The Roundup #65

It’s been a strange and unusual week for the archaeology news that I follow. Space archaeology, exhumations of modern artists, and a bit of stuff from the History Boys at the Daily Xtra. Enjoy!

From the Daily Xtra:

A feature piece on titillating narratives and the prevalence vs acceptance of lesbianism in the Roman Empire.

From ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives:

An update on the status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Leptis (or Lepcis) Magna, home of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (along with a few other people throughout the ages).

From the Royal Ontario Museum blog:

A bit of modern archaeology following a single-use water bottle across the world. Scary stuff!

From the CBC:

Salvador Dali’s body has been exhumed so as to test his DNA and compare it to that of Pilar Abel, who is claiming she is Dali’s daughter. As an extra bit of fun that the artist no-doubt would have enjoyed, it was discovered that his moustache is still in its iconic 10-past-10 position.

From Archaeology.org:

A 2,700 year old reservoir has been discovered in Israel, with human figures and other artistic representations carved into its walls.

The potential eruption of Ol Doinyo Lengai, a volcano in Tanzania, could damage or even entirely destroy a set of 19,000 year old human footprints. Rest assured, the more famous Laetoli footprints from 3.7 million years ago are some distance away.

An eighth or ninth century fishing weir has been identified in the Thames estuary, helping archaeologists map the shoreline and erosion over the last thousand or so years.

The arrival of early humans in Australia has been pushed back a further 10,000 years after excavations in Madjedbebe in Northern Territory yielded stone tools dated to 65,000 years before the present. Now that’s quite a walkabout.

Faint drawings, so far only visible in sunlight – even a camera hasn’t been able to capture them yet – have been identified in the Orkneys at the site of the Ring of Brogdar, a set of standing stones and a nearby settlement.

Archaeologists have begun a 4-D mapping project of the International Space Station, which has been continually occupied since 2000, to develop an understanding of astronaut (read: human) culture in space.

From the Smithsonian:

A World War II Enigma machine with three rotors (the ones with four are rarer and therefore even more valuable) was bought at a flea market in Romania and purchased for $114 USD recently sold for over $50,000 US at auction to an anonymous bidder.

The Roundup #64

In this week’s roundup, there’s a lot outside my usual fare – more New World than Old. But I’m glad to see that archaeological work carries on in the face of the Trump-Russia-GOP-HealthcareBill stressors. Enjoy!

From the CBC and Le Devoir:

A live cannon ball has been discovered in Quebec City during routine construction work. Neither the construction workers nor the archaeologist called in to remove it realized it still had a charge right away, and then munitions experts from CFB Valcartier were called in to safe it.

From the CBC:

Unmanned submersibles will be sent into Lake Ontario to find the models of the Avro CF-105, the “Arrow”, that were shot into the late in the 1950s following the closure of the Avro interceptor program. Not the prototypes, mind, but models of them.

From Archaeology News Network:

Ahh, the joys of pre-industrial recycling programs! Some of the writings of Hippocrates have been discovered in a palimpsest manuscript with Biblical text in a monastery in Egypt.

From the Smithsonian:

Hiding in plain sight, figures supposedly painted by Raphael shortly before his death in 1520 have been identified in the frescoes in the Hall of Constantine in the Vatican.

From Archaeology.org:

Excavations continue at Tintagel in Cornwall as archaeologists learn more about the locals who lived around the castle.

A Neolithic burial mound has been identified in England between Avesbury and Stonehenge.

A Roman mosaic floor – with a unique herringbone design, also called opus spicatum – has been discovered in a residential part of Alexandria.

Researchers from the Kumamoto University have announced a new theory about moveable set design in Greek theatres.

More evidence of Denisovan culture existing longer than previously thought as a well-worn baby tooth has been discovered that is 50,000 to 100,000 years older than previously identified fossils.

And the ritual sacrifice and burial of a wolf has been identified in Mexico, part of ongoing work into the Aztec culture that existed there before the arrival of the Spanish.

The Roundup #60

Welcome to 2017, everyone! Things are still insane, but now we’ve got a whole new year to add to the insanity that happens in it. I took time away from the internets over the holidays, so here’s the latest roundup from then to now. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Drones are taking high resolution photos of caribou fences in the Northwest Territories believed to have been built by the Sahtu Dene a century ago.

Rock art showing a menorah, a cross, and a key have been identified at a site in Israel.

Excavations on the Japanese island of Honshu are yielding new information on the dimensions of a medieval fort that fell to the Tokugawa Shogunate after a prolonged siege.

If you don’t know already, I’m in love with neolithic figurines, and this discovery in Turkey has given me goosebumps. More on this here.

A prehistoric garden has been discovered near Vancouver, Canada.

An Egyptian relief from the reign of Hatshepsut has been repatriated.

In the Smithsonian:

Apparently bats like to argue.

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 #50

“Going to post every week, don’t worry”. Yeah, about that…

My last post – sans trumpet – was on September 3rd. Eep! Now, to be fair, I had a sibling get married and the requisite wrangling of relatives to contend with. Oh, and the shit show that is the American presidential elections. But, beyond that, I was just lazy. Cut to Thanksgiving weekend, enough time on my hands, and the soundtrack from the 2015 film Legend, and I’m settled in to update this thing I call a blog.

So, without further ado – although there does seem to be a fair amount of ado, doesn’t there? – I offer up the September and early October roundup. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Close on the heels of the discovery of the HMS Erebus in March 2015, archaeologists have also discovered Franklin’s second ship, the HMS Terror in the Arctic Ocean. Here’s the Government of Canada’s press release on the discovery.

Human remains have been identified at the site where the Antikythera Mechanism was discovered.

As I must have mentioned before, I’m absolutely fascinated by neolithic figurines, and this discovery from Turkey is no exception.

Murder! Murder most foul! Looks like Otzi the Ice Man met a less than natural end, depending on how you philosophize it, as evidence of his murder comes to light.

In one of the more unusual discoveries of the last month, Roman coins from the fourth century AD have been found at a medieval castle in southern Japan. The Smithsonian has also reported on this, as has the mighty New York Times.

From The Guardian:

In a direct assault on silly people like Niall Ferguson and ideas about the west being the centre of the universe (get a compass, and a telescope, dude, seriously), the world’s oldest library in Morocco has reopened after decades of unrest and a major restoration of the library itself.

Digital reconstruction of burnt scrolls have the Biblical world all atwitter. This technology has also been used effectively on scrolls from Pompeii and Herculaneum, as I understand it.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this week to the President of Colombia for brokering a peace deal (which was narrowly voted down) to end the country’s 50 year long civil war. Before that announcement was made, there was much rumble about the Prize going to a group of civilians in war-torn Syria. For more on this, see here, here, and the Netflix documentary called, simply, “The White Helmets”.

From the American Schools of Oriental Research:

A new documentary is forthcoming about Gertrude Bell, a contemporary of T.E. Lawrence and of Winston Churchill, who wrote a white paper on the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia in 1920.

From the CBC:

Archaeologists have succeeded in raising the Maud, the famous ship of Roald Amundsen, from its grave in Cambridge Bay after it sank in 1930. She will be on her way back home to Norway in due course.

The Roundup #49

It’s been a strange couple of weeks heading into this Labour Day long weekend of 2016. Professor Juan Rojo of Lafayette College has begun a hunger strike to protest his denial of tenure. Active Latin learning is being championed as a new way to learn a dead language. I found a professor in the US who has written a great series on Latin hacks, the first of which is here. The Tragically Hip played their last concert in Kingston, Ontario. And the New York Times published one of the most powerful articles I’ve ever read on the wars in the Middle East. Naturally, I’ve been somewhat distracted. So, without further ado, here is a roundup from the past two weeks. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

A railway turntable has been discovered in Ottawa during routine construction in the city.

A lavish Roman seaside villa is being documented near Positano in Italy.

A Neolithic labret has been discovered in Siberia, suggesting that face ornamentation has never been the preserve of the present.

Excavations at Rotterdam are bringing to light artefacts of the city before it was founded in 1270AD.

And there’s been a fair amount of excavations yielding Roman artefacts in the UK: first is this selection of bolts and other materials for iron smelting discovered in Scotland; second is from work done near a nursery in Norfolk; third is what appears to be a Neolithic log boat in Wales; and fourth, a medieval castle wall has been discovered during repair work on a nearby mausoleum in Scotland.

From the Guardian:

A ring purported to have belonged to Joan of Arc is in the middle of a new battle over export licences.

Cryptologists may get crowd-sourcing help to unlock the mysteries of the Voynich manuscript.

From the Washington Post:

A rare fourth century AD mosaic of chariot racing in the hippodrome has been discovered in Cyprus.

The Roundup #43

It’s been a crazy week in North America. A hate crime perpetrated in Orlando, Florida followed by a 15 hour long filibuster in the US Senate to demand better gun control laws; a suspected shooter at the University of Toronto St. George campus on the Monday morning following; the suspended disqualification of the Russian national football team at the UEFA championship; and the actual disqualification of the Russian track and field team from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

I bet everyone’s in the mood to read something else, anything else. So here’s this week’s roundup! Enjoy!

From History Today:

A feature on Aristotle by Edith Hall.

A piece on the Holy Lance, the source of the final mark of the stigmata, and another of those relics that inspire confidence at all costs.

From the Smithsonian:

Excavations are underway at Piraeus, the port of Athens, at the sites of the three military harbours that were active around the time of the Persian Wars in the early 5th century BC.

From Archaeology.org:

What is now being called the Gaulcross Hoard of silver artefacts has been discovered in a farmer’s field in Scotland where, nearly 200 years earlier, other silver artefacts had already been found.

The ongoing battle against illegal or illicit antiquities trading continues, this time in Israel with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

My love of neolithic figurines continues with the rediscovery of this little gem, the Skara Brae Buddo, first discovered in the 1860s in the Orkneys and lost to museum storage until recently.

A rather large hunk of butter has been unearthed from a bog in Ireland.

The paintings at the cave site in Chauvet appear to be older than originally believed, by a few thousand years.

The site of the Bear River Massacre has been identified in Idaho where, in 1863, Americans shot and killed hundreds of Northwestern Shoshone.

Some rather fascinating bronze arrows and quivers have been found at a site in Oman, and archaeologists suggest that they may have been offerings to a god of war.

Conservators have begun restoring the solar boat discovered in the Great Pyramid of Khufu in 1954.

And ongoing work in southern Russia has yielded remarkably finely crafted gold artefacts in what was originally thought to be a routine excavation of a kurgan.