Archaeology news

Symbols from the Sky in Cave Art

See http://seedmagazine.com/content/print/symbols_fromthe_sky/ ... sent in by Gary Gilligan this is essentially about Rappengluck's novel interpretation of cave art - at sites such as Lascaux and executed by Magdalenians (physically modern humans living in the final stages of the Ice Age). Rappengluck suggests the art has heavenly parallels, and dots and freckles on the animals (backs and face etc) actually represent groups of stars in the night sky such as the Hyades and the Pleiades.

Aboriginal astronomy and other bits of archaeological news

At www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/17/cave-paintings-found-in-somaliland/ is a report on the discovery of cave art at numerous sites in Somaliland. In the Irish Times (see www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0917/1224279093813_pf.html ) there is a report on the discovery of a Viking site in County Louth, believed to be Linn Duchaill, founded in AD841 at the same time as Viking Dublin.

Koshkonong

Associated Press (see also http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/article_29848baa-be8b-11df-001cc4c00 ... a new road scheme at Koshkonong in Wisconsin has unearthed Native American artifacts - possibly as many as 100,000 of them which date back mainly between 5000BC and 1200AD.

The introduction of farming into Britain

The idea that farming was introduced into Britain from France is explored in Shennan, Collard and Thomas et at, in the Journal of Archaeological Science 37 issue 4: April 2010. Here it claims there was a large influx of people into Southern England and as far afield as Central Scotland, around 6000BP (5000-4500BC). Up until that point Britain was sparsely populated, a theory arrived at by the paucity of Mesolithic finds rather than genuine data - a factoid produced by what we don't know rather than what we might know.

Qatna

At http://heritage-key.com/blogs/ann/qatnas-royal-palace-reveals-further-archaeological-treasures/ ... current excavations of Qatna by a joint German/ Syrian archaeological team have unearthed jewellery, gemstones, alabaster vases, ivories, and various other burial gifts from burial chambers beneath the royal palace - including objects with an Egyptian origin.

Scone

At http://news.scotsman.com/news/39Birth-certificate-of-Scotland39-unearthed.6521243 ... archaeologists excavating at the Moot Hill in the grounds of Scone Palace have been able to use C14 dating methodology from a piece of burnt wood retrieved from a massive ditch that once surrounded the hill. They have come up with a date of 906AD. This places Moot Hill and the Stone of Destiny in the reign of Constantine II - or at least significant changes at the site took place then.

Titbits of History

At www.physorg.com/print202991457.html Sept 6th ... there is a report that says Irish scientists have found fragments of Egyptian papyrus in the leather cover of an ancient book of psalms that was unearthed from a peat bog where it had been preserved. This is the first tangible connection between early Irish Christians and the Coptic Church, according to the National Museum of Ireland. The manuscript's leather binding also has an origin in Egypt - but the manuscript inside the cover was produced in an Irish monastery.

Humans in the Amazon Basin

At www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/03/AR20100903023 ... the Washington Post, September 3rd, has a post on the Amazon rainforest - in this instance the section that is in Peru, below the Andes mountains. It begins by saying the idea that the Amazon Basin is a virgin environment unblemished by the excesses of human behaviour, and in fact barely touched by a human footprint, seems to be wrong.

Another city under the sea

At www.theartnewspaper.com September 2nd ... BP aims to drill some exploratory oil wells off the Libyan coast and this has alarmed French archaeologists who are worried about some ancient sites that exist below and at sea level in what was once Cyrenaica and Tripolitania in the Classical period - quite apart from anything that may date from before the Grreks and Romans. For example, the ancient town and harbour of Apollonia is now submerged, under 5m of water.

Bronze Age surgeons

New Scientist 2775 August 31st ... the discovery of what looks like a scalpel at an Early Bronze Age settlement at Ikiztepe in Anatolia (dating between 3200-2100BC). The site consisted of single storey houses made of logs of wood with a courtyard and oven in front. The scalpels are thought to have been used for surgery rather than ritual as some skeletons found in a graveyard exhibit evidence of skulls being cut open as if with a surgical instrument.