Archaeology news

Easter Island Again

Sent in by William. At https://phys.org/print453352412.html ... a new investigation into Easter Island (2300 miles off the coast of Chile). This is where society is supposed to have imploded as a result of over exploitation of natural resources. A new article in the Journal of Pacific Archaeology begs to differ. They say the Jared Diamond theory is over stated as evidence from the carving of the stone heads and their erection appears to have been a joint effort - indicating mutual appreciation of different roles in society.

Aboriginal Genetics

I've put this under archaeology as we don't have a genetics thread. It could equally come under anthropology - accept that we are dealing with the hard sciences (rather than the whimsical) - but see https://phys.org/print452844655.html ... A PNAS study (August 7th 2018) starts off with the premise, or so it would seem, that Aborigines arrived in Australia 50,000 years ago. Why do they do that as archaeologists have been pushing back the date of their arrival further and further back in time?

Budic

In Chris Catling's 'Sherds' column in Current Archaeology (Aug/Sept 2018) he makes a reference to a recent discovery at Tintagel in Cornwall. This is the name of Budic found inscribed on a slate window ledge that appears to have an affinity with the name of Boudicca, This is reminiscent of a tombstone found in Roman Cirencester back in 2015 - 'to the shades of Bodicaeia my wife who lived 27 years'.

Migration Routes

Migration routes into the Americas from Siberia are discussed in a new paper in the journal Science Advances (August, 2018) - see https://phys.org/print453017515.html ... The idea of a land route between the Cordillera ice sheet (along the western mountain ranges) and the main ice sheet (further east) went out of focus a couple of decades ago. It seems it is now back on the agenda and people may have migrated along the coast - and on a route between the ice sheets thought to have covered a good deal of northern America.

Talking Hominins

At https://popular-archaeology.com/article/the-last-hominin-standing .. the last hominin standing - modern humans. This is a useful study and quite interesting but it suffers from certain assumptions. For example, it is assumed the equatorial zone has never shifted - and global topography was little different to that of today. Understandable assumptions one might say - but worth bearing in mind as the authors conclude modern humans differened from other manifestations of humanity by being more adaptable to extreme climates (as in deserts and polar regions).

Tsunami Mass Burials

At https://phys.org/print452330358.html ... mass burial sites in the Pacific, Mediterranean, and in Scotland were possibly related to catastrophic tsunami waves, according to research published in the Journal of Archeological Method and Theory. Tsunamis are not usually considered when archaeologists are confronted by large mass graves - even on the coast. That is the nature of the beast - catastrophism is generally out of bounds.

Tall el-Hammam (TeHEP)

There is going to be a National Geographic documentary on Tall el-Hammam in October. One to look out for as astrophysicist Malcolm La Compte is also involved as well as members of a group that took part in LiDAR and multi spectral imaging, photogrammetry and magnetometry, on and around the site of Hammam. The prgramme will focus on the reality and the destruction of Sodom. None of this of course means Hammam is Sodom as there is a good argument to say the Biblical story is an allegory - a ploy to make a point.

Shroud of Turin

In the true spirit of relics it would seem the Turin Shroud is a fake - go to https://phys.org/print451631541.html ... which differs from the findings of a study last year which claimed to have found evidence of trauma in the victim. Apparently, this earlier study has now been retracted by PLOS One - due to concerns about the quality of the data as used by the researchers (which refers to the conclusions they leaped to).
 

Gobekli in the News

Apparently, 15 monumental temples and some 200 standing stones have been discovered as part of a geophysical survey around Gobekli Tepe. See www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/new-temples-stones-found-in-turkeys-gobeklitepe-... ... the T shaped obelisks are 10 to 20 feet high and weigh between 40 and 40 tones each.

Gault Revolution

At https://phys.org/print450944776.html ... Clovis First dominated archaeology for years - but now we have archaeologists exploring below Clovis layers (at Gault near Austin in Texas for example). Here the finds go back to 16,000 years ago, possibly as early as 20,000 years ago at the height of the Late Glacial Maximum. Gone are the days when humans are thought to have been inhibited by the ice sheet in the north. Somehow they got to the Americas - and the evidence is now being taken seriously (instead of being hushed up).