Monday, September 27, 2004

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.