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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

This one goes to 27

A companion to one of Europe's most eminent prehistoric monuments has been discovered just a mile away. Bluehenge has the same rough configuration as its sister site, Stonehenge, but with 27 stones instead of 56. It is speculated that the stones of Bluehenge may have been moved to aid in the making of Stonehenge. [more inside]
posted by Hardcore Poser on Oct 3, 2009 - 43 comments

i think plastered skulls is a pretty cool guy. eh sits in the dirt and doesn't afraid of anything

Plastered Skulls! In the Middle East in the early Neolithic, one common burial practice involved digging up a previously-buried body, removing the skull, and using plaster over the skull itself to sculpt an image of the face of the deceased. Many seem to think these skulls were made as a form of ancestor-worship, but some disagree. Three such skulls were discovered a little over a year ago at Yiftah’el, in the lower Galilee. Here's a short article about the find. Here's a brief overview of prehistoric and early historic art, which features a really swell picture of a plastered skull.
posted by Greg Nog on Sep 29, 2009 - 11 comments

Knossos

Knossos: Fakes, Facts, and Mystery. "The masterpieces of Minoan art are not what they seem... The truth is that these famous icons are largely modern. As any sharp-eyed visitor to the Heraklion museum can spot, what survives of the original paintings amounts in most cases to no more than a few square inches. The rest is more or less imaginative reconstruction, commissioned in the first half of the twentieth century by Sir Arthur Evans, the British excavator of the palace of Knossos (and the man who coined the term 'Minoan' for this prehistoric Cretan civilization, after the mythical King Minos who is said to have held the throne there). As a general rule of thumb, the more famous the image now is, the less of it is actually ancient."
posted by homunculus on Aug 30, 2009 - 16 comments

I'll never let go

Archaeologists find graveyard of sunken Roman ships. Information on how such a shipwreck is discovered available from the Aurora Trust site.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 24, 2009 - 12 comments

Via Aurelia

The Roman Empire's Lost Highway: French amateur archaeologist Bruno Tassan fights to preserve a neglected 2,000-year-old ancient interstate in southern Provence.
posted by homunculus on May 31, 2009 - 23 comments

The Hohle Fels Venus

Ancient Venus rewrites history books: Female figure was carved from a mammoth tusk 35,000 years ago. [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 13, 2009 - 77 comments

A Moment in Time

AronRa has done some really nice YouTube vids on science (previously). In this latest vlog An Archaeological Moment in Time, he take(s) a look at how different societies are advancing at different rates on the same date in the distant past.
posted by nola on May 11, 2009 - 10 comments

Online archaeology and anthropology film from Penn

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has put 675 reels of archival 16 mm film online via the Internet Archive. Most of the film is unedited, and stems either from Museum research, or was donated by interested amateurs. Much of it is silent, reflecting the technology of the day. One highlight are the four surviving reels of the long-running TV show 'What in the World" (look for the episode starring Vincent Price), but the archive is full of other hidden gems, such as the 1950s archaeological expedition to Tikal, a 1940 film "A 1000 Mile Road Trip Across America", and Glimpses of Life Among the Catawba and Cherokee Indians of the Carolinas (1927). The films are downloadable in various formats, including MPEG2, Ogg Video, and 512Kb MPEG4. Happy browsing! via.
posted by Rumple on May 3, 2009 - 12 comments

Geology, Archaeology and History of Seattle

Waterlines is a new online exhibit from the excellent Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Seattle. It tells the story of the land underlying Seattle, one of the United States' most geologically active city sites, and of the human attempts to engineer this landform. Closely related are the archaeology of West Point and Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound (e.g., read the story of North Wind and Storm Wind).
posted by Rumple on May 2, 2009 - 3 comments

Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script

Scholars at odds over mysterious Indus script. The Indus script is the collection of symbols found on artifacts from the Harappan civilization, which flourished in what is now eastern Pakistan and western India between 2,600 and 1,900 B.C. A new analysis using pattern-analyzing software suggests that the script may constitute a genuine written language. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 23, 2009 - 20 comments

The Eighth Wonder of the World

3D laser scanning offers a fly-through view of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Carved directly into volcanic bedrock, the churches of Lalibela were built during the Zagwe Dynasty (1137-1270). YouTube video of the church and local villagers.
posted by desjardins on Apr 9, 2009 - 11 comments

Craniosynostosis in the Middle Pleistocene

Deformed skull of prehistoric child suggests that early humans cared for disabled children.
posted by homunculus on Apr 3, 2009 - 54 comments

Secret Archaeology

Archaeologists and Native Americans race against the border fence. The REAL ID act authorized government agencies to bulldoze long-standing environmental, cultural and anthropological standards. But a team of activists worked delicately behind the scenes to win millions of dollars in federal funding and the go-ahead for a last-ditch effort to study ancient artifacts. Archaeologists have faced similarly rushed projects elsewhere along the fence route.
posted by univac on Mar 31, 2009 - 46 comments

Screaming Mummies!

Why do mummies scream? Are screaming mummies really testaments to horrific deaths? Or are they the result of natural processes, botched or ad hoc mummification jobs, or the depredations of tomb robbers? Archaeology Online examines the science and history behind the gape-mouthed "masks of agony" seen on some mummies, and explores their portrayal in entertainment and pop culture. The article includes lots of interesting and informative additional links.
posted by amyms on Mar 30, 2009 - 33 comments

Rome's Tremendous Tunnel

The Ancient World's Longest Underground Aqueduct. "Roman engineers chipped an aqueduct through more than 100 kilometers of stone to connect water to cities in the ancient province of Syria. The monumental effort took more than a century, says the German researcher who discovered it." How Did the Romans Accomplish Such a Feat? [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 24, 2009 - 25 comments

Horses Were Tamed, Milked, and Probably Ridden 5,500 Years Ago

Riding with the first cowboys – in 3500 BC. Horses were tamed a millennium earlier than previously thought. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 6, 2009 - 14 comments

Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land

The Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land is a comprehensive spatially-referenced database of current archaeological knowledge of all periods of Levantine history and prehistory. Spatial search is a good entry point, as are the Palestine Exploration Fund historic maps. You can also search by time period or dig into the many ancient Empires of the area. Or just look at everything in the database. The site is a work in progress, but a cool one powered by a consortium of over 30 professional archaeologists. May require Google Maps. via
posted by Rumple on Mar 3, 2009 - 4 comments

The return of New Zealand's first people

In 1939, a 13-year-old boy discovered New Zealand's most significant archaeological site—the remains of a 700-year-old Māori village on the Wairau Bar, Marlborough ... [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Feb 12, 2009 - 8 comments

Streets of fire, desire etc......

Amazing Archaeological Discovery! Hair-metal fans said to be stunned.
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Feb 5, 2009 - 44 comments

Best of Anthro 2008

Neuroanthropology's Best of Anthropology Blogging 2008. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 3, 2009 - 11 comments

The digital collection of the Tokyo National Museum

The digital collection of the Tokyo National Museum is full of wonder. TNM is the oldest museum in Japan and collects archaeological objects and art from Japan as well as other parts of Asia. The collection can be browsed by type or region. Here are some of my favorites: Buddha's life, The name "Korin" given to pupil, Tale of Matsuranomiya, Coquettish type, Tea caddy in shape of bucket with handle, Mirror, design of sea and island, Traditionary identified as Minamoto no Yoritomo, Seated Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri) and attendants, Sword mounting of kazari-tachi type and (my current desktop background) Figures under a tree. This is but a small sampling of all that can be found in the digital collection
posted by Kattullus on Dec 22, 2008 - 4 comments

Solstice at Newgrange

At dawn on the winter solstice, the passage and chamber of the megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange are illuminated for 17 minutes by a shaft of sunlight entering through the roofbox above the entrance. The builders of Newgrange achieved this precise alignment over 5,000 years ago, 1,000 years before Stonehenge. You can watch the sunrise illumination on a live webcast between 08:30 and 09:30 UTC on Sunday, December 21st.
posted by homunculus on Dec 20, 2008 - 29 comments

Everything you wanted to know about pre-Columbian Central America but were afraid to ask lest your heart get ripped out and offered to Quetzalcoatl

The Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies is your one-stop shop for pre-Columbian Central America awesomeness. There are so, so many wondrous things on that site, I don't quite know where to begin. I suppose John Pohl's scholarly introduction is a natural place to start. But maybe you just don't have time to read anything and just want to dive into pretty, pretty pictures. Perhaps the most user-friendly databases are Justin Kerr's photographs Maya Vases (e.g. 1, 2, 3) and Pre-Columbian Portfolio (e.g. 1, 2a, 2b, 3). From there you can delve into the collection of Linda Schele's photographs (e.g. 1, 2) and drawings (e.g. 1, 2, 3). There are more image databases but let me direct you to the collection of old Maya, Aztec and Mixtec books which are simply stunning (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4 [last link pdf]). You can read more about Mayan and Mixtec codices and download high resolution versions of the entire books. There are also Maya dictionaries, glyph guides, linguistic maps and a who's who. There is also classic Mayan and Aztec poetry in translation. I'm telling you, that's not even half of what this amazing site has to offer.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 29, 2008 - 19 comments

A three-thousand-year-old ruin with its own web site

Archaeologists find a pottery fragment with the oldest known example of written Hebrew at the Elah Fortress(YT) in Israel - or maybe not [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Oct 31, 2008 - 8 comments

Gobekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? "Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, Turkey's stunning Gobekli Tepe upends the conventional view of the rise of civilization."
posted by homunculus on Oct 30, 2008 - 28 comments

Ritual and Witchcraft in Cornwall

Witches of Cornwall. "Macabre evidence of age-old spells surfaces in an archaeologist's front yard." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 11, 2008 - 44 comments

Akhenaten and Akhetaten

Akhetaten (a.k.a. Amarna) was the city built by Pharaoh Akhenaten, famous for his monotheistic beliefs and his queen, Nefertiti and son, Tutankhamun. The Amarna Letters has translations of correspondence sent to the Akhenaten, but a trove of it was found at the Amarna site. During his reign a distinctive style of art rose to prominence, only to vanish after his death. The Boston MFA has 40 objects from the era in its collection. Perhaps the most famous of the cultural artifacts of Akhenaten is the Great Hymn to Aten (hieroglyphics, four different English translations: 1, 2, 3, 4). This poem was set to music by Philip Glass for his opera Akhnaten (information about the opera). Some see direct parallels between The Great Hymn to Aten and Psalm 104. Though it was billed as a new beginning, like many utopias, Amarna was no haven for the regular folk who lived there.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 4, 2008 - 23 comments

What caused the Viking Age?

What caused the Viking Age? It has long been a source of, er, conflict among Nordic scholars. A new study ($ub-only) suggests the Viking Age was triggered by a shortage of women (lack of).
posted by stbalbach on Sep 29, 2008 - 43 comments

Haven't heard from your Mummy lately?

Mummy News : All that's new with mummies. Well... not exactly "new." [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Aug 31, 2008 - 8 comments

Did earthquakes give rise to Rome?

A Jared Diamond-like theory of history - did earthquakes contribute to the rise of ancient civilizations? Thirteen of 15 major ancient civilizations were clustered mostly along tectonic boundaries. "It's not a connection that seems to make much sense at first glance. But you can't ignore the pattern--look at a map, and it just jumps out at you." (Abstract). [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Aug 26, 2008 - 46 comments

Ancient Oases

10 Incredible Ancient Oases.
posted by homunculus on Aug 24, 2008 - 21 comments

Mayan Ruins Filter: Possible Portal to the Underworld Found in Mexico

Mayan Ruins Filter: Possible Portal to the Underworld found in Mexico. Included in the underwater tunnels (video) are two underground temples and human bones - possibly the remains of human sacrifices. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Aug 23, 2008 - 17 comments

Mayan Muons and Unmapped Rooms

Ghost Particles & Pyramids: How physicists and archaeologists “see” inside ancient monuments.
posted by homunculus on Aug 21, 2008 - 11 comments

Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara

Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara. "How a dinosaur hunter uncovered the Sahara's strangest Stone Age graveyard."
posted by homunculus on Aug 16, 2008 - 9 comments

England's Rock Art

England's Rock Art. "Amongst the outcrops and boulders of northern England keen eyes may spot an array of mysterious symbols carved into the rock surfaces. These curious marks vary from simple, circular hollows known as 'cups' to more complex patterns with cups, rings, and intertwining grooves. Many are in spectacular, elevated locations with extensive views but some are also found on monuments such as standing stones and stone circles, or within burial mounds. The carvings were made by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people between 3500 and 6000 years ago." [Via Life in the Fast Lane]
posted by homunculus on Aug 6, 2008 - 17 comments

Persia

Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran. "A glorious past inspires a conflicted nation."
posted by homunculus on Aug 4, 2008 - 35 comments

The Mayan World

Mundo Maya Online is chockfull of illustrated articles about various aspects of Mayan history and culture. Learn about the Mayan calendar, read Mayan legends, explore Mayan history, archaeology and the natural environment they thrived in. Mundo Maya also has articles about the daily life of the modern Mayans and the handicrafts they make.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 24, 2008 - 10 comments

The Devastation of Iraq's Past

The Devastation of Iraq's Past. "Since the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in April 2003, the international press has accorded considerable space to the country's imperiled ancient heritage. Much of this coverage, however, has been devoted to the museum, the impressive campaign to recover its stolen works, and the continued struggle to reopen its galleries. Only occasional, anecdotal reports—mostly from the first year of the conflict—have borne witness to large-scale plunder of archaeological sites, to which the damage is irreversible."
posted by homunculus on Jul 23, 2008 - 9 comments

The Caves of Dunhuang

Buddha’s Caves: The Caves of Dunhuang.
posted by homunculus on Jul 6, 2008 - 7 comments

Viking invasion ends

Viking invasion ends as longship sails home. The Sea Stallion From Glendalough, a replica Viking longboat (previously), is returning to Denmark.
posted by homunculus on Jun 30, 2008 - 13 comments

Avebury

Avebury. A short, trippy 8mm film shot around the Neolithic stone circles and henge at Avebury, Wiltshire. [Via BB]
posted by homunculus on Jun 27, 2008 - 6 comments

Breakfasthenge

Blessed be Baconhenge.... (via)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on Jun 17, 2008 - 15 comments

Decoding Stonehenge

If the Stones Could Speak: Searching for the Meaning of Stonehenge.
posted by homunculus on May 31, 2008 - 22 comments

Bamiyan Oil Paintings

Ancient Buddhist Paintings From Bamiyan Were Made Of Oil, Hundreds Of Years Before Technique Was 'Invented' In Europe. [Via MonkeyFilter.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Apr 24, 2008 - 23 comments

Time Has Not Been Kind To Curses

"Curse Tablets are small sheets of lead, inscribed with messages from individuals seeking to make gods and spirits act on their behalf and influence the behaviour of others against their will. The motives are usually malign and their expression violent, for example to wreck an opponent’s chariot in the circus, to compel a person to submit to sex or to take revenge on a thief. Letters and lines written back to front, magical ‘gibberish’ and arcane words and symbols often lend the texts additional power to persuade. In places where supernatural agents could be contacted, thrown into sacred pools at temples, interred with the dead or hidden by the turning post at the circus, these tablets have survived to be found by archaeologists."
posted by amyms on Apr 12, 2008 - 20 comments

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