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.

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The Roundup #35

And (mostly) on time no less! Here’s this week’s roundup of archaeological fascinations throughout the English-reporting world. Enjoy!

From The Guardian:

The Guardian has published a guide to the destruction suffered by the ancient city of Palmyra between last year when Daesh/ISIL/ISIS took it over and it’s return to the hands of Syrian forces this March.

The ongoing search for the route Hannibal took through the Alps in his assault on Italy in 218/217BCE continues, with researchers from York University analyzing mud for the remains of animal excrement that would identify at least whether the elephants were there. Archaeology.org has also reported on this.

From Archaeology.org:

Caesar may be a fascination of history, but we mustn’t forget that he was also a mass murder. Evidence uncovered by Dutch archaeologists point to one such massacre during Caesar’s time in Gaul in the 50s BCE.

Some extremely well preserved curse tablets from the Piraeus Museum are currently being studied.

From the Smithsonian:

Evidence from Israel suggests that neolithic peoples in the area were strip miners. There’s been a fair amount of archaeological work coming out of Israel about this time period of late.

And from Biblical Archaeology:

More on the study of the name Ba’al in Biblical literature and its disappearance in the 11th or 10th century BCE. Ba’al was a storm god of the Canaanites, Tyrians, and Carthaginians, and the name of our favourite general of the ancient world, Hannibal, means ‘beloved of Ba’al’.

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 #21

And on the 21st of November, no less!

So, without further ado…

From Archaeology.org:

Excavations are underway at Al Zubarah, an 18th century centre for trade in Qatar, that was abandoned after the Sultan of Oman invaded in 1811 and left protected by desert sands until now.

The repatriation of a bronze Shiva from the Chola Period in India is in process, following its discovery by special operations units within US Homeland Security.

By studying teeth from two adult males separated by 60,000 years, scientists have a clearer picture of the extent of Denisovan culture throughout the Asian continent during the last 150,000 years.

A fortified Greek settlement has been discovered in the Ukraine. Archaeologists hope to being major excavations in the near future.

Gaming has been part of human culture for thousands of years, as this die recently discovered in China attests.

And, possibly the most thrilling thing for me this week, a series of beautifully preserved mosaics have been discovered at a 1,700 year old villa in Lod, Israel.

From the Smithsonian:

A feature on the history and culture of British pub signs.

From the Guardian:

A huge cache of Roman coins has been discovered in Switzerland.

And the president of the Louvre museum in Paris has put together a plan to combat conflict antiquities and the illegal trade.

The Roundup #19 and #20

Dear Readers, I’ve been remiss. Somehow I managed to entirely forget about posting a roundup last weekend, so this weekend – as I did a bit ago when I was away – I’ll post two. Roundup #19 will cover the week beginning November 2nd, and #20 will cover this past week beginning November 9th.

On November 7th, Sierra Leone was officially declared ebola-free, something that the WHO and Medecins sans Frontieres must be absolutely joyous about, let alone the people of Sierra Leone themselves.

Otherwise, the week of November 2nd was relatively quiet. Here goes Roundup #19:

From the Guardian:

Burial vaults are being discovered – or, rather, rediscovered – in New York City (Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park). They are approximately 200 years old themselves, and were at one point discovered by ConEdison in the 1960s, before offering archaeologists this week the chance to re-discover them.

A leather trunk in The Hague contains undelivered letters from nearly 300 years ago, including a sad plea from a woman – likely in a compromising situation – to the man who helped get there in that position. Archaeologists and social historians are agog.

And, in an update from the story about the Nazi gold train in Poland, members of the Krakow mining academy will begin surveys this week to determine just what is down there.

 

And here goes Roundup #20.

This week, the news that India was planning to launch a bid to have the Koh-i Noor diamond – currently the centrepiece of the British Crown Jewels – to be returned to them, fomenting debate once again about the repatriation of artworks and cultural treasures. History Today reissued an article written in the 1970s about the history of the diamond.

From Archaeology.org:

A Neolithic smoke house has been discovered in Siberia.

Tree ring studies have been used to develop a global history of drought going back two thousand years.

Archaeologists have digitally mapped the theatre district at Nea Paphos, the capital of the Roman province of Cyprus.

Who doesn’t enjoy news about sabre tooth cats? New evidence has been unearthed at Schoningen in Germany of how ancient peoples used the remains of these cats for weapons.

New studies on the aqueducts of ancient Rome are offering some solid numbers for how much water regularly flowed into the city.

The biggest news – so far as I’m concerned, at least – is of the discovery of a Roman amphitheatre in Volterra, northern Italy.

From the Smithsonian:

In a strange bit of genetic engineering, Vincent Van Gogh’s ear has been recreated from his DNA using a 3D printer. Yeah. I admit I’m a little creeped out by that too.

Residue from ancient pots suggest that people were using honey as far back as 8,500 years ago.

From The New York Times:

Sarah Parcak is to be awarded the $1million TED prize so that she may further her research into satellite tracking of looted archaeological sites.

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 (appallingly belated) Roundup #15

I’ve managed to get well behind in my own self-imposed schedule of posting every weekend, so apologies if anyone was hoping for their fix this weekend. In my defence, I was distracted by the rugby… and the fact that Professor Mary Beard, yes THE Mary Beard, tweeted me back in response to my comment on her article in The Guardian last week. I admit I was a bit of a giggling idiot for a few moments. Her work is really quite brilliant, and such a joy to read.

Right. Enough of excuses. Here’s last week’s roundup.

From Archaeology.org:

There’s murder in the air, or there was, in northern Spain about 400,000 years ago, as evidence of the first known murder comes to light out of a cave containing a shaft full of bones.

We all know about Fiorelli’s plaster casting technique to reveal the victims of the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. Now archaeologist are using CT scanning technology to explore the teeth and bones permanently hidden by the plaster to learn more about these people.

There was a time when newsprint got everywhere, so gods help you if you were wearing white gloves while reading the “hatches, matches, and dispatches”. The same thing appears to have happened in the ancient world, leaving a Greek poem in negative on the bottom of a balsamarium from Bulgaria that was wrapped in parchment where the poem had been written.

Archaeologists have announced that the tomb recently discovered in Amphipolis was intended as a funerary monument to Hephaestion, friend and consort of Alexander the Great.

The Neolithic peoples of Scotland were keen to keep out the cold too, as evidence of a large building capable of creating sauna-like conditions has been unearthed on Orkney.

From the British Film Institute:

I’m apparently not able to watch this content in Canada, but in case you’re able to watch it (wherever it’s able to be watched), there is some footage of Stonehenge from the early part of the 20th century here.

From the Smithsonian:

So apparently cheese is the Honda Civic of the world of fromagerie, the most stolen food on the planet, and authorities have recently apprehended a group of thieves who have stolen approximately $875,000 worth of the famous Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese. It’s so valuable, some banks will accept a wheel of cheese as collateral.

A video detailing the art stolen by the Nazis during World War II and stored in the salt mines at Altaussee sheds light on the fascinating and nearly catastrophic looting of art from throughout Europe discovered after the war by the Monuments Men.

From Blouin Art:

A full length portrait of the Imperial consort Chunhui by Guiseppe Castiglione has sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for a record $17.6 million. What I found most fascinating about this portrait is that there is an inscription of Chunhui’s posthumous title by the Emperor himself. Kind of endearing.