Using the skulls of your enemies to build a tower sends one powerful message—even if the structure winds up measuring a scant 15 feet in height. In 1809, midway through the first Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire, Turkish general Hurshid Pasha gathered 952 rebel skulls for this grisly project near the city of Niš. All but 58 were later removed and given dignified funerals, but thanks to the Serbian government’s preservation efforts, you can still see the building today.
March 3, 2014
The world’s oldest cheese has been found on the necks and chests of perfectly preserved mummies buried in China’s desert sand.
Dating back as early as 1615 B.C., the lumps of yellowish organic material have provided direct evidence for the oldest known dairy fermentation method. The individuals were likely buried with the cheese so they could savor it in the afterlife.
Although cheese-making is known from sites in northern Europe as early as the 6th millennium B.C. and was common in Egypt and Mesopotamia in 3rd millennium B.C., until now no remains of ancient cheeses had been found.
Artist’s conception of what the original inhabitants may have looked like:
Richard Daugherty, a Washington State University archaeologist who led the excavation of the Ozette village site, “the Pompeii of America,” and numerous other key Northwest finds, died Saturday of bone cancer. He was 91.
Starting in the 1970s, Daugherty worked closely with the Makah tribe during the 11-year Ozette excavation on Washington’ Olympic Peninsula, setting a new standard for native and archaeological cooperation, said Allyson Brooks, state historic preservation officer.
“He really set the path for archaeologists and Native Americans to work together instead of in opposition,” she said. “That’s a big deal.”
Not sure many readers will recognize the name. I wouldn’t have were I not around here. People may or may not have heard of Ozette except as part of college courses either, but it was a pretty spectacular site. It doesn’t get as much recognition for a number of reasons not least its location; this is a relatively unexciting area for the general public (and most archaeologists for that matter). And it had no monumental architecture and was occupied until the 20th century so it didn’t have that really ancient feel to it.
An underground chamber containing 130 ancient Greek statues was discovered in Athens 25 years ago. But no one, apart from the finders, has cared enough to battle the bureaucracy that has prevented the hatch from being opened and the remarkable treasures from being recovered. So what has stopped the Ministry of Culture from retrieving such precious relics of the past? Apparently the obstacle is as simple as the fact that the mysterious underground chamber lies on private property and no one wants to get involved.
The chamber was discovered in Athens when two friends found an opening in the ground in an area that was being excavated to lay the foundations for a new building. After throwing some burning paper in the opening they saw that there were stairs leading further under the surface. So they went down with the help of two lit candles.
I dunno, sounds a bit fishy to me.
February 28, 2014
February 26, 2014
Car Lust, that is: The Cadillac Allante
Needless to say, sales failed to meet expectations. They had forecast roughly 6,000 units per year but they really never came close to that number in any year. It wasn’t for lack of marketing though; they tried to place Allantés everywhere they could. Probably most famously, villain-protagonist JR Ewing of the phenomenally (and internationally) popular TV show Dallas began driving one (photo above), this after he had been driving a 560 SL in previous episodes. GM even gave one to Larry Hagman to drive. They were also placed in other TV shows and movies, including deconstructionist sitcom Married . . .With Children (photo below) and buddy-cop movie Tango and Cash. More recently, one even popped up on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. But to little avail: through 1992 sales averaged around 3,000, at one point dropping below 2,000. At that price and compared to comparable European models, the Allanté just wasn’t competitive.
“Remember, attraction is a three-way street. Or is it a one-way tunnel? Hmm, in any case, I do know it’s a four-lane highway, but it takes two to use the car-pool lane.”In fairness, I suppose, GM argued that the Allanté was more of a “halo car” and intended as a test bed for technologies that would eventually make it into their other vehicles. That may be true, but estimates are that they lost around $25 billion dollars on the program which makes for kind of an expensive concept car.
I actually didn’t know much about the Allante — oh, excuse me the “Allanté” — before I did the research for this post, except that I knew it was kind of a flop. I was totally wrapped up in grad school and going to Egypt during its run, so I wasn’t paying too much attention to cars then (except my own). One of the more attractive cars to come out of the ’80s IMO, and they even mostly got it right in 1993. But their production strategy was just plain looney.
Ancient Rome’s gladiators lived and trained in fortress prisons, according to an international team of archaeologists who mapped a school for the famed fighters.
Discovered at the site of Carnuntum outside Vienna, Austria, the gladiatorial school, or ludus gladiatorius, is the first one discovered outside the city of Rome. Now hidden beneath a pasture, the gladiator school was entirely mapped with noninvasive earth-sensing technologies. (See “Gladiator Training Camp.”)
The discovery, reported Tuesday evening by the journal Antiquity, makes clear what sort of lives these famous ancient warriors led during the second century A.D. in the Roman Empire.
That more or less coincides what others have been saying, so that’s either support for that or they’re reading from the same playbook. But they reiterate that gladiators were more show fighters than killers, whatever that’s worth.
February 24, 2014
Just FYI, posting may be light for the next few days. Or weeks. For some reason the two firms I consult for are super busy all of a sudden. So busy I’m doing project management — i.e., doing a project from proposal through to final report — for one of the places. Don’t know why, although they always calm down in late December and most of January and then pick up again, but they’re really getting slammed all of a sudden.
I’ll actually try to get some posts involving the fieldwork. Not much scenery, I’m afraid, for most of them, but there may be something of interest.
Archaeologists digging around New York’s City Hall have uncovered a unique piece of feminine history- a douche contraption dating from the 19th century. The oblong tube, made from mammal bone, was one of several “vaginal syringes” uncovered in the excavation. The early form of feminine hygiene control was a taboo topic in 19th Century society, leaving little information for modern researchers to go on.
Auto-play ad there so keep your sound down.
AMBITIOUS plans to turn the former glassworks in Nailsea into a World Heritage Site have been whole-heartedly backed by councillors.
Nailsea Town Council voted unanimously in favour of progressing with the first phase of scheme, which could cost £250,000-£300,000.
The authority is planning to bury the archaeology on the site, which sits at the end of the town’s High Street, but put up information boards with details about the remains underneath and turn the area into a public open space.
The scheme will protect the archaeology from damage and enable it to be unearthed in the future when there is better technology to do it.
Or not do it at all and still get information out of it. More please.