Archaeology

GRtak

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[video=youtube;XhP6f4kg-Es]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XhP6f4kg-Es[/video]
 

Heathrow

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National Geographic - 18th-Century Ship Found Under 9/11 Site

National Gegraphic said:
Archaeologists explore the newfound remains of an 18th-century ship's rear, or stern, at ground zero (map) in New York City last summer. With the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaching, researchers found the ship's bow, or front, last month.

The unexpected piece of New York history turned up in the future parking garage of the new World Trade Center, which will eventually feature five new skyscrapers and the U.S. National September 11 Memorial & Museum. (See pictures from the 9/11 memorial's official book.)

Centuries ago, though?when Lower Manhattan's western shore was farther in?the site was an anchorage in the Hudson River.

"Right now we're standing by the theory that [the ship is] a Hudson River sloop, a merchant vessel," said archaeologist Elizabeth Meade of AKRF, an engineering firm contracted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The World Trade Center ship "would have traveled up and down the river bringing cargo and people from the city to areas up north and might have gone as far south as the Caribbean."

Others have also suggested that the ship?which was likely deliberately sunk?may have done duty as a British troop carrier during the Revolutionary War.

?Brian Handwerk


more via link

The normal archeological naming convention for a discovered boat is "location" followed by "sequence". So WTC 1, anybody?

EDIT: "Lower Manhatten one" more likely on second thoughts, still a neat find.

:unsure:

* * *

Science Insider - Claims of Mass Libyan Looting Rejected by Archaeologists

Science Insider said:
Archaeologists in contact with colleagues in Libya say that their nation's antiquities appear safe despite the chaos in the country. That news is contrary to reports earlier this week, which claimed that Libya's museums were being plundered and sites destroyed in NATO bombing raids. Libya boasts a host of ancient Phoenician and Roman sites, as well as major collections of ancient artifacts in Tripoli's Jamahiriya Museum and other smaller museums around the country. So the claims of damage prompted fears of a replay of Baghdad in 2003, when the famous Iraq Museum was looted. But Western archaeologists and Libyan sources say that there is no evidence that such destruction is taking place.

"The antiquities in the major sites are unscathed," says Hafed Walda, an archaeologist at King's College London, who has been in frequent contact with his Libyan colleagues during the recent arrival of rebels in the capital city last week. "But a few sites in the interior sustained minor damage and are in need of assessments." As for Tripoli's museum, located in the city's Red Castle, "it has been protected very well." He adds that curators stored the building's artifacts prior to the rebels' arrival but that some ancient objects belonging to former President Muammar Gaddafi were stolen. Ramadan Geddedan, a retired director of Libya's Department of Antiquities, confirms that assessment based on his contacts in Libya. "As far as I know, nothing has happened since the fall of Tripoli," said Geddedan, who now lives in Riverside, California.

more via link

Lessons learnt, Baghdad etc.
 
Last edited:

Strelok16

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AP- Gladiator school a sensational find

AP said:
THEY lived in cells barely big enough to turn around in and usually fought until they died.

This was the lot of those at a sensational scientific discovery just unveiled: the well-preserved ruins of a gladiator school in Austria.

The Carnuntum ruins are part of a city of 50,000 people 45 kilometres east of Vienna that flourished about 1700 years ago, a major military and trade outpost.

Mapped by radar, the ruins of the gladiator school remain underground. Yet officials say its structure rivals the famous Ludus Magnus - the largest of the gladiator training schools in Rome.

They say the Austrian site is even more detailed, down to the remains of a thick wooden post in the middle of the training area, a mock enemy that young, desperate gladiators hacked away at centuries ago.

''[This is] a world sensation, in the true meaning of the word,'' said Lower Austrian provincial governor Erwin Proell.

The gladiator complex is part of a 10-square-kilometre site over the former city, an archaeological site now visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists a year.

''A gladiator school was a mixture of a barracks and a prison, kind of a high-security facility,'' said the Roemisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, one of the institutes involved in finding and evaluating the discovery.

''The fighters were often convicted criminals, prisoners of war, and usually slaves.''

Still, there were some perks for the men who sweated and bled for what they hoped would be at least a few brief moments of glory before their demise. At the end of a dusty and bruising day, they could pamper their bodies in baths with hot, cold and lukewarm water. Hearty meals of meat, grains and cereals were plentiful for the men who burned thousands of calories in battle each day for the entertainment of others.

Vids and pics of the renders at the link. It's also pretty dammned awesome to see discoveries like this being made as ground penetrating radar becomes more advanced. And the technology will only get better from here.
 

GRtak

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I meant to post that the other day and forgot.
 

Strelok16

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That's funny, I'd actually seen it on the TV news the other day, meant to post it, and forgot. I was only reminded about it when I saw it in the newspaper this morning!

I just wanted to have something to post in a thread I started, for once :p
 

Heathrow

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PRI - Archeological surprises uncovered after BP oil spill

PRI said:
After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, archaeologists are finding artifacts that shed new light on the Native American tribes that once lived on the Gulf Coast.

Archaeologists who have been required to go along with BP cleanup workers have come across important finds in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. "They've been finding native American artifacts, fragments of clay pots, animal bones, bone tools," Chip McGimsey, Louisiana State Archaeologist and Director of the state?s Division of Archaeology, told Here and Now. Archaeologists are now exploring historic American sites, ship wreck material, a plantation site that used to exist along the coast, and even a US military fort in the 1830s.

Some of the most exciting finds have concern the so-called Gulf Coast mound people. "Everybody tends to think of tribes as just being in their own little area," McGimsey says. What these recent finds suggest, however, is that "along the coast there must have been boats, basically dugout canoes, going east and west through the costal marshes for hundreds if not thousands of years."

There are some complications in these finds. "Most of the sites actually lie on private land, so don't really come under the regular protection of federal or state laws," McGimsey explains. "One of the goals of our office is to work with local land owners to try to protect these sites."

On one had, archaeologists want this information to get out to as many people as possible. On the other hand, they're also trying to protect the sites and the potential wealth of information held inside.

Through some of these finds, McGimsey says "we're getting a much bigger picture of who these people were and the world in which they lived in." He explains:

As archaeologists, were just really beginning to understand what a wealth of knowledge Native people had about the landscape and how to make a living. And they were very successful in doing so.

more via link

As the old saying goes, " .. it's an ill wind that doesn't blow some good ..". Archaeological discoveries from an environmental disaster. Don't know much about ancient and more modern American archaeology, but this looks like some good intersting discoveries.

Tony Haywood would be pleased, I'm sure. :lol:

* * *

That's funny, I'd actually seen it on the TV news the other day, meant to post it, and forgot. I was only reminded about it when I saw it in the newspaper this morning!

I just wanted to have something to post in a thread I started, for once :p

I saw the Gladiator story on this News website, it is pretty good for posting interesting daily stories.

AIA - Archaeology News Daily Report

Worth Bookmarking and keeping a track, as and when.

(Have just noticed the the US spelling of archaeology and UK one are different. :rolleyes: = me)
 

GRtak

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Pictures: "Incredible" Dinosaur Feathers Found in Amber

Scientific Gold

Photograph courtesy Science/AAAS

Preserved for 70 to 85 million years, these feathers are part of a newly revealed trove of likely dinosaur and bird plumage found trapped in amber in Alberta, Canada.

The unusual find suggests a wide array of plumed creatures populated the time period?sporting everything from seemingly modern feathers to their filament-like forebears?and that even by this early date, feathers had become specialized, for example, for diving underwater, a new study says.

But perhaps what's most striking about them, said paleontologist Julia Clarke, is their ability to make the past present.
"You feel the expanse of time separating you from these feathers seem to fall away," said Clarke, of the University of Texas, who wasn't involved in the study.

"They look like something you could touch and that might have just fallen off yesterday. They aren't like the stony blocks you think of with most fossils."


Follow the link for the pics.
 

Heathrow

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Follow the link for the pics.

Amazing finds, the story made the BBC News here too. The feathers had to have evolved at some point, maybe there were some feathered dinosaurs prior to birds. Interesting stuff.

* * *

Happy Birthday Oetzi! :cheers:

http://pic.armedcats.net/h/he/heathrow/2011/09/20/A-Ortzi.jpg​

AFP - Crucial mummy found 20 years ago Monday

AFP said:
AFP - Twenty years ago Monday, a German couple hiking the Italian Alps veered off a marked footpath and stumbled upon one of the world's oldest and most important archeological finds: Oetzi, "The Iceman".

Oetzi fast became a sensation, not just because he proved to be more than 5,000 years old, but because his remains were so well-preserved, allowing paleontologists to uncover new details about the Stone Age in Europe.

On September 19, 1991, Helmut and Erika Simon from Nuremburg were hiking at an altitude of 3,210 meters (10,500 feet) in the Italy's South Tyrol alps, according to an account published online by the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology.

more via link

One of the most spectacular archeological finds was the Ice Man in the Alps of Austria / Italy. The BBC Horizon program has made at least two hour long documentaries on Oetzi, very interesting and informative and are well worth a look.

:)
 

GRtak

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http://www.history.com/news/2011/09...d-found/?cmpid=Social_Twitter_Hith_09222011_1

Evidence of Major Ancient Roman Shipyard Found

A team of archaeologists has unearthed what might be the first major ancient Roman shipyard ever discovered. Located at Portus, a site that served as Rome?s main maritime trading hub between the first and sixth centuries, a newly discovered building larger than a football field could have been used for assembling, servicing and storing merchant ships and other vessels.

Archaeologists believe they?ve uncovered a major shipyard from the second century A.D. on the site of Rome?s ancient port, the University of Southampton announced today. A massive building recently excavated by the international team was likely used for constructing, repairing and housing vessels that ferried goods in and out of imperial Rome. Bigger than a football field and five stories high, the structure featured piers and bays that opened onto a hexagonal basin linked to the Tiber river, which served as the empire?s gateway to the Mediterranean.

Now reduced to ruins, the building lies at the center of Portus (?harbor?), a maritime complex 20 miles outside Rome that was commissioned by the emperor Claudius in the first century A.D. and expanded by his successors Nero and Trajan. It served as the main hub for imports such as marble, glass, wild animals and slaves before its abandonment around 500 A.D. after Rome?s power waned. Led by the University of Southampton and the British School at Rome, archaeologists have been conducting digs at Portus for more than a decade. They have unearthed warehouses, a palace, a lighthouse and an elaborate amphitheater, but until now had failed to turn up traces of shipbuilding activities, which are described in inscriptions found at the site and depicted in a Roman mosaic.

?At first we thought this large rectangular building was used as a warehouse, but our latest excavation has uncovered evidence that there may have been another, earlier use, connected to the building and maintenance of ships,? University of Southampton professor and project director Simon Keay said of the latest discovery. ?Few Roman imperial shipyards have been discovered and, if our identification is correct, this would be the largest of its kind in Italy or the Mediterranean.?

Thought to have been constructed under Trajan, who ruled from 98 to 117 A.D., the building is made of concrete, wood and brick and once extended roughly 475 feet along the water. Parts of it stood up to 50 feet high. ?This was a vast structure which could easily have housed wood, canvas and other supplies and certainly would have been large enough to build or shelter ships in,? Keay said. ?The scale, position and unique nature of the building lead us to believe it played a key role in shipbuilding activities.?

Keay and his colleagues have found evidence of at least eight 200-foot-long bays in which shipwrights could have assembled or serviced individual galleys. One of these garage-like openings contained copper tacks that might have been used to nail lead onto ships? hulls. But the team has yet to uncover a crucial piece of the puzzle that could help confirm the building?s function, Keay cautioned. ?We need to stress there is no evidence yet of ramps which may have been needed to launch newly constructed ships into the waters of the hexagonal basin,? he explained. ?Discovering these would prove our hypothesis beyond reasonable doubt, although they may no longer exist.?

If the team?s hypothesis does indeed prove correct, Portus would be home to the first major Roman shipyard building ever identified. The archaeologists also hope to investigate whether Portus hosted ships used for purposes other than trade, such as warfare or transporting emperors in grand style. The next phase of excavations will seek answers to these questions as well as a more detailed history of the newly discovered building during the Roman empire?s decline, when its bays may have been demolished to prevent invading barbarians from docking.

As part of the excavation project, experts from the University of Southampton?s Archaeological Computing Research Group have produced computer-generated images of how the building might have looked in antiquity. A collection of these graphics appears above, and the Portus Project website offers additional media and information.
 

Heathrow

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I saw this posted on the AIA News website as well. Interesting find, when you have a city more than 2000 years old, there must be archeology nearly eveywhere you look.

* * *

Another ill wind blowing some good story, this as a result of Tropical Storm Irene:

NBC Connecticut - Irene Unearths Bones Believed to Be from Native American Burial Ground

NBC said:
When the powerful Tropical Storm Irene swept through, the storm unearthed a mystery in Branford.

Part of Linden Avenue collapsed from the storm and neighbors of a beach there found what they believed were human bones protruding from the embankment that the storm eroded and called Branford police. Those bones, experts have determined, likely came from an ancient Native American burial site.

Police responded to the eroded area on Aug. 29 and brought the bones to the Connecticut State Medical Examiner?s Office, who determined the bones were human, and possibly of Native American origin.

"They were femurs, some rib bones, parts of the pelvis," said Running Fox, a member of the Quinnipiac Tribal Council. He said the unearthed bones were remains of two members of the Totoket Quinnipiac Tribe.

Over the years, ancient arrowheads and stone tools have been found in Branford.

Over the last few weeks, Branford Police and the town?s engineer, Janice Plaziak, have worked closely with archaeologists and members of the Native American Heritage Advisory Council to maintain the integrity and security of the site until a proper method of returning the area back to its pre-storm condition could be determined.

?Our major concern during these preceding weeks was to maintain the honor and respect of those Native Americans who may have been laid to rest in this area and work closely with their ancestors to maintain the dignity they deserve,? Police Chief Kevin Halloran said.

A special burial ceremony was held Thursday to return the remains to their rightful place.

"It gives us an opportunity to thank the creator and ask him to watch over them so they will never be disturbed again," Fox said.

:)
 

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Viking boat burial site found intact in Scotland


The first fully intact Viking boat burial site to be found on British soil has been uncovered by a team of archaeologists in Scotland.

The five metre-long (16-foot) grave, thought to contain the remains of a high-status Viking, was discovered at a site estimated to be 1,000 years old.

The Viking was buried with an axe, a sword and a spear in a ship held together with 200 metal rivets.

The excavation project's co-director, Dr Hannah Cobb, described the discovery on the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula as "an exciting find."

"A Viking boat burial is an incredible discovery, but in addition to that, the artefacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain," Cobb said.

The team of archaeologists from the universities of Manchester and Leicester working with other archaeology organisations also unearthed part of a shield, a bronze ring-pin, a whetstone from Norway and Viking pottery at the site.

"Though we have excavated many important artefacts over the years, I think it's fair to say that this year the archaeology has really exceeded our expectations," she said.

Viking specialists from the University of Glasgow have said the boat is likely to be from the 10th century AD.

Dr Oliver Harris, of the University of Leicester, who led the project with Cobb, said: "In previous seasons our work has examined evidence of changing beliefs and life styles in the area through a study of burial practices in the Neolithic and Bronze age periods."

"It has also yielded evidence for what will be one of the best dated Neolithic chambered cairns in Scotland when all of our post excavation work is complete."

"But the find we reveal today has got to be the icing on the cake," Harris added.




World?s oldest sports manual found, covers wrestling


Wrestling announcer Ed Aliverti often spiced up the NCAA Division I wrestling tournament by yelling that wrestling was "the world's oldest and greatest sport." Prints sold at wrestling events depict biblical figure Jacob wrestling an angel, and Abraham Lincoln engaged in his own wrestling match before becoming president. The sport has always been proud of the ancient origins of the sport.

Now, wrestling has proof of its long history, as researchers at Columbia University found an instructional manual on wrestling that dates back to 200 A.D. It was discovered in a dump in Egypt, and will now be kept at Columbia, which is also the home to the NCAA's oldest wrestling program. It is considered to be the oldest sports manual of any kind, and the only document that relates to the original Olympic games.

The manual shows that wrestling hasn't changed much over the years. Headlocks, underhooks, hand-fighting and how to fight out of a hold, concepts that are still important to wrestlers today, are all discussed.

Kerry McCoy, a two-time Olympian and the head coach at the University of Maryland, was delighted with the find.


"To find a coaching manual that dates to 200 A.D. just solidifies how important wrestling is, not just in American culture, but in world culture," said McCoy. "This is a sport built on core values that we need to keep in the forefront."
In the modern day, the U.S. recently finished with four medals at the world championships. Jordan Burroughs won gold, and the men's freestyle team finished in third place. As they look forward to the Olympics in 2012, wrestling can be proud of its rich past.
 

Heathrow

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AIA - Archaeological Institute of America said:
The Guardian has more information on the new, earlier dates for the arrival of modern humans in northwestern Europe. ?For many years, people thought Europe was a bit of a backwater, a Neanderthal stronghold almost, but the dating we?ve done suggests that is not so clear cut,? said Tom Higham of Oxford Univeristy.

The Guardian - Humans ventured as far as Torquay more than 40,000 years ago

The Guardian said:
The early humans were pioneers who took advantage of a temporary warm spell to visit Britain during the last ice age.

A fragment of human jaw unearthed in a prehistoric cave in Torquay is the earliest evidence of modern humans in north-west Europe, scientists say.

The tiny piece of upper jaw was excavated from Kents Cave on the town's border in the 1920s but its significance was not fully realised until scientists checked its age with advanced techniques that have only now become available.

The fresh analysis at Oxford University dated the bone and three teeth to a period between 44,200 and 41,500 years ago, when a temporary warm spell lasting perhaps only a thousand years, made Britain habitable.

Torquay is a small seaside town in the south-west of England.

When our ancestors moved into north-western Europe is a very interesting question. It was previously believed that it was "some time after 70,000BP", then later studies a more conservative c.30,000BP, due to a cold climate unsuitable for homo sapiens.

This latest finding pushes the date back 10k years again, although it is thought that the residence was only temporary of up to 1000 years.

For similar climatic reasons, it is believed that the entire American continent was not colonised until only 15,000 years ago.

We are currently in an inter-glacial warm period.

:)
 

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Archaeologists discover tomb of female singer in Valley of the Kings



Archaeologists from Egypt and Switzerland have unearthed the 1,100-year-old tomb of a female singer in the Valley of the Kings.

It is the only tomb of a woman not related to the ancient Egyptian royal families ever found there, said Mansour Boraiq, the top government official for the antiquities ministry in the city of Luxor,

The Valley of the Kings in Luxor is a major tourist attraction. In 1922, archaeologists there unearthed the gold funeral mask of Tutankhamun and other stunning items in the tomb of the king who ruled more than 3,000 years ago.

Mr Boraiq told reporters that the coffin of the female singer is remarkably intact.

He said that when the coffin is opened this week, Egyptian and Swiss archaeologists will likely find a mummy and a cartonnage mask molded to her face and made from layers of linen and plaster.

The singer's name, Nehmes Bastet, means she was believed to be protected by the feline deity Bastet.

The tomb was found by accident, according to Elina Paulin-Grothe, field director for excavation at the Valley of the Kings with Switzerland's University of Basel.

"We were not looking for new tombs. It was close to another tomb that was discovered 100 years ago."

The field director said the tomb was not originally built for the female singer, but was reused for her 400 years after the original one, based on artifacts found inside. Archaeologists do not know whom the tomb was originally intended for.

The coffin of the singer belonged to the daughter of a high priest during the 22nd Dynasty.

Archaeologists concluded from artifacts that she sang in Karnak Temple, one of the most famous and largest open-air sites from the Pharaonic era, according to evidence at the site.

At the time of her death, Egypt was ruled by Libyan kings, but the high priests who ruled Thebes, which is now within the city of Luxor, were independent. Their authority enabled them to use the royal cemetery for family members, according to Mr Boraiq.

The unearthing marks the 64th tomb to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings.

AP
 

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Random archeology/antiquities thought....

In a 1000 years, this timeperiod shall probably bee seen as the time the electronics/information age started, first computers, first global networks, etc etc.....

Lord knows where mankind will be by then, but I think its safe to assume that technology will progress to even more network/constantly linked to everyone/everything else scenarios
But when they find remains of the old systhems, maybee an old server in the basement of an (by then) ancient building, an old computer stashed away in some old preserved mansion were nobody ever cleaned out the attic , and they find a way to get it going again, see what's on there, what will they think? will they realise that this is where it all started?
That 'the ancient programmers' laid the foundation for their 110022222 Giga per second neural implanted globonet controling everything , and that it started in a couple of nerds garages?

I hate to think what they would think of this place though :p

I'm just gonna go bury a calculator in me garden.
 

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Oldest known Maya calendar found in Guatemala

The artwork at the Xultun site is unusually well preserved, archaeologists say, and one calendar projects 4,000 years beyond now.

In the remote northeastern corner of Guatemala, archaeologists have found what appears to be the 9th century workplace of a city scribe, an unusual dwelling adorned with magnificent pictures of the king and other royals and the oldest known Maya calendar.

This year has been particularly controversial among some cultists because of the belief that the Maya calendar predicts a major cataclysm ? perhaps the end of the world ? on Dec. 21, 2012. Archaeologists know that is not true, but the new find, written on the plaster equivalent of a modern scientist's whiteboard, strongly reinforces the idea that the Maya calendar projects thousands of years into the future.

The astronomical calculations are similar to those found in the well-known Dresden Codex, a bark-paper Maya book from the 11th or 12th century, and they may yield insights on how that well-known work was prepared.

But scientists say the real value of the find is the rare appearance of paintings and numerical calculations. The building, dating from about AD 813 in what is known as the Classic Maya period, contains the oldest known Maya astronomical tables and the only preserved artwork not found in a palace.

The discoveries, made in a region of lowland rain forest, are unusual because artwork and writings from the area are easily destroyed by heat and rain.

"The state of preservation was remarkable," said archaeologist William A. Saturno of Boston University, who led the expedition.

"We've never seen anything like it," added archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin, who is deciphering the hieroglyphs.

The artwork and writings are reported in Friday's edition of the journal Science and in the May 29 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The discovery was made at a site called Xultun, which was discovered in 1915 but not thoroughly studied until recently because of its isolation. One of Saturno's students, Maxwell Chamberlain, was on a lunch break in 2010 when he spied what appeared to be very faint paint on a stone in a looter's trench.

When Saturno dug farther into the room opened by the trench, he said he was shocked to find a mural of a king sitting on a throne holding a white scepter and wearing a red-feathered crown with a headdress streaming away from him. A courtier or servant peeks out from behind him.

The archaeologists immediately preserved the site and came back the next year to excavate it. The 40-square-foot room had been filled with rubble before other structures were built on top of it. That was an unusual practice for the Maya, who typically collapsed roofs and walls before rebuilding, and had done so to other rooms around the site. But it led to the preservation.

The portrait of the king was found in a rounded niche on the north wall of the structure. Bone curtain rods would have allowed a drape to be drawn across it to hide it.

On the wall next to it is the portrait of a figure in brilliant orange, with jade bracelets, holding a stylus. The figure, who may have been a scribe, was labeled "younger brother obsidian" or perhaps "junior obsidian." He may have been the king's son or brother, the team said.

A mural on the west wall shows three identically dressed individuals, painted in black. Each wears a simple loincloth, a white medallion and a large black headdress with a single red feather. No such grouping of identical headdresses had been seen before. The largest figure in the group is labeled "older brother obsidian," or perhaps "senior obsidian."

On the east wall are rough sketches of people and several different areas with columns of numbers and calculations, either written with red and black paint or inscribed in plaster. Several areas appear to have been plastered over several times, as if to provide fresh writing surfaces.

Not all of the writing has been deciphered yet, but some clearly describe the 260-day ceremonial calendar, the 365-day solar calendar, the 584-day cycle of Venus and the 780-day cycle of Mars. Another calendar nearby comprises 17 baktuns, or 400-year periods, encompassing an additional 4,000 years beyond the 21st century.

"This is our first real look at this kind of writing and this kind of a space in a Maya city," Saturno said.

Stuart acknowledged that "we don't know exactly what this is noting," but the Maya were looking at "patterns in the sky and intermeshing them mathematically."

Among other things, the calculations showed which god was the patron of each day and month, marked celestial events tied to religious ceremonies and allowed astronomers to calculate the dates of eclipses, which were important in rituals.


So does that mean the world will continue? Damn...
 

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Mysterious Structure May Have Led to Ancient Artificial Island


Archaeologists have unearthed the foundation of what appears to have been a massive, ancient structure, possibly a bridge leading to an artificial island, in what is now southeast Wales. The strange ruin, its discoverers say, is unlike anything found before in the United Kingdom and possibly all of Europe.

"It's a real mystery," said Steve Clarke, chairman and founding member of the Monmouth Archaeological Society, who discovered the structural remains earlier this month in Monmouth, Wales ? a town known for its rich archaeological features. "Whatever it is, there's nothing else like it. It may well be unique."

Clarke and his team discovered the remnants of three giant timber beams placed alongside one another on a floodplainat the edge of an ancient lake that has long since filled with silt. After being set into the ground, the pieces of timber decayed, leaving anaerobic (oxygen-free) clay, which formed after silt filled in the timbers' empty slots, Clarke told LiveScience. [Photos of the mysterious structure]

The team initially thought the timber structures were once sleeper beams, or shafts of timber placed in the ground to form the foundations of a house. However, the pieces appear to be too large for that purpose. While a typical sleeper beam would span about 1 foot (30 centimeters) across, these timber beams were over 3 feet wide and at least 50 feet long (or about 1 meter by 15 meters). The archaeologists are still digging and don't yet know how much longer the timbers are. Clarke says the structure's builders appear to have placed whole trees, cut in half lengthwise, into the ground.

"One other thing that is striking, that might be relevant, is that the timbers seem to be lined up with the middle of the lake," Clarke noted, suggesting that the structures may have been part of a causeway to a crannog, or artificial island, constructed in the middle of the lake. "Even so, if it is a path to a crannog, it's huge."

The archaeologists also aren't sure when it was built or even if it came before or after the lake formed, but they say the structure, at its oldest, could date to the Bronze Age around 4,000 years ago. Beneath the beams the researchers found a burnt mound of rock and charcoal fragments, alongside of which they discovered a hearth and trough ? scientists believe people in the Bronze Age heated stones in a fire and threw them into a filled trough to boil water.

"The discovery of this unusual site on a housing development near Monmouth is very interesting," a spokesperson for CADW, the Welsh government?s historic environment service, told LiveScience. "We have been monitoring the situation closely. At this point the date and function of the structure represented by these three long trenches is not known, despite a great deal of speculation. Only further excavation can clarify exactly what they represent."

Clarke believes its more likely the structure was built a little later, possibly during the Iron Age, but he says determining a reliable age for the structure will be tricky. Dating the burnt mound, which predates the timber that was placed on top of it, will only give a maximum age for the structure. Dating the clay, on the other hand, will yield an age that is too young because the clay deposited after the timber rotted away.

The archaeologists have already sent off charcoal samples from the burnt mound for chemical analyses and expect results later this month.

"And we now have some charcoal from the bottom of the slots (not from the burnt-mound area)," Clarke said. "Hopefully that will give us a closer date."

The research has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, with work at the site currently in progress.
 

Heathrow

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When I read the head line, I thought it sounded like a crannoch.

These have have found in Scotland in some numbers in lakes. Not heard of one in Wales before, but the "celtic" peoples of the bronze age did travel around the islands, hence ideas, technology and lifestyles went with them.

So, not such a surprise to find one in Wales really, if you think about it. Never heard of on in Ireland or Brittany, yet either, but that may be just a lack of discovery or my lack of knowledge. Or maybe it is an environment thing, wrong type of lakes or less need to make the big building investment for defensive purposes.

Interesting find.

* * *

Daily Telegraph - Stonehenge a 'symbol of unification' at centre of Ancient Britain

Daily Telegraph said:
Stonehenge was the centre of ancient Britain, according to a study which claims the monument symbolised the unification of eastern and western communities.

Prof Mike Parker Pearson, of Sheffield University, said during Stonehenge's main period of construction from 3,000 to 2,500 BC there was a "growing island-wide culture" developin in Britain.

He added: "Stonehenge itself was a massive undertaking, requiring the labour of thousands to move stones from as far away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them. Just the work itself, requiring everyone literally to pull together, would have been an act of unification."

Mike Parker-Pearson has done some good work arround Stonehenge over the last few years, especially at Durrington Walls and the discovery of a Neolithic roadway linking Stonehenge to the river.

There is no evidence descrbed in the article and until I read more, this will go under the heading of hypothesis at best and "guess" at worst.

Other than the annual calendar as already known, my "guess" is Stonehenge was built in the landscape as a message and to tell the other people not involved:

"Fuck Off!" this is our place.

:lol:

Not the sort of conclusion that Mike P-P would ever come up with as he seems a bit of an old hippy, "peace and love" type dude.
 

Heathrow

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^

Couldn't get the Telegraph link to work for me, but here is a Reuters' one :

Reuters - Have UK archaeologists found Richard III's skeleton?

Very interseting, the archeologists are being understndably cautious at present.

All of the elements seem to fit together well, perhaps too well. The correct burial place as understood, the spine problem, the perimortem trauma and arrowhead suggesting death in battle, etc.

The DNA and carbon dating tests will be interesting, but will probably only provide the "definetely not" him result. So if that's not the case, then they will add to the above list of good-fit data.
(i.e. If the carbon-14 test says c.18th century, then it's defintely not the dude.)

Well at least we alreay know who killed him, albeit by accident.
It was Edmund Blackadder, in the first series. :lol:
 
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