Archaeology news

Painted Stones by Painted People

The story is reported in The Scotsman (but see also http://news.scotsman.com/news/Neolithic-stone-network-found-on.6454132.jp ) stones painted with patterns such as zigzags and chevrons have been found in the Orkneys. The use of colour has been suspected but this is the first tangible evidence of it yet found in an megalithic structure in Britain. It occurs in Sardinian megaliths (as reported a couple of weeks ago) and now it has been found in the far north.

Cyrus and the Chinese

www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Extracts-of-Cyrus-Cylinder-found-in-China/ (see News section if story unavailable) ... it seems a British Museum curator, Irving Finkel, has identified a cuneiform text inscribed on horse bones found in China, and they represent extracts from the Cyrus Cylinder.

Current World Archaeology

Current World Archaeology 42 (August 2010) has some information that might be interesting (see the web site www.archaeology.co.uk ) such as the arrival of modern humans in North Africa is being now dated to 80,000 years ago. We also learn that the once huge fruit and nut forest in central Asia is rapidly disappearing as a result of fires, logging, and population pressure.

The Jared Diamond Myth in tatters

Manchester University (at www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=5997 ) it seems is about to publish new research set to overthrow the 'environmentalist propaganda' disseminated by Jared Diamond in his book a few years ago, much loved by eco-campaigners and politicians as an example of how to rubbish your own backyard.

Solomon's Pools

The story of the discovery of a Roman period aqueduct built to transport water from underground sources - such as Solomon's Pool, the Pool of Hezekiah, and so on, into the city of Jerusalem, is told in some detail as archaeologists had to clamber through ancient sewage systems rich in organic material to discover where the system went and who built it. The story began with a German archaeologist in the 19th century attributing a surviving piece of wall to King Herod - but this theory is now dead in the water.

Carausius

The Independent July 30th ... harks back to the story of a hoard of 52,000 Roman coins found in a field near Frome. Almost 800 of them were minted during thre reign of Carausius, AD286-93. The journalist seems to have set out to find something about this character and has come back with a tale that reckons he was a gangster who was in league with Saxon and Pictish pirates, dividing the booty up between them (but strangely there is no mention of Irish pirates who were active at the same time).

A trawl of recent archaeology - small in themselves but fatter in the round.

Trevor Palmer has provided the response by Bob Porter on the Yahoo New Chronology Forum to the Science article on Bayesian C14 dating and its implications for Egyptian chronology - which were very little (see In the News a week or so ago). Bob Porter noted the Science article gave no references for the origin of the material tested - although at one point it does mention seeds from a foundation deposit of Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el-Bahri but no other details are provided.

Sidon

The Daily Star (of the Lebanon - not the red top with the big thingies) (see www.dailystar.com.lb July 28th) says a British Museum delegation to the Lebanon announced it had discovered significant archaeological remains at Sidon during what is their 12th year of excavations. The finds are important chronologically, it continues, as well as for what they are, as various successive historical eras have been unearthed, as far back as 5000 years ago. It doesn't say when a report will be published.

Donkeys and the Royal Society

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_release/2010-07/uof-adi072810.php there is a report from a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society on the domestication of donkeys which claims mobile pastoral peoples required animals that could survive the dry landscape of the Sahara over 5000 years ago.

Marden Henge update

The Guardian says archaeologists peeled back a thin layer of turf covering the henge which has miraculously escaped being ploughed up over the last 4,500 years and were astounded to find the undisturbed original surface just as it had been left when the people had tidied up after the ceremonial or community meal described a couple of days ago.