Thursday, May 31, 2012

Greece, ancient wreckage found in Ionian Sea

The wreckage of three ancient vessels were detected in the deep waters of the Ionian Sea during an investigation carried out by the oceanographic vessel "Aigeo", in the framework of a collaboration between the Hellenic National Marine Research Centre and the Marine Ancient Heritage Superintendent's Office on the seabed where the "Poseidon" underwater gas pipeline (which will connect Italy and Greece) is to be laid. According to Greece's Culture and Tourism Ministry, the investigation was carried out recently -between May 11th and May 17th this year- on a surface of approximately 200 of the seabed, in the sea stretch between the island of Corfu and the Paxoi island. This is the first marine archaeology research in deep waters - maximum depth totalled 1,400 mt.- ever carried out in the Ionian Sea. Up to today, no ancient wreckage was found below a depth of 1,000 mt.
During the investigations, 12 "targets" were detected and controlled; three of them turned out to be the wreckage of three ancient vessels. The first one was named "Poseidon 1" and was found at a 1,180 mt. depth. According to a preliminary estimate, "Poseidon 1" is the wreckage of a Roman age ship dating back to the III century AD. Two different African amphora mouths were found and brought to surface, a marble vase whose height is 30 cm, while the video footage of the spot distinctly shows amphoras, kitchenware, two amphoras, part of the ballast and other pieces of the ship scattered on the seabed. The second wreckage, the "Poseidon 2" was detected a depth of 1,375 mt; it is probably a vessel dating back to the same age as Poseidon 1.
Due to the sludge sediments on that particular area of seabed, it was not possible to retrieve any find and take it back to the surface. Underwater footage, however, distinctly shows amphoras, earthenware pots, kitchenware and other metal objects.
The third wreckage, "Poseidon 3" was detected at a depth of 1,260 mt. It is probably a ship dating back to the 17th or 18th century; the ship's profile, its iron anchors and some other objects and pots scattered all around the vessel are visible.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Easter Island

Easter Island, home of the huge statues called moai, is a petite dot of volcanic matter in the South Pacific Ocean. Called by Chileans the Isla de Pascua, Easter Island is known as Rapanui by its population, today primarily newcomers from Chile and the Polynesian islands.

Original Settlement of Easter Island

Genetic research has shown that Easter Island was settled by about 40 Polynesians, who landed on the island ~700 AD and went on, undisturbed, for several centuries. During that time, the population grew, reaching a total population of perhaps some 10,000 at its height, ca 1000 AD. The original Easter Islanders were hunters and fishers, relying on the large variety of birds that made the island, covered at the time with a lush palm tree forest, their home.
The most striking feature of the island is the moai, over 900 large stone statues or megaliths of faces, between 6 and 33 feet high. Construction of the moai is thought to have begun ~AD 1000-1100 and ended ~AD 1680. Each was carved out of the Rano Raraku quarry, a volcanic crater on Rapanui. More than 300 unfinished moai are still in place there-the largest unfinished statue at Rano Raruku is over 60 feet tall. Moai were moved by the islanders distances of up to 10 miles to prepared sites all over the island, set upright and decorated with inlaid coral eyes and a 'pukao', a hat of red scoria.

Agriculture on Easter Island

Horticulture was being practiced on the island by AD 1300, evidenced by the remains of house gardens, horticultural fields and chicken houses. Crops were tended or grown in a mixed-crop, dry land production systems, growing yams, sweet potatoes, bottle gourd, sugar cane, taro and bananas. Lithic mulch was used to increase soil fertility; rock walls and stone circle planting pits helped protect the crops from wind and rain erosion as the deforestation cycle continued.

Easter Island Archaeology

Ongoing archaeological research about Easter Island concerns the reasons for the environmental degradation and the end of the society about 1500 AD. One study argues that a colonization of the island by the Pacific rat may have exacerbated the end of the palm trees; another says that climatic changes had an effect on the agricultural stability of the economy.
The dating of all events at Easter Island is under debate as well, with some researchers arguing the original colonization took place later, or that the birds and palm trees were gone as early as AD 900. Most argue that the major deforestation took place over a period of about 200 years; which 200 years seem to be the biggest question.
The precise manner in which the moai were transported across the island-dragged horizontally or walked upright-has also been debated. Both methods have been tried experimentally and were successful in erecting moai.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Peter Carl Faberge 166th Birthday

Peter Carl Faberge was born on 18 May 1846. He was a Russian jeweler, best known for the famous Faberge eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using expensive metals and gemstones rather than more ordinary materials.
Archaeology Treasure
Between 1885 and 1916, fifty-four Imperial Faberge eggs were specially made by the Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as easter presents for the Tsarinas Marie and Alexandra Feodorovna. Grabbing the eye of Empress Maria Feodorovna with his striking reproductions of Russian archaeological treasures, Faberge was named Supplier by Special engagement to the Imperial Court in 1885.

Not long after engagement Faberge shaped his first Imperial Easter egg for Tsar Alexander III, whose pleasure over the series of decorated treasures coincided tragically with the ignominious end to their reign.
Over the following 30 years, Faberge produced more than 150,000 objects for the Romanov court, enabling him to employ 500 highly skilled craftsmen and expand his St. Petersburg firm with branches in Moscow, Kiev and Odessa as well as London.
Forty-seven of the fifty-four Imperial Russian Faberge eggs are known to exist. A cunningly wrought 'surprise' was often concealed inside.
Peter Carl Faberge biography
Peter Carl Faberge (1846-1920) stands as a representative of a vanished age: the age of the Tsar and the fabulously rich imperial court in Russia. It was an age of empires and European monarchies that was brought to an end forever by the World War I (1914-1918). The production of luxury goods ceased completely in Russia as the war dragged on, ushering in decades of hardship and dramatic changes in the social system within which the imperial court had flourished. Today, long after the 1917 Revolution, the name Faberge conjures images of Russian imperial grandeur.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Jerusalem Old City

Why Jerusalem Old City is unique?

It is holy to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism - faiths that communally clinch faintly above half of the human race.

Jerusalem tips & insights

Religion viewpoints

The world's three major religions view the significance of Jerusalem in three special ways:


It is where Christ was crucified and ascended to Heaven.


It is the home of the Wailing Wall (remains of the Second Temple).


It is the site of the Temple Mount where the prophet Muhammad rose to Heaven.

Best known sites

Jerusalem's many notable holy sites include the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, the Wailing Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Jerusalem preservation

The old city has been preserved to retain much of its antiquated architectural character. This city in Israel is grandly enclosed by high, yellowish-limestone walls pierced by eight historic gates. Each of its four tradition-named residential quarters (Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim) has a twisting maze of narrow cobble-stoned streets.

History in brief

Jerusalem means City of Peace in Hebrew, but it hasn't been exactly like that during its agitated 5,000-year history. Jerusalem has seen more than its fair share of fighting - by the Roman, Byzantine and Crusader forces, to name but three. The 20th and 21st centuries have witnessed the Arab-Israeli conflicts.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dunnyneill Islands

Dunnyneill Islands are located in southern Strangford Lough, close to the village of Killyleagh, County Down. The Dunnyneill Islands consist of the main island (measuring 100 yards in diameter) and a second, smaller island linked by a short stone causeway. Island Taggart lies to the north-west of Dunnyneill Islands.

Believed to be named for Niall of the Nine Hostages, a fifth century king of Ulster who took hostages from nine kingdoms around the UK, one of whom was St Patrick.
1. Site of an early medieval emporium.
2. A long rectangular hut was built on the island around 900 AD, during the Viking invasions.
3. After a period of disuse, it was re-occupied during the 13th century. A belt buckle from this period was found

Luxury goods, lots of wine

Excavations on Dunnyneill have revealed a 7th century "trading emporium" frequented by merchants from as far afield as modern day Russia, Germany, Iceland and France.
Back in early medieval times, there was no cash economy, few buyers, and even fewer sellers, but there are surprising parallels between these ancient trading outposts and modern shopping centres.

According to archaeologist Dr Philip MacDonald, who led the dig on Dunnyneil, merchants would have brought wine and other luxury products to Ireland to exchange at emporia for furs, seal skin, slaves and famed Irish wolfhounds.
"High status members of the Dal Fiatach [the local dynasty whose royal centre was Downpatrick, County Down] and local traders, would have frequented the island," he said.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Old Shipwrecks expose Their Chemical furtive

A team of scientists from the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm University has found large quantities of sulphur and iron compounds in marine archaeological wood from shipwrecks both in the Baltic Sea area and off the west coast of Sweden.

A few years ago scientists reported large quantities of sulphur and iron compounds in the salvaged 17th century warship Vasa, resulting in the development of sulphuric acid and acidic salt precipitates on the surface of the hull and loose wooden objects.

Similar sulphur compounds have now been discovered also in other shipwrecks both from the Baltic and off the west coast of Sweden, including fellow 17th century warships Kronan, Riksnyckeln and Stora Sofia, the 17th century merchant vessel in Gothenburg known as the Göta wreck, and the Viking ships excavated at Skuldelev in Denmark.

“This is a result of natural biological and chemical processes that occur in low-oxygen water and sediments,” said Dr. Yvonne Fors of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Besides the Vasa, similar problems have previously been reported for Henry VIII’s flagship Mary Rose in the UK, which sank off Portsmouth in 1545, and the Dutch vessel Batavia in Australia, which was lost in 1629, the year after the Vasa.

“Our work on the Vasa and the Mary Rose has given us a good insight into these problems,” Dr. Fors explained. “With the right actions, such as new preservation procedures, we’ll be better able to prevent these shipwrecks from developing such serious problems with sulphuric acid.”

Even in low-oxygen-water, bacteria can break down organic material including the wood cells in a vessel’s hull. Sulphates that occur naturally in the water are transformed by bacteria into toxic hydrogen sulphide which reacts with the wood. In the presence of iron ions, sulphur and iron compounds form which readily oxidise into sulphuric acid and acid salt precipitates in a damp museum environment once the vessel has been recovered.

“For some of the wrecks, such as the Skuldelev Viking ships and the Göta wreck, the conservation treatment is already finished,” said Dr. Fors. “It’s then a matter of keeping an eye on the chemical developments, which requires additional resources.”

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Machu Picchu-Archaeology Finds

Machu Picchu is the name of the uptown fort of the Inca Empire. The name means "Old Mountain", and it refers to one of two mountains on which Machu Picchu lies—the other is Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain), located 3,000 feet above the Urubamba Valley in Peru.

Machu Picchu lies on a perennially cloud-draped point between the two peaks, part of the royal estate of the Inca king Pachacuti [AD 1438-1471]. The site is made up of single buildings agreed in groups, along streets, adjacent to plazas and terraces. Most of the buildings are residences, some of white granite masonry such as that seen in the city of Cuzco. Some of the buildings, which must have been built for special purposes, are partly carved into the bedrock and partly built from finely cut white granite.

Machu Picchu discovered

Hiram Bingham (1875-1956), a US academic, adventurer, treasure hunter, and archaeologist, set off in search of this ‘lost city of the Incas’. His expedition team included a geologist/geographer, a naturalist, a surgeon, a topographer, and an engineer. This reflected the challenge: a deep trek into unmapped, Central Andes mountain-forest.

Bingham was led by native guides to a site only accessible down rocky paths with precipitous drops on either side. On a saddle-ridge between two mountain peaks, with the gorge of the River Urubamba 600m below, he was shown, amid dense thickets, the terraces, stairs, and buildings of an Inca site formed of massive blocks of monumental masonry.

The architecture of Machu Picchu

When the Incas built Machu Picchu they shaped the stones of the buildings so exact that to this day you can't fit a thin knife between the stones. The stones aren't staying together because of mortar but because of pure craftsmanship.

The homes were shaped like a pentagonal prism. The strange thing about the building in Machu Picchu is they were built without roofs. Some of the buildings were built in a rectangular prism shapes. The doors of most of the buildings were trapezoid shaped. The only buildings with roofs were the homes that were on the outside of Machu Picchu, they were very small huts, and the Sapa Inca's temples.

one of the real estate King maker Dave lindahl is accept this article - view Dave lindahl tweets...

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Story behind Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle is a geographic area with its points being at Miami, Florida, the island of Bermuda, and San Juan Puerto Rico. In this area, over the course of time, many different aircraft and boats have mysteriously disappeared without a trace, leading many to believe that the triangle has something unusual about it that is swallowing up people, planes, and boats.

While out on a search for the bombers, another plane supposedly exploded over the sea, but no trace of it was ever found either. The final recording of the head pilot back to the base was nearly incoherent, with him mumbling about entering white water, and saying “we can’t make out anything.”

Bermuda Triangle Disappearances

After the 1945 Flight 19 disasters (with the 5 bombers), other disappearances started popping up. Over the next five years, three more flights would disappear, along with 83 people. From as early as 1843, ships have been occasionally disappearing from within the Bermuda triangle, and even on land in 1969, two people at the Lighthouse in Bimini suddenly disappeared and were never found.

Possible Reasons for the Disappearances


Some theorists believe that the strange, unexplainable nature of these disappearances points to UFOs and abductions by extraterrestrial beings. These occurrences first happened at the beginning of the UFO era, and it’s thought that while in flight or on the boats, the UFOs come in and disorient the pilots and passengers, and then takes the entire flight or boat into their crafts and flies off. The best evidence of this is the pilot of Flight 19′s strange comment, “we’re entering white water…” which can’t be explained by storms, as it was a clear day.


The Lost City of Atlantis has long been considered a myth by most westerners who have heard of it, but some believe that Atlantis used to exist where the Bermuda Triangle is currently located, and that some left over technology deep beneath the sea is interfering with the planes and boats and causing them to crash or sink.

A Wormhole

It could, possibly, be a theoretical wormhole that transports those that pass through it to a different time and place in the universe.

Natural Reasons

Some have stated that because of the particularly rough weather going through the Bermuda Triangle, that it’s possible that quick storms were whipped up that knocked planes out of the sky or sank ships without warning. Perhaps because of the quick nature of these events, the crashes and sinking’s took place quickly, disappearing underneath the service before a rescue party could be scrambled. Some claim that it’s simply human error, and at least one author has suggested that the amount of disappearances in a highly-traveled-through area such as the Bermuda triangle was not any more than the norm, and that the Bermuda Triangle theorists are simply alarmists, and that most of the Bermuda Triangle facts that have been released to the public have been sensationalized to sell papers or magazines. Others suggest that the lack of explanation has led other, less malevolent authors, to seek out evidence rather that forming a theory based on the evidence as a whole.

one of the real estate King maker Dave lindahl is accept this article

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ballplayer Statue proposes Sports Were Big in Ancient Mexico

Sports may possibly have been all the fury for ancient Mesoamericans, scientists say after discovering a piece of a figurine of an athlete near Oaxaca, Mexico.

The figure designates the action known as "the ballgame" was yet more extensive than thought in Mesoamerica, which unlimited from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

The fractional figurine proves about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of a male ballplayer's chest. The head and legs have been broken down off. It appears to be tiring a ballgame costume, including a broad belt casing the abdomen and an elaborate mirrored collar like those worn by other examples of ballplayers known from other areas of Mesoamerica.

"Because the ballgame is related with the rise of intricate societies, understanding its origins also illuminates the evolution of socio-politically complex societies," study author Jeffrey Blomster of the George Washington University said in a declaration. "Exploring the origins and spread of the ballgame is central to understanding the development of the Mesoamerican civilization."

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Earliest Known Painting of Maya Astronomical Calendar Discovered

For the first time, archaeologists excavating at the large, monumental Maya center of Xultún in Guatemala have uncovered a structure featuring 9th century wall paintings with numbers and calculations related to the Maya calendars, including numerical records of lunar and possibly planetary cycles. The finding predates by several hundred years the heretofore oldest known record of calendars, which were found in the famous Maya bark-paper Codices.
Tucked away under the dense vegetation of Guatemala's Peten region rain forest, the structure is theorized to be the house of a scribe with connections to the Maya king or royal family of Xultún. 
"For the first time we get to see what may be actual records kept by a scribe, whose job was to be official record keeper of a Maya community," said archaeologist and expedition leader William Saturno of Boston University. "It's like an episode of TV's 'Big Bang Theory,' a geek math problem and they're painting it on the wall. They seem to be using it like a blackboard."
The paintings were found in one room of the house structure. They represent the first Maya art to be found on the walls of a house. All other Maya paintings adorned such structures as temples, royal tombs and other ritual structures.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ten top tips for getting into archaeology

Archaeology offers great opportunities for taking part, whether a lifelong interest beside another career, or a career in itself. It is never too early or too late to become involved in archaeology, and archaeology transcends borders, cultures, languages and social and economic divisions.
The most excellent way to get concerned in archaeology is to get out what opportunities for contribution are available in your own neighborhood, through your local archaeology or history society or club, national organizations or local government, schools or universities. There are talks, walks, guides and events on nearly every week around the world; there are also hundreds of opportunities every year to go on more formal training in archaeological techniques and so become involved in actual fieldwork.
There are many good popular archaeology magazines now available, often from high-street newsagents rather than specialist vendors. Current Archaeology and Current World Archaeology are a good starting point, a quick and enjoyable way to find out more about archaeology. There are also many excellent introductory books on the basics, origins and practice of archaeology – mostly published in paperback, cheap to buy and easily purchased online.
The chances are that if you’re interested in getting more involved in archaeology then you’re already doing this – there are so many good TV shows on archaeology these days, as well as online videos, that these have become the main entry point for budding archaeologists.
As noted above, there are talks, walks, guides and events on about archaeology nearly every week around the world and most of these events are free or very cheap to attend. A great place to look beyond your local archaeology society or club is your local university archaeology or history department: most have weekly talks scheduled by staff and visiting scholars.
Archaeologists are friendly people who love their subject. They want to tell other people about it and help them get involved. Never, ever be afraid to look up archaeologists who work in your neighborhood and ask them for advice on how to participate. They may not be able to help you themselves, but they will know other people who can help you and be able to put you in contact with them.
Talk about your aspirations with your family and what this lifestyle might mean for them, and be realistic – if you’ve always wanted a big house with a sports car sitting in your driveway then archaeology really isn’t the career for you. Once you’ve come to a decision then plan what you need to do to make a start in your career – training, experience and contacts.
Realistically, a professional career in archaeology begins at university. You might not like to hear this but there it is. Without a university degree in archaeology then you are seriously harming your chances of getting any job in the discipline, let alone advancing your career as a professional.
Archaeologists who do well in their careers have multiple skills and fields of expertise. Multiple skills and specialism make you the most adaptable to change, the most able to apply for the largest number of jobs. This means both archaeological and non-archaeological skills, experience and expertise.
There are more archaeologists out there than available jobs – supply exceeds demand. Beyond expanding your training, skills and expertise, successful archaeologists volunteer to do things that make them, and their CVs stand out, that provide opportunities for networking, publication and self-promotion.
Don’t be afraid or dismayed if at first you don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Everyone who has ever ended up with a job in archaeology, from the lowliest digger to the most senior professor, has hit a low at some point, where they wonder if they’ll ever get work and whether so many struggles are worth it. Struggle and disappointment is part of this lifestyle.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Search for for stolen water meters lead cops to 1,000-yr-old scripture

A search to recover stolen water meters in Kalyan led cops to chance upon some historic antique stationery lying in a scrap shop. On Tuesday, the Bazarpeth police recovered a tamrapatra - a copper-plate used to record information by engraving in ancient times - said to be dating back to 1019 AD, from a scrap shop in Ghiladevi Chowk, Kalyan (West). It has been sent to the archaeology department for assessment.

According to the police, following a spate of complaints about theft of water meters in the area, a special crack team zeroed in on the scrap shop, owned by one Prakash Jain, for search and inquiry. During investigations, police spotted the tamrapatra and questioned Jain, who apparently could not provide a satisfactory answer as to how he came to possess it. Police seized the plate and brought Jain to the police station. The scrap dealer claimed that the tamrapatra belonged to his grandfather. Police have not registered any case as investigations are going on.

"Our officers had gone to the scrap shop to look for the water meters. Unexpectedly, they found the tamrapatra," said R R Patil, senior inspector, Bazarpeth police station. Patil called two history mentors, Shrinivas Sathe and Arun Chandra Pathak, to examine the copper-plate. After inspection, the experts told the police that the tamrapatra was almost a 1,000 years old, dating back to 1019 AD.

The new discovery weighs 5.5 kilogram, and has three sheets with inscriptions in the Devnagri script, mostly Sanskrit. Yesterday, police called archaeology officials who took photographs of the find, and will submit a report soon. "The archaeology officials have taken photographs of the tamrapatra. They will submit a detailed report soon. The scrap dealer, Jain, claims the copper-plate belongs to his grandfather. We are verifying the truth," said Patil.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Howard Carter- 138th Birthday

Birth and Death: Howard Carter was born on May 9th, 1874 in the small town of Kensington, London, England. He died on March 2nd, 1939 at the age of 65.
howard carter and tutankhamun.jpg
Discovery: Howard Carter discovered and excavated the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh King Tutankhamen. Carter got his begin as an artist, tracing Egyptian hieroglyphics for others, before becoming an archaeologist himself. His explore for the tomb of King Tut took just about a decade, together with an extensive disruption at some stage in World War I, and was supported economically by George Herbert, the earl of Carnarvon. Carter exposed the tomb of Tut on 4 November 1922 and opened the tomb after Lord Carnarvon's arrival at the site on the 26th of November. Paradoxically, Tutankhamen had been sensibly unidentified before the discovery, but news coverage of Carter's startling locates finished "King Tut" a family circle name.
Extra credit: Lord Carnarvon passed away of pneumonia in 1923, reinforcing the legend of a curse placed on those who had disturbed Tut's tomb. However, Carter himself lived to the age of 64 before dying a natural death in England.
one of the real estate King maker Dave lindahl is accept this article - view Dave lindahl tweets...
For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oldest Astronomical Instrument exposed in China

Oldest Astronomical Instrument.jpg

Chinese scientists have projected that an object composed 35 years ago from a tomb of the Western Han Dynasty in Fuyang city and called “lacquerware of unknown names” could be a gnomon with pattern.

In 1977, archaeologists unearthed a great number of expensive relics, including the unknown object, in the tomb of Xiahou Zao (the 2nd century BCE), the 2nd Marquis of Ruyin of the Western Han dynasty. However, no one has been able to identify the object as well as to explain the possible function of a pair of overlapping lacquered disks found in the same tomb.

A team of Yunli Shi, a professor at the Department of the History of Science and Scientific Archaeology, University of Science and Technology of China, has now proposed that the object is a special gnomon with template, while a pair of lacquered disks is an equatorial device for the positional observation of celestial bodies. Both are the oldest astronomical measuring instruments with definite information of date that can still be seen in the world. The findings appear in the Studies in the History of Natural Sciences.

The scientists noted that the gnomon with template is a typical instrument used by ancient Chinese astronomers in determining the advent of different seasons with the gnomon shadows cast on the template by the midday Sun. The gnomon from the tomb of Xiahou Zao has two symmetric and foldable parts. As being fully set up in the south-north direction, the midday Sun will cast the shadow of a vertical tablet in the northern half onto three fixed positions on the template respectively on the days of the Summer Solstice, the Vernal/Autumnal Equinoxes, and the Winter Solstice.

“Geographically, this type of gnomon with template can only be used on the given latitude, and the one from the tomb of Xiahou Zao fits just right with the region between the capital of the dynasty Chang’an and the fief of the Marquis of Ruyin Fuyang,” explained Prof. Shi. The edges of the two overlapping disks are marked respectively with the complete degrees of a celestial circle, and the names and degrees of each of the 28 lunar lodges. Previous studies have suggested that they may make either an astrological tool similar to the two cosmic disks for divination from the same tomb, or a kind of astronomical instrument, but both theories are in need of definite evidence.

Mounted on top of a lacquerware box, the disks form a complete device good for the equatorial observation fitting just right with the geographical latitude of Fuyang, a prefecture-level city in northwestern Anhui province, China.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Iranian, Italian team to excavate ancient city of Estakhr

A group of archaeological professionals from Italy will perform a sequence of studies in the ancient city of Estakhr, said director of the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR) Mahmoud Mir-Eskandari. “The Italian group will use sophisticated equipments giving Iranian professionals the possibility to develop into familiar with high-tech tools used in this field,” he added.

The joint team will dig the city for 45 days looking for plausible signs of early mosques and ancient ruins, said Mir-Eskandari. In an earlier research program, a team of Iranian and Italian experts led by Professor Pierfrancesco Callieri of the University of Bologna studied some parts of the area in 2008.

Estakhr is an antique city located five kilometers north of Persepolis which was a flourishing city during the Achaemenid era. The new team is also planning to study the Sassanid city of Bishpur and several other cities in Fars province, Mir-Eskandari noted. The ruins of Bishapur have been recently introduced to be registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Evidence In 'Ice Mummy’ Murder Mystery


After two decades-long exploration, researchers discovered that Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old ice mummy, establish conserved under ice in the Alps in 1991, certainly died abruptly later than mortal shot with an arrow. The result, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface on Wednesday, is the hottest pieces of support in the world's oldest murder mystery.

Scientists primarily supposed Ötzi to be a fatigued, ancient explorer who surrendered to fatigue and died of disclosure the rudiments. Though an X-ray revealed Ötzi to have an arrow blocked in his back, indicating that he was attacked while running away, causing some to dub the case the earliest known murder mystery, according research by Northwestern University.

The arrow injury was so harsh it would have been terminal even if Ötzi had entrance to modern medicine, according to a 2007 article by the Guardian. Ötzi also had evidence ofa head injury he likely continued after falling due to being shot, according to Northwestern University.

There has been a immense agreement of public interest in solving the curious case of the iced up ancient corpse, Craig Smuda, a researcher from Northwestern University, said in a paper about the ice mummy.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Mummy Suffered Rare and Painful Disease

Around 2,900 years ago, an antique Egyptian man, likely in his 20s, passed away after anguishing from a rare, cancer like disease that may also have left him with a type of diabetes.

When he died he was mummified, following the procedure of the time. The embalmers removed his brain (through the nose it appears), poured resin-like fluid into his head and pelvis, took out some of his organs and inserted four linen “packets” into his body. At some point the mummy was transferred to the 2,300 year-old sarcophagus of a woman named Kareset, an artifact that is now in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Croatia.

The mummy transfer may have been the work of 19th-century antiquity traders keen on selling Kareset's coffin but wanting to have a mummy inside to raise the price.

Until now, scientists had assumed a female mummy was inside the Egyptian coffin. The new research reveals not only that the body does not belong to Kareset, but the male mummy inside was sick. His body showed telltale signs that he suffered from Hand-Schuller-Christian disease, an enigmatic condition in which Langerhans cells, a type of immune cell found in the skin, multiply rapidly.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cleopatra and Antony's Children Rediscovered

Cleopatra's twin babies now have a face. An Italian Egyptologist has rediscovered a sculpture of Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, the offspring of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Discovered in 1918 near the temple of Dendera on the west bank of the Nile, the sandstone statue was acquired by the Egyptian Museum but has remained largely overlooked. The back of the 33-foot sculpture, catalogued as JE 46278 at the museum, features some engraved stars -- likely indicating that the stone was originally part of a ceiling. Overall, the rest of the statue appears to be quite unusual.

"It shows two naked children, one male and one female, of identical size standing within the coils of two snakes. Each figure has an arm over the other’s shoulder,‭ ‬while the other hand grasps a serpent," Giuseppina Capriotti, an Egyptologist at Italy's National Research Council, told Discovery News.

How Cleopatra Won Her Bet

The researcher identified the children as Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, Antony and Cleopatra's twins, following a detailed stylistic and iconographic analysis published by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw.

Capriotti noticed that the boy has a sun-disc on his head,‭ ‬while the girl boasts a crescent and a lunar disc. The serpents, perhaps two cobras, would also be different forms of sun and moon, she said. Both discs are decorated with the udjat-eye, also called the eye of Horus, a common symbol in Egyptian art. ‭

"Unfortunately the faces are not well preserved, but we can see that the boy has curly hair and a braid on the right side of the head, typical of Egyptian children. The girl's hair is arranged in a way‬ similar to the so-called ‭m‬elonenfrisur‭ (‬melon coiffure ), an elaborate hairstyle often associated with the Ptolemaic dynasty, and Cleopatra particularly," said Capriotti.

The researcher compared the group statue with another Ptolemaic sculpture, the statue of Pakhom, governor of Dendera, now on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts. "Stylistically, the statues have several features in common. For example, the figures have round faces,‭ ‬little chins and big eyes," Capriotti said.

Since the statue of Pakhom was dated to 50-30 B.C., she concluded that the twin sculpture was produced by an Egyptian artist at the end of the Ptolemaic period, after Roman triumvir Mark Antony recognized his twins in 37 B.C.

The babies weren't the firsts for Cleopatra. The Queen of Egypt had already given birth in 47 B.C., when she bore Julius Caesar a child, Caesarion. In 36 B.C. she presented Antony with another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. At the time of their birth in 40 B.C., the twins were simply named Cleopatra and Alexander. When they were officially recognized by their father three years later, as Antony returned to Antioch, in present Turkey, and Cleopatra joined him, they were named Alexander Helios (Sun) and Cleopatra Selene (Moon).

"Antony's recognition of the children was marked by an eclipsys. Probably for this reason, and to mythologize their twin birth, the children were added those celestial names. Although in Egypt the moon was a male deity, in the sculpture the genders were reversed according to the Greek tradition," Capriotti said.

Cleopatra Killed by Drug Cocktail?

Little is known of the children Cleopatra and Mark Antony left behind after their suicides in 30 B.C. following defeat in battle. While Caesarion was murdered under Octavian's orders, the lives of the three offspring of Cleopatra and Antony were spared. Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, then aged 10, and Ptolemy Philadelphus, then aged 4, were moved to Rome and put under the care of Octavian's sister, Octavia, whom Antony was married to. Some years later, Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus would disappear without a trace. Only Cleopatra Selene survived. Married to King Juba II of Mauretania, she had at least one child, Ptolemy Philadelphus, likely named in honor of her little brother.

Her image was minted on coins along with Juba's, suggesting that she ruled as an equal partner. "Now we have her portrayed as a child with her twin brother. Blending Egyptian myths and Greek culture, this sculpture fully represents Egypt at Cleopatra's time," Capriotti said.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Timbuktu’s Treasures exposed by Conflict

Few of Earth’s ancient cities have the mystique to match Timbuktu. During its golden age in medieval times, Timbuktu was a thriving desert trading capital, as well as an intellectual and spiritual center, from which Islam spread throughout Africa. Since then, the city has fallen into serious decline, suffering from poverty and desertification. Now it faces another threat: war and conflict.
Since Tuareg-led rebels overtook Timbuktu on April 1st, Malian scholars, librarians and ordinary citizens have collaborated to hide away priceless ancient manuscripts to prevent them from being damaged or looted. Other preparations have been made to try to smuggle the items out for safekeeping, either to Mali’s capital city, Bamako, or to neighboring countries like Niger.
After stealing vehicles from the newly constructed Ahmed Baba Institute — the Malian state library that houses more than 20,000 ancient scholarly manuscripts — armed rebels ransacked the institute’s old building in another part of town, looting computers and other equipment. Thankfully, they did not enter any of the rooms and underground vaults where the priceless artifacts are stored.
Experts say that there at least 24 significant private manuscript collections, totaling anywhere from 150,000 to 750,000 artifacts, in and around Timbuktu. Dating as far back as the 13th century, the documents have been guarded from invaders by generations of Malian families. Today, the texts represent a compendium of learning on everything from law, sciences and medicine to history and politics.
Martin van Vliet, a researcher at the African Studies Center in Leiden, Netherlands, told CNN that while Timbuktu is no longer a city of vital economic or military importance, it stands out as an important prize for the rebels due to its symbolic significance. “The group that controls Timbuktu controls the symbolic capital of the entire region,” he said, “because it’s that well-known across the world. If you control that city, it will be known.”
Irina Bokova, the director general of UNESCO, has called on rebel groups to respect and protect the city’s vital heritage. “Timbuktu’s outstanding earthen architectural wonders that are the great mosques of Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, must be safeguarded,” she said. “Along with the site’s 16 cemeteries and mausolea, they are essential to the preservation of the identity of the people of Mali and of our universal heritage.”
A new group has been created by the GHN (Global Heritage Fund) Community to monitor and raise awareness of threats to Timbuktu. All readers of Heritage on the Wire are encouraged to join and discuss solutions for this important ancient city’s long-term preservation.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.