305 posts tagged with Archaeology.
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Jamestown Rediscovery

Yesterday, the Jamestown Rediscovery and the Smithsonian Institution announced that they had identified the remains of Capt. Gabriel Archer, Rev. Robert Hunt, Sir Ferdinando Wainman and Capt. William West, four of the earliest leaders of the Jamestowne settlement. Among Archer's remnants was a small silver box that researchers have identified as a Roman Catholic reliquary. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 29, 2015 - 21 comments

The Ghosts of Duffy's Cut

Another of the dead of Duffy's Cut is being reburied in Ireland. Archaeological and historical work near Malvern, Pennsylvania has located the shantytown where 57 Irish immigrants died in 1832. Originally eight deaths were attributed to cholera, but papers located by the grandson of a railroad executive suggested the encampment was larger. Now we know that some of the victims were killed, possibly after escaping a quarantine, and their bodies are slowly being returned home. NYT article from 2010. Six-minute YT trailer for an Irish documentary (in English).
posted by immlass on Jul 19, 2015 - 4 comments

A Tale of Two Cities Caught in Time

While the ancient city of Herculaneum is experiencing something of a archaeological renaissance, the nearby site of ancient city of Pompeii is falling apart due to a cocktail of mismanagement, corruption, weather, neglect, and the decisions of the past. The Smithsonian provides an overview. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jul 2, 2015 - 12 comments

The roads of Chittenden County

Until this year, Vermont had never formally decommissioned any roads. Ever. This has had some implications.... [via jessamyn's Twitter]
posted by Chrysostom on Jul 1, 2015 - 24 comments

The Archaeology of Teaching

Workers renovating Emerson High School in Oklahoma City recently discovered slate blackboards, still complete with chalked lessons and drawings, which had been covered up by the installation of new boards in early December, 1917. An additional photogallery (and autoplaying video) can be found here (slightly different versions of that page here and here).
posted by Rumple on Jun 10, 2015 - 26 comments

The Bronze Age Gold Rush of the (British) Southwest

Trading Gold: Why Bronze Age Irish Used Imported Gold “The results of this study are a fascinating finding. They show that there was no universal value of gold, at least until perhaps the first gold coins started to appear nearly two thousand years later. Prehistoric economies were driven by factors more complex than the trade of commodities – belief systems clearly played a major role.” [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Jun 6, 2015 - 4 comments

3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya

New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier (than 2.6 ma) hominin technological behaviour. We report (paywalled) the discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatiotemporal association(pdf) with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. Given the implications of the Lomekwi 3 assemblage for models aiming to converge environmental change, hominin evolution and technological origins (pdf), we propose for it the name ‘Lomekwian’, which predates (pdf) the Oldowan by 700,000 years and marks a new beginning to the known archaeological record. (abstract)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on May 31, 2015 - 9 comments

Ballast

For the first time, "the wreckage of a slaving ship that went down with slaves aboard has been recovered." The recovery of artifacts from the 1794 shipwreck is a milestone for the African Slave Wrecks Project, a collaboration by six partner groups (including the National Museum of African-American Art and Culture and the National Parks Service) to find, document, and preserve archaeological remnants of the slave trade. Some of the objects will be included in exhibits in the NMAAHC.
posted by Miko on May 31, 2015 - 7 comments

Archaeology in the Classroom

Bobby Scotto, a fourth grader at the Children’s Workshop School on 12th Street in the East Village, wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up, and he is already off to a good start. In the past few months he has excavated dozens of old coins, a toy watch and other artifacts, all from an unlikely dig site: his classroom’s closet.
posted by ursus_comiter on May 28, 2015 - 6 comments

Atari Retrospectives: myths and legends from first-hand participants

Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 29, 2015 - 11 comments

"Whenever you dig a hole [in Lecce], centuries of history come out"

In 2000, Luciano Faggiano wanted to open a trattoria in Lecce, in the "boot-heel" of Italy. He bought what looked to be a modern building, but he had to open the floors in 2001 to find a leaking sewer pipes that were causing continuous humidity problems. He didn't find pipes, but a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus: a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar. Instead of opening a restaurant, his family has a museum, which is also available to virtually tour on Google Maps.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 17, 2015 - 13 comments

When the invaders came, they went underground. No, not metaphorically.

Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey When the invaders came, Cappadocians knew where to hide: underground, in one of the 250 subterranean safe havens they had carved from pliable volcanic ash rock called tuff. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Mar 27, 2015 - 14 comments

Shigir Idol

The oldest wooden statue in the world was found in a Russian bog in 1890. The Shigir Idol is believed to be about 9500 years old. It is 2.8 meters high; an additional 1.93 meters of statue were lost during the turmoil of the 20th century.
posted by Blue Jello Elf on Mar 26, 2015 - 22 comments

It looks like a brain...

The Heslington Brain is a well-preserved 2600 year old brain that was found in an Iron Age excavation site in York in 2008. Its preservation was likely due to the low-oxygen environment of the mud in which it was found. The fact that the man was decapitated and the body disposed of elsewhere protected the brain from the ravages of gut bacteria as well. [more inside]
posted by Blue Jello Elf on Mar 10, 2015 - 19 comments

Surprise Archaelogical Find in Paris: Mass Grave under Supermarket

The mass grave underneath a supermarket: Extraordinary burial pit containing 200 bodies found by accident in Paris Archaeologists from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) were called in to take a look and have spent days tirelessly uncovering the bones. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Mar 4, 2015 - 20 comments

All hail the Monkey God!

Archaeologists in Honduras have discovered ruins deep in the rainforest that appear to be the fabled White City (known fancifully as "The City of the Monkey God"). Unfortunately there are deforestation threats to the site, including illegal cattle ranching.
posted by graymouser on Mar 4, 2015 - 8 comments

The Paradise on Earth

The Virtual Traveller to Sri Lanka. [via]
posted by Think_Long on Feb 12, 2015 - 8 comments

I need another outlet. And there follows my return to art. 📚 🎨

​​P​hDs​:​ Creative Writing - from the PhD research blog Deathsplanation:​
​"​I almost went to college to study art. I even interviewed for a place. I had a portfolio and everything. That was more than a decade ago and honestly, I can’t even remember if I got in. But I didn’t go. Things changed, life took a drastic turn, and I wanted to leave everything behind. And so I did. I ended up at university, pursuing another passion of mine: archaeology; history, anthropology. ​​

​"​I have never strayed that far from art. It’s always been there, in my life. But recently, it’s been a lot more… present.​"
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 26, 2015 - 4 comments

(Canine) Guardians of the Corpse Ways

Guardians of the Corpse Ways is a thorough one-stop resource for all of your canine Underworld mythological needs. Why did countless cultures associate dogs with the realm of the dead? Here's a tiny sample: "The essence of the hellhound is his intermediary position - at the border of this world and next, between life and death, hope and fear, and also (given its pairing with the dog of life) between good and evil. For this role, the dog is perfectly suited, being the domestic species par excellence, the tamed carnivore who stands midway between animal and human, savagery and civilization, nature and culture [26]. 'The growl of the hellhound is yet another expression of this liminal position, for the growl is a halfway station between articulate speech and silence. It is a speech filled with emotion and power, but utterly lacking in reason. Like death itself, the hellhound speaks, but does not listen; acts, but never reflects or reconsiders. Driven by hunger and greed, he is insatiable and his growl is eternal in duration. In the last analysis, the hellhound is the moment of death, the great crossing over, the ultimate turning point.' [27]" [more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Dec 6, 2014 - 8 comments

A hundred death whistles marching

Ancient musical reconstruction has led to the discovery of the sounds made by Aztec "death whistles".

[more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Dec 3, 2014 - 63 comments

No, it wasn't because of velociraptor attacks

Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for millennia. It's one of the greatest mysteries of early human civilization.
[more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Nov 17, 2014 - 89 comments

Real Amazons wore pants

Forget the stories about cutting off breasts and murdering boy children. Also the ones about an all-female lesbian society. And definitely forget about the golden lasso and the invisible plane. Real Amazons were formidable warriors who wore trousers, rode horses, got tattoos, smoked cannabis, drank fermented mare's milk and were part of "a people notorious for strong, free women", according to Adrienne Mayor in her book The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Oct 29, 2014 - 34 comments

A New Hope for Egyptian Archaeology.

Five years ago, if archaeologists digging up pharaonic ruins in Egypt found any human bones, they would usually throw them away. “Most Egyptian archaeological missions looked at human remains as garbage,” said Afaf Wahba, a young official at Egypt’s antiquities ministry. Now, however, a new generation of Egyptian archaeologists, including Wahba, are pushing to reform the ossified ministry for antiquities. [more inside]
posted by ursus_comiter on Oct 24, 2014 - 9 comments

The wreck of Columbus' Santa Maria is still undiscovered.

Earlier this year, Underwater explorer Barry Clifford claimed to have found the Santa Maria, one of Christopher Columbus' three ships, off the coast of Haiti. But a few days ago, A UNESCO mission of experts has concluded that a shipwreck is actually from a much later period, citing the bronze or copper fasteners found on the site that point to shipbuilding techniques of the late 17th or 18th centuries, and the journal of Columbus (translated text online; Archive.org scan of the 1893 translation from the Hakluyt Society), which indicates that this wreck is too far from the shore to be the La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción. Despite this setback, Haiti will continue to search for the historic shipwreck.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 9, 2014 - 16 comments

Deathsplaining

Alison Atkin is a Ph.D. student in osteoarchaeology at the University of Sheffield, studying plague cemeteries. Her research is presented in this quirky, hand-drawn poster. Don't miss GIFs of the interactive panels at her blog, Deathsplanation.
posted by Rumple on Sep 29, 2014 - 22 comments

Nazis had more legal right to the Ark than Indy: Real jobs vs the media

“True, the Nazis were trying to find the Ark of the Covenant so they could destroy the world,” Canuto says. “But methodologically and legally they were in the right.” Why archeologists hate Indiana Jones. Also, why doctors don't like medical dramas; what is inaccurate about TV portrayals of lawyers and the legal process (PDF); and, finally, the terrific analysis of the portrayal of academics in children's books. When your profession is portrayed on TV, what do they get wrong?
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 14, 2014 - 200 comments

“Osteobiography” : the “biography of the bones”

"There’s a wonderful term used by anthropologists: “osteobiography,” the “biography of the bones.” Kennewick Man’s osteobiography tells a tale of an eventful life, which a newer radiocarbon analysis puts at having taken place 8,900 to 9,000 years ago. He was a stocky, muscular man about 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds. He was right-handed. His age at death was around 40." After years of legal wrangling and scientific arguments, Smithsonian Magazine takes on the history of the Kennewick Man and the long-awaited publication of studies co-edited by physical anthropologist Douglas Owsley (of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History's Anthropology department.) [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Aug 26, 2014 - 14 comments

Two Ancient Mayan Cities Found in Mexican Jungle

A monster mouth doorway, ruined pyramid temples and palace remains emerged from the Mexican jungle as archaeologists unearthed two ancient Mayan cities.
posted by Pr0t35t3r on Aug 26, 2014 - 24 comments

The study of human thought & behavior without direct contact with either

The British Museum has published on its frequently informative blog a call for citizen archaeologists to help digitize its Bronze Age Index via a crowd-sourcing site called MicroPasts, which uses the open source PyBossa crowd-sourcing framework that also powers Crowdcrafting. The results will eventually be integrated with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (previously), which features a gigantic image database of finds categorized by period (e.g. Bronze Age or Medieval) and object type (e.g. coins or brooches).
posted by Monsieur Caution on Aug 4, 2014 - 4 comments

This is a story about the tiny trails of history the beads have left us.

Trade Tales and Tiny Trails: Glass Beads in the Kalahari Desert
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 31, 2014 - 5 comments

The Writing on the Wall

Papyrus Turin 55001 is code for "the erotic papyrus." Then there's the 2,500-year-old erotic graffiti from Greece, with a rude claim about who did what where. If you're amid graffiti of a more recent vintage -- specifically that of the American public restroom -- you might want to consult "Here I Sit -- A Study of American Latrinalia" (.pdf) by Alan Dundes (obit, previously). Good reading!
posted by MonkeyToes on Jul 9, 2014 - 8 comments

Archaeological Records

“I’ve used the contemporary archaeology of Olompali to address the concept of stereotype, in this case, what we generally consider to be the ‘hippie,’" - California state archaeologist, E. Breck Parkman has published a paper analyzing the diversity of vinyl records excavated from the ruins of Rancho Olompali in Marin County, California. The site, formerly closely associated with the Grateful Dead, was the home of the Chosen Family commune from 1967 to 1969. The commune and the mansion both met their end in '69, razed by an electrical fire. [more inside]
posted by ursus_comiter on Jun 5, 2014 - 9 comments

The modern Mike Mulligan

The challenge of adding new subterranean floors to London houses has become a highly lucrative business. The difficulty is in getting the digger out again. To construct a no-expense-spared new basement, the digger has to go so deep into the London earth that it is unable to drive out again. What could be done?
posted by Chrysostom on Jun 5, 2014 - 80 comments

Going back to Antikythera

The Antikythera mechanism (wiki), the world's oldest computing device, has fascinated mankind since it was discovered by sponge divers in 1900. Modern technology has revealed much of how the mechanism works, but there is still plenty of mystery surrounding the artefact. One example is "Fragment D", which doesn't fit in with the rest of the recovered pieces. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is setting up an expedition to explore the wreck, this time using a nifty hi-tech exosuit, eliminating many of the disadvantages of using regular diving equipment or remotely operated submersibles. The hope is to recover a hypothetical second mechanism, in addition to the other valuable archaeological finds still waiting at the shipwreck site.
posted by Harald74 on Jun 5, 2014 - 34 comments

Norse in the Canadian Arctic?

Over the past three decades, a Canadian archaeologist found compelling evidence of a Norse settlement in the Canadian Arctic. Then she was fired. [more inside]
posted by Brodiggitty on May 24, 2014 - 48 comments

Anthropology, Archaeology and SETI

Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication is a free book (PDF) from NASA. The premise is that communication with alien lifeforms will have some (cautious) analogues to interpreting past cultures, and to the work that anthropologists and linguists do cross-culturally. Among the 16 chapters are: Beyond Linear B - The Metasemiotic Challenge of Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence; Learning To Read - Interstellar Message Decipherment from Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives; and, Mirrors of Our Assumptions: Lessons from an Arthritic Neanderthal.
posted by Rumple on May 23, 2014 - 27 comments

The Santa Maria found?

"More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti."
posted by brundlefly on May 13, 2014 - 61 comments

Spy satellite images reveal Middle Eastern archaelogical sites

The Corona Atlas of the Middle East uses spy satellite imagery to reveal as many as 10,000 previously unknown archaeological sites.
posted by MoonOrb on May 3, 2014 - 8 comments

Pro patria mori

Who are the Nazi War Diggers?
Now four men – the War Diggers - are scouring Eastern Europe in a battered Soviet era jeep, armed with metal detectors, shovels and sheer grit. Their mission is to uncover these forgotten battlefields and the buried stories in them. This is a race against time to get the history from the ground before it’s lost forever.
Talent biographies are available here. Conflict Antiquities has a long list of unanswered "urgent ethical and legal questions". The Anonymous Swiss Collector has a response from National Geographic [opens as word document], but questions remain. Archaeologists, osteologists, anthropologists, and others have not been pleased: the #NaziWarDiggers hashtag has more responses. [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Mar 28, 2014 - 14 comments

Stone Towns of the Swahili Coast

The Swahili Coast and its culture in the medieval period (roughly the tenth to fifteenth centuries) is relatively little studied, compared with other cultures of its size and influence, though it represents a key node in the development of global trade before the European Age of Discovery. Its history is known in broad strokes, but less is known about how the medieval Swahili lived and how they incorporated influences—from religion to architecture—from across the Indian Ocean world. Fleisher and his codirector, Stephanie Wynne-Jones of the University of York, looked for a site that would allow them to examine such questions in detail. “We had an inkling Songo Mnara would be that site,” he says, “but it has completely exceeded our expectations. --
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 5, 2014 - 9 comments

The genome of the Anzick boy

The genome of the Anzick child, who died 12,600 years ago at the age of three and was buried with ceremony in the American Rockies, has been fully sequenced. The results shed an incredible light on the history of the peopling of the Americas: his people seem to have been direct ancestors to most tribes of Central and South America, and close relatives of the Canadian tribes. The discoveries have had an emotional impact on Native Americans, and the boy's remains will be reburied with great respect. Still, tribal belonging is about much more than genetics, as anthropologist Kim Tallbear reminds us. You can see replicas of the heirloom artefacts left in the boy's grave here, or visit the collection at the Montana Historical Society if you're in the area.
posted by daisyk on Feb 13, 2014 - 24 comments

Apollo of Gaza

Fisherman find an ancient Greek bronze statue in the waters off the coast of Gaza. Now the question is how it can be preserved and what its ultimate fate will be. Here Apollo is lying on Smurf sheets (photo from an Italian article). (Previously on underwater archaeology in the Mediterranean.)
posted by larrybob on Feb 9, 2014 - 38 comments

Western Digs: Dispatches from the Ancient American West

Western Digs is a source for "dispatches from the American ancient West." Posts are sorted into three main categories: Dinosaurs & Ancient Life (Paleontology, split into Dinosars, The Ice Age, Birds and All Fossils), Prehistoric Americans (Archaeology, split into Ancient Southwest and The Mississippians [Cahokia]), and Modern Artifacts (Historic Archaeology, including the subset The 20th Century). If you're not sure where to start reading, here are Western Digs’ Top 5 Paleontology Stories of 2013 and Western Digs’ Top 5 Archaeology Stories of 2013.
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 30, 2014 - 5 comments

In Velox Libertas!

In May 2008, while excavating around the castle, the archaeologists of Bristol University made a surprising discovery. They have unearthed two graves side by side. In both of them they have found the rests of the body of an armored knight, and above it in one grave the well preserved skeleton of a horse, while in the other the fragments of iron objects which, seen from above, resembled… a bicycle.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 28, 2014 - 52 comments

Biblical Balaam's Historical Existence Proven, Covered Up

So as not to bury the lede, Dutch archaeologists Found a 2,800 year old document that corroborates the Old Testament story of Balaam. Some background: Balaam was a guy in the bible. He had a talking donkey and, according to some, was constipated. [more inside]
posted by bluejayway on Jan 14, 2014 - 68 comments

Shall these bones live? shall these Bones live?

Settling in for a long winter's nap? In need of a memento mori to guard against the unbridled jollity of the season? Just want to explore the wonderful world of 3D scans, osteology, and bioarchaeology on the internet a little further? Sad that Santa probably isn't bringing you a T-Rex for Christmas? Well, just peak inside... [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 23, 2013 - 4 comments

Archaeology vs. Physics

Conflicting roles for old lead
The use of old lead for shielding increases the sensitivity of our most delicate experiments by orders of magnitude, an increase that is crucial when looking for a reaction that sheds light on new physics. Lead recovered from roofs, old plumbing, and even stained glass windows has been used, but Roman lead from a shipwreck is the best you can find.

posted by Jpfed on Dec 23, 2013 - 25 comments

The Tomb of the Warrior Prince

In September, Italian archaeologists removed a slab door in Tarquinia and entered an untouched, newly discovered Etruscan tomb (Slideshow: Entry to Tomb, Pictures of Contents) There was much excitement to find the intact tomb of a high-status man - a warrior, a prince, a man of importance, with a lance, grave goods, and the remains of his wife. Or so it was trumpeted by the discovering team and the media. A month later … the figure on the wider slab with the lance turns out to be the female, and the man was on the other slab. Whoops! Judith Weingarten writes about the assumptions made before and after the osteological analysis (and Part II). [more inside]
posted by julen on Dec 16, 2013 - 14 comments

For all your ghost town needs

Do you like obsessively cataloged information? Do you like abandoned, semi-abandoned, and/or semi-repopulated ghost towns? Do you like amazingly poor web design? Then you will love ghosttowns.com, an exhaustive collection of thousands of ghost towns in the US and Canada. Find out how to visit ghost towns, and then click on the map to find one near you!
posted by showbiz_liz on Dec 10, 2013 - 24 comments

The Pit of Bones

Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue (NYT) to Human Origins: The pit of bones hides our oldest DNA.
posted by homunculus on Dec 6, 2013 - 7 comments

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