January 5, 2017

Blogging update

Filed under: Blogging update — acagle @ 11:33 am

Hey guys. Apologies for not having posted anything in a while. The last few months have been exceedingly difficult for a number of reasons (nothing really health-related though, *knock wood*), some in my control (sorta), others completely out of it. In the last year or so I’ve had three of my mother’s generation of family die and then a beloved neighbor just last month.

I’ve done some over at the Facebook page if you’ve followed it there. Things may (*knock wood*) finally be settling down some so hopefully I’ll get back to it soon.

Again, apologies.

November 17, 2016

Excellent preservation

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:47 pm

Great Ryburgh dig finds 81 ‘rare’ Anglo-Saxon coffins

Some decent photos, too.

Numismatists Unite!

Filed under: Antiquities Market — acagle @ 7:44 pm

That’s one of my favorite words.

Guidelines for documenting ancient coins proposed

The United Kingdom has the Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Collectors and coin dealers in the United States are seeking common ground for collectible coins with the U.S. government and archaeologists through several organizations including the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild.

Similar problems with how to deal with the ownership of antiquities and coins defined as being ancient are being experienced in Germany and elsewhere within the European Union as well. Guidelines hoped to be adopted universally regarding how to handle reasonably freshly discovered ancient coins are presented in an article by Shanna Schmidt appearing in the Oct. 13 issue of the online publication CoinsWeekly.com.

Schmidt brings out some good points. She asks, “Why would it make sense to implement an ethical guideline?” then answers her own question, “It makes sense because collecting will not go away and to suggest otherwise is absurd.”

November 7, 2016

The dickens you say!

Filed under: Biblical archaeology — acagle @ 7:41 pm

How Archaeology Became an Israeli-Palestinian Battleground

(like what isn’t?)

Ancient artifacts have been used not only to underscore Israel’s right to exist but, in some cases, to assert its right to exercise sovereignty in areas of the West Bank, such as Hebron and Shiloh. “The whole use of archaeology as a legitimizer of the state has become a hallmark of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu” and some of his ministers, said Tel Aviv University archaeologist Raphael Greenberg. “Archaeology has become part of the conflict.”

In archaeology, Prof. Greenberg said, eureka finds are rare. It is a science built on accumulated data. Touting each new find as proof of an unequivocal historical truth “is like making a public-relations point.”

Not a bad article.

Sorry about the long layoff

Filed under: Blogging update — acagle @ 7:40 pm

Was in Wisconsin looking after the ArchaeoMom and the homestead which tends to be a rather draining (physically and emotionally) exercise.

October 19, 2016

New book

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 1:02 pm

Well, it’s finally published: Kom el-Hisn (ca. 2500-1900 BC): An Ancient Settlement in the Nile Delta, edited by Robert J. Wenke, Richard W. Redding, and Anthony J. Cagle.

Kind of the literary equivalent of Sominex, but feel free to purchase.

Really, this has been a long time coming. I’ve been agitating to get the monograph out ever since I discovered a draft of it from the late 1980s. This is one of the big reasons I’ve become fairly rabid about not excavating unless it’s absolutely necessary: People — even archeologists — are just not that good at preserving things over the long term. Even with the best of intentions, things can go wrong. And people tend not to see much past their own lifetimes.

October 10, 2016

Fight! Fight! Part II

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 6:39 pm

Tribe disputes state archaeologist’s report

Picha wrote in the memo that seven State Historical Society archaeologists surveyed a 1.36-mile pipeline corridor west of Highway 1806 at the request of the task force, which is investigating the circumstances surrounding a Sept. 3 pipeline protest, including whether cultural sites were disturbed by pipeline construction.

Gruebele said authorities didn’t have enough support to file an affidavit for a search warrant that would have allowed for Eagle to be present for the survey.

The archaeologists did a pedestrian survey at seven-meter interval spacing, inspecting the stripped ground surface and both sides of the stockpiled topsoil berms, Picha wrote. The survey found 10 locations with bone fragments and teeth from small mammals, but no human bone or evidence of burials, the memo states.

October 5, 2016

From the genetics files

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:52 pm

Analysis of DNA from early settlers of the pacific overturns leading genetic model

More than 3,000 years ago, a group of people set out from the Solomon Island chain in the southwestern edge of the Pacific Ocean and steered their outrigger canoes toward the horizon, with no land as far as their eyes could see. These people and their descendants were the first to cross more than 350 kilometer stretches of open ocean into a region known as Remote Oceania. Now, DNA sequences are for the first time telling us more about the ancestral origins of these people, and their genetic legacy that lives on in Pacific Islanders today.

A scientific team led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, University College Dublin, and the Max Planck institute for the Science of Human History, and including Binghamton University Associate Professor of Anthropology Andrew D. Merriwether, analyzed DNA from people who lived in Tonga and Vanuatu between 2,500 and 3,100 years ago, and were among the first people to live in these islands. The results overturn the leading genetic model for this last great movement of humans to unoccupied but habitable lands.

Neat stuff although I thought the part about the X-chromosome bit was sort of gratuitous Feministing. I mean, duh, yeah, there were probably women along too, because, you know, reproduction.

September 28, 2016

Fight! Fight! Part II.

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 1:36 pm

ND archaeologist: No burial sites destroyed by Dakota Access

North Dakota’s chief archaeologist has found that no burial sites or significant sites were destroyed by Dakota Access Pipeline construction.

In a Sept. 22 memo from state archaeologist Paul Picha, he writes that seven archaeologists from the State Historical Society of North Dakota surveyed the construction area west of State Highway 1806 that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says contains sacred sites.

The team found no human bone or other evidence of human burials or cultural materials in the 1.36-mile corridor, Picha writes in a memo published Monday by Say Anything blogger Rob Port.

What a mess. And because of the environmental politics involved, expect far more heat than light.

September 22, 2016

Fight Fight!

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 10:10 am

Museum Officials and Archaeologists Sign Petition Against N. Dakota Pipeline

Over a thousand archaeologists, anthropologists, curators, museum officials and academics have added their names and voices to the protest against an oil pipeline being built in North Dakota.
. . .
Development of the area has been contested by Native American tribes like the Standing Rock Sioux, who contend that the land and water crossings are sacred space, used for burials and containing historically and culturally vital information about their origins.

“It’s smack-dab practically in the center of our ancestral homelands,” Kelly Morgan, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux and its tribal archaeologist, said. Construction of the pipeline on private land has already wiped out some stones and markers that the Standing Rock Sioux considered valuable, they say, a development that helped spur the letter campaign.

I have yet to see anything suggesting there really are burials that were or may be disturbed, or anything else cultural for that matter except on private land (if such is the case) where Federal law may not even apply. I’m guessing this has far more to do with environmentalism than actual cultural sensibilities:

The new letter campaign against the pipeline was originated by the Natural History Museum, a New York-based mobile organization which has in the past released similar letters advocating for science and natural history museums to cut ties with fossil fuel companies and the philanthropists who support them, an effort that many institutions undertook.

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