Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dig ends at site where George Washington kept slaves
Archaeologists have finished a dig that discovered where George Washington kept slaves while he served at the first president of the United States.

Officials held a ceremony Tuesday to mark the end of the dig, which revealed remnants of a hidden passageway used by Washington's nine slaves so that guests would not see them slipping in and out of his house.

Washington lived at what is now called the President's House during his presidency in the 1790s, when Philadelphia was the U.S. capital. The house is just yards (meters) away from the Liberty Bell, one of America's most enduring symbols.
Archaeologists in Rome dig up ancient tannery
An ancient tannery that is being dug up in Rome — believed to be the largest ever found in the capital — is threatened by railway construction, and archaeologists said Tuesday they might need to move the entire complex.

The 1,050-square meter (1,255-square yard) complex includes a tannery dating between the 2nd and 3rd century, as well as burial sites and part of a Roman road.

At least 97 tubs, some measuring 1 meter (3.28-feet) diameter, have been dug up so far in the tannery, archaeologists said.
Archaeologists discover textile in 2500 yr-old tomb
Chinese archaeologists have found textiles in a mysterious tomb dating back to nearly 2,500 years in eastern Jiangxi Province, which could rewrite the history of the booming nation's textile sector, the state media reported.

The textiles, which are well-preserved and feature stunning dyeing and weaving technologies, will rewrite the history of China's textile industry, says Wang Yarong, an archaeologist who has been following the findings in the textile sector for more than three decades.
Archaeologist uncover possible medieval mosque in Sicily
Earlier this summer, while standing in an archaeological pit adjacent to an ancient hilltop castle in west-central Sicily, Northern Illinois University graduate student Bill Balco could literally reach out and touch the centuries—even the millennia.

The dig site, about 7-by-10 meters near the castle entrance, reveals a crossroads of cultures and history: remnants of post-World War I floor tiles, a wall trench dating to the Renaissance, an 11th-century Norman fortification wall, a fourth-century-B.C Hellenistic house and a sixth-century-B.C. dwelling constructed by the indigenous Elymian people.
Dig up state’s fascinating past
Digging in the earth has always held a certain charm for me —­ and I’m particularly thinking that now, after spending a couple of engrossing afternoons with “Archaeology in Washington.” This volume from the University of Washington Press is a significantly restructured and updated version of a book called “Exploring Washington Archaeology,” which came out nearly 30 years ago.
The Olympian - Click Here

So much has happened since then — ­from the discovery of Kennewick Man on the banks of the Columbia River, to the excavation of a centuries-old fish camp at Mud Bay in South Sound. More than once in recent years, construction sites for waste treatment plants (of all things) have yielded a wealth of ancient artifacts.

Authors Ruth Kirk and Richard D. Daugherty are just the people to take us on this fascinating tour of our state. Kirk has written many books pertaining to Northwest history and geography. Daugherty, a Washington State University professor emeritus, spent decades leading archaeology students in digs across the state.
Whalebone mask may rewrite Aleut history
Archaeologists unearthing an ancient village from an Unalaska hillside believe they've found the remains of the oldest-known Aleut whalebone mask.

Much of the mask is missing -- it's mostly intact above where the cheekbones would sit -- but archaeologists are pretty sure it's about 3,000 years old, said Mike Yarborough, lead archaeologist at the dig.

Stained brown by soil, cracked in two at the left temple, the discovery made early this month by a member of Yarborough's team is about 2,000 years older than any known Aleut mask, he said.

Interesting article actually.
Hmmmmm. . . . Archaeologists discover slaves were wealthy and astute business men
At an excavated African workers village in Seville on the North coast of Jamaica there were keys and large padlocks in the buildings indicating there was a lot of material wealth.

As he pointed out the wealth is not surprising when you remember that the slaves create the internal marketing system. Many slaves were wealthy during slavery. Their wealth came not from handouts from planters but from their work in the grounds, their trading and their farms in the hills.

From oral tradition it was known that there was a close relationship between Africans and native Arawaks who were called Taino. Now DNA evidence is showing that the maroons carry a lot of genes of the Taino people. The African male slaves who escaped took Taino wives and those were the people who became the maroon population.

Hard to say much about that. Interestingly, it was only a few years ago that I learned that 'maroon' -- you know the Bugs Bunny line, "What a maroon!" -- was actually these slave descendants. Supposedly it has a negative connotation. I still kind of wonder if Bugs was really referring to these Maroons and not just purposefully mispronouncing 'moron'. Which is what most of my acquaintance thought.
As he darn well should be LaBeouf awestruck by Harrison Ford
Indiana Jone IV star Shia LaBeouf was left awestruck when he first saw Harrison Ford dressed as the intrepid archaeologist.

Ford returns as Indy next year - 27 years after he first took the role in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Despite the fact Ford is now 65, LaBeouf - who plays his son in the new movie - insists he still has it: "The moment for me was watching him walk out of his trailer with the fedora on. Oh my god! It's overwhelming."

Funny, whenever I'd walk out to the trench in my yellow hard hat I didn't seem to get that reaction.
Archaeologist helps firefighters navigate ancient Indian sites around Southern California
When lightning sent flames ripping across a Southern California mountain ridge last summer, fire officials wanted to cut firebreaks with bulldozers. But first they called U.S. Forest Service archaeologist Doug McKay.

McKay knew the remote area east of Big Bear Lake was the ancestral home of Serrano Indians and told fire crews to hold off. After walking around the area, McKay warned officials the bulldozers likely would churn up innumerable ancient sites, crushing pieces of history and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair.

Officials took his words to heart and instead had firefighters clear brush by hand. Using shovels, firefighters carved a 2-foot-wide buffer that helped stop the 361-acre fire near Arrastre Creek.

"One mill-i-on years old"
Pak archaeologists discover over one million years old human footprints
World-renowned archaeologist and historian Dr Ahmad Hassan Dani of the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations, Quaid-i-Azam University, made the discovery.

A footprint of one foot is in complete and well-preserved form, while another is broken from the finger side, which is also of the same size in comparative manner, the Dawn reports.

The notable marks of the feet are the clear veins and opposite folded appearance, the report adds.
Archaeology museum out of building on Main Street
The Museum of Rim Country Archaeology will soon be out of commission and closing its doors.

A proposed lease agreement that would have allowed the MRCA to remain on Main Street in its current location was unanimously turned down by the Payson Womans Club on Tuesday.

The MRCA has co-inhabited the building owned by the Womans Club for the last five years, thanks to a contract between the Womans Club and the Northern Gila County Historical Society that benefited the museum, Jinx Pyle, historical society president said.

The result is the museum will likely have to be out within the next week and either relocate or face closing down altogether, Bob Breen, a member of the Rim Country Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society, said.
Abu El Haj update Looks like at least one vote for tenure went her way. Opinion piece follows, views do not necessarily reflect those of ArchaeoBlog, its employees, or subsidiaries, blah blah blah, insert more boilerplate here.

Barnard's Shame, Columbia's Dirty Deal
By voting to grant tenure to Nadia Abu El Haj, my alma mater has chosen to give one of its highest honors to a woman who rejects the principle that scholarly research must be based on evidence. We are not outsiders - no matter what anyone claims, even the outgoing President of Barnard. We are the ones who attended Barnard, the ones who graduated from there and have hopefully gone on to make lives that better the name of the alma mater we love. We have the right -- even the obligation -- to speak out now. This was never an issue for the scholars alone to decide because scholarship was left behind when "Professor" Nadia Abu El Haj turned what should have been a scholarly work into a political tool to get her agenda published.
Egypt's Largest Pharaoh-Era Fortress Discovered, Experts Announce
he largest known fortress from ancient Egypt's days of the pharaohs has been unearthed near the Suez Canal, archaeologists announced on Sunday.

The massive fortress, discovered at a site called Tell-Huba, includes the graves of soldiers and horses and once featured a giant water-filled moat, scientists said.

The discovery dates back to ancient Egypt's struggle to reconquer the northern Sinai Peninsula from an occupying force known as the Hyksos (see Egypt map).

The campaign against the Hyksos was depicted in etchings on the ancient walls of the Karnak Temple, 450 miles (720 kilometers) south of Cairo.

Probably already linked to this story, but there it is.
Weird site du jour Old Creepy Ads

Speaking of shaving, I must admit that I may have spoken too soon in this post. I can, in fact, reasonably shave with soap. Definitely NOT with a double-edge though; but I tried it with my old twin-blade Sensor Excel. It is adequate. It's close, but not astoundingly so, and it's not the most pleasurable experience either, during or afterwards. Probably would work best if one were actually in the shower. But I suppose if you're into that whole old-timey thing, I will now give it a thumbs up.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Antiquities market update Against the Business of Treasure Hunting
Archaeologists have long cast a skeptical eye at the private groups that locate and claim shipwrecks in international waters. At such wreck sites, they say, gathering scientific knowledge takes a distant second place to gathering profits by selling off the booty, like Odyssey Marine Exploration’s latest haul, estimated at $500 million.

Now they have some evidence. Archeology magazine published an article piece flagged by The Wall Street Journal that looks closer at two recent discoveries that “illustrate the contrast between scholarly and private recoveries.” One site, managed by an archaeologist for Texas A. & M. University, yielded “26 articles and 6 archaeological reports.” An Odyssey-run project off the coast of Georgia, by contrast, has so far yielded a book. The company has also promised to publish five papers online.

It links to this article in Archaeology (which I see Andie linked to in my absence!):
Just how much of an impact has the treasure-hunting industry had on the world's underwater sites? It's a difficult question to answer because no one has ever compiled statistics on the total number of sites worldwide and the number that have been damaged or disturbed by treasure hunters. But archaeologist Don Keith, president of the Ships of Discovery research institute at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, thinks that the movement of treasure hunters into deeper waters is a very worrying sign. Indeed, one study that he and colleague Toni Carrell completed suggests that treasure seekers have so depleted shallow-water wrecks that they are now increasingly forced to target ships lying far below the surface. It's a situation, explains Keith, that parallels the excesses of the oil industry. Just as in oil prospecting, once you have found all the easy-to-reach fields, you have to spend a lot more money to find the difficult, hard-to-work ones.

It's different from terrestrial sites because sites are on land that someone owns, be it a governmental entity or a private person. The laws of individual countries determine ownership. In international waters, ownership is. . . .murky (pardon the pun). My maritime salvage law knowledge is limited, but I think that most wrecks are considered finders keepers. I thought I did a post on something similar a while back, but I can't find it. I know I did some research for it somewhere, which I shall find and post later. In the meantime, there's this article here:
The key issue is whether the owner of the vessel—or an insurer that asserts ownership through subrogation—has abandoned the wreck and its cargo. Plaintiffs seeking title to a wreck or a preliminary injunction for sole exploration rights usually describe the vessel as “wrecked and abandoned.” Abandonment in the maritime salvage context has been defined as the “act of leaving or deserting such property by those who were in charge of it, without hope on their part of recovering it and without the intention of returning to it.” However, the mere fact that property is lost at sea does not divest the owner of title.

I imagine only something like the International Whaling Commission would ever curtail this sort of thing in international waters. Signatory countries would presumably allow that to supersede their internal laws.

UPDATE: Well, this is the second time around typing this, I had an update all done, hit Post, came back later, and it wasn't even in Draft form, saved, nothing. Thanks, Blogger!

ANYWAY. . . .I did, in fact, remember correctly (thanks, Kerry!): Someone had pointed to an article (since dislocated from its original link) about locals pilfering stuff that had washed ashore from a listing cargo ship, and how they were prosecuted for stealing. It was really just restricted to British law (see also this and this) so not really applicable. But, there you go.

As I copy and save to Notepad JUST IN CASE.
Archeological dig at Nurse Homestead brings history to foreground
For the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, a whole new world is within reach — all it will take is a bit of elbow grease, a dozen or so trowels and a keen eye for detail.

July marked the beginning of a summer-long archaeological field school that is taking place at the homestead, a 25-acre plot of land famous for its association with major events particular to the Salem witch trials.

The field school is the result of collaboration between the Danvers Alarm List Company, which owns the homestead, the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology at Phillips Academy and the Summer Session at Phillips Academy. The field school’s dig, which began with preliminary testing last summer, has all participants anxious to see what more will turn up in the soil in depths of up to 70 centimeters beneath their feet.
Back to blogging

Posting will resume shortly. Yesterday I was. . .errrrr. . .doing important. . .archaeological. . . .research?

No, I was playing golf. First round in like 2 years. 92 on a longish executive course. I only had one really bad shot, a 6-iron from the tee into the trees. Which I attempted to shoot out of, but, sadly, the ball hit another tree branch, fell back on a cart path and bounced back to about 4 feet in front of me. *sigh* Still, not too shabby, I don't think. I even popped out of the sand adequately three times. One birdie, 2-3 pars. Putting was the big problem.

I kind of fell out of golf after my dad passed on, since he was a golfing fanatic, and we played a lot. I didn't even play when I was back there this last time (although being deathly ill the whole time didn't help). It's funny, but this whole idea of golf as a 'rich white man's game' was a new concept to me that I didn't become fully aware of until I was well into my teens, probably due to Caddyshack. Back in rural-ish Wisconsin, it was a working class sport from my limited perspective. My dad played, my uncle played, a lot of my friends' dad's played, and they were all normal working-class folks.

I started playing when I was probably 15-16 and played a LOT for a couple of summers. We had a fine public course in Fond du Lac (Rolling Meadows) and we'd -- dad, mom, brother -- go out nearly every summer night after work and dinner and play as many holes as we could until it got too dark to see the ball. I was in love with the Austad's catalog and bought my first set of clubs from them. I had one of the earliest metal woods. Still didn't help my slice though. Criminy, I eventually just started aiming about 30 degrees left of where I wanted to go and just let it slice.

Anyway, I moved away and went to grad school and kinda let it slip for about a decade. Then in 1992 or so I went back home for a vacation and Dad had retired by then, and was literally a changed man. He'd quit smoking, started exercising regularly, and was an entertaining bundle of energy. During his years of working he was always too tired to be very exciting, and quitting smoking really helped. Anyway, we went out a couple times, me with borrowed clubs, and I kinda caught the bug again. Eventually, I bought a new set of clubs (Armour) and started playing again semi-regularly. I'd take them back every time I went for a visit and played on the old (actually much newer and better) course. Fixed my slice, too! I quit taking a full swing; now I just bring it halfway back and have a whack at it. I think it makes me get my hips out of the way so the club head hits straight on. I don't hit it very far -- maybe 175-20 yards -- but it almost always goes straight these days. I can get some more distance after playing for a while by swing harder but still with a half-swing. But you know, that whole idea of hitting the ball from the fairway more often than not makes for a much more enjoyable game.

Okay, back to something vaguely archaeological:

'Indiana Jones 4': Karen Allen Back As A Mom
Director Steven Spielberg let a big cat out of the bag Thursday. Karen Allen is back in “Indiana Jones 4” as Marion Ravenwood, Indy’s first love. The character helped kick off the series in 1981’s phenomenal “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

In fact, although Spielberg didn’t say it, Allen returns as the mother of Indy’s son, played by 21-year-old actor Shia LaBoeuf. That’s the same kid who’s on the cover of Vanity Fair this month.

Sources say that Allen was asked to join the movie last January. She hadn’t been in a film since 2004, but instead was concentrating on a successful retail business in Great Barrington, Mass. Karen Allen Fiber Arts sells fine cashmere clothing. Allen also had a yoga center, and that experience came in handy.

Confirming no Sean Connery.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blogging update Yeah, no posting yesterday. I was in an all-day seminar on operations research. Most of it was pretty interesting.

Weekend posting will be light as well since I'm away for most of it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What I'm reading Golden Boy by Paul Hornung:

Hornung personified his nickname, "Golden Boy," on many levels—as a football star; a handsome, hard-partying ladies' man; and a friend to the rich and beautiful—and his autobiography covers each aspect of his life in a colorful and up-front manner. The book, "as told to William F. Reed," is conversational in tone; readers will feel as if they're one of Hornung's Packer teammates or drinking buddies reminiscing about the good old days. Hornung was good at pretty much everything he did, and he lets readers know it. But the bragging and name-dropping (from JFK and Frank Sinatra to mobsters and countless showgirls) is balanced by Hornung's genuine love and respect for his mother, his Packers coach Vince Lombardi and his teammates and friends.

Picked it up at B&N for like $5. It's a pretty easy read, but I only read a few pages every night so it'll take me another week or so to get through it. So far it's entertaining if a bit on the . . . shallow side. It reads more like Hornung is sitting around telling you stories (which he did, to the co-author) rather than as a memoir-type thing. A general reader ought to breeze through it in an afternoon.

Packer fans won't find much new here. Oddly, having grown up (age 3 on, I guess) in Wisconsin I was never a big Packer fan until fairly recently, into the 1990s. In their 1960s glory years I was still too young to really pay attention to football. Mostly.

But by the time I was really cognizant of football, the Packers sucked. They pretty much sucked throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1970s, I was a Vikings guy -- sacrilege! -- mostly because I, um, liked their helmets. And they were "The Purple People Eaters". And they were good back then. I also liked the Cowboys. I didn't get that from my family; my dad was a college football fan (Alabama) and my mom didn't care too much about football. the rest of the relatives and friends were all Packerholics though. Nowadays, I still don't follow pro ball all that much, but I follow the Packers as much as possible. they played out here in Seattle last fall/winter and, of course, it snowed. I didn't go to the game though.

Anyway, back to the book. I didn't know the Packers were really sucky before Lombardi took over either. Lombardi was really regarded as an icon around Wisconsin. I vaguely remember when he left, but I really remember when he died. It's one of those "Do you remember where you were when. . ." moments. I saw Chuck Ramsey of Channel 2 (WBAY, CBS then) just come on the TV and just say very solemnly "Vince Lombardi has died." I was still too young to really "get it" but I knew it was a sad thing. (I remember the Edmund Fitzgerald the same way)

So if you see it cheap, I say go ahead and get it if you're into the Packers or that era of football in general.
Lost City of Atlantis Alexandria update From the EEF:

Jean-Daniel Stanley, Richard W. Carlson, Gus Van Beek, Thomas
F. Jorstad, Elizabeth A. Landau, "Alexandria, Egypt, before Alexander
the Great: A multidisciplinary approach yields rich discoveries",
GSA Today, Volume 17, Issue 8 (August 2007), pp. 4-10
Photo Gallery: Archaeologists excavate mass grave from Thirty Years War
We here at Posted are suckers for a good, old-fashioned excavation — especially when archaeologists are digging up something as cool as a mass grave of soldiers killed during the Thirty Years War.

According to a report from Reuters, the grave contains about 100 soldiers killed during a battle between Swedish and imperial Saxon troops during the Thirty Years War on Oct. 5, 1636, near the village of Scharfenberg, Germany. The grave with was discovered during construction works at an industrial area in April, 2007.

The gallery is pretty neat, although a bit repetitive. Sample:
Archaeologists to survey shoreline
Archaeologists from the Public Archaeology Facility at SUNY Binghamton will begin a visual shoreline survey Monday along the Raquette Flow near the Piercefield Hydro dam as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license requirements for the dam.

The archaeologists will walk the entire shoreline looking for artifacts that may be exposed. Additionally, they will be conducting a subsurface survey, which consists of test pits dug at 50-foot intervals parallel to the shoreline. These test pits will extend to a depth of no greater than six inches. To accomplish this license-required work, the archaeologists may be crossing and working on shoreline lands of property owners along the impoundment.

The survey will take place weekdays and be completed within four weeks.

That's the whole thing.
Archaeologist confident that Flag Fen will recover
A WEEK after yobs went on a wrecking spree, the archaeologist who discovered Flag Fen Bronze Age site said the world-renowned tourist attraction would recover.
Professor Francis Pryor insisted the closure of cash-strapped Flag Fen would be an "insult" to Peterborough.
Archaeologists find key to Devon's Medieval past
University of Exeter archaeologists may have found the key to Stokenham’s Medieval manor house. Along with local schools and members of the community, the team has been digging a site in the South Hams village throughout July to try to uncover Stokenham’s Medieval history.

The dig has unearthed hundreds of items, including 13th century coins, a belt buckle, building materials, fish hooks, animal bones, sea shells and pieces of pottery. All of these help to piece together the history of the manor house, but the latest find, an ornate 15-cm-long iron key with a heart-shaped handle, is the most exciting discovery yet.

It's a real key.
They're brushing off the past
"The Hudson's Bay site illustrates the history of American archaeology," said Bob Cromwell, archaeologist for the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

The historic site is celebrating 60 years of archaeology this summer. The observance will be capped with a presentation Thursday, including a reunion of people who have sifted through the history-rich soil of the U.S. Army post and the former Hudson's Bay fort.

Previous generations of researchers will swap stories with current National Park Service personnel, including Cromwell; park curator Tessa Langford; and Doug Wilson, archaeologist for the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.

It's actually a pretty neat article, so read the whole thing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Roman villa update Dig reveals "billionaire's" Roman villa with baths
Archaeologists have uncovered a tycoon's mansion outside central Rome with its very own bath complex -- the ancient Roman equivalent of owning a fleet of Ferraris or a private jet as a way of showing off wealth.

"This is a very impressive, very well preserved bath complex that belonged to a certain Quintus Servilius Pudens who was a billionaire friend of Emperor Hadrian," said Darius Arya, an American archaeologist who is leading the dig.

The site of the Villa delle Vignacce, towards Ciampino airport south of Rome, was first explored by archaeologists in 1780 who found statues that are now in the Vatican museum.
Mysteries of Mauvilla
It's out there. Somewhere underneath cat claw briars or mud flats or even modern subdivision tracts, there are shards of Spanish metal, burned clay and a palisaded wall waiting to be found, answering one of the South's famous mysteries: Where is Mauvilla?

Historians gleaning descriptions from written accounts of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto's expedition across the South say the earliest and bloodiest battle between Europeans and Indians happened at Mauvilla, a fortified village that researchers spell a variety of other ways, including Mabila and Mavila.

It sat between two rivers likely somewhere in Alabama. The accounts describe the landscape, the village, the day-long battle and the weeks of recovery that the Spanish spent there after Mauvilla burned to the ground.
Hidden City Found Beneath Alexandria
The legendary city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great as he swept through Egypt in his quest to conquer the known world.

Now scientists have discovered hidden underwater traces of a city that existed at Alexandria at least seven centuries before Alexander the Great arrived, findings hinted at in Homer's Odyssey and that could shed light on the ancient world.

Alexandria was founded in Egypt on the shores of the Mediterranean in 332 B.C. to immortalize Alexander the Great. The city was renowned for its library, once the largest in the world, as well as its lighthouse at the island of Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

They used coring to find it.
Mummy news
Korean Mummy Holds Clues to Disease
The liver of a child mummy preserved for 500 years still holds samples of the hepatitis B virus.

The mummy, along with others recently unearthed in South Korea, will help scientists understand how the virus evolved to its present state and what to expect in the future.

"This is a 'know your enemy' expedition to see if we can get information that can help today's—and tomorrow’s—sufferers," said Mark Spigelman of the Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Spigelman is a paleo-epidemiologist, who studies ancient diseases found on mummified bodies to shed light on the modern forms of such illnesses.

It has some down further in the article on the mummification process itself:
Mummification, which prevents the body from decaying naturally, would seem to go against Koreans' ancient tradition of ancestor worship and the belief that upon death the soul rises up and the body returns to its natural components. However, in 1392, a group called the Neo-Confucianists took over, revising former burial practices.

The newer burial practice favored mummification. It involved laying the body on ice for up to 30 days and then placing the body inside a pine coffin buried in a lime soil mixture. Compounds have been found in pine with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that likely put the brakes on decay of the bodies.

Not sure of that last bit. I wonder if putting the body on ice does most of the work by freeze-drying it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Recent archaeology Mystery of Great War's lost army uncovered
The attack on heavily fortified German positions on July 19/20, 1916 was, however, a disaster, leaving 5,500 Australian and 1,500 British troops dead or injured.

The missing 399 troops were known to be among the dead because their bodies were recovered by the Germans and their names and personal belongings passed to their families via the Red Cross. However, their final resting place remained a mystery, despite repeated attempts to locate them.

Now, however, after scouring German wartime archives in Munich and carrying out extensive surveys of the area around Fromelles using geophysics, radar, topographic surveys and metal detectors, historians from Glasgow University's Archaeology Centre for Battlefield Studies are confident they have found the "lost army".

I guess they must have some rationale for reburial, but I wonder why their present resting place is unsuitable. Seems like a nice little area that one could landscape a bit and put up a marker.
Laser mapping tool traces ancient sites
Orinda retiree Ben Kacyra has made the biggest contribution to archeological research since Indiana Jones added the bullwhip to his field kit.

Kacyra, who made his fortune as an inventor and civil engineer, has created a foundation to explore the research of a cameralike device that uses lasers to scan three-dimensional objects -- such as archaeological ruins -- to create digital blueprints accurate to within a few millimeters.

Born in northern Iraq in 1940, Kacyra developed this laser-mapping tool several years ago to solve a problem in construction -- keeping accurate records of the real dimensions of factories and power plants when they deviate from the architect's plans.

It's about CyArk.
Hmmmmmmmm. . . Mythical satyr may be preserved in salt
Aside from their frequent appearances on ancient frescoes, statuary and artwork, such fanciful creatures of mythology don't have a clear origin, although some have linked the mermaid to lonely sailors who glimpsed dugongs (also known as sea cows) in the distance and made a giant leap.

But a recent discovery in an Iranian salt mine, one scholar suggests, may shed light on the origins of a famous satyr of antiquity, one so well known that it merited a visit from the emperor himself. The satyr is a goat-man in Greek legend who dances and frolics, playing pipes and chasing nymphs all day, living in a woodsy version of the Playboy Mansion.

In June, a man's body, naturally mummified within an ancient salt mine, was found outside the Iranian city of Zanjan. Six such discoveries have been made since 1993, according to the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies foundation based in London. Earlier salt man finds go back as far as 540 B.C., around the time of the ancient Achaemenid dynasty.

Eh. Seems like kind of a stretch to me.
Massive Egyptian fort discovered
Egypt announced on Sunday the discovery of the largest-ever military city from the Pharaonic period on the edge of the Sinai desert, part of a series of forts that stretched to the Gaza border.

"The three forts are part of a string of 11 castles that made up the Horus military road that went from Suez all the way to the city of Rafah on the Egyptian-Palestinian border and dates to the 18th and 19th dynasties (1560-1081 BC)," antiquities supreme Zahi Hawwas said in a statement.

Teams have been digging in the area for the past decade, but the Egyptian discovery of the massive Fort Tharo and the discovery of two other fortresses by French and American teams confirmed the existence of the Horus fortifications described in ancient texts.

Andie has another article posted on it here.
Go, cephalopods! Octopus helps unearth ancient pottery
South Korean archaeologists said Tuesday they have discovered a sunken vessel packed with ancient pottery, in an exploration prompted by an octopus which attached its suckers to a plate.

The 12th-century wooden vessel was found buried in mud flats off Taean, southwest of Seoul, the National Maritime Museum said.

More than 2,000 pieces of 12th-century bowls, plates and other types of pottery were heaped inside the 7.7 meter (25-foot) vessel, it said.

"I believe the pottery might have been made for royals and the ruling elite of the Koryo Dynasty," which ruled the peninsula from 916 to 1392, museum head Seong Nack-Jun told reporters.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Fakery? At the BBC? Naaaah. Bear Grylls 'faked Channel 4's Born Survivor'
A former SAS soldier became embroiled in the television faking row yesterday after it was revealed that he stayed in hotels during a series about surviving unaided in the "hellholes of the world".

Viewers saw Bear Grylls biting the head off a snake for breakfast and sucking the fluid from fish eyeballs as he lived "rough" in the Channel 4 series Born Survivor.

But a crew member said yesterday that after the camera stopped Grylls would often stay in hotels - including one with internet access and blueberry pancakes for breakfast - and that many of his daring missions were stage-managed.

Whoops. I watched a couple of these yesterday including the Sierra Nevadas one where he tries to bridle a supposedly wild horse (which looked suspiciously well-groomed and fed). He always seemed to have boundless energy for one who has spent three days eating nothing but a handful of berries and a baby snake.

Suvivorman rooolz anyway.
New video on Archaeology Channel:
Friends and colleagues: News about archaeological discoveries and
indigenous cultures plays an increasing role in media around the
world today. A new made-for-TV news program that caught our eye is
Anthropology Field Notes 1, the latest video feature on our nonprofit
streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel

Featuring interviews with today's news-makers, host Faith Haney of
Central Washington University explores cultural anthropology and
archaeology. In this first episode of the series, Faith visits with
Trent de Boer, Washington Department of Transportation archaeologist
and publisher of the e-zine, Shovel Bum. Then she examines artifacts
from New Guinea, Oceania and India in the CWU Anthropology Museum
with former collections manager Martha Duskin Smith and University of
South Carolina anthropologist Karl Heider, ethnographer of New Guinea
indigenous groups.
Blogging update

I managed to turn on the junk mail filter for the ArchaeoBlog email address, since 99.95% of it was junk anyway. This has three major effects:

1) I won't be getting hundreds of emails commenting on my supposed unmanliness and its potential remedies, nor online pharmacies, nor even Hot! Stock! Tips!

2) I (hopefully) won't be posting any more goofy looking emails occasionally.

3) Y'all will have to make sure the subject lines in any emails you send won't get nabbed by the junk filter.
Romancing the Stone
As Cambridge professor John Ray writes in The Rosetta Stone, the fractured granite slab "gave us back one of the longest and most romantic chapters of our history, a chapter which had been thought lost beyond recall." Ray's brief book evokes the process of rediscovery, succinctly capturing the story of the stone's recovery and decipherment and passionately, albeit unoriginally, arguing for the slab's iconic status.

Like Ptolemy V, the Rosetta Stone is of accidental significance. One of many stelae -- stone markers -- produced as political propaganda in the year 196 B.C., it advertised the pharaoh's generosity to three key constituencies -- the Greek government, the Egyptian people and the otherworldly gods -- each of whom used a different script. The gods happened to read hieroglyphics.

Haven't read it so I won't comment. I like this bit though: Pre-Rosetta Egyptology, on the other hand, was mired in enigma, operating under the assumption that the land of pharaohs was a "nation of philosophers and religious visionaries [who] codified their profoundest insights into the symbols on their obelisks and temples."

Which is similar to how the Maya were held before the script began to be deciphered. David Drew goes into this in his book The Lost Chronicles of the Maya Kings as well in the Maya case. IIRC, there was a single stone at one site (I'll look it up when I get home tonight) that had 7-8 figures carved into it on all sides and was initially interpreted as a group of philosopher-kings having a conference to work out whatever profound astronomical issues of the day they had. Turned out it was commissioned by one king to show his ancestral line of former kings, thus solidifying his claim to the throne.
Archaeologists aim to restore plundered past
It's July 10 and day one of a five-week excavation project. Right now, the hut isn't much more than a mound in the tundra, marked off with ropes laid in a grid.

By the summer's end, there should be a recreated Thule hut standing in the same spot, much like three other recreated sites that sit nearby.

It's a big change from the 1950s. Then, archaeologists carted off whatever they could find at the site. Today, archaeologists like Hazell are putting the old huts back together, as best they can.

Another one of those "Stick your trowel in the ground and pretend to be digging" photos:
Not the east Germanic tribe Vandals strike Mud Bay archaeology site
For the second time in two years, vandals have struck an archaeology site occupied centuries ago by Squaxin (SKWOKS'-in) Island tribal ancestors. This time they disturbed the site and took some equipment used by field researchers.

The 700-year-old fish camp and seafood-processing site is in its ninth year as an active archaeological dig involving the tribe, South Puget Sound Community College and Mud Bay property owners.

Someone entered the tribal sacred place by boat at high tide Sunday and tunneled into 1 of the excavation cells. An anthropology professor says some of the damage is irreversible.

That's the whole thing.
TV Review: The Naked Archaeologist
If you’re a history buff or a person who loves to learn the various truths and non-truths about what archeologists have discovered pertaining to the bible, you should definitely be watching ‘The Naked Archaeologist’ on the History Channel. The series is shot on location in The Middle East and exposes various findings in biblical archeology.

In each episode, the show’s creator and host, Simcha Jacobovici looks at a different aspect of the bible then heads to various places to see what’s been dug up (sometimes literally) on the subject. He looks at artwork, interviews historians and locals and generally leaves no stone unturned in his quest to examine the truth behind the story.

Doth not seem to be written by an archaeologist.
What? It's not ArchaeoBlog? 100m read daily jottings of ‘ordinary’ star
The musings of an actress who writes about her pet cats and favourite television series have captured the imagination of internet users and made her the most-read blogger in the world.

That she is one of the most beautiful film stars in China has certainly not hindered Xu Jinglei’s rise to the top. But it is also the everyday style of her entries, distinguished more by their very ordinariness than by sexy kiss-and-tell tales from her life as a star, that has attracted her huge audience. It is an approach with which many ordinary Chinese feel they can identify, and her blog has become the first to boast 100 million page views.

It is not unusual for Miss Xu to receive 1,000 responses to a posting about her cats or the difficulties of learning English for a 33-year-old Beijing-girl-turned-actress. A weekend blog about watching an episode of the American TV series Prison Break has already drawn 776 comments. Her image as the girl next door, often dressed simply in jeans and T-shirt, enhances her appeal.

Okay, cats and TV shows. That's where I'm going wrong.

And I'm not a cute young female either:

So sue me.

(Via Insty, btw)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Trip update III

This is the last installment of my trip reports from my June expedition to Wisconsin. I did old geology and recent geology, and now for the small bit of archaeology I was able to look at while there. This is the remainder of what is at High Cliff state park. This is a mound area:

Hmmm, don't know how clear these pictures are. These are effigy mounds, which the sign says date from 1000-1500 years ago which is in the range of Woodland mound groups in the general area. The next photos provide an overview of the mound area and some description of how and why they were built:

The mounds themselves are pretty difficult to make out just from a topographic standpoint, but they have (apparently) allowed vegetation to grow on the mounds and kept the surrounding area clear so you can make out the outlines of the mounds better:

They're probably about 2 feet high. Check with the plan map above for what the shapes should look like. Here is a panther:

In the plan map they're the ones with the elongated tail. You can see the tail going back along the side of the trail; it's the back of the animal.

This next one is one of the Twin Buffalo mounds:

The head is at the camera and the legs are sticking out to the right.

And finally:

For whatever that sign is worth.

There is a small museum in Fond du Lac at the Galloway House and Village. The site at the link doesn't have anything on the museum, but it's got a rather large collection of prehistoric artifacts, mostly projectile points -- really, hundreds of 'em -- that were collected over the 20th century by Fred Rueping who was a local big shot who started a large leather company. They are arranged in large flat cases with the points and other objects usually arranged in some geometric pattern, kind of like this:

They're mostly from Wisconsin, but he and his brothers and sons collected from all over the midwest and southwest and southeast. I wasn't able to get any photos because I A) Forgot my camera that day, and B) They weren't allowing flash photography anyway. They also have some ceramics from the midwest and southwest.
Roman graves uncovered during roadworks in Greek town
Four 1,800-year-old Roman graves have been uncovered during road works in the northern Greek city of Veroia, the Culture Ministry said Friday.

A statement said two gold earrings, a copper coin and ceramic pots were also found at the site, were municipal workers had been laying paving stones and upgrading the water supply network.
Lost civilization kingdom. . .found Feature: Lost kingdom of Sun found
The construction site in the western suburbs of Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, looked much like any other. It all started when a bulldozer driver heard a scraping sound as his machine bit deep into the ground: he struck a collection of golden, jade and bronze objects. Workers and passersby snapped up the treasures and scurrying off. Those too late to get anything, disgruntled, report the find to the police. And that''s how, in February 2001, the world learned about the relics of a mysterious 3,000-year-old Jinsha kingdom in the mountains of southwest China.

"Jinsha culture is unique, quite different from cultures in other parts of China, but is scarcely mentioned by Chinese historians," said Zhu Zhangyi, a veteran archaeologist in Sichuan and deputy-curator of the Jinsha Museum. "The harsh geography made it difficult for outsiders to enter the kingdom and so it was able to preserve its endemic culture."
Non-Archaeology post

Gentle readers, I must now confess to you a secret of most profound importance that may forever influence how you read this blog and view its humble proprietor. A secret so deep and dark that I hesitate even as I type this.

It all started in the late 1980s when I was first transplanted to Washington state as a green young graduate student. I didn't know anyone, no job, no place to live, a complete new start in a new place. The first year or two of graduate school was, indeed, difficult; every nightmare I had ever had about the rigors of grad school came to fruition. Lots of lonely days and nights and weekends spent studying arcane (not to mention boring and pedantic) scribblings on all manner of archaeological trivialities. Stressful in the extreme. Did I belong there? Could I hack it? Would I survive comps? It all made me question the road I had taken, one into a weird profession where future employment was uncertain at best.

So in those times of dark and dreary nights spent pondering many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten archaeological lore, I turned to something that. . .took the edge off a bit. Something that soothed my furrowed brow and made the hours a little easier to take.

I started off like most people, hearing from a friend who liked it, trying it a little here and there, getting more and more into it until I found that it was an integral part of my life. It happens so gradually that you don't notice it at first, until you one day find it difficult to live without it. It was common back then, especially in Seattle, so finding a source wasn't difficult. In fact, it was really what the "In" crowd was into. Still, it was personally embarrassing and I hid my addiction from most people, especially my family back home. At school, at work, at home, it was my constant companion, never demanding much of my attention except that it be there when I needed it.

It's fallen out of favor somewhat lately, but not with me. I've been hooked for a long time and can't see breaking out of it. I've told a few people about my habit, but mostly I keep it to myself -- until now. They say it helps to share it with others -- err, the secret, not the actual habit -- so now I am going to share with you, my loyal blog readers.

So now I admit freely and without guilt: I listen to New Age music.

Now, before you scream in fright and go off to read some nasty political blogs instead, hear me out. You can listen to this stuff without becoming or being some kind of rooty-tooty fresh-and-fruity Toltec Magician.

What is new age music, you ask? Tough to say, really. It's kind of hard to categorize; the signficata of the class "new age music" don't spring readily to mind. It's mellow usually, not terribly rhythmic, I don't think. Tends to have a strong melody, which I like. It's not exactly classical, but it often has a lot of classical elements. No backbeat, definitely. Most of the time I have it on while working because it hits that nice balance between being listenable and being distracting.

It covers a lot of ground musically as well (see Wiki page for some history and examples). From solo piano (George Winston, Michael Jones, Suzanne Ciani) to highly orchestrated and synthetic (Andreas Vollenweider, Tangerine Dream). Windham Hill is probably the best-known label, and most have heard Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas music. A lot of it tends to remind one of movie scores. Mark Snow's music for The X-Files and Millennium fit comfortably in the genre as well.

It's probably about the only thing "new agey" about me though. Herbal tea doth not pass these lips (except hibiscus tea, which I acquired a taste for in Egypt where it's called karkidea). I drive a car with a bad-ass V8. Birkenstocks are anathema in my universe.

Of course, while writing this post, I have Rush on. Hemispheres and Moving Pictures to be exact. (Download "The Camera Eye" from the latter; it rocks. Loud.)

I should probably do a quick few posts on cars and football and beer and death and stuff to reestablish my street cred wit' y'all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Non-archaeology story Dinosaurs took their time rising to the top
The ascent of the dinosaurs to the throne of the animal kingdom may have been more gradual than previously believed, scientists say.

Fossil discoveries dating from about 215 million years ago show some of the earliest dinosaurs lived for millions of years side-by-side with related animals long seen as their ancestors and precursors, scientists report in the journal Science.

Many scientists thought these reptiles - very much like dinosaurs, but more primitive - died out around the time of the appearance of the first true dinosaurs, which were dog-sized beasts not giants, roughly 230 million years ago.

This pattern -- certain types existing long before they became dominant -- seems to be far more common. Mammals have been found much earlier lately as well. It probably does have archaeological/anthropological implications; we tend to think of evolutionary changes in human physiology and culture as happening pretty quickly. E.g., someone invents something really great -- like agriculture -- and it immediately takes off because it's so much better, more fit, etc. But what we usually find is that most traits have precursors much earlier that failed to become populous until some point that they really take off. Which makes some sense from a Darwinian perspective: you have a certain amount of variation present in any population, and when the selective environment changes, certain variants are selected for and increase in frequency.

My pet theory of agriculture used to be -- maybe still is? -- that cultivation was present at low frequencies all over the place, but population pressure eventually provided the conditions that selected for it. Which might explain why settled agricultural communities took much longer to develop in the New World as opposed to the 1000-odd years in the Old World: the later colonization of the Americas caused population levels to take longer to reach a critical point where intensive agriculture became selected for on a wide scale.

I should point out that this is similar to what the systems theorists were saying 30 years ago. In their scenario, population pressure led groups of people to start developing agriculture. I think that tends more towards intention as a cause rather than simple variation/selection.
Ancient Roman Baths Unearthed
A large 2nd-century bath complex believed to be part of a wealthy Roman's luxurious residence has been partially dug up, archaeologists said Thursday.

The exceptionally well-preserved two-story complex, which extends for at least five acres, includes ornate hot rooms, vaults, changing rooms, marble latrines and an underground room where slaves lit the fire to warm the baths.

Statues and water cascades decorated the interiors, American archaeologist Darius A. Arya, the excavation's head, said during a tour offered to The Associated Press on Thursday. Only pedestals and fragments have been recovered.

This has actually been making the rounds for a couple days now, but this is the first post in here on it.
And more remote sensing High-tech archaeology comes to Manatee site
An archaeological survey of the historic Indian Spring Park in Bradenton will start on Monday, but there will not be a shovel in sight.

Instead, the survey will be done with a new high-tech gadget that can scan beneath the soil to find buried artifacts.

Archaeologists hope the CART System will produce historical finds that could prove the existence of a settlement built close to a mineral spring around the 1840s.
'Lost' coronation abbey unearthed
The location of the abbey at Moot Hill, the original home of the Stone of Destiny, was forgotten centuries ago.

But it has now been identified by experts from Glasgow University who have been surveying the grounds of Scone Palace for the first time.

They used scanners to detect buried structures and found part of the abbey church and a bell tower.

. . .

"Now we can locate the essential outline of the church and hints of where the cloister and other buildings stood, and all without putting a spade in the ground."

Which is pretty darn cool, I say.
This Snopes story is still cool, despite it not being exactly true.

Just give me one. . . . . .

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Megaflood Created Great Divide Between Britain and France
About 450,000 years ago, a "megaflood" breached a giant natural dam near the Dover strait and began the formation of the English Channel , according to a study detailed in the July 19 issue of the journal Nature. Following this first disastrous flood, a second deluge finished the job.

"The first was probably 100 times greater than the average discharge of the Mississippi River," said Sanjeev Gupta, a geologist at Imperial College London and co-author of the study. "But that's a conservative estimate—it could have been much larger."

Gupta said his team's findings quash previous, evidence-thin theories about how the island became severed from mainland Europe.

"Britain has been an island for only a very short time period, and we've put together the first clear evidence that the valley system in the English Channel was carved by a megaflood," Gupta said.
Family discovers Viking treasure
The most important haul of Viking treasure to be discovered in Britain since the 19th century was unveiled by the British Museum on Thursday.

Discovered earlier this year by a father and son detecting team near Harrogate in northern England, the find includes coins, ornaments, ingots and precious metal objects all hidden in a gilt silver bowl and buried in a lead chest.

"The size and quality of the hoard is remarkable, making it the most important find of its type in Britain for over 150 years," the museum said.

LARGE PENIS FOUND Phallus Throne Unearthed at Perperikon Rock Sanctuary in Bulgaria
Bulgarian archaeologists have added a throne with an upright phallus on it to their exciting collection of finds from the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.

Top archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov, who unearthed the four-legged throne on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, explained that the phallus symbolizes the prelude to a holy marriage. The find is dated to the fourteenth century.

That just upped my hit count by a few thousand. Here, I'll increase it some more:

Harry Potter Harry Potter Harry Potter

Porn porn porn porn porn

"Keira Knightley nude"

That outta do it.

No "artists' conception" for this one either, you perverts.
US, German archaeologists to excavate in ancient city in Gaziantep
The second phase of archaeological excavations were launched to unearth an ancient city in southeastern city of Gaziantep's Islahiye town.

Excavations in Zincirli Tumulus, supported by Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and University of Chicago, are carried out by a team of German and American archaeologists headed by Professor David Schloen from University of Chicago.

Professor Schloen told the Anatolianh News Agency that they started excavations last year and will continue 10 years at Zincirli.
Tyme of the ancient mariners Sailors may have cruised the Med 14,000 years ago
Archaeologists in Cyprus have discovered what they believe could be the oldest evidence yet that organized groups of ancient mariners were plying the east Mediterranean, possibly as far back as 14,000 years ago.

The find, archaeologists told Reuters on Wednesday, could also suggest the island of Cyprus, tucked in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean and about 30 miles away from the closest land mass, may have been gradually populated about that time, and up to 2,000 years earlier than previously thought.

"This is a major breakthrough in terms of the study of early Cyprus archaeology and the origins of seafaring in the Mediterranean," Pavlos Flourentzos, director of Cyprus's Department of Antiquities, told Reuters.

The dating is funny. There's no actual dates involved, just an inference based on position.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Welcome, tall woman!"

Kara Cooney on "The Late, Late Show".
The origin of human bipedalism
While no one has an authoritative answer, anthropologists have long theorized that early humans began walking on two legs as a way to reduce locomotor energy costs.

In the first study to fully examine this theory among humans and adult chimpanzees, published online July 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have found that human walking is around 75 percent less costly, in terms of energy and caloric expenditure, than quadrupedal and bipedal walking in chimpanzees.

That energy savings could have provided early hominids with an evolutionary advantage over other apes by reducing the cost of foraging for food.

Of course, that still doesn't explain why it become fixed when and where it did. And why is bipedalism so rare if it's so much more efficient? (probably because running on four legs is quicker)
Modern Humans Came Out of Africa, "Definitive" Study Says

We are solely children of Africa—with no Neandertals or island-dwelling "hobbits" in our family tree, according to a new study.

Scientists who compared the skulls and DNA of human remains from around the world say their results point to modern humans (Homo sapiens) having a single origin in Africa.

The study didn't find any evidence to suggest that human species living elsewhere in the world contributed to our direct ancestors' make-up.

No doubt Hawks will have something on this in the coming days.
Archaeologists excavating Pollok Park in search of Dark Ages settlement
Archaeologists have begun excavating Glasgow's Pollok Park, hoping to discover the remains of the earliest inhabitants of the Pollok Estate.

They are aiming to uncover a Dark Ages settlement which predates today's Pollok House, the 250-year-old home of the Maxwell family.

The dig, which began yesterday, is being carried out by members of Glasgow Archeological Society, as part of its 150th anniversary commemorations this year.
Magazine racks? 130-Year-Old Outhouses Yield Artifacts
The one-time site of privies for men and women has been built upon repeatedly. Recently, crews demolished a former school bus barn on the 3.5-acre downtown site in order to build a condominium complex and a parking garage.

But first, archaeologists were called in. Beginning in late May, they started digging into the ground in a discovery process that could last several more weeks.

They uncovered a pistol, a buoy knife, whisky flasks, a set of false teeth, two dog skulls and a blade from a set of sheep shears.

UPDATE: Best headline: Archaeologists Sniff for Clues in 130-year-old Outhouses
Building boom revealing London's ancient past
London's building boom has given archaeologists an unexpected bonus -- the city's ancient past is being laid bare.

The latest piece of the historical jigsaw is most of the interior decor of a rich merchant's dining room dating back to 120 AD when the Roman Emperor Hadrian ruled an Empire stretching from northern England to northern Africa.

The decorated plaster was discovered under the floor of an Italian delicatessen on the edge of Leadenhall Market which in turn is next to the site of what was the city's Roman town hall.
UR CLICKZ R MAKIN' ME MONEY Also via Chez Althouse:
Bloggers Bring in the Big Bucks: How a personal obsession can turn into a popular favorite and maybe even a full-time job
Eric Nakagawa, a software developer in Hawaii, posted a single photo of a fat, smiling cat he found on the Internet, with the caption, "I can has cheezburger?" in January, 2007, at a Web site he created. It was supposed to be a joke. Soon after he posted a few more images in the same vein: cute cats with funny captions written in a silly, invented hybrid of Internet shorthand and baby-talk. Then he turned the site into a blog, so that visitors could comment on the postings. What happened after that would have been hard for anyone to predict.

"We just thought, O.K., they're funny,"Nakagawa says. "Suddenly we started getting hits. I was like, where are these coming from?"

And here I've been doing my famous "Artists' conception" schtick for YEARS and how much have I made off of this? Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. A double-scoop of nuttin'.


Artists' conception of people who click the frickin' Google ads like lab monkeys on crack:

Artists' conception of people who DON'T click the frickin' Google ads like lab monkeys on crack:
I'm an Archeologist!

Via Volokh.
Pagans have a cow over Homer
A giant 180ft Homer Simpson brandishing a doughnut was painted next to the well-endowed figure today in a publicity stunt to promote The Simpsons Movie released later this month.

It has been painted with water-based biodegradable paint which will wash away as soon as it rains.

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: “It’s very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing.

“We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind. We’ll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away.”

Sayeth Althouse: "Ring toss?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Archaeological pictures update

Usually I get along pretty well with the Egyptians, but we have our disagreements every now and then.

That's Monsour Radwan, btw.
Little-known office unearths archaeological treasures at Bragg
The longleaf pine forests on Fort Bragg where soldiers prepare for battle conceal more than the Army's training secrets.

Pieces of North Carolina's history are hidden there, too.

Dirt piles cover chimneys that once blew smoke from Scottish settlers' homes. The bones of Civil War soldiers - Confederate and Union - lie in mass graves beneath wire grass fields. Pointed stones fashioned by Native Americans have been found from as far back as 12,000 B.C.

There are about 4,200 defined archaeological sites on Fort Bragg and 290 have been declared "worthy of more research" by a little-known office that protects and explores the sites.
Someone kicked it Why Did Rome Fall? It's Time for New Answers
The Roman Empire stretched from Hadrian’s Wall to northern Iraq, and from the mouth of the Rhine to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. It was the largest state that western Eurasia has ever seen. It was also extremely long-lived. Roman power prevailed over most of these domains for five hundred years -- and all this in a period where the speed of bureaucratic functioning and of military response rattled along at 45 kilometres a day, something like one tenth of modern counterparts. Measured in terms of how long it took real people to get places, the Roman Empire was arguably ten times as big as it appears from the map.

"I love gooooooold!"

Bulgarian archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old golden mask
Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,400-year-old golden mask in an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, scholars announced Monday.

The mask was discovered over the weekend by a team of archaeologists excavating near the village of Topolchane, 290 kilometers (180 miles) east of the capital, Sofia. Its discovery, archaeologists said, indicates a Thracian king was buried in the tomb.

It was found together with a solid gold ring engraved with a Greek inscription and with the design of a bearded man in a timber-lined Thracian grave.
Old Kingdom settlement found in Egypt desert oasis
A settlement dating back to the time of the pyramid builders was discovered in Egypt's western desert, the first find of its kind there, Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) said Monday.

"A joint Egypt-Czech archaeological mission found a city dating to the Old Kingdom [2687 to 2191 BC] in the Garat Al Abyad region in Bahariya," SCA chief Zahi Hawass said, referring to an isolated oasis 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Cairo.

"Remains of walls, buildings, as well as pottery were found in this area not far from where the golden mummies were discovered," added Hawass, recalling the cache of Roman-era gilded mummies found in the late 1990s to great fanfare.

One of the Czechs emailed the EEF lists saying it is indeed an OK settlement, but its extent and function are not known.
Cat blogging

Never fear, gentle readers, we here at ArchaeoBlog will not submit to the usual temptation of posting about every cute little thing our darling felids do, nor provide endless pictures of said critters. Nevertheless, in our constant search across the globe for offbeat and unusual news of an archaeological bent, we hereby submit to you this, probably wrong but nonetheless entertaining, tidbit on the military use of our feline friends:

Unusual Military Animals
The earliest examples of cats being used in warfare dates back to the Ancient Egypt during a war against Persia. The Persians, fully aware of the reverance that Egyptians paid to their felines, rounded up as many cats as they could find and set them loose on the battlefield. When the Egyptians were faced with either harming the cats or surrendering, they chose the latter.

News to me. Never heard of this fearsome Cat Strategy. Probably mythical.

"Surrender or DIE, Egyptian scum!"
Egypt's Lost Queen update

Okay, I watched everything but the last 20 minutes or so. Mostly I agree with Mark Rose's assessment here: Pretty good, but a bit scattershot in places. It wasn't nearly as hokey and melodramatic as other Egypto-o-programs have been, but lots of loose ends were left hanging. What was the mysterious "skin disease" noted on some of the mummies? At one point they seem certain it's a genetic disease, elsewhere it's probably something from the mummification process. If you're not sure, say so, but don't just let people say different things at different times without, in the end, letting someone state the conclusion. They do this a lot, showing something interesting and/or unusual, but then going on to something else (e.g., the arrow stuck in "Thutmose I"). I think a lot of those incongruities that Mark picked up on are probably a result of the editing process, and a lack of attention by said editors to continuity problems. Get with it guys!

But, as Mark notes, this was a bit different sort of documentary where there weren't a lot of after-the-fact interviews where the investigators could sit down and actually tell us what they found out and how and why. It was largely an as-it-happens thing. Which can be confusing. Sayeth Mark:
Hopefully, at the end of this film, viewers won't be as lost as Thutmose I. But I think that the "Lost Queen" raises important questions about what happens when you cross a science-based documentary with reality TV. There's a real danger there of half-thought-through ideas ending up being broadcast to millions, who will take them as gospel truth.

It seemed like they were really trying to capture the whole sort of CSI schtick by following the investigation "as it happens" and build a dramatic story around that. I think that's a good strategy, but you need to pay more attention to keeping loose ends from hanging all over the place.

Oh yeah, it irritates me as well when mummies who look like they're "screaming" are more or less just assumed to have died IN THAT EXACT POSITION. Someone at some point did argue that it was pre-mortem but then why wouldn't the mummifiers just close her mouth?

Don Ryan was pretty much captured as he is. "I don't feel like risking my life for a television program." Heh. (BTW, I'm still not sure what the point of that tomb visit was, but it was interesting) As for Kara Cooney, but I expect we'll be seeing more of her. She has a strong, clear voice, no hesitation, and attractive; the camera loves her.

UPDATE: Reenactments: Eh, not overly annoying. I suppose you have to show something besides talking heads and walls full of glyphs. I hope I get reenacted after I die, since they seem to use extraordinarily attractive actors to play the parts. Seeing as Hatshepsut was rather large, balding, with bad teeth, I'd say the young lady they had representing her was something of an improvement on the original.

UPDATE II: Bit more info from the lab that did the DNA work.

Monday, July 16, 2007

In the mail

Reader Katheryn A. Delong wants to know, "Are you confident in bed?"

Why yes, these days I am fairly confident that I shall get to sleep within a reasonable period of time after going to bed.

It's no nice to know that my readers are so concerned with my well-being.
Jerusalem Seeks Return of Ancient Tablet
Jerusalem's mayor has asked the Turkish government to return a 2,700-year-old tablet uncovered in an ancient subterranean passage in the city, sugggesting that it could be a "gesture of goodwill" between allies.

Known as the Siloam inscription, the tablet was found in a tunnel hewed to channel water from a spring outside Jerusalem's walls into the city around 700 B.C. _ a project mentioned in the Old Testament's Book of Chronicles. It was discovered in 1880 and taken by the Holy Land's Ottoman rulers to Istanbul, where it is now in the collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski made the request in a Thursday meeting with Turkey's ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, Lupolianski spokesman Gidi Schmerling said Friday. Lupolianski suggested the tablet's return could be a "gesture of goodwill" from Turkey, Schmerling said Friday.

A reader emails: "They get one thing wrong. the tunnel and inscription were discovered by
Edward Robinson, a professor at Union theological Seminary in New York, in 1838
(not 1880) He also discovered Robinson's Arch at the Temple Mount."
Biblical archaeology update Book blends beach and biblical reading
In From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible, Eric Cline blends the stuff of summer — sun, sand and stories — with archaeology to come up with some surprisingly intriguing beach reading. Who doesn't love a good mystery, especially one thousands of years old?

The Garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel, the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel are all biblical mysteries that resonate today. "These mysteries are not ancient history," writes Cline in his book's introduction. "They are still very much around today, showing up every few weeks in newspaper headlines."

. . .

Where the archaeology is clear, Cline finds convincing evidence that the biblical conquests around the 12th century B.C. weren't the work of Joshua and his horn but an invading army that overthrew the Hittites and severely checked the ancient Egyptians, leaving the Israelites behind to take over ancient Israel. Similarly, the best evidence suggests the Ark of the Covenant was not buried under Temple Mount, but captured and melted down by Nebuchadnezzar's invading army in 586 B.C.

Probably. Leastways, I've always figured the Ark was at some point seized as war booty and melted down for other purposes.
Nacogdoches-whadahooda? Archaeologists locate what may be the oldest residence in downtown plaza
Although his father was ready to call it a day, 9-year-old Jay Jackson would not let up.

He, his 8-year-old brother Trey and his father Dr. Morris Jackson had spent most of the March afternoon excavating the first pit of Pocket Park, and after several hours of digging, found only a few ceramics.

However, Jay was not ready to stop, and kept searching the 30 centimeter deep pit, hoping to find something good.

And, he did.

Yet another place I never knew existed.
Past may be destroyed
Mark Willis and several of his friends have spent decades combing the fields, stream banks and woods north of Greensboro in search of lost treasure.

Their quest, which borders on an obsession, doesn't involve glittering gems, tidbits of precious metal or anything else of much financial value. In fact, the average person would be hard-pressed to distinguish some of their more significant finds from the average field stone.

But the Native American artifacts they have collected tell rich stories of vanished cultures spanning 10,000 years on a Piedmont landscape that has undergone massive changes, perhaps none more dramatic than those of the past five or 10 years.
Longhouse built as living artifact
In the spot believed to have been London's first village, First Nations artisans are reconstructing a new longhouse.

Traditional longhouses -- long, narrow, bark-covered lodges -- housed extended Iroquois families until the 1800s.

"To build a longhouse like this might have taken a man his lifetime," said Larry (Shabogesic) McLeod, a North Bay craftsman leading the project for the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.
Fight! Fight! Waqf Temple Mount excavation raises archaeologists' protests
The Waqf Muslim religious trust is digging a ditch from the northern side of the Temple Mount compound to the Dome of the Rock as a prelude to infrastructure work in the area, generating protests from archaeologists.

The dig has been approved by the police, but the Israel Antiquities Authority declined to respond to the Waqf's excavations and would not comment on whether one of its archaeologists had approved the move.

The Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, an apolitical group comprised of archaeologists and intellectuals from the left and right, criticized the use of a tractor for excavation at the Temple Mount "without real, professional and careful archaeological supervision involving meticulous documentation."

UPDATE: UPDATE: A reader sends along more links:
The Temple Mount: Where is the outrage? (video)

Digging the Temple Mount - how not to do it! Explanation by Leen Rittmeyer (blog post)

Still photos
Archaeologists find artifacts in Beaverly
UNBC students have been quite successful in their work in the first anthropological dig in Northern B.C. since 1975. They found over 100 artifacts dating at least 400 years old.

“The vast majority of it are stone tools... manufacturing flakes,” UNBC anthropology professor Farid Rahemtulla said. A number of these found tools have been projectile points. Many of the points are broken, possibly through the manufacturing process. This leads Rahemtulla to believe that the Beaverly area is an ancient First Nations camp, and that they went away to hunt, where their unbroken projectile points should lie.
Shaveblogging update

Okay. I give up. I lose. I am a pansy. A wimp. A wuss. A limp-wristed poofter.

I. Can't. Shave. With. Soap.

I get the idea, I really do. Basic soap puts little between the razor and the whisker and thus will not gum things up and make for a close shave. But it freakin' HURTS. Remember that scene in Airplane! where the guy is in the lavatory trying to shave while the plane is landing, and the plane keeps bumping and he keeps cutting himself? And then he slaps some (alcohol-based) after shave on, screams in pain and falls over passed out?

That was me this morning.

When I was on vacation at my ancestral home, I thought I'd have a go with my dad's (RIP) shaving brush. So I went out and bought some $3 old-timey shave soap, slapped it in a mug, got a good froth going, dashingly whipped it on my face, and went at it. Oye. Hurt hurt hurt and I had to keep lathering just so it wouldn't dry out.

Eh, maybe it was the cheap stuff, I thought. Maybe if I put down some real money, I would finally enjoy the true joy of back-to-nature shaving (or at least back-to-the-1940s shaving). So yesterday I wandered into some froo-froo boutique soap-and-candle store and bought a [whatever smelly floral stuff it was] and mint shaving soap. In its own little wooden bowl! $12. With extra moisturizers and junk, the fetching young saleslady assured me. (Me? Unduly influenced? Nah.)

It lathered up better than the cheapy stuff but it still hurt like the dickens. JAYsus. No matter how much I worked up more lather it still felt like I was dragging a dull obsidian knife across my face. Images of Mayan bloodletting flitted across my imagination; though in fact I did avoid any actual lacerations. And STILL when I rubbed in a little astringent, my eyes bugged out far more than they should at that hour of the morning.

So I quit. All of you Real Men out there who prove your manhood daily by using only soap, you win this one. I shall happily wear my badge of wimpdom and concede that, at least in this area, you are my masculine betters. Back to Noxzema I go, chastened, but at least I will have an intact face.
You go first.
"Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" update Mark Rose over at Archaeology has posted his review of the Discovery program Hatshepsut Found; Thutmose I Lost. I taped it but only watched the first segment or so. At least that portion didn't seem too hyperactive. Here's Mark:
While it pretty much comes down to a tooth in a box, Discovery Channel's "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" (airs Sunday, July 15, at 9:00pm EST) tries to cover a lot of ground: who was Hatshepsut, the early 18th Dynasty queen and pharaoh, where's her mummy, and who obliterated many of her images and inscriptions? That's a lot, even for a two-hour program.

I've watched the film twice, consulted with a couple of Egyptologists who know the subject, interviewed Egypt's archaeo-honcho Zahi Hawass, and talked with the producer, Brando Quilici (who did last year's Tut special and, before that, a documentary on the Iceman). As an archaeologist, journalist, and some-time docu consultant, I have mixed feelings about "Lost Queen." Overall, I do think it's better than many shows out there (but is that good enough?) and unlike some past offerings from Discovery it isn't larded with superfluous re-enactments. [Ed. Yay!] The science is pretty neat, but I have some questions about its applications here, and there are some gaps and things that are not really explained adequately. So, it is worth watching, but although I have some criticisms.

Long article. I'm gonna watch it tonight and add whatever I think tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Field photo du jour

Full photo here.

I believe this is the plan/section view generated by our survey work in 1991/1993, and produced by John Rutherford. It's the tomb where the newly identified Hatshepsut was in repose. We were there to both clear out the flood debris (and Howard Carter's backdirt) from several uninscribed tombs in the VK, map them all, and study them for possible flood mitigation. See Don Ryan's web site for a full description.

You can see it's a pretty cruddy tomb. Not a straight line in it. When Ryan opened it again -- he found it using a high-tech method of. . . .sweeping, as opposed to certain other parties who had pulled out all manner of ground-penetrating radar devices -- the mummy was on the floor, unwrapped and sans coffin, in the middle of the main chamber (C). They made a nice wooden box for her which is where she was for the recent work.

We mapped in the large joint/crack going diagonally across the burial chamber (see plan view, top) and installed crack monitors. The joint was filled with calcite, as are most of them around there. I don't believe there was much in the way of grave goods found, except for some coffin fragments, ushabtis, and a leg o' beef.

One fascinating phenomenon: I was working in the large side-chamber (Ba) and noticed that when I was talking, at a certain frequency my voice seemed to become much louder. So I experimented a little and found that at a certain pitch I would hit the resonant frequency of the chamber. Turned the whole tomb into a big ol' horn. It was pretty touchy though, and it only really worked if only one person was in the chamber.

So, like, I'm going to write a whole book on the subject of "The Sonic Properties of the Pharaoh's Tombs" and make a fortune.

I have some other photos of KV60 and elsewhere, too. They're all sitting in a box somewhere (except for some other ones I've already scanned) and I'll scan and post them occasionally.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Indiana Jones update

Tiny "Making-of" trailer for the new movie.
Discoveries in Sudan reveal economic organization of an ancient African state—the kingdom of Kush
Archaeologists from the Oriental Institute have discovered a gold-processing center along the middle Nile in the Sudan, an installation that produced the precious metal sometime between 2000 and 1500 B.C. The center, along with a cemetery they discovered, documents extensive control by the first sub-Saharan kingdom, the kingdom of Kush.

The team found more than 55 grinding stones made of granite-like gneiss along the Nile at the site of Hosh el-Guruf, about 225 miles north of Khartoum. The region also was known as Nubia in ancient times. Groups of similar grinding stones have been found on desert sites, mostly in Egypt, where they were used to grind ore to recover the precious metal. The ground ore was likely washed with water nearby to separate the gold flakes.
Egypt's Oldest Known Art Identified, Is 15,000 Years Old
Rock face drawings and etchings recently rediscovered in southern Egypt are similar in age and style to the iconic Stone Age cave paintings in Lascaux, France, and Altamira, Spain, archaeologists say.

"It is not at all an exaggeration to call it 'Lascaux on the Nile,'" said expedition leader Dirk Huyge, curator of the Egyptian Collection at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, Belgium.

It appears they are dated as such based on the representation of extinct mammals so one assumes the exact date is open to some question.
Beer and archaeologists, together. Again. BREWERY REMAINS POINT TO MEDIEVAL MERRIMENT
Nothing much changes around here - even in the Middle Ages crowds of revellers were pouring on to the streets of Leicester after another boozy session.

Archaeologists have revealed they have found remains of a brewery which they believe supplied ale to the masses right in the city centre.

Teams from the University of Leicester found the site, which faced what is now Highcross Street, during excavations as part of the Highcross Quarter shopping development.

Kilns used for producing beer by the gallon, and which date from around the 13th and 14th century, were among the remains.