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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

Photographs of some historical & archeological artifacts

Michael Faraday's chemical chest, 19th century.
The end of Darwin's walking stick.
Galileo’s original telescope.
Napoleon’s toothbrush, c 1795 (with engraved "N“ at bottom).
Carved Olive Pit, China (1737).
Throne of Charlemagne (790). Until 1531, it served as the coronation throne the Kings of Germany, being used at a total of thirty-one coronations.
Ishtar Gate, ca 575 BC. Built on the orders of Nebuchadnezzar II, it was a gate to the inner city of Babylon.
Tolkien's service weapon from WWI.
Breastplate, North Peru - A.D. 1000/1470. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Apr 27, 2014 - 33 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

Heavenly Bodies

A relic hunter dubbed 'Indiana Bones' has lifted the lid on a macabre collection of 400-year-old jewel-encrusted skeletons unearthed in churches across Europe.
posted by empath on Sep 7, 2013 - 64 comments

Keep the LiDAR on it

In a Sydney Morning Herald exclusive, an international team of archeologists have revealed the discovery of a hitherto unknown city in Cambodia.
Dr Evans, director of the University of Sydney's archaeological research centre in Cambodia, said the ''eureka moment'' in the discovery came weeks earlier when the lidar data popped up on a computer screen. ''With this instrument - bang - all of a sudden we saw an immediate picture of an entire city that no one knew existed which is just remarkable,'' he said.
Mahendraparvata, as the city is known, is estimated to be 350 years older than the UNESCO Heritage site of Angkor Wat, built on on Phnom Kulen before Jayavarman II descended from the mountain to build another capital. As Dr Evans said ''This is where it all began, giving rise to the Angkor civilisation that everyone associates with Angkor Wat." The news comes on the heels of the recent repatriation of looted archeological treasures back to Cambodia by the New York Metropolitan museum.
posted by infini on Jun 16, 2013 - 16 comments

Roy Chapman Andrews, adventurer.

[Roy Chapman] Andrews is best remembered for the series of dramatic expeditions he led to the Gobi of Mongolia (shorter films: 1, 2) from 1922 to 1930. Andrews took a team of scientists into previously unexplored parts of the desert using some of the region’s first automobiles with extra supplies transported by camel caravan. Andrews – for whom adventure and narrow escapes from death were a staple of exploring – is said to have served as inspiration for the Hollywood character “Indiana Jones.” Andrews’s expeditions to the Gobi remain significant for, among other discoveries, their finds of the first nests of dinosaur eggs, new species of dinosaurs, and the fossils of early mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Feb 17, 2013 - 8 comments

"...an enormous erect phallus, and piles of lettuce in the background."

First noticed on tumblr but now available to all, Alex Clayden's paper "Same-Sex Desire in Pharaonic Egypt" which, among other things, tells you about the connection between lettuce and semen and the Ancient Egyptian for "You have a nice ass."
posted by The Whelk on Jan 25, 2013 - 26 comments

Cheated of feature by dissembling Nature

"So it was right after we had the rest of him uncovered, and [the spine] was really obviously curved and we looked at each other and said 'Wow, this is a really good candidate'. - archeologists in England uncover what is likely to be the burial place of Richard III under a car park. Having traced an all-female line of descent direct from Richard’s sister, Anne of York, to a lady living in Canada, the team (and the world) eagerly await the results of the DNA tests.
posted by Marauding Ennui on Sep 12, 2012 - 60 comments

experimental archeology / history at its best

Victorian Farm | Edwardian Farm -- 18 hours of BBC experimental archeology/historical documentaries, online. Archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and historian Ruth Goodman spend two years living the life of rural country farmers.
posted by crunchland on Jan 15, 2012 - 33 comments

Not Quite Stalag 13

Sandusky, Ohio is probably best known for its roller coasters (and maybe the wineries in the area), but one of the most interesting places--a tiny little island in the Sandusky Bay called Johnson's Island--is very often overlooked. Once the home of a prison camp for confederate soldiers, daring (and not so daring) escapes, convoluted espionage schemes, poetry, and eating rats. [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Jan 4, 2012 - 14 comments

U. S. Historic Places Photostream

National Register Photostream — Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the U.S. National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.
posted by netbros on Dec 23, 2011 - 6 comments

Precious Loss

The ruins of Gede are the remains of a mysterious lost city on the Swahili Coast of Kenya, located deep within the Arabuko Sokoke forest. The mystery of Gede (Gedi) is that it does not appear in any Swahili, Portuguese, or Arab written records and present day research has not yet been able to fully account for what actually happened to the city. The inhabitants were of the Swahili, an ancient trading civilization that emerged along the eastern coasts of Africa ranging from Somalia to Mozambique. Archaeological excavations carried out between 1948 and 1958 have uncovered porcelain from China, an Indian lamp, Venetian beads, Spanish scissors, and other artefacts from all over the world, demonstrating the occupants were engaged in extensive and sophisticated international trade. Questions still remain as to what caused the downfall of Gede, but by the 17th century, the city was completely abandoned to the forest and forgotten until the 1920s. Today, a National Museum, Gede's sister cities from the period are part of the ethnography based archeological work of Dr Chapurukha M. Kusimba of Chicago's Field Museum, whose lifework has thrown light on the precolonial heritage of the Swahili peoples.
posted by infini on Nov 30, 2011 - 23 comments

Takes a licking but keeps on ticking

It's easy to see how a watchmaker could take this device as a kind of challenge across the millennia ... and that's how we arrive at this: Hublot's own working replica of the Antikythera mechanism, scaled down from shoebox size to wristwatch size, and with a built in clock circuit so it can tell the time as well as make its astronomical predictions.
posted by veedubya on Nov 18, 2011 - 20 comments

Great Zimbabwe: An African empire

Built by the Shona (1100-1500 AD), the empire of Great Zimbabwe, one of Africa’s greatest civilizations like Egypt and Meroe, stood between present-day Zimbabwe, eastern Botswana and south-east Mozambique. The empire’s highly developed architecture overwhelmed discoverers. And much in the same manner as German anthropologist Doctor Frobenius ignorantly mistook the Kingdom of Ife in Nigeria for the lost kingdom of Atlantis in 1911, some Europeans blatantly refused to believe that Great Zimbabwe was built by Africans. Dawson Munjeri, former director of Great Zimbabwe, a World Heritage site, discusses the history of the exceptional Zimbabwe empire. [more inside]
posted by infini on Nov 15, 2011 - 19 comments

True Love

Archeologists in Italy have found a pair of skeletons, who were buried holding hands. [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Nov 4, 2011 - 39 comments

The Paint Factory of Blombos

For the last few decades, discoveries at Blombos Cave near Capetown have been pushing back our timeframe for the earliest known periods of complex human thought. Henshilwood et al have now discovered a 100,000 year old ocher paint factory at the same site.
posted by jjray on Oct 13, 2011 - 17 comments

"Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow."

Did Zombies Roam Medieval Ireland? Two 8th-century skeletons with stones shoved in their mouths suggest that the people of the time thought so.
posted by Fizz on Sep 18, 2011 - 44 comments

Into the Abyss

Venturing into a cave more than a few steps can induce intense psychological pressure and strange sensory phenomenon. Werner Herzog's latest film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (trailer) shot in 3D inside Chauvet Cave in southern France suggests that our compulsion for this experience is shared with many ancient cultures, such as those at Chavin de Huantar, that may have included exploitation of the acoustic properties of caves.  We continue to descend into inner spaces, increasingly with high-tech equipment. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Mar 20, 2011 - 30 comments

Digital Archive Project of Osaka online museum

Japanese woodblock print images | wonderful vintage commercial graphics | the Folk Museum Kawachinagano | old books | ceramics and laquerware from The Digital Archive Project of Osaka which has an interesting online museum to explore with some excellent art and illustrations. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Dec 23, 2010 - 5 comments

Scott Jordan, urban archeologist

Urban archaeologist Scott Jordan has spent his whole life uncovering New York City's remains: I have been digging for New York's artifacts since 1969. My first dig was on Governor's Island, which was my father's duty station, and I stumbled upon a time capsule of New York's military history in the moat of old Fort Jay. In the dirt under the old drawbridge were relics dating from the War of 1812 all the way to the Civil War including buttons, musket balls and bullets, coins, pottery, and even a small cannon ball. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Oct 9, 2010 - 13 comments

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

The entire assemblage comprises 14,882 human skeletal fragments, as well as the mutilated remains of dogs and other animals killed at the massacre site -- Sacred Ridge, southwest of Durango, Colo. [....] when the violence took place, men, women and children were tortured, disemboweled, killed and often hacked to bits. In some cases, heads, hands and feet appear to have been removed as trophies for the killers. The attackers then removed belongings out of the structures and set the roofs on fire. [....] At least two other separate studies have come to similar conclusions, suggesting the genocide victims at Sacred Ridge belonged to an ethnic group that was different from that of other nearby populations.

posted by orthogonality on Sep 20, 2010 - 45 comments

Hallo Löwenmensch

The 32.000 year old artifact was discovered in the form of hundreds of small fragments in a cave in Stadel im Hohlenstein in Germany on the 25th of August 1939. The fact that the fragments belonged to a figurine was discovered in 1969 by Prof. Dr. Joachim Hahn. He mentioned a similarity of several small peices and puzzled a first version of the figurine with nearly 200 fragments. Meet the Lion Man. [more inside]
posted by Substrata on Sep 17, 2010 - 42 comments

Ötzi's Funeral

A new study mapping the locations of artifacts around Ötzi the Iceman's final resting place suggests he was transported there for a ceremonial burial, and did not die alone as previously suggested. Via.
posted by jjray on Aug 27, 2010 - 26 comments

A.D. 79

AD 79: Destruction and Re-discovery is full of information about the Roman cities wiped out by Vesuvius in Titus' reign.
posted by moonbiter on Aug 22, 2010 - 22 comments

Land ahoy indeed.

Workers have discovered the hull of an 18th century ship beneath the rubble of ground zero.
posted by Lutoslawski on Jul 15, 2010 - 105 comments

Structure 3 is so post-Classical

"This strangely shaped structure at Calixtlahuaca represents the wind-god Ehécatl and his ability to pass where he will." Could this enigmatic example of Postclassic period Mesoamerician Architecture be any more fascinating with a dubious ancient Roman head? Archeologist M.E.Smith has some advice for T.V. producers. "And no, the world will NOT end in 2012." [more inside]
posted by ovvl on Mar 13, 2010 - 11 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

Cannibal holocaust

"Heads were skinned and muscles removed from the brain case in order to remove the skullcap. Incisions and scrapes on jaws indicate that tongues were cut out." "Scrape marks inside the broken ends of limb bones indicate that marrow was removed." "Whatever actually happened at Herxheim, facial bones were smashed beyond recognition." - Neolithic mass canibalism in southern Germany.
posted by Artw on Dec 5, 2009 - 85 comments

Lost in the desert for 2,500 years.

It appears that the Lost Army of Cambyses has been found. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Nov 9, 2009 - 74 comments

The Lurking Fear

Lovecraft 101: Get To Know The Master of Scifi-Horror. For more detailed insights into each of Lovecraft's tales in publication order you might want to follow the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast. For another story-by-story guide to Lovecraft you might want to check out Kenneth Hite's Tour De Lovecraft (also available in expanded form as a book). China Mieville on Lovecraft and racism and a lecture at Treadwells by Archaeologist James Holloway which delves deep into Lovecraft and identity. The making of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The making of Cthulhu (Hipsters! Ego! Madness!). Happy Halloween with H.P. Lovecraft!
posted by Artw on Oct 31, 2009 - 54 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

found: keys to davy jones' locker

Is salvaging sunken treasure a form of piracy or the preservation of history? Does commercial for-profit exploration of historical shipwrecks taint the historical legacy of these naval graveyards? Who owns the treasures lost for so many centuries? Marine archeology is testing its legal limits with one man's work. [previous]
posted by infini on Jun 5, 2009 - 25 comments

That's no Moon. Or a McDonald's. WTF?

At the mostly abandoned Moffett Field in an abandoned McDonald's, digital archeologists attempt to restore, recover and archive abandoned high resolution imagery and data from previous manned Moon missions, using an abandoned Ampex 2" tape drive found in a chicken coop - the last working machine in the world, restored by the last man alive capable of rebuilding the heads. This is likely only part of their weird story.
posted by loquacious on May 1, 2009 - 66 comments

Lake Michigan Stonehenge

A year and a half ago, a professor of underwater archeology at Northwestern Michigan University discovered a pattern of stones 40 feet below the waters of Lake Michigan. The story has been surprisingly under-reported, given that the Stonehenge-like structure is potentially estimated to be 10,000 years old. One of the stones even appears to have a mastodon carved on it.
posted by jon_hansen on Jan 5, 2009 - 42 comments

The Lost City of The Khazars

The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people, of which many apparently converted to Judaism. Some believe they are the ancestors of many East European Jews. The Khazars were the subject of Arthur Koestler's controversial 1972 book, The Thirteenth Tribe, as well as anti-Semitic lore. Now a Russian archaeologist says he found a gold-mine of evidence about this once-great nation. No Jewish artifacts yet, however.
posted by Yakuman on Sep 21, 2008 - 34 comments

Nazigarten

Nazi German Bunker in my Garden: "[...] the previous owner told us that there was a tunnel built by the germans during WW2. He said it was big enough to drive into, [...] So I traced some WW2 reconnaisance photos of the property, which appeared to show the entrance road to my bunker. [...] And that's where the quest began....." (Original thread here, first link is to condensed but more readable blog.)
posted by orthogonality on Jun 29, 2008 - 23 comments

Indiana Jones & the Quest for the Truth behind the Crystal Skulls

We've heard about the crystal skulls recently, thanks of course to the latest movie in the Indiana Jones franchise. As posted previously on MeFi, are they pre-Columbian, modern European, or from another world? Well, you don't have to take somebody else's word about them, when you can also check with folks who've handled them personally! The British Museum staff are constantly engaged in their own research projects, not least of which is a detailed extensive investigation into the two large skulls from their own collection and the Smithsonian.
posted by Misciel on Jun 13, 2008 - 11 comments

Captain Kirks Alien Mysteries

With all the crystal skulls, nazca lines and such at the box office these days now might be the ideal time to reacquaint yourself with the theories of Erich von Däniken. What better way to do it than by watching William Shatners Mysteries of the Gods ( Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6, Pt. 7, Pt. 8, Pt. 9, Pt. 10)(MULTI LINK YOUTUBE SHATNERFEST)
posted by Artw on Jun 10, 2008 - 28 comments

Sacred bulls and headless pyramids.

Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered the "missing pyramid" of a pharaoh and a ceremonial procession road where high priests carried mummified remains of sacred bulls.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 5, 2008 - 13 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

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

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

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

Learning can be fun.

Science sites of all kinds for kids. Archeology. Entomology. Natural Symphony. Baseball in Space. Philosophy. Process or Content. Science songs. Physics songs, relativity. String theory. Science and Art.
posted by nickyskye on Jun 26, 2006 - 9 comments

Silk Roads

The Digital Silk Roads Project continues to grow apace with more additions from the Toyo Bunko rare books archive. Now available online, among others, are Les grottes de Touen-Houang, The Thousand Buddhas and several German books, including Chotscho. Unfortunately, all of the high resolution images are greyscale. [related]
posted by tellurian on May 1, 2006 - 5 comments

On the Gnostic Gospel of Judas.

Gnostic Gospel of Judas, they say! Hot on the heels of Christ On Ice and the, er, "newly discovered" Gospel fragment, the news outlets are currently drooling all over National Geographic's recent conclusive dating and translation of surviving fragments of the Apocryphal Gospel of Judas, now dated to about 300 CE. The text is classically Gnostic, emphasizing a duality splitting Christ's "spiritual" and "fleshly" natures, as opposed to Christian orthodoxy's belief in the Incarnation. Looking beyond the wide-eyed "OMG THIS WILL REVOLUTIONIZE CHRISTIANITY AS WE KNOW IT" sensationalism, Internet Monk asks if a 300 year-old apocryphal biography of George Washington would be regarded as authentic were it discovered in 1970. James F. Robinson, an expert on ancient Egyptian texts, regards the Judas Gospel as mostly a dud, produced by Cainite Gnostics who took it upon themselves to "rehabilitate" villians of Bible mythos. Even if you don't believe in the account of Judas, there's no denying his contributions to the Christian narrative. Truly a historical icon.
posted by brownpau on Apr 6, 2006 - 42 comments

Petroglyphs In the American Southwest

Prehistoric art in the American Southwest.
posted by snsranch on Feb 6, 2006 - 9 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

Coso Rock Art

Coso Rock Art: "The Coso Rock Art District, a National Historic Landmark deep in the U.S. Navy's testing station at China Lake, contains one of America's most impressive petroglyphic and archeological complexes . . . . Coso rock art has become famous for its stylized representational symbolic system, a system that has intrigued—and baffled—archeologists and lay observers for decades." A guide to the rock art types here. See also A Guided Tour of Coso Rock Art and the Coso Gallery.
posted by LarryC on Jul 30, 2005 - 8 comments

Europe's oldest known civilization discovered.

Europe's oldest known civilization discovered. Archaeologists have discovered an ancient civilization of temple builders that existed in central Europe between 4800BC and 4600BC -- over 2000 years before Egypt. They constructed over 150 geometrically, astronomically, and spiritually aligned temples (translated) out of earth and wood, that had diameters of up to a half a mile. They were built by a people who lived in villages centered around communal longhouses of up to 150 feet in length. Their civilization raised large herds of animals, gathered grain with primitive sickles, made tools out of of stone, bone, and wood, manufactured pottery decorated with geometric designs (.pdf), and created small clay figurines of humans and animals. Only one male figurine has been found so far (.pdf) -- the rest have been of women with large breasts -- fertility symbols -- which suggests a fertility-based spirituality, and possibly a matriarchal society.
posted by insomnia_lj on Jun 11, 2005 - 77 comments

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