Archaeology news

Third century AD climatic blip/ event

At the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram Weekly (see ) there is a couple of pages on the Kushite kingdom based at Meroe, contemporary the Greeks and Romans. From a lot of evidence I picked out the fact the kingdom entered a phase of decline in the 3rd century AD - which must be significant.

Sutton Hoo and it's Landscape

In Sutton Hoo and it's Landscape: the context of monuments, Tom Williamson, Oxbow:2009, there is some interesting speculative ideas. The author is a landscape archaeologist based at the University of East Anglia and he looks at the barrows and where they are located as visible features on the horizon. They are situated on a terrace above the river Deben which at the time was well populated with farms and hamlets clustered around the lower river valley, and the estuary that opens into the North Sea.

Prehistoric walkabouts

Prehistoric Journeys, Cummings and Johnston, Oxbow: 2007, is an attempt to understand prehistoric movements. People did not simply travel from one place to another for the sake of the journey but for a purpose - trade and barter for example. Mobility and travel are unlikely to have been expceptional in prehistoric societies - unlike later agrarian communities where people were tied to district and could live their whole lives without venturing outside the immediate locale.

Trans Pacific Connections

At April 27th ... About.Com archaeology has an article (and several others in their archive) on contacts between Polynesians and South America. In the mid 20th century the idea of pre-Columbus voyages across the Pacific was part of a rich vein of speculation. Thor Heyerdahl is perhaps the most famous adherents of this idea via his adventures on the balsa raft, Kon Tiki.

Hidden Wonders of Sardinia

At you will find a report of a tour of Sardinian megalithic tombs, two pages of text. The tombs contain images painted in red ochre on the stones which include spirals and huge heads of bulls. The tombs are currently dated to the Ozeiri culture, 3800-2900BC. In one of the tombs a series of spirals form a sort of tree of life.

Chinese Pigs

This is one of those stories that seems to show that anything in print (books, written documents etc) but not published online has in some way become sidelined. For example, Hubert Lamb wrote a number of very thick books about climate over the last thousand years and more and yet he is rarely if ever quoted by your average modern climate scientist - who appears to be more a computer geek than somebody that actually does field research.  

Indus Script April 16th ... an interview with Professor Asko Parpola, an Indologist from the University of Helsinki, is the subject of this article. He has done sustained work on the Indus script and although it is yet to be decyphered he thinks it is written in a Dravidian language that may be fairly close to Old Tamil. Problems in  decypherment are in part due to the fact that only short and terse pieces of the script have survived.

The Nine Stones of Cut Hill

At 2756 April 14th ... the story of the Nine recumbent stones found on Cut Hill in a remote area of Dartmoor, as mentioned a few days ago, is worth revisiting. They point out that Cut Hill is the most spectacular promontory in the area and when the stones were laid down it was open heath surrounded by woodland - quite unlike the modern wet and miserable climate. It rains an awful lot on Darmoor - and is famed for it's quickly descending mist and fog.

Abraham's Covenant

Science Daily April 13th (see also ) ... Canadian archaeologists have unearthed an ancient treaty that could have served as a model for the Biblical description of God's covenant with the Israelites. The tablet dates to 670BC - roughly  just prior to the time the Bible is supposed to have been written.

New Megalithic site on Dartmoor

Discovery News April 9th ( ) ... nine large stones found on a remote moorland exposure on Dartmoor, a two hour yomp from the nearest road, have been dated to the 4th millennium BC. The C14 dates came from plant material in peat above and below one of the stones. They were aligned in a row but at some stage fell over, were blown over, or were toppled by people - and eventually buried under peat on Cut Hill (during the cold spell and very wet spell of climate 3200-3000BC).