Archaeology news

Nasca Lines ... and water

At August 27th ... we have a Peruvian account of American research that has previously appeared in book form. The theory was advanced that the Nasca Lines may have a connection with water. Basically, he is saying the geoglyphs may be a sort of map of underground water sources in a harsh and very dry environment - a desert. The pattern of straight lines is located in a small area 37 miles long and just one mile wide.

The henge in Herts again

See August 30th ... (subsection, history and heritage - some pictures of the dig). The bank surrounding the ploughed out henge has managed to preserve some deposits in the ditch, by infill, and in the bank itself. These display evidence of burning before deposition suggesting a burnt offering, an apparently universal activity, or a cremation (another phenomenon not unrelated). The henge lies at the head of a shallow valley facing NE.

The peculiar properties of sound at Stonehenge

New Scientist August 27th ... acoustic experiments were made at Stonehenge in an attempt to determine how it may have sounded during prehistoric gatherings. Once the acoustic fingerprint was discovered it could then be analysed - or modelled, using an anechoic chamber (at the University of Salford), and afterwards, convoluted. Due to reflection of sound from the stones, reverberating sounds such as drumming become deeper - as if the bass had been turned up and the tenor turned down.

Early Americas

Daily Mail August 25th ... the remains of a prehistoric child were found in an underwater cave in Mexico - dating back over 10,000 years ago. Scientists hope the skeleton will offer clues to ancient human migrations into the Americas - from SE Asia. Anthropologists think the body was placed in the cave in a funeral ceremony performed when the sea level was some 488 feeet lower than it is today.

Arrows give the game away

BBC News August 26th ... archaeologists in South Africa have unearthed stone points dated 64,000 years ago which were probably arrow heads. A microscope revealed traces of blood and bone. They also found traces of a glue - a plant based resin that was possibly used to fasten them to a wooden shaft. The use of bows and arrows as a hunting tool enabled humans to kill from a distance where previously they had used ambush tactics in order to move in with spears at fairly close quarters.

Archaeology in the Western Desert

At ... Yale University press release. Egyptologists have barely explored the western desert, an expanse the size of Texas, but recently some intrepid archaeologists with links to Yale have been tracking back along old roads crossing the desert, fanning out from Thebes. They have found a lost pharaonic complex with administrative buildings, garrison quarters, and small industries and workshops.

Maya archaeology updates

At August 26th .... it is claimed archaeologists are near to finding out why the Maya abandoned their cities - in the 9th century AD. It was very rapid it seems - pottery and tools were left behin, and grinding stones used to mill corn. The interior of houses appeared to suggest people had left quickly - leaving behind some of their belongings. We know when they went, it continues, as many of them still live in the north or along the coast.

Late Pleistocene Notts

The Independent and the daily Mail August 26th  (see also ....) excavations preceding road widening on the A46 in Nottinghamshire have found Iron Age and Roman remains - and flint tools and flint knapping debris dating back to 11,000BC (shortly before the Younger Dryas event). The A46 at this point follows the line of the Roman road known as the Fosse Way.

Digging for Britain; August 26th

BBC 2 'Digging for Britain' 26th August ... looked at various archaeological sites from Creswell Crags to the Beaker people - and surprisingly, they moved around a lot. Unsurpringly, this occurs between 2300 and 2000BC (but you need to read Moe Mandelkehr's articles in SIS journals on what might have been going on then to understand why). However, what caught my attention was the Neolithic farm and various associated buildings.

Mammoths, and other sturdy beasts with big stomachs

There is an unusual posting at August 24th .. on the mammoths and what they might mean for climate change.