Monday, November 22, 2004

Heh. Amateur archaeologists curse pharoahs' guardian

Dr Zahi Hawass is one of the most powerful men in history - at least of archaeology - and he is angry.

The 57-year-old is secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities but, as any Egyptologist will tell you, this is the least of his titles.

The self-styled guardian of the pharaohs, commonly referred to as the "Big Zee", is the minder of 4000 years of history, 500 kings, scores of legends, thousands of tourists and hundreds of competing archaeologists.

Yet the theatrical, outspoken and Stetson-wearing Egyptian with a string of academic credits to his name and the power to dictate what the world is told about Ancient Egypt is being challenged relentlessly by two plucky French amateurs.

This is an update on the story we've linked to over the past few months regarding two amateur archaeologists who wish to drill into the Great Pyramid.

We would, however, caution against using the moniker "Big Zee" in his actual presence.

And the winner is. . . . Turn-up for the books earns archaeology award

A Northern Ireland property development company has won an archaeological award for its work on a Bronze Age settlement.

The Coleraine-based Kennedy Group was highly commended in the developer-funded archaeology category of the British Archaeological Awards, which have been running since 1876.

The company shared the prize with Drogheda firm Archaeological Consultancy Services.

During preparation work for a housing development at Corrstown near Portrush Kennedy's uncovered 70 Bronze Age roundhouses.

Found! Buddhist antiquities unearthed near Taxila

The Pakistan government's archaeology department has discovered eight antiquities dating back to the first century AD, including rare sculptures of 'future' Buddha, Hindu God Indra and his bodyguard from an ancient archaeological site very near to Taxila, considered as a seat of learning during the Buddhist period.

According to the Daily Times, experts from the archaeology department's preservation and restoration team unearthed the treasures while carrying on preservation work at the world renowned Dharmarajika Stupa and monastery dating back to 3rd century BC to 5th Century AD, regarded as the epitome of the Gandhara civilization.

Archaeologists have confirmed that one of the antiquities excavated depicts in exact detail the 'the reappearance of Buddha' as told in Buddhist mythology.

Apart from the other discovery of Corinthian capital, which was used in Magna, Garcia and Sicily from the early third century, the statue of Indra, regarded as the rain god in Vedic mythology and another depicting the bodyguard of Indra has also interested experts to a great extent.

Archaeologists have said that the artefacts made of grape black schist and green phylite belong to the early stage of the first or second century AD.

That's the whole thing.

Archaeologist digging in his native habitat, part XXLIV Archaeologists dig into tavern’s past

The circular concrete patch looked like simply that – a patch of concrete on an old dirt driveway.

But as he bent down to look, Dave Hazzard, an archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, saw something else on the lane surrounding historic Boykin’s Tavern in Isle of Wight County.

Because the concrete had caved in from time to time, it probably meant an old well was underneath.

“Yes. Yes,” Hazzard said, waving his arms and all but dancing a jig. “It’s a well, a well. The right distance from the house. The right shape.”

DOTD archaeologist digs history before it gets paved over by progress

Many people think that when the state or federal governments decide they want to build a new road or construct a bridge, it's simply a matter of budgets and bulldozers. But before even a spoonful of dirt is moved, developers have to answer to a woman who sits in a cubicle on the second floor of the Department of Transportation and Development's building downtown.

That's because, as the DOTD's chief archaeologist, Elizabeth Davoli is responsible for making sure that construction projects promising a better tomorrow don't do so at the expense of yesterday's buried treasures. Simply put, before the heavy equipment is rolled in, Davoli and her team engage in a far more hands-on attempt at historic preservation -- usually on their knees, sifting through dirt, bucket by bucket, looking for anything that's worth saving.

"If it's at all possible we try to avoid (construction) on certain sites," said Davoli. "But if we cannot, then we are interested in data recovery."