Thursday, October 07, 2004

Breaking news Mexico Clears Wal-Mart Store Construction

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. won a rare victory after Mexican officials and an international preservation group said no damage would be caused by building a discount store less than a mile from the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan.

The announcement Wednesday by the State of Mexico and the Paris-based International Council On Monuments and Sites, Icomos, struck a blow to opponents who had vowed to block the store, claiming it would intrude upon and damage the archaeological site.

"The project in question does not damage the conservation of archaeological remains, nor the integrity, environmental or cultural values of the archaeological zone," according to the report by the Mexico chapter of Icomos.

Update on Port Angeles dig 14 skulls found in a pit at graving yard

LOWER ELWHA KLALLAM Tribal Chairwoman Frances G. Charles says a pit containing 14 human skulls has been uncovered at the graving yard site.

The discovery was made last week by archaeologists and tribal members working to complete an archaeological excavation at the waterfront property.

``The skulls were placed very carefully into a pit, and were all teenagers to young adults when buried,'' Charles said.

It is unknown if the skulls are male or female.

Fraud! Archaeologists find evidence of 300-year-old fraud

Evidence that one of the most powerful men in Scotland was stealing the country's money more than 300 years ago has been discovered at the site of the new Scottish Parliament. Archaeologists have found proof that the Third Earl of Lauderdale was melting down silver coins in his kitchen at Queensberry House in the 17th century.

In 1670, Lord Hatton, whose family name was Charles Maitland, was one of Scotland's most important men. He led a lavish lifestyle - with a stately home beside Holyrood in Edinburgh. His big brother effectively ran the country for Charles II. But all was not well - Lard Hatton was running out of cash.

Coffins shed light on Ancient Greeks

THE discovery of two large limestone coffins dating back 3,000 years could indicate that the ancient Greeks may have been more technologically advanced than previously thought, an archaeologist said today.

Each of the coffins, also known as a sarcophagus, was found in Ancient Corinth and dates back to 900 to 875 BC - a period known as the early Geometric period.

The name derives from the art of the period, mostly found on pots, with its characteristically linear designs and dots and lines forming zigzags and angles.

Also from Greece. . . Mersey archaeologist investigates lost society

AN ARCHAEOLOGIST from the University of Liverpool is uncovering the secrets of one of the world's oldest civilisations.

Dr Alan Greaves is looking at the people of the lost society of Ionia, which was in ancient Greece, now within the borders of Turkey.

He has been carrying out excavations in Turkey for the past decade and his findings have revealed new insights into the lives of the Ionian land workers. Previous studies have focused on Ionia's structures and literary texts, but little has been revealed about the day-to-day experiences of the Ionian people.

His work over the last decade has discovered the civilisation's structure and literature but little about the people's everyday lives, which is the subject of his latest work.

CSI: Toronto

Swansea skull centuries old

The mysterious skull that labourers unearthed near Swansea Town Hall did not belong to Mabel Crumback, to Marion McDowell or to any of the 1950s cold cases revived by west-end locals in recent months.

The case, it turns out, is much, much colder.

The skull belonged to an aboriginal man in his 20s who probably died from a serious infectious disease before Europeans arrived here, according to Kathy Gruspier, the forensic anthropologist who examined the skull for Ontario's chief coroner's office.

This is a lousy story Extinct humans left louse legacy

Some head lice infesting people today were probably spread to us thousands of years ago by an extinct species of early human, a genetics study reveals.

It shows that when our ancestors left Africa after 100,000 years ago, they made direct contact with tribes of "archaic" peoples, probably in Asia.

Lice could have jumped from them on to our ancestors during fights, sex, clothes-sharing or even cannibalism.

Details of the research appear in the open access journal Plos Biology.

We were going to use the "Of lice and men" line, but they beat us to it. Interesting study. Read the whole thing.

Another bizarre twist in the NAGPRA saga Compromise should
protect museum and Hawaiian sanctity

The 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, was aimed at returning human remains held in museums to the care of their Native American or Hawaiian descendants. Faced with a wholesale seizure of its inventory, Bishop Museum proposed that it be designated a native Hawaiian organization eligible to maintain possession of sacred and funerary objects.

The strategy seemed to be the only way to preserve the museum's precious collection of artifacts, and the museum's Hawaiian roots drew sympathy within the Interior Department. Craig Manson, assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, said in a letter to Senator Inouye that his department "does not consider 'museum' and 'native Hawaiian organization' to be mutually exclusive categories."

Archaeologist plans ambitious survey of the Trans-Pecos

The Big Bend is 50 years behind the rest of Texas and the Southwest in terms of archaeological study, and many of the region’s sites are disappearing quickly.

Robert Mallouf, director of the Center for Big Bend Studies at Sul Ross State University since 1995 and a professional archaeologist, has an ambitious plan to document the region’s prehistory and history.

This sounds like a good project. It has specific goals, is region-wide in focus, and addresses real gaps in archaeological knowledge. Pay attention, dissertation-topic seekers.

Discovery of the oldest remains of a woman who died in childbirth

In ancient times, female death rates were particularly high and generally related to problems in maternity, such as complications during pregnancy, childbirth or the period of breast-feeding. However, in most cases this link has only been established from indirect data, such paleodemographic data and ethnographic references, or based on the poor health conditions normally attributed to ancient human groups.

. . .

The burial dates from the Argaric period, between 1,500 and 1,000 years BC, in the Bronze Age. Argaric culture funeral rituals were characterised by individual inhumations, most of them within the dwelling or its perimeter. This burial is within one of these dwellings. It is that of a young woman, about 25-26 years of age, with a foetus in the 37th to 39th week of gestation in the uterine cavity, in a crosswise position and with part of the right arm outside the uterus.