Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of the first early settlers in Aberdeenshire during an 11-day excavation near Kintore.

A Mesolithic, or Middle Stone-Age site, dating back around 8,000 years, was unearthed on the outskirts of the village.

Kintore has already revealed historically valuable finds, including Roman bread ovens, a timber circle thought to date back 6,000 years, and evidence of a roundhouse.

Experts now hope their latest discovery will help them piece together a history of the area - something which, at the moment, does not exist.

Slave cemetery is unearthed on old plantation

Thanks to a handful of determined local historians, archaeologists have found a slave cemetery on a Virginia Tech farm in Blacksburg.
The spot once was considered sacred -- the final resting place for men, women and children who toiled and died at Kentland, southwest Virginia's largest antebellum plantation.

The discovery marks the beginning of a long-term project to restore the plantation's historic sites.

Carlisle hailed ‘one of top Roman dig sites’

CARLISLE has been hailed as one of the top Roman sites in Europe by a leading archaeological expert.

Around 80,000 objects were discovered during the Millennium project excavation on Castle Green and the team leader in charge of the dig has ranked the city in the top three in the UK for Roman finds.

John Zant, of Oxford Archaeology North, who ran the Millennium Project in Carlisle in 1998 to 2001, was in the city over the weekend for a conference on the results of the dig.

Medieval Houses of God, or Ancient Fortresses?

Investigations in Lalibela, Ethiopia, are revealing that Africa's most important historical Christian site is much older than previously thought. Up until now, scholars have regarded the spectacular complex of 11 rock-cut churches as dating from around A.D. 1200, but new survey work carried out by a British archaeologist suggests that three of the churches may have originally been "built" half a millennium earlier as fortifications or other structures in the waning days of the Axumite Empire.

This one didn't get away Fisherman nets statue of ancient Greek athlete

A Greek fisherman has made the catch of the day -- or maybe the century.
He snagged a 24-hundred-year-old bronze statue a few days ago, near the Aegean Sea island of Kythnos

The Greek Culture Ministry says it's missing a head, an arm and a leg, but it's still quite a find. Experts think the statue is of a young athlete -- given the fact that it is naked, its stance indicates movement, and that there's a great deal of anatomical detail.

It is about four-feet-eight-inches tall and weighs nearly 155 pounds.

The fisherman handed the statue over the the port authority on October 15th, then it was taken to Athens under police guard.

That's the whole thing.

Hebrew University archaeologists reveal additional sections of ancient synagogue in Albania

Excavations carried out this fall at an ancient synagogue in Albania have uncovered additional sections of the impressive structure. The excavations, now in their second season, are being conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Albanian Academy of Sciences.

The synagogue, which dates from the 5th or 6th century C.E., is located in the city of Saranda, a coastal city in Albania, opposite the Greek island of Corfu. The synagogue underwent various periods of use, including its conversion into a church at its last stage, prior to being abandoned.

Media review corner

[Update] Yeah? yeah? Way cool dancing skeleton, ya?

Finally, we take this opportunity to encourage readers to view the latest Discovery Channel mummy offering Mummy Detective: The Crypt of the Medici. It was first broadcast Sunday evening (Oct. 9) in the US and wasn't too bad, in our estimation. Our first impression is that it could have easily been extended into two hours since in its one-hour format a lot of history and information relating to pathology could have been included. As it is, the program was interesting, not too overhyped, and generally rather informative. Brier makes a good host, as he really tries to make it appear that the viewer is in the room with him while he explains things. Those with some familiarity with the subject can be irritated by this, but that's a small complaint.

We also thought that the issue of even disinterring and studying the remains was handled with some sensitivity, particularly the eventual disposition of the remains -- they were removed from their original container (mud-soaked cruddy boxes or ossuaries) and given nice shiny new steel coffins.

Check out the "News From the Crypt" links in the link above to review the entire storyline.