Archaeology

Heathrow

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^

Interesting article, although some of the comments after accuse the study of merely speculation. More like informed conjuecture, obviously it is not possible to say definitely what process were performed on human remains and more importanly why. Yeah, I'd go with practical and ritual, possibly.

Reminds me of one of the Time Team episodes (EP 34), which investigated a cave called "Cooper's Hole", which is near Gough's Cave, also in Somerset.

Time Team - List of Episodes (wiki)

* * *

Guardian - Humans hunted for meat 2 million years ago

Guardian said:
Evidence from ancient butchery site in Tanzania shows early man was capable of ambushing herds up to 1.6 million years earlier than previously thought.

So, early hominids were not just scavengers, but hunters as well. I never doubted it. I do take issue here with the labeling of this species as "human", they were not in my opinion, since homo sapiens did not appear until c.150,000 BP which are us and therefore humans.

Also, this date would mean homo habilis and they were prior to homo erectus (c.1.7m years ago BP), which as the name implies was the first truly bi-pedal ancestor.

This would make them even less human-like than the Guardian headline implies.

:think:
 

Heathrow

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Slate - Who Mastered Fire? The heated archaeological debate about which hominids first started cooking.

Slate said:
Richard Wrangham, an anthropologist at Harvard, claims that hominids became people?that is, acquired traits like big brains and dainty jaws?by mastering fire. He places this development at about 1.8 million years ago.

The arguement is "sometime" between 1.8 million and 12,000 years ago, we or some previous hominids, discovered how to control fire, but the archeologists don't know when or can't agree yet.

The 12,000 years ago is rubbish, I beleive it was way before that. I don't believe the Neanderthals sat through their last ice age or previous ones, without fires.

Just hope the DNA dudes can get this solved, it's stupid not to know when.


* * *

Stick a spade into any bit of London and you find some archeology:

BBC News - 500 skeletons found at Elephant and Castle build site

BBC News said:
More than 500 skeletons dating back to medieval times have been unearthed at a construction site in south-east London.

A leisure centre is being rebuilt as part of Elephant and Castle's ?1.5 billion regeneration scheme.

Archaeologists knew a graveyard dating back to the Middle Ages was originally on the site, but have been surprised by the extent of the findings, Southwark Council said.

About 500 bodies were exhumed in the 1870s for roadworks.

The cemetary is about 1086, a very interesting historical year.
The new King William had just finished the 20 years of war with the Anglo-Saxons and had also just made an "inventory" of the whole of England, the Domesday Book. The first one ever, a census and tax register, sort of!
 

Heathrow

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Two news stories about 17th century shipwrecks.

One, a Dutch trading vessel found off Scotland, with Swedish cannons:
BBC Scotland News - Sutherland shipwreck intrigues archaeologists
BBC Scotland said:
By Steven McKenzie

BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

Archaeologists are trying to piece together clues to the identity of a shipwreck in the north-west Highlands.

Three cannon and part of a wooden hull lie on the seabed near Drumbeg in Sutherland.

Archaeologists believe it could be the remains of a Dutch vessel that got into difficulty between 1650 and 1750.

More via link


The other, Danish warships found in Stockholm harbour, Sweden:
The Local - 'Stunning' Stockholm shipwrecks wow experts
The Local said:
Two shipwrecks believed to be 17th-century Danish warships have emerged along the Stockholm waterfront due to unusually low water levels.

"I was stunned by how big it was," marine archaeologist Jim Hansson told The Local of the find.

Hansson was out for a stroll along Kastellholmen island with his girlfriend on Sunday, taking in some rare springtime sun, when he noticed a pattern of wooden stumps penetrating the surface.

"If it had only been one or two beams sticking up, I may not have noticed it," he said.

"But I saw immediately that it was a shipwreck. You could clearly see the bow and the stern."

More via link

:cool:
 

Heathrow

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BBC Collections - Archaeology at the BBC

A collection of 26 (twenty-six) Archaeology TV programs made by the BBC and put online now.

The shows are from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, etc., all the to the present day.
(May need internet witchcraft to make them work ouside UK.)

I have not even heard of some of them, let alone seen them.

Some interesting titles to view.

:smile:
 

Strelok16

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Hows this for using cool new stuff to find some cool old stuff:

An ancient city lost for 1,200 years has been discovered in the Cambodian jungle by archaeologists using laser scanning technology.

The city, which was linked to Cambodia's famous Angkor temples complex, was uncovered using airborne lasers which penetrated thick vegetation to provide evidence of roads, canals and buildings.

The discovery was announced in a peer-reviewed paper released early by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The lost city of Mahendraparvata was found atop Phnom Kulen mountain in Siem Reap province, about 25 miles (40km) north of the Angkor complex.

Cambodia: Lost Ancient City Found In Jungle
 

Heathrow

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Sad to report that Prof. Mick Aston has died this week. :sad:


Mick Aston (left) with Time Team Producer tim Taylor.​

Mick was Britain's best known archeologist, primarily from his TV work leading the Time Team for nearly twenty years and over 200 programs.

He must have worked with hundreds of people both on TV and in his academic work.

Mainly a mediaevalist, his princple area of interest was monastries despite being an atheist.

He also seemed like a nice bloke and very jolly, but also a serious, well read academic.
 

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Engraved Ring Suggests Viking, Islamic Contact

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN?The recent examination of a ring excavated from a ninth-century grave in the Viking trading center of Birka, Sweden, more than 100 years ago suggests that Vikings had contact with Islamic civilization. The silver ring is adorned with a violet-colored piece of glass (long thought to have been an amethyst) engraved with an inscription that reads ?To Allah? or ?For Allah? in Arabic. A scanning electron microscope revealed little sign of wear on the ring, indicating that it had few owners before it was buried in the grave of a Viking woman. Ancient texts mention contact between Scandinavians and members of Islamic civilization, but such archaeological evidence is rare. ?Being the only ring with an Arabic inscription found at a Scandinavian archaeological site, it is a unique object among Swedish Viking Age material,? the scientists, led by biophysicist Sebastian W?rml?nder of Stockholm University, wrote in the journal Scanning, reported by Science News. To read more in-depth about the archaeology of Vikings, see "The Vikings in Ireland."
 

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"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." Socrates

Proven once again.
 

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Secret Nazi hideout believed found in remote Argentine jungle

They called them ?ratlines.?

In the final days of the Third Reich, when its demise was imminent, adherents realized that if they didn?t escape they would go down with it. So they devised a system of escape ? ratlines ? that funneled thousands of war criminals through Spain to points west and south. Abetted by Third Reich sympathizers, many swarmed into South America, beginning new lives from Brazil to Argentina.

Argentina is now where myths, rumors and historical facts of that time collide. The stories say Nazis arrived by rubber dinghies off the coast of Patagonia, bedraggled from the long journey. The stories say crates of Nazi gold hit the beaches, then vanished into the foggy Andes Mountains. The stories say Hitler himself found new life in an Argentine idyll, ?doddering peacefully in the Andean foothills attended by faithful Nazi servants.?

Some stories are more true than others. It?s true that the Argentine government, under the command of Nazi sympathizer Juan Domingo Per?n, did bring in hundreds, if not thousands, of Nazis. ?In those days, Argentina was a kind of paradise to us,? Nazi Erich Priebke remembered in 1991. And it?s true that some major Nazi operators escaped there, including Adolf Eichmann, a Holocaust mastermind arrested in 1960 in Buenos Aires and later executed in Israel.

According to a fresh discovery announced over the weekend, it?s also true the Nazis made it deeper into the Argentine jungle in search of refuge than anyone imagined. Hundreds of miles north, along the border with Paraguay, rises the Parque Tey? Cuare. A path winds into the nature preserve, opening to a trove of ?mysterious buildings? that are ?battered by time,? reported the Argentine newspaper Clarin. ?What were these buildings? Who built them? For what??

It now appears there may be an answer. According to a team of Argentine researchers led by Daniel Schavelzon of the University of Buenos Aires, the three buildings were built by Nazis. The signs are everywhere. The team found several German coins with dates between 1938 and 1944. They found some German porcelain engraved with ?Made in Germany.? And perhaps most telling, they found Nazi symbols, including a swastika, were etched into the buildings.

?We can find no other explanation as to why anyone would build these structures, at such great effort and expense, in a site which at that time was totally inaccessible, away from the local community, with material which is not typical of the regional architecture,? Schavelzon told Clarin, taking a team of journalists to see the site and capture remarkable images of buildings atrophying in the jungle humidity.

There are three of them, Schavelzon said. One was used for housing. Another was for storage. And the final was intended as something of a lookout. The site, Schavelzon contended, was built as a jungle hideaway for Third Reich leaders. Less than 10 minutes from the Paraguayan border, it had various escape points ? a ?protected, dependable site where they could live quietly,? Schavelzon said.

?Apparently, halfway through the Second World War, the Nazis had a secret project of building shelters for top leaders in the event of defeat ? inaccessible sites, in the middle of deserts, in the mountains, on a cliff or in the middle of the jungle like this,? Schavelzon argued.

It isn?t likely the site, which hints at one of Argentina?s darkest chapters, got much use. That?s because at the end of the war, it turned out Nazis didn?t need to hide. ?Nazis who found refuge in Argentina after the war ? lived without incident,? the New York Times said, attributing the country?s ?open-door? immigration policy that forged what it later called a ?haven for Nazis.?

The best-selling British novel ?The Odessa File,? published in 1972, illustrated some of the suspicions swirling about Nazis and the Argentine administration at that time. It told of a secret society of Nazis who did everything they could to facilitate the escape of their brethren, culminating in the pursuit of one Nazi leader to Argentina. The account was ?not only believable, but also contained many elements of the truth,? according to author Uki Goni, who uncovered links between the administration and Nazis.

?It was [President] Per?n?s intention to rescue as many Nazis as possible from the war crimes trials in Europe,? Goni wrote.

Eichmann was one of the most notorious escapees. He made it to Argentina in 1950 and lived there for the next 1o years. Argentina was known for turning down extradition requests for those accused of war crimes. So the Mossad, Israel?s intelligence service, launched a daring capture mission, got their man ? and in the process shined an international spotlight on Argentina?s cooperation with the Nazis.

And now, a lifetime later, that same spotlight has again fallen on Argentina. This time, it?s trained on the northern jungles, where a deteriorating structure pays homage to a dark history.
 

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Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet

LECCE, Italy ? All Luciano Faggiano wanted when he purchased the seemingly unremarkable building at 56 Via Ascanio Grandi was to open a trattoria. The only problem was the toilet.

Sewage kept backing up. So Mr. Faggiano enlisted his two older sons to help him dig a trench and investigate. He predicted the job would take about a week.

If only.

?We found underground corridors and other rooms, so we kept digging,? said Mr. Faggiano, 60.

His search for a sewage pipe, which began in 2000, became one family?s tale of obsession and discovery. He found a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus: a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar. His trattoria instead became a museum, where relics still turn up today.

Italy is a slag heap of history, with empires and ancient civilizations built atop one another like layers in a cake. Farmers still unearth Etruscan pottery while plowing their fields. Excavation sites are common in ancient cities such as Rome, where protected underground relics have for years impeded plans to expand the subway system.

Situated in the heel of the Italian boot, Lecce was once a critical crossroads in the Mediterranean, coveted by invaders from Greeks to Romans to Ottomans to Normans to Lombards. For centuries, a marble column bearing a statue of Lecce?s patron saint, Orontius, dominated the city?s central piazza ? until historians, in 1901, discovered a Roman amphitheater below, leading to the relocation of the column so that the amphitheater could be excavated.

?The very first layers of Lecce date to the time of Homer, or at least according to legend,? said Mario De Marco, a local historian and author, noting that invaders were enticed by the city?s strategic location and the prospects for looting. ?Each one of these populations came and left a trace.?

Severo Martini, a member of the City Council, said archaeological relics turn up on a regular basis ? and can present a headache for urban planning. A project to build a shopping mall had to be redesigned after the discovery of an ancient Roman temple beneath the site of a planned parking lot.


?Whenever you dig a hole,? Mr. Martini said, ?centuries of history come out.?

Ask the Faggiano family. Mr. Faggiano planned to run the trattoria on the ground floor and live upstairs with his wife and youngest son. Before they started digging, Mr. Faggiano?s oldest son, Marco, was studying film in Rome. His second son, Andrea, had left home to attend college. The building was seemingly modernized, with clean white walls and a new heating system.

?I said, ?Come, I need your help, and it will only be a week,? ? Mr. Faggiano recalled.

But one week quickly passed, as father and sons discovered a false floor that led down to another floor of medieval stone, which led to a tomb of the Messapians, who lived in the region centuries before the birth of Jesus. Soon, the family discovered a chamber used to store grain by the ancient Romans, and the basement of a Franciscan convent where nuns had once prepared the bodies of the dead.


If this history only later became clear, what was immediately obvious was that finding the pipe would be a much bigger project than Mr. Faggiano had anticipated. He did not initially tell his wife about the extent of the work, possibly because he was tying a rope around the chest of his youngest son, Davide, then 12, and lowering him to dig in small, darkened openings.

?I made sure to tell him not to tell his mama,? he said.

His wife, Anna Maria San?, soon became suspicious. ?We had all these dirty clothes, every day,? she said. ?I didn?t understand what was going on.?

After watching the Faggiano men haul away debris in the back seat of the family car, neighbors also became suspicious and notified the authorities. Investigators arrived and shut down the excavations, warning Mr. Faggiano against operating an unapproved archaeological work site. Mr. Faggiano responded that he was just looking for a sewage pipe.

A year passed. Finally, Mr. Faggiano was allowed to resume his pursuit of the sewage pipe on condition that heritage officials observed the work. An underground treasure house emerged, as the family uncovered ancient vases, Roman devotional bottles, an ancient ring with Christian symbols, medieval artifacts, hidden frescoes and more.

?The Faggiano house has layers that are representative of almost all of the city?s history, from the Messapians to the Romans, from the medieval to the Byzantine time,? said Giovanni Giangreco, a cultural heritage official, now retired, involved in overseeing the excavation.

City officials, sensing a major find, brought in an archaeologist, even as the Faggianos were left to do the excavation work and bear the costs. Mr. Faggiano also engaged in extensive research into the eras tiered below him. The two older sons, Marco and Andrea, found their lives interrupted by their father?s quest.

?We were kind of forced to do it,? said Andrea, now 34, laughing. ?I was going to university, but then I would go home to excavate. Marco as well.?

Mr. Faggiano still dreamed of a trattoria, even if the project had become his white whale. He supported his family with rent from an upstairs floor in the building and income on other properties.

?I was still digging to find my pipe,? he said. ?Every day we would find new artifacts.?

Years passed. His sons managed to escape, with Andrea moving to London. City archaeologists pushed Mr. Faggiano to keep going. His own architect advised that digging deeper would help clear out sludge below the planned bathroom, should he still hope to open his trattoria. He admits he also became obsessed.

?At one point, I couldn?t take it anymore,? he recalled. ?I bought cinder blocks and was going to cover it up and pretend it had never happened.

?I don?t wish it on anyone.?

Today, the building is Museum Faggiano, an independent archaeological museum authorized by the Lecce government. Spiral metal stairwells allow visitors to descend through the underground chambers, while sections of glass flooring underscore the building?s historical layers.

His docent, Rosa Anna Romano, is the widow of an amateur speleologist who helped discover the Grotto of Cervi, a cave on the coastline near Lecce that is decorated in Neolithic pictographs. While taking an outdoor bathroom break, the husband had noticed holes in the ground that led to the underground grotto.

?We were brought together by sewage systems,? Mr. Faggiano joked.

Mr. Faggiano is now satisfied with his museum, but he has not forgotten about the trattoria. A few years into his excavation, he finally found his sewage pipe. It was, indeed, broken. He has since bought another building and is again planning for a trattoria, assuming it does not need any renovations. He has no plans to lift a shovel.

?I still want it,? he said of the trattoria. ?I?m very stubborn.?
 

GRtak

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Well, he was handed a shitty situation so he made the museum. Maybe the museum can make him a trattoria. Where is my lemonade? :|
 

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The Ancient City Where People Decided To Eat Chickens


An ancient, abandoned city in Israel has revealed part of the story of how the chicken turned into one of the pillars of the modern Western diet.

The city, now an archaeological site, is called Maresha. It flourished in the Hellenistic period from 400 to 200 BCE.

"The site is located on a trade route between Jerusalem and Egypt," says Lee Perry-Gal, a doctoral student in the department of archaeology at the University of Haifa. As a result, it was a meeting place of cultures, "like New York City," she says.

Not too long ago, the archaeologists unearthed something unusual: a collection of chicken bones.

"This was very, very surprising," says Perry-Gal.

The surprising thing was not that chickens lived here. There's evidence that humans have kept chickens around for thousands of years, starting in Southeast Asia and China.

But those older sites contained just a few scattered chicken bones. People were raising those chickens for cockfighting, or for special ceremonies. The birds apparently weren't considered much of a food.

In Maresha, though, something changed.

The site contained more than a thousand chicken bones. "They were very, very well-preserved," says Perry-Gal, whose findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Perry-Gal could see knife marks on them from butchering. There were twice as many bones from female birds as male. These chickens apparently were being raised for their meat, not for cockfighting.

Perry-Gal says there could be a couple of reasons why the people of Maresha decided to eat chickens.

Maybe, in the dry Mediterranean climate, people learned better how to raise large numbers of chickens in captivity. Maybe the chickens evolved, physically, and became more attractive as food.

But Perry-Gal thinks that part of it must have been a shift in the way people thought about food. "This is a matter of culture," she says. "You have to decide that you are eating chicken from now on."

In the history of human cuisine, Maresha may mark a turning point.

Barely a century later, the Romans starting spreading the chicken-eating habit across their empire. "From this point on, we see chicken everywhere in Europe," Perry-Gal says. "We see a bigger and bigger percent of chicken. It's like a new cellphone. We see it everywhere."

Chicken-eating really is everywhere today. It's the most commonly eaten meat in America. Globally, it's second behind pork, but it's catching up fast. Within five years, humans will probably eat more chicken than any other meat.
 
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