Archaeology news

Woodhenge in North America

www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news July 11th ... 'Diggers unearth mysteries of Fort Ancient's Woodhenge' - Fort Ancient is a massive earthwork of the Hopewell culture which flourished contemporarily with the Romans in the Old World. Woodhenge is a small part of Fort Ancient - otherwise known as the Moorehead Circle, consisting of two concentric rings of post, one being as large as 180 feet in diameter. The posts were up to 15 feet high when standing. In the centre was discovered a pit of orange-red soil.

The Golden Warrior

At www.eurekalert.org/print/61549 - the grave of a Scythian warrior whose torso was covered in gold has been found in Kazakhstan - dating from some time in the first millennium BC. It was one of a group of seven burial mounds and contained a large amount of gold and bronze objects. Whether these were of local manufacture or loot from raiding parties is not mentioned.

Marden Henge

BBC News July 19th (accessible on their website at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-10684042/ ) reports on a Neolithic building found at Marden Henge near Devizes.

Grooved Ware

At www.physorg.com/print198495505.html there is a story on the discovery of a hand sized piece of rock found in a quarry near the village of Over in Cambridgeshire. It date backs to the Late Neolithic period, it has been suggested, as it has a pair of concentric circles etched onto the surface, a motif typically associated with Grooved Ware art/design. The find is significant as no such rock art, for obvious reasons, has ever been found previously in eastern England.

Archaeology and Politics

AOL News July 15th asks the question, 'Is Holy Land archaeology being hyped by politics?' is a piece on the propaganda going on between Israelis and Palestinians - and archaeology is being used to score points. For example, Eilat Mazar claims she has found evidence Jerusalem was an important place in the Late Bronze Age, based on a small fragment of a clay tablet. Meir Ben-Dov, an older archaeologist, commented - it didn't tell us anything we didn't already know.

Tutankhamun's DNA

At www.eutimes.net/2010/06/king-tuts-dna-is-western-european/ is another post sent in by Gary Gilligan, as he has a strong interest in ancient Egypt. It claims Zahi Hawass has not released the DNA results from Tutankhamun's body although he has publicised the findings of the scientific research in respect of the manner of his death, and his relationship to other mummified bodies of the late dynasty 18 period.

Titbits on archaeology reports

At www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/rich-final-bronze-age-settlement/20100704 excavators at a Late Bronze Age settlement on Cyprus might be of interest to chronologists, especially revisionists, as a rich assemblage of imported and local bronze and pottery has been unearthed. There are many Aegean artifacts as well as imports from the Levant and Egypt - so a series of interconnections can be determined.

Polynesian Pyramids

At www.physorg.com/print197873712.html we have a story on Polynesian temples on one particular island, Mo'orea - their evolution from small to monumental pyramids took place in less than 140 years. A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences used what is said to be high precision thorium/uranium dating methodology to process samples of decorative veneers and religious offerings - all made of coral, found at 22 different temple sites.

Arthur, old chap ... where be ye ...

The Daily Telegraph July 11th had a story in which researchers claimed King Arthur's Camelot was built on the site of a recently discovered Roman amphitheatre in Chester that appears to have been fortified and occupied in the Dark Ages. Regional noblemen, it is imagined, would have gathered around a circular meeting place = the Round Table. However, Chris Gidlow suggests that rather than an actual dining table it was a venue for upwards of a thousand people. In The Independent of July 12th they have a similar story - but from a different angle.

British Oldies

The Guardian July 7th (see www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jul/07/first-humans-britain-stone-tools/print is a story about flint tools found on a beach at Happisburgh in Norfolk that are said to be some 840,000 to 950,000 years of age, based on dating the geology (or sediments). The tools according to Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, are mint fresh and exceptionally sharp - which suggests they have not moved very far from where they were left - if at all.