Thursday, December 30, 2004

Sad confirmation Obituaries: Robson Bonnichsen

Robson Bonnichsen of College Station, Texas, died of natural causes Saturday in Bend. He was 64.

He was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, to Everett and Helen Williams Bonnichsen.

He married Peggy Hays in August 2003 in Aloha.

He had over 44 years of archeological field experience. He was a professor of anthropology at Oregon State University and was the director of the Center for Study of the First Americans at both Oregon State University and Texas A & M University from 1991 to 2002.

Survivors include his wife, Peggy Hays of College Station, Texas; sons, Sven of Portland, Shield of Tucson, Ariz., and Max of California; brothers, Bill of Moscow, Idaho, and Joe of Albany; sister, Janet Towle of Tigard; and one grandchild.

A service will be Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Tigard Christian Church, 13405 S.W. Hall Blvd., in Tigard.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Center for Study of the First Americans, Department of Anthropology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, 77843-4352.

That's the whole thing. No doubt more will be written on his life and work and we'll post those as well when they come across the wires.

Thieves! Buddha head stolen from Indian Museum

Antique thieves have struck again, this time in the heart of Kolkata. A rare, sandstone head of Buddha, brought to the Indian Museum from Sarnath, was stolen from the museum’s Archaeology Long Gallery on the ground floor on Wednesday afternoon.
The fifth century artefact, about 24 cm in height, is considered an artistic masterpiece of the Gupta period.
It was apparently a neat, clean and easy job — the thief or thieves (police don’t know yet whether it was one person or more) just walked in, lifted the the glass case covering the artefact and walked off with it.

Well. At least they noticed it right away.

Discovery weaves a picture of life for villagers

EXCAVATIONS at a village have unearthed the graves of weavers from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, giving researchers an insight into the lifestyles of the workers at the time.
Derek Alexander, archaeologist with the National Trust for Scotland, said two digs had taken place at different locations in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire.
"There was an excavation at the Weaver's Cottage, and a separate one which was instigated by some rebuilding work along the south side of the graveyard at Kilbarchan West Parish Church.
"They both gave us a chance to look at the history and archaeology of the weaving industry, which played an important role in Scotland's economy," he said.

Experts differ over origin of ancient pictographs

While experts differ over the origins of prehistoric pictographs at Hueco Tanks, most people go there to enjoy the wilderness or take in some of the park's history.

Idalia Sullivan, formerly of El Paso, on Wednesday took three of her nieces on a guided tour that made several stops at some of the rock formations with paintings.

"I climbed the rocks here as a teenager, and came back recently, and was blown away by what I saw," said Sullivan, who was visiting from California. It was the first time her El Paso nieces -- Tamara Hoefner, 15; Kristin Hoefner, 12; and Raven Anchondo, 5 -- had gone to Hueco Tanks State Historic Site.

Antiquities Market update Museums Advised to Check Bible-Era Relics

Experts advised world museums to re-examine their Bible-era relics after Israel indicted four collectors and dealers on charges of forging items thought to be some of the most important artifacts discovered in recent decades.

The indictments issued Wednesday labeled many such ``finds'' as fakes, including two that had been presented as the biggest biblical discoveries in the Holy Land - the purported burial box of Jesus' brother James and a stone tablet with written instructions by King Yoash on maintenance work at the ancient Jewish Temple.

Shuka Dorfman, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said the scope of the fraud appears to go far beyond what has been uncovered so far. The forgery ring has been operating for more than 20 years.

This: Golan said in a statement Wednesday ``there is not one grain of truth in the fantastic allegations related to me.'' He said the investigation was aimed at ``destroying collecting and trade in antiquities in Israel.''

You say that like it's a BAD thing. . . . .

China Discovery I Scientists discover ancient sea wharf

Archeologists say that they have found the country's oldest wharf and it is believed to be the starting point of an ancient sea route to Central and West Asia.

The discovery has reaffirmed the widespread belief that the ancient trade route started in Hepu County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, archeologists said at yesterday's symposium on the nation's marine silk road.

After three years of excavation, archeologists have unearthed a wharf that is at least 2,000 years old in Guchengtou Village, according to Xiong Zhaoming, head of the archeological team.

China Discovery II 3,000-year-old woodcarving discovered

The Chengdu Archeological Team discovered a 3,000-year-old painted woodcarving of a head during the second phase of excavation at the Jinsha site's ritual area. It is the oldest and most intact sculpture over its type ever discovered in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

According to Wang Yi, curator of the Chengdu Municipal Museum, the woodcarving was found buried about three meters below the earth's surface.

The item in question:

And Andie's blog has a couple more links to the Fayum granaries stories here and here.

And a few things we missed lately:

UF Study: Bigfoot Myth Persists Because It Depicts Humans’ Wild Side

There’s plenty to debunk about the Bigfoot myth, but people may not listen because they have a love-hate relationship with the gigantic hairy monster, says a University of Florida researcher.

“People express a reverence for the grandeur of the animal and derive meaning from Bigfoot because it represents where we came from,” said UF anthropologist David Daegling. “I think Bigfoot depicts the wild and uncultured side of who we are, a side we are both attracted to and repulsed by.”

Interesting, but only vaguely archaeology Research Points To New Theory Driving Evolutionary Changes

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have used canine DNA to identify a genetic mutation mechanism they believe is responsible for rapid evolutionary changes in the physical appearance of many species.

The findings, based on data gathered from hundreds of museum specimens of dogs and from blood samples of volunteered live dogs, offer a new explanation for the sudden, rapid rise of new species found in the fossil record. They also help explain the variability in appearance among individual members of a species, such as the length of the nose in different breeds of domestic dogs.

A mechanism for punctuated equilibirum at last?

There's More to the Mimbres Than the Pottery

The NAN Ranch Ruin in southwestern New Mexico has yielded the "most comprehensive body of information ever gathered at a single Mimbres site," according to author and anthropologist Harry Shafer. This impressive scholarly volume presents findings from 20 years of extensive excavations at the NAN Ranch ruin -- offering new views of the ancient Mimbrenos that once thrived in New Mexico from about A.D. 600 to 1140.

"Mimbres culture is no longer seen as just a culture whose architecture was a poor copy of the ancient Anasazi to the north but with pottery that was unrivaled in terms of its painted imagery and design," Shafer states. "The Mimbres phenomenon was a regional fluorescence in its own right that drew upon resources and people from neighboring groups in the desert and mountains."