Archaeology news

Fire Use

At https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/quest-for-clues-to-humanitys-... ... is an interesting read - if only to illustrate how difficult it is to establish between natural fire (such as lightning and landscape blazes), and human induced fire (such as camp and hearth fires). It is thought by some archaeologists that fire use may go back to Homo erectus. Strangely, there appears to be a lot of scepticism towards an early date for making fires - some archaeologists even think Neanderthals could not light their own fires.

El Khawy

      A newly discovered panel of rock art is thought to contribute to an understanding on how heiroglyphic signs developed. A modicum of scepticism is in order - although one might think old ideas contributed to the new idea of sign language (or writing in the Egyptian style) - see https://phys.org/print417674434.html. In this instance, a bull's head on a pole and a back to back saddleback stork and a bald iris are depicted.

Jerusalem Tower

At www.timesofisrael.com/carbon-dating-undermines-biblical-narrative-for-an... ...  (June 19th 2017) we have a story, 'carbon dating undermines biblical narrative for ancient Jerusalem tower ...' ... which concerns a defensive tower that was previously dated around 1700BC but has now been re-dated to the 9th century BC. This will concern revisionist chronologists - and SIS has many members interested in that subject.

Challenging GIS

This is an interesting article - go to https://phys.org/print414322534.html ... Canadian archaeologists challenge the credibility of GIS methods to accurately predict weather on shoreline erosion. Computer models of archaeological sites are ideal software tools for managing referenced data and are commonly used to yield information used for protecting heritage - but some scientists are questioning the credibility of the models. They want long term trends to be 'ground truthed' in order to substantiate rates of change that 'reflect' observed phenomena 'in the field'.

Viking War Camp

William sent in this link at https://phys.org/print414318459.html ... a large war camp of a Viking army has been uncovered at Torksey, on the banks of the Trent in Lincolnshire. It included boat repair facilities and a smelter to melt looted gold and silver and convert it into ingots. It was a base for operations - defended during the winter months (laying up in wait of spring and a new campaign season). Thousands of men, women, and children, lived there, and the site was bigger than any nearby town in the region.

Verulamium discovery

Excavations to renew and re-lay a gas pipe across the southern portion of Verulamium, Roman St Albans, has unearthed another pottery kiln - see http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2017/article/a-new-discovery... ... four pottery kilns were unearthed in the 1980s and it seems the pipeline excavation has unearthed a fifth kiln. This makes sense as there is a Roman period clay pit on the other side of the river Ver, within reach of the southern side of the Roman town. You would not want to transport clay by wagon too far - and the route is downhill all the way.

Burning Houses

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/can-houses-die-iro... ... From the Bronze Age to the Viking Age, roughly a period of almost 3000 years, burial mounds were sometimes placed on top of the remains of burnt long houses. It was a way of getting rid of a house that had grown old and weary, and sometimes internal posts that supported the roof were removed for re-use elsewhere, but generally, it was an act of closure. Why was fire involved - and why was the same period associated with a rise in cremation as a means of disposing of bodies?

Americans

At https://phys.org/print412432801.html ... we learn that humans were in the Americas 115,000 years earlier than thought. This is roughly during the last interglacial episode. Where was the equator? Mastodon bones found in southern California are the key. Teeth and bones of mastodon appear to have been modified by human hands - code for being whacked with a big stone (known as a hammer stone). Hammer stones were found at the site, it is alleged, and an anvil (code for a much bigger stone on which the bones were propped before giving a good bashing).

Otzi Froze

We already know that Otzi the iceman froze as he was engulfed in an Alpine mountain glacier - but at www.sciencenews.org/article/otzi-iceman-froze-death ... tells us that this was the main reason why he died, rather than from an arrow wound in his shoulder. It seemed he probably suffered just minor blood loss from the wound and succumbed to exposure. Freezing was the main cause of death.

Hillforts in Perthshire

William sent in the link to https://phys.org/print411984420.html ... a digital online source enables interested parties to look at ten hillforts, and archaeological exploration and finds within them, situated in eastern Strathearn in Scotland. The project is the Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) Project, and has been set up by Glasgow University. The research began as long ago as 2007 - so expect a bit of information. The excavation report has not been published as yet but the app can be downloaded to keep you abreast of what is going on now.