February192011
In the waters of Hawaii’s northwestern islands, near the Papahanaumokuakea marine reserve, a maritime archaeologist checks out a ceramic jar once used to store foodstuffs in the galley of a whaler. All evidence suggests this wreck is an 1823 whaling ship from Nantucket called Two Brothers, and strangely enough, tied to some of the same crew as the Essex, another whaler known for inspiring Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The jar pictured is called a “ginger jar” due to it’s shape rather than contents. Other artifacts found at the underwater site include a harpoon tip, which likely bears the name of the ship engraved on it, as was the tradition of nineteenth-century whaling. The concretions however hide this vital piece of evidence, making conservation of great importance both in preserving and contextualizing the metal fragment.
(click image for the full article from National Geographic)
Click here for some PDF reports from the NOAA and here for a video of the lead archaeologist discussing the find.

In the waters of Hawaii’s northwestern islands, near the Papahanaumokuakea marine reserve, a maritime archaeologist checks out a ceramic jar once used to store foodstuffs in the galley of a whaler. All evidence suggests this wreck is an 1823 whaling ship from Nantucket called Two Brothers, and strangely enough, tied to some of the same crew as the Essex, another whaler known for inspiring Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The jar pictured is called a “ginger jar” due to it’s shape rather than contents. Other artifacts found at the underwater site include a harpoon tip, which likely bears the name of the ship engraved on it, as was the tradition of nineteenth-century whaling. The concretions however hide this vital piece of evidence, making conservation of great importance both in preserving and contextualizing the metal fragment.

(click image for the full article from National Geographic)

Click here for some PDF reports from the NOAA and here for a video of the lead archaeologist discussing the find.

January142011
Mid-17th to early 18th Century sword found on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard, wrecked off the Outer Banks of North Carolina (US).
Edward Teach (var. Thatch) claimed a French slave ship, the Concorde,which he renamed as the Queen Anne’s Revenge.These are the reconstructed remains, as the artifact is in several pieces.
The gold quillon (the crossbar of the hilt) originally had some form of chain or strap that connected to the pommel.
The hilt is carved from antler, which could perhaps reveal a more specific region of production. The pommel (pictured below) has what appear to be faces and fleurs-de-lis, the latter of which are symbols of French royalty. This could be further evidence of the sword’s country of origin, as it may not have necessarily been on the ship before Blackbeard.

(Photographs courtesy Wendy M. Welsh, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources)

Mid-17th to early 18th Century sword found on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard, wrecked off the Outer Banks of North Carolina (US).

Edward Teach (var. Thatch) claimed a French slave ship, the Concorde,which he renamed as the Queen Anne’s Revenge.These are the reconstructed remains, as the artifact is in several pieces.

The gold quillon (the crossbar of the hilt) originally had some form of chain or strap that connected to the pommel.

The hilt is carved from antler, which could perhaps reveal a more specific region of production. The pommel (pictured below) has what appear to be faces and fleurs-de-lis, the latter of which are symbols of French royalty. This could be further evidence of the sword’s country of origin, as it may not have necessarily been on the ship before Blackbeard.

(Photographs courtesy Wendy M. Welsh, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources)

January92011
Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan, Mexico.
Construction began circa 200AD, but continued for years until it  reached a height of 216 feet. A labyrinth of tunnels and caves wind  underneath the complex.
Photograph by Martin Gray, National Geographic.

Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan, Mexico.

Construction began circa 200AD, but continued for years until it reached a height of 216 feet. A labyrinth of tunnels and caves wind underneath the complex.

Photograph by Martin Gray, National Geographic.

December252010
The Mayan settlement of Palenque was built between 200AD and 600AD,  though the Maya began settling in the rain forests of southern Mexico  about 1000BC. The Temple of Inscriptions includes the tomb of the Maya  ruler Pacal.
Photograph by Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic.

The Mayan settlement of Palenque was built between 200AD and 600AD, though the Maya began settling in the rain forests of southern Mexico about 1000BC. The Temple of Inscriptions includes the tomb of the Maya ruler Pacal.

Photograph by Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic.

December172010
Almost exactly a century ago, Hiram Bingham (Yale University)  stumbled upon the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru after enlisting a local  guide to direct him to ruins in the mountains, thinking he was going to  find the lost capital of the Incas, Vilcabamba. Instead he found this  sprawling site, whose purpose is still relatively unknown. Most likely,  the site was a sacred settlement, smaller and more isolated than the  usual Inca cities.
The massive stone blocks used in construction are carved and aligned  so tightly without the use of mortar that one can’t slip a sheet a paper  in between the stones.
Since the Inca had no written language (or at least any evidence  surviving), the only eyewitness records of Inca cities came from the  accounts of the invading Spaniards. Machu Picchu was constructed around  1450AD, yet no account exists among Spanish records, suggesting the  Europeans never discovered the site. Different artifacts such as  ceramics and personal ornamentation match the assemblages of other  communities within the empire, suggesting inhabitants hailed from the  surrounding settlements.
For more info, check National Geographic’s World Heritage Site summary here.
(Photograph by David Evans, National Geographic)
Note:
For my History of Anthropological Theory course last year, we had to  read this really cool book about the society and economics of the Inca:

Patterson, Thomas C. The Inca Empire: The Formation and Disintegration of a Pre-Capitalist State. Berg Publishers, 1992.

It’s pretty short, but chock full of great  info…I’m not really well-versed in South American archaeology, but it  was super-interesting.

Almost exactly a century ago, Hiram Bingham (Yale University) stumbled upon the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru after enlisting a local guide to direct him to ruins in the mountains, thinking he was going to find the lost capital of the Incas, Vilcabamba. Instead he found this sprawling site, whose purpose is still relatively unknown. Most likely, the site was a sacred settlement, smaller and more isolated than the usual Inca cities.

The massive stone blocks used in construction are carved and aligned so tightly without the use of mortar that one can’t slip a sheet a paper in between the stones.

Since the Inca had no written language (or at least any evidence surviving), the only eyewitness records of Inca cities came from the accounts of the invading Spaniards. Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450AD, yet no account exists among Spanish records, suggesting the Europeans never discovered the site. Different artifacts such as ceramics and personal ornamentation match the assemblages of other communities within the empire, suggesting inhabitants hailed from the surrounding settlements.

For more info, check National Geographic’s World Heritage Site summary here.

(Photograph by David Evans, National Geographic)

Note:

For my History of Anthropological Theory course last year, we had to read this really cool book about the society and economics of the Inca:

Patterson, Thomas C. The Inca Empire: The Formation and Disintegration of a Pre-Capitalist State. Berg Publishers, 1992.

It’s pretty short, but chock full of great info…I’m not really well-versed in South American archaeology, but it was super-interesting.

Page 1 of 1