March32014

Mass Grave Shows Evidence of Ancient Cholera Outbreak

archaeologicalnews:

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A three-year-old excavation at the graveyard of the Abbey of St. Peter in Lucca, Italy, is yielding something more than archaeologists initially expected, and they’re not just talking about bones and other grave features and artifacts. While excavating, they stumbled upon a mass grave of human remains that contain evidence of an ancient cholera outbreak.

Led by Giuseppe Vercellotti and Clark Larson from Ohio State University and Hendrik Poinar from McMaster University, the researchers at the site have collected samples of ancient DNA from both humans and bacteria, hoping to find answers to questions about how past epidemics, such as the bubonic plague, developed, spread and devastated historic human populations in Europe. Read more.

This was the dig that I actually participated in the summer of 2013. Dr. Vercellotti believes the remains are from a cholera outbreak due to the presence of lime lining the burial pits, which was believed at the time to prevent the disease from spreading. I regrettably did not have much exposure to the remains, however my team did uncover the remaining walls of the medieval monastery cloister (which the locals were more excited about than the human remains, so there!)

If you are interested in more information, check out the article written about the site in science magazine, written by Ann Gibbons, a lovely person who stayed with us for a week.

You can also view more pictures of the site and the human remains here (the site is in Italian) 

September52013
Badger digs up medieval tombs in GermanyA badger has outfoxed archeologists, digging up two “significant” 12th-century tombs of two Slavic lords in Germany, reports Spiegel Online.

Badger digs up medieval tombs in Germany

A badger has outfoxed archeologists, digging up two “significant” 12th-century tombs of two Slavic lords in Germany, reports Spiegel Online.

August92013
The day before death: A new archaeological technique gives insight into the day before death
“The day before the child’s death was not a pleasant one, because it was not a sudden injury that killed the 10-13 year old child who was buried in the medieval town of Ribe in Denmark 800 years ago. The day before death was full of suffering because the child had been given a large dose of mercury in an attempt to cure a severe illness…”

The day before death: A new archaeological technique gives insight into the day before death

The day before the child’s death was not a pleasant one, because it was not a sudden injury that killed the 10-13 year old child who was buried in the medieval town of Ribe in Denmark 800 years ago. The day before death was full of suffering because the child had been given a large dose of mercury in an attempt to cure a severe illness…”

August62013

marchegian:

This overgrown Roman amphitheater below the little hilltop town of Urbisaglia is actually the lesser known brother of the Colosseum in Rome, since its construction was funded by the same money. Now that I have been to both Uribisaglia’s amphitheater and the Colosseum, I can definitely say that I much prefer Urbisaglia. It was a much more organic and pleasant experience.

These were my pictures from my study abroad trip this summer.  If any of you are looking for a non-touristy, up close and personal tour of ancient roman ruins, I definitely recommend Urbisaglia in Marche, Italy (Ask for Leonardo as your guide. He made the experience even better.)

May132013
The Lady of Elche is beautiful stone bust of a woman that may have been used as a reliquary urn. It was discovered by a farmer in 1897 in near Valencia, Spain. She is now on display in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid.   Believed to be dated to the 5th century BCE, the Lady of Elche is the symbol of Pre-Roman Iberian Archaeology.  Her face is found on virtually all Iberian prehistory textbook covers, and even on stuff as ordinary as postage stamps and banknotes.  Ironically, this iconic bust actually might be a forgery. Experts who believe this have given the following arguments:
The Lady of Elche is the only one of its kind that is in the form of a bust.  All other Iberian statues from this time period, such as the Lady of Baza, are full bodied. 
The amount of detail, particularly on the face and round headpieces are extraordinarily detailed compared to other Iberian statues with similar headdresses. Experts have found more similarities between the Lady of Elche and art nouveau/belle epoque aesthetics (which was popular at the time of discovery)  than with other Pre-Roman Iberian statues.
The archaeological context of the bust is extremely lacking and shady. The reports have stated that the statue was found buried in loosely packed dirt, easily able to be buried and dug up. Coincidentally, the discovery of the Lady of Elche coincided with the arrival of Pierre Paris, an art collector from the Louvre, in Valencia, who purchased the statue for the Louvre collection days after the discovery. 
Whether the Lady of Elche is a fake or not is still a mystery to this day, But her shady past has not stopped millions of tourists from flooding into Madrid every year to catch a glimpse of her.

The Lady of Elche is beautiful stone bust of a woman that may have been used as a reliquary urn. It was discovered by a farmer in 1897 in near Valencia, Spain. She is now on display in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid.   
Believed to be dated to the 5th century BCE, the Lady of Elche is the symbol of Pre-Roman Iberian Archaeology.  Her face is found on virtually all Iberian prehistory textbook covers, and even on stuff as ordinary as postage stamps and banknotes.  Ironically, this iconic bust actually might be a forgery. Experts who believe this have given the following arguments:

  • The Lady of Elche is the only one of its kind that is in the form of a bust.  All other Iberian statues from this time period, such as the Lady of Baza, are full bodied. 
  • The amount of detail, particularly on the face and round headpieces are extraordinarily detailed compared to other Iberian statues with similar headdresses. Experts have found more similarities between the Lady of Elche and art nouveau/belle epoque aesthetics (which was popular at the time of discovery)  than with other Pre-Roman Iberian statues.
  • The archaeological context of the bust is extremely lacking and shady. The reports have stated that the statue was found buried in loosely packed dirt, easily able to be buried and dug up. Coincidentally, the discovery of the Lady of Elche coincided with the arrival of Pierre Paris, an art collector from the Louvre, in Valencia, who purchased the statue for the Louvre collection days after the discovery. 

Whether the Lady of Elche is a fake or not is still a mystery to this day, But her shady past has not stopped millions of tourists from flooding into Madrid every year to catch a glimpse of her.

March292013
February212013
Treasure-filled warrior’s grave found in Russia
“Hidden in a necropolis situated high in the mountains of the Caucasus in Russia, researchers have discovered the grave of a male warrior laid to rest with gold jewelry, iron chain mail and numerous weapons, including a 36-inch iron sword set between his legs.”

Treasure-filled warrior’s grave found in Russia

Hidden in a necropolis situated high in the mountains of the Caucasus in Russia, researchers have discovered the grave of a male warrior laid to rest with gold jewelry, iron chain mail and numerous weapons, including a 36-inch iron sword set between his legs.”

2AM
fuckyeahvikingsandcelts:

Newgrange (Irish: Sí an Bhrú) is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, about one kilometre north of the River Boyne. It was built about 3200 BC, during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Newgrange is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by ‘kerbstones’ engraved with artwork. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice. It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site. Newgrange also shares many similarities with other Neolithic constructions in Western Europe, such as Maeshowe in Orkney, Scotland and the Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales.

One of the coolest sites I’ve ever visited. The chamber, if memory serves, is corbelled, with the earthen mound built up. The outer kerbstones and white stones were part of the attempt to restore the structure to its original appearance. The boulder outside the entrance is covered in carved spirals. The site is also known for the triple spiral found on a stone wall deep within the chamber. The carving is illuminated when the light on the solstice penetrates the chamber, as the entranceway has a window above it and the entire passage gently slopes allowing the shaft of sunlight to land on a specific panel of stone in the chamber.

fuckyeahvikingsandcelts:

Newgrange (Irish: Sí an Bhrú) is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, about one kilometre north of the River Boyne. It was built about 3200 BC, during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Newgrange is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by ‘kerbstones’ engraved with artwork. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice. It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site. Newgrange also shares many similarities with other Neolithic constructions in Western Europe, such as Maeshowe in Orkney, Scotland and the Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales.

One of the coolest sites I’ve ever visited. The chamber, if memory serves, is corbelled, with the earthen mound built up. The outer kerbstones and white stones were part of the attempt to restore the structure to its original appearance. The boulder outside the entrance is covered in carved spirals. The site is also known for the triple spiral found on a stone wall deep within the chamber. The carving is illuminated when the light on the solstice penetrates the chamber, as the entranceway has a window above it and the entire passage gently slopes allowing the shaft of sunlight to land on a specific panel of stone in the chamber.

February142013
The so-called Chalcolithic “Eye Idols” of Tell Brak, a site in northeastern Syria. The site was occupied between the Neolithic Period and the Late Bronze Age (6000-1360 BCE). The idols have been dated to the 4th millennium BCE, which falls within the Ubaid Period of Mesopotamian history.  Hundreds of these alabaster figurines were incorporated into the mortar of a public structure which came to be known as the Eye Temple. 
The meaning behind the idols is unclear, but they may have been votive offerings that were dedicated to the temple at the time of its construction. 

The so-called Chalcolithic “Eye Idols” of Tell Brak, a site in northeastern Syria. The site was occupied between the Neolithic Period and the Late Bronze Age (6000-1360 BCE). The idols have been dated to the 4th millennium BCE, which falls within the Ubaid Period of Mesopotamian history.  Hundreds of these alabaster figurines were incorporated into the mortar of a public structure which came to be known as the Eye Temple. 

The meaning behind the idols is unclear, but they may have been votive offerings that were dedicated to the temple at the time of its construction. 

February102013
thambos:


By day, Janet Stephens is a hairdresser at a Baltimore salon, trimming bobs and wispy bangs. By night she dwells in a different world. At home in her basement, with a mannequin head, she meticulously re-creates the hairstyles of ancient Rome and Greece.  Ms. Stephens is a hairdo archaeologist.  Her amateur scholarship is sticking a pin in the long-held assumptions among historians about the complicated, gravity-defying styles of ancient times. Basically, she has set out to prove that the ancients probably weren’t wearing wigs after all.

(via On Pins and Needles: Stylist Turns Ancient Hairdo Debate on Its Head - WSJ.com)

thambos:

By day, Janet Stephens is a hairdresser at a Baltimore salon, trimming bobs and wispy bangs. By night she dwells in a different world. At home in her basement, with a mannequin head, she meticulously re-creates the hairstyles of ancient Rome and Greece.

Ms. Stephens is a hairdo archaeologist.

Her amateur scholarship is sticking a pin in the long-held assumptions among historians about the complicated, gravity-defying styles of ancient times. Basically, she has set out to prove that the ancients probably weren’t wearing wigs after all.

(via On Pins and Needles: Stylist Turns Ancient Hairdo Debate on Its Head - WSJ.com)

(via seatentsina)

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