Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Antiquities Market update

Ten Egyptians, including three top archaeologists, will stand trial on charges of stealing and smuggling tens of thousands of antiquities, the nation's chief prosecutor said Monday.

Prosecutor-General Maher Abdel Wahid also decided to send the chief of Pharaonic antiquities, Sabri Abdel Aziz, to a disciplinary tribunal on charges of negligence of duty, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported.

The officials were part of a gang that the government accuses of stealing 57,000 artifacts from antiquity warehouses and smuggling thousands of them abroad.

WOW. Obviously the nation's top archaeologists need to be archaeologist and law enforcement officer in equal measure.

Archaeologists gain new insights into Aboriginal land use

There's been a new development in the so-called history wars. Archaeologists believe they're uncovering elements of Tasmanian history which they think will disprove the controversial theory that Aborigines survived more because of good luck than good management.

Preliminary research has shown that Aborigines living in ancient caves in Tasmania up to 20,000 years ago used advanced planning to manage land use. The Latrobe University academics are now planning research at Australia's biggest remaining Aboriginal campsite.

They expect that, counter to claims by the historian Keith Windschuttle, they will be able to prove that Aborigines were as sophisticated as their Northern Hemisphere counterparts.

Yet more from Bulgaria. . . Archaeologists Unearth 8, 300 Year-old Settlement in Central Bulgaria

Archaeologists in central Bulgaria discovered remains of an 8, 300 year-old New Stone Age settlement, a report said Monday.

The 4-hectare (some 9.9-acre) village was unearthed near the city of Veliko Tarnovo, 250 kilometres (156 miles) east of Sofia, the Focus news agency said.

A team led by archaeologist Nedko Elenski, which explored the village, found a grave of a ten year-old child dating from the 7, 000 B.C., pottery and tools made of stone and bones, the report said.

That's the whole thing.

Remote sensing update New technology aids archaeologists

Advances in technology are opening up new possibilities of discovery at a southern Illinois archaeological site where a prehistoric culture thrived 1,000 years ago.

The existence of the Kincaid Mounds site near Metropolis has been known for decades. But last year, archaeologists from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale began a renewed effort to scrutinize Kincaid

We believe we reported on this earlier, but there's a bit more info.

Live from Egypt! Egypt airs cache of mummies

Archaeologists unveiled Sunday the tomb of a member of a powerful family that governed a swath of western Egypt about 2,500 years ago, along with a dozen recently discovered mummies from Roman times.
The mummies are among 400-500 located thus far in what Egypt has dubbed the Valley of the Golden Mummies -grounds where thousands entombed.

Short article about the program last week on Discovery. We thought it was okay. The host was reasonably well-informed and didn't ask silly questions.

And now. . .New Jersey 4,000 years ago, tribes inhabited Mercer: Archaeologist finds evidence of ancient settlement

About the time Stonehenge was being built, along what is now the Millstone River, a tribe of Native Americans set up a fall camp to prepare for the long winter months.

They collected walnuts and acorns, fished in the river and hunted whitetail deer with spears, stocking up for months before moving on to more permanent winter camps.

What they left behind remained buried for the next 4,000 years.

Music 101 -35k ce-age ivory flute found in German cave

A 35,000-year-old flute made from a woolly mammoth's ivory tusk has been unearthed in a German cave by archaeologists, says the University of Tuebingen.

The flute, one of the oldest musical instruments discovered, was pieced together from 31 fragments found in a cave in the Swabian mountains in southwestern Germany, the university said on Friday.

The mountains have yielded rich pickings in recent years, including ivory figurines, ornaments and other musical instruments. Archaeologists believe humans camped in the area in winter and spring.

Mammoths, now extinct, were large elephant-like creatures with hairy coats and long, upcurved tusks. They lived during the Pleistocene period from 2 million to 11,000 years ago.

The university said it planned to put the instrument on display in a museum in Stuttgart.

Homo hobbittus update It's a small world after all

WHEN the Australian archaeologist Douglas Hobbs arrives in the hot and steamy valley on Flores where the hobbits were found, word gets around quickly.

Within moments, a farmer, Rikus Bandar, and his youngest son, Agustinus Mangga, come running from different directions out of their fields of coffee, rice and corn.

It is their first chance to talk with one of the discovery team since the news broke that put their cave - Liang Bua - on the international map.

Good long article, mostly on the background to the discoveries.