<p><img src="http://www.archaeology.org

Archaeology News - April 5, 2016

PULLMAN, WASHINGTON—Kyle Bocinsky and Tim Kohler of Washington State University and their colleagues at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois analyzed data from 1,000 archaeological sites in the American Southwest, and 30,000 tree-ring dates, in order to examine patterns of societal expansion and collapse. They found that periods of drought and crop failure were followed by periods of exploration and exploitation. Between A.D. 600 and 700, people stored their maize in underground chambers. That practice ended with a mild drought. The following Pueblo I period was marked by aboveground storage rooms and perhaps a more restricted exchange of food between family groups. This period, ended by drought, was followed by the large shared plazas and great houses, and hierarchal social structure, of the Pueblo II period. Some of the greatest evidence of social inequality is seen during the Pueblo III period, ended by the largest and most widespread drought. During the following Pueblo IV period, thought to be more egalitarian, people built pueblos that shared plazas and ceremonial spaces. “There’s a point where people say, ‘This isn’t working. We’re leaving,’” Kohler said in a press release. Then “there’s a new period of wealth creation, investment in architecture and culture change,” he explained. To read more about archaeology in this area, go to "Early Parrots in the Southwest."

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Archaeology News - April 5, 2016

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—Analysis of DNA samples from 92 pre-Columbian mummies and skeletons, ranging in age from 500 to 8,600 years old, suggests that European colonization wiped out their genetic lineages. “Surprisingly, none of the genetic lineages we found in almost 100 ancient humans were present, or showed evidence of descendants, in today’s Indigenous populations,” Bastien Llamas of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide said in a press release. Llamas and his team of researchers think that a major portion of isolated groups of early Americans died out after European colonization. “This closely matches the historical reports of a major demographic collapse immediately after the Spaniards arrived in the late 1400s,” he said. The study also yielded information about the arrival of the first Americans. “Our genetic reconstruction confirms that the first Americans entered around 16,000 years ago via the Pacific coast, skirting around the massive ice sheets that blocked an inland corridor route which only opened much later. They spread southward remarkably swiftly, reaching southern Chile by 14,600 years ago,” added Alan Cooper, director of ACAD. For more on the earliest Americans, go to "America, in the Beginning."

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Archaeology News - April 5, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA—The Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts has been launched by Justin McDaniel of the University of Pennsylvania and Harald Hundius, David Wharton, and Bounleut Thammachak of the National Library of Laos. “This is a huge project to preserve, make accessible, catalogue and scan the entire corpus of Northern Thai manuscripts. Anyone from students and researchers to monks and nuns can now read this preserved literature of an entire people,” McDaniel said in a press release. The library contains approximately 5,000 ancient manuscripts from monastic temples, and will eventually contain more than 7,000. The database also includes material from the Preservation of Northern Thai Manuscripts Project of the Chiang Mai University Library. “It’s mostly Buddhist material, but also scientific material, historical material, botany, astrology, grammar, folk tales, philosophical tales, a massive corpus going back from 1410 to the 1950s when print became more popular,” McDaniel added. To read about an ancient site on the Thai-Cambodian border, go to "The Battle Over Preah Vihear."

Categories: Blog

<p><img src="http://www.archaeology.org

Archaeology News - April 5, 2016

DEKALB, ILLINOIS—Archaeologist Eli Orrvar is excavating the nineteenth-century barn at the home of Joseph F. Glidden, who improved the design of barbed wire and patented it in 1874. Barbed wire was used to construct inexpensive fencing that could restrain cattle, and at first, Glidden manufactured it in his barn. The excavation will become part of the exhibit at the Glidden Homestead. “We have this plan for the usage and historical restoration. The idea is to clear this off so we can clear [the flooring] and then dig those test pits and see if there are artifacts in there,” historic site director Rob Glover told The Northwest Herald. So far, the team has uncovered a glass medicine bottle, a kitchen knife handle, and fragments of glass, coal, and animal bones. To read more about historical archaeology in the United States, go to "Letter from Philadelphia: City Garden."

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Archaeology News - April 5, 2016

POINT ROSEE, NEWFOUNDLAND—A second possible New-World Viking site has been found on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, about 300 miles south of “L’Anse aux Meadows,” which was discovered in 1960. The site was spotted by  archaeologist Sarah H. Parcak of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, while she was looking at high-resolution satellite images of New World coastlines. The site, called Point Rosee, appeared as a dark stain with buried rectilinear features. On the ground, magnetometer readings showed elevated iron readings, and test trenches exposed turf walls, ash residue, a fire-cracked boulder, and roasted ore called bog iron. “It screams, ‘Please excavate me!’,” Parcak told The New York Times. Team member Douglas Bolender of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, thinks the buried structure could be a smithy for forging longboat nails and weaponry. “There’s no lock that it’s Norse, but there’s no alternative evidence,” he explained. To read more about Norse settlements, go to "The Vikings in Ireland."

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Archaeology News - April 4, 2016

BELFAST, IRELAND—An international team of scientists has shown that a “mass animal deposition” event occurred near the Col de Traversette pass some 2,000 years ago. The scientists, led by Bill Mahaney of York University in Toronto, say that the deposition was left by the 30,000 men of the Carthaginian army, 37 elephants, and more than 15,000 horses and mules led over the Alps by Hannibal during the Second Punic War with Rome. “The deposition lies within a churned-up mass from a three-foot thick alluvial mire, produced by the constant movement of thousands of animals and humans. Over 70 percent of the microbes in horse manure are from a group known as the Clostridia that are very stable in soil—surviving for thousands of years. We found scientifically significant evidence of these same bugs in a genetic microbial signature precisely dating to the time of the Punic invasion,” Chris Allen of Queen’s University Belfast said in a press release. This route through the Alps was first suggested as Hannibal’s path by biologist Sir Gavin de Beer some 50 years ago. For more on archaeology in the Alps, go to "Ötzi, the Iceman."

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Archaeology News - April 4, 2016

BRISTOL, ENGLAND—A team of archaeologists working on the Great Arab Revolt Project (GARP) has discovered a bullet that they say was fired by Lawrence of Arabia at the site of the 1917 Hallat Ammar train ambush. “The bullet we found came from a Colt automatic pistol, the type of gun known to be carried by Lawrence and almost certainly not used by any of the ambush’s other participants,” Nicholas Saunders of the University of Bristol said in a press release. “Lawrence has something of a reputation as a teller of tall tales, but this bullet—and the other archaeological evidence we unearthed during ten years of fieldwork—indicates how reliable his account of the Arab Revolt in Seven Pillars of Wisdom is,” said archaeologist Neil Faulker. For more on Middle Eastern archaeology, go to "The World in Between."

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<p><img src="http://archaeology.org

Archaeology News - April 4, 2016

PULLMAN, WASHINGTON—Kyle Bocinsky and Tim Kohler of Washington State University and their colleagues at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois analyzed data from 1,000 archaeological sites in the American Southwest, and 30,000 tree-ring dates, in order to examine patterns of societal expansion and collapse. They found that periods of drought and crop failure were followed by periods of exploration and exploitation. Between A.D. 600 and 700, people stored their maize in underground chambers. That practice ended with a mild drought. The following Pueblo I period was marked by aboveground storage rooms and perhaps a more restricted exchange of food between family groups. This period, ended by drought, was followed by the large shared plazas and great houses, and hierarchal social structure, of the Pueblo II period. Some of the greatest evidence of social inequality is seen during the Pueblo III period, ended by the largest and most widespread drought. During the following Pueblo IV period, thought to be more egalitarian, people built pueblos that shared plazas and ceremonial spaces. “There’s a point where people say, ‘This isn’t working. We’re leaving,’” Kohler said in a press release. Then “there’s a new period of wealth creation, investment in architecture and culture change,” he explained. To read more about archaeology in this area, go to "Early Parrots in the Southwest."

Categories: Blog

<p><img src="http://archaeology.org

Archaeology News - April 4, 2016

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—Analysis of DNA samples from 92 pre-Columbian mummies and skeletons, ranging in age from 500 to 8,600 years old, suggests that European colonization wiped out their genetic lineages. “Surprisingly, none of the genetic lineages we found in almost 100 ancient humans were present, or showed evidence of descendants, in today’s Indigenous populations,” Bastien Llamas of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide said in a press release. Llamas and his team of researchers think that a major portion of isolated groups of early Americans died out after European colonization. “This closely matches the historical reports of a major demographic collapse immediately after the Spaniards arrived in the late 1400s,” he said. The study also yielded information about the arrival of the first Americans. “Our genetic reconstruction confirms that the first Americans entered around 16,000 years ago via the Pacific coast, skirting around the massive ice sheets that blocked an inland corridor route which only opened much later. They spread southward remarkably swiftly, reaching southern Chile by 14,600 years ago,” added Alan Cooper, director of ACAD. For more on the earliest Americans, go to "America, in the Beginning."

Categories: Blog

<p><img src="http://archaeology.org

Archaeology News - April 1, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA—The Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts has been launched by Justin McDaniel of the University of Pennsylvania and Harald Hundius, David Wharton, and Bounleut Thammachak of the National Library of Laos. “This is a huge project to preserve, make accessible, catalogue and scan the entire corpus of Northern Thai manuscripts. Anyone from students and researchers to monks and nuns can now read this preserved literature of an entire people,” McDaniel said in a press release. The library contains approximately 5,000 ancient manuscripts from monastic temples, and will eventually contain more than 7,000. The database also includes material from the Preservation of Northern Thai Manuscripts Project of the Chiang Mai University Library. “It’s mostly Buddhist material, but also scientific material, historical material, botany, astrology, grammar, folk tales, philosophical tales, a massive corpus going back from 1410 to the 1950s when print became more popular,” McDaniel added. To read about an ancient site on the Thai-Cambodian border, go to "The Battle Over Preah Vihear."

Categories: Blog

<p><img src="http://archaeology.org

Archaeology News - April 1, 2016

DEKALB, ILLINOIS—Archaeologist Eli Orrvar is excavating the nineteenth-century barn at the home of Joseph F. Glidden, who improved the design of barbed wire and patented it in 1874. Barbed wire was used to construct inexpensive fencing that could restrain cattle, and at first, Glidden manufactured it in his barn. The excavation will become part of the exhibit at the Glidden Homestead. “We have this plan for the usage and historical restoration. The idea is to clear this off so we can clear [the flooring] and then dig those test pits and see if there are artifacts in there,” historic site director Rob Glover told The Northwest Herald. So far, the team has uncovered a glass medicine bottle, a kitchen knife handle, and fragments of glass, coal, and animal bones. To read more about historical archaeology in the United States, go to "Letter from Philadelphia: City Garden."

Categories: Blog

<p>POINT ROSEE, NEWFOUNDLAND&mdash;A

Archaeology News - April 1, 2016

POINT ROSEE, NEWFOUNDLAND—A second possible New-World Viking site has been found on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, about 300 miles south of “L’Anse aux Meadows,” which was discovered in 1960. The site was spotted by so-called space archaeologist Sarah H. Parcak of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, while she was looking at high-resolution satellite images of New World coastlines. The site, called Point Rosee, appeared as a dark stain with buried rectilinear features. On the ground, magnetometer readings showed elevated iron readings, and test trenches exposed turf walls, ash residue, a fire-cracked boulder, and roasted ore called bog iron. “It screams, ‘Please excavate me!,’” Parcak told The New York Times. Team member Douglas Bolender of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, thinks the buried structure could be a smithy for forging longboat nails and weaponry. “There’s no lock that it’s Norse, but there’s no alternative evidence,” he explained.

Categories: Blog

<p><img src="http://archaeology.org

Archaeology News - April 1, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—Mark Aldenderfer of the University of California Merced and a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge led the excavation of ten shaft tombs cut into the rock of a cliff face in Upper Mustang, Nepal. One of the tombs, Samdzong 5, yielded cloth dated to between 400 and 650 A.D., and a gold and silver funerary mask. Analysis of the cloth shows that it had been made with local materials, and silk and dyes imported from China and India. “There is no evidence for local silk production suggesting that Samdzong was inserted into the long-distance trade network of the Silk Road,” Margarita Gleba of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge said in a press release. Copper, glass, and cloth beads had been sewn to the fabric. Pinholes in the funerary mask suggest that it had also been sewn to a piece of fabric, perhaps as part of a piece of decorative headwear. To read more about archaeology in Nepal, go to "Buddhism, in the Beginning."

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<p>CAIRO, EGYPT&mdash;<img src="http:/

Archaeology News - March 31, 2016

CAIRO, EGYPT—Live Science reports that experts are calling for more radar data and information on how it was collected to be released from the recent investigation of the area around Tutankhamun’s tomb. Earlier this month, Japanese radar technologist Hirokatsu Watanabe suggested that there could be two cavities beyond the walls of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, and that those cavities could hold metallic and organic substances. Commenters have also noted that the geology of the Valley of the Kings contains many natural voids. “It does not appear that these GPR [ground-penetrating radar] data have been processed, or that any of the so-called anomalies are visible in the raw data that are provided,” said Lawrence Conyers of the University of Denver. Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has announced that additional radar surveys will be conducted over the next few days. To read more about Tutankhamun, go to "Warrior Tut."

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Archaeology News - March 31, 2016

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND—Archaeologists have identified pieces of metal uncovered at Rufford Abbey as one of only four medieval scourges known in England. The scourge, made of woven copper-alloy wires braided together, may have been used by the abbey’s Christian monks in the penitential act of self-flagellation, and to ward off the Black Death of 1348. Similar scourges have been found at Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire, Grovebury Priory in Bedfordshire, and Roche Abbey in South Yorkshire. “Each archaeological dig at Rufford Abbey unearths something new about its remarkable history and this is another fascinating discovery which helps us to build a picture of what life could have been like for the monks living in the Abbey during the dark days of the Black Death and its aftermath,” Councilor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture at Nottinghamshire County Council said in a press release. To read more about medieval English archaeology, go to "Writing on the Church Wall."

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Archaeology News - March 31, 2016

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA—Recent excavations in Liang Bua Cave on the Indonesian island of Flores have led to new dates for Homo floresiensis, a diminutive human species dubbed the “hobbit.” Most of the fossils recovered in 2003 from deposits in the cave dated to 18,000 years ago, while fragments of other individuals were found in layers dated to 95,000 years ago and 12,000 years ago. The new information, gathered between 2007 and 2014, suggests that all of the Homo floresiensis fossils are between 100,000 and 60,000 years old. “As we extended our original excavations each year, it became increasingly clear that there was a large remnant pedestal of older deposits truncated by an erosional surface that sloped steeply toward the cave mouth,” Thomas Sutikna of the University of Wollongong and the National Research Center for Archaeology (Indonesia) said in a press release. These older sediments were covered by much younger sediments. “Unfortunately, the ages of these overlying sediments were originally thought to apply to the ‘hobbit’ remains, but our continuing excavations and analyses revealed that this was not the case,” Wahyu Saptomo of the National Research Center explained. The scientists now think Homo floresiensis died out some 50,000 years ago. To read more about recent work on human evolution, go to "Our Tangled Ancestry."

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Archaeology News - March 30, 2016

ASWAN, EGYPT—A New Kingdom necropolis of rock-cut tombs has been discovered at the quarry site of Gebel el-Silsila. “So far we have documented over 40 tombs, including a small shrine on the banks of the Nile. Many tombs are in bad condition. They have suffered from heavy erosion and extreme decay due to the rising water and its high salt content,” Maria Nilsson of Lund University and director of the Gebel el-Silsila Survey Project told Discovery News. The undecorated tombs had crypts cut out of the rock floors. Slots cut in the doorways suggest that there had been heavy, vertically-closing doors. The artifacts, including fragments of painted mud plaster, mummy wrappings, beads, amulets, a reversible seal ring, and pottery, indicate that it wasn’t the quarry workers who were buried at Gebel el-Silsila. “However, the higher officials, viziers and such that were active at Silsila were buried in Thebes, so it is likely that the people entombed in the rock-cut graves belong to the level just below the officials,” Nilsson said. To read more about Gebel el-Silsila, go to "'T' Marks the Spot."

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Archaeology News - March 30, 2016

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—A light rail construction project near Sydney has unearthed some 20,000 indigenous artifacts at what archaeologists say may have been a ceremonial meeting place. “I would suggest quite strongly that this site is of state significance,” archaeologist Jakub Czastka told The Sydney Morning Herald. Some of the artifacts, including spear heads and cutting tools, are made of materials from the Lower Hunter Valley, located more than 75 miles away. “You have material that’s not from Sydney. It demonstrates a trading route, or that the mobs out of the Hunter Valley were working with the mobs in Sydney,” explained Scott Franks, an indigenous heritage consultant. He has asked the construction of the light rail stable yard in Randwick stop. “Transport for New South Wales and ALTRAC Light Rail [the public-private partnership consortium] are investigating, in conjunction with the Aboriginal representatives, opportunities to recognize the items found on site, for example in displays or education programs,” responded a Transport for New South Wales spokesperson.

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Archaeology News - March 30, 2016

HAMILTON, SCOTLAND—Ed Archer of the Lanark and District Archaeological Society disagrees with the recent claim that medieval buildings unearthed during roadwork in the Lowlands of Scotland could be the lost village of Cadzow. He says the buildings are the remnants of Netherton, which appears at the site of the excavation on a sixteenth-century map. In addition, he says that Cadzow was mentioned as the location for a sixth-century legend set on the banks of the River Avon. “Down by the water’s edge Langoreth, the wife of Rhydderch, King of Strathclyde, was having an affair with a young man and lost her marriage ring which fell into the Avon. She was mortified and sought the help of St. Kentigern. After some while a servant who was fishing brought a salmon out of the river. Fortunately the ring was inside the salmon,” Archer told The Daily Record. Archer thinks Cadzow is located in Hamilton’s Chatelherault Country Park. “Cadzow is generally thought to be the area up in the High Parks and it was one of the palaces of the kings of Strathclyde,” he said. “This palace might be the circular enclosure that shows up on aerial photos of the High Parks.” For more on archaeology in Scotland, go to "Neolithic Europe's Remote Heart."

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Archaeology News - March 30, 2016

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—Scholars from Tel Aviv University say that Neanderthals may have been shorter and stockier than modern humans due to their high-protein diet based upon large animals. Their wider rib cages could have accommodated a larger liver for metabolizing large quantities of protein, and the wider pelvis may have held an enlarged bladder and kidneys to remove the waste products of protein metabolism. “During harsh Ice-Age winters, carbohydrates were scarce and fat was in limited supply. But large game, the typical prey of the Neanderthal, thrived. This situation triggered an evolutionary adaptation to a high-protein diet—an enlarged liver, expanded renal system and their corresponding morphological manifestations. All these contributed to the Neanderthal evolutionary process,” Miki Ben-Dor said in a press release. The team adds that early indigenous Arctic populations that eat a meat-based diet also had enlarged livers and drank a lot of water to process their high-protein diet. For more, go to "Decoding Neanderthal Genetics."

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