New evidence suggests human presence in a Yukon cave during the last ice age 24,000 years ago. A local (to me) science magazine has a story about evidence that humans arrived in North America years earlier than thought. Bluefish Caves in the Yukon contained some bone fragments and tools that is strong evidence of human settlement - years before it was thought to have happened. This institute and magazine is on an archaeological roll - The Hakai institute discovered the oldest footprints in North America, last summer, and is now working on cataloguing the data.
Paul Maley maintains three highly comprehensive pages dedicated to space debris which has fallen back to earth. These are organized into chronological sections: 1960-1980, 1981-2003, and 2004-present.
The Galactic Civil War had one pernicious side effect: fighters on both sides neglected their cultural heritage in the name of military expediency.A Handy Guide to the Archaeology of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an analysis rich with links to the deepest layers of overthought.
Yet remarkably little is known of the beginnings of Mycenaean culture. The Pylos grave, with its wealth of undisturbed burial objects and, at its bottom, a largely intact skeleton, offers a nearly unprecedented window into this time—and what it reveals is calling into question our most basic ideas about the roots of Western civilization.—This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization by Jo Marchant.
The Origin of Cities - "It may seem odd to conduct the rise of cities to ritual, inequality, and debt, and yet they play a very large role in the urban revolution." (via) [more inside]
Call it the Anthropocene, the MisAnthropocene (PDF), the Capitalcene, a Raven's Trick, a Charismatic Mega-Category, or the Chthulucene: Anthropologists are engaging with the new Epoch. [more inside]
Police in Missouri found four coffins and 15 skeletons inside an archaeologist's house. Establishing their origin illustrates some new developments in forensic Anthropology.
'Lost City': The expedition that uncovered the fabled 'Monkey God' civilization buried in the jungles of Honduras The team traveled with three former British special forces members. Andrew Wood, who went by the name “Woody,” stepped up. The snake “exploded into furious action . . . striking in every direction, spraying venom.” [more inside]
Please enjoy In Transit, a short film documenting the work of archaeologists as they excavate a 1991 Ford Transit Van. John Schofield, the project's principal investigator, specializes in the archaeology of the recent past.
"The more they dug, the more obvious it became that this was no ordinary place. The structures they excavated were full of ritual objects charred by sacred fires. We found the remains of feasts and a rare earthen structure lined with yellow soils. Baires, Baltus, and their team had accidentally stumbled on an archaeological treasure trove linked to the city's demise. The story of this place would take us back to the final decades of a great city whose social structure was undergoing a radical transformation." Annalee Newitz for Ars Technica: Finding North America's lost medieval city [more inside]
A ‘Stonehenge,’ and a Mystery, in the Amazon. "The conventional belief is that only small tribes could have inhabited the Amazon jungle, but new discoveries call that into question."
2016 was an epic year for failures of archaeology. This was the year of the ‘Nazi gold train’, the ‘Mayan city’ discovered by a kid using Google Earth, whatever the fuck Semir Osmanagić said about a stone sphere, and ‘Nefertiti’s Tomb’... But the problem is not that we don’t have enough fact-checkers... “The media scandal of 2016 isn’t so much about what reporters failed to tell the American public; it’s about what they did report on, and the fact that it didn’t seem to matter.”
"This man’s skull was ritualistically transformed 9,000 years ago in Jericho. To flesh out the features on the so-called Jericho Skull, archaeologists at the British Museum have worked for more than two years to reconstruct the face of a man whose skull had been reshaped by ritual throughout his long life. While he was an infant, his head had been bound tightly with cloth to change its shape. After he died at a ripe old age, his skull was then plastered, decorated, and put on display."
"Scientific analysis reveals origins of odd 'lumps' in Anglo-Saxon grave. How did bitumen from Syria wind up in a buried Anglo-Saxon boat?" [more inside]
Making the Geologic Now is an online book in the form of a Zuihitsu, in which short chapters that are part science, part interview, part engineering, part art, part culture, and part whimsy mingle with each other to reflect upon the Anthropocene. It can be browsed on the web, downloaded for a price you choose (including free), or bought as a hardcopy.
In 1999, two men with metal detectors unearthed one of the most significant finds of modern archaeology: the Nebra Sky Disc, a 30-cm bronze disc inlaid with gold depicting the sun, moon, stars (including the Pleiades), and arcs that apparently represent sunrise and sunset at the solstices at Mittelberg Hill in Germany, and a holy sun boat symbol, dating from 1600 BCE or earlier. Because the illicit finders sold the disc on the black market, skepticism about its authenticity abounded for several years before scientific investigations confirmed it was a legitimate find and possibly the oldest concrete depiction of astronomical phenomena ever found. (The looters were seized by police in a sting operation in a bar in Switzerland, sentenced to prison, appealed, and got longer sentences.) [more inside]
"In a stunning discovery, a team of archaeologists in Australia has found extensive remains of a sophisticated human community living 50,000 years ago. The remains were found in a rock shelter in the continent's arid southern interior. Packed with a range of tools, decorative pigments, and animal bones, the shelter is a wide, roomy space located in the Flinders Ranges, which are the ancestral lands of the Adnyamathanha. The find overturns previous hypotheses of how humans colonized Australia, and it also proves that they interacted with now-extinct megafauna that ranged across the continent."
Peruvian shamanic whistling vessels. Being made out of clay archaeologists first thought these beautiful, ceramic sculptures were water bottles or toys until an amateur anthropologist explored their ritual use. One can just blow into the vessel but when water is added in one of the chambers and the vessel is rocked back and forth the shifting air creates an interesting sound pattern. [more inside]
“These people performed a critique of a brutal capitalistic enslavement system, and they rejected it completely. They risked everything to live in a more just and equitable way, and they were successful for ten generations."The Great Dismal Swamp straddles the Virginia-North Carolina border. From the 1600s to about the American Civil War it was a place of refuge, largely for escaped African and African-American slaves, and an important link in the underground railway. [more inside]
In the 1920s the US industrialist wanted to found a city based on the values that made his company a success – while, of course, producing cheap rubber. The jungle city that bore his name ended up one of his biggest failuresDrew Reed, Fordlandia – the failure of Henry Ford's utopian city in the Amazon, The Guardian (19 August 2016). [more inside]
"The past five or six years have seen a massive rise in one particular area of medieval studies – an area that has the potential to give back a voice to the silent majority of the medieval population. New digital imaging technologies, and the recent establishment of numerous volunteer recording programmes, have transformed its scope and implications. The first large-scale survey began in the English county of Norfolk a little over six years ago. The results of that survey have been astonishing." [more inside]
Researchers have decoded more writing on the 2,000-year-old Antikythera mechanism and found it may have an astrological purpose [more inside]
Is this Greek hilltop the 2,400-year-old burial place of Aristotle? "Greek archaeologists at Ancient Stagira, Central Macedonia, say they have found Aristotle’s tomb. Addressing the Aristotle 2400 Years World Congress, they point to the 2,400-year-old tomb as the most important finding from the 20-year excavation."
Neanderthals built mysterious cave structures 175,000 years ago which have been recently discovered in southwestern France. Walls were fashioned from stalagmites, and the area lit up with fireplaces. The French National Scientific Research Centre has released photos and a video about the site.
In 2003, a sinkhole opened up at the base of the Temple of the Plumed Serpent in the ruins of Teotihuacán. "In archaeology and anthropology circles—to say nothing of the popular press—Sergio Gómez’s discovery was greeted as a major turning point in Teotihuacán studies. The tunnel under the Temple of the Sun had been largely emptied by looters before archaeologists could get to it in the 1990s. But Gómez’s tunnel had been sealed off for some 1,800 years: Its treasures would be pristine." Here's an update on what they've found.
Between the Baths of Caracalla and the Basilica of St John in Lateran, 10 metres beneath Via Ipponio. It measures 900 square metres and 39 rooms, and apparently it's apparently one of at least four Praetorian barracks in the area. Ancient cities and modern excavatations often collide
The Maya Map shows the plethora of known archaeological sites. From the Maya Research Project's Lars Kotthoff.
Many of history’s darkest figures were denied a formal burial place primarily to prevent their graves from becoming pilgrimage sites...... Such figures’ literal corporeal remains hold a persistent grip on our collective anxiety, their memories firmly planted in heritage discourses even as we attempt to efface their human remains from the landscape.Paul Mullins, a historical archaeologist who has previously looked at humanizing Nazi everyday life, Eva Braun's underwear, the repugnant heritage of slavery, and selfies at Auschwitz, turns his attention to Dark Heritage and the Burial of Abhorrent Bodies.
Everybody knows the Great Pyramid of King Khufu, but you probably don’t know about the Shit Pyramids of his father, King Sneferu.
The seal was a remarkable find, bearing the name of an unknown princess and the only depiction of an ancient Israelite harp. Good enough to be depicted on Israeli coinage? Almost too good... The Trouble With the Maadana [more inside]
About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology.
A series of ten articles at the BBC News Magazine by Kanishk Tharoor and Maryam Maruf tracing the stories of ten antiquities and cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria: (1) The Winged Bull of Nineveh; (2) The Temple of Bel; (3) Tell of Qarqur; (4) Aleppo’s minaret; (5) The Lion of al-Lat; (6) Mar Elian Monastery; (7) Al-Ma’arri: the unacceptable poet; (8) The Genie of Nimrud; (9) The Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Church in Deir al-Zour; and (10) Looted Sumerian Seal, Baghdad. [more inside]
Remnants of the American space race, photographed from Florida to California. "There is a spiritual quality to Launch Complex 34. The launch pedestal with its large round opening to the sky gives it the look of some ancient astronomical archaeological ruin, something like Stonehenge."
From a new book.
From a new book.
The REMAINS of Greenland project is attempting to locate and preserve archaeological sites in Greenland before they are lost to the destructive effects of climate change. [via]
... conventional history teaches that the Americas were discovered by the Europeans either in 1492 by Columbus, or maybe a few hundred years earlier by the Vikings. There still seems to be an aversion among the establishment historians to even consider the idea that ancient Mediterranean peoples from the Middle East might have traveled to the Americas in the centuries before Christ. Only so-called diffusionists would have accepted a different view. And yet, there it is, this inscription in New Mexico, an undeniable witness from an ancient past telling its history ...Behold, The Los Lunas Decalogue, a fascinating "old" site south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. [more inside]
Signs of Modern Astronomy Seen in Ancient Babylon - "Scientists have found a small clay tablet with markings indicating that a sort of precalculus technique was used to track Jupiter's motion in the night sky." [more inside]
The site of the Tristán de Luna colony has reportedly been found in Pensacola: "'There were 1500 people there ... for about a two-year period' ... The colony lasted from 1559-61 and included 550 Spanish soldiers, about 200 Aztecs and an unknown number of African slaves ... The Luna colony is arguably the first European settlement and unquestionably the oldest multi-year European settlement" in the present-day United States. Just two years ago, the site of a 1567 fort built by the Juan Pardo expedition in western North Carolina [NYT] was confirmed as well. [more inside]
Taxster reviews all of today's hottest P2P programs: KaZaA, Morpheus, Limewire, eDonkey2000, and more! [more inside]
In 2007, Kazakh economist Dmitriy Dey fired up Google Earth to see if he could find any ancient pyramids around his hometown of Kostanay. He didn't, but what he did find was just as unexpected: a crossed square and threefold swastika. Over the next few years, he discovered more and more geoglyphs, including nearly a hundred "mustache mounds." These finds were initially dismissed or ignored by mainstream scientists, but NASA has just released their own imagery of the structures and instructed ISS astronauts to try to collect more.
In 1929, two years after his historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne photographed archaeological sites in the American Southwest and Mayan sites in Central America (Google books preview) as a side-gig while Charles helped set North America air mail routes. Almost 80 years later, Erik Berg re-visited those same Southwestern sites, as seen in the exhibition Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time (media bank) and book Oblique Views: Aerial Photography and Southwest Archaeology. [more inside]
Archaeologists have discovered one of the richest Mycenaean Greek tombs ever found: a mostly intact shaft grave in Pylos dating from 1600-1400 BC. [SLNYT]
"The Franklin shipwreck is one of the biggest, most celebrated discoveries in 21st-century marine archaeology. It also cleaved open a nasty dispute over the facts of — and credit for — the historic find. As the news went public, the civil servants, researchers, and others who played major roles in the discovery said they found themselves elbowed to the sidelines as the political messaging machine kicked into gear." [more inside]
"Considering the conditions at the time, we understood that the Hittites were highly successful in the kitchen as well as in other areas." In case you're tempted, though, keep in mind that their FDA agents were pretty brutal: "Underlining the hygienic measures taken in Hittite kitchens, Akkor said if a chef with a large, unmanaged beard or long, unmanaged hair cooks in the kitchen or an animal wandered into the kitchen, he or she used to receive a death penalty along with their family."
This Face Changes the Human Story. But How? This is the story of one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century, and of what it might mean for our understanding of human evolution.
Just over a hundred years ago, Frederick Jury lost his brass luggage tag. A few days ago Nicola White, a mudlark, found it on the Thames foreshore. Through Twitter, Nicola, and a bunch of local and family historians, were able to put together his story. [more inside]
Excavate! (Flash) Build a team of archaeologists to manage a dig in Poland. Discover ruins, catalog nails and tombstone pieces, deal with local officials and press, earn more research funding and see if you can achieve a master's in archaeology with this half-hour turn-based isometric exploration game.
If fifteen houses are built on top of one another, which one is the most important? The Big Dig, a long read about shipwrecks under Istanbul, archaeological "surplus", Neolithic footprints, elephants fed to lions, and the collision of modern city planning imperatives with a glut of priceless antiquities. SLNewYorker. [more inside]
We think of the Stone Age as something that early humans lived through. But we are not the only species that has invented it.
In 1986, workers in Sichuan province in China were digging for clay for bricks when they stumbled onto an archaeological treasure: a major site for a Bronze Age civilization previously only guessed at. The civilization, called Sanxingdui (wikipedia), had an art style unlike any other Chinese civilization previously encountered. Archaeologists had suspected there was a major city in the area since an early jade find in 1929 and a team went to work immediately, unearthing burial pits and gorgeous artifacts. (More history of the site.) An exhibit of treasures from Sanxingdui is on display in Houston until September; a permanent display can be found at a museum dedicated to the culture in Chengdu. Meanwhile, archaeologists continue to discover more of the city (warning: autoplay video) and even the remains of some of the inhabitants.
In AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live. [more inside]