Thursday, December 16, 2004

Not much to blog today. EEF news ought to be coming in sometime this afternoon though.

Settled life speeds social and religious evolution

The shift from nomadic life to settled village life can lead to a rapid development of religious and social complexity and hierarchy, according to a detailed chronology of the Valley of Oaxaca in Mexico. Only about 1300 years separate its oldest ritual buildings - simple ‘men’s huts’ - and the first standardised temples of the Zapotec state, an archaeological study suggests.

“This is the first study to show how the co-evolution of social and religious complexity occurred, and what steps were involved,” says Joyce Marcus at the University of Michigan, US, who led the work.

Anchors a-weigh! Replica of Bronze Age boat ready to set sail on a 4,000-year-old journey

A REPLICA of a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age boat found near Hull will set sail on the Humber in the new year – close to where the original was discovered.
The plank boat, the oldest of its kind found in western Europe, was one of three discovered at North Ferriby by Hull amateur archaeologist, Ted Wright, between 1937 and 1963.
Yesterday a half-scale replica, named Ferriby I, was unveiled at the Streetlife Museum, in Hull, where it will be used as a local focus for SeaBritain 2005, a celebration of the UK's maritime heritage.
The boat, built in Southampton, has been trialled successfully on the Solent, despite being only half the size of the original.

Cleopatra: Scientist, Not Seductress?

Medieval Arabic texts suggest that Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII was a brilliant early mathematician, chemist and philosopher who wrote science books and met weekly with a team of scientific experts, according to a forthcoming book.

If historians can verify the medieval accounts, then the real Cleopatra likely bore little resemblance to the sexy seductress described by Greek and Roman scholars.

We're dubious.

Roman remains found by busy road

THE remains of a “waterfront” settlement dating from Roman times have been discovered in a Suffolk village.

Archaeologists have found pottery, brooches, coins and other items on a site at Stoke Ash, beside a tributary of the River Dove and close to the A140 road, itself Roman in origin.

Information gleaned from the site and from the adjacent Thornham Estate is adding to the academic understanding of the Roman occupation of Britain.

It also suggests the area has been a hive of human activity for many thousands of years, with evidence of early agriculture, industry and buildings.

Good for them Aboriginal archaeologists take a stand

Conflicts between Aboriginal communities and archaeologists in Australia may be reduced by the establishment of a new watchdog, its founding members say.

The Indigenous Archaeological Association (IAA) will monitor archaeologists to ensure they appropriately consult Aboriginal communities on whose land they are working.

"It's an independent archaeological body that represents the interests of indigenous archaeologists and provides a voice for Aboriginal people on archaeological issues," said Aboriginal archaeologist, Stephen Free.