Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lost city canals. . . found! Ariz. Archaeologists Find Hohokam Canals

Archaeologists working at a proposed development site in Mesa say they have unearthed one of the largest integrated canal systems the Hohokam Indians ever built in the Phoenix area.

Twenty Hohokam canals, uncovered during an ongoing archaeological survey of the 240-acre site, have been found since October. The largest measures 45 feet wide and 16 feet deep.

"They are the size of canals in Phoenix today, but these were done with digging sticks and baskets," said Tom Wilson, an archaeologist and director of the Mesa Southwest Museum. "There are some extraordinary things there."

249 ancient tombs unearthed in construction site

A total of 249 ancient tombs together with more than 500 antiques, dating back to 2,000 years ago, have been recently excavated under a middle school construction site in Handan, north China's Hebei Province, according to a local official.

Hao Liangzhen, vice director of the Handan cultural heritage bureau, said Friday most of the unearthed tombs were from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), while others were from the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.) and the Jin Dynasty (265 - 420).

The tombs were buried only about one meter under the ground level.

The antiques in the tombs include pottery, copperware, ironware, carnelian, colored glaze, and utensils made of bones.

That's the whole thing.

Knights may have travelled beneath citadel

Egyptian authorities announced on Monday the discovery at Cairo's citadel of an underground passageway tall enough to accommodate a mounted horseman.

The 150-metre-long tunnel, the longest of several beneath the citadel, was found in the vicinity of the 19th century Mohamed Ali mosque in the course of a project to drain off groundwater from under the compound.

The Cairo Citadel dates to the 12th century. The much newer Mohamed Ali mosque, one of several buildings on the compound, is a major Cairo landmark visible from several vantage points around the city.

Sifting through the ages

One hundred sixteen years years after parts of the Goodman Point Ruins group in Hovenweep National Monument were placed under federal protection, answers to the Goodman Point mystery are, along with the dirt and stones, being pulled out of the ground by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center workers.

"Everything we learn about Goodman Point Pueblo is new stuff," Senior Research Archaeologist Kristin Kuckelman said.

Did humans cause ecosystem collapse in ancient Australia?

Massive extinctions of animals and the arrival of the first humans in ancient Australia may be linked, according to scientists at the Carnegie Institution, University of Colorado, Australian National University, and Bates College.* The extinctions occurred 45,000 to 55,000 years ago. The researchers traced evidence of diet and the environment contained in ancient eggshells and wombat teeth over the last 140,000 years to reconstruct what happened. The remains showed evidence of a rapid change of diet at the time of the extinctions. The researchers believe that massive fires set by the first humans may have altered the ecosystem of shrubs, trees, and grasses to the fire-adapted desert-scrub of today. The work is published in the July 8, issue of Science.

Lost civilization. . .found! New light thrown on origins of Chinese culture as lost civilization emerges

Day after sweltering day on the banks of the Modi stream, archeologists are dealing shattering blows to traditional views of Chinese history as they work their way through the parched, yellow earth.

One of the world's great cities once flourished here at Jinsha village in China's southwest, the 1000 B.C. equivalent of New York or Paris, and then inexplicably vanished, leaving no trace behind in the historical records.

Until recently, locals had no idea they were living on top of a great lost bronze-age civilization.

Native lore tells the tale: There's been a whole lotta shakin' goin' on

Stories of two-headed serpents and epic battles between Thunderbird and Whale, common among Northwest native peoples, have their root in the region's seismic history. New research led by a University of Washington scientist has found stories that could relate to a large Seattle fault earthquake around A.D. 900 and specific eyewitness accounts linked to a mammoth 1700 earthquake and tsunami in the Cascadia subduction zone.

The stories come from people living in areas from northern California to the northern edge of Vancouver Island. They often differ depending on where they originated, said Ruth Ludwin, a UW research scientist in Earth and space sciences and lead author of two recent papers detailing evidence gleaned from native lore.

The same event might have been depicted differently in different places, depending on the local effects and cultural differences, Ludwin said. But references to Thunderbird and Whale, or similar figures related in lore to wind or thunder and water, are found in stories of shaking and flooding that were collected all along the coastline.

Stonehenge quarry update Stonehenge Quarry Found in Wales

Stonehenge's megaliths come from the mountains of Wales, according to a study which pinpoints the quarry where the bluestones were cut around 2500 B.C.

Writing in the July-August issue of British Archaeology, Timothy Darvill, professor of archaeology at Bournemouth University, and Geoff Wainwright, a retired English Heritage archaeologist, describe a "small crag-edged promontory with a stone bank across its neck" at one of the highest points of Carn Menyn, a mountain in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire, in southwest Wales.

Iceman update Iceman shoes called superior to ours

Lined with hay and held together by a net of rough string, the leather shoes look bulky, itchy and downright uncomfortable.

But if they were good enough for Oetzi, the 5,300-year-old man found in an alpine glacier in 1991, they're good enough for the modern foot, insists Petr Hlavacek, a Czech shoe expert who has created replicas, taken them out for a walk and pronounced them far better than most modern footwear.

"These shoes are very comfortable. They are perfectly able to protect your feet against hard terrain, against hot temperatures, against cold temperatures," he said, showing off the replicas in his office at Tomas Bata University in this eastern Czech town.

Interesting little experiment. It would be nice to see some measurements taken, such as actual shock absorption, insulating, etc. But this:

He hates plastic footwear, says most shoes are poorly shaped and is certain that future historians will view high heels as evidence of the modern era's stupidity.

Uhhhhhhh. . . .no.

Okay, maybe historians. No one else though. We feel confident about this.