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  Quote tjadams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Archaeology news updates
    Posted: 04-Mar-2012 at 22:27

Revealing the Newly Re-Erected "Colossi of Memnon" Amenhotep III



A colossal statue of Amenhotep III in quartzite has been raised at its original place by the members of “The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III temple conservation project”, an Egyptian-European team working for the conservation of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III in Luxor since 1998.  The colossus represents Amenhotep III seated on a decorated throne, and accompanied by a beautiful and very well preserved statue of Queen Tiye standing near the right leg of the King.
The colossus was found lying within the ruins of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III. It is the Northern one of a pair of royal colossi in quartzite once stood at the gate of the second pylon of the temple, 100 meters behind the famous Memnon Colossi which represent the same King at the entrance of his prestigious temple.

http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.com/2012/03/revealing-newly-re-erected-colossal.html

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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Mar-2012 at 03:09
The old boy looks a bit haggard...course if I was that old I would too... ntl. I appreciate the effort of the conservationists.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2012 at 12:39
Numerous archaeological discoveries in Ljubljana
Archaeologists in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana have been kept busy in recent years as the many development projects launched before the economic downturn uncovered numerous archaeological sites.

The recent excavation in Kongresni Square was one of the biggest archaeological projects in Slovenia’s history, according to Matjaž Nošak of the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana (MGML), the institute that oversees excavation projects.

The finds from the square are remnants of a rich settlement history in the area dating as far back as prehistory. Here, archaeologists headed by Nošak found the remains of a late Bronze Age grave and burial mounds, the first of this kind found in Ljubljana.

Artefacts from the Roman period were also unearthed in Kongresni Square and part of a suburban settlement of the city of Emona (Roman Ljubljana) with its own graveyard. Excavations at Kongresni Square were launched before the construction of an underground car park between 2009 and 2011.

Another interesting project was the excavation works in Krojaška Street near the Ljubljanica river, where the archaeologists uncovered what are believed to be the remains of a river port from Antiquity.........

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/03/2012/numerous-archaeological-discoveries-in-ljubljana



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 06-Mar-2012 at 12:40
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2012 at 12:44


Ancient Byzantine road unearthed in Greece

Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient marble paved Byzantine road during excavation work for a new metro in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, the Culture Ministry said on Friday.

Dating from the third century BC, the marble paved road, known as the Via Egnatia, runs across much of modern day Thessaloniki at a depth of three meters.

Other finds range from hundreds of graves and tombs spanning an 800-year period from the fourth century BC, marble sarcophagi, stone tombs and more than 2,500 square meters of ancient buildings.

Many of the burial sites contained offerings, including 1,500 pieces of jewellry made of gold, silver and copper, Roman-era gold coins from Persia, clay vessels, glass perfume-holders and eight golden wreaths.

Founded in the fourth century BC by King Cassander of Macedonia, Thessaloniki emerged to become a major city through Hellenistic and Roman times.

The metro also runs beneath the city's historic Jewish cemetery, which was one of the largest in Europe and is believed to hold more than 300,000 graves......

http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/science/discovery/ancient-byzantine-road-unearthed-in-greece-1.1248617

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2012 at 15:27

Why It Took So Long to Invent the Wheel

The tricky thing about the wheel is not conceiving of a cylinder rolling on its edge. It's figuring out how to connect a stable, stationary platform to that cylinder

Wheels are the archetype of a primitive,caveman-level technology. But in fact, they're so ingenious that it took until 3500 B.C. for someone to invent them. By that time — it was the Bronze Age — humans were already casting metal alloys, constructing canals and sailboats, and even designing complex musical instruments such as harps.

The tricky thing about the wheel is not conceiving of a cylinder rolling on its edge. It's figuring out how to connect a stable, stationary platform to that cylinder.

"The stroke of brilliance was the wheel-and-axle concept," said David Anthony, a professor of anthropology at Hartwick College and author of "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language" (Princeton, 2007). "But then making it was also difficult."

To make a fixed axle with revolving wheels, Anthony explained, the ends of the axle had to be nearly perfectly smooth and round, as did the holes in the center of the wheels; otherwise, there would be too much friction for the wheels to turn. Furthermore, the axles had to fit snugly inside the wheels' holes, but not too snugly — they had to be free to rotate. [What Makes Wheels Appear to Spin Backward?]

The success of the whole structure was extremely sensitive to the size of the axle. While a narrow one would reduce the amount of friction, it would also be too weak to support a load. Meanwhile, a thick axle would hugely increase the amount of friction. "They solved this problem by making the earliest wagons quite narrow, so they could have short axles, which made it possible to have an axle that wasn't very thick," Anthony told Life's Little Mysteries.

The sensitivity of the wheel-and-axle system to all these factors meant that it could not have been developed in phases, he said. It was an all-or-nothing structure.

Whoever invented it must have had access to wide slabs of wood from thick-trunked trees in order to carve large, round wheels. They also needed metal tools to chisel fine-fitted holes and axles. And they must have had a need for hauling heavy burdens over land. According to Anthony, "It was the carpentry that probably delayed the invention until 3500 B.C. or so, because it was only after about 4000 B.C. that cast copper chisels and gouges became common in the Near East."

The invention of the wheel was so challenging that it probably happened only once, in one place. However, from that place, it seems to have spread so rapidly across Eurasia and the Middle East that experts cannot say for sure where it originated. The earliest images of wheeled carts have been excavated in Poland and elsewhere in the Eurasian steppes, and this region is overtaking Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) as the wheel's most likely birthplace. According to Asko Parpola, an Indologist at the University of Helsinki in Finland, there are linguistic reasons to believe the wheel originated with the Tripolye people of modern-day Ukraine. That is, the words associated with wheels and wagons derive from the language of that culture.

Parpola thinks miniature models of wheeled wagons, which are commonly found in the Eurasian steppes, likely predated human-scale wagons. "It is … striking that so many models were made in the Tripolye culture. Such models are often thought to have been children's toys, but it seems more likely to me that they were miniature counterparts of real things," he said. "The primacy of the miniature models is suggested by the fact that wheeled images of animals even come from native Indian cultures of Central America, where real wheels were never made."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-it-took-so-long-to-inv

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2012 at 15:29

Syrian Army Attacks Palmyra’s Roman Ruins

Since the violence that erupted in Syria nearly one year ago — a war that has so far left thousands dead and become one of the world’s biggest stories — the damage to the country’s ancient cities and cultural sites as a result of the conflict has remained largely unknown.

One report to surface last week, however, tells the story of Palmyra, where residents say the Syrian Army has set up camp in a citadel that overlooks both the modern city of 60,000 and the adjacent Roman ruins.  Before the uprising, Palmyra was one of Syria’s biggest tourism attractions.  Over the past month, though, hundreds of people have fled the city for safety.

“Palmyra is surrounded by the army from all fronts:  The Arab citadel, the olive and palm tree groves, the desert, the city,” an escaped resident told the Agence France-Presse.  “Machine gun fire rains down from the citadel at anything that moves in the ruins because they think it is rebels.” ........

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/march-2012/article/syrian-army-attacks-palmyras-roman-ruins

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2012 at 15:34

Ancient artwork offers a puzzling picture of past

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This is a detail of a portion of the mural at the Panther Cave site in Seminole Canyon along the Rio Grande and Lake Amistad. The prehistoric pictographs date back as far as 4,000 years ago

On the wall of a limestone cave above the Rio Grande, at about the time the pyramids were rising in ancient Egypt, a nomadic people painted fantastic scenes of human and animal figures, leaving a story that resists modern interpretation.

Pausing at one of the compositions, archaeologist Amanda Castañeda pointed out details, lost to the untrained eye, in a faint humanoid figure.

“This dates to about 4,000 years ago. What's interesting about this guy is that his atlatl (throwing stick) is backwards and his wrist has a crazy decoration. The more you look, the more you see,” she said.

Across the broad stone canvas were dozens of surreal and distorted figures of humans, deer, rabbits and felines, as well as others aptly classified as “enigmatics,” simply because they remain inscrutable.

A large reddish figure of a bounding mountain lion gave the place its name decades ago.

Accessible only by boat, Panther Cave, in Seminole Canyon, is one of several hundred sites in the Lower Pecos region with ancient Indian paintings and rock carvings now recognized worldwide as archaeological treasures.

“Pecos rock art compares favorably with great rock art elsewhere on other continents,” Jean Clottes, president of the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations, wrote in a recent email. He has made three trips from France to West Texas to study the rock art.

“I won't say if it is better or not because it would be like comparing great painters such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Velasquez!” he exclaimed.

It is also no accident that next year the Texas Archeological Society will hold its annual convention here again. The work of archaeologist Carolyn Boyd and others have made Del Rio an archaeological hotspot.......

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Ancient-artwork-offers-a-puzzling-picture-of-past-3380300.php


 



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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2012 at 15:38

New research shows ancient Maya women were powerful leaders

Some ancient Maya deities were female and the women themselves served as heads of state and warlords until the Spanish colonization of Mexico in the 1500s.

To cell phone-toting, internet-obsessed citizens of the modern world, ancient cultures may seem difficult to relate to. But a new look at Maya art and artifacts shows one of the most advanced ancient societies allowed women much more contemporary power than previously believed.


“I think the popular belief is that they were restricted to the private household,” said Shankari Patel, an anthropology graduate student at the University of California-Riverside. “The popular belief would be that women stay at home, they didn’t really participate in the rituals that were very important in Maya society. The previous research I looked at left out women completely.”

Patel studied artifacts at the British Museum that were brought to the U.K. from Cozumel, Mexico in the 1800s. She found spindle whorls, which were used by Maya women to weave cloth, and she thought it was curious that something apparently meant for private use was so elaborately decorated. With further research she was able to conclude that the spindle whorls were used in public Maya rituals as a symbol of feminine identity.

“Patriarchy in the past is very different,” she said. “Women controlled their own reproductive rights. They had women healers and women midwifes.”

Patel said that because many of the Maya sites were excavated by men, many of their questions about the ancient civilization weren’t related to women. She looked at iconography on art and pottery that showed evidence of female rulers and deities and read historical documents written by the Mayas that detailed their way of life.

The Spanish expedition in the 1500s led by Hernán Cortés saw the destruction of the Maya way of life and the collapse of its society, which developed from about 250 A.D. 

“The first person [the Spanish] met was a woman,” Patel said, “The first thing they thought was, ‘What kind of a woman would leave a woman to make first contact?’ They refused to talk with her, so a man had to come and deal with them.”

Thomas Patterson, a professor of anthropology at UC-Riverside and Patel’s dissertation advisor, said part of the reason women’s role in Maya culture has been lost for so long is that archaeologists have been too focused on the bigger sites. Now that that’s changing, researchers are learning more.

“These sites were all viewed as being built by men, viewed by men, and female deities were just weird,” Patterson said. “We didn’t know what to do with those. I think it gives us a much more textured understanding of the role of women in Maya society.”

Cynthia Robin, a professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, called Patel’s research a “very significant finding” and stressed the importance of looking at history to inform the present.

“One of the things we know about Maya society is before the Spanish conquest there was no glass ceiling for women as there appears to be in our own society,” she said.

Robin said that in Maya culture, women were heads of state as well as war lords. 

“One of the great things about archaeological research is that it can show us how different life was in the past and how it is in the future,” she said. “So if we assume that gender relations were always the same then we’re just kind of justifying the inequalities that exist today.”

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=202656


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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2012 at 15:40

Roman slabstone, early-Ottoman column discovered after Bisser disaster

Several archaeological finds have been unearthed as work continues on clearing the debris following the flooding of the village of Bisser in southern Bulgaria, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said.
At least eight people died and dozens had to be evacuated as the village was flooded because of a burst wall in the nearby Ivanovo dam. The flood destroyed several houses.

It was unclear whether the finds had been unearthed by the water flow or carried by the water, archaeologists from the Harmanli historical museum said.

The stone slab appeared to be part of a Roman-era public building, while the hexagonal column was specific for the early Ottoman era. A similar column had been found near the village in the 1960s, BNT said.

Archaeologists from Harmanli would monitor the digging of foundations for new houses in Bisser to see if any other artifacts can be found, but that would not, in any way, delay the construction of new homes for the families that lost theirs in the flood, the head of the Harmanli historical museum, Toshko Spiridonov, told BNT.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2012 at 14:14

Human remains uncovered at York Minster

York Minster. The remains are thought to date to before the present Minster's construction.

Human remains believed to be more than 800 years old have been discovered at York Minster.

The body was found by archaeologists during routine work to build a new lift-shaft in the Minster's Undercroft.

It is the first time for 40 years that archaeologists have been permitted to work at the cathedral.

The lift-shaft is being constructed as part of the £10.5m York Minster Revealed project due to be completed in May 2015.

The Very Reverend Keith Jones, Dean of York, said he hoped the discovery would provide new insights into the earliest years of York Minster.

Dean Jones added: "York Minster's walls have been witness to centuries of human life and I feel sure that archaeologists are likely to encounter even more human burials during their three-week tenure.

"We would expect to find, when working at York Minster, evidence of previous life all around the place. Having found the remains of our forebears, they will be reverently cared for until such time as they can be reinterred within the walls of York Minster."

Ian Milsted, from York Archaeological Trust, said the grave site had been undisturbed for many centuries which led them to think it pre-dated the present building which was constructed over 250 years between the 13th and 15th centuries.

He said: "To be the first archaeologist here in 40 years, unearthing York Minster's history is amazing. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2012 at 14:16
Darwin cleared of deceit
Darwin cleared of deceit
Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace with a map of the world from The Geographical Distribution of Animals.

Thanks to a generous gift, a National University of Singapore (NUS) study traced historical shipping records and vindicated Darwin from accusations of deceit.

For the past four decades, Charles Darwin had been accused of keeping the essay of fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace for a fortnight, thereby enabling him to revise elements of his theory of evolution, before jointly announcing the theory of evolution by natural selection in July 1858. Just recently, two researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), supported by a private donation, reconstructed the route taken by Wallace’s letter to Darwin from Ternate and provided evidence that Wallace sent the letter a month later than historians had always assumed, thus clearing Darwin of the accusations against him.

Dr John van Wyhe, a historian of science and Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Biological Sciences & History at NUS and his collaborator Dr Kees Rookmaaker, published their study, titled “A new theory to explain the receipt of Wallace’s Ternate Essay by Darwin in 1848“, in theBiological Journal of the Linnean Society in December 2011. This study was supported by a generous private donation to the Darwin Online-Wallace Online projects.

The controversy

Alfred Russel Wallace, the naturalist who spent eight years in Singapore and South East Asia between 1854 and 1862, discovered evolution by natural selection independently of Charles Darwin. Wallace had a dramatic eureka moment while living on the island of Ternate in the Moluccas (now Indonesia). He wrote up his ideas in an essay which he sent in 1858, to Charles Darwin, for him to pass on to noted geologist Charles Lyell. Darwin’s accusers claim that he waited two weeks to do so, lying about the date of receipt to give himself time to revise his own ideas in the light of Wallace’s.

Wallace’s essay was published together with an essay by Darwin in 1858 and marks the first publication of the theory of evolution which then resulted in one of the greatest revolutions in the history of science.

How the mystery began

In 1972 a researcher found another letter from Wallace to a friend named Bates that was sent on the March 1858 steamer from the island of Ternate. The letter still bore postmarks from Singapore and London which showed that it arrived in London on 3 June 1858 – two weeks before Darwin said he received the essay from Wallace. Thus began the mystery – how could two letters from Wallace leave Ternate on the same steamer and travel along the same mail route back to London but Darwin received his two weeks later than Bates did? This mystery has led to numerous conspiracy theories. For example, several writers have claimed that Darwin stole ideas from Wallace’s essay during the time he kept the letter secret. But most other evidence suggests that Darwin received the letter when he said he did.

So did Darwin receive the letter when he said he did, or not?

I initially assumed that it was impossible to solve since so many historians had examined it before. But it occurred to me that we really have no contemporary evidence of when Wallace sent the essay to Darwin, only his much later recollection that he sent it by the next post after writing it in February. That suggested that the essay was sent in March 1858. But this recollection from years later seemed to me not very reliable as evidence of what really happened at the time. The other evidence that Darwin received it on 18 June 1858 seemed more likely. All of his correspondence changed dramatically after that date for example. Since that side of the correspondence was all one really had to go on, it occurred to me to trace the letter from Darwin’s end, rather than Wallace’s,” said Dr van Wyhe.

If Darwin really received it on 18 June- how could it get there? It had come to his house in the countryside from London the day before, the 17th.

Dr van Wyhe then found that a steamer arrived in England the day before, the 16th with mail from India and South East Asia. This was surely not a coincidence – Wallace’s letter must have been on that ship. Dr van Wyhe then had to trace back the remainder of the 9,240 miles of the journey from England, through the Mediterranean, across Egypt, to Sri Lanka, Penang, Singapore, Jakarta and so on. His assistant on the Wallace Online project, Dr Kees Rookmaaker, who speaks Dutch, was an invaluable help as he was able to check the ship arrival and departure times in the Dutch newspapers and sources for the Dutch East Indies, while Dr van Wyhe went through the English newspapers. It was an exciting detective story tracing the connections that mail batch took from London to South East Asia.

Eventually our mail itinerary was completed all the way back to Ternate and we were astonished to find that there was an unbroken series of mail connections to Ternate – not in March as all other writers before had assumed, but in April 1858! My further research has clarified why Wallace mailed it later than we assumed and many other parts of this famous, but misunderstood chapter in the history of science,” added Dr van Wyhe.

First of all, we now know that Wallace was replying to an early letter from Darwin- and that letter from Darwin arrived in Ternate on the March steamer. We have assembled the first complete collection of all the surviving Wallace correspondence from Ternate and nearby islands. These reveal that he never replied to a letter on the same steamer which delivered it. Apparently the turn over time was too short. Therefore this is an additional reason to doubt that Wallace could have sent the famous letter to Darwin in March as so long assumed,” said Dr van Wyhe.

Dr van Wyhe is currently completing a major new book on Wallace in South East Asia which aims to radically revise the traditional story of Wallace and his famous independent discovery of evolution.

Dr van Wyhe is the Director of the research project in Singapore – Wallace Online, a website which aims to be the definitive and reliable source of Wallace’s work. It will contain all of Wallace’s books and article, as well as a complete collection of his specimens collected from South-east Asia, and much more, such as a revised itinerary of his whereabouts during these years and his notebooks edited for the first time to modern scholarly standards. The website will be launched in 2013, the centenary of the death of Wallace.

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/03/2012/darwin-cleared-of-deceit



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 09-Mar-2012 at 14:20
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2012 at 14:23

Bristol archaeologists unearth slave burial ground on St Helena

Archaeologists from the University of Bristol have unearthed a unique slave burial ground on the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena. The excavation, which took place in advance of construction of a new airport on the island, has revealed dramatic insights into the victims of the Atlantic slave trade during the notorious Middle Passage.

The tiny island of St Helena, 1,000 miles off the coast of south-west Africa, acted as the landing place for many of the slaves, captured by the Royal Navy during the suppression of the slave trade between 1840 and 1872.  During this period a total of around 26,000 freed slaves were brought to the island, most of whom were landed at a depot in Rupert’s Bay.  The appalling conditions aboard the slave ships meant that many did not survive their journey, whilst Rupert’s Valley – arid, shadeless, and always windy – was poorly suited to act as a hospital and refugee camp for such large numbers.  At least 5,000 people are likely to have been buried there.

Part of the cemetery was investigated between 2006 and 2008 in advance of a new road that had to pass through Rupert’s Valley to provide access to the proposed airport project.  Some 325 bodies in a combination of individual, multiple and mass graves were discovered.  Only five individuals were buried in coffins: one adolescent and four still- or newborn babies.  The remainder had been placed (or thrown) directly into shallow graves, before being hastily covered.  In some cases mothers were buried with their presumed children, or sometimes the bodies were so close that there might have been a familial relationship.

Now archaeologists, led by Dr Andrew Pearson of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol, are publishing for the first time the results of their discoveries and the subsequent scientific investigations of the human remains and associated grave goods buried with them.

Osteological analysis shows that 83 per cent of the bodies were those of children, teenagers or young adults – prime material for the slave traders who sought victims with a long potential working life.  In most cases the actual cause of death is not clear, but this is unsurprising because the main killers aboard a slave ship (such as dehydration, dysentery and smallpox) leave no pathological trace.  Nevertheless, scurvy was widespread on the skeletons; several showed indications of violence and two older children appear to have been shot.

Despite its horrific nature, the archaeology showed those buried within the graveyard as more than simply victims.  These were people from a rich culture, with a strong sense of ethnic and personal identity.  This is best evidenced by numerous examples of dental modifications, achieved by chipping or carving of the front teeth.  A few had also managed to retain items of jewellery (beads and bracelets), despite the physical ‘stripping process’ that would have taken place after their capture, prior to embarkation on the slave ships.

In addition to the large number of beads, burial conditions allowed for the survival of textiles, including ribbons. A number of metal tags were also found on the bodies that would have identified the slaves by name or number.

Dr Andrew Pearson, director of the project, commented: “Studies of slavery usually deal with unimaginable numbers, work on an impersonal level, and, in so doing, overlook the individual victims.  In Rupert’s Valley, however, the archaeology brings us (quite literally) face-to-face with the human consequences of the slave trade.”

Professor Mark Horton said: “Here we have the victims of the Middle Passage – one of the greatest crimes against humanity – not just as numbers, but as human beings.  These remains are certainly some of the most moving that I have ever seen in my archaeological career.”

The artefacts from the excavations are currently at the University of Bristol and will be transferred to Liverpool for an exhibition at the International Slavery Museum in 2013 before returning to St Helena. The human remains will shortly be re-interred on St Helena......

http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2012/8294.html

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2012 at 17:49

Genome Research on Gorillas Sheds New Light on Human Evolution

A research team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have concluded that there are more similarities between the genomes, or genetic makeup, of humans and gorillas than previously known, and that their respective evolutionary lines diverged approximately 10 million years ago, consistent with interpretations of the fossil record. Their finds confirm that, although the human and chimpanzee are more closely related genetically, there are portions of the human genome that more closely resemble the gorilla genome than they do that of the chimpanzee. 

Says Aylwyn Scally, senior author of the study, "The gorilla genome is important because it sheds light on the time when our ancestors diverged from our closest evolutionary cousins. It also lets us explore the similarities and differences between our genes and those of gorilla, the largest living primate. Using DNA from Kamilah, a female western lowland gorilla, we assembled a gorilla genome sequence and compared it with the genomes of the other great apes. We also sampled DNA sequences from other gorillas in order to explore genetic differences between gorilla species."

The researchers analyzed over 11,000 human, chimpanzee and gorilla genes to identify genetic changes that are key to evolution. They discovered that, while humans and chimpanzees are still genetically closest to each other for most of the genome, there are a significant number of places along the genome where gorillas and humans more closely match. Specifically, about 15% of the human genome resembles the gorilla genome more closely than that of the chimpanzee's. On the other hand, about 15% of the chimpanzee genome more closely parallels the gorilla's than the human's. In combination, findings like this have been interpreted to suggest a kind of "smoking gun" for the existence of a common ancestor for humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. The study confirms that the respective evolutionary lines of gorillas and humans diverged approximately 10 million years ago. It is thought that chimpanzees and humans diverged about 4.5 - 8.0 million years ago. 

Additional findings included indicators that the split between the eastern African and western African gorillas was much more recent, occurring within the last million years, and that the process was gradual. This gradual split may have implications for understanding the divergence among other apes and humans as well, such as between the ape line and the human line, between chimpanzees and bonobos, and modern humans and Neanderthals. 

"Our research completes the genetic picture for overall comparisons of the great apes," says Dr Richard Durbin, a senior member of the research team, "After decades of debate, our genetic interpretations are now consistent with the fossil record and provide a way for palaeontologists and geneticists to work within the same framework."

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/march-2012/article/genome-research-on-gorillas-shed-new-light-on-human-evolution

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2012 at 07:35

Worsley Man: Hospital scanner probes Iron Age bog death

The head of an Iron Age man who died almost 2,000 years ago has been scanned in a Manchester hospital to shed light on how he died.

Worsley Man is thought to have lived around 100 AD when Romans occupied much of Britain.

Since its discovery in a Salford peat bog in 1958, the head has been kept at Manchester Museum on Oxford Road.

The scans at the Manchester Children's Hospital have now revealed more details about his violent death.

Doctors said CAT scan tests revealed damage to the remains of his neck, almost certainly caused by a ligature.

Speculation about the death of the man, thought to be in his 20s or 30s, has previously included robbery or human sacrifice.

'2,000-year-old patient'

Bryan Sitch, curator of archaeology at Manchester Museum, said it now appeared the man was bludgeoned over the head, garrotted then beheaded.

He said: "The radiology staff at the hospital were quite excited to have a 2,000-year-old patient.

"This really was an extraordinary level of violence, it could be that there was some sort of ritual behind this."

The death of Worsley Man shares some similarities with another Iron Age body found in a Cheshire peat bog in 1984.

Tests on Lindow Man, who lived around 150 years earlier, suggest he had also been garrotted, as well as having his throat slit.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-17300084

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2012 at 07:39
Ancient calculator on display at Archaeological museum
file photo

An exhibition entitled "The wreck of Antikythera - The ship, the treasures, the Mechanism", will open at the Archaeological Museum in Athens on April 5 and will run for a year.
 
This is the first time that all the findings from the Antikythera wreck, dated between 60-50 BC, will be displayed together, while some of the items have never been displayed before.
 
Sometime before Easter 1900, Elias Stadiatis, a Greek sponge diver, discovered the wreck of an ancient cargo ship off Antikythera Island at a depth of 42 m (138 ft). Sponge divers retrieved several statues and other artifacts from the site.
 
The Mechanism itself was discovered on May 17, 1901, when archaeologist Valerios Stais noticed that a piece of rock recovered from the site had a gear wheel embedded in it. Examination revealed that the "rock" was in fact a heavily encrusted and corroded mechanism that had survived the shipwreck in three main parts and dozens of smaller fragments.
 
The device itself was surprisingly thin, about 33 cm (13 in) high, 17 cm (6.7 in) wide, and 9 cm (3.5 in) thick, made of bronze and originally mounted in a wooden frame. It was inscribed with a text of over 2,000 characters, many of which have only just recently been deciphered.
 
The Antikythera Mechanism is believed to be an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as a "mechanical computer") designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to about 150-100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity appeared a thousand years later.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2012 at 07:40
The Gauls of Acy-Romance: Discovering the Remi
Visitors to the village of Acy-Romance north of the modern day French city of Rheims, will see no sign of the Gallic village that was once there. However, very unusually, this village has been fully excavated.

A succession of digs over fifteen years, plot by plot, has revealed the full details of the little Gallic settlement that stood here some 2200 years ago, in the heart of the territory of the Remi tribe.

Aerial reconstruction of village. Image © Ministère de la culture et de la communication

Aerial reconstruction of village. Image © Ministère de la culture et de la communication


You can now take a virtual tour of the village.

Set on a plain above the Aisne valley, it was structured around a religious centre comprising a burial mound with an ancestral tomb, a large square and five buildings, the “temples”.

Around this stood the residential quarters, with livestock farmers to the northeast, arable farmers to the east, artisans to the southeast and labourers (probably slaves) to the north.

Village reconstruction. Image © Ministère de la culture et de la communication

Village reconstruction. Image © Ministère de la culture et de la communication


Items discovered on the site during its excavation have revealed the way of life and standard of living of the people who lived there, what they did in their daily life and their carefully structured and highly sophisticated funerary practices.

The complex burials of young men near the main temple suggest the possibility of human sacrifice.

One of the burials excavated at the site. Image © Ministère de la culture et de la communication

One of the burials excavated at the site. Image © Ministère de la culture et de la communication


The virtual tour

With an amazing 3D recreation of the village of Acy-Romance, 500 documents including photos, plans, interactive documents and animated sequences, the website presents the very latest research on Gallic civilisation in a dynamic, clear and user-friendly format.

This multimedia production provides an opportunity to mention the commitment of the team ofvolunteer archaeologists whose excavation work has revealed one of the largest Gallic sites ever to be studied and whose research has revolutionised our understanding of Gallic civilisation.

The Great Archaeological Sites multimedia collection

Designed by Bernard Lambot and available in French and English versions, this website is the twentieth to be included in the collection of Great Archaeological Sites produced by the Secretariat General of the Department for Higher Education, Research and Technology, in collaboration with the Archaeology Service of the Directorate General for Heritage. Following the publication of the websites on the Southern Gauls (Entremont in Provence and Lattes in Languedoc), it has turned the spotlight onto the Northeastern Gauls, with a collection covering the different periods, from Prehistory to the modern era, including sites such as Lascaux,Saint-Denis and the Saint-Malo shipwrecks.

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/03/2012/the-gauls-of-acy-romance-discovering-the-remi



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 10-Mar-2012 at 07:43
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2012 at 07:46

Palestine to Submit 20 Sites for UNESCO World Heritage Site Nomination


On its first day as a full-fledged UNESCO member state, Palestinian officials wasted no time announcing plans to submit the names of 20 sites in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for nomination to the World Heritage List.

“Within the next few days, we will submit a tentative list of 20 sites to be added to the list,” Omar Awadallah, head of the U.N. department at the Palestinian foreign ministry, told the AFP.  “From today we are a full party as a state so now we can start all the things that states can do within the rules of the convention; one of them is that we can submit our list to the World Heritage Committee.”

The list includes historic sites like Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity (believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ), the Old City of Hebron, the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and Umayyad Palaces like Khirbat al Mafjar.

Last fall, a vote by UNESCO members granted full membership to Palestine, but not without serious costs.  The U.S. immediately withdrew its support for the organization — about 22 percent of the group’s annual budget.  UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova launched a multi-donor Emergency Fund, which has so far received close to $30 million in contributions from Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Indonesia, East Timor, Iceland, Turkey, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Belize and others.

Until today, Palestine — home to some of the most historic and sensitive sites on the planet — could not formally submit any properties for nomination to the World Heritage List, which recognizes cultural and natural heritage sites with “outstanding universal value.”  Once the tentative list is submitted, it will act as an inventory of the locations Palestinian authorities wish to register.  The finalized list will be presented when the World Heritage Committee holds its annual meeting in June to discuss which sites to accept.

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/march-2012/article/palestine-to-submit-20-sites-for-unesco-world-heritage-site-nomination



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 10-Mar-2012 at 07:47
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  Quote tjadams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2012 at 10:59

Full Titanic wreck site is mapped for first time

Published March 09, 2012-Associated Press


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine –  Researchers have pieced together what's believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-mile-by-5-mile Titanic debris field and hope it will provide new clues about what exactly happened the night 100 years ago when the superliner hit an iceberg, plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic and became a legend.

Marks on the muddy ocean bottom suggest, for instance, that the stern rotated like a helicopter blade as the ship sank, rather than plunging straight down, researchers told The Associated Press this week.

An expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the map, which shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed after striking an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people.

Explorers of the Titanic -- which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City -- have known for more than 25 years where the bow and stern landed after the vessel struck an iceberg. But previous maps of the floor around the wreckage were incomplete, said Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian who consulted on the 2010 expedition. Studying the site with old maps was like trying to navigate a dark room with a weak flashlight.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/09/full-titanic-wreck-site-is-mapped-for-first-time/#ixzz1opAu58k2



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  Quote tjadams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2012 at 11:03

All hail the new king: New ancient Egyptian pharaoh discovered

Written By Rossella Lorenzi-Published March 08, 2012-Discovery News


A new king has been added to the long list of ancient pharaohs, the Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim, announced this week.

The king's name, Senakht-en-Re, emerged from the engraved remains of a limestone door found by a French-Egyptian team‭ ‬in the Temple of Karnak complex on Luxor’s east bank.

The archaeologists, led by French Egyptologist Christophe Thiers, of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), unearthed a fragmented lintel and an imposing door jamb during routine excavation at the temple of Ptah.

Belonging to an administrative structure dating to the enigmatic 17th Dynasty (about 1634-1543 BC) the limestone remains featured hieroglyphics which indicated that the door was dedicated to Amun-Re.‭

"They also revealed who ordered the construction of this structure. It was the pharaoh Senakht-en-Re," said a CNRS statement.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/08/all-hail-new-king-new-king-ancient-egypt-discovered/#ixzz1opByNi22



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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2012 at 16:38
Rome's Lost Aqueduct
Searching for the source of one of the city’s greatest engineering achievements
Archaeologist Katherine Rinne stands beside a large ancient Roman springhouse that may belong to the lost “Carestia” spring, one of the possible sources of the Aqua Traiana.

Few monuments that survive from antiquity better represent Roman pragmatism, ingenuity, and the desire to impress than the aqueducts built to fulfill the Romans’ seemingly unslakable need for water. Around the turn of the second century A.D., the emperor Trajan began construction on a new aqueduct for the city of Rome. At the time, demands on the city’s water supply were enormous. In addition to satisfying the utilitarian needs of Rome’s one million inhabitants, as well as that of wealthy residents in their rural and suburban villas, water fed impressive public baths and monumental fountains throughout the city. Although the system was already sufficient, the desire to build aqueducts was often more a matter of ideology than absolute need.

Whether responding to genuine necessity or not, a new aqueduct itself was a statement of a city’s power, grandeur, and influence in an age when such things mattered greatly. Its creation also glorified its sponsor. Trajan—provoked, in part, by the unfinished projects of his grandiose predecessor, Domitian—seized the opportunity to build his own monumental legacy in the capital: the Aqua Traiana (“Aqueduct of Trajan” in Latin). The aqueduct further burnished the emperor’s image by bringing a huge volume of water to two of his other massive projects—the Baths of Trajan, overlooking the Colosseum, and the Naumachia of Trajan, a vast open basin in the Vatican plain surrounded by spectator seating for staged naval battles.

Upon its completion, the Aqua Traiana was one of the 11 aqueducts that, by the end of the emperor’s reign, carried hundreds of millions of gallons of water a day. It was also one of the largest of the aqueducts that sustained the ancient city between 312 B.C., when Rome received its first one, and A.D. 537, when the Goths besieged the city and reportedly cut every conduit outside the city walls. At the time of its dedication in A.D. 109, the Aqua Traiana ran for more than 25 miles, beginning at a cluster of springs on the northwestern side of Lake Bracciano before heading southeast to Rome. However, for all the aqueduct’s importance to the city, its sources and the architecture that marked them have eluded archaeologists despite centuries of searching. Now, thanks to an unusual set of circumstances that preserved them, the Aqua Traiana’s sources are being brought to light at last. And for the first time, a well-preserved, monumentalized aqueduct source associated with a Roman aqueduct
has been identified.

In 2008, documentary filmmakers Ted and Mike O’Neill began a project to reinvestigate Rome’s aqueducts. The O’Neills started to review the existing scholarship on the aqueducts and their sources. To these self-described “archive rats,” the results weren’t at all satisfying. Scholars had repeatedly ignored or misinterpreted valuable evidence from descriptive documents dating from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries— for example, Carlo Fea’s History of the Waters of Rome of 1832. Soon, the Aqua Traiana became the focus of their research, since they knew it had enjoyed an extensive revival centuries after its construction. During the Middle Ages, the aqueduct had fallen into ruin. In the early 1600s, Pope Paul V—an ambitious builder much like Trajan some 1,500 years before him—undertook construction of a massive new aqueduct. At that time, some standing remains of the Aqua Traiana were probably still visible here and there in the countryside. Many of the original springs were still flowing. And it may have been possible to locate buried sections of the aqueduct by following its path underground........

http://www.archaeology.org/1203/features/rome_aqua_traiana_aqueduct_carestia.html



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 11-Mar-2012 at 16:42
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