Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ha Long they been there? Archaeologists unearth remains of 4,000-year-old skeletons in Ha Long

Skeletons thought to be from a civilisation that lived around Ha Long 4,000 years ago were uncovered by archaeologists excavating the Hon Hai–Co Tien cave, about 140km east of Ha Noi.

Team leader from the Archaeology Institute, Dr Nguyen Kim Dung, said the discovery should provide archaeologists and anthropologists with greater insight into the lifestyles of the ancient people who lived in the north-east of modern-day Viet Nam.

Artefacts including pestles, graters and ceramic wares were found buried with 18 skeletons that archaeologists said were probably adults aged between 25 and 30, with their genders and causes of death still being investigated.

Dumb archaeology pun #13,496 Students dig in to archaeology lesson

The first artifact to be unearthed looked like a rock to Sarah Lopez.

It probably was.

"I think it's a real scraper," Levi Cook said, hacking away at the turf with a garden trowel.

"I think it's just a rock," Sarah insisted as she recorded the "artifact" in her notes as a rock that looked like an American Indian hide scraper.

The Houck Middle School students were part of several social-studies classes that recently excavated simulated American Indian artifacts.

Scum! Developer destroys 14th century ruins

Archaeologists in Nanjing, China, have discovered what they believe are ruins of an ancient palace, but only after workers had destroyed large parts of it.

Workers excavating a construction site found pillars experts believe are part of a 14th century Ming dynasty palace. But the developer ignored orders from the city government to handle cultural relics with care, and allowed work to continue, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

Local media said about two-thirds of the royal residence had been destroyed.

Experts from Nanjing Museum had investigated the downtown site before the construction workers arrived, but found nothing. The construction manager blamed them for not doing their job properly.

Archaeologists from the museum tried to halt the project Sunday after the discovery was confirmed, but it was already too late.

That's the whole thing. Bit more here.

Update on Finnish work in Boliva Finns uncover major Bolivian relics

Scientists from Helsinki University have discovered what are being considered as the most significant relics of Bolivian antiquity in the South American country’s long history. This announcement was made via the university’s well-developed communication services, which include news of the week on science and research topics and knowledge databases.

In their excavations of a site on Pariti Island in Bolivia, a team of archaeologists from Helsinki University (HU) discovered well-preserved ceramic remnants in what appears to be a ritual site. The find adds substantially to what is known about the Tiwanaku culture, which flourished before the Incas and for which the island was probably an important religious site.

Little is known about the Tiwanakus because they left no writings and their culture died out in the 11th century. Records show they settled on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca in the Andean mountains around 400 BC. They built their administrative centre – the city of Tiwanaku which is around 75km west of Bolivia’s capital La Paz – between 300-500 AD, and their influence on the region continued to grow for several centuries.

Surveys of the island, which took place over the summer, uncovered a cache of about 300 kilograms of deliberately broken ritual ceramics which, radiocarbon dating reveals, were buried some time between 900-1050 AD. “Some twenty vessels have been preserved intact,” says Antti Korpisaari, an archaeologist at HU’s Renvall Institute who participated in the dig. “The objects can be compared with the best china of a royal household or sacramental communion vessels,” he notes.

Bit more detail than was in the earlier posting, and it looks as if the pottery is as cool as we thought it was. Simply outstanding.

Underwater archaeology update Awash With History

Academics in Coleraine have produced the first study of the shipwrecks that lie off the coast of Ireland.

Boats and Shipwrecks of Ireland is the work of researchers from the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Ulster and highlights some of the thousands of sunken vessels that lie beneath the coastal waters.

Some, such as the ship of the Spanish Armada the Girona, are well documented, but many of the estimated 13,000 underwater sites have been neglected by scientists for years.

Now, however, new projects undertaken by researchers from the UU are beginning to reveal an exciting part of Ireland's past, as coauthor Colin Breen explained.

This is a serious drag American Indian languages dying off

Oklahoma City, OK, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Twenty-five American Indian languages are still spoken in Oklahoma, but 10 of them are only one generation from extinction, experts say.

Speakers are dwindling because the older generation is dying, but a number of the state's 39 tribes are trying to save the languages, the Oklahoman reported Monday.

We here at ArchaeoBlog wholeheartedly support any efforts to retain native languages.

Rare wooden sarcophagus found in Egypt

German archaeologists have discovered a rare wooden Pharaonic sarcophagus in the southern city of Luxor, the first such find in nearly two centuries, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Tuesday.

Halil Ghali, a senior antiquities official for southern Egypt, said the empty sarcophagus, from the 13th Dynasty (1785-1680 BC), "is believed to be the biggest of its type".

It is 2,7m long, 1,5m high and one metre wide.

A hieroglyphic inscription on its face revealed that it belonged to an official called "Amni", said the council.