Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It will be difficult to do Time to turn back tourist tide in Valley of the Kings

American scientists are preparing a makeover for the world's most famous graveyard. A plan to control tourism, limit traffic, deflect flash floods, reduce theft and vandalism and even alter farming on the banks of the Nile could soon begin to change the face of the Valley of the Kings.

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities has asked the archaeologists, architects and engineers of the Theban Mapping Project - launched 25 years ago simply to make a detailed map of the 62 tombs and temples of the pharaohs and nobles buried more than 3,000 years ago - to complete a plan for the conservation of the valley by the end of 2005.

The eternal paradox. Being hidden and buried was what kept these things perserved for thousands of years and the only way to enjoy them is to hasten their destruction. We have some doubts this will ever amount to anything, since few will be willing to give up the money yourism brings in and this will no doubt have a substantial impact on that.

Standing Stone reveals ancient secrets at modern opencast site

FOUR human cremation burial plots have been uncovered at the Kingslaw opencast site on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy.
And it is understood they form part of complex religious ceremonies carried out by settlers thousands of years ago.
The discovery was made by Fife Council archaeologists as they removed the 4000-year-old Bogleys Standing Stone from the Kingslaw development, which is currently being mined by Lanarkshire-based GM Mining, before being turned into a business and leisure facility.
Moving and protecting the ancient Bronze Age stone was part of an archaeological condition laid down before planning permission was given.

Treasure sold on eBay

Pieces of Britain's past, including a second-century silver ring and a 500-year-old Tudor trade weight, are among artefacts being peddled daily on the Internet to the alarm of experts at the British Museum.

"We have been monitoring sites such as (online auctioneer) eBay for six months now. We are finding several items each week," Roger Bland, the British Museum's head of treasure, told Reuters on Wednesday.

"The most notable one I've seen was a beautiful gold fitting for a dagger's scabbard dating back to the Anglo Saxon era," he said. "It was offered for sale at several hundred pounds."

Hmmmmmm. . . . A New Ancient Map?

By way of a note to the classics list, Pierre-Louis Malosse has announced the discovery by his Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier III) colleague Thierry van Compernolle of an ostrakon bearing what appears to be an ancient map of the Salentine peninsula (the “boot-heel” of Italy), possibly dating to the 5th century BC. The item remains, as yet, unpublished, and there are no photographs presently available.

. . .

The object discovered on the 21st of August 2003 at Soleto (province of Lecce, Italy), in the course of on-going archaeological excavations directed on behalf of CERCAM (Université Paul Valéry) by Th. Van Compernolle, is an ostrakon, i.e., a fragment of a vase, in this case, an attic black-glazed vase, on which is incised the coastline of the Salentine peninsula as well as thirteen toponyms whose positions are indicated by points. The “Soleto Map” is, to date, the most ancient geographic map of classical antiquity to have been discovered.

Footprints that never disappear

Separated by 40 miles and nearly a millennium, ancient Pueblo la Plata and modern Phoenix seem to have little in common.

Sitting atop Perry Mesa in Agua Fria National Monument, Pueblo la Plata was seldom home to more than 50 people at a time during its 200-year history, starting around AD 1200. No organized community appears to have occupied this area before or since.
. . .

For all their odd-couple appearance, the two settlements form bookends in ambitious efforts by archaeologists, ecologists, and others to investigate the long-lasting effects of human habitation and what can be done to make it more sustainable in arid regions in the future. It also raises an intriguing question: If humans leave their mark on an environment even centuries after they've left, is any place on Earth really pristine?

Key paragraph: "A grassland ecologist would come [here] and they'd see evidence of [modern-day] cattle grazing, and that's all they'd see," Dr. Spielmann says. By subtracting the effects of grazing, they could walk away feeling that they knew what a pristine grassland would be like. "Our hypothesis is that the landscape has been modified for so long that you can't understand the ecology of the area without understanding what prehistoric people did."

The notion that ancient people (especially in N and S America) were somehow so in tune with their natural environment that they lived within it with little disturbance has been crumbling for years. Evidence continues to accumulate that we've been changing the environment for thousands of years.

This seems a bit creepy Pompeii gets digital make-over

The old-fashioned audio tour of historical places could soon be replaced with computer-generated images that bring the site to life.

A European Union-funded project is looking at providing tourists with computer-augmented versions of archaeological attractions.

It would allow visitors a glimpse of life as it was originally lived in places such as Pompeii.

It could pave the way for a new form of cultural tourism.

Although it would be tres cool to look at a digitally reconstructed version of the place with all its attendant colors while also being able to see it as it is today. That would nicely solve the whole leaving-as-is vs. recontruction controversy.

This seems positive Iran, France sign cultural agreement

Iran and France signed Sunday an agreement for cultural cooperation in major fields of archaeology, research, history of art and exchange of art information.

The agreement, signed by Head of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Hossein Marashi and Head of Louvre Museum Henry Loyrette, has underlined the need to promote cultural cooperation and hold joint research and scientific conferences by Iran and France.

The Louvre authorities are ready to hold an exhibition of Iran's antique works in France, Loyrette told reporters.

"It belongs in a MUSEUM! Coronado Project needs help tracing route

You'd think 1,400 people and 6,500 herd animals traipsing across the desert would leave a fairly easy trail to follow, right?

At the time, that undoubtedly was true.

But when you wait hundreds of years to try to retrace the route, finding evidence gets to be a needle-in-the-haystack proposition.

Such is the problem as researchers try to determine the route taken by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado on his expedition through Arizona looking for "cities of gold" in 1540-42.