Tag Archives: ISIS

The Roundup #62

The world may not have ended on Friday with the inauguration of Idiot Boy, but it sure feels like it did. “Alternative facts” are now a thing (I guess we’ve moved on from #fakenews because the new Administration doesn’t yet have control of the media). On Saturday, something like three million people marched in protest across all seven continents (yes, there were even people in Antarctica protesting the sorry state of affairs in the US right now), and that gave hope to a large number of people who do really feel the world they know may be coming to an end.

In other news, ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/The Islamic State destroyed the Tetrapylon in Palmyra after retaking part of the city. And a couple of idiots tried to sneak in to the Colosseum and fell four meters.

Otherwise, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

The skeleton of a horse has been discovered near the Colosseum in Rome, likely dating from the High Middle Ages.

At a hill fort excavation in southern Scotland, archaeologists feel they may have identified the royal seat of the ancient kingdom of Rheged.

A fortified gatehouse at the entrance to a copper mine has been discovered in Israel.

An inscribed pendant has been discovered at Sobibor extermination camp in Poland.

An unusual stone found in Croatia may have been kept as a curiosity by Neanderthals living there at the time.

From the CBC:

Evidence from the Bluefish Caves in Yukon Territory in Canada may reveal the site to be the oldest in North America.

The Roundup #18

Ahh what a glorious (goriest?) day for the final match of the Rugby World Cup! The second half has just started and, as I watch the battery on my laptop tick down, I’m looking through the week’s archaeological news and thought now would be a good time for my latest roundup. In between laughing over Nigel Owens’ fury over players doing “silly nonsense”, of course.

Here we go…

The biggest news of the week has got to be the discovery of the Griffin Warrior in Greece, a Bronze Age burial untouched for centuries.

And I love this story about garbage – specifically discarded cigarette butts outside pubs – and how, ultimately, all archaeological work is the study of garbage.

From History Today:

As we watch ISIS/ISIL cut a swath of destruction through the Middle East and beyond, the loss of Palmyra is hardly the only archaeological travesty. Yemen – the Biblical kingdom of Sheba – is suffering right alongside Syria, and its sites are at just as much risk.

From Archaeology.org:

The ongoing back-and-forth over human impact on the environment continues, with this latest argument that indigenous peoples along the Amazon river had little impact on the natural waterway, despite living in dense settlements.

A neolithic settlement has been discovered on Anglesey, off the coast of Wales, during the construction of a new school.

A feature on one of the biggest jigsaw puzzles in the world, as fragments found on the Akropolis in Athens are catalogued and scrutinized and scrutinized some more.

Bath never ceases to be a centre of civilization as an intact 18th century clay pipe kiln has been uncovered there.

The Buffalo Soldier case gets a feature as the issue of antiquities looting is back in the news. Not the Bob Marley song, the Buffalo Soldiers’ regiment was formed shortly after the end of the Civil War as the first US Army regiment composed entirely of African Americans. They were called Buffalo Soldiers by the Native Americans who met them.

From the Smithsonian:

The study of prehistoric animals continue, particularly in Siberia, with the discovery of not only Yuka the baby wooly mammoth but also cave lions (not nearly as cute as I’m sure everyone is now thinking they were).

From the Long Now:

Oral history is a powerful thing, as evidence from Australia shows. Aboriginal groups have oral stories that go back 10,000 years to describe changing sea levels and landscape changes over thousands of years.

The Roundup #11

Another slightly late post, due entirely to the fact that there was art to consider, people to meet, and beer to be drunk on a Saturday night in Toronto.

It was sad to be greeted this morning with news of the death of Dr. Oliver Sacks. This preeminent neurologist and writer seems to have been unique among men in that he took great joy in his life, in all aspects of it. Such delight will be missed, no doubt.

News also of the ongoing humanitarian crisis as people migrating to Europe from Syria, the Middle East, and Africa reminds me of the human migrations of the last two thousand years, particularly the migration across what is now Switzerland that offered Caesar an unmissable opportunity for political advancement.

My personal favourite from this week’s news has to be this beautiful, enigmatic mask from Alaska, a face with both human and walrus attributes.

And now, for this week’s roundup:

In History Online:

Helen Roche offers an interesting theory about the origins of the animosity between Germany and Greece.

From Archaeology.org:

The use of Egyptian blue paint has been discovered on Roman-era funerary portraits. More on what is considered the world’s oldest artificial pigment here.

All the modern amenities: specific sleeping areas and a hearth space that may have been used to heat water have been discovered for the first time at a Neanderthal site in Spain.

Jeffrey Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh is proposing that researchers develop a new morphology for classifying hominids.

A Polish Soviet World War II plane has been discovered in Bzura Lake following record heat and a lack of rainfall in the region. Attempts to identify the plane and its unfortunately pilot are ongoing.

More Linear B tablets from this remarkable find – a Mycenaean palace complex in Laconia.

And a mysterious collection of ice age lion and bear bones have been discovered in a cave in Russia.

From The Walrus:

Alexander Tesar takes us into the world of the Archaeological Services Inc based in Toronto and Burlington, Ontario.

From the office of the Mayor of Chicago:

Three Japanese sliding door panels have been rediscovered in a storage facility. Originally displayed during the 1893 World’s Fair, these panels will undergo conservation efforts while the local government determines their fate as part of Chicago’s rich heritage.

From Biblical Archaeology:

The House of Peter in Capernaum where Jesus lived during the early part of his ministrations may have been discovered under a Byzantine church.

And a feature on the great temple of Megiddo and urban culture in the Levant.

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.

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!