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 #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 #38

Sports are a nice distraction from the wonky weather in Toronto. If we ever get to a point where I don’t have to wear a coat for two days in a row without freezing, I will feel it is a New World.

In the meantime, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

A cache of Roman coins weighing 1,300 lbs from the fourth century has been discovered in Spain.

Underwater archaeology has a new friend, OceanOne, a humanoid robot designed to explore underwater sites with more precision than other bots.

I’m always fascinated by Venus figures, mostly the much older kind, but this Roman pseudo-venus found in England still holds sway.

Construction work in Amsterdam has uncovered a 19th century slum bordering the city’s Jewish quarter.

A feature on the Hudson-Meng Bison Kill site in Nebraska.

From National Geographic:

Excavations at Jerusalem have uncovered building remains from the Hellenistic Period.

From History Today:

A feature on the correspondent from The Times, George Steer, who witnessed the bombing of Guernica in 1937.

The Roundup #32

One of these days – likely when whatever has been acting as a place-holder for winter this year finally goes the way of the dinosaurs – I will be more regular with my posts. In the meantime, this roundup covers March 14th to 20th inclusive. Enjoy!

From Archaeology.org:

Indian statues, illegally sold into the US, have been seized at Christie’s auction house by US authorities. I presume they’re being returned, but one never knows with US authorities.

Hikers are having a wonderful time in Israel these days, as another person has discovered a stunning artefact – this time a gold coin from the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan.

Caesar may have been assassinated on the Ides of March, but he did his own share of killing before then, as this feature shows of his time in Gaul.

Dentistry, religion, and medieval books come together at last following the discovery of annotated sections of Britain’s oldest Bible from 3-D x-ray imaging.

It is likely that the remains of Sweden’s Saint Erik have been discovered in Uppsalla.

More of the ongoing hype about the possibility of additional rooms in Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

A paleolithic carving of a bird has been discovered in southern France.

From the Smithsonian:

One of the ships from explorer Vasco da Gama’s fleet has been discovered off the coast of Oman.

From The Guardian:

A huge Iron Age site has been discovered in Yorkshire containing skeletons, swords, pots, beads, and other artefacts that tell the story of this place.

And from the LA Times:

The mysterious life of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas is front and centre again as archaeologists have identified the cave where she lived alone on the island for 18 years, and inspired one of my favourite novels “The Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell.

The Roundup #29

Appallingly belated, I know, but it’s something that I seem to do once in a while. Switchin’ it up, ‘n shit, eh? So here’s last week’s roundup!

From Archaeology.org:

Three late Roman tombs have been discovered in Bulgaria’s Valley of the Thracian Kings (so called to distinguish it from Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, I presume.

The need to regularly cleaning your pots is not a new thing; however, evidence from Japan shows it wasn’t practiced with the same hypochondriac-style fervour as it is now.

In Egypt, you do get rewarded for your work, as the recently discovered tomb of Senusret I’s stamp bearer attests.

I am endlessly fascinated by very, very old figurines, such as this carving of a woman from 15th to 13th century BCE Canaan. There is something awe-inspiring about the eternal desire in human beings to recreate or represent themselves.

More intriguing finds from Yorkshire, this time a mesolithic pendant in shale.

And a birchbark letter from the 14th or 15th century has been found at a site near the Kremlin in Moscow.

From the British Museum:

The Watlington Hoard from 870 AD has been declared treasure under the Treasure Act of 1996.

From Oregon State University:

What is considered a near-perfect blue pigment, long the desire of peoples throughout history, has been licensed by chemists at the university to be used to colour plastics and other manufactured items. Among other things, the colour is so stable that it does not fade in oil or water.

From Doha News:

Workers excavating areas for the Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium have unearthed stones that are 20-30 million years old.

From Biblical Archaeology:

More on ancient figurines, this feature discusses the enigmatic Judaean pillar figurines originally discovered at sites from ancient Judah more than a century ago.

And a hiker in the Galilee accidentally discovered an Egyptian scarab that is 3,500 years old.

 

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 #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!