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Entire genome of extinct human decoded from fossil

Entire genome of extinct human decoded from fossil
posted by Meatbomb on Feb 7, 2012 - 32 comments

The Mayan common class migrated to the southeast United States?

Massive 1,100+ year old Maya site discovered in Georgia's mountains The archaeological site would have been particularly attractive to Mayas because it contains an apparently dormant volcano fumarole that reaches down into the bowels of the earth. People of One Fire researchers have been aware since 2010 that when the English arrived in the Southeast, there were numerous Native American towns named Itsate in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and western North Carolina. They were also aware that both the Itza Mayas of Central America and the Hitchiti Creeks of the Southeast actually called themselves Itsate . . . and pronounced the word the same way. The Itsate Creeks used many Maya and Totonac words. Their architecture was identical to that of Maya commoners. The pottery at Ocmulgee National Monument (c 900 AD) in central Georgia is virtually identical to the Maya Plain Red pottery made by Maya Commoners.
posted by ewagoner on Dec 22, 2011 - 111 comments

Photographs of Palmyra

Photographs and more photographs of the ancient city of Palmyra, seat of the Palmyrene Empire and home to Queen Zenobia.
posted by Rumple on Dec 15, 2011 - 13 comments

Solid Sunlight

Libyan Desert Glass is strewn over an area of hundreds of square kilometers in the Great Sand Sea, a region desolate even by the high standards of the Sahara. As one account of a recent trip to acquire Libyan Desert Glass puts it: "Out there, death sits on your shoulder like a vulture." While some would have you believe that Libyan Desert Glass is evidence of ancient atomic warfare, it is probably evidence of a massive meteorite or comet explosion nearly thirty million years ago, similar to Tunguska, but much bigger. The stone age Aterian peoples made tools from it, but the remoteness and inhospitality of the Great Sand Sea has ensured that until recent times it has mostly been undisturbed. However, a breast ornament buried in Tutankhamen's tomb has a scarab made from Libyan Desert Glass, the only piece made of the material to have been found by Egyptologists, and how Tutankhamen's jewelers acquired it has remained a mystery. Until now. [Previously]
posted by Kattullus on Dec 8, 2011 - 38 comments

The Longship

In Tonsberg, Norway, they are building a Viking Ship. By hand, using the same tools and processes the vikings used. [more inside]
posted by Chrischris on Nov 17, 2011 - 49 comments

Crashed Spitfire machine guns fired after 70 years buried in Ireland

Machine guns still firing, 70 years later. The BBC's Dan Snow joins in an dig in Ireland to uncover a Spitfire mk2, hoping to find one o the machine guns in reasonable conditions. They find six, and then it's time to see if they still work. Okay so they stripped the six to rebuild just one good one, and used modern .303 calibre ammo as opposed to the ammo in the ground, but hey. 70 years and still spitting fire. Of course the WWII in me will point out that the mk V's Hispano cannons were far more effective, but hey, that's not romantic enough for a modern news bulletin.
posted by ewan on Nov 10, 2011 - 19 comments

Assessing the monumental architecture of Neolithic Britain

What's the meaning of Stonehenge? [SLYT]
posted by hydatius on Nov 8, 2011 - 40 comments

Excusez-Moai

The Easter Island Statue Project: a glimpse at what's going on from the neck down.
posted by hermitosis on Oct 27, 2011 - 8 comments

The last remnants of a language killed by the conquistadors

In 2008 a letter was excavated during an archaeological dig of a Peruvian colonial town abandoned for unknown reasons around the turn of the 18th Century. On the back of that letter were recorded several numbers and their names in a dead tongue, lost in the upheaval following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Even though this may be the only remnant of an entire language, there is quite a bit that linguists can glean from these fragments. For a brief overview of the findings of research by a joint American-Peruvian research group, read here. And here is the full journal article, which places these numbers in their historical and linguistic context.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 25, 2011 - 11 comments

Outsider's View of Mormon Archaeology

Prof. Michael Coe, an expert on the Maya, discusses the challenges facing Mormon archaeologists investigating the historical truth of the Book of Mormon. [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Aug 12, 2011 - 192 comments

India and the Temple of Boom

A court-mandated opening of some secret chambers at the Sree Padmanabhaswami temple in Kerala - family temple of the ruling royals of the former Kingdom of Travancore - has led to the discovery of a treasure estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
posted by vidur on Jul 3, 2011 - 92 comments

Neolithic Grog!

The Beer Archaeologist. "Biomolecular archaeologist" Dr. Patrick McGovern has unearthed millennia-old alcohol recipes and ancient medicinals, "by analyzing residues in ancient pottery. Now he's working with brewer Sam Calagione, (of Discovery Channel's Brew Masters, (autoplaying video)) whose pub Dogfish Head serves up beers based on recipes that are thousands of years old." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 26, 2011 - 45 comments

Inside they found a tiny Indiana Jones

Archaeologists from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History have used a remote-controlled microcamera to explore a 1500-year-old sealed Mayan burial chamber at the Palenque archaeological site in Chiapas, Mexico. Story in English from the Guardian but be sure to click on "Fotos" at the first link.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 24, 2011 - 19 comments

Göbekli Tepe

"We come up with two new mysteries for every one that we solve," he [Schmidt] says. Still, he has already drawn some conclusions. "Twenty years ago everyone believed civilization was driven by ecological forces," Schmidt says. "I think what we are learning is that civilization is a product of the human mind." - Charles C. Mann writes about Göbekli Tepe for National Geographic.
posted by Slap*Happy on Jun 21, 2011 - 43 comments

May your remains one day be discovered by someone with a strong grounding in Middle Range Theory

Lewis R. Binford, one of the most influential American archaeologists of the last half-century and an early advocate of a more scientific approach to investigating ancient cultures, died on April 11 at his home in Kirksville, Mo. He was 79. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Apr 23, 2011 - 7 comments

Games and resources from museums for children

Show Me is a site collecting games and resources for children from UK museums. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Mar 27, 2011 - 6 comments

Sydromachos had a backside “as big as a cistern.”

Titas wuz here: Ancient graffiti begins giving up its secrets. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 23, 2011 - 15 comments

Upper Sun River Mouth Child

Xaasaa Cheege Ts'eniin is a very special toddler. Approximately 11,500 years ago, the child spent at least one summer with family at a seasonal base camp in the Tanana Valley, located in what we now know as Alaska. Earlier this week, archaeologists announced their discovery of the child's cremated remains in ancient fire pit amidst an excavation of a circular semi-subterranean home. DNA testing of the remains could reveal genetic connections to the modern Athabascans. In addition, the find could yield new insight into the Paleo-Indians who traveled the Bering Strait, and the migration patterns of some of the indigenous people of North America. While little Xaaxaa only lived about three years, the toddler's remains, now the earliest human remains ever discovered in the North American arctic, ensure little Xaaxaa will be remembered for years to come.
posted by Dr. Zira on Feb 25, 2011 - 27 comments

Best of the past

This year's archaeology awards do provide a great opportunity to learn ancient secrets. There is lost treasure, forgotten murders, a mysterious Anchorite condemmed to a life of confinement and the forbidden spaces at the heart one of the holiest temples in stone age Europe.
posted by BadMiker on Jan 13, 2011 - 12 comments

Did the Scots visit Iceland? New research reveals island inhabited 70 years before Vikings thought to have arrived

Did the Scots visit Iceland? New research reveals island inhabited 70 years before Vikings thought to have arrived. This appears to be the first physical evidence that confirms the stories of celitc monks being on the island when the Norse arrived.
posted by novenator on Dec 26, 2010 - 41 comments

World's Oldest Optical Illusion Found?

World's Oldest Optical Illusion Found? A 15,000 year old piece of an atlatl (spear chucker) shows definite signs of being a Gestalt shift optical illusion (as demonstrated here, here, and in the classic duck/rabbit picture). Although not as well defined as modern optical illusions (like the really tripped out Neave Strobe), it likely demonstrates a stage of cognitive awareness in human psychological development.
posted by novenator on Dec 24, 2010 - 12 comments

Soup up.

Should-we-eat-it-filter: A 2,400-year-old vat of soup has been discovered in China. [more inside]
posted by jocelmeow on Dec 14, 2010 - 63 comments

Sacred secrets; new finds from Orkney

Mr Mowatt said he had always wondered what lay under an 8ft stone in the garden and eventually curiosity got the better of him, "On the screen... I could clearly see what I thought was a white skull, with two eye sockets, looking back at me." [more inside]
posted by BadMiker on Nov 4, 2010 - 39 comments

Excavating Hattusa

The German Archaeological Institute has a website detailing their excavations at Hattusa, formerly the capital of the Hittite Empire. There is a brief summary of the city's history to get you started, or a somewhat more detailed one if you're feeling keen. [more inside]
posted by Dim Siawns on Nov 3, 2010 - 11 comments

Field Mice Needed

Old school hardware hacker, Postscript enthusiast, electronics writer, woo debunker, all around geek, and now amateur archaeologist Don Lancaster (prev 1, 2) needs you. And maybe some of your nerdy gadgets. [more inside]
posted by 2N2222 on Nov 2, 2010 - 6 comments

Mithras

Bull-Killer, Sun Lord. "Foreign religions grew rapidly in the 1st-century A.D. Roman Empire, including worship of Jesus Christ, the Egyptian goddess Isis, and an eastern sun god, Mithras."
posted by homunculus on Aug 28, 2010 - 28 comments

Revisiting King Tutankhamun's Tomb

Ten thousand tourists have tramped above the spot where the latest find has just been made. Other archeologists, looking for the needle entrance to the royal tomb of Tutankhamen in the limestone haystack of el Qorn, came within a few feet of where, after sixteen years of labor, the late Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Howard Carter found their reward. National Geographic republished the photos (flash gallery) and the text of the 1923 account of the opening of the tomb of King Tutankhamun. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 27, 2010 - 13 comments

Adaptation to High Altitude in Tibet

Tibetans May Be Fastest Evolutionary Adapters Ever. "A group of scientists in China, Denmark and the U.S. recently documented the fastest genetic change observed in humans. According to their findings, Tibetan adaption to high altitude might have taken just 3,000 years. That's a flash, in terms of evolutionary time, but it's one that's in dispute."
posted by homunculus on Jul 2, 2010 - 12 comments

New A. afarensis Skeleton Answers Some Questions

Ever since the famed Lucy skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, there have been some unanswered questions. She was very tiny, and some researchers claimed it was unlikely that she (and, by extension, Australopithecus afarensis) could walk. Although other specimens were found throughout the 70s, none were more than bone fragments. Recently, researchers announced that they found another partial skeleton, and they believe it proves that afarensis was bipedal.
posted by Plutor on Jun 22, 2010 - 7 comments

Over Paid and Over Here

Could any of you in the US please check your attics?
posted by Leon on Jun 21, 2010 - 41 comments

Finding the past

There are some unique finds that tell us about the early lives of people. But of course there are other ways...
posted by rosswald on Jun 9, 2010 - 10 comments

Northwest Coast Archaeology

Northwest Coast Archaeology [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 15, 2010 - 8 comments

Young Indiana Jones Discovers Missing Link (maybe....)

"So I called my dad over and about five metres away he started swearing, and I was like 'what did I do wrong?' and he's like, 'nothing, nothing - you found a hominid'."
The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. Some researchers dispute that the fossils are of an unknown human species, but others say they may help fill a key gap in the fossil record of human evolution. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2010 - 26 comments

If it's not Pictish, it's crap!

Information-age math finds code in ancient Scottish symbols. "The ancestors of modern Scottish people left behind mysterious, carved stones that new research has just determined contain the written language of the Picts, an Iron Age society that existed in Scotland from 300 to 843. The highly stylized rock engravings, found on what are known as the Pictish Stones, had once been thought to be rock art or tied to heraldry. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, instead concludes that the engravings represent the long lost language of the Picts, a confederation of Celtic tribes that lived in modern-day eastern and northern Scotland."
posted by homunculus on Apr 2, 2010 - 24 comments

The Lessons of Gobekli Tepe

Laying bare the gratuitous assumptions of the patriarchal historical narrative. A weblog entry from the Aristasian Empire, of which a history and some kinnies [NSFW]. • Gobekli Tepe [previously] • Aristasia [previously]
posted by tellurian on Feb 24, 2010 - 31 comments

I'm sure this'll end well....

We may soon be able to clone Neanderthals. But should we? An essay from Archaeology Magazine examines the ethical, scientific and legal ramifications. (Via Heather Pringle's Time Machine blog, where essay author Zach Zorich posted a reply and elicited a response.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 22, 2010 - 207 comments

3D scans of archaeological sites made with lasers

CyArk is a non-profit which makes three-dimensional scans of archaeological sites with lasers in effort to digitally preserve them. It currently has 27 projects, including Chichén Itzá, Angkor Wat, Anasazi Pueblos in Mesa Verde, Thebes, Rapa Nui and the Royal Tombs at Kasubi. There's quite a lot of material about Cyark online, including profiles Wired Science, a lecture by founder Ben Kacyra at Google as well as an article in Archaeology and an article by two CyArk employees in Professional Surveyor describing how they work.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 18, 2010 - 12 comments

Many eyes make light work

The Victoria and Albert Museum is using crowdsourcing to determine the best images, crops and enlargements of items in its online database. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Feb 3, 2010 - 11 comments

Rome's Ancient Aqueduct

Rome's Ancient Aqueduct Found. "The long-sought aqueduct that delivered fresh, clean water to Rome nearly 2,000 years ago, is found beneath a pig pasture northwest of the Italian city."
posted by homunculus on Jan 30, 2010 - 29 comments

Place Hacking

Virtual hacking is cool but place hacking makes it core again, brachiating across scaffolding to get the shot on your Digital SLR that maximizes your flickr stats, raking in the google adsense cash and conforming to a zerowork ethos if we get pro at it. Sleep in ruins, sell your photos of disgusting shit to tourists. Rinse off in a petrol station sink and repeat. We are the nerds that finally walked away from their computers and we are behind that scaffolding covering the building you ignore everyday when you walk by it going to work, we just loved on that place like no one has in 20 years. We are psychotopological terrorists and we will shove that masterlock up your ass.
A "reformed archaeologist" talks about exploration of urban ruins. Modern urban ruins.
posted by Rumple on Jan 21, 2010 - 72 comments

Unclean slate

An expert in Elizabethan handwriting is attempting to decipher the inscriptions on a 400-year-old slate tablet discovered by archaeologists working at Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. Want to take a crack at it yourself? First, you're going to want to take English Handwriting, 1500-1700: An Online Course. Then, keep your skills sharp with a daily dose of Early Modern Paleography. (This week's images will be well known to a certain MeFite.)
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 14, 2010 - 49 comments

Stones, loans, and groans

Zahi Hawass, bombastic if nothing else, is proving successful in his ongoing push to repatriate Egyptian artifacts that may or may not have been illegally removed from the country. The Tetiky friezes were returned from France; next on the agenda are the iconic Nefertiti bust [MP3 audio], which is currently housed in Berlin’s Neues Museum, and the Rosetta Stone, which has lived at the British Museum for over two centuries.
posted by oinopaponton on Jan 11, 2010 - 26 comments

The Caravanserai of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm

The Seljuk Han in Anatolia has tons of information about and pictures of the caravanserai, inns for caravans, built by the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in what is now Turkey. The Seljuk caravanserai, called hans, were a vital resource for trade from the middle ages to recent times. The website, by Katherine Branning, explains what a han is, their origins, their function in trade, what life there was like and much more. The site also features 39 individual hans, such as the Kadin Han, now a furniture store, Dibi Delik Han, which is undergoing restoration, Zazadin Han, which has been restored already, and the spectacular Sultan Han Kayseri. For an academic survey of Seljuk hans, here's Ayşıl Tükel Yavuz' The concepts that shape Anatolian Seljuq caravanserais [pdf, automatic download].
posted by Kattullus on Jan 8, 2010 - 13 comments

Choosing Central Asia for a bride

Fascinated by the Orient An exhibition of the letters, photographs and maps bequeathed to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by the great explorer, archaeologist, geographer and Sanskritist Sir Marc Aurel Stein. Journeyer in the footsteps of Alexander, explorer of Central Asia and West China, surveyor of the antiquities of India and Iran; after a long life of journeying through and studying central Asia, Aurel Stein found his final rest in Kabul. He is also remembered for rediscovering the oldest dated printed book still in existence, a copy of the Diamond Sutra in the caves at Mogao. That the latter and many thousands of other manuscripts collected by Stein now reside in the British Library is of course, like his other 'treasure hunting', not without controversy.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 4, 2010 - 4 comments

腾蛇乘雾,终为土灰

Man from the Margin: Cao Cao and the Three Kingdoms You'll perhaps have read or watched reports that archaeologists believe they have found the tomb of Cao Cao (曹操) (of course, not everyone agrees with the identification). Warrior, strategist, statesman and poet, Cao Cao lives on in the cultural memory of China, a by-word for cunning and of course a central character in the great historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and hence also recent John Woo blockbuster Red Cliff. To understand the man in his historical context, there's little better in English than the 1990 George Ernest Morrison Lecture in Ethnology given by now-retired Professor Rafe de Crespigny, one of the foremost Western scholars of the Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms periods of Chinese history. He makes several of his vastly erudite essays on Chinese history available at the ANU's website.
posted by Abiezer on Dec 30, 2009 - 21 comments

Dubious Discoveries

Bogus! Why do fakes get made? Why do people fall for hoaxes? Greed, pride, revenge, nationalism, pranks, and gullibility mix in an archaeological setting. Archaeology Magazine examines eight classic cases, and more.
posted by amyms on Dec 23, 2009 - 6 comments

Karnak digitized

Digital Karnak documents and digitally reconstructs "one of the largest temple complexes in the world." The site includes digital models, photographs, a "time map" (allowing you to see alterations to the site under different pharoahs), and video. For projects devoted to more specific areas of the temple complex, see the Karnak Great Hypostyle Hall Project (University of Memphis) and the Mut Precinct (Brooklyn Museum).
posted by thomas j wise on Dec 16, 2009 - 6 comments

A Lost European Culture, Pulled From Obscurity

The Lost World of Old Europe: the Danube Valley, 5000-3500 B.C.
posted by homunculus on Dec 1, 2009 - 21 comments

Philadelphia Underground

Native American Sites in the City of Philadelphia is a superbly illustrated exposition of the historical development of Philadelphia, with a focus on those few surviving Native American sites which lie under the urban fabric. Lots more excellent Public Archaeology is available from the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum. Bonus link: Philly's lost creeks and streams. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Oct 5, 2009 - 12 comments

The Virtual Museum of Iraq

The Virtual Museum of Iraq.
posted by homunculus on Oct 4, 2009 - 6 comments

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