August 18, 2014

CSI: Minnesohh-ta

Filed under: Cemeteries, Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 7:34 pm

A Hastings whodunit: Skeleton buried since the 1800s discovered at work site

She was a middle-aged white woman, most likely a settler. And she was buried with care in Hastings more than a century and a half ago.

Of this much Brian Hoffman is sure. But the rest of her story — where she came from, how she died, how she came to rest in that spot — is shrouded in mystery.

“I do feel like this is a person, and not an archaeological site,” the archaeologist said. “I do feel a little bit of a somberness, or a seriousness; I’d like to think that we’re treating these people with respect and doing the right thing, to carefully remove them if they have to be removed.”

That’s a bit too anonymous for me, although I wonder if they can get something of an identity for her based on land records and maybe death records (although they mention that’s not likely). But it is true that with all the development taking place in outlying areas there are a lot more unmarked, private cemeteries being uncovered.

Pict-ure that

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:28 pm

Rolling stone? Archaeologist try to unlock secrets of Pictish find

Archaeologists have released details on what they have described as the most important Pictish stone find to have been made in Moray in decades.

Weighing more than a ton and stretching to 1.7m, the Dandaleith Stone dates from the 6th to 8th Centuries and was uncovered during the ploughing of a field near Craigellachie in May 2013.

Because of sensitivities around the location as well as the issue of having to work out how to remove a stone of its size – and where to move it to – archaeologists have revealed little about the find until now.

I’ve done a few items on this “Pictish” stuff, but I’m still not sure what the significance of it all is. Other than providing for a lot of puns. . . . .

“It does what it wants and pretends to consult people, but goes over their heads when they talk too much,”

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 7:23 pm

Yeah, welcome to the government: Comments Off

August 14, 2014

They wanted their mummies early

Filed under: Egypt, Mummies — acagle @ 11:01 am

Mummy-Making Began Long Before Pharaohs

The ancient Egyptians began mummifying bodies as far back as 6,000 years ago, analysis of Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic funerary wrappings has revealed.

The finding predates the origins of mummification in ancient Egypt by 1,500 years, indicating that resin-soaked textiles used in the prehistoric period (c. 4500 – 3350 B.C.) are the true antecedents of Egyptian mummification.

I’m a little skeptical that the identified materials were used for embalming proper. Possibly the compounds had some other qualities that they were using them for earlier? But then, the antibacterial properties could have gone some way towards preserving some of the soft tissues they came in contact with, so perhaps they’re really onto something.

August 12, 2014

Okay then.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:53 pm

Woman finds 80 skeletons crammed into Ikea bags

Centuries-old skeletons should probably be 6 feet under—not overflowing out of blue Ikea bags and shoved under a tarp in a Scandinavian church. But that’s exactly what Kicki Karlén says she recently found at the Kläckeberga church in Sweden.

“There were loads of skulls and bones stuffed into Ikea bags—I counted up to 80,” she tells the Expressen newspaper via the Local. “I became angry, very angry about how they were just sitting there.”

Desert Fox

I have to agree, that’s probably as decent a set of storage containers as one might want. Still, you ought to figure out what to do with them ager five years.

Update on the battlefield find

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology — acagle @ 3:24 pm

From yesterday (or so), the Danish bog skeletons, with some pictures.

August 11, 2014

Battlefield archaeology

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology — acagle @ 3:47 pm

Warriors’ Bones Reveal Bizarre Iron Age Rituals

The bones of dozens of Iron Age warriors found in Denmark were collected and ritually mutilated after spending months on the battlefield, archaeologists say.

At least six months after the soldiers died, their bones were collected, scraped of remaining flesh, sorted and dumped in a lake. Some were handled in a truly bizarre manner; for instance, four pelvises were found strung on a stick.

“We think it’s a kind of ritual closure of the war,” said Mads Kähler Holst, project manager at the dig and head of the department of archaeology at the Moesgård Museum in Denmark. The victors seem to have carried out their gruesome work on a spit of land extending into the lake where the bones were dumped, the researchers said.

They think it’s a battlefield because they were all males and showed trauma similar to battle wounds. There was one photo at the link, but I think the rest are unrelated.

Almost anywhere in Europe, probably

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 3:42 pm

Every house in Norfolk within 200 metres of an archaeological site, find or historic building

A new report also reveals that, on average, every house in Norfolk is within 200 metres of an archaeological site, find or historic building, with the county’s ground continuing to provide fascinating glimpses into the lives of our ancestors.

The historic haul is revealed in the annual report of Norfolk County Council’s Historic Environment service, which details the work of the team which records, researches and helps to protect Norfolk’s remarkable heritage.

The report shows how nearly 15,000 “finds” – mainly by metal detectorists – were sent to the county council for recording and researching during the last year alone.

Of course, it depends on how you define a “site”, but since most of the places in Europe have been occupied for millennia you pretty much can’t get away from it.

Explore an Egyptian tomb

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 10:26 am

The tomb of Ankhtifi at Mo’alla

The tomb belongs to the provincial governor (nomarch – being the leader of a nome) and military leader Ankhtifi who exercised the power in the south of the Upper Egypt under the IXth Herakleopolitain Dynasty (around 2100 B.C.).

The tomb had been discovered by chance by quarrymen in 1928. It had suffered a lot, but the great autobiography engraved on the pillars is preserved well enough well and illuminates some of the complicate political events which occurred at the time of the obscure First Intermediate Period. It also brings precious indications on the status and the power of a nomarch at this time. The painted scenes, often mutilated, present some original characters. If they testify of a knowledge of the iconographic program of the tombs of the Old Kingdom at Giza and Saqqara, their style is provincial, with frequent clumsiness and sometimes grotesque aspects.

Excellent page(s) on the tomb.

August 9, 2014

No more critical thinking?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 3:40 pm

Let’s Stop Trying To Teach Students Critical Thinking

Many teachers say they strive to teach their students to be critical thinkers. They even pride themselves on it; after all, who wants children to just take in knowledge passively? But there is a problem with the widespread treatment of critical thinking as a skill to be taught.

The truth is that you can’t teach people to be critical unless you are critical yourself. This involves more than asking young people to “look critically” at something, as if criticism was a mechanical task. . .This does not mean moaning endlessly about education policies you dislike or telling students what they should think. It means first and foremost that you are capable of engaging in deep conversation. This means debate and discussion based on considerable knowledge – something that is almost entirely absent in the educational world. It also has to take place in public, with parents and others who are not teachers, not just in the classroom or staffroom.

I mostly agree with that and have been saying something similar for years. Critical thinking isn’t necessarily a “skill” you learn on its own, but it arises out of a deep understanding and knowledge of a particular subject. This is where rote learning comes in and why supposedly ‘critical thinking’ in schools these days is just window dressing: the students simply don’t get the deep factual knowledge they need to even begin to think critically about anything. How can you, for example, examine the Civil War in any critical sense (or what someone is saying about the Civil War) if you don’t even know what century it took place in? It’s tedious and can be boring but until you have knowledge at your fingertips you can’t tell BS from anything else.

Also, it wasn’t really mentioned in the article, but it ought to be stressed that being ‘critical’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘negative’. It’s entirely legitimate to critically examine something and note the good things in it, some which the author/speaker may not have even been aiming for.

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