Archaeology news

Big Stone Axes for chopping down trees

At www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63888/description/Ancient_New_Guinea/ ... it seems that people in what is now New Guinea nearly 50,000 years ago fashioned stone tools known as 'waisted axes' which used their body as well as their arms to fell trees and clear patches of forest in a mountain valley deep in the interior of New Guinea - and yet they aren't thought to have practised horticulture or garden agriculture until around 10,000 years ago.

Early Americans

The BBC Horizon television series (www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2002/columbus.html ) on the 24th November of 2004 asked - who were the first people in North America? Where did they come from and how did they get there?

No Clovis catastrophe - archaeologists say?

At www.physorg.com/print204991757.html (and variously at www.sciencedaily.com and http://geology.com ) at first reflection we seem to have another example of scientists rejecting a new theory without investigating the claims. A paper in October's Current Anthropology by two archaeologists says, '.. in so far as concerns the archaeological record, an extraterrestrial impact is an unneccessary solution for an archaeological problem that does not exist'.

Gypsies, skeletons in Crete, Stonehenge boy and a lost cairn on a bleak moor ... oh, and Kamchatka

At www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/articel/ALerqM5gX5SVZzbhOKV we learn that Greek archaeologists have announced the discovery of a skeleton covered in gold foil in a grave on Mount Ida in Crete - dating to the 7th century BC. The gold had been sewn into a robe or shroud that wrapped the body of a woman - and she was accompanied by copper bowls, perfume bottles, and beads of amber, crystal and faience.

Journal of Cosmology

An interesting web site is at http://journalofcosmology.com/AncientAstronomy102.html 'Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: The Role of Astronomy in Ancient culture' and as yet I have not explored anything else at the site - but will when time allows. It has an interesting image of a Venus figurine cut out of limestone and dated between 30 and 25,000 years ago - holding what appears to be a large horn.

Egypt

In a scientific article published in May 2010, The Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, an architect claims to have unlocked how the Egyptians constructed the pyramids - by locating the apex point and then working inwards (see www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100924084615.htm )

A Viking Mystery

David Keys, in the Smithsonian magazine (see www.smithsonian.com Sept 24th), the October issue, has a report on the archaeology discovered beneath an Oxford College when the foundations for new student housing were being dug out. An earthwork enclosure, or henge, some 400m in diameter was found but for some reason it is called a temple or a religious complex. Various pits with sherds of broken pottery and food debris suggest that much later the site was used as a rubbish dump.

Fishing the Mesolithic way

This story comes from the Irish Times Sept 23rd ... an archaeologist happened to be out walking and came across some weirs and dams constructed to trap smelt on Connemara's Errislannan peninsular (see www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0923/1224279504347-pf.html ). He looked at what appeared to be a series of stone ponds, channels and dams that linked the bay to several inner lagoons, as if channelling the fish into them.

Archaeological Chronology in eastern and central Europe

See www.examiner.com/world-culture-in-national/archaeological-culture-and-prehistory/ ... this post, by Lolita Nikolova, is basically about prehistoric culture - and its spread. In this context, the route of the spread, from A to B, or from B to A.

A peculiar case of double think in archaeology

The story is at http://heritage-key.com/blogs/owenjarus/did-uruk-soldiers-kill-their-own-people-5500/ so a certain element of scepticism might be advisable. Anyway, the story proceeds with excavations at a city in Syria, Tell Hamoukar, and a destruction layer that is provisionally dated to 3500BC (but within the window of 3500-3000BC or the end of the Mid Holocene Warm Period).