Taphonomy is the study of how organisms decay and become altered following their death. Understanding how this process manifests in human burials during the excavation is extremely important, and can lead to improved interpretations of the burials when carried out properly.
Over 5.5 thousand years old brewing installation discovered by Polish archaeological mission at Tell el-Farcha in Egypt has been reconstructed in 3D by Karolina Rosińska-Balik, PhD student at the Jagiellonian University Institute of Archaeology.
"The presented reconstruction is a hypothetical assumption based on preserved structures of similar analogous buildings at both Tell el-Farcha and other brewing centres in Upper Egypt" - reserved the archaeologist.
The installation consists of three vat pits and measures about 3.4 by 4 m. The entire structure, with plan reminiscent of a three-leaf clover, was surrounded by a wall with a height of up to 60 cm. Vat pits were also separated from each other with low, narrow walls.
In order to stabilize the vessels used for brewing beer, base was used in the form of a solid clay, which was surrounded by a clay ring with a clear break.
In Turkey, there appears to be a policy of illegal non-employment of archaeologists in order to ensure the non-recovery and non-documentation of politically-unacceptable cultural heritage. That is to say that the state seems to violate its own law, which requires the employment of archaeologists for the assessment of development work and the performance of cultural heritage work. This violation prevents archaeologists from prohibiting culturally-destructive activity and excavating and recording material which is evidence of politically-inconvenient pasts.
So when repression provoked democratic resistance in Turkey earlier this year, archaeologists were on the front line as victims of government policy and police brutality and as advocates of real democracy. The first protester hospitalised at Gezi Park was an archaeology student, Hazar Berk Büyüktunca, and both unions and autonomously-organised platforms went to the occupations and squares to resist out of professional responsibility.
More than 4,000 years ago, Dilmun merchants traveled from Mesopotamia to the Indus River, titans of trade and culture before rise of the empires of the Persians or the Ottomans
Over a millennia, the civilization that Dilmun created on the back of trading in pearls, copper and dates as far as South Asia faded into the encroaching sands. It wasn't until an excavation by Danish archaeologists in the 1950s that its past was rediscovered.
Now, with Bahrain in a deepening political crisis between its Sunni rulers and majority Shiite population, the connection to ancient Dilmun is one of the few unifying symbols on the island. It also is a rare and vivid look at pre-Islamic life in a region with few sites celebrating cultures before the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
FOR archaeologists like me, the Flowerdew Hundred Plantation near Williamsburg, Va., is our Woodstock, a sentimental spot where dozens of professionals earned their trowels. The farm’s incredible archaeological wealth ranges from 12,000-year-old Native American tools to a tree that shaded Union soldiers in June 1864.
Imagine our dismay, then, when a professed “relic hunter” from Texas named Larry Cissna sold some $60,000 in tickets for his Grand National Relic Shootout — an artifact-hunting competition — at Flowerdew Hundred. The shootout took place in early March, and participants walked away with 8,961 artifacts dating from the Civil War or before.
In Virginia, as in many states, relic hunting is illegal on public land, but legal on private land. Flowerdew, it turns out, belongs to the James C. Justice Companies, whose chairman, president and chief executive is James C. Justice II, whom Forbes ranks as the 882nd-wealthiest individual on the planet. (According to a spokesman, Mr. Justice was unaware of the “shootout.”)
Paid hunts like this have increased in the last 15 years, fueled by the market for Civil War relics, where a rare button can bring $5,000. Mr. Cissna has built a small empire using a Web site to organize hunts and sell advertising, a job that became easier in June when the Travel Channel began airing his reality show, “Dig Wars.”
Grumpy Cat, Shocked Cat, Lil Bub – their images are the currency of the web, passed between friends, family, and co-workers. When they go viral, funny cat pictures heal daily drudgery with a dose of furry, cuddly cheer. But, in terms of the reverence they receive, these cats are hardly the first of their kind. Ancient cultures had cat memes too, and archaeologists have their own term for them: feline motifs.
The word meme, itself a meme, feels ultra-modern, but was coined in the 1970s by Richard Dawkins to refer to any non-genetic unit of replicated information. And it would be chronocentric to presume this term applied only to the proverbial Caturdays following its contemporary articulation. Some archaeologists, known as evolutionary archaeologists, incorporate memetics into their explanations of cultural transmission and change. In their view, cultural evolution, or the speciation of different cultures, happens by selective forces acting on cultural memes, motifs and styles.
We can look back about two thousand years and see cat memes on objects made in the Americas before Columbus set boot here. In fact, the feline motif is a powerful point of acccess to Pre-Columbian cultures, as it was a common from the Mississippi to the tip of South America.
The Rothwell Charnel Chapel and Ossuary Project has been established between the Department of Archaeology, at the University of Sheffield and Rothwell Holy Trinity Church, Northamptonshire. The church houses one of only two known surviving and in situ medieval ossuaries in England.
The ritualistic shield, dating back some 1,300 years, was made by the Moche people and provides evidence that the Moche may have engaged in ritualized battles like gladiatorial combat.
Made by the Moche people, the rare artifact was found face down on a sloped surface that had been turned into a bench or altar at the site of Pañamarca.
Located near two ancient murals, one of which depicts a supernatural monster, the shield measures about 10 inches (25 centimeters) in diameter and has a base made of carefully woven basketry with a handle.
Its surface is covered with red-and-brown textiles along with about a dozen yellow feathers that were sewn on and appear to be from the body of a macaw. The shield would have served a ritualistic rather than a practical use, and the placement of the shield on the bench or altar appears to have been the last act carried out before this space was sealed and a new, larger, temple built on top of it. [See Photos of the Shield & Ancient Murals]
A stunning Victorian signal box in Downham has been safeguarded for future generations.
The town’s signal box is one of the five rare examples across the region to have been granted Grade II listed status last week.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has awarded listed status to 26 signal boxes across the country as part of a joint project between Network Rail and English Heritage to secure the nation’s railway signalling heritage.
Downham’s signal box was built in 1881 for the Great Eastern Railway Company but will soon be decommissioned as part of a 30-year modernisation project.
Throughout the excavations at the Ness of Brodgar on the Scottish island of Orkney, numerous examples of Neolithic “art” have been uncovered. In fact, by 2010 around 80 “decorated” items had emerged from the site.
Excavations led by Cardiff University archaeologists has helped to confirm the presence of a royal 13th century deer park at Brynkir in Gwynedd, north Wales.
Likely constructed under the reign of Llywelyn the Great (1195–1240) who brought unity to Wales, the discovery was first made during the 2012 excavation season by a member of the team from Manchester Metropolitan University. The royal deer park dates to pre 1230 when Llywelyn moved his regional power centre elsewhere to Criccieth.
One of the world’s oldest religions, Zoroastrianism originated amongst Iranian tribes in Central Asia during the second millennium BCE and spread to Iran where it became the principal faith until the advent of Islam. Central to the religion is the belief in a sole creator god, Ahura Mazda, his agent Zarathustra (Zoroaster) and the dichotomy between good and evil.
The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination to be held at the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, is the first exhibition of it’s kind to provide a visual narrative of the history of Zoroastrianism, its rich cultural heritage and the influence it has had on the major world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Over the weekend Jen-Luc Piquant found herself pondering the works of Herodotus, specifically the tale of the Lost Army of Cambyses. Sometime around 524 BC, priests at the oracle of the Temple of Amun decided they didn’t much care for their new ruler, Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the Great. Cambyses decided that he didn’t much care for their insubordination. And he had soldiers — 50,000 of them, sent marching through the Sahara from Thebes to put those rebellious priests in their place.
But they never reached their destination (the Oasis of Siwa, where the mutinous temple was located). Seven days into their march, a massive sandstorm broke out and buried Cambyses’ entire army, never to be seen again. Per Herodotus: “A wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear.”
nce upon a time… about half an hour ago actually, we (Paul, Stef and Ceris) witnessed the magical wonders of archaeological photography. Before our enlightening experience we knew less about cameras than a fish knows about a tropical tree. As we believe our pictures show we are now experts in the field of handling very expensive fancy cameras. We learnt there is more to life than pointing and clicking! There are ways of making your pictures actually look good! By (if you did not know before) simply altering your aperture and shutter speed! AMAZING!
Archaeologists have identified for the first time the full extent of a convicts’ mass grave on what was once a notorious concentration camp-style prison in Cork harbour.
The Spike Island Archaeological Project team, led by UCC archaeologist, Dr Barra Ó Donnabháin, has identified up to 250 previously unmarked burial plots, all dating from Famine times, within a walled cemetery area on Spike Island in Cork Harbour.
“We have always known that this area contained graves but we never knew how many,” Dr Ó Donnabháin said.
“There were about 11 headstones in this area, all dating from 1862, but which are not now in their original locations.
“Following geophysical analysis, we identified four or five rows with about 50 individual graves in each.”
With one eye on recording Scotland’s ancient history and another on the ground, Dave Cowley is the Indiana Jones of the skies.
He is aerial survey projects manager with Royal Commission of Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and he and his colleagues make 40 to 50 trips a year in a four-seater Cessna to record rare glimpses of the past.
And this hot, dry summer has provided the best conditions in years to see crop marks, which reveal evidence of ancient settlements long lost to modern agriculture methods.
While farmers rue the arid weather, Mr Cowley said now is the time to take to the air and survey “the glorious detail” of Roman forts and Iron Age camps “lost” since the 1970s.
Three Inca children found mummified atop a 20,000-foot volcano in South America consumed increasing amounts of coca leaf and corn beer for up to a year before they were sacrificed, according to a new study.
Sedation by the plant and alcohol combined with the frigid, high-altitude setting may explain how the children were killed. There is no evidence for direct violence, the researchers noted.
The coca leaf and corn beer consumption rises about six months before death and then skyrockets in the final weeks, especially for the eldest, a 13-year-old girl known as the "Ice Maiden."
"She was probably heavily sedated by the point at which she succumbs to death," Andrew Wilson, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom and the study's lead author, told NBC News.
Villages occupy a curious place in the British psyche. Symbols of an imaginary pre-industrial bliss villages seem to be widely regarded as sacred expressions of Britishness, a style of life that defines us as a people and which separates us from the rest of the world (Figure 1). Conversely in Ireland villages are widely regarded as a foreign import, one of many aspects of life that are part of the legacy of unwelcome English interference.
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