Tag Archives: Egypt

The Roundup #59

Further ensuing madness. The American Electoral College has spoken, and a fair number of people are huddling under blankets in their closets. Palmyra was lost (again) to ISIS, and Aleppo is getting wiped off the face of the earth (some more), and well, yeah. On the upside, I’m on holiday now until the New Year. That helps, right?

This week’s roundup was a nice distraction. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Banquo’s Walk may be less poltergeist and more practical, as it appears that the site was a clay mine rather than the site of the perambulations of one of literature’s most famous ghosts.

Facial reconstruction has offered us a glimpse of the visage of a man who lived in Jericho nearly 10,000 years ago.

What was previously thought to be a minor village appears instead to be a major settlement in northern Greece.

Excavations are ongoing at Abydos in Egypt, specifically a boat burial likely associated with Senusret III.

The remains of a beautiful wood panel have been discovered in an ancient road on Honshu in Japan.

From the Smithsonian:

A rare first edition of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica has sold for a record $3.7 million.

From The New York Times:

The restoration of the Ghent Altarpiece continues apace.

The Roundup #55

It’s been one hell of a couple weeks. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Leonard Cohen died, and I now know what’s left of a body after it’s hit by a train. All fun stuff, you can imagine.

During the Mosul offensive in Iraq, it appears that ISIS/ISIL/Daesh have made efforts to destroy anything in their path as they retreat, including more of the ancient site of Nimrud in the north. Reuters has reported on it, as has the Smithsonian – specifically regarding the ziggurat destroyed there – and History Today offers a retrospective on the city for those hoping to learn more.

So, as a respite, here is the roundup from the last two weeks. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Otzi the Ice Man’s outfit was assembled from five different animal species, suggesting there was more going on than straight-up subsistence living.

Would you like a crocodile mummy? Why not 50 for the price of one? New evidence shows that a crocodile mummy actually contains the mummies of 47 hatchlings as well, folded into the wrappings of the larger animal.

Does anyone remember the scavenger-doctor character Tom Hanks played in Cloud Atlas? Hunting around for real teeth for dentures wasn’t made up, as these from Tuscany and suggest.

A possible site for the final resting place of the last emperor of the Inca may be on the table, after archaeologists began excavating at Maiqui-Machay in Ecuador.

An odd thing: a pot from a Roman camp site in Switzerland containing oil lamps with images of Luna, gladiators, peacocks, and other figures.

Archaeologists working at a site in Kazakhstan have unearthed stone structures containing a variety of treasures suggesting that the people living here were wealthy as well as originally nomadic.

Mosaic floors found in Turkey! Need I say more?

Hundreds of graves for monks have been discovered at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire.

A feature on an Islamic palace found near Jericho.

Petroglyphs in Hawaii were uncovered after shifting sand revealed them in July.

A burial causeway in Aswan dating to the 12th dynasty has been discovered in Egypt.

Evidence of a mythical flood that ushered in the Xia dynasty in China has been discovered.

Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre is currently being excavated in London. Of the many items discovered there are ticket boxes and parts of costumes.

And ongoing excavations at Tel Gezer in Israel are revealing some stunning finds.

The Roundup #36

It’s a beautiful day in Toronto, and I’ve been outside enjoying it until now. Here’s your weekly roundup. Lots of interesting grave site this time around (a fair amount of archaeology on any given day, to be honest). Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

A Mongolian Turkik burial of a woman in the Altai Mountains is yielding new finds including, among other things, camel wool.

The English have always been big drinkers, even when they were Roman, according to the wine production possible at this site at Vagnari from the first century AD.

This could be Israel’s archaeological equivalent to the Vindolanda tablets from Northern Britain, illuminating the extent that literacy dominated in the 7th century BC.

A tomb discovered during modern construction in Mexico City may be of one of the first Spanish priests in the region in the 16th century AD.

Immigration is a topic on everyone’s lips right now, but it’s nothing new, as this tomb from Egypt demonstrates.

A tomb in Turkey of a woman and child is most notable for the unusual number of turtles, tortoises, and terrapins buried with them.

A grisly discovery in Athens of two mass burials of young men, some with their hands bound in iron dating to the mid 7th century BC.

From the Smithsonian:

A delightful surprise: evidence that scientists had discovered exoplanets for the first time in 1917, rather than in the 1980s and 1990s as previously assumed.

The Roundup #24

Here’s my attempt to get back into the regular routine of posting once a week. So here’s this week’s roundup.

From Archaeology.org:

Westminster Abbey in London, England has an extensive and mighty history. In December, evidence of the removal of bones from the site before construction began are being catalogued and studied to give archaeologists a better idea of what life was like in the area around about the turn of the first millenium.

Paintings from the Chauvet-Pont-D’Arc caves in France have some scientists thinking that the ancient peoples who created these magnificent works of art also depicted the oldest known artistic representation of a volcanic eruption.

Scientists are creating 3-D images of rock art from the Italian Alps dating from the Iron Age and the early Neolithic period.

The 2012 discovery of a mammoth carcass in the Eurasian Arctic suggests that humans were hunting in that region 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.

While searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean, Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre have identified a 19th century shipwreck.

The burial site of Han Emperor Jing Di has revealed the oldest evidence for tea, and in China no less.

Italian and Russian archaeologists have identified Nubian inscriptions at a temple site in the Sudan, offering new information on the relations between these peoples and the ancient Egyptians in the area.

Archaeologists have discovered the best preserved Bronze Age village ever found in England. NPR has a feature on it here.

A 2,200 year old prosthetic has been discovered at a burial site in western China.

The only ninth-tenth century artefact found underwater in Poland has turned out to be a wicker fish trap, with the remains of over 4,000 fish in Lake Lednica.


From The Guardian:

The largest – and as yet unnamed – dinosaur ever found, part of a subset of sauropods called titanosaurs, is now on display at the American Museum of Natural History.


From Biblical Archaeology:

I may have already posted this but, here goes: archaeologists working in Turkey have discovered Pluto’s Gates at Hierapolis, said to be a gateway to the underworld.

The Roundup #23

Vanishing. Right. That.

Happy New Year! Here’s what I saw in the first week of 2016 to whet the archaeological appetite.

From Archaeology.org:

Evidence of the elusive Egyptian Blue has been discovered on a collection of mummy portraits from the second century AD.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of the remains of several whaling ships lost in Alaska during a disastrous season in 1871 when more than thirty ships were lost and their crew (including women and children) had to walk over the ice to safety. The Smithsonian has also covered this particular discovery.

The tomb of Khentkaus III, a previously unknown Egyptian queen from the 5th Dynasty, has been discovered near the pyramid complex of Pharaoh Neferefre in Abusir.

From the Smithsonian:

While excavating space for a new hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, construction workers have uncovered the remains of a Revolutionary-era ship in the mud of the Potomac River.

From the Guardian:

Every ten to fifteen years, the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris is dredged and cleaned, and the neighbours come out for the show: invariably a wide variety of detritus comes to light, and this year is no exception.

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” Monty Python may have made the phrase memorable, but it’s a going concern for archaeologists, historians, sociologists, and psychologists. Every few years, the issue of hygiene and cleanliness bubbles to the surface of the discussion, as is covered here.

And finally, from the CBC, and a story rather close to home, geographically:

A fire destroyed a major heritage building on Jarvis Street in Toronto that was once owned by the Sheard family, notably including Toronto’s First Chief Medical Examiner, a 19th century Mayor of Toronto, and several architects. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

The Roundup #12

After a last hurrah of holidays over the Labour Day weekend, I’m back, and with a hefty review to complete for this roundup, which will cover anything I took note of from August 28th to today. Here goes!

It’s been a strange few days: England’s Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in history on Wednesday, Germany seems to have done an about face and will be offering Syrian refugees sanctuary within its borders, and Matt Damon is so remarkably ripped for the new Bourne movie and for The Martian that, in a Freudian slip, I actually typed “Matt Damn” to begin with. In other news…

From Archaeology.org:

New radio carbon dating has confirmed that the Shigir Idol, discovered in 1894, is actually older than the pyramids.

The fun never stops on the Salisbury Plain, as a new set of standing stones has been discovered under the Durrington Wall, itself a nearly 5,000 year old earth embankment.

Also in Britain, analysis of a skeleton dates the earliest recorded case of rickets back 3,000 years. Proof that, so long as you’re in Britain, rickets will always be alive and well.

And a mass burial, presumably for sailors, has been discovered in Cornwall.


From the Smithsonian:

A lovely feature on the famous blue paint of Egypt.

Mysterious tunnels under Liverpool are now being explored.


From CP24:

Closer to home, excavations are now underway at the St Lawrence Market in Toronto after archaeologists discovered parts of the various 19th century buildings that occupied the spot.


From the Toronto Sun:

Perhaps the only time I’ll post anything from the Sun, here’s a video and story of a time capsule opened at Summerhill, the site of the old train station.


From National Geographic:

Perhaps the biggest story of the week (if the theory turns out to be true): a new hominid, dubbed Homo naledi, has been identified from fossil fragments unearthed in South Africa.


And from Biblical Archaeology:

A pyramid structure has been discovered in Jerusalem.

The mystique of King Solomon’s Temple is pervasive, as this feature discusses the similarities between that as-yet-undiscovered site and the temple at ‘Ain Dara temple complex in Syria.

The Roundup #8

It’s been an eclectic week in terms of archaeological news about the ancient world (really, when is it not?). The most political of the news items that I saw was this: because of what the German Art Dealers Association calls their “special responsibility”, the German Minister of Culture is planning to put forward legislation to curb the smuggling of illegal antiquities from the Middle East, particularly those looted by ISIS. ISIS may be best known for the destruction wrought throughout Syria – against both people and antiquities – but it also funds its operations through the illegal sale of artefacts. Stopping or even hindering this is a huge step, as a group of academics are trying to do.

The Beeb reports that the British Museum is piloting a VR program for visitors to explore a Bronze Age roundhouse, with the potential to expand into a wide variety of other departments. I’ll look forward to see how this develops!

And with that, here’s this week’s roundup.

From Archaeology.org:

A mosaic floor depicting a menorah has been discovered in a Byzantine era synagogue at Horvat Kur in Israel.

Drinking with the fam’ has never been so apt as at this site in Tennessee where what was once a 1920s speakeasy has been revealed to be a Native American burial ground.

Discoveries on Jamestown Island continue with Irish pennies and the matchlock firing mechanisms from two muskets.

Remains of the monumental city gates of Gath in Tel Zafit National Park have been identified. The site, thought to be the Philistine city of Gath, the home of Goliath, was occupied in the 10th century BCE.

Petroglyphs discovered in Siberia may turn out to be the area’s oldest.

A series of pots and jars have been discovered at Edfu in Egypt, including some beautiful alabaster pieces.

And a mass grave in China may point to a prehistoric epidemic, forcing the people of the area to pile the bodies of victims in a house and burn it.

From the Smithsonian:

Scientists have developed a model to determine the nature of the earthquake that struck Nepal in April of this year. Their research has identified resonance waves in the basin around Kathmandu as the reason why taller buildings, which had survived previous earthquakes in the region, collapsed this time around.

Information has come to light about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery in 1990, which still remains unsolved. A $5 million reward is being offered for information leading to the recover of all 13 stolen pieces in good condition.

And the mystery surrounding an inscription on the blade of a medieval sword continues.

From Biblical Archaeology:

A neat review of the recent dig season at Tel Kabri, and the discovery of the oldest and largest wine cellar from the Ancient Near East.

And news about a new Iron Age settlement will be coming down the pipeline in due course. Stay tuned!

And from The Guardian:

A new exhibit in Paris will showcase artefacts recovered from a vast submerged site in Egypt. There are some stunning pieces here, so if you’re in Paris, I highly recommend going to see it!

The Roundup #6

The single most incredible thing I’ve seen this week was the discovery by a PhD student of two leaves of a Qur’an that date to within the lifetime (or very shortly thereafter) of Muhammad himself, making them the oldest yet discovered. The University of Birmingham is, naturally, ecstatic.

And with that, here’s this week’s roundup of finds, discoveries, and all-around curiosities.

From Archaeology.org:

I’m always fascinated by the so-called ‘Venus figurines’ that crop up in the material culture of pretty much every group of people on the planet at one time or another. This find from Germany of fragments of a figurine similar to the Venus from Hohle Fels discovered in 2008 is the latest.

It seems that the ancient peoples living in what is now Israel were experimenting with farming thousands of years earlier than originally thought.

Evidence of a 5,000 year old crannog – fortified farmhouse on stilts – has been discovered, and is, again, the oldest yet discovered in the United Kingdom.

Archaeologists have identified what they believe is the jaw bone of Philip II of Macedon, uniter of Greece and father of Alexander the Great. Philip’s tomb is believed to be part of the archaeological site at Vergina. For more on the recent excavations at Amphipolis, Robin Ngo has this article in Biblical Archaeology.

Harbours are great places to find new and wonderful things from the past. Recently, New York was the centre of such a discovery as remains from what appears to have been a meeting place for Native Americans was unearthed during construction work to repair a sea wall in the Bronx.

Egyptian reliefs from the port city of Berenice on the Red Sea have been discovered, one of which is in remarkable condition.

And fossil fuel emissions are doing yet more damage to the planet and ourselves as it has been estimated that carbon-14 testing may no longer function effectively as an archaeological dating technique if we keep pumping all this crap into the atmosphere.

From CTV News in Canada:

An 18th century village has been discovered during construction of a highway interchange in Montreal. Work is, naturally, on hold while archaeologists study the evidence.

From Biblical Archaeology:

Those pesky Egyptians are making life difficult for Biblical scholars who are as yet unable to draw a clear link between the book of Kings in the Bible, referring to the attack on Jerusalem by Pharaoh Sheshonq I. The Pharaoh himself recorded his exploits on the walls of Karnak but does not mention Jerusalem at all.

From the Smithsonian:

We’re not so different after all. DNA evidence from ancient Amazonians links them genetically with ancient Australians. I’m anticipating a renewed discussion on how neolithic peoples crossed the Pacific in the near future.

P.T. Barnum never ceases to fascinate. In this article, Helen Thompson recounts the fire that destroyed the American Museum in New York in 1865. At the time, the New York Times wrote that “it’s like cannot be seen again”.

And this is a fascinating meta-archaeological story about a 19th century artist, who created a Greco-Romanesque sculpture of a female Greek slave, and then tried to patent it.

And from LiveScience:

Toronto researchers are trying to build a digital database of all the holy sites in Iraq that have been looted and destroyed by ISIS/ISIL in the last several months. Godspeed, fellow Torontonians!