Important non-archaeological news item Mystery of German exploding toads
Toads in an area of northern Germany are being killed off by a mysterious disease – they are exploding.
Thousands of the amphibians have died in recent days in a pond in Hamburg’s Altona district, with their bodies swelling to bursting point.
The toads’ entrails are propelled for up to a metre (3.2ft), in scenes that have been likened to science fiction.
Our first thought was that they’re eating way too much beer and gyros, since we’ve experienced something similar, albeit not quite as dramatic, the morning after doing so ourselves. However, our herpetologist colleagues assure us that toads — even German toads — tend more towards insect life for their dietary needs. Thus, we are in as much of a quandary as the German scientists are.
And speaking of toads, our friend and colleague Andie of Egyptology News sends us a new blog to pass on, Homo Insapiens which, coincidentally, notes an altogether different activity ascribed to toads. There are two important coincidences here:
1) Said different activity is one we were attempting (largely unsuccessfully) to engage in on those nights when we were busily consuming too much beer and gyros (cause and effect — or lack thereof — already noted, thank you very much);
2) Once the mystery is solved, whatever’s doing it should immediately be imported to Oz.
On to the news:
Archaeologists in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south China, have unearthed remains of an 180-centimeter-tall man from a tomb dating back more than 6,000 years.
“Such a tall man was seen rarely in south China in ancient times,” said Huang Xin, head of the Cultural Relics Management Institute of Youjiang District, Baise City. Huang is one of the archaeologists who took part in the recent excavation at the Neolithic site in Gongyuan Village, Yangxu Town of Baise City.
Huang said they were amazed to see the bones of ancient people scattering at the site are thicker than that of modern people, andthey were even awestruck by a stone totem in the shape of penis unearthed from the site.
Also from China Perfect mummies found in China
Remarkably well-preserved mummies have been discovered at an ancient burial site in China.
Archaeologists unearthed 167 tombs at the Xiaohe Tomb complex in the Lop Nur desert in the northwest Xinjiang region. The site is 174 km from the ruins of the Loulan Kingdom, an ancient civilisation that vanished 1,500 years ago.
“The mummies were unbelievably well preserved, even better than the mummies in Egypt,” said Zhu Hong, director of the Archaeology Study Department of Jilin University. “Even the lice in the heads has been preserved,” Zhu added.
Antiquities Market update Ancient Treasures for Sale
As you read this, criminals somewhere in the world are destroying portions of mankind’s past. With backhoe and shovel, chainsaw and crowbar, they are wrenching priceless objects from sites in the mountains of Peru, the coasts of Sicily, and the deserts of Iraq. Brutal and uncaring, these robbers leave behind a wake of decapitated statues, mutilated temples, and pillaged trenches where archaeologists were seeking clues to little-understood civilizations. The results of this looting include disfigured architectural monuments, vanished aesthetic objects, and an incalculable loss of information about the past. And it shows no signs of diminishing.
As you continue to read, other people across the globe are purchasing some of mankind’s oldest and most exquisite creations. Contemplating ancient statues, vases, and stelae, many of these purchasers experience antiquities’ near-mystical power to connect them to the past or to transcend time through beauty. Proud of their efforts, these private collectors, commercial dealers, and museum curators view themselves as temporary caretakers of timeless treasures. Their love for these artifacts often resembles the passion one associates with religious fervor. It, too, shows no signs of diminishing.
There are some pertinent arguments in this essay. Vincent seems to side with the dealers in some proportion.
Construction find Construction Crew Uncovers Artifacts in Walls, MS
Future plans for one large plot of land in the Walls community include three new schools. Presently, there are remnants of its life as a cotton field. But it’s what took place here in the distant past that has peaked the interest of archaeology professor David Dye.
“This site is about, guessing by the pottery or whatever, 12 hundred years old,” says Dye. Dye and two of his students from the University of Memphis spent their Sunday combing the cotton field. Pieces of pottery were among the artifacts they found. Arrowheads and even human remains have also surfaced here. It all points to this once being a prehistoric Native American village. “The benefit of not tearing it up is that we learn something about the history of this country,” says Dye.