Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Archaeologists studying lifestyles of the Achaemenid era

The National Museum of Iran will temporarily loan a number of Achaemenid era clay inscriptions unearthed in Persepolis to the Parseh and Pasargadae Research Foundation for research, the director of the foundation announced on Saturday.

“Our archaeologists are trying to obtain information on the quality of life and social conditions of the people who lived in Persepolis. The inscriptions will be good sources for our research,” said Mohammad-Hassan Talebian.

More Viking stuff The Vikings: A Memorable Visit to America

Exploring the New World a thousand years ago, a Viking woman gave birth to what is likely the first European-American baby. The discovery of the house the family built upon their return to Iceland has scholars rethinking the Norse sagas

Roughly 1,000 years ago, the story goes, a Viking trader and adventurer named Thorfinn Karlsefni set off from the west coast of Greenland with three ships and a band of Norse to explore a new land that promised fabulous riches. Following the route that had been pioneered some seven years before by Leif Eriksson, Thorfinn sailed up Greenland's coast, traversed the Davis Strait and turned south past Baffin Island to Newfoundland—and perhaps beyond. Snorri, the son of Thorfinn and his wife, Gudrid, is thought to be the first European baby born in North America.

About three years after starting out, Thorfinn—along with his family and surviving crew—abandoned the North American settlement. After sailing to Greenland and then Norway, Thorfinn and his family settled in Iceland, Thorfinn's childhood home.

Just where the family ended up in Iceland has been a mystery that historians and archaeologists have long tried to clear up.

Intensive fishing was an ancient practice

Intensive fishing by humans may be more ancient than previously thought, suggests a new archaeological study, which shows that significant marine fishing may have started in the UK in the 9th century.

The diminishing levels of marine fish stocks as a result of over-fishing has caused great concern since the mid-20th century. The rapid increase in commercial fishing after World War II has had a devastating impact on the marine ecosystem in the North Sea, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and caused a number of marine fish species to become endangered.

But new analyses of remains at key archaeological sites in England suggest that the foundations of this recent problem were laid as far back as AD 1000.

Guess it was the next-to-Last Crusade. . . The never-ending search

Fascination with the Holy Grail has lasted for centuries, and now the Bletchley Park code-breakers have joined the hunt. But what is it that's made the grail the definition of something humans are always searching for but never actually finding?

Could an obscure inscription on a 250-year-old monument in a Staffordshire garden point the way to the Holy Grail - the jewelled chalice reportedly used by Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper?

That is one theory entertained by Richard Kemp, the general manager of Lord Lichfield's Shugborough estate in Staffs.

The code breakers at work:

Somewhat related story here.

Yes, that would be a good idea Bulldozing an ancient site: Turkish Cypriot developers say they’re willing to bring in the archaeologists

THE row over whether a Turkish Cypriot construction company should be allowed to build on the site of a Bronze-Age necropolis in the village of Kazafani outside Kyrenia resurfaced yesterday with the company at the centre of the debate calling on the north’s authorities to join them in excavating the site.

The offer coincided with a renewed debate over the site’s status within the Turkish Cypriot administration. In line with local law, the antiquities department has reissued its application for the site to be recognised as a grade one archaeological site. The application is currently waiting for ratification by the ‘economy and tourism ministry’, after which its status will be published in the official gazette.

The argument first erupted in June, when the north’s antiquities department called a halt to development of a 40-donum site, known as Vounos, into a complex of luxury housing for sale to predominantly British clients. The department had, unbeknownst to the company, declared Vounos a grade one archaeological site on May 27 this year, but not soon enough to prevent extensive bulldozing of the Bronze Age relic.

Ummmmmm. . . . .no Prehistoric Julia Roberts Found

Bulgarian archaeologists have found what they claim is Europe's oldest skeleton, which they have named "Julia Roberts" because the woman was a "rare beauty" with a nearly flawless set of teeth.

The archaeologists reported their findings in the Sofia News Agency and Bulgaria's Standart News newspaper.

If radiocarbon analysis, scheduled to take place in Germany, confirms the skeleton's suspected age of 9,000 years old, the find will predate all other human remains discovered in the Balkans by several centuries. The female skeleton will represent the first agricultural civilisation in the region.

We'd prefer Prehistoric Anna Kournikova ourselves, but that's just us.

Whoops. Greek museum roof collapses, reportedly damaging ancient artifacts

A section of the roof of the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion on the island of Crete collapsed, authorities said Tuesday, reportedly damaging artifacts more than 3,000 years old.

The collapse was discovered after the museum opened early Monday, the Culture Ministry said, adding that it had ordered an "emergency investigation" into the incident.

The ministry gave no details and museum officials were not available for comment. But the Athens daily To Vima said several ceramic vases dating from the early Minoan era - around 1,900 BC - had been smashed.

The vases reportedly damaged were discovered at a Minoan palace in the Cretan seaside town of Zakros. British archeologist David George Hogarth began the excavations in 1901, and they were followed by more systematic digs in the 1960s by Greek archeologist Nikolaos Platon.

That's the whole thing.

More later. So much news, so little time. . . .