January 31, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:45 am

TV corner

Well, we caught the first half hour or so of Discovery’s Pompeii: The Last Day and based on that portion, we’ll give it a cautious. . .uhhhhh. . .trowel’s up. We liked the way they juxtaposed the reconstructions (i.e., movie sets) with actual footage of what the places look like today, so one can see how they reconstructed it. We also learned a few things, at least one of which we wish we hadn’t: that they used to A) Pee in pots out in the street (we’re kind of dubious about that one, but you never know), and B) That someone took the pee-pots away to dump into pools where slaves were busily washing the laundry with it. We don’t know what this particular bit of information is based on, but we’d rather not dwell on it. There seemed to be a lot of nice little bits thrown in on Daily Life in The First Century Roman Empire, which, we think, is a good thing. Too many times we get the Big Picture — wars and emperors and whatnot — and forget what people were actually doing 90% of the time.

One thing we’re not sure about: The increasing tendency to use very elaborate reconstructions, such that production values are very high and there are real actors actually acting in little vignettes about Daily Life in. . .etc. It’s kind of distracting — this is a documentary after all, right? — but we suppose it’s better than putting a bunch of production assistants in period costumes and having them play-fight battle scenes and such. Still, we question the interpretation that has to take place. Apparently, all high-class Roman citizens had British accents and were arrogant twits. But whatever, make up your own minds. We’ll watch the rest of it tonight and see if we change our minds.

Well, it’s about freakin’ time, County May Appoint Staff Archaeologist

For the past decade, developers have been erecting houses and office buildings on the sites of plantations, farms and historic houses in Prince William County without authoritative oversight from the county government.

On Tuesday, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors will decide whether to employ an archaeologist, a position that board Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R) says is long overdue.

“Up to this point, we have had to depend on the applicants’ archaeological studies instead of having an independent review,” Connaughton said. “This is part of an ongoing effort of the county to ensure that we preserve as much of the county’s past as possible.”

Definitely ‘with’ Committee to discuss controversial Tara motorway

Proposals to build a controversial new motorway through the Hill of Tara in Co Meath will be discussed in detail next week by the Oireachtas joint Committee on Local Government.

At issue is whether the proposed road should be built with or without a proper archaeological dig of the locality.

Macchu Picchu in Maine. . . Maine’s Macchu Picchu in Warren?

Archaeologist Harbor Mitchell III of Camden will discuss aspects of this and other current archaeological questions, based on excavations he has conducted at several mid-coast sites, at Merryspring Park this Thursday, February 3rd, at 2:00 PM.

When the first European explorers visited Maine’s mid-coast in 1605, they found themselves in the heart of a resource-rich area that Indians had been utilizing for centuries. The natives they met along the coast spoke of the Bashabas, a sort of “superchief”, living nearby; whose rule extended over most of modern-day Maine. Tantalizing clues in the journals of Rosier and Champlain suggest that his abode was somewhere between Pemaquid and the Camden Hills, and much speculation is currently focusing on an artifact-rich site in Warren where Mitchell has conducted excavation that suggests as much as nine millenia of occupancy.

And Stonehenge in Russia Archaeologists find ‘Russian Stonehenge’

Russian archaeologists have found the site of a 4,000-year-old concentric wooden structure resembling Britain’s Stonehenge, the Art Newspaper reported Friday.

Evidence of the structure was found near Ryazan southeast of Moscow at the confluence of the Oka and Pronya rivers.

The area long known for its archaeological treasures was settled by tribes migrating from Eurasia thousands of years ago.

Dig unearths part of Chinooks’ past

To look at them, you would never guess they were important enough to hold off the bulldozers on a $5.6 million project.

What the archaeologists are calling “planks” are really just a suggestion of planks – dark, parallel stripes in the earth, so fragile the barest nudge of a hand trowel turns them to dust.

But the discovery of the planks here on the banks of the Columbia River last weekend was enough to put on hold the realignment of a section of Highway 101 in Pacific County. And it was enough to halt the construction of a portion of the new Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, which was to have opened this summer for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebration.

Think we posted something to this same story last week.

Stockton Web Site Highlights Archaelogical Findings

A major redevelopment project has changed the face of downtown Stockton. And during construction, crews unearthed layers of the city’s past.

An archaeological excavation was implemented, and it is now available on a Web site where children can learn about their hometown. Stockton’s new Web site is called City Beneath Your Feet.

Archaeologists unearthed a treasure trove of artifacts. The artifacts may have been trash for early settlers, but they are now big prizes for the city.

On the Web site, children can see the discoveries in a fun way, at home or in the classroom.

Kind of a neat site they link to.

More later.

1 Comment

  1. The pee pot thing: fullers would collect urine to use for ‘drycleaning’ (although it wasn’t dry) purposes. See e.g., :

    http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Fullo.html

    Comment by David — January 31, 2005 @ 4:04 pm

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