Recent stories from the world of archaeology!
The Penn Museum celebrates its 125th anniversary year by placing an arguably incomparable collection of ancient artifacts online for the world to see. The Penn Museum Online Collections Database is designed as a utility for scholars to obtain preliminary information on artifacts for research purposes, for teachers and students to explore a region’s cultural materials, and for any person who wishes to electronically organize and file their own set of favorite “finds” and share them with others. The database currently contains hundreds of thousands of object records and over fifty thousand images and is growing.
A scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is challenging the conventional wisdom about a 2,000-year-old artifact recently discovered in the Temple Mount area of Jerusalem. The button-sized object was thought to be a seal indicating the purity of offerings, but Prof. Shlomo Naeh argues that the object is a kind of voucher or token which enabled the Temple administrator to keep track of commerce related to sacrificial offerings.
The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH) has unveiled its plans for two key projects in Al Ain: the Al Ain National Museum and Hili Archaeological Park. Hili Archaeological Park is an internationally significant archaeological site, comprising Bronze Age, Iron Age and Islamic remains.
Pompeii risks joining the World Heritage in Danger list. A Unesco report has identified serious problems with the World Heritage Site, including structural damage to buildings, vandalism and a lack of qualified staff.
Finds of residential architecture at Cahokia indicate that it was not a seasonal, ceremonial center, but an affluent neighborhood of Native Americans, set amid the largest concentration of people and monumental architecture north of what is now Mexico, large even by European and Mesoamerican standards of the day.
Plans to restore Rome’s nearly 2,000-year-old Colosseum are causing rumblings among heritage workers and restorers, compounded by reports in December that small amounts of powdery rock had fallen off the monument. The current $33 million (25 million euro) restoration plans to restore the Flavian amphitheater, which once hosted spectacular shows and gruesome gladiatorial battles, are being sponsored by Diego della Valle, of luxury Italian brand Tod’s, in exchange for advertising rights.
A terracotta head excavated from a village in Nigeria is one of the best-preserved examples of its kind ever discovered. It is a product of the Nok culture, an Iron Age culture that flourished from about 1000 BC to AD 500.
They got married, had children, made beer. Although they lived 3,500 years ago in Nippur, Babylonia, in many ways they seem like us. Whether they were also slaves is a hotly contested question which Jonathan Tenney, assistant professor of ancient Near Eastern studies, addresses in the newly released “Life at the Bottom of Babylonian Society: Servile Laborers at Nippur in the 14th and 13th Centuries, B.C.”
The Global Heritage Network (GHN), the world’s first early warning and site monitoring system dedicated exclusively to endangered cultural heritage sites in developing countries, became operational in March of 2011. The Network features updated satellite imagery for 175 of the developing world’s most significant archaeological and cultural heritage sites, including profile information on at least 80 of those sites.
Now a leading scientific body, the Munich-based Max Planck Society, is teaming up with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science to create a joint center devoted to studying archaeology and human evolution, to be based in both Rehovot, Israel, and Leipzig, Germany.
Spain has won a major victory in its long court battle with a Florida-based deep-sea salvage company over rights to an estimated $500 million in silver and gold coins, officials said Wednesday. The treasure was recovered in 2007 from a 19th century sunken ship off the Spanish coast.