Thursday, October 14, 2004

The age-old battle Treasure hunter, state battle over 17th century ship

A 17th century vessel under Lake Michigan, considered by some the Holy Grail of Great Lakes shipwrecks, may have been found, but its ownership is mired in a storm of a court battle.

Field Museum archeologists are analyzing the find, but were tight-lipped Monday.

"We do have a research interest in this ship,'' confirmed Field spokesman Greg Borzo. The museum has been consulting with Steven Libert, who discovered what may be Le Griffon at the entrance of Wisconsin's Green Bay, and with Michigan state officials, who are reportedly trying to gain control of the ship.

We reported on this earlier. Can't recall when, but we do recognize it.

Stairway to saltmines Europe's oldest wooden staircase found in Austria

A 3,000-year-old wooden staircase has been found at Hallstatt in northern Austria, immaculately preserved in a Bronze Age salt mine, Vienna's Natural History Museum said.

"We have found a wooden staircase which dates from the 13th century B.C. It is the oldest wooden staircase discovered to date in Europe, maybe even in the world," Hans Reschreiter, the director of excavations at the museum, told AFP.

"The staircase is in perfect condition because the micro-organisms that cause wood to decompose do not exist in salt mines," he added.

We're not sure a staircase is all that important to anyone, except that it's kind of cool and is yet another example of an environment where organics may be repserved indefinitely.

Experts to Explore Architecture, Lifestyle in 6,000-Year-Old Mound

Iranian archeologists are about to embark on an exploration project in the Marvdasht plateau in a bid to discover relics of architecture and recognize its inhabitants’ lifestyles, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported.

Rahmat-Abad mound is one of the most historically significant settlements in Marvdasht, measuring 115 m in length and 75 m in width and 4.5 m in height. It is now defenselessly exposed to vehicles that pass along it on the road from Sa’adat-shahr to Marvdasht in the southern province of Fars.

We don't know the significance of this either, but, well, there you go.

Many mummies and artifacts discovered by French team in Al-Monira

The French team excavating at Kharga Oasis have made an archaeological discovery 8 kilometers from Al-Monira village.

The team unearthed a Greco- Roman cemetery embracing tombs carved in a sandstone hill.

The tombs which are irregularly clustered mostly comprise a small burial room 1.5 meters high and a burial well from 1 to 2 meters deep.

The facade of the tombs is made of white limestone jambs fixed with mortar.

Inside the tombs, the team found limestone and wooden sarcophagi in addition to a collection of sarcophagi made of sun-dried brick coated with gypsum.

We know, we know, Greco-Roman stuff, big yawn. But the Egyptian oases (Kharga, Dakhla, Bahariya, Fayum. . .) are fascinating areas to work in since they were geographically isolated to a certain degree from the main Nile valley. Plus, they're quite distinctly bounded areas so you can do nice settlement pattern work there.

Rare finds at archaeological site

Archaeological work in south east Cornwall is uncovering the history of the area.

A team from the county council working at Scarcewater near St Stephen-in-Brannel says its finds are significant.

Fieldwork has revealed a history of ceremonial and settlement activity at Scarcewater spanning five millennia.

The finds represent the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages, and include hearth pits, pottery, a stock enclosure and roundhouses.

DIg and dash They dug, dashed: One tribe's covert operations

Here's what probably happened, Donald Blakeslee says: One day, a band of farmers and hunters pulled on their walking shoes and hiked all the way to the southern Flint Hills, about 64 miles straight east.

They were trespassing, more or less; violating other people's property rights, which is still a serious matter in Kansas.

So the hunters stepped lightly.

Oddly written story, but interesting from the perspective of explaining how raw materials were obtained. Stone tool material was, in fact, very valuable to people who did not live near a source of the stuff so it is possible that they could have 'stolen' it. Why they just didn't establish a trading relationship is not explained.

Note: Chert really = flint. Chert is the general name given to a class of microsrystalline quartz, formed by the precipitation of silicates. 'Flint' is generally reserved for a particular sort of chert formed in chalks or very pure limestone, usually black or very dark gray. Jasper is also a form of chert.

Ha ha haaaaa. . .we'd never heard that pun before! "Can You Dig It?" A Fun Way To Learn About Archeology

Recently the Southern Oregon Historical Society held a fascinating event called "Can You Dig It?" This was a true hands-on archaeology experience where adults and children alike could get down and dirty. If you are captivated with "CSI" on television, here was a chance to do part of their everyday duties, such as plaster casting and piecing together broken remnants and more.

Certainly more fun than the first two years of graduate school. . . .


Move over Mick Aston and get ready to hang up your trowel Harding - there’s a couple of new kids on your archaeological block.

At the prestigious British Archaeological Awards in Belfast on October 8, organised by the Council for British Archaeology, Bethany Smith and Christopher Cannell were declared Young Archaeologists of the Year.

Organised by the Young Archaeologists’ Club, the award is now in its 27th year and aims to promote an understanding and appreciation of archaeology in the British Isles.

More stiffs Restoration of old courthouse halted by discovery of old cemetery

Restoration work on an old Cameron County Courthouse in downtown Brownsville has stopped.
That's after crews unearthed graves in an old cemetery while digging a utility-line trench in a county parking lot across the street from what's now called the Dancy Building.

Officials tell The Brownsville Herald that the graveyard across from the 1912 courthouse dates to 1848.

Texas Historical Commission executive director F. Lawrence Oaks says from two to four graves were disturbed in the graveyard, which he understands was abandoned in 1850. He's ordered all work halted until an archaeologist examines the area.

That's the whole thing.