It’s been yet another goofy week in the news about old things. ISIS continues its attempt to rewrite history by destroying a 4th century Christian monastery. This is also notably one of the rare occasions when I post a link to the Daily Mail. The assassination of renowned archaeologist Khaled al-Assad is a particularly sad bit of news, particularly since he worked so diligently to preserve Syria’s archaeological history in the face of the brutality of ISIS.
The most sensational story has to be the so far unsubstantiated report that a train loaded with Nazi loot from the Second World War has been found in a tunnel somewhere in Poland. Both the Guardian and the BBC have reported on this.
There’s also the strange case of Washington’s Bedpan which, I think, would be an amazing name for a punk band.
And with that, here’s this week’s roundup (albeit belated).
The craziest trophy room in the Americas, without a doubt, is this Aztec skull rack from the 15th century.
Marine archaeologists have the chance to study how 20th century materials degrade in water over time as they examine the wreck of the USS Macon, an airship that crashed in the 1930s.
Tests using DStretch technology have determined that the petroglyphs in the Black Dragon Canyon, previously believed to be one strange image of a monster, are in fact a series of individual figures. If the photo from this article makes you wonder what the confusion was, take a look at this photo (third image, on the right) taken before the images were doctored to show the DStretch results.
A Confederate warship, the CSS Georgia, is being raised from the bottom of a river in Savannah, Georgia a piece at a time.
Proof that humans have always been nasty to each other when the occasion called for it, this Neolithic site with human remains shows evidence of systematic torture.
From the CBC:
Cue Nicholas Sparks references; a message in a bottle sent more than one hundred years ago has been returned to sender, the Marine Biological Association of the UK. Whether this is a Guiness world record remains to be seen.
From the Economist:
An Instagram photo of gold coins recovered from a group of 11 Spanish ships that sank en route from Cuba to Spain. Shiny!
And from Typographie.de:
Cuneiform has gone digital!
As a post script to my earlier link to efforts on the part of the German Minister of Culture’s attempts to stem the tide of conflict antiquities into Germany, here is a summary of the original report that drew attention to the situation in the first place.