First World War Shipwreck Declared War Grave

Archaeology News - March 7, 2017

KENT, ENGLAND—Kent Online reports that the wreckage of the HMHS Anglia has been declared an official war grave, along with a dozen other British naval vessels. At least 160 people were killed when the HMHS Anglia sank off the southeastern coast of England after hitting a German mine on November 17, 1915. The hospital ship had been carrying nearly 400 soldiers wounded in World War I battlefields, as well as the team of doctors and nurses caring for them. It is now illegal to damage, move, remove, or unearth any of the human remains at the wreck site, or to open any hatch or other opening on the ship. “In protecting these historic wreck sites, the Ministry of Defense has recognized the significance of the ships as part of our national story, recognized the cultural importance of the First World War at sea, and honored the memory of those lost in the defense of our shores,” said marine archaeologist Mark Dunkley of Historic England. To read about another shipwreck, go to “Is it Esmeralda?

Categories: Blog

Rock Art Discovered in 4,000-Year-Old Dolmen

Archaeology News - March 7, 2017

HULA VALLEY, ISRAEL—The Times of Israel reports that a dolmen containing the remains of an adult, a young adult, and a child has been found in a field of more than 400 ancient tombs in northern Israel. The underside of the tomb’s capstone, which is thought to weigh about 50 tons, had been decorated with engravings. At least four smaller dolmens had been built at its foot, and then the chambers were covered with a tumulus of stones. Researchers from the Computerized Archaeology Laboratory of Hebrew University made a 3-D model of the engravings, which archaeologist Uri Berger of the Israel Antiquities Authority said are the first to be found in a dolmen in the Middle East. The patina inside the carvings matches the rest of the rock face, suggesting that the tomb was decorated when it was built. “It’s a problem to date [the dolmens] because they are very obvious on the landscape and people have been using them since they were built 4,000 years ago or a little bit more than that,” explained Gonen Sharon of Tel Hai College. The scientists will attempt to radiocarbon date the bones discovered in the tomb. To read about another recent discovery in Israel, go to “Artifact: Middle Bronze Age Jug.”

Categories: Blog

Study Suggests Domesticated Trees Persist in Amazon Forest

Archaeology News - March 7, 2017

LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS—Science reports that ecologist Hans ter Steege of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Carolina Levis of Brazil’s National Institute for Amazonian Research and Wageningen University in the Netherlands employed a database of information collected in earlier studies of biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest to search for evidence of domesticated woody species near more than 1,000 archaeological sites in the Amazon basin and the Guiana shield. They found that common domesticated species, such as the Brazil nut tree and palm trees, made up as much as 61 percent of the trees near archaeological sites. Forests near archaeological sites also had more domesticated tree species than places without evidence of past human occupation. “The effect of Pre-Columbian people is much more pronounced than many of us believed,” said Ter Steege. Researchers cannot be sure, however, when domesticated trees became common. For more, go to “Off the Grid: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

Categories: Blog

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