge site on Monday to see how the work was going and immediately saw that the remains of the spectacular Roman bridge were clearly visible.
Already, just three weeks into the excavation of what is a majestic reminder that the Romans could carry out the work of giants, hidden secrets are being uncovered.
More bone controversies Exhumation of skeletons to proceed
Exhumation of the human skeletons at Prestwich Street can go ahead, according to Ari Efstathiou, the developer of the site.
This comes after months of protests and formal appeals by the Hands-off Prestwich Place Committee, formed by people strongly opposed to the skeletons being exhumed.
Efstathiou, whose construction has been held up for 14 months, said on Thursday he had been informed that the appeal to the minister of arts and culture by the committee had been dismissed.
He said he did not want to give details about the decision until he had received the full report from the independent tribunal set up by the minister to consider the appeal.
“I’m relieved. Unfortunately it took 14 months to get to this decision. This wasted time has cost me millions of rands. I played by the law, but still I got the bad end of the deal,” Efstathiou said on Thursday.
Note that up until now we have refrained from using the obvious ‘bone(s) of contention’ pun. This may not last.
And yet another surprise finding Archaeologists recover items at La Crosse road construction site
A road construction project on the city’s south side is helping local archaeologists dig into the past.
Archaeologists from the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have excavated a number of sites on South Third and Fourth streets in what had been the road, once it was torn up for the reconstruction project.
“The road project is giving us a last chance to find out what’s here,” said Wendy Holtz-Leith, a research archaeologist with MVAC.
Standing in a long trench about four feet deep, Bob Cronk, shirtless in the summer heat, peels layer after layer of soil away from an area darker than the dirt around it.
Cronk, an archaeology student at MVAC, said the stained soil indicates the remains of a storage pit.
“The pits were originally used to store food, like corn, beans and squash, said Holtz-Leith.
When the food was gone, the pit was turned into a garbage dump, she said.
We included a bit more from the story to get those last two sentences. This is common practice, archaeologically speaking, the reuse of structures for other purposes. Oftentimes, archaeologists will try to determine the uses to which various structures in a site were put. That way, they can determine how complex the social structure was, how much specialization went on (ceramic production over here, food processing over there, etc.) which has implications for how power and authority was organized. They generally do this by analyzing the artifacts within buildings. So, for example, in a modern house you would find kitchen implements in the kitchen, car and gardening implements in the garage, toiletries in the bathrooms, etc. Trouble is (among others), spaces can be reused over time and thus what artifacts you find are only the last ones that were used there.
THe pit example is one of these. In Egypt, we often find this to be the case. For example, one of our staff dealt extensively with this issue in an outstanding study on the deposits of an Old Kingdom Delta town (which, you too can purchase for — not £99.95, not £59.95, not even £49.95 — the amazing price of only £36.00!). What was found there were several classic storae pits built of mud brick, but a detailed analysis of the sediments within came up with a large number of fish cranial elements. This implies that after use as grain storage, they were subsequently used as dumps for (minimally) fish heads.
Studies like this are generally subsumed under the rubric of “formation processes” which looks at the various ways sites are changed over time through natural (sedimentation) or cultural processes and how this should inform our interpretations of the distributions of artifacts. Michael Schiffer is often cited as one of the primary proponents of these analyses.
Update on Petersburg bones Archaeologists Find Prehistoric Native American Village
Kentucky archaeologists say it may take them months to fully analyze all the 800-year-old Native American bones and artifacts they are pulling up from a northern Boone County construction site.
The small town of Petersburg, located along the Ohio River, is confirming much of what archaeological experts thought about the Tri-state’s first human inhabitants.
Kentucky’s State Archaeologist came back to front street in Petersburg Thursday, along with almost a dozen trained volunteers and colleagues to take a peek back into the Tri-state’s history.
Seems to be an entire village instead of just a few isolated burials.
What, no Brad Pitt? Museum hosts exhibit on warriors
A shrunken head, Native American spears and other tools used by warriors through the ages will be the focus of the next Family Day event at the Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural History in Dania Beach.
The event, dubbed “Warriors — Past and Present,” will feature talks and craft projects from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Speakers and craft projects will be in different areas throughout the museum, said Peter Ferdinando, the museum’s adult education coordinator.
“It’s set up so that visitors go through the entire museum,” he said. “It’s a great way of seeing everything.”
More on the Port Angeles site A Significant Archaeological Find Near Port Angeles
The lower Elwha Klallam tribe opened up an archeological dig for the news media Thursday, saying that 150 intact bodies and 300 partial remains had been found during excavation of the site prior to the area becoming a staging point for construction of a new portion of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge.
Earlier, when the Klallam tribal artifacts were found at the facility in Port Angeles, the tribe signed an agreement with the state to allow construction of a so-called graving yard for construction of pontoons. In return, the state would give reinternmnet of any tribal remains found on the site and preservation of artifacts.
Thursday, the senior archaeologist on the site, Dennis Lewarch described the site as, “one of the most significant sites excavated in North America and the largest one in the Pacific Northwest.”