Monday, March 06, 2006

Petrie exhibit Artifacts from ancient Egypt show influence of pioneering archaeologist

The 27-year-old British archeologist was making his first trip to Egypt, on a mission to uncover the truth about the Great Pyramid. When he moved into an abandoned tomb at Giza and slept on a hammock, everyone noticed the unconventional William Matthew Flinders Petrie.

Petrie became even harder to ignore after his 1880 adventure as he brought a scientific approach to excavations and, as a result, changed what the world knew about the ancient civilization.

Petrie was somewhat overlooked by history outside of academic circles because of Carter and Tutankhamun. But he, along with Champollion, are probably the biggest single figures in Egyptian archaeology (as opposed to the more restrictive Egyptology). He worked in material from nearly all periods -- Predynastic, Dynastic, even some prehistoric -- and framed many of the most basic questions about Egyptian history that we are still arguing about today. There was a good biography of him written a few years back -- the name of which I haven't got handy, but it makes a good read.

They found it?
Local dig produces the 'Holy Grail' of archaeology

One little arrowhead has caused quite a stir among local amateur archaeologists.

But one arrowhead is all it took to turn Ebberts Spring Site 36FR367, two miles south of Greencastle, from a typical archaeological dig into a super site.

The artifact, which can be hidden in the palm of your hand, is a paleo point — a stone point from a spear used during the Paleo-Indianperiod from 10,000 to 8000 B.C., just after the last ice age. It's identifiable from later styles of points by the groove chipped into each side. These grooves helped in slipping the stone into a split wood shaft.

It's a rare find, said Doug Stine, president of Cumberland Valley Chapter 27 Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology Inc.

"A paleo point is the Holy Grail of archaeology," he said.

Okay, not The Grail. Not even a piece of pottery. Interesting find though, and anything Paleoindian is significant.