December 11, 2014

Whoopsie wooo. . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 1:48 pm

This Greenpeace Stunt May Have Irreparably Damaged Peru’s Nazca Site

The Peruvian government is planning to file criminal charges against Greenpeace activists who may have permanently scarred the Nazca Lines World Heritage Site during a publicity stunt.

As The Guardian reports, the Nazca lines “are huge figures depicting living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary figures scratched on the surface of the ground between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago.” The figures, which can only be seen from the air, are believed to have had ritual functions related to astronomy.

The ground around the site is so sensitive and so sacred that Peru has even forbidden presidents and top officials to walk where the Greenpeace activists went. Peru’s Deputy Culture Minister told the BBC: “You walk there, and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years.” Tourists generally get to see the site from the air, or, on rare occasions, are equipped with special foot gear.

On the one hand, I’m guessing more than a few people have probably walked around out there. On the other hand, dopes.

December 10, 2014

Bodies, bodies, everywhere!

Filed under: Bodies, Rome, bodies everywhere! — acagle @ 8:31 pm

Shackled skeletons discovered in ancient Roman burial ground in France

In what experts believe to be an important necropolis possibly used for those killed in the stadium, hundreds of graves dating back to the first and second centuries AD were unearthed.

But perhaps the most interesting finds were five shackled skeletons – four adults and one child. Three skeletons had their ankles bound with iron chains, another was secured around the neck, and a child was found with a chain around his or her wrist.

One might think these sorts of things would be more common (I don’t remember seeing one like this before), but then again items were more valuable in the past and unless things were specifically used for grave goods (offerings or whatever), they’d probably be stripped from the body before burial.

And speaking of modern artifacts. . . .

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 8:27 pm

If Archaeologists Uncovered Today’s Society, It Might Look Like This

When Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered Pompeii with volcanic ash, it preserved an Italian city as it existed during the era of Pax Romana. Centuries later, excavators found, among other things, dried summer fruits in the markets, sealed jars of preserves, and painted frescoes. It makes you wonder: If excavators in 2450 uncovered today’s society, petrified in time, what would it look like?

Daniel Arsham’s latest work, Welcome to the Future, teases that out.

He didn’t actually try to create a Pompeii-like thing of today — you could just take some houses and diet them with ash to get the effect — but he created something of a palimpsest of modern life. Kind of neat.

A Tale of Two Cities Speakers

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 8:22 pm

Desert Fox

That’s only one, and in truth it’s actually two sets of speakers (creative license, donchaknow). I just thought I’d pass this one on quickly: This is one of a pair of Advent speakers I bought a few months ago. I had another set that I’d bought from Craig’s List earlier, but I just took those down to Hawthorne Stereo on consignment (go buy them! Spend lots of money!). Why? They were really virtually identical! Close to the same years, models, condition, etc., although the ones I sent to consignment had a bit of a water/sun/something mark on the top. So why did I decide to keep one set and give away another, or even buy a second set to begin with?

Yes, I know I could have stacked them but I don’t have the room.

The answer is: $25.

That’s what I paid for the second set. I was at an estate sale and they were going unsold on the second day, so I grabbed ‘em. See, I’d been looking for a pair of these Original Large Advents in the walnut cabinet for some time. They’re not particularly rare, as they made gazillions of them, although the original walnut ones are a bit harder to find than the so-called “utility” cabinets (vinyl covered particle board). I’d always kind of wanted a pair when I was a teenager, but never got any ($$$) and by the time I could afford them, I was off at school and such and didn’t care much anymore. But when I started getting back into such things, I decided to get a nice pair of them. So I kept looking at estate sales and at Goodwill, etc., for some that needed some work that I could buy for cheap. Mostly estate sales though because they’re usually cheaper.

At any rate, I didn’t have any luck for a long time and finally saw some on Craig’s that were in great shape and decently priced, fully functional, etc. So I got em. Loved ‘em. For several weeks. Then I stumbled upon these other ones. The cabinets and cloth grilles were probably in better shape than the other ones, but these needed new foam around the woofers and one tweeter didn’t work. And $25! I probably could have gotten them for $10 but I knew the lady doing the sale.

At any rate, I took them home, reformed them and (because I am electronically illiterate) had the tweeter fixed (just a cheap electronic component), actually at the aforementioned Hawthorne Stereo. I took them home, hooked them up, and. . .they sounded the same as the other ones. Meaning excellent. L-O-V-E. And here they’ve sat for these few months.

See, even though they’re virtually identical, I kept the cheap ones because they mean more to me since I snagged them for cheap and fixed them (mostly) myself. They’re my “find”. And I love that! I found them by chance just sitting in some guy’s basement at his estate sale, probably forgotten for 20 years, but still in good condition. It’s just not the same as buying them all ready to go that someone is selling to make money at. Plus I got the satisfaction of bringing them bad to life (mostly) myself.

I wouldn’t say they’re my favorites. I have a pair of Smaller Advents that I adore, partly because they were the first classic speaker I bought and refurbished (at an estate sale for $25!) and I love the sound and the design which is far more interesting than the big ones. And there are my bought-new 1980 Genesis’ that I think sound better in most respects, besides being my oldest pair. But these are in my home office and I probably listen to them more than the others just because I’m in here more often. And I can listen to them for hours without getting tired of them (that can happen, btw).

So remember that next time you see some old object at a Goodwill or a garage sale or something. Ask the owner about it. He or she will more often than not probably have a good story to tell you about it, and if you buy it, you’ll have become part of the object’s history.

December 9, 2014


Filed under: Rome — acagle @ 8:37 pm

Archaeologists in Rome Find Remains of Ancient Farm with Tools, Leather Fragments, and Peach Pits

The remains of a first-century commercial farm, near what had been the center of ancient Rome, has been uncovered by archaeologists taking advantage of subway construction, reports The Associated Press.

A team of researchers led by Rossella Rea, a culture ministry official, has discovered an ancient agricultural business that includes an extensive drainage system and an irrigation basin.

Other remains of the farm include an iron pitchfork, leather fragments that might have been from a farm worker’s glove or shoe, and even “well-preserved vestiges of willow and other tree roots and stumps.”

There isn’t much there, but I wanted to link this to remind me to look for it in the future.

But remember, cancer didn’t start until civilization

Filed under: Public Health — acagle @ 8:34 pm

Isn’t this old news? Scientists find ancient case of human cancer in man who died 4,500 years ago

A group of researchers, including a Saskatchewan scientist, have found what may be the oldest case of human cancer in the world.

Bones of a man exhumed in Siberia that date back 4,500 years to the Early Bronze Age show he had lung or prostate cancer, which eventually spread through his body from his hip to his head. He died between 35 and 45 years old.

“This is one of — if not the oldest — absolute cases of cancer that we can be really, really confident saying that it’s cancer,” said Angela Lieverse, a bioarchaeologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

I vaguely recall this from a couple of months ago. You can read the original paper here.

This quote in particular:

“We’ve had this perception that it was almost non-existent in antiquity, because people didn’t live the same kind of lifestyle that we live now. They lived in these pure, toxin-free environments and they were very active and ate natural foods,” she said.

“But it was more common than we like to think it was.”

I’m not sure how common that thought is, at least until recently. OTOH, it’s probably not as common overall as it is now, except in age-adjusted terms: cancer is strongly age related and since few people lived past their 30s, it probably won’t be found in great numbers. There was just so many other things that killed people before cancer had the chance.

December 8, 2014

Testing a new blog post.. . .

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 8:58 pm
Fishing Industry in Ancient Egypt

Looked this up for a friend and it had a link at the bottom for “Blog this post”. So here I have done so.

Keep drinking. And eating!

Filed under: Agriculture, Alcohol — acagle @ 8:27 pm

Booze culture may date back 10 million years, say scientists

Alcohol was thought to have been first brewed by Neolithic farmers around 9,000 years ago when northern Chinese villagers made the happy discovery that fruit and honey could be fermented into an intoxicating liquor.

But new evidence suggests our ancestors had become accustomed to drinking nearly 10 million years before.

Scientists now believe that when primates left the trees and began walking on two feet they also started scooping up mushy, fermented fruit which was lying on the ground. And over time their bodies learned to process the ethanol present.

The author sort of conflates two issues, being able to digest alcohol and purposely creating it. It’s not that difficult to make a simple fermented food — producing substances other than alcohol — if the proper sugars and yeasts are present which they often are naturally in fruits and grapes and such. Brewing — using enzymes to break down carbohydrates into fermentable sugars — is what many of the proponents of the Alcohol First! school (a term I just made up) attribute to intensive agriculture of certain cereals. Fermenting does have some nutritional advantages, and also can act as a food preservative, although that would obviously not be an issue for Australopithecines. But then, it might open up new food resources in that somewhat rotten fruit would be edible instead of not.

Any round tables in there?

Filed under: Historic, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 8:18 pm

Archaeologists find vast medieval palace buried under prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum

Archaeologists in southern England have discovered what may be one of the largest medieval royal palaces ever found – buried under the ground inside a vast prehistoric fortress.

The probable 12th century palace was discovered by archaeologists, using geophysical ground-penetrating ‘x-ray’ technology to map a long-vanished medieval city which has lain under grass on the site for more than 700 years.

Located inside the massive earthwork defences of an Iron Age hill fort at Old Sarum in Wiltshire, the medieval city was largely founded by William the Conqueror who made it the venue for one of Norman England’s most important political events – a gathering of the country’s nobility at which all England’s mainly Norman barons and lords swore loyalty to William.

From a geophysical survey, hence no need for excavation:

More vampires

Filed under: Vampires — acagle @ 8:11 pm

Polish “Vampire” Burials Studied

Six people buried in a post-medieval cemetery in northwestern Poland with stones under their chins or sickles across their bodies, traditional means to keep reanimated corpses from biting the living, were local residents, and not newcomers to the region. A team led by bioarchaeologist Lesley Gregoricka from the University of South Alabama tested the teeth enamel from the individuals and found their strontium isotope ratios matched those of animals local to the region.

I wonder if the “folklore” they mention really treated these people as the traditional blood-sucking vampires or. . .some other form of reanimated corpse thing. We sure have been coming up with quite a few of these over the past few years.

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