- by Ondřej Mlejnek
“A number of new works concerning the Moravian Upper Palaeolithic have appeared over the last thirteen years. This thematic review presents an overview of Upper Palaeolithic excavations conducted in the third millennium in Moravia and all major works on this topic. The review is structured chronologically, it begins with the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition (technocomplexes of Szeletian and Bohunician), continues with Early Upper Palaeolithic (Aurignacian) and Middle Upper Palaeolithic (Gravettian or Pavlovian) and ends with the Late Upper Palaeolithic (technocomplexes of Epigravettian and Magdalenian). The works which are not connected with any particular period, such as papers discussing raw materials, settlement strategies, regional overviews of the Palaeolithic settlement or synthesis, are mentioned in the last chapter. The main aim of this thematic review is to present recent results of research into the Moravian Upper Palaeolithic to a foreign audience” (read more/open access).
(Open access source: Interdisciplinaria Archaeologica, Natural Sciences in Archaeology 4(2), 2013 via Academia.edu)
A Picture of Serpent Mound. It is pretty amazing from above. I posted a map of the park yesterday with a little info. I still have not been. Now on my To Do list. To plan your visit: http://arcofappalachia.org/visit/serpent-mound-earthworks.html
The Aswan Dam: During its construction in the 1960s, the Aswan Dam held back greater amounts of water each year. As the water rose, many important archaeological sites were flooded, such as these sphinxes lining the avenue of the Temple at Wadi es-Sebua. In 1964, the sphinxes and temple were rescued and put on higher ground.
A remarkably preserved Roman coffin, and a child’s shoe found within it. Excavated by Wessex Archaeology at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, England.
This burial is the earliest in its cemetery, and dates to around 220 AD. Later burials are clustered around it.
When the archaeologists lifted the lid of this stone coffin, they were surprised to find that it had not been filled with soil. Instead was the skeleton of a woman cradling in her arms a young child. Check out this video if you’re interested in seeing the part of the excavation.
Of the items in the coffin, the child’s leather shoe (pictured) survived. Laces that strapped the shoe can be clearly seen, as well as the holes for stitching the shoe together. The woman’s deer skin slippers also survived.
"The preservation of the shoes is remarkable. Because the processes of decay were quite slow we also have traces of cloth that have been preserved by a chemical reaction with the metal bangle. We even have traces of the puparia from which the coffin flies that infested the body hatched. Squeamish but fascinating!"
-Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology
Photos courtesy Wessex Archaeology.
What archaeologists can (but usually don’t) do to help reduce and regulate the illicit trade in cultural objects
Last night, when I was a bit distracted, a story I posted on twitter and some comments I made spun into a forked debate: 1) how can archaeologists modify and change the way our profession is presented in the popular press and 2) what can archaeologists do to aid research into the illicit antiquities trade. I, of course, was interested in the second. Although twitter is certainly not the place to grumble about such things, I made a series of tweets decrying archaeological complacency when it comes to a massive swath of transnational crime that just happens to threaten our livelihoods. I asserted………. Read More
Read and find more great archaeology blogs at: Archaeology Blog ProjectThis article actually answers a question I had earlier about the ethics of helping treasure hunters. Actually pretty important points are made, too!
Scientists have demonstrated that an abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon affected northwest India 4,100 years ago. The resulting drought coincided with the beginning of the decline of the metropolis-building Indus Civilization, which spanned present-day Pakistan and India, suggesting that climate change could be why many of the major cities of the civilization were abandoned.
A mysterious mummy that languished in German collections for more than a century is that of an Incan woman killed by blunt-force trauma to the head, new research reveals.
A new analysis shows that the mummy was once an Incan woman who also suffered from a parasitic disease that thickens the heart and intestinal walls, raising the possibility that she was killed in a ritual murder because she was already on the brink of death.
The story began in the 1890s, when Princess Therese of Bavaria acquired two mummies during a trip to South America. One was soon lost, but the other somehow made its way to the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Munich. Read more.
The first photo following the discovery of Machu Pichu in 1912.
I hate to be knit-picky, but I’m gonna do it anyway, because the history of Machu Picchu as an archaeological site/site of European interest is fascinating.
Machu Picchu wasn’t discovered in the least, in fact, before Hiram Bingham was shown where it was (by a Quechua guide, to whom it was old hat), there are at least five other (white/European) people that may or may not have already interacted with the site, nevermind that it was a well known place to locals Quechua people (some of whom had repurposed site materials for their homes). While the Spanish supposedly weren’t aware of the site, a few German and English visitors were. Bingham was looking for Vilcabamba (by the way, that’s in Ecuador~), and wouldn’t have ‘found’ Machu Picchhu if not for his guides blatantly pointing it out.
The ‘cleaning up’ and essential looting of the site by Bingham’s team remains a point of contention between Peru and Yale. Also, he though it was a temple of the Virgins of The Sun, probably after osteologist George Eaton categorized skeletal remains from the site as most all female. In 2000, that was debunked by modern osteological knowledge of variation in height and size of Inca male individuals as compared to the way osteologists primarily learned from white/Euro skeletal remains (remains were nearly 50/50 male/female).
Here are some sources, also the wiki page is sourced well.
Thank you. And thanks for the excellent question.
I can’t even watch those shows, and I’ll explain why.
As a very science-minded person, I understand that things can generally never be known with absolute certainty. Essentially, anything’s possible. However, what scientists do with that knowledge is use the scientific method to try to determine the most likely explanations for things. Because nothing’s certain they’re always open to criticism and discussion, but by using scientific tools we can generally determine likely explanations for how the universe works and in the case of archaeology likely and unlikely occurrences in the past.
History also focuses on finding the most likely past events and the reasons why they happened. To do this, historians have to consult both archaeological evidence and written and other historical records. History is also an ever-changing study as new evidence comes to light or things are reinterpreted from new perspectives. It’s basically impossible to say what exactly happened in the past since we usually weren’t there to witness it, but by utilizing primary sources and large bodies of scientific evidence, we can hopefully get pretty close.
Ancient Aliens and shows like it don’t have the reliance on large bodies of evidence and scientific scrutiny that is true of the above fields. Ancient Aliens, like most conspiracy theories, base their conclusions on inconclusive evidence and gaps in collected data and records which they try to fill in with “what if” scenarios. Unlike scientific or historical theories, their theories do not have to be proved but are based around forcing others to try to disprove them. Since, like I said, almost anything’s possible but not necessarily likely, pretty much anything can be held up as a theory if you approach theories like that. And that’s why real scientists and historians place the burden of proof on their theories themselves and not the audience of those theories.
In addition to all this, I find shows like Ancient Aliens downright offensive. There is a huge body of evidence showing that people throughout time have built wonders, come up with impressive art and technology and math and writing systems, made amazing discoveries about their world, and altered their environments. Throwing out evidence of all this incredible human achievement in favor of an alien conspiracy theory based on little to nothing is downright insulting to the people who accomplished all those things and to our whole species in general. Humanity is fascinating, mysterious, terrifying, and brilliant. No aliens required.
Perfect description of pseudo archaeology. I had a class in which we punched holes through many of the Ancient Aliens “theories” and other classic myths like Piltdown Man. The History Channel’s misinterpretation of history and archaeology is not a new phenomenon, and people think it’s shows describe events are concrete facts about the past.
To be honest, I only watch the History Channel now for Pawn Stars. Don’t mock me! I watch so I know if something I find is valuable enough to later donate to the local historical society after a project is complete. But that’s another can of worms in the field of archaeology.
Traces of coca and nicotine found in Egyptian mummies - WTF fun facts
well DUH. a lot of historians are still trying to process the fact that ancient egyptians knew how to build boats, which is ridiculous. why would they not be seafarers and explorers?
this is not new or surprising information at all. it pretty much day one of any african-american studies course.
the egyptians knew that if they put their boats in front of the summer storm winds it’d blow them right across the sea to the Americas and they shared that with the greeks.
It’s really hard for people to understand that everyone had boats, exploration, and trade interactions without the same level of murder, colonization, and violence that the Europeans did. It’s really hard for people to get that.
ITS EVEN IN TEXTBOOKS THAT NONWHITE PEOPLES TRAVELLED AND EXPLORED, THEY JUST DIDNT HAVE THE NEED TO BE TERRITORIAL AND SLAUGHTER EVERYONE AND STEAL THE LAND FROM THEIR CLUTCHES
brown people do something white people do. white peopel cant believe this
While I respect the points being made about European history’s disregard for non-European history, teh archaeology in this whole thread is soooooooooooooo wrong.
The results in which cocoa was found were produced by one researcher and her lab and could not be replicated by other researchers:
Two attempts to replicate Balbanova’s finds of cocaine failed, suggesting “that either Balabanova and her associates are misinterpreting their results or that the samples of mummies tested by them have been mysteriously exposed to cocaine.
Counsell, D. C., “Intoxicants in Ancient Egypt? Opium, nymphea, coca, and tobacco,” in David, Ann Rosalie, ed. Egyptian Mummies and Modern Science, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-521-86579-1 p.213
Also, all the cocoa results came from mummies in the collection of the Munich museum raising comments about contamination.
The nicotine results have been replicated, but first, tobacco is not the only source of nicotine in the natural world - a number of old world plants, including eggplant, have compounds in them which break down like nicotine. Second, too little attention has been paid to the post-excavation lives of these mummies - many were excavated in pre-scientific, heavy smoking conditions.
Buckland, P & Panagiotakopulu, E. 2001. Ramses II and the tobacco beetle. Antiquity 75: 549-556.
We need to do a better job talking about the breadth and depth of non-European history and prehistory, but bad science is not the way forward. It undermines real data and creates a perception that all alternatives to traditional history are risible.
In short: do better tumblr activists!
I think you mean do better WTF fun facts- because the overall point of the posts to follow were that this was overwhelmingly old news. No one cares if Egyptians used new world drugs or are chocolate, they do however, care that people seem to think this “evidence” sheds light on a new historical fact, which it doesn’t.
… but that ‘old news’ isn’t true?
We have no evidence that Egyptians ever made it to the Americas. The coca/nicotine thing is pretty much the only thing that’s even been put forth as evidence. (Also, painting the Egyptians as non-conquering, non-violent peoples makes me want to lauuuuggghhh.)
In fact we have no evidence that anyone went to the Americas after they were separated from the Asian landmass before the Vikings around 1000 (who, by the way, did not manage to do much conquering, despite their Europeanness.)
(I’m honestly baffled by all of this. The GREEKS knew about the Americas? Where is this even coming from? ’Brown people’ had peaceful trade and commerce with the Americas before Europeans came in and conquered? ???? I was too baffled to reply to this the first time it came around.)
Actually there is increasing, but still tentative, data that suggests contact between Pacific Islander populations and west coast South American groups. Occasional funerary assemblages, some material culture and, of course, the increasingly certain pre-conquest introduction of the domestic chicken support this hypothesis.
Polynesian and other PI populations were incredible navigators - they built boats that could easily traverse the pacific, they understood complex astronomical principles of navigation and they colonised most of the previously unihabited landmasses, including super remote ones like Rapa Nui.
Storey et al. 2013 Polynesian chickens in the New World a commensal approach. Archaeology in Oceania. 48: 101-119
Recovery of the head of Fortuna Huiusce Diei (“Fortune of this day”) during the excavations of Largo Argentina’s sacred area.
The Archaeology of Disease (UK/Europe)
The Archaeology of Disease (US/Worldwide Link)
by Charlotte Roberts and Keith Manchester. Rating: *****
“This is a essential if you’re studying diseases or taphonomy. It is fully illustrated with amazing case studies to display all diseases – ranging from simple fractures to malnutrition and infections.
Brilliant book, helped me a lot with my university Anthropology unit where I had to examine a bone and conclude which illness it had.”
Every week we highlight one archaeology/anthropology textbook from our suggested readings, a full list of our suggested resources can be found here, on our Useful Literature page.
Puabi went to her grave at 40, surrounded by fifty-four attendants—mostly women with a spattering of soldiers—sacrificed to serve her in the afterlife.
Unlike the graves of most elite women in ancient Mesopotamia, Puabi’s tomb bears no distinct mention of a husband.The only evidence archeologists have found pointing to a husband at all are two cylinder seals buried with Puabi. One bears the name “Lugalsapada,” the other “Abarage.”
Some hypothesize that Abarage may have been Puabi’s husband given the seal’s location at her shoulder. However, no other references to Abarage exist, even in nearby tombs. Whoever Abarage was, s/he didn’t hold near the same power as Puabi herself.
Can you imagine how this woman looked standing in sunlight? With all her carnelians, lapis lazuli and gold beads, she must have been blinding.
#your life in the hands of a woman lit like sun
Forensic techniques have shed light on the gruesome fate of dozens of people whose severed heads were thrown into open pits 2,000 years ago and left there to decompose.
Excavated in the heart of London more than 25 years ago and dated to between 120 and 160 A.D., the skulls are believed to…