The Roundup #91

Two big pieces of news this week. First, researchers think they have discovered the disease that killed massive numbers of Aztecs – some estimate 80% of the population – in 1545. And second, a man-made pyramidal structure on one of the Greek islands has also been found to include other remarkable finds, including the beginnings of urban enterprise nearly 4,000 years ago.

Beyond that, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From the CBC:

The 2016 discovery of a beautifully preserved antler arrow and bronze arrowhead found in the Yukon has been announced.

From Archaeology:

Further reporting on the disease – called “cocolitzli” in primary sources – that killed so many Aztecs in the 16th century.

Further reporting also on the pyramidal site at Dhaskalio in Greece.

Evidence of beer brewing has been identified in Greece dating to the Bronze Age. I’m not sure if this pushes the date back for brewing beer in Greece, so if anyone has any follow up to this, let me know.

From the Smithsonian:

Excavations – led by former Minister of Antiquities in Egypt, Zahi Hawass – have begun on what could possibly be the tomb of Ankhesenamun, the sister-queen of King Tut.

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The Roundup #90

We’re in the final stretch to my 100th #roundup! Let’s hear it for my attention span, and a rather manic insistence that I stick to a plan.

Lots of interesting news this week, some of which has to do with prehistoric sites, as well as my other love – the Ancient Mediterranean. In addition, while I’m nursing my first cold/flu of the year, I have a box of tissues that has the Standing Stones of Callanish on it. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Hand axes from a 500,000 year old site have been recovered in Israel.

The best preserved wooden game board from north of the Mediterranean ever found has been discovered in Slovakia.

A 2,500 year old stone fort in Ireland has been damaged by recent extreme weather.

Several Hellenistic tombs – including one with a false door – have been unearthed near Alexandria in Egypt.

Mouth harps have been discovered in the Altai Republic in Siberia, one of which even still carries a tune.

Also in Siberia, a kurgan that looks to be undisturbed may house the remains of a Scythian prince.

A broch (a kind of roundhouse, not a piece of jewellery) has been discovered near Inverness in Scotland.

Evidence pointing to the rediscovery of the monastery where the Book of the Deer was written has been identified in Scotland.

From the Smithsonian:

A feature on the Hoxne Hoard.

From the Guardian:

Real life continues to prove the film Prometheus wrong. In this latest example, possibly the oldest depiction of a supernova has been identified in Kashmir, showing our sun, the nova, and the constellations Taurus and Orion.

The Roundup #89

Welcome to 2018, everyone! Even though Toronto has been in a deep freeze for the last two days, the rest of the world seems to be chugging along as per usual, and you know what that means? News from the archaeological world!

The highlight so far this year has to be the news that, after DNA sequencing was completed on two infant burials in Alaska, we’re being introduced to the Beringians. It’s been reported in the New York Times, the Guardian, and in Archaeology (that I’ve seen thus far), but I’m certain it’s going to be making the rounds for some time to come. And that’s lovely to see, since it’s not a straightforward idea being put forward with this news, and the general public is still interested. Knowledge may yet be catching on!

So without further ado, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From The Toronto Star:

Possibly the oldest artifact yet discovered in Toronto – a small arrowhead – has been returned after it was lifted from Fort York on a school trip in 1935.

From the Smithsonian:

More overly dramatic video, but information gleaned from the teeth of gladiators exhumed at York suggest that poor youth were selected as gladiators and then beefed up (perhaps quite literally) to be the muscular machines of arena spectacle.

From Archaeology.org:

A wood henge has been discovered near the North Sea coast in Yorkshire, England, along with several other sites that suggest ritual activities went on here.

The site of Tel Al-Pharaeen is yielding a large variety of artifacts from Egypt’s Late Period.

A seal dating to the First Temple Period in Jerusalem has been discovered under the Western Wall plaza.

From the Tongtiandong Cave in northern China, layers of artifacts going back 45,000 years have been discovered.

Similar to last year’s news that a ritual bath had been discovered in Jerusalem following private renovations, a Song Dynasty tomb has been discovered under a house in China.

Archaeologists may have identified a ritual shrine of the Aztecs near an extinct volcano in Mexico.

A naturally mummified body of a child from Italy has been shown to have likely suffered from Hepatitis B, causing scarring and eventually death.

Best of 2017 Roundup

There’s been a lot in the news this year – not all of it great (mostly the gameshow antics coming out of the US) – but there have been some great discoveries this year that will reinforce your love of the world and all the history in it. One thing I noticed while going back over my posts from this year is that I apparently only started regular weekly roundups in July. The routine has turned out to be a good one, and there’s lots to look back on and enjoy again.

This “Best of” list has nothing to do with clicks, likes, celebrity, or star-power. Rather it’s a selection of the stories from this past year that I found particularly endearing. Enjoy!

THE CONSTRUCTIVE:

My ongoing love of very old votive objects – particularly Venus figurines – was well fed this year with this discovery from Turkey.

The seat of the ancient kingdom of Rheged has been identified in Scotland.

The ongoing construction of Metro Line C in Rome has yielded some fantastic finds, including the barracks of the Praetorian Guard.

New evidence suggests that Greek theatres had moveable sets.

Evidence that Phoenicians manufactured disposable figures of gods makes for an all new dimension to this commercial, seafaring people.

What is being called “Little Pompeii” has been discovered near Lyon in France.

The USS Indianapolis has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Philippines.

Connections between the Viking and Arab worlds are becoming more clear following the identification of Arab text on Viking silk.

A possible inscription by the mysterious Sea Peoples is being translated from Luwian.

One of many stories of repatriation this year, marble from the Nemi ships is being returned to Italy.

Previously classified documents regarding President John F. Kennedy have been released and are being reviewed.

Better late than never, Ovid’s exile has been overturned.

Excavations have identified Caesar’s original landing site in Britain.

Archaeologists are releasing images of the items discovered in the Griffin Warrior tomb at Pylos.

And my person favourite of the year: wolves have been seen around Rome again for the first time in decades.

THE DESTRUCTIVE:

It seems like a long time ago, but ISIS/ISIL/Daesh destroyed much of the ancient site of Palmyra, including the famous Tetrapylon back in January.

Also from January is a rather appalling story of plans to build a freeway under Stonehenge. Paving paradise and putting up a parking lot seems positively ideal in comparison.

A live cannon ball discovered in Quebec City during routine construction dates back to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the 1700s.

THE WEIRD:

The history of citrus fruit is ever changing, most recently due to the work of archaeobotanist Dafna Langgut.

A watercolour painting of a bird has been discovered in Antarctica.

A triceratops was discovered during construction work in Denver, Colorado.

What appears to be a figure with a feathered headdress was unearthed in Siberia.

Possibly the oldest original manuscript of the 100 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade has been saved from auction after France declared it a national treasure.

The oldest known compound eye has been identified from a fossil more than 500 million years old.

The Roundup #88

I hope you enjoy my last weekly roundup of 2017. As suggested by a rather astute friend, I will also be doing a Best of 2017 post before the year is out, so stay tuned!

From the Smithsonian:

The principia of the fabled Sixth Legion has been identified in Israel near Tel Megiddo (apparently also known as Armageddon). An earlier post by Archaeology.org can be found here.

Have you cleaned out your attic recently? Westminster Abbey is doing so and, in the process, have found thousands of pieces of stained glass as well as (for all Monty Python fans out there) the oldest known stuffed parrot. Archaeology.org also reports on it here.

I’m not a fan of the melodrama in this video, but evidence of gladiator burials in England is causing a stir for its similarity to burials at the other end of the empire.

From Archaeology.org:

A fortress in the Nile Delta near Wadi Tumilat has been identified. I had the pleasure of working on a Wadi Tumilat project, albeit tangentially, so this kind of news always interests me.

Childrens’ toys from the Bronze Age have been discovered at a gravesite in Russia.

A blockhouse from the Tudor period has been identified at Hull in the UK (I had to look up what a blockhouse was, but as soon as I saw the images in this Wikipedia article, I remembered).

The Roundup #87

This is my second last roundup of the year, because 2017 can go die in a fire. But archaeology was fun!

From Archaeology.org:

Military structures from the Bronze Age have been identified in Syria.

A mid-eighth century tomb has been discovered in Mongolia.

An extremely well-preserved 1,500 year old monastery has been discovered in Israel.

A basalt door with a menorah relief has been identified in Tiberias after it was reused in later building construction.

Sweden has repatriated 2,500 year old textiles to Peru after they were removed and donated to the Gothenburg Ethnographic Museum in 1935.

Artifacts are being recovered from the Clapham Coffeehouse under St. John’s College in Cambridge.

Marble objects have been repatriated to Lebanon by the Met in New York City.

From the New York Times:

Considered possibly the oldest original manuscript of The 100 Days of Sodom by the Marquis De Sade, this scroll was saved from auction when France declared it a national treasure.

In the ongoing hilarity that is Rome’s attempt to build its Metro Line C, wonderful things are being pulled from the earth detailing the history of this mighty city.

From The Long Now Foundation:

What appears to be the oldest evidence of timekeeping by human beings, a 10,000 year old lunar calendar has been identified in Scotland.

The Roundup #86

Admittedly, the weirdest thing that happened this week was that the Roman city council voted to overturn Ovid’s banishment some 2,000 years after it was first enacted by the Roman Princeps Augustus. I’m sure the council has slightly more pressing matters of local government to attend to, but why not add a showcase piece to the agenda?

So, without further ado, here’s this week’s (properly numbered) roundup. Enjoy!

From the Guardian:

Underwater archaeology at Lechaion, the main harbour of Corinth in Greece, is yielding new understanding of Roman engineering techniques. Archaeology.org reports on it here.

From National Geographic:

A map from 1587 by cartographer Urbano Monte has been reassembled and digitized.

From the CBC:

A newly opened pair of tombs near Luxor are designed to bolster Egypt’s ailing tourism industry. The Associated Press also reports on it here.

From Archaeology.org:

12,000 year old fish hooks have been found associated with a burial in Indonesia.

A large cache of bronze items have been discovered in Shaanxi Province in China.

Archaeological work being done in Albania as a result of infrastructure developments in the country is revealing a dense collage of history.

A bronze age burial has been discovered near Loch Ness in Scotland.

Evidence of New Zealand’s violent past has been exposed following the identification of 12 burials of British soldiers who died during the Northern Wars in the 19th century.

Ongoing research into pre-contact Maori is being done by analyzing obsidian tools.

An interesting assemblage of items have been discovered at a burial site in the Aswan area of Egypt.

Rock art has been discovered on Kisar, a tiny island near Indonesia.

From the Smithsonian:

Medieval palimpsests are revealing new information about knowledge exchange between East and West.

Possibly the oldest preserved eye in the world, some 500 million years old, is being studied by archaeologists from the University of Cologne.