Thursday, September 30, 2004

Following news courtest of The EEF.

Al Ahram Weekly has a report about the recent ICE:
and about other Egyptological events in Grenoble:
And a column by Dr Hawass about the ICE and IAE:

"Bibliography for Preclassical Seafaring"

The Dream Stela of Thutmosis IV
-- Drawing of the stela: LD III, 68 (0.4 MB)
-- A nice drawing of the situation at the time of the Lepsius expedition (0.1 MB)
-- Photograph of the stela (0.4 MB)
[Ed.: The previous web site link is to a very controversial scholar, Robert Schoch, who has been arguing that the pyramids and sphinx are MUCH older than anyone has ever seriously suggested}
-- English translation in: James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. II, Chicago, 1906, sections 810-815
-- Transliteration, English translation and commentary of the dream section only (lines 8-13) in: Appendix of Texts used in Szpakowska, Kasia. Behind Closed Eyes: Dreams and Nightmares in Ancient Egypt. Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2003, pp. 12-14 [in a pdf-file: 0.4 MB]

Online abridged version of a MA thesis by Damien F. Mackey, called "Sothic Dating Examined. The Sothic Star Theory of the Egyptian Calendar - A Critcial Evaluation" (1995)
For an overview of the texts that have provided the "anchors" of ancient Egyptian chronology. It makes for fascinating--and somewhat disturbing--reading.

Online version of: R. L. ten Berge and F. R. W. van de Goot, Seqenenre Taa II, the violent death of a pharaoh, in: Journal of Clinical Pathology, vol. 55, p. 232 (2002)
"In our opinion, the case of Pharaoh Seqenenre Taa II demonstrates the importance of extensive and adequate clinical data. Until the discovery of an eyewitness's report, the precise circumstances of his death remain to be elucidated."

Note: Previous journal article available to subscribers/university people only.

Online version of: María Antonia García Martínez, Amuletos inéditos de tipo egipcio procedentes de Córdoba, in: Faventia, vol. 20, pp. 95-101 (1998) - pdf-file: 66 KB
"The amulets published in this article were accidentally found in Cordoba Province. Except the piece number 4, which was given to the church collection of Montemayor Municipality, the other amulets have been keept by the author of every find or acquired by private collections. In my opinion, the typology of these pieces, as well as my personal exam of them, do not give reason for any doubt about their authenticity."

"Sen-en-Mut Project" [TT 353]
"The project prepared by the I.E.A.I. relative to this emblematic monument, starting from the suggestions made by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, involves fitting out the tomb in order to make compatible the visit of the public with its adequate preservation; and all this by means of the adoption of the necessary measures and the installation of the necessary technical elements."
URL (Spanish):
URL (English):
-- Proyecto Sen-en-Mut - campaña 2003

Ummmmmmm. . .no. Hot dates: Archaeology Discovery Weekend

Check out the 17th annual S.C. Archaeology Discovery Weekend at Santee State Park. Activities include workshops, demonstrations and guided tours. Hours are 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to noon Sunday. Admission is $5 per adult, $2 per child, with kids under 6 admitted free. Friday lantern tours are an extra $4, Sunday tours $8 and workshops $8. (803) 777-8170 or

Call us weird, but we think 'long walks on the beach' are hotter dates than Archaeology Day in South Carolina.
What's? 40,000-year-old axes unearthed

A SYRIAN archaeological team has uncovered two firestone axes dating back 35,000 to 40,000 years and some 6000 BC stone arrowheads.

Mission head Bassam Jamous said he had to dig one metre deep into al-Wadi's cave in western Syria to find the two 8cm almond-shaped axes, used "by ancient Syrians to hunt their prey".

In a telephone interview, Mr Jamous said the arrowheads used for river and land hunting were about 11 centimetres long.

Bone needles used to sew leather, dating back to 6000 BC, were also among the finds, he said. Parts of clay jars for storing liquids and wine, dating back to 5000 to 3000 BC, were also unearthed.

The cave is some 250km northwest of the capital Damascus, near the Mediterranean port city of Tartous.

The 600m-long al-Wadi cave, which contains a Byzantine-era room carved in the rock, is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of years old.

We don't know what a 'firestone' axe is. Acheulean hand axe maybe?

Errrrr, okay Russian Expedition Establishes Exact Location of Ancient Mystical Country Shambala

A Russian expedition headed by a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Yuri Zakharov has established the exact location of the capital of the ancient state of Shambala – the mystical center revered by many religions and philosophers all over the World.

“We saw what no European had ever seen before,” Zakharov claimed.

Speaking at a press conference organized by the Russian Information Agency Novosti, Yuri Zakharov said that the expedition was unique. “Nothing similar has been done before,” the researcher said.

Wicked cool mountain pic though.

'Most recent common ancestor' of all living humans surprisingly recent

In this week's issue of Nature, a Yale mathematician presents models showing that the most recent person who was a direct ancestor of all humans currently alive may have lived just a few thousand years ago.

"While we may not all be 'brothers,' the models suggest we are all hundredth cousins or so," said Joseph T. Chang, professor in the Department of Statistics at Yale University and senior author on the paper.

Chang established the basis of this research in a previous publication with an intentionally simplified model that ignored such complexities as geography and migration. Those precise mathematical results showed that in a world obeying the simplified assumptions, the most recent common ancestor would have lived less than 1,000 years ago. He also introduced the "identical ancestors point," the most recent time -- less than 2,000 years ago in the simplified model -- when each person was an ancestor to all or ancestor to none of the people alive today.

Hmmmmm. Not sure what to make of this. At first blush, we thought "Gawd, this is stupid." Well, we're still not sure what to make of this.

Another mystery. . . . Mystery heads intriguing to the experts

About a hundred people crammed into the Hitchcock Free Academy with the same question in mind: history or hoax?

The discovery of several carved stone heads along Central Massachusetts riverbanks has many people, including an archaeologist from Worcester, wondering.

"Nine years ago, when the first one showed up, most people thought it was a hoax," said Alan F. Smith, a Worcester archaeologist, at a recent presentation offered by the academy and the Opacum Land Trust. "But since, then a lot more have turned up. We've heard about a lot of them."

Can't find any pictures of said heads, unfortunately.

New crack at riddle of Knossos

The Culture Ministry has given the go-ahead for a seismological study that might help provide a scientific answer to one of the most tantalizing questions of Greek archaeology: What caused the collapse of the flourishing Minoan culture on Crete some 3,500 years ago?

Late on Tuesday, the ministry’s Central Archaeological Council agreed to let Greek and international earthquake experts study the ruins of Knossos, the largest of the Bronze Age palatial complexes built by the Minoans.

Scientists will also dig trenches across existing faults in the area of Archanes, a few kilometers to the south, in a bid to record the area’s seismic history. They will not be allowed to excavate in Knossos itself, where no faults are known to exist, but will thoroughly map the area.

The team will be headed by Athanassios Ganas, a remote sensing and geology researcher at the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.

The destruction of Knossos, around 1450 BC, has been tentatively attributed to an earthquake possibly linked with a vast volcano eruption on the island of Santorini.

That's the whole thing.

More stuff from Iran 7500-year-old Neolithic site discovered in Gilan

Archaeologists recently made the first discovery of a Neolithic Age site in the northern Iranian province of Gilan during the fourth stage of their excavations.

A team of Iranian and Japanese experts currently working at the ancient site has estimated that the Neolithic site is nearly 7500 years old. Jebril Nokandeh, the head of the excavation team, said the site was discovered near the Sefidrud River.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The new issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science is here, the new issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science is here!

Interesting paper, for those of you with access: The first residue analysis blind tests: results and lessons learnt by Lyn Wadley, Marlize Lombard and Bonny Williamson (Volume 31, Issue 11 , November 2004, Pages 1491-1501). Abstract:

Twenty-eight stone flakes were produced, sterilised and then used for a variety of tasks involving the processing of plants and animal products. Precautions were taken to avoid contaminating the residues. One set of used flakes was stored in sealed plastic bags; the other set was buried in compost for a month and then exposed to open-air conditions for three days. The bagged tools were used for a blind test (Test One) to assess the identification skills of the residue analyst who was not provided with any information prior to conducting the analysis. She obtained a high score for recognition of residues and tasks performed. Test Two used the tools that had been buried in compost and here the aim was to study the effects of acidic, organic-rich deposits on plant and animal residues. The Test Two results intimate that animal residues are more sensitive to certain burial and exposed conditions than plant residues, but more closely controlled experiments are needed before definite conclusions can be drawn.

Upshot: In the controlled flakes, the correct residue was identified in 88% of the specimens; this dropped to 60% for the buried and exposed ones, suspiciously close to what one would expect from a random assignment. Not very optimistic, considering these things were only buried for three days.

There's also a paper on form and function of ceramic vessels which looks interesting, but we haven't perused it yet.
When the Sun lost its heat

Locked away in fossils is evidence of a sudden solar cooling. Kate Ravilious meets the experts who say it could explain a 3,000-year-old mass migration - and today's global warming.

Just under 3,000 years ago, a group of horse-riding nomads, known as the Scythians, started to venture east and west across the Russian steppes. At about the same time, African farmers began to explore their continent, and Dutch farmers abandoned their land and moved east. All over the world people became restless and started to move - but why? Archaeologists have never found a clear answer, but now one scientist thinks the explanation may lie on the surface of the Sun.

This idea of solar activity causing fluctuations in the Earth's climate has been kicking around for some time, largely in relation to past climate changes such as the Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period, etc., but was eclipsed (heh, that pun wasn't intended) by the recent anthropogenic hypothesis. Several researchers have been exploring this in some detail, see for example:

Rozelot, J.P. 2001. Possible links between the solar radius variations and the Earth's climate evolution over the past four centuries. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 63: 375-386.

Parker, E.N. 1999. Sunny side of global warming. Nature 399: 416-417.

Also here.

Update on old story Researchers find signs of grain milling, baking 23,000 years ago

Archaeologists have found strong evidence that wheat and barley were refined into cereals 23,000 years ago, suggesting that humans were processing grains long before hunter-gatherer societies developed agriculture. The findings, including the identification of the earliest known oven and hence the oldest evidence of baking, were described in a recent issue of the journal Nature. "This is an observation of key progress in human society, as the beginning of baking was likely a major step forward in nutrition," says author Ehud Weiss, a postdoctoral researcher in Harvard University’s Department of Anthropology and Peabody Museum. "Our work also provides evidence that ancient people held important knowledge that survives to this day. Ten thousand years before agriculture developed, humans recognized the value of cereals."

Well, we're not sure what to make of this. Certainly, no one believes that the first time people started using grains was also the same time they domesticated them and developed full-fledged agriculture. Generally, it's been known for some time that hunter-gatherers were using wild cereals to some extent as a food source, without actual full-scale production and domestication. Eh, read it and make of it what you will.

Out of Africa: Scientists find earliest evidence yet of human presence in Northeast Asia

Early humans lived in northern China about 1.66 million years ago, according to research reported in the journal Nature this week. The finding suggests humans--characterized by their making and use of stone tools--inhabited upper Asia almost 340,000 years before previous estimates placed them there, surviving in a pretty hostile environment.

The research team, including Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, reports the results of excavating four layers of sediments at Majuangou in north China. All the layers contained indisputable stone tools apparently made by early humans, known to researchers as "hominins."

The top layer, located at about 43.3-45.0 meters deep in the Earth's soil, contains the oldest known record of hominin stone tools, dating back to 1.32 million years ago. But the fourth and deepest layer, in which Potts and his team also found stone tools, is about 340,000 years older than that.

See? 1.6 million years ago we can find undisputed stone tools, but for some reason the pre-Clovis people in North America could barely knock some rocks together.

Archaeologists to the rescue Hi-tech bid to find ancient treasures

There is something missing from the ornate church in one of Norfolk's most picture-perfect villages.

Twelve stone apostles and one stone Jesus Christ were stripped from it during Henry VIII's Reformation, so folklore goes, before being thrown into the nearby harbour in a bout of religious fervour.

Now the residents of Cley, in North Norfolk, want them back. But instead of relying on divine inspiration, the very traditional village is turning towards rather hi-tech methods to sniff them out.

CSI: Paris

After 550 years, mystery death of French king's lover may be solved

SHE was one of the most beautiful women of her time, who won the heart of a king to become France’s first officially recognised royal mistress.

But when Agnes Sorel died in agony at the age of 28, rumours began to circulate that she had been murdered.

The lover of Charles VII, Sorel enraged the king’s son and heir, the future Louis XI, with the influence she exerted over his father’s court.

Rumour has it the dauphin paid one of the king’s officials to poison Sorel, who died in 1450 shortly after giving birth. Now French historians hope to clear up what has become one of their country’s most enduring mysteries, by exhuming her body to discover how she died.

We found this supposed painting of young Agnes on the Web:

Who says history never repeats itself. . .

In all seriousness, however, we find the confluence of a premature birth and subsequent death of the young lady involving abdominal pain to be not particularly unusual since many women died during or shortly after childbirth.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Ew. Roman goddess of love found in German canal

Construction workers in the western German city of Cologne have discovered a priceless Roman-era Venus statue, the director of the city's Roman-Germanic Museum said on Monday.

The 1 600-year-old find, unearthed at a depth of five metres during digging for a canal shaft, was "extremely rare for the entire Roman period in Germany", said Professor Hansgerd Hellenkemper.

The figure, which is missing its head and legs, features a nude torso of carrara marble.

Okay: "The delicate breasts indicate this period. Later they tended to have a more robust form," he said.

We are NOT going to post any artists' conceptions of these concepts. Might get us in trouble, donchaknow.

Development vs Archaeology Dept. Rock art rests in development's path

South Mountain is peppered with ancient markings from the area's indigenous residents of yore, and a large number of those markings are on a parcel of Ahwatukee Foothills private property that could be developed.

What is referred to as the "28th Place Site," an 18-acre piece of land near Kyrene Akimel A-Al Middle School, has 89 recorded petroglyphs, or rock artworks. The oldest petroglyphs on the site are believed to date to the ancient Hohokam era, which lasted from A.D. 700 to 1450.

Petroglyphs in the South Mountain region - depicting geometric shapes, concentric circles, lizards, snakes, deer and people, among many other scenes and creatures - contain much information about the desert's prehistoric past and have religious and cultural significance to the tribal communities in the region.

Ancient Artefacts Found in Rock Formations

Archaeologists have discovered ancient remains and buildings in some of the most inaccessible areas in the country, it emerged today.

Members of the Severe Terrain Archaeological Campaign (Stac) have been using climbing equipment to explore sea stacks in Lewis and Shetland.

Since forming in 2003, the Stac team has visited nine stacks and found buildings from the Iron Age and Bronze age, as well as pottery dating back to the Neolithic period.

. . .

A sea stack is a pinnacle of rock which is surrounded by the sea at high tide.

Yet another thing that never, ever occurred to us. Seems like a great place to live if you really want to get away from it all.

Sea stacks:

Not to be confused with Sleestaks:

Let's get a little wider range on the dates, shall we? Ancient Indian camp found
Palmerdale site dates 8000 BC to 1000 AD

State archaeologists have discovered a Native American campground near Palmerdale in north Jefferson County along the route of the proposed northern beltline.

The site dates from 8000 BC to AD 1000 and is about 600 feet long and 180 feet wide, said Alabama Department of Transportation archaeologist Bill Turner.

On the bank of Self Creek, the campground is covered with brush and waist-high weeds. Evidence of Indian fire pits and storage pits was found when the land was recently excavated, Turner said.

News from Castle Anthrax Nunnery site holds huge wealth of secrets

SCOTLAND’s first Cistercian nunnery, founded in a war zone more than 850 years ago, must have been one of the wealthiest religious establishments in the country, its lands alone carrying a modern-day value of up to £1.5 million.

But for all its power and influence, nothing could stop the destruction of St Leonard’s nunnery, which somehow survived for 150 years as battles between the armies of English and Scottish kings raged around its impressive architecture.

An archaeological excavation at the site of the long-abandoned religious house on the outskirts of Berwick-on-Tweed has revealed the importance of St Leonard’s, and has suggested that an ancient community known as Bondington may have existed long before the town became the busiest and most important of all Scottish ports.

Monday, September 27, 2004

CSI: Range Creek

Mystery tribe
What happened to the Fremont Indians? New discoveries may tell their tale at last

The demise of the Fremont Indians is one of North American archaeology's most enduring mysteries. The group, which flourished for 600 years in the rugged terrain between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, were adaptable and surprisingly diverse: Some lived in semisubterranean "pit houses," others in rock shelters. They farmed but also hunted and foraged for food. Yet despite their adaptability, things went south for the Fremont around A.D. 1250. Within a century, their culture had virtually vanished.

So, what became of them? The Range Creek site, unveiled this year, holds important clues.

Mystical village found 17th-century tribal remains discovered in Mystic

The Mashantucket Pequot tribe says workers building a house in Mystic have unearthed the remains of some 17th-century Pequots.

Tribal members, including archaeologist Kevin McBride, were digging through piles of gravel Friday afternoon and depositing any possible artifacts into a bin for safe keeping.

The tribe is keeping the site's whereabouts secret, fearing vandalism.

Sometimes one of the dangers of archaeology is to life and limb Violence slows pace of archaeology

Since the start of the Palestinian uprising four years ago, local archaeologists, many of them working on sites alluded to in the Bible, have had to scale back or even cancel their digs.

That's because the threat of continued violence has kept foreign professors and students from providing assistance at large digs.

Twin bus bombings that killed 16 people in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba last month and an incident this week did nothing to calm skittish scholars and nervous insurance companies. But archaeologists are still hopeful that the attraction of biblical history -- especially the discovery of a cave said to be John the Baptist's -- will lure academics and tourists alike.

"The intifada has definitely had an effect on Israeli archaeology, including our dig," said Shimon Gibson, the archaeologist who excavated the "John the Baptist cave."

He's got a point Program Combines Archaeology, Oceanography

The University of Rhode Island has designed a voyage to the bottom of the sea for students in an emerging field of scientific exploration - archaeological oceanography.

Graduates of the new five-year program will get a master's degree in history and a doctorate in oceanography. Five students were accepted for this year, and have already begun classes.

"It's a bringing together of two worlds that historically have not granted joint degrees," said Robert Ballard, the underwater explorer who discovered the Titanic and the program's creator. "They're about as far apart as you can take two sciences and bring them into one."

Only about 5 percent of the world's oceans have been explored, and much of the underwater archaeology, including exploring submerged cities and shipwrecks, has taken place in shallow waters.

Comment on this quote: "To what degree is (archaeological oceanography) archaeology when you go down in a submersible, and you can only (retrieve) two pieces?" Hamilton said. "They call it archaeology, but I like it hands-on. Theirs is hands-on, but with a remote control arm."

We believe this is a bit parochial. Excavation is not the be-all and end-all of archaeology, since as we have seen in these entries, much important work is being done with remote sensing terrestrially. Large-scale issues involving land use and the distribution of settlements is just as important as digging out single sites. Even mapping and dating shipwrecks would provide a boatload (pun intended) of data on trade routes at different times and the types of cargo carried. And especially in the anoxic Black Sea there is the potential for unheard of preservation of organics. This is truly a new frontier in archaeology.

Update: Big Dig in Port Washington continues Port Angeles: Graving yard archaeology to continue into at least November

When the archaeological excavation of the graving yard began in April, no one involved thought the process would continue into November.

The excavation was through to take four months to complete.

But as September comes to a close and the second target date -- Sept. 24 -- passes, workers continue to find human remains and artifacts on the 22.5-acre site of the huge onshore dry dock for the Hood Canal Bridge replacement project.

``The village is a lot bigger than anyone ever anticipated, and we have found more than anyone thought we would,'' said Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Frances G. Charles.

Badly written piece, but it attests to the size of the site. And in our continuing efforts to provide you, our loyal readers, with up-to-the-minute updates on breaking news stories and in-depth front-line analyses of all things archaeological, we are attempting to get a member of the team working on this site to provide us with a small essay on what she is doing. We'll know later in the week if it's possible.

OLD old news Signs of an earlier American

Al Goodyear is holding his breath in anticipation. Within days, the affable archaeologist expects to read the results of lab tests indicating that stone tools he recently found in South Carolina are 25,000 years old - or older.

Such results would be explosive. They would imply that humans lived on this continent before the last ice age, far earlier than previously believed. Even if the dates came in younger than 25,000 years old, researchers say, the find would add to the mounting body of evidence that humans trod North and South America at least 2,000 years before the earliest-known inhabitants, known as the Clovis culture.

Should be interesting and we vaguely recall posting something on this earlier. The status of the "tools" may be an issue, going by the description in the article: They found what they interpret as tools. . . and as Feidel says "The tools people find are not self-evidently hunting or butchering tools". This has been a problem for pre-Clovis researchers on many occasions, determining whether "stone tools" are actuall man-made tools or just funny looking rocks. We find this somewhat distressing as one is easily able to find undoubted tools in other parts of the world from hundreds of thousands of years earlier.

Fight! Fight! Indians Decry Lewis and Clark Re-Creation

A project by a team of history buffs to retrace Lewis and Clark's expedition has proved historically accurate in at least one respect: The adventurers have encountered hostile Indians.

A group of about 25 Indians told the expedition members to turn their boats around and go home last week as they made their way up the Missouri River near Chamberlain, where the rolling prairie opens to a grand vista on the lofty banks of the river.

The Indians condemned the re-enactors for celebrating a journey that marked the beginning of the end for traditional Indian culture.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Oooooo. . . .now this is cool: An archaeological crossword puzzle. We, um, started it, but we don't much like the dumb things anyway. Try it.
Following items courtesy of the EEF:

"The world's oldest dam" - press report about a trip to the remains of an ancient Egyptian stone dam (dyn. 3-4) across Wadi Al-Garawi, at Sad Al-Kafara:

"Aussies dig up Egyptian mummies": press report about the Australian excavations near the pyramid of Teti, notably of the tomb of Mereruka:,4057,10765090%5E401,00.html

Press report on some alabaster AE artefacts (among which the alabaster headrest of Tetiankh-Kem, dyn. 6):

Own your own! "Lenkiewicz collection to be sold"
"A human skeleton and an Egyptian sarcophagus are among items once owned by the late Devon artist Robert Lenkiewicz to go on sale next month. "

"Egypt's Cats got Pharaoh Treatment": another press report on the mummification of cats and other animals:

More on the supposed "hidden chamber" in the Kheops pyramid: "Battle [at the ICE] over Khufu's death bed", with the opinion of Nicolas Grimal:

[Submitted by Michael Tilgner]
The Piankhi / Piye Stela (JE 48862)
-- Drawing of the front side
-- Hieroglyphic text in: Urk. III, 1-56
-- English translation in: James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. IV, Chicago, 1906, sections 796-883

Online article by Prof. Kevin Wilson, called "The Campaign of Pharaoh Shoshenq I in Palestine":

Kyoko Yamahana, Synchrotron Radiation Analysis on Ancient Egyptian Vitreous Materials, in: Proceedings of the 25th Linear Accelerator Meeting in Japan (July 12-14, 2000, Himeji, Japan)
"A non-destructive SR-XRF experiment at Spring-8 was conducted last winter, aiming to determine the regional trait of elemental composition by examining the pattern and ratio of rare earth elements. As a result, we could observe some distinctive rare earth elements that may indicate regional variation."

E. M. Ciampini, S. Di Paolo, La collezione egizia Giamberardini in un museo dell'Aquilano, in: Liber Annuus, vol. 48, pp. 495-512 (1998), 10 pls. [AEB 98.0566]
"The sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Oriente (Tagliacozzo, Italy) holds a small collection of 36 Egyptian objects. It was created by Father Gabriele Giamberardini during his stay in Egypt, probably through purchases on the antiquarian market. Among the scarabs, four bear XVIIIth Dynasty royal names. Some pieces belong to funerary equipment, such as the lid of a
canopic vessel, a fragmentary cartonnage mask, a beard from a coffin. To the religion in the Late Period belong Osiris figurines. A particular group form the Coptic ostraca." - pdf-file: 75 KB - there is a link to 10 pls.

Colin A. Hope, Egypt and Libya: The excavations at Mut el-Kharab in Egypt's Dakhleh Oasis, in: The Artefact, vol. 24, pp. 29-46 (2001)
"In 2001, the Dakhleh Oasis Project commenced the excavation of the remains of one of Dakhleh Oasis's ancient capitals at Mut el-Kharab. The site was known to have been occupied from the Old Kingdom until the Byzantine Period, and to have been the cult centre of the god Seth, Lord of the Oasis. The excavations have revealed traces of activity also during the Old Kingdom, and unearthed part of the temple of Seth and a variety of objects and
inscriptions that enable its history to be better understood. The excavations are part of a larger project to investigate the interaction between Egypt and the 'Libyan' occupants of the Western Desert." - 20 pp., pdf-file: 1.3 MB

BMCR review of Corinna Rossi's book "Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. 280. ISBN 0-521-82954-2. $100.00.

[Submitted by Marianne Luban, Philip Rychel, and John Wall]
* Review by Mark Rose of Joann Fletcher's book "The Search for Nefertiti: The True Story of an Amazing Discovery":

[Note: As indicated by this review, Fletcher's book and television work has decidedly NOT been well-received among Egyptologists. Our view is that they are probably right: it's not a particularly compelling theory. Nevertheless, we feel it is probably a bad move on Hawass's part to ban her from working in Egypt. She may or may not have violated agreements with the Egyptian gov't that mandate the SCA making any initial announcements of "discoveries", but advancing an idea is not really a discovery. It is, however, a fine line between legitimate researchers being allowed to conduct destructive analyses (i.e., excavation) -- which Fletcher isn't doing -- and various crackpots who just want to dig stuff up to prove aliens built the pyramids and such. We appreciate Zahi's efforts in this regard, but this may have been a rather ham-handed way of dealing with this.]

[Submitted by Filip Vervloesem (]
I've been working for some months now on a website devoted to Egyptological applications for Macintosh computers (since there are enough websites covering Windows software, but few of them do include Mac software). For the moment, there are already about 20 applications
(or fonts) listed, but I'm sure there are more and will add them as I find them (I hope other Mac users will let me know if they have any additions). I have written a short summary of the possibilities of each application, and I've also included screenshots.
More importantly, there are Mac OS X ports of S. Rosmorduc's software (HieroTex, TkSesh), which will be a great help for Mac users who want to use his software. It took me a lot of work to get his applications running on a Mac, so of course I'd like to share my experience with as many other Mac users as possible...


End of EEF section.

Well, duh Noah's Ark Quest Dead in Water -- Was It a Stunt?

In April businessman and Christian activist Daniel McGivern announced with great fanfare a planned summer expedition to Mount Ararat in Turkey. The project, he said, would prove that the fabled Noah's ark was buried there.

Explorers have long searched for the ark on the Turkish mountain. At a news conference in Washington, D.C., McGivern presented satellite images, which he claimed show a human-made object—Noah's ark—nestled in the ice and snow some 15,000 feet (4,570 meters) up the mountain.

"We are not excavating it," McGivern told the audience. "We're going to photograph it and, God willing, you're all going to see it." If successful, he said, the discovery would be "the greatest event since the resurrection of Christ."

Pre-Inca Ruins Emerging From Peru's Cloud Forests

On the eastern slope of the Andes mountains in northern Peru, forests cloak the ruins of a pre-Inca civilization, the size and scope of which explorers and archaeologists are only now beginning to understand.

Known as the Chachapoya, the civilization covered an estimated 25,000 square miles (65,000 square kilometers). The Chachapoya, distinguished by fair skin and great height, lived primarily on ridges and mountaintops in circular stone houses.

"The cohesiveness of the nation is still not scientifically proved, but it was definitely a civilization that covered a large area," said Sean Savoy, vice president of operations for the Reno, Nevada-based Andean Explorers Foundation and Ocean Sailing Club.

Egyptian Animals Were Mummified Same Way as Humans

The ancient Egyptians mummified more than just human corpses. Animals were viewed not only as pets, but as incarnations of gods. As such, the Egyptians buried millions of mummified cats, birds, and other creatures at temples honoring their deities.

Because of the sheer scale of animal mummy production, many archaeologists thought the vast majority were churned out in relatively slipshod fashion. But a new study suggests the mummification techniques ancient Egyptians used on animals were often as elaborate as those they employed on the best-preserved human corpses.

Researchers at the University of Bristol, England, conducted the study, which is described in tomorrow's issue of the science journal Nature.

Links to the new National Museum of the American Indian

New National Indian Museum Is Native by Design

When the designers and architects of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., began consultations with native leaders about their project a decade ago, the message was clear: We want the museum to tell the truth, the elders said.

But how do you take such an abstract idea and translate it into architectural reality?

The answer, the designers found, was to let Native Americans' sensibilities and traditions wind their way into every nook and cranny of the site. (See photos of the museum.)

So the Smithsonian Institution's newest museum, which opened this past Tuesday, looks far different than the classical, European-based designs of its neighbors along the National Mall. From the stone exterior walls that appear carved by wind and rain to the shell inlays in benches inside, the museum has a decidedly native character.

Web site of the National Museum of the American Indian

Okay, that was only two links. We're sure there are more, but one we found was a dead link. Seems to be a neat museum. The architecture is absolutely outstanding.

Update More links from National Geographic:

16 Indian Innovations: From Popcorn to Parkas

Imagine our world without chocolate or chewing gum, syringes, rubber balls, or copper tubing. Native peoples invented precursors to all these and made huge strides in medicine and agriculture.

They developed pain medicines, birth-control drugs, and treatment for scurvy. Their strains of domesticated corn, potatoes, and other foods helped reduce hunger and disease in Europe—though Indians also introduced the cultivation and use of tobacco.

In celebration of the new National Museum of the American Indian (see photos) in Washington, D.C., bone up on Indian innovations in food and candy, outdoor gear, and health and exercise.

Other links from the NGS:

At New American Indian Museum, Artifacts Are "Alive"

Museum of the American Indian: Exhibits

Fast Facts: National Museum of the American Indian

Okay, is this to goofiest piece of sculpture ever seen or what?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Wal-Mart vs ancient ruins again Wal-Mart at Mexico Ruins Sparks Protest

Burning incense and sounding a conch shell horn, residents of an ancient Mexican city protested on Saturday at the construction of a Wal-Mart store on the edge of the ruins.

The sprawling warehouse-style Bodega Aurrera, a unit of Wal-Mart in Mexico, is due to open in December in Teotihuacan, a major archeological site outside Mexico City.

Opponents say it will ruin a way of life that dates back centuries and have taken legal action to stop it, in a fight that gives a grand dimension to the classic battle between big business and small-town values.

We posted this story a while back, from another news outlet, but we are posting this one in hopes for guest commentary from an interested party. Hint hint.
Three Four quickies:

For the uber-nerdoids out there: Bayesian statistics in archaeology.

Short bibliography. This has no immediate connection to anything posted recently, but that does not concern us.

Indiana Jones`s return delayed by perfectionism

The much awaited return of the adventurous archaeologist Indiana Jones may be delayed due to perfectionism.

George Lucas has reportedly halted the pre-production work on the fourth sequel of Indiana Jones , as he hasn't come across a script, which is "really good".

We've been hearing this for years so take this with a grain of salt. Be that as it may, y'all better hurry up or Harrison Ford will be wielding a walker instead of a whip.

Mmmmmm. . . .bronze age pig roast. . . .</Homer Simpson>


A Top north-east visitor attraction will recreate a Bronze Age funeral this weekend, cremating the body of a pig in a bizarre but significant Scottish Archaeology Month experiment.

Saturday will see staff at the Archaeolink prehistory park at Oyne teaming up with colleagues from the National Museums of Scotland to stage an inferno investigation. The 11am-5pm event will see the experts create an ancient cremation pyre, then set it ablaze to find the effect of heat on objects from clothing and jewellery to offerings.

"This is very much a scientific experiment," said centre manager Lynn Millar.

She said a pig carcase would take the place of an ancient costumed body so as to accurately replicate a Bronze Age pyre.

The pig had died of natural causes, she added, and had not been slaughtered for the sake of the experiment.

Note it's taking place at Oyne.

Seems more for show than anything else, if you ask us (which you haven't but we don't care), but interesting. We're assuming they'll be monitoring the temperature and oxygen levels at various locations within the pyre so they can determine the conditions various objects would be exposed to. But hey, cool anyway.

Mummy Hair Reveals Drinking Habits

Mummy hair has revealed the first direct evidence of alcohol consumption in ancient populations, according to new forensic research.

The study, still in its preliminary stage, examined hair samples from spontaneously mummified remains discovered in one of the most arid regions of the world, the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and southern Peru.

The research was presented at the 5th World Congress on Mummy Studies in Turin, Italy, this month.

Well, amazingly enough there has been absolutely no archaeological news happening anywhere in the world for the last two weeks! We here at Archaeoblog are somewhat surprised by this unusual turn of events, but since we are diligent in bringing you, our faithful readers, all news of importance you may rest assured we would have reported anything if, in fact, it had happened.









Okay, so we went on our annual vacation and forgot to post as much before we left.

More news in a bit as we try to catch up on the torrents of email that are clogging up our inbox.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Site alert Historic site up for approval

Pima County is poised to create a new archaeological park containing artifacts of historic settlements made over 1,300 years by three cultures: the Hohokam Indians, Spanish colonists and U.S. settlers.

The Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on whether to pull off a combined purchase and land swap to acquire the remaining 67 acres of what will become the Los Morteros Heritage Park inside Marana.

Los Morteros was a key Hohokam community for about 700 years before the Hohokam disappeared around 1450.

The county bought 32 additional acres for the park in 1999. The entire park at the corner of North Silverbell and West Linda Vista roads will total nearly 100 acres.

Hmmmmmmm. . . Did the First Americans Come From, Er, Australia?

Anthropologists stepped into a hornets' nest on Monday, revealing research that suggests the original inhabitants of America may in fact have come from what is now known as Australia.

The claim will be extremely unwelcome to today's native Americans who came overland from Siberia and say they were there first.

But Silvia Gonzalez from John Moores University in Liverpool said skeletal evidence pointed strongly to this unpalatable truth and hinted that recovered DNA would corroborate it.

"This is very contentious," Gonzalez, a Mexican, said with a smile at the annual meeting of the British association for the Advancement of Science. "They (native Americans) cannot claim to have been the first people there."

Well, we don't like the mysterious tone of the subkect being interviewed, but haven't any real objection to the conclusion, in theory. Kennewick Man seems to be related to the Jomon, so a more southern origin seems not terribly unlikely. After all, there's no reason to think that every group that migrated here actually made it to the historic period. Watch this space though.

We doubt it Italian Mummy Source of 'The Scream'?

An Inca mummy kept in a Florentine museum might have been a source of inspiration for Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream," an Italian anthropologist claims.

Bearing a striking resemblance to Munch's now stolen painting, the mummy was rediscovered as Florence's Museum of Natural History began to carry out scientific investigations such as CT scans on its collection of Peruvian mummies.

Show us the money! Norway withholds $500,000 grant for Lahore Fort

The Norwegian aid agency, NORAD, has withheld a $500,000 grant for the Lahore Fort because of the federal government’s stalling on the agency’s demand that the gate money from the Fort be spent on its maintenance, Archaeology Department sources told Daily Times on Thursday.

The sources said the federal government was not seriously addressing the gate money issue. NORAD (The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) was to release the grant in November with the condition that the gate money of the Fort be spent on its maintenance only, they said. They said that the Archaeology Department had sent a summary to the federal government in this regard which was approved by former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali.

Found: One of the Two Towers Archaeologists uncover medieval tower

Archaelologists have unearthed part of a ruined fourteenth century castle in Caithness that's lain undiscovered for over three hundred years. A team from York University found a tower at Sinclair Giringoe Castle, the original seat of the earls of Caithness.

The dramatic profile of Castle Sinclair Giringoe in Caithness hints at the history it's witnessed. The ruined medieval castle sits atop a rock promontory and until recently was believed to be two seperate fortresses but experts now believe it to be just one.

More Viking stuff Viking burial site found in England

Archaeologists in northwestern England have found a burial site of six Viking men and women, complete with swords, spears, jewelry, fire-making materials and riding equipment, officials said Monday.

The site, discovered near Cumwhitton, is believed to date to the early 10th century, and archaeologists working there called it the first Viking burial ground found in Britain.

The only other known Viking cemetery was found in Ingleby east of Cumwhitton. It was excavated in the 1940s, but the bodies had been cremated and not buried.

Artists' conception of what the Vikings may have looked like:

Hat tip to Susanne for that link.

Lost civilization of the Americas The Lost City of Cahokia: Ancient Tribes of the Mississippi Brought to Life

The city of Cahokia, in modern-day Illinois, had a population of twenty thousand at its pinnacle in the 1300s. With pyramids, mounds, and several large ceremonial areas, Cahokia was the hub of a way of life for millions of Native Americans before the society's decline and devastation by foreign diseases.

Representatives from eleven tribes are working alongside archaeologists and anthropologists to assist the Art Institute of Chicago in developing an exhibition that explores artistic and cultural themes of a major branch of pre-Columbian civilization--the direct ancestors of most American Indians today. "Hero, Hawk and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South," opening November 20, comprises more than three hundred works. It's one of the largest showings of artifacts, design, and architecture dating from the rise and decline of Mississippian civilizations in the Midwest and the South between 2000 B.C.E and 1600 C.E.

Nice summary of mid-American prehistory. Cahokia is one of those really great places that few people outside of archaeological circles know about.

And from the same place Virtual Trowel: Learning About Archaeology Online

In December, students and archaeology enthusiasts alike will be able to catch a glimpse of a real archaeological dig--online. The Old Pueblo Archaeology Center is building an interactive website called the "Web of Archaeology."

"This website will be set up so that people can start with the modern ground surface in the photo on the screen and make decisions about how to excavate it," says Al Dart, the center's executive director. "We haven't found any other archaeological excavation site on the Web in which somebody could actually excavate a prehistoric archaeological feature."

That sounds really neat depending on how it works out.

More bodies found L.A. Development Unearths Indian Cemetery

It was inevitable that crews building a massive housing development near west Los Angeles wetlands would unearth American Indian remains.

The ground had yielded bones before, but the extent of the latest find turned one corridor of a multibillion dollar project into a multimillion dollar archaeological dig.

Now about 400 remains of Gabrielino-Tongva tribal ancestors, the original inhabitants of the Los Angeles basin, are packed in boxes in a locked trailer near where they rested for hundreds of years. Delayed for 10 months by the excavation, the just-completed drainage channel built through the burial site will carry runoff from 6,000 properties to the Pacific Ocean less than a mile away.

Fight! Fight! Locals Fight Wal-Mart Store Near Ancient Mexico Ruin

n the shadow of colossal pyramids left by a great Mexican civilization, a Wal-Mart rises, and some locals have gone to court to overturn its approval.

The sprawling warehouse-style Bodega Aurrera, a unit of Wal-Mart in Mexico, is due to open in December in Teotihuacan, the site of major archeological ruins outside Mexico City.

Workers are putting on the roof this week.

"It's not just that commerce in Teotihuacan will be affected. It affects first of all our soul, our identity," said local teacher Emanuel D'Herrera, who joined legal action to stop the store.

Update on the secret room in the Great Pyramid theory French Egyptologists Defend Pyramid Theory

A pair of French Egyptologists who suspect they have found a previously unknown chamber in the Great Pyramid urged Egypt's antiquities chief to reconsider letting them test their theory by drilling new holes in the 4,600-year-old structure.

Jean Yves Verd'hurt and fellow Frenchman Gilles Dormion, who has studied pyramid construction for more than 20 years, are expected to raise their views during the ninth International Congress of Egyptologists in Grenoble, France, which starts Monday. They also published a book about their theory this week.

Standing in their way is Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, who heatedly rejected the theories during a Cairo press conference this week.

``There are 300 theories concerning hidden rooms and other things inside the pyramid, but if I let them all test their theories they will do untold damage to the pyramid, which was built with the blood of Egyptians,'' said Hawass. ``I will not let Egyptian blood be damaged by amateurs.''

Friday, September 03, 2004

More on the new tomb in Egypt Ancient tomb discovered on Giza pyramids site

Egypt's antiquities chief on Thursday revealed a 2,500-year-old hidden tomb under the shadow of one of Giza's three giant pyramids, containing 400 pinkie-finger-sized statues and six coffin-sized niches carved into granite rock.

Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists had been working for three months to clear sand from a granite shaft found between the pyramid of Khafre -- also known by its Greek name of Chephren -- Giza's second-largest tomb of a pharaoh, and the Sphinx.

Man the ramparts! Danes prepare to invade England again in replica of Viking ship

The Vikings are preparing to cross the North Sea again.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark, whose ancestors once raided continental Europe and the British Isles, is expected to christen a replica of a 1,000-year-old Viking ship Saturday that was built with a more peaceful purpose.

Plans are for a crew of 60 men to sail the vessel, which builders said is the world's longest Viking ship reconstruction, to Britain and Ireland in 2007 along the routes once used by marauding Norsemen.

Antiquities Market update Ancient site in Indiana plundered

The secrets of a prehistoric village that once stood in Decatur County may remain locked away forever after thousands of ancient axes, arrowheads and other primitive tools were dug up and carted away.

Three southern Indiana men have been arrested in the case after conservation officers, following a tip, found the men digging with shovels, picks and garden hoes, said Steve Reinholt, a state Department of Natural Resources field officer.

Investigators found thousands of artifacts in the men's homes worth potentially tens of thousands of dollars, DNR officials said.


The bands of ancient Neanderthals that struggled throughout Europe during the last Ice Age faced challenges no tougher than those confronted by the modern Inuit, or Eskimos.

That’s the conclusion of a new study intended to test a long-standing belief among anthropologists that the life of the Neanderthals was too tough for their line to coexist with Homo sapiens.

And the evidence discounting that theory lies with tiny grooves that mar the teeth of these ancient people.

News from Gwent. Yes, Gwent. On trail of ancient crossing

ARCHAEOLOGISTS investigating the discovery of remains in Caerleon believe the timbers formed part of a 300-year-old bridge which once spanned the River Usk.

Timber remains were discovered by Environment Agency workers improving flood defences along Isca Road in Caerleon.

Experts from Gwent and Glamorgan Archaeological Trust believe the find is the remains of a bridge recorded as destroyed by a storm in 1772.

The main find consists of one pier of the bridge. It is a piece of oak seven metres long pierced by three mortice holes into which it is thought the tenons of three uprights that would have supported the road would be fitted.

Exploring the mysteries of Xi'an's imperial tombs

Dynasties and empires rose and fell along the Wei He River valley, where Xi'an lies. While the emperors are gone, their legacy awaits the spades and brushes of archaeologists exploring this crucible of Chinese history and culture.

The terracotta warriors, one of archaeology's greatest accidental finds, hint at what else could lie under the barely scratched fields where emperors and aristocrats lie interred beneath 500 burial mounds.

These tombs rise out of a fertile plain where orchards, renowned throughout Shaanxi for their crispy apples along with maize and other vegetables, form a pleasing agricultural mosaic. Come winter, the region takes on a starker beauty, eerie when dense fogs descend, shrouding the tombs.

Kind of a sensationalist article. If anyone ever gets around to to excavating some of these really big tombs, however, many of them will probably put Tutankhamun's to shame. In our opinion, the terra cotta warriors are way more impressive than anything found in the Valley of the Kings.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Following news etc. courtesy of The EEF.

A large amount of tombs from the Predynastic and dyn 1 have been found in Manshaat Ezzat:

Archaeologists have found a 2,500-year-old tomb near Egypt's ancient pyramids in Giza, the head of the excavation team told Reuters on Thursday.

Zahi Hawass, also the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the team located the tomb using radar and then dug to a depth of about 30 feet before unearthing some of its contents. The team found a box of 400 small statues [shabti - KGG] which the ancient Egyptians believed helped the deceased in the afterlife.

Full article:

[Ed. Funny, we hadn't heard of this one before.]

About the return of the stolen relief from the Temple of Behbeit el-Hagar, plus several other antiquities returning to Egypt:

The Instruction of Ptahhotep

-- Photograph of the Hieratic text (one plate of pPrisse only):


-- Photograph of the Hieratic text of BM 10371 and BM 10435:

-- Hieroglyphic text in: Zbynek Zaba, Les maximes de Ptahhotep, Praha, 1956, pp. 15-65

URL (p. 15):

URL (p. 16):

URL (p. 65):

-- English translation:

-- English translation by: Charles F. Horne, The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, vol. II: Egypt, New York, 1917, pp. 62-78


I've added three pages to my website, namely "The Geometry of the Bent Pyramid", "The Problem of the Bent Pyramid", and "The 14:11 Proportion at Meydum". The original articles have been cited recently by Corinna Rossi in her book on _Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt_. I have also worked over my article on the Giza site plan.


Halle-freakin'-luyah! Piecing the Past: An algorithm quickly fits together potsherds

A 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of the Rocky Mountains not challenging enough? Imagine assembling it without knowing how it looked or if all the pieces were there. And what if the pieces actually made up several separate puzzles? Now pretend the pieces are three-dimensional and 4,000 years old.

That's what archaeologists face when they find the scattered remnants of cups, bowls and other containers. Putting the fragments together can provide vital clues about the culture of interest, but the process can take months.

Partial article, subscription required for the rest. More here on one of the researchers' web site, including a paper on the algorithm. The site itself contains several papers. We are in the process of digesting the whole thing. Depending on the limitations in both samples and computing time (dependent on the sample of course) this could either revolutionize ceramic studies or become a very useful, if somewhat limited, tool for analysis in some contexts. Either way, it will be interesting to see how it works out with a range of samples (e.g., a small group of sherds thought to be from the same vessel vs. a larger group from an unknown number of vessels). Still, this is the coolest thing we've seen in a long time.

You know, we used to say we'd kill for something like this. Note to Mssrs. Willis and Cooper: We won't. We'll worship you for it.


Northern European men living during the early Middle Ages were nearly as tall as their modern-day American descendants, a finding that defies conventional wisdom about progress in living standards during the last millennium.

"Men living during the early Middle Ages (the ninth to 11th centuries) were several centimeters taller than men who lived hundreds of years later, on the eve of the Industrial Revolution," said Richard Steckel, a professor of economics at Ohio State University and the author of a new study that looks at changes in average heights during the last millennium.

That's good to know Archaeologist satisfied Indian burial site preserved

The past affects the future — and sometimes the dead don't stay buried.

Childersburg businessman Ray Reeves found that out when he started clearing ground to expand facilities at Reeson Welding and Fabricating on the north side of town.

University of Alabama archaeologist Jim Knight happened to pass by with a student on a tour of significant Creek Indian sites. Knight was upset that the company was sitting on a known Indian site and appeared to be encroaching on additional portions of the site.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Dig set to uncover Iron Age past

Archaeologists are beginning to dig into Teesside's Iron Age past at an excavation at a farm in Redcar.

The work at Foxrush Farm is being organised by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Tees Archaeology.

It will last for two weeks before dozens of local schoolchildren will be given the chance to explore the site and surrounding woodland.

Fight! Fight! Archaeologists hit out over 'savage threat' to landmark

PLANS to expand a quarry near an ancient monument have been likened to dropping Stonehenge into the River Avon.

The comment comes from archaeologists backing protestors fighting the expansion of Nosterfield Quarry, close to Thornborough Henges, near Bedale, North Yorkshire.

George Lambrick, director of the Council for British Archaeology, is one of several senior archaeologists who have spoken out against the plans by owners Tarmac Northern.

He said: "The proposals are contrary to national and local policy.

Yet another scanned mummy

MDCT 'unwraps' Egyptian mummy, clearly revealing face of 3,000 year old man

Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) was used for the first time to produce a detailed 3D model of the face of an Egyptian man who lived nearly 3,000 years ago--without having to unwrap his mummified corpse, say a multidisciplinary group of Italian researchers that included physicians, anthropologists and forensic scientists.

MDCT was used to image the completely wrapped mummy of an artisan named Harwa, which had been on display at the Egyptian Museum in Torino, Italy. MDCT created 3D images, which were then reconstructed to create all the features of the mummy's face. A physical plasticine and nylon model was sculpted based on the 3D image. The facial reconstruction revealed Harwa to be 45 years old at the time of his death and was detailed enough to reveal a mole on his left temple. "The only other way to have gotten the information we got from MDCT would have been to unwrap, destroy and otherwise alter the conservation of the bandages and the mummy," said Federico Cesarani, MD, of the Struttura Operativa Complessa di Radiodiagnostica in Asti, Italy, and lead author of the study.

No cool orange glowey pictures though. Dang Italians. . . . .

Online publication alert The pyramid of Meidum, architectural study of its inner arrangement by Gilles Dormion and Jean-Yves Verd'hurt.

This relates to an earlier story we reported on regarding two amateur archaeologists who claim to have discovered a secret chamber in the Great Pyramid. There is some controversy over whether these two are legitimate researchers or not. For your edifcation, we post two email messages we have received regarding these two (names withdrawn):

Gilles Dormion has quite a history of unorthodox related research with
regard to Egyptian pyramids. In 1986/87 he located cavities behind the
walls of the Queen's Chamber passage. Subsequently he, and his team,
was given permission to drill through the walls. During one of their
borings they discovered cavities, one of which contained a quantity of
sand that originated from outside of the Giza area*.

In 1998, Dormion and a new team including Mustafa El-Zeiri, were
given permission by Dr. Gaballah Ali Gaballah to probe the Meidum
Pyramid using a fibre-optic endoscope. In brief, their efforts discovered
a previously unknown corridor above the pyramids Descending Passage.
Their findings suggested that this 'new' corridor would distribute the
overlying weight and relieve pressure on the passage below**. The
expeditions results were presented at the Eighth International Congress
of Egyptologists.

Although I do not read or speak French to any extent, I can see that
the general gist of the article cited is to refuse Dormion access to the
Pyramid of Khufu. However, given his previous successes, perhaps
he should be allowed to conduct a non-destructive investigation.


Gilles Dormion is not taken seriouly in his home country :

The main reason for Liberation articles were a book to be published on
September 1st [see EEF NEWS (317) for book details].

So, we are at an impasse.

An update. . .we think Bronze age burial ground is unearthed

A Bronze Age burial ground in Co Down has been unearthed during work on a dual carriageway on the Belfast-Dublin route.

The construction scheme on the A1, between Loughbrickland and Beech Hill, has led to a number of important archaeological finds that provide evidence of a settlement site stretching back thousands of years.

A cemetery of eight early Bronze Age ring ditch barrow cremation burials, dating to 1800 BC, have been excavated and recorded, following three months of work by 12 archaeologists.

Kev Beachus, the head archaeologist, said: "The wealth of archaeology uncovered provides a fascinating insight into the lives of our ancestors."

We think this is a further story on one we reported in the last few days. But, you know, construction-reveals-burials here, construction-reveals-burials there, they all tend to run together.

They do that. A lot. Archaeologists examine local artefacts

ANCIENT artefacts such as bones and flint axe-handles went under the microscope last week when a team of experts visited Rickmansworth.

Geologists and archaeologists from the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project visited Three Rivers Museum as part of their quest to find out when the first humans reached the shores of the British Isles.

Mr Graham Williams, of Croxley Green, is a member of the Three Rivers Museum committee. He said of the visit: "It really gave us a clearer picture of what made Ricky tick in the past. It has been a real eye opener.

Like Area 51 but duller Scope of Structure 172 eludes archaeologists (Free registration required)

Archaeologists continue to trace the footprint of Structure 172 through the soil where the exposed cobblestone foundation of the rowhouse-like building now measures 130 feet long. The most recently exposed sections led to the discovery of about two dozen earlier archaeological features that could date to the first days of the historic 1607 fort.