Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Lost city. . .found! Ancient Uruguay farm village found

The discovery of a 4,800-year-old farming community on the plains of Uruguay's La Plata Basin indicates that agriculture was much more widely dispersed in the early history of South America than researchers previously had believed.

Inhabitants of the region once were thought to be only hunters and gatherers, but new findings by archaeologist Jose Iriarte of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and his colleagues indicate that a change in climate forced the people to form farming communities.

Archeologists in Eritrea target unfunded 'rescue excavations'

In Eritrea, archeology is a race against the clock, to prevent numerous new constructions and their bulldozers from destroying the rich cultural heritage of the Horn of Africa nation.

"It is estimated that there are 40,000 potential archeological sites in Eritrea's land area of 125,000 square kilometres (almost 48,300 square miles)," National Museum director Lebsekal Yosief said.

"But due to lack of funds, there is currently only work going on at around 20 sites," said Lebsekal, who is also an archeology professor at Asmara University.

"I love gooooooold."

Bulgaria Unearthed Yet Another Ancient Gold

Two gold earrings were found during excavation works near the Black Sea city of Nessebar.

The jewellery belonged to a woman buried during the Hellenic period IV- III century B.C., Tanya Dimova, chief of the Nessebar Museum announced.

The Bulgarian archaeologists were surprised by the high quality of the metal - 24 carats. The earrings were made by an extreme professional and had a lion's head. The archaeologists are expecting to find more jewellery as at present they are excavating a second tomb.

The two tombs were part of the necropolis of ancient Mesemvria where most of the rich people were laid to rest in the past times, the head of the Nessebar Museum explained.

That's the whole thing.

Graves of Saxon warriors found

AN ANCIENT graveyard discovered on a hill overlooking Marlborough on Sunday looks set to confirm the long-held belief that the town had Saxon origins.

The five graves containing the remains of what are believed to be Saxon warriors complete with shields was made by metal detector enthusiasts.

Realising the enormity of their discovery, the enthusiasts halted their exploration and notified police that they had found a burial site.

We always thought those guys wandering around with metal detectors were a little weird, but we may have to revise that assessment.

Hmmmmmmmm. . . British archaeologist discovers 'John the Baptist' cave near Jerusalem

A British archaeologist has uncovered a cave in the mountains near Jerusalem which he believes conclusively proves that the Biblical figure of John the Baptist existed.

"The first concrete evidence of the existence of John the Baptist has been found on site," 46-year-old Shimon Gibson told AFP.

Gibson, who holds a degree from University College London and has written several works on Biblical archaeology, believes the discovery to be "the first archaeological proof of the historical veracity of the Gospels".

Other archaeologists, however, believe Gibson's conclusions go too far, and that the discovery of an ancient place of worship linked to John the Baptist does not prove that he actually existed.

Not sure why this is being reported now, since it was already reported on months ago. But there it is.

Update on Chinese wine 9,000-year History Of Chinese Fermented Beverages Confirmed

Chemical analyses of ancient organics absorbed, and preserved, in pottery jars from the Neolithic village of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey, and fruit was being produced as early as 9,000 years ago, approximately the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East.

In addition, liquids more than 3,000 years old, remarkably preserved inside tightly lidded bronze vessels, were chemically analyzed. These vessels from the capital city of Anyang and an elite burial in the Yellow River Basin, dating to the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties (ca. 1250-1000 B.C.), contained specialized rice and millet "wines." The beverages had been flavored with herbs, flowers, and/or tree resins, and are similar to herbal wines described in the Shang dynasty oracle inscriptions.

Lots of detail on the find and the analyses. Must read.

Mummy update

Gold-plated mummies found in desert

AN Egyptian archaeological team has discovered a group of 20 gold-coated mummies in the country's western desert, Culture Minister Faruq Hosni announced today.

He said the discovery brings to 234 the number of mummies so far unearthed in the area called the Valley of the Golden Mummies, adding that excavations were ongoing in and around the site.

Some bronze coins were also recovered from the site, explained Mr Hosni, saying ancient Egyptians buried the dead with money believing they would need it to pay for their passing to the afterworld.

The Egyptian team also discovered a graveyard nearby, which experts said belonged to the relative of a high priest. A sarcophagus at the site appeared to have been robbed, they added.

The Discovery Channel all week is having live reports from Bahariya with a camera crew accompanying Zahi Hawass into new tombs in the area. We caught a bit of it last night, and it's not as dorky as it may sound. The reporter asks some decent questions and it's good to have an Egyptian leading things for a change.