News from the desert Major petroglyph site being documented by archeologists
While early Spanish explorers referred to the Big Bend region as the “despoblado,” or uninhabited area, more and more evidence is being found to the contrary.
Another piece of the puzzle concerning the prehistory of the Davis Mountains area is being studied by a team of volunteers who are recording an Native American rock art site on a ranch near Balmorhea. The previously unstudied site consists of a large number of petroglyphs carved on a limestone shelf.
The site was recently brought to the attention of the Center for Big Bend Studies at Sul Ross State University. After a visit to the site by center director Robert J. Mallouf, arrangements were made to study and record the site. To protect the site and the privacy of the ranch, the location will not be mentioned here.
Was Geraldo there? Tomb raiders crack 2000-year-old vault
CHINESE archaeologists unearthed a rare 2000-year-old tomb only to find nothing left in the main chamber but a modern pair of gloves, state media reported today.
The tomb in Xi'an, the imperial capital of the Han Dynasty which ruled between 206 BC and 220 AD, is approached by a long path dug 11m underground and sheathed with sand walls.
But when excited archaeologists entered the main chamber they found robbers had beaten them to it, Xinhua news agency reported.
Public viewing plans for chariot track
A SECTION of a Roman chariot track recently discovered in Colchester could be preserved for future generations to see in a specially built viewing building.
Archaeologists uncovered the only known Roman circus in Britain on the site of the garrison, which is due to undergo a massive re-development.
Plans are being drawn up to keep a portion of the circus open to public view, by constructing a glass and metal building over it. There would also be a reconstruction of the circus grandstand.
What they need is to run chariot races on it.
Menagerie of mummies unwraps ancient Egypt
A new collection of mummified creatures could help unravel some of the mysteries surrounding ancient Egyptian society.
The Egyptians mummified both humans and animals to preserve them for the afterlife. Mummified cats, birds, monkeys and even gazelles have in the past been found buried alongside their owners.
Researchers say the new collection - including mummified cats, birds, baboons and crocodiles gathered from a variety of other collections - adds weight to the idea that the humble house cat was first domesticated animal to provide a source of ritual offerings for the gods.
Antiquities Market update Eritrea to demand return of ancient artifacts from Ethiopia, Italy
Eritrea is to demand the return from Ethiopia of hundreds of archeological artifacts taken from ancient sites in the 1960s, an official said, threatening a new row between the feuding Horn of Africa neighbors.
In addition, Asmara will petition Italy for the return of objects it says were taken by Italian nationals before Eritrea -- an Italian colony and then British protectorate annexed by Ethopia in 1962 -- won independence in 1993.
"The Eritrean National Commission for UNESCO (news - web sites) will officially ask in a few months for the return of the cultural property taken by Italy, then Ethiopia," National Museum chief Lebsekal Yosief told AFP.
Okay, finally a tsunami/archaeology story Tsunami unearths gifts for archaeology
The deadly tsunamis that crashed into southern India unearthed priceless relics, including two granite lions, that had lain buried under the sand for centuries, archaeologists say.
A team from the Archaeological Survey of India descended on the ancient seaport of Mahabalipuram, 70km south of Madras, to examine the "gifts" left after the tsunami redrew the entire coastline.
We were wondering when something like this would turn up.
Diamonds! Chinese used diamonds to polish sapphire-rich stone in 2500 BC
Researchers have uncovered strong evidence that the ancient Chinese used diamonds to grind and polish ceremonial stone burial axes as long as 6,000 years ago -– and incredibly, did so with a level of skill difficult to achieve even with modern polishing techniques. The finding, reported in the February issue of the journal Archaeometry, places this earliest known use of diamond worldwide thousands of years earlier than the gem is known to have been used elsewhere.
The work also represents the only known prehistoric use of sapphire: The stone worked into polished axes by China's Liangzhu and Sanxingcun cultures around 4000 to 2500 BC has as its most abundant element the mineral corundum, known as ruby in its red form and sapphire in all other colors. Most other known prehistoric artifacts were fashioned from rocks and minerals no harder than quartz.
Large Tibetan religious site discovered in Sichuan
The discovery of a large Tibetan religious site in Shiqu County in southwest China's Sichuan Province was announced recently.
Located at the source of the Yalong River in remote southern Sichuan, the site was well protected since the area is not easy toget to, said Shi Shuo, a professor on Tibet culture in Sichuan University who discovered the site.
The site, which is 73 meters long, 47 meters wide and 14.5 meters high at the center, has been carefully studied and authenticated by the Sichuan Provincial Relics and Archeology Institute.
Antiquities Market update II
Road builders plunder Great Wall
ROAD builders demolished a large section of China's World Heritage-listed Great Wall last month in an indication of the perilous state of one of the world's best known landmarks, state media said today.
Almost 100m of the wall in northern Ningxia autonomous region was levelled in two overnight raids by construction workers who used the material to pave a road, the Ningxia Daily said.
The destroyed area near Zhongwei city was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in an region known as "the Great Wall Museum" because of the profusion of rammed earth sections of the wall.
Bird's eye view of island's past
Two friends have started a two-year project to capture the archaeological beauty of Anglesey from the air.
Pilot John Rowlands and photographer David Roberts, both from the island, expect to take thousands of pictures for a systematic survey.
They hope to reveal the island's past from the air and donate their pictures to an expert body.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales has been offered the pictures.
In the Valley of Life, oil is death to the art of a lost civilisation
It is hard to imagine how dry the desert is until you have gone for a stroll in the Sahara. After a couple of hours' walk across this lunar landscape, tracking along the steep escarpment of the Messak Settafet plateau, a paste of salt, sand, and sweat forms on every square inch of exposed skin.
Halfway up the slope, picking his way through a giant's playpen of boulders, Hassan Ahmed Breki stops, unwraps his long, white headscarf, and runs a finger along lines carved into a rock surface. Here, out in the open for all to see, is one of Libya's national treasures: rock engravings, some possibly dating back 9,000 years or more, created by a mysterious, prehistoric culture.
Now, this is interesting Abandoned bones suggest TB wiped out leprosy in battle of killer diseases
The spread of tuberculosis may have killed off leprosy in Europe in the Middle Ages, according to research published in the latest issue of the Royal Society Proceedings B.
A collaborative study led by University College London (UCL) scientists, following the discovery of a shrouded body in a sealed chamber overlooked by tomb robbers, found evidence of both diseases in a range of archaeological remains dating from the 1st to the 15th centuries.