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282 posts tagged with archaeology.
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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

"Even the Druids are happy with this project"

Excavation Starts at Stonehenge - "The two-week dig will try to establish, once and for all, some precise dating for the creation of the monument." [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 1, 2008 - 27 comments

Not Hobbits, Just Shorties?

A South African paleoanthropologist on vacation on the island of Palau in Micronesia has discovered thousands of bone fragments of very small people estimated at between 900 and 2900 years old. He and his colleagues have just published a paper on their findings, which would appear to damage the claim that the bones discovered on Flores Island, Indonesia in 2004 and attributed to homo floresiensis (or "Hobbits") were not a unique and extinct branch of the human family, but rather pygmy-like peoples. However it also knocks a hole in the claim that the Flores bones were merely all unusually small humans suffering from microcephaly due to iodine deficiency. Naturally, the scientists who originally discovered the Hobbits on Flores aren't too thrilled about either of these theories. (Previous discussions here and here)
posted by Asparagirl on Mar 11, 2008 - 30 comments

Archaeology and Early Human History of Texas

Texas Beyond History is a comprehensive web site covering the last 10,000 years of human occupation of (what is now called) Texas. A small section of the site was previously posted on Metafilter. via archaeolog.
posted by Rumple on Feb 19, 2008 - 7 comments

New peer-reviewed Creationist Research Journal

Answers Research Journal is a new "professional peer-reviewed technical journal for the publication of interdisciplinary scientific and other relevant research from the perspective of the recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework." Current Volume. Call for Papers.
posted by Rumple on Feb 2, 2008 - 32 comments

Tassili Rock Art

The rock art of the Tassili culture is found throughout North African mountains, the Tassili n'Ajjer. The rock art of Europe is well known around the world. Lesser known but just as amazing and less well-understood is the rock art of North Africa. (prev.,prev.) This tradition is thought to have developed independently of European rock art although researchers agree about very little else about it. This art hearkens back to a time when the Sahara's climate was milder and more wet. This rock art has often been compared to the pre-Nguni San rock art of Southern Africa. There are of course people who believe that aliens did it. The more research that is done about this area and its archaeology, the more we may have to rethink our ideas about the Sahara. . Sadly enough, like many archaeological sites it is becoming endangered.
posted by anansi on Jan 31, 2008 - 8 comments

Pre-modern home security

Apotropaios contains much fascinating information about the (here, mainly British and Irish) folk magic practice of concealing objects in buildings for ritual protection purposes. Yes, mummified Ceiling Cat is averting your evil. One aspect of the practice, the deliberate concealment of garments, has provided us with insight into ordinary costume of bygone days.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 27, 2008 - 26 comments

"I prophesy a mighty burning soon"

O Hammers, Head : discussion of a freakish reference in Philodemus's On Methods of Inference, found in the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Jan 25, 2008 - 42 comments

Dispossess the swain

Wharram Percy [1996 vintage Web] was a Yorkshire Wolds village that survived for more than a millennium before being suddenly depopulated. Was it plague, Viking raids or William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North that drove the people from the land? No, it seems it was the sheep. The main link provides an overview of some of the findings about the village and medieval English peasant life [BBC radio programme] emerging from the decades of archaeological research into Wharram Percy.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 22, 2008 - 16 comments

Online archaeology and anthropology exhibits

The Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has a nice collection of online exhibits, including ones on Roman glassmaking, the ancient history of wine, and a history of body modification. (Other exhibits have appeared on Mefi previously.)
posted by Upton O'Good on Jan 13, 2008 - 3 comments

Archaeology in 2007

Archaeology Magazine lists its top ten discoveries of 2007, with nine runners up. Among the discoveries listed are the discovery of Nebo-Sarsekim tablet that confirms some of the details of the Biblical book of Jeremiah (while casting doubt on other details), evidence that chimpanzees used basic stone tools 4,000 years ago that suggests that the primates may have passed "cultural" information through generations, and evidence of Polynesian chickens in Chile that may confirm Francisco Pizarro's report of chickens in Peru.
posted by Pants! on Dec 30, 2007 - 19 comments

Çatalhöyük, oldest city or biggest village?

Why humans started huddling together in cities is still shrouded in mystery but if the question is ever settled the answer will probably be found in Çatalhöyük, a settlement of five to eight thousand located in what is now Turkey that came into existence around 7500 BC. The current head archaeologist of the Çatalhöyük Project is Ian Hodder, one of the leading lights in postprocessual archaeology, who summarized his finding in a recent article in Natural History Magazine. The Çatalhöyük Project website is a treasure trove of information about the ancient settlement. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Dec 29, 2007 - 24 comments

Dakota, the Last Dinosaur

Scientists find a 'mummified' Hadrosaur in North Dakota "He looks like a blow-up dinosaur in some parts," said Phillip Manning, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester in England who is leading the inquiry. "When you actually look at the detail of the skin, the scales themselves are three dimensional. . . . The arm is breathtaking. It's a three-dimensional arm, you can shake the dinosaur by the hand. It just defies logic that such a remarkable specimen could preserve." [more inside]
posted by Uther Bentrazor on Dec 3, 2007 - 52 comments

Of Beer And Chocolate

Chocolate and the Beer of the Ancients. New archaeological evidence suggests that primitive beer brewers were the first to discover the goodness of chocolate.
posted by amyms on Nov 20, 2007 - 21 comments

Videos of a skillful guy making stone tools

Ever wonder how flaked stone tools such as the famous 12,000 year old Clovis spear points were made? A series of videos from youtube user flintknappingtips leads you through primary shaping, blank preparation, blank shaping, thinning, and fluting of a Clovis point. Total manufacturing time is about 40 minutes. Unscrupulous flintknappers have sold such replicas for tens of thousands of dollars (PDF), leading to a micro-business of stone tool authentication, after which, naturally, fake authentication papers started to appear came to light.
posted by Rumple on Nov 14, 2007 - 23 comments

Solanum virus outbreak in Ancient Egypt

Zombie Attack at Hierakonpolis
posted by felix betachat on Nov 12, 2007 - 29 comments

Funky Tut

King Tut's face revealed to the world The face of Egypt's most famous ancient ruler, King Tutankhamun, has been put on public display for the first time.
posted by psmealey on Nov 4, 2007 - 47 comments

Archaeography

"Proposition. We are all archaeologists, even if we don't realize it. An archaeological sensibility - working on what is left of the past, heritage, museums, collecting culture, antiques, retro styling, family genealogy, local history, tourists visiting the past - is a vital part of the contemporary zeitgeist. Archaeography and Archaeographer are photoblogs that explore the connections between photography and archaeology." Mining a similar vein is The Nonist's Archeography Project.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 24, 2007 - 6 comments

Urban Abandonments

7 Deserted Wonders of the (Post)Modern World. 7 More Deserted Wonders of the Modern World. 7 Submerged Wonders of the World. 7 Underground Wonders of the World.
posted by homunculus on Oct 4, 2007 - 36 comments

Immortal soul prisoned in a house of clay

The Por-Bazhyn Fortress (meaning “clay house” in Tuvan) is believed to have been built in the 8th century CE at the behest of the Uighur kagan Mo-yen-çur. Its remains occupy a 3.5 ha location on a spectacular island location in Lake Tere-Khol in the south west part of the Republic of Tuva. This summer a project to excavate and ultimately preserve the site began [Embedded video] (attracting some notable visitors). Via
posted by Abiezer on Sep 20, 2007 - 9 comments

The allure of the underground city

Derinkuyu wasn't discovered until 1965, when a resident cleaning the back wall of his cave house broke through a wall and discovered behind it a room that he'd never seen, which led to still another, and another. Eventually, spelunking archeologists found a maze of connecting chambers that descended at least 18 stories and 280 feet beneath the surface, ample enough to hold 30,000 people. [flickr]. [wiki].
posted by dersins on Aug 31, 2007 - 48 comments

A thing for the past

Open access articles at Antiquity, a quarterly review of world archaeology. Recent project reviews cover Aztec cities, earliest rice domestication, and Pleistocene rock art in Egypt. There's lots to read.
posted by Abiezer on Aug 31, 2007 - 8 comments

"…the eye is not satisfied with seeing…"

Aerial Archaeology in Northern France
posted by anastasiav on Aug 17, 2007 - 13 comments

Re-thinking the "cradle of civilization"

Re-thinking the "cradle of civilization". New discoveries at dig sites in Middle Asia are challenging the archaeological worlds idea that civilization began in Mesopotamia. Sites in modern-day Iran and Russia suggest that a vast network of societies together constituted the first cities, along with the potential discovery of a new writing system.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 14, 2007 - 20 comments

Jiroft, a lost ancient civilization

What was Jiroft? An ancient civilization in what is now southern Iran that was lost to history until very recently. Many beautiful artifacts have been dug up. It is claimed that writing originated with the Jiroft civilization and that this is the legendary kingdom of Aratta, subject of one of the world's oldest works of literature, Enmerkar and the lord of Aratta. There is dispute over both. Either way, it certainly was a commercial hub as early as 3000 B.C. The site has been extensively plundered in recent years, but is so rich in artifacts that excavations can go on for decades.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 9, 2007 - 17 comments

More cephalopodic developments

Not to be outdone by the appearance of the Octosquid (previously), other cephalopods have undearthed 900-year-old hidden treasures from the Koryo Dynasty and are taking up residence in the Monterey Bay (Bugmenot works for this last link). Squirrels are also getting in on the action.
posted by christopherious on Jul 25, 2007 - 11 comments

This time a welcome on Clontarf's plains.

Longboat! The Sea Stallion, a reconstruction of a ship scuttled off Roskilde will sail from Denmark to Dublin, where tests on timbers from the wreck show the original was built in the mid-eleventh century. (Pillaged from a centre of Irish learning)
posted by Abiezer on Jun 30, 2007 - 23 comments

Etruscan origin riddle solved

The Etruscan civilization flourished in central Italy around the 6th century BC before the rise of the Roman Empire. Known for high art and high living, some say the Etruscans were influential in molding Roman and western civilization, however it has always been an enigma on where the Etruscans originally came from. DNA evidence has probably solved the mystery, confirming what Greek historian Herodotus first said over 2,500 years ago.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 24, 2007 - 33 comments

Wey oh wey oh wey oh wey oh.

Fascinated by Egyptian archaeology? View and learn all about the discoveries in Giza, the Valley of the Kings (and Queens), Memphis and Saqqara and the Sphinx from the comfort of home. Depending on today's pesky sandstorms and time of day, you may even be able to see the pyramids from the comfort of your couch. Want to go inside? Yeah, me neither.
Previously.
posted by miss lynnster on May 16, 2007 - 11 comments

Buddha Paintings Found in Nepal

Paintings of Buddha dating back at least to the 12th century have been discovered in a cave in Nepal. Tipped by a local shepherd, a team of international researchers climbed to some old caves where they found a mural with 55 panels depicting the life of Buddha, reminiscent of the artwork of the Ajanta Caves in India (possibly NSFW). There are probably many other forgotten caves in the Mustang area (previously discussed here,) but they may be threatened by a planned trans-Himalayan highway.
posted by homunculus on May 13, 2007 - 22 comments

The acoustics of the theatre of Epidaurus

An ancient theatre filters out low-frequency background noise. The ancient Greek theatre of the Asklepieion of Epidaurus, built mostly during the 4th century B.C. and now a World Heritage Site, is renowned for its extraordinary acoustics. Researchers have figured out that the arrangement of the stepped rows of seats are perfectly shaped to act as an acoustic filter, suppressing low-frequency background noise while passing on the high frequencies of performers' voices. [Via MoFi.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 28, 2007 - 16 comments

Archaeoastronomy in Peru

The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo in Peru may be the Western Hemisphere's oldest known full-service solar observatory, showing evidence of early, sophisticated Sun cults, according to archaeoastronomy professor Clive Ruggles. The 2,300-year-old complex featured 13 towers running north to south along a ridge and spread across 980 feet to form a toothed horizon that spans the solar arc. Last year, another ancient observatory was discovered in Peru by Robert Benfer. The Temple of the Fox is 4,200 years old, making it 1,900 years older than the Chankillo site, but wasn't a complete calendar.
posted by homunculus on Mar 3, 2007 - 8 comments

Lost Cities

Lost Cities.
posted by Wolfdog on Feb 26, 2007 - 27 comments

A Lasting Committment

[ImageFilter] The Neolithic embrace. Happy pre-Valentine's Day.
posted by digaman on Feb 6, 2007 - 54 comments

Cleaning up space junk may erase history

Dr Alice Gorman is on a mission (pdf) to preserve our heritage items in space. Plans to clean space junk orbiting Earth could result in the loss of irreplaceable historical artefacts, Gorman warns. Among the items that should recognised for their heritage value are the Vanguard One satellite, launched in 1958 and the oldest human object in space. Preserving items like these could provide evidence of a nation's presence in space or help reconstruct a history of space exploration.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Jan 4, 2007 - 6 comments

David's Palace "Discovered"

Archaeology in Israel has long been politicized. Perhaps never more than in recent years, when minimalist critiques of the Biblical Kingdom of David have found a ready audience in Muslims eager to deny a historical connection between modern Jews and the land of Israel. Even sober, scholarly discussions of chronology inevitably resonate with political implications.

So it should come as no surprise that the Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar's recent announcement that she may have discovered the foundation of King David's palacepdf in an area south of the Haram al-Sharif was funded, in large part, by the Ir David Foundationflash/sound and the neo-conservative Shalem Center.
posted by felix betachat on Dec 7, 2006 - 17 comments

The Present is the Future of the Past

The Perfume of Garbage: an archaeology of the world trade centers (pdf). What do the the godfather of garbology, a leading post-modern archaeological theorist (blog), and a "space archaeologist"(cf. space junk) think about the WTC? Obviously as a ruin and as an archaeological site - but much more. An intriguing analysis placing the WTC ruins into archaeological context, and, most particularly, responding to the Smithsonian's exhibition of artifacts from the events of September 11, 2001. Also, a commentary (pdf) responding to garbage, space and the WTC. And yes, garbology goes well beyond Mick Jagger ephemera.
posted by Rumple on Nov 5, 2006 - 7 comments

Archaeological treasures found on Google Earth

Archaeological treasures found on Google Earth. In 25 years on the ground, "I've found a handful of archaeological sites. I found more in the first five, six, seven hours [on Google Earth] than I've found in years of traditional field surveys and aerial archaeology,"
posted by stbalbach on Oct 17, 2006 - 20 comments

Piranesi, etc.

The Works of Giovanni Battista Piranesi: high-resolution scans of all of Piranesi’s etchings. Also, the plates from Les Ruines De Pompei by François Mazois (1812-38), and, the complete 9-volume Le Antichità di Ercolano Esposte (The Antiquities discovered in Herculaneum) published in Naples from 1755-62. Also, at the same site (UT-PICURE: the Center for Research on Pictorial Cultural Resources, at The University of Tokyo), images from the Stibbert Collection of Japanese costume.
posted by misteraitch on Jul 4, 2006 - 11 comments

A strange and wonderful medley

Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation The University of Oxford's Griffith Institute has put together a fantastic digital collection of records documenting Howard Carter's excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun, including ninety-three pages of photographs taken by Harry Burton during the excavation. You can also read Carter's diaries and eyewitness accounts of the excavation.
posted by LeeJay on Jun 6, 2006 - 11 comments

Ancient observatories - from space

Ancient observatories from space Satellite images of Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza, Chaco Canyon, Stonehenge, Teotihuacan, and others. The observers, observed. High res images available.
posted by carter on May 8, 2006 - 23 comments

You forgot to include a title, please correct this.

See the big dark Bosnian hill there? Slightly southwest of where the rivers meet. The one that looks like a pyramid. It's a pyramid! Explore Europe's first pyramid here. (via)
posted by thirteenkiller on Apr 15, 2006 - 24 comments

Samarra, Iraq

Samarra is in the news. The modern city is small, but built on the colossal ruins of the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Google Earth reveals amazing details of the ancient city, one of the largest archaeological sites in the world.
posted by grahamwell on Feb 24, 2006 - 16 comments

The Moche

The images on the ceramics were thought to be mythical narratives, imagery the priestly class used to underscore its coercive power. Without proper archaeological evidence, the representations were too horrific to take literally. They depicted gruesome scenes of torture: captives skinned alive, drained of blood (which was drunk by priests in front of them), throats slit, bodies decapitated and left to the vultures, bones meticulously defleshed and hung from ropes.

Unfortunately for the victims, these bloody rites actually happened. They took place in an otherwise vibrant and highly advanced culture, a culture renowned for its artists and builders. These were a people who developed advanced agricultural knowledge, extremely sophisticated metallurgy, and built the largest pre-Columbian adobe structure in the Americas. Because they had no written language, though, it is by their ceramics that we know them best.

The Moche.
posted by crumbly on Jan 25, 2006 - 27 comments

Ruined Cities

Here are some pictures of ruined cities and a few sanctuaries. (3rd link is to geocities)
posted by Tullius on Jan 21, 2006 - 12 comments

Ancient cities of Iraq

Iraq is full of fabled ancient ruins, many in bad shape, but which still fire the imagination. Some highlights: Ur, birthplace of Abraham, still contained many beautiful artifacts when it was last excavated in the 1920s. Then there is vanished Cunaxa, near Baghdad's airport, where the Ten Thousand, a group of Greek mercenaries, fought their way back to Greece in a 1,000 mile, two-year-long retreat described by Xenophon in the Anabasis (and which served as the inspiration for cult films/games and bad science fiction alike). The ruins of the city of Nineveh were discovered in the 19th century just across the river from Mosul, containing art confirming elements of the Biblical account of the conquests of King Sennacherib. Most famously, the ruins of Babylon (not much to look at, the best bit being in Berlin) have seen much abuse, from Saddam's awful rebuilding of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar to reports of recent damage by coalition troops.
posted by blahblahblah on Jan 11, 2006 - 15 comments

A rose red city half as old as time.

A rose red city half as old as time. Petra, which means "stone" in Greek, is perhaps the most spectacular ancient city remaining in the modern world. The city was the capital of the Nabateans - Arabs who dominated the lands of Jordan during pre-Roman times - and they carved this wonderland of temples, tombs and elaborate buildings out of solid rock nearly 3000 years ago. By the end of the Byzantine Empire (circa A.D. 700), the once dignified and gracious buildings in the center of town had deteriorated to near ruins. For centuries, Petra fell into the mists of legend, its existence a guarded secret known only to the local Bedouins and Arab tradesmen. Finally, in 1812, a young Swiss explorer and convert to Islam named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt heard locals speaking of a "lost city" hidden in the mountains of Wadi Mousa. Burckhardt disguised himself as a pilgrim seeking to make a sacrifice at the tomb of Aaron. He managed to bluff his way through successfully, and the secret of Petra was revealed to the modern Western world.
posted by amro on Jan 3, 2006 - 30 comments

Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep

Locked in a Timeless Embrace: A third possibility. First documented gay couple (manicurists to the King) or just a case of conjoined twins? Same-sex closeness in historical Egypt.
posted by Jikido on Dec 21, 2005 - 21 comments

Unburied treasure

Finds. The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a voluntary effort to record archeological objects found by the U.K. public. Searchable database of finds from the Paleolithic, through Roman times, up to the 18th-century. With images, and an accompanying website for kids.
posted by steef on Nov 18, 2005 - 3 comments

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