Archaeology in the News!

Posted in: Archaeology in the News
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Here are some links to recent news from the world of archaeology!

While the Ancient Sumerians enjoyed wheat-based beverages, it’s possible they may not have been making beer. Little is known about the Sumerian’s beer-making process, except for the ingredients they used–which are listed on ancient administrative records such as the proto-Cuneiform tablet to the right–and historian of science and cuneiform writing scholar Peter Damerow expresses great doubts as to whether the popular brew produced by the Sumerians would have even been alcoholic.

Ancient Romans were more than a little casual about where they put their trash, shows a new study by Allison Emmerson of the University of Cincinnati.  Pompeii’s cemeteries and tombs were a place to dispose of trash – as were almost any part of a home’s interior or exterior as well as alleys, streets and major roadways.

A team of archaeologists from Bournemouth University have created a virtual map of Neolithic Stonehenge on Google Earth. The BBC discusses the project here.

Israeli archaeologists said they had found a 2,000-year-old clay seal near Jerusalem’s Western Wall, confirming written accounts of ritual practices in the biblical Jewish Temple. The button-shaped object bears the Aramaic words “pure for God,” suggesting it was used to certify food and animals used in sacrificial ceremonies.

Looters in search of buried gold irreparably damaged portions of the the Be’er Limon site in Israel inclusing smashing through a 2,000 year old well.

As Greece enters its fifth year in a recession ministers are looking for creative solutions to the debt crisis. Now the Greek Culture Ministry is considering renting out archaeological sites to advertisers as a way of raising money for site maintenance.

Archaeologists led by the University of Birmingham with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection have discovered evidence of two huge pits positioned on celestial alignment at Stonehenge. These pits are in the Stonehenge Cursus, which is adjacent to and dates earlier than Stonehenge, and align with the midsummer sunrise and sunset, possibly linking ritual activities in the Cursus and Stonehenge.

Dmitri Zagorevski, director of the Proteomics Core in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies(CBIS) at Rensselaer, and Jennifer Loughmiller-Newman, a doctoral candidate at the University at Albany, have discovered the first physical evidence of tobacco in a Mayan container. They tested the residue inside a ceramic vessel from approximately A.D. 700 to determine if the contents matched the inscription on the vessel’s surface and ended up uncovering the earliest tobacco remains yet discovered.

The recent discovery of a pendant at the Irikaitz archaeological site in Zestoa (in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa) has given rise to intense debate: it may be as old as 25,000 years, which would make it the oldest found to date at open-air excavations throughout the whole of the Iberian Peninsula.

Newfound tombs in Central America are yielding thousand-year-old gold, gems, and even hints of murder by pufferfish. But the real treasure is the excavation’s clues to the unnamed civilization of the so-called golden chiefs of Panama, archaeologists say.

Excavations among what many scholars consider to be the world’s oldest monumental buildings on the island of Malta continue to unveil surprises and raise new questions about the significance of these megalithic structures and the people who built them. Not least is the latest find – a small but rare, crescent-moon shaped agate stone featuring a rare 13th-century B.C.E. cuneiform inscription.

A new study suggests that people living along the coast of northern Peru were eating popcorn 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.

State archaeologists say discoveries unearthed in 2010 at a long-studied archaeological site known as Coats-Hines in Cool Springs reveal it to be one of only a few sites in the eastern US that show early people in this area hunted and ate megafauna. One mastodon, Mastodon B, shows unequivocal butchering marks.

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center has embarked on a new project to study the early development of pueblo communities. The Dillard site, the site of this year’s excavation, includes a “great kiva” (a room used by Pueblo Indians for ceremonies or other public events) measuring 10 meters in diameter and 1 meter deep, which excavations have shown to be one of the oldest public buildings in the Mesa Verde region.

Five shipwrecks dating from the 1500s to the 1700s have been found during renovation work on a quay in central Stockholm, according to the Swedish Maritime Museum.

Check out this video below, a review of a traveling exhibition ”Tutankhamun: His Tomb and His Treasures’


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