September 23, 2015

Epic archaeology

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 11:26 am

The lost tunnels of Liverpool

On a summer day in 2001, Coe and a small band of investigators literally “broke into” a suspected tunnel in the Paddington area of Edge Hill. With the help of a digger, they made a small hole in the roof of what turned out to be an old cellar: the upper level of one of the tunnel systems.
Coe and a few others gingerly ventured in via a harness. The chamber was full of rubble piled so high, walking upright was impossible. Still, the explorers were thrilled. “It was quite exhilarating when we found that opening,” Coe recalls.
Eventually, three different sites in the area would offer access to various bits of the tunnels. But excavating them was – and still is – difficult work. Over the last 15 years teams of volunteers, digging up to twice a week, have removed more than 120 skips of waste material. They have revealed forgotten cellar systems and, in several cases, multiple levels of tunnels – some with stone steps leading down to deeper caverns. There are also some debris-filled passages branching off in odd directions; it’s not clear how far they go or to where they ultimately lead.

September 22, 2015

A little blogging update and blatant self-promotion

Filed under: Blogging update, Books — acagle @ 7:12 pm

First, I’ll be traveling to Wisconsin again this Thursday to manage mom’s care. She’s out of the horse-pistol but still in an acute care facility, and doing some rehab. A lot slower recovery than we had anticipated, but so far so good moving forward with things. I’ll be there until probably early November. Should be able to continue blogging regularly from there as all that stuff won’t take an inordinate amount of time.

At first I thought it would be kind of fun kicking around my old home town by myself for a month or so while mom went through rehab in town, but now it looks like she’ll be an hour’s drive away for the time being (but hopefully soon). It will still be. . . .interesting. It’s a lot different, being in the old family home with neither mom nor dad there. Even the town feels different without mom or dad in the picture, although mom is, at least, still around in some fashion. But I’ll have plenty to do looking after her and keeping the household running.

But in the meantime, I will give you a preview of coming attractions:
Desert Fox

September 21, 2015

An Egyptologist you’ve probably never heard of

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 7:14 pm

Memoires of an Egyptology guru

Selim Hassan’s daily routine was quite simple. He woke at the crack of dawn and went off to his excavation site. To name a few of his excavations, he discovered many of the Giza mastaba tombs, cleared the Sphinx and its temple, for the first time completely digging out the great amphitheater around it and ensuring that it would not be buried by sand easily.

In addition, he wrote a study on the temple of Amenhotep II, discovered the so-called “fourth Pyramid,” or the palace-façade tomb of Queen Khentkawes of the Fourth Dynasty, and also the funerary town of the priests associated with it, reveals CULTNAT. He worked at Sakkara on the causeway, and the valley temple of King Wanis, discovering 17 mastaba tombs around this area. He was a great success.

I’d come across the name before but never really had much to do with him.

Also this:

Om Siti, or the later famous Dorothy Eady, became Selim Hassan’s assistant, and would live on site. ” She lived by the newly discovered tomb, which she took as shelter, never posed in any of our photos and would feed all stray animals, including snakes,” he remembered.

Kind of a nut, but apparently a kind-hearted nut.

Real paleodieting

Filed under: Experimental archaeology, Paleodiet — acagle @ 7:09 pm

Archaeologists Recreate 4,000-Year-Old Hittite Feast to Better Understand Their History

One way to study ancient civilizations is to find out what they ate. Cuisine tells a lot about the climate, culture and preferences of the eaters. But instead of trying to reverse engineer the food of a culture based on the effects that can be read from ancient bodies, or merely translating old recipes, some researchers decided to actually prepare ancient foods.

An article at Daily Sabah explains how Aykut Çınaroğlu, a professor of archaeology at Ankara University in Turkey teamed up with chef Ömür Akkor to prepare a meal that might have appeared on Hittite tables 4,000 years ago. Akkor explains that the meal was based on information gleaned from ancient tablets found in Alacahöyük, an important ancient settlement.

Decent experimental archaeology, I think. This is one area you can do that pretty well, since cooking can be repeated over and over so you can get a better feel for how to do things. One trick is getting the correct ingredients since many of the ancient varieties are no longer around.

September 17, 2015

Hmmmmmm. . . . .

Filed under: Historic — acagle @ 7:14 pm

Loot found by treasure hunters above Nazi gold train tunnel

Treasure hunters scouring the woods above the tunnel where the Nazi train is said to be hidden have claimed to have found a Nazi Eagle, gold coins and other WWII memorabilia which they say is ‘proof’ it may really be packed with priceless jewels.
The local two men, who refused to be named, recovered the ‘treasure’ from the hill in Walbrzych, Poland, which has become the centre of fevered speculation over the last two weeks, ever since it was revealed two men had ‘discovered’ a Nazi train hidden in a secret tunnel underneath it.
They showed MailOnline pictures of coins, a German helmet and a Nazi Eagle they found at the site, adding: ‘There is still a lot of treasure like this lying around. If that train is in the tunnel, it could well contain more of this, a lot more.’

DUnno, I’m starting to wonder if they might really be on to something. . . . . .

Boiling soil and other delights

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:11 pm

Uprooted tree reveals a violent death from 1,000 years ago

Nearly 1,000 years ago, a young Gaelic man came to a violent end among the dispersed farmsteads of northwestern Ireland.

This, we know, thanks to a 215-year-old tree and a hearty Irish wind.

The young man’s remains were discovered tangled in the roots of the tree when it blew over sometime before May near Collooney in County Sligo, Ireland. That’s when an archaeologist hired by Ireland’s National Monuments Service excavated the remains.

The lower leg bones remained in the grave, but the upper part of the body was tangled up in the roots, according to Marion Dowd of Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services.

Meant to post this the other day, but this sort of thing is fairly common. Maybe not skeletons, but tree throws (as they are called) occasionally have artifacts clinging to them, so on surveys we usually examine them. It also illustrates why intact deposits can often be quite rare. Besides tree throws, you also have rodent activity, insect activity, earthworms, etc., all churning up the soil. One archaeologist observed that if you could somehow watch a time-lapse movie of a patch of ground over several hundred years it would look like the ground is boiling.

September 16, 2015

Cool, but. . . . .

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 7:09 pm

10,000-year-old stone tools unearthed in Redmond dig

The project started off as nothing special — just a standard archaeological survey to clear the way for construction.

But it quickly became clear that the site near Redmond Town Center mall was anything but ordinary.

By the time excavations were done, crews had unearthed more than 4,000 stone flakes, scrapers, awls and spear points crafted at least 10,000 years ago by some of the region’s earliest inhabitants.

“We were pretty amazed,” said archaeologist Robert Kopperl, who led the field investigation. “This is the oldest archaeological site in the Puget Sound lowland with stone tools.”

I did some work over there on occasion, but after this work was done. There’s lots of gossip about that site but I shan’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say we were called in later.

She got a D-

Filed under: Paleodiet, Public Health — acagle @ 7:04 pm

Neolithic skeleton reveals early history of rickets

Rickets has been identified in a Neolithic skeleton from the Scottish island of Tiree, making it the earliest case of the disease in the UK, according to research announced at the British Science Festival in Bradford.

This is particularly surprising as the disease – caused by Vitamin D deficiency linked to lack of sunlight – is more commonly associated with the urban slums of Victorian Britain than with rural, farming communities, as existed in Neolithic Scotland. The nature of the grave itself – a simple burial rather than a chambered tomb – has raised questions as to how the woman, physically deformed by the disease, may have been treated by her community.

Interesting but the odd thing is that she lived near the ocean and one would assume (as the article notes) that she would have been exposed to plenty of vitamin D from the marine food. I had thought of something else which is entirely different: hypervitaminosis D or excess amounts of D possibly observed among northwest coast populations. So this really is odd.

September 14, 2015

This sounds. . . . .fishy?

Filed under: Historic, Underwater archaeology — acagle @ 3:11 pm

It was either that or a cod piece joke.

Cod bones from Mary Rose reveal globalised fish trade in Tudor England

New stable isotope and ancient DNA analysis of the bones of stored cod provisions recovered from the wreck of the Tudor warship Mary Rose, which sank off the coast of southern England in 1545, has revealed that the fish in the ship’s stores had been caught in surprisingly distant waters: the northern North Sea and the fishing grounds of Iceland – despite England having well developed local fisheries by the 16th century. Test results from one of the sample bones has led archaeologists to suspect that some of the stored cod came from as far away as Newfoundland in eastern Canada.

I can imagine that preserved fish as provisions could have gone all over the place as it waited to be utilized. Ships would provision wherever they could and if you got a barrel o’ fish from one location you’d hang on to it until you used it, or even transfer it to another vessel. So I’m not sure I go along with the “lack of sufficient fisheries locally” idea.

Now this might be cool

Filed under: Amateur, Paleoanth, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 3:06 pm

Fossil Finder wants amateur archaeologists for online sleuthing

Ever dream of pulling an ancient jawbone from a hidden cave somewhere? A new interactive website could help you realize your archaeological aspirations.

The site, Fossil Finder, seeks volunteers to comb through its database of images from Kenya’s Turkana Basin, where numerous fossils of our human ancestors, as well as a range of other animals dating back millions of years, have been found.

I think this is an excellent use of the power of the Interwebs.

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