Tag Archives: archaeology

The First Americans?

New evidence suggests Stone Age hunters from Europe discovered America

Stone-age Europeans ‘were the first to set foot on North America’

European style stone tools suggest Stone Age people actually discovered America

Radical theory of first Americans places Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago

America ‘discovered by Stone Age hunters from Europe’

From Explorator and Archaeology in Europe

Good Historical Novel

Helen’s Daughter is about the life of Hermione, daughter of Menelaus and Helen of Troy, and granddaughter of Atreus (Hence the Amazon blurb’s reference to “the curse that haunts her family”). The author, Laura Gill, knows the Mycenaean Greek world very well and tells a gripping and realistic story about what Hermione’s life might actually have been like.

Writing history

I have been reading The Sea Peoples, another book about the widespread destruction at the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. From page 173:

There is a dangerous temptation to link destruction levels together in the interests of tidiness and economy, but history is seldom tidy or notably economical, however it may be with philosophy. This is one of the reasons why history should not be written by philosophers or sociologists.

A Royal Funeral

Sleuthing around the Great Death-Pit

In Ur, royal families ordered the violent deaths of dozens of young courtiers and servants so that they might continue to serve dead kings and queens in the afterlife.

So enough complaining about the Royal Wedding. Long before there was a Kate Middleton, long before there was a Princess Diana coyly courting the cameras and a Bertie Windsor wrestling with a stammer, there were royal families whose sense of entitlement truly knew no bounds.

We won’t see this on Mythbusters

The return of Mayan-style human sacrifice

…some of the best historical stories hide behind the most oblique academic titles. Take, for example, Vera Tiesler and Andrea Cucina, ‘Procedures in Human Heart Extraction and Ritual Meaning: A Taphonomic Assessment of Anthropogenic Marks in Classic Maya Skeletons’ (Latin American Antiquity 17 2006).

Briefly, then, members of the staff of the Medical Forensic Service in Mérida (Mexico) took three corpses. The staff pinioned the corpses out on the table in the style of illustrations of Mayan sacrifices (‘overextended position’). They then proceeded to remove the heart from the three corpses, following a different technique on each body, employing Mayan cutting instruments (‘bifacial obsidian knives’) instead of scalpels. They also removed the liver and other organs. All this was done to see whether marks were left on the skeleton.

From Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog.

Climate Crank Inadvertently Does Archaeology a Favour

See Aardvarchaeology

The whole thing is pretty pointless from a climate-historical perspective as the trees are known to record summer rainfall well, but not temperature. To archaeology and dendrochronology, however, it is in my opinion excellent news. Academic dendrochronology needs a new open-source business model if it is to act as a fully scientific discipline. The Belfast ruling is a step in the right direction, even though it has been forced for the wrong reasons.

In response to Climate sceptic wins landmark data victory ‘for price of a stamp’

Via Archaeology in Europe