The Roundup #42

Posting this on time for a change! Go me!

Here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Tiny text on the famous Antikythera Mechanism has been deciphered by archaeologists from Cardiff University.

A cache of coins has been discovered at the site of an agricultural estate in Israel that has existed for two millenia.

Excavations are underway at training trenches in Ireland where soldiers were prepared for life in the trenches of World War One.

A feature on the Code of Hammurabi, considered the first written law code in history. I’m particularly interested in this after getting a behind-the-scenes look at a full scale copy of the stone during the Mesopotamia exhibition held at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2013.

Another feature on cuneiform script, with particular interest on the inscriptions from the Bisitun Pass in Iran that acted as a kind of cuneiform Rosetta Stone, written in Persian, Akkadian, and Elamite.

And yet another cuneiform feature, this one on the Stela of the Vultures, detailing warfare nearly 4,000 years ago.

And – yes, you guessed it – still another piece on cuneiform, this article directed at a series of tablets detailing some of the medical knowledge of the 6th century BCE.

From the Guardian:

Perhaps the biggest bit of news this week, archaeologists have discovered a massive structure near the ancient Nabataean city of Petra famous for its monumental sculpture carved into the living rock. The Smithsonian has also reported on it, as have several other agencies.

Fragments of manuscripts reused as book binding materials are currently being studied using x-ray technology in an attempt to identify the texts.

The Roundup #41

In typical fashion, I got distracted by the world these last few days, as I sorted out my life (as much of it as I felt was necessary, at any rate), and enjoyed the first hot days of summer here in Toronto (feels like the first time I’ve been warm in eight months, suggesting a rather neat affinity to Sam McGee, if I do say so myself).

My favourite bit of news has to be these Roman tablets from Britain, possibly the oldest ever recovered, including the first known reference to London, and first known dated document, which are going on display in London.

So here’s my roundup from the last three weeks. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Cave art has been found nearly 1,000 feet down in Basque country in Spain, including what looks like an image of a bison pierced with a lot of spears.

Crappy weather does more than make me miserable; it may have been responsible for the withdrawal of the Mongols from Europe in the 13th century.

The history of language – a favourite topic of mine – has further notes, as a cuneiform tablet from the first century AD is so far the most recent example of a written language whose spoken counterpart appears to have died out hundreds of years earlier.

I feel like I’ve seen this argument somewhere before, but here’s a neat bit of work out of Australia on the similarities between horns from southern India and those from the ancient Mediterranean.

An archaeologist’s dream – a site containing such a myriad of artefacts that it’s a never ending processing of cataloguing and interpretation – this site in southern Mexico includes a carved human jaw bone. Fascinating!

And I may have already posted this, but it’s worth a second look: a rich shipwreck has been discovered in the old harbour of Caesarea.

From the CBC:

King Tut’s ceremonial dagger appears to be made of meteorite. Because it’s good to be the king.

From The Atlantic:

Modern archaeology gets meta as researchers have discovered jewellery hidden in the false bottom of a cup left behind at Auschwitz.

And from History Today:

Considerations on the use of the phrase ‘dark ages’ in British history, particularly as it relates to the remarkable site of Tintagel in Cornwall, long believed to be where the mythical King Arthur was conceived after Merlin magicked Uther Pendragon inside the castle and into the lady Ygraine’s bed.

The Roundup #39

London has a new mayor, and he’s certainly interesting. There are thunderstorms in Toronto instead of Alberta where, let’s face it, it feels like half the province is on fire right now. And I found a dress for my sister’s wedding.

All that being said, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Perhaps not an autobiography, but an inscription in first person from the reign of Idrimi of Alalakh certainly reads like one.

Archaeologists in Orkney are investigating an underground chamber that may date to the Iron Age.

A wind-catching tower from the 7th to 9th century AD has been discovered in Kuwait.

Cuneiform complaints from four thousand years ago, and a feature on the use and value of cuneiform throughout the ages.

And a bit of nostalgia from 2012 when archaeologists discovered the great Aqueduct of Trajan at Lake Bracciano.

The Roundup #10

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).

From Archaeology.org:

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.