Thursday, December 09, 2004

A mystery deepens. . . .quack quack 'Duck pond' turns out to be a moat

It appeared to be nothing more than a duck pond, but a chance comment and some research have revealed otherwise.

The mysterious moat could have more ancient origins as a medieval swannery, a Roman lookout, a refuge for people on the run – or there could be another explanation for it.

Whatever the story behind the structure on a farmer's land near Stalham, it will soon be restored to somewhere near its former glory.

Greek farmer uncovers Roman monument

A farmer ploughing his field in central Greece hit on an ancient Roman trophy dating from 86 BC, the culture ministry announced.

Archaeologists have unearthed the lower part of the stone-made monument near the village of Pyrgos some 100 kilometres north-west of Athens.

Longer article here.

We're thinking of moving somewhere and becoming farmers since they seem to find all the cool stuff.

Remote sensing update I Discoveries made at Kincaid Mounds

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 near Metropolis has been known for decades. But last year, archaeologists from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale began a renewed effort to scrutinize Kincaid and find out more about the people who once lived there.

The residents of the Kincaid site mainly were farmers - raising corn, beans, squash and other crops. They also fished and foraged for food, said Brian Butler, director of SIU's Center for Archaeological Investigations and one of the scientists studying Kincaid.

Unheralded part of archaeology Threads of old

Fabric remains are exceedingly rare in archaeological sites, but here was a young woman beautifully preserved in finely sewn clothes. The ice maiden's thigh-high riding boots were still supple. Her dress, woven 2,400 years ago of sheep's wool and camel hair, was held at the waist by a braided cord banded in colors and hung with tassels. She wore a 3-foot black felt headdress adorned with griffins and birds.

"This costume is one of the oldest pieces of female clothing ever found from a nomadic society," says Polosmak. "It's an amazingly rare find in the history of archaeology."

Such discoveries are not just intriguing curiosities. Researchers armed with chemical and biochemical technologies can now coax from even tiny fabric scraps – charred by funereal fires, blackened by millenniums in peat bogs – clues to life in ages past.

GREAT article. Read the whole thing. We would caution readers in regards to the two paragraphs intimating that women always did all the weaving. There is simply no empirical evidence for the sex of the manufacturers of anything, from ceramics to textiles. Still, the analysis of textiles is an important part of archaeology which doesn't often see a lot of publicity (partly due to the rarity of finding preserved cloth).

Iran lays claim to world's oldest backgammon set

Archaelogists in Iran have said they have uncovered what they believe is the world's oldest backgammon set, which could make the country the cradle of board games.

According to the Internet site of Iran's Cultural Heritage organisation, the game, complete with 60 pieces, was found in the ruins of the so-called Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchestan province the far southeast of the Islamic republic.

So it's THEM we can blame for this infuriating game. And no, it isn't just luck when your opponent keeps getting double-sixes RIGHT when he needs them.

And P.S., all the computer versions CHEAT.

Land near Hovenweep off auction block

The vistas at Hovenweep National Monument are safe, for now.
Bureau of Land Management officials on Tuesday pulled two BLM parcels near Hovenweep, along with other sensitive tracts, from a oil and gas lease auction scheduled for Friday in Salt Lake City. Out of the 112,000 acres originally listed for sale by the agency, only 25,000 acres now will be offered at auction.
Kent Hoffman, the BLM's state deputy director for lands and minerals, says a pair of recent decisions by the Department of Interior's Board of Land Appeals prompted the deferment. The board sidelined an earlier BLM lease sale in eastern Utah because National Historic Preservation Act guidelines weren't followed; another near Zion National Park was shelved because of a collision with National Environmental Protection Act procedures.

Remote sensing update II Geophysical prospecting to find out what lies beneath

Plans are afoot to dig out more information about the buried medieval city at Champaner-Pavagadh, without actually digging any further. A technique called ‘Geophysical prospecting’ would be used by archaeologists from Bradford University, UK, early next year to uncover parts of the buried city.

The project, details of which were worked out in the city on Monday, would see collaboration between M S University, city-based Heritage Trust and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The plans for the geophysical prospecting without actually digging up the site have been drawn by Bradford University’s Armin Schmidt who was in the city to attend a seminar on conservation aspects of Pavagadh.