July 22, 2015

The controversy maybe doesn’t continue?

Filed under: Amateur, Media — acagle @ 7:09 pm

‘Diggers’ Returns For A New Season With Better Collaboration With Archaeologists

“Before encouraging archaeologists to work with the show,” Brock told me when I asked whether he thought others should get involved with Diggers, “I would encourage them to consider collaborating with metal detectorists in the first place. It’s a great tool for historical archaeology.” Montpelier runs regular metal detecting programs, for both hobbyist detectors and archaeologists who want to incorporate metal detecting into their survey and excavation, and people can learn more on their website or by contacting Reeves.

Gifford-Gonzalez comments that the episodes this season that include close involvement between archaeologists and metal detectorists from the outset, such as tonight’s Montpelier episode, “are excellent examples of how collaborative work can use the complementary skills of the two communities to enhance understanding of events at a locality.”

I didn’t really give a rip about the controversy. Hopefully we’ll eventually get something resembling the UK’s Treasure Act that should provide a workable framework for both camps.

Also see Kilgroves’ blurb on the great Alexander the. . .err Great’s father’s tomb controversy.

July 21, 2015

And not so breaking news

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:00 pm

Well, not really “news” at all, via Althouse: Art historical horticulture? (scroll down)

Horticulture professors Jim Nienhuis and Irwin Goldman co-teach what may be one of the few horticulture classes in the world that visits an art museum: Hort 370, World Vegetable Crops.

“Vegetables are perishable (as opposed to grains), and were domesticated prior to photography, but Renaissance art saves the day,” says Nienhuis. “We’re interested in the color, shape and sizes of the vegetables from 400 years ago, compared to modern cultivars of the same vegetables: the deep sutures on cantaloupe in Italian art of the Renaissance or the lack of pigmentation in pictures of watermelon compared to today.”

That’s one way to do it. One would expect that they would have painted such things realistically? I dunno, I’m not an art historian.

Breaking news!

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 6:57 pm

From the EEF:

Ministry of Antiquities
Press Office
Antiquities Minister, Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty declared the
The Durham/Egypt Exploration Society /Ministry of Antiquities
team working at Sais – Nile Delta, excavated part of the
magazine storerooms of the late Ramesside period. They
discovered a complete assemblage of pottery food storage and
preparation vessels within a large magazine of around 6m by 6m
and a similar set of vessels in a neighbouring magazine, which
still remain to be excavated.
Eldamaty added that outside this domestic area a series of
circular mud features were noted, perhaps the bases of storage
silos for grain or perhaps tree-pits for special kinds of fruit
tree or plants.
On the other hand, Head of Ancient Egyptian Archaeology Sector
Dr. Mahmoud Afify said that the discovered The pottery jars
were all in fragments but included globular cooking vessels,
Canaanite amphora, ‘meat-jars’ and large Red Egyptian amphorae
dating to the late 20th Dynasty.
Mission’s Director, Penny Wilson elaborated that The ceiling
of the magazine had collapsed on top of the magazine in a
catastrophic event which may have affected the whole Ramesside
city, burying it under rubble. Late in the Third Intermediate
Period a large walled structure was built upon the rubble and
several phases of domestic activity were recorded either within
or outside this large mud-brick wall. Large hearths associated
with the houses were used for some time, being refurbished and
reused when they became too full of ash. Throughout the material,
some earlier broken fragments from the Old Kingdom can be found
in the rubble attesting to the long time period of settlement
at Sais.
Adding that, although the glorious city of Dynasty 26 is almost
completely destroyed, the finds in the northern part of the Sais
site confirm that there are two earlier cities preserved, complete
but in many fragments. They could represent the powerful New
Kingdom temple centre and the early Third Intermediate settlement
of the Great Kingdom of the West. Further work on the pottery will
enable more precise dating to be confirmed.

No doubt more will be forthcoming.

July 20, 2015

Okay then

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:23 pm

Weird Horse-Cows and 6-Legged Sheep Found in Iron Age Burials

Weird, “hybridized” animal skeletons, including a cow-horse and a six-legged sheep litter the bottom of storage pits in an Iron Age site in England, archaeologists have found. One pit even holds the bones of a woman with a slit throat laid on top of animal bones, the scientists said.

The unusual remains belong to an ancient people who lived in southern England from about 400 B.C. until just before the Roman invasion, in A.D. 43, said dig co-director Paul Cheetham, a senior lecturer in archaeology at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom.


I have not heard of this before. The proffered explanation makes some sense though.

Not unlike (actually, completely unlike, but whatever) the Centaur of Volos (which I saw in Madison WI once).

Nazis. . . .I hate these guys

Filed under: Amateur — acagle @ 7:17 pm

Hoard of Nazi Gold Discovered by Amateur Archaeologist

€45,000 worth of gold coins stamped with the symbols of the Third Reich, discovered by an amateur archaeologist in October of 2014, have gone on display in Lüneburg, Germany.

Certified metal detector operator Florian Bautsch was combing through burial mounds in the town less than 35 miles from the city of Hamburg when he discovered the first of ten gold coins hidden amongst the grass and leaves. Excited by his find, Bautsch contacted archaeologists local to the area, precipitating a two-week excavation that yielded another 207 gold coins alongside the remains of a sign stamped with the imperial eagle, two imperial seals emblazoned with the swastika, and lettering which read “Reichsbank Berlin 244.”

Apparently Germany has something similar to the UK’s practice of rewarding amateur metal detectorists with a portion of the value of objects they find.

July 16, 2015

Footprints, now fingerprints

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:51 pm

Denmark: Archaeologists Find Artisan’s 5,500-year-old Fingerprint in Ceramic Vessel

Archaeologists unearthed pieces of a ceramic vessel from an ancient fjord east of Rødbyhavn near Lolland, Denmark on the south coast. The 5,500-year-old ceramic vessel is known as a funnel beaker because of the characteristic funnel-shaped neck and the accompanying flat bottom of the vase.

Altogether, archaeologists found three beakers at the site. When they were brought to the Danish National Museum, upon closer inspection, experts found a fingerprint just within one of the ceramic vessels.

These aren’t all that rare; I found one myself on a piece of mud plaster with a (I assume) thumb print on it in Egypt.

Archaeology done wrong?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:47 pm

I saw this thing in my news feed and was intrigued: Bronze Age time capsule: 3,000-year-old vitrified food found in jars in England

Vitrified, you say?

Yes. I was thinking “Idiots. Organic substances can’t vitrify, that’s for silicates.” True vitrification yes, but organics can also vitrify. I’d never seen this referred to archaeologically, however. I didn’t see anything about that in the links either.

July 15, 2015

Not the (former) cellular network

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:14 pm

Scarlet Macaws Point to Early Emergence of Complex Pueblo Society

The rare birds were a sign of prestige and their feathers were important as ceremonial objects for their colorful variety, not locally common among the area’s native birds. The bright colors signified different directions, such as red for south and blue or green for west, for example.

It was traditionally thought that the Pueblo people did not bring the macaws back to the settlement until 1040 CE. But new radiocarbon dating of the bird remains discovered in the settlement is changing that view.

The radiocarbon dating project, co-led by Dr Adam Watson from the American Museum of Natural History, Prof Stephen Plog from the University of Virginia and Dr Douglas Kennett from Pennsylvania State University, showed that the macaw remains came from as early as the late 800s to mid 900s CE.

That’s generally thought to be one of the ways elites reinforce their authority, by having access to luxury goods from elsewhere. It does make some sense that the hierarchies — and all of the additional accouterments — wouldn’t have developed overnight, some stuff coming earlier, some later. But I haven’t read the paper.

Zombies vampires whatevers to Evil Twins

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:08 pm

Archaeologists find 500-year-old skeleton with ‘evil twin’ tumor in Peru

Out of the 500 skeletal remains found at the cemetery of the Chapel of the Divino Niño Serranito de Eten, the bones of one teenage girl stood for the simple reason that she had a lot more of them than anyone else in the burial site.

After careful study, the scientists, including bioarchaeologist Haagen Klaus of George Mason University, ruled that the dozens of extra bones and teeth found in her abdominal cavity were part of an ovarian teratoma – or what has been labelled an “evil twin” tumor. While the teratoma may not have not have been the cause of her death, the large tumor probably made her look like she was pregnant and may have factored into her early death.

That’s too bad. This is the first I’ve seen of one of these things archaeologically; you get quite a number of pregnancies, but no teratomas.

You can’t keep a good zombie vampire whatever down

Filed under: Vampires, Zombies — acagle @ 7:03 pm

Zombie Burials? Ancient Greeks Used Rocks to Keep Bodies in Graves

Ancient supernatural practices may explain why two Grecian graves contain skeletons that are pinned down with heavy objects and rocks, almost as though people wanted to trap the bodies underground, a new article finds.

Archaeologists have known about these two peculiar burials since the 1980s, when they uncovered the graves along with nearly 3,000 others at an ancient Greek necropolis in Sicily. But a new analysis suggests the two graves contained so-called “revenants,” dead bodies thought to have the ability to reanimate, leave their graves and harm the living — essentially an ancient version of zombies.

They could have had any sort of conception of what the deceased could be or possibly become such that they needed to be kept down there without using our ideas about “zombies” or “vampires”, although the ideas are probably all fairly similar.

Of course, I only have those two categories to tag this with some I’m playing right into my own warning!

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