01 Sep 2014

Archaeologists uncover vast ancient tomb in Greece—• The Guardian, Tuesday 12 August 2014

No Comments Ancient civilizations, Heritage, Uncategorized

To read the complete article, please go to: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/aug/12/archaeologists-greece-tomb-alexander-great

Archaeologists began excavating the site in 20

The site where archaeologists are excavating a ancient tomb in Amphipolis, northern Greece. Photograph: Alexandros Michailidis/AP

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Archaeologists have unearthed a vast ancient tomb in Greece, distinguished by two sphinxes and frescoed walls and dating to 300-325BC. The tomb, in the country’s north-eastern Macedonia region, which has been gradually unearthed over the past two years, marks a significant discovery from the early Hellenistic era. A culture ministry official said that there was no evidence yet to suggest a link to Alexander the Great – who died in 323BC after an unprecedented military campaign through the Middle East, Asia and northeast Africa – or his family.
Archaeologists began excavating the site in 2012 and expect to enter the tomb by the end of the month to determine who was buried there. “It looks like the tomb of a prominent Macedonian of that era,” said a second culture ministry official. Alexander Great died in Babylonia, in modern Iraq, and his actual burial place is not known. Archaeologists have unearthed a vast ancient tomb in Greece, distinguished by two sphinxes and frescoed walls and dating to 300-325BC.
The tomb, in the country’s north-eastern Macedonia region, which has been gradually unearthed over the past two years, marks a significant discovery from the early Hellenistic era. A culture ministry official said that there was no evidence yet to suggest a link to Alexander the Great – who died in 323BC after an unprecedented military campaign through the Middle East, Asia and northeast Africa – or his family.
and expect to enter the tomb by the end of the month to determine who was buried there. “It looks like the tomb of a prominent Macedonian of that era,” said a second culture ministry official. Alexander the Great died in Babylonia, in modern Iraq, and his actual burial place is not known.

12 Aug 2014

Otzi The Iceman Suffered Head Blow Before Death, Mummy’s Brain Tissue Shows By Megan Gannon

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To read the comp;ete story,please go to:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/otzi-iceman-head-blow-death-mummy-brain-tissue_n_3418652.html?utm_hp_ref=archaeology

Ötzi the Iceman, Europe’s oldest mummy, likely suffered a head injury before he died roughly 5,300 years ago, according to a new protein analysis of his brain tissue.

A few years ago, a CAT scan showed dark spots at the back of the mummy’s cerebrum, indicating Ötzi also suffered a blow to the head that knocked his brain against the back of his skull during the fatal attack.
In the new study, scientists who looked at pinhead-sized samples of brain tissue from the corpse found traces of clotted blood cells, suggesting Ötzi indeed suffered bruising in his brain shortly before his death.

But there’s still a piece of the Neolithic murder mystery that remains unsolved: It’s unclear whether Ötzi’s brain injury was caused by being bashed over the head or by falling after being struck with the arrow, the researchers say.

The study was focused on proteins found in two brain samples from Ötzi, recovered with the help of a computer-controlled endoscope. Of the 502 different proteins identified, 10 were related to blood and coagulation, the researchers said. They also found evidence of an accumulation of proteins related to stress response and wound healing.
A separate 2012 study detailed in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface looked at the mummy’s red blood cells(the oldest ever identified) from a tissue sample taken from Ötzi’s wound. That research showed traces of a clotting protein called fibrin, which appears in human blood immediately after a person sustains a wound but disappears quickly. The fact that it was still in Ötzi’s blood when he died suggests he didn’t survive long after the injury.
“Proteins are the decisive players in tissues and cells, and they conduct most of the processes which take place in cells,” Andreas Tholey, a scientist at Germany’s Kiel University and a researcher on the new Ötzi study, said in a statement.
“Identification of the proteins is therefore key to understanding the functional potential of a particular tissue,” Tholey added. “DNA is always constant, regardless of from where it originates in the body, whereas proteins provide precise information about what is happening in specific regions within the body.”

24 Jul 2014

Viking ‘Hammer of Thor’ Unearthed // BY ROSSELLA LORENZI

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to read the whole story, please go to:

Danish archaeologists have solved the mystery over the significance of the Mjöllnir amulets worn by the Vikings. Indeed, they represented Thor’s hammer, the researchers said.
More than 1,000 intricately carved pendants shaped like hammers have been found across Northern Europe since the first millennium A.D. Although it was widely believed these amulets were hammers, a debate remained over their true meaning. The objects’s unusual shape, featuring a short handle and a symmetrical head, raised doubts whether they represented something else entirely.
Now a 10th-century Viking amulet unearthed in Købelev, on the Danish island of Lolland, has provided a definitive answer.
“Hmar x is,” runes inscribed on the tiny amulet stated. Translated into modern English, it reads: “This is a hammer.”
“This is the only hammer-shaped pendant with a runic inscription. And it tells us that (the pendants) in fact depict hammers,” Henrik Schilling, a spokeperson at the National Museum of Denmark, told Discovery News.
Cast in bronze, and likely plated with silver, tin and gold, the 1,100-year-old pendant shows that Thor’s myth deeply influenced Viking jewelry.
A warrior god of thunder, Thor appears throughout Norse mythology holding the powerful hammer Mjolnir, which he uses to protect Asgard, the celestial fortress of the gods, from giants.
It is now clear that Viking men and women wore Thor’s hammer for protection.
“It was the amulet’s protective power that counted,” Peter Pentz, an archaeologist at the National Museum of Denmark, said.
“Often we see torshammere (Thor’s hammer) and Christian crosses appearing together, providing double protection,” he added.

13 Jun 2014

2,300 year old grave found in Oman by Faizul Haque

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To read the whole article, please go to: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2014/06/harappan-style-burial-found-in-oman.html#.U5tHjpRdXTo

During an excavation, archaeologists have found the tomb of a man who was buried with sword and daggers made of iron and steel that are said to have first been invented in the Indus Valley. It has been scientifically proved that iron and steel arms were made in the Indus Valley civilization first time ever. Sultan Bensaif Al Bakri, director of Excavations and Archaeological Studies of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture has said that this finding may prove the influence of the Indian civilization on Oman during that period. However, he said that further studies would be carried out on this regard. Al Bakri has said that a 2,300- year-old underground chamber was found during rescue excavations 22km south of Sinaw. This was the burial chamber of a man in his 50′s, buried along with his personal arms. Near his grave, two male and female camels were also buried. They were slaughtered after the death of the man. The walls of the graves of these camels were erected with stones.

2,000 year old built-tomb discovered near Sinaw [Credit: Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Oman]

He said that the man was buried separately, on the right side of the camels’ graves, with his 88cm sword in front of him. In addition, two daggers were tied on the right and left sides of his waist. A robe and woolen cap was also buried along with him. According to the descriptions provided by the archaeologists, the sword and daggers were made of iron and steel which was first made in the Indian civilization from where it spread to the neighboring civilizations, including Oman, said Al Bakri. He said that the sword was kept in front of the man as the handle of the sword was facing him. Its handle was partly covered with textured ivory shaped like an eagle’s beak. It is believed that the man was a chieftain of a tribe, as is evident from the sword and the robe. He was buried as his head was on a pillow and his hat was kept near his head. He was wearing leather shoes.

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2014/06/harappan-style-burial-found-in-oman.html#.U5tHjpRdXTo

24 May 2014

Exclusive: Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus’s flagship the Santa Maria

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To read the whole article and more about Christopher Columbus, please go to: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/exclusive-found-after-500-years-the-wreck-of-christopher-columbuss

The wreck of the ‘Santa Maria’, as envisaged in 1492

Santa Maria.

“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said the leader of a recent reconnaissance expedition to the site, one of America’s top underwater archaeological investigators, Barry Clifford. So far, Mr Clifford’s team has carried out purely non-invasive survey work at the site – measuring and photographing it.
Tentatively identifying the wreck as the Santa Maria has been made possible by quite separate discoveries made by other archaeologists. In 2003 the probable location of Columbus’ fort was relatively nearby. Armed with this new information about the location of the fort, Clifford was able to use data in Christopher Columbus’ diary to work out where the wreck should be.
It’s a current re-examination of underwater photographs from that initial survey (carried out back in 2003), combined with data from recent reconnaissance dives on the site (carried out by Clifford’s team earlier this month), that have allowed Clifford to tentatively identify the wreck as that of the Santa Maria.
The evidence so far is substantial. It is the right location in terms of how Christopher Columbus, writing in his diary, described the wreck in relation to his fort. A re-examination of the photographic evidence taken during the 2003 initial survey of the site by Mr. Clifford and his son Brandon has also provided evidence which is consistent with the vessel being from Columbus’ era – including a probable early cannon of exactly the type known to have been on-board the Santa Maria.

It’s a current re-examination of underwater photographs from that initial survey (carried out back in 2003), combined with data from recent reconnaissance dives on the site (carried out by Clifford’s team earlier this month), that have allowed Clifford to tentatively identify the wreck as that of the Santa Maria.
The evidence so far is substantial. It is the right location in terms of how Christopher Columbus, writing in his diary, described the wreck in relation to his fort. A re-examination of the photographic evidence taken during the 2003 initial survey of the site by Mr. Clifford and his son Brandon has also provided evidence which is consistent with the vessel being from Columbus’ era – including a probable early cannon of exactly the type known to have been on-board the Santa Maria.
When Clifford and his team returned to the site earlier this month, their intention was to definitively identify the cannon and other surface artifacts that had been photographed back in 2003. But tragically all the key visible diagnostic objects including the cannon had been looted by illicit raiders.
“We’ve informed the Haitian government of our discovery – and we are looking forward to working with them and other Haitian colleagues to ensure that the site is fully protected and preserved. It will be a wonderful opportunity to work with the Haitian authorities to preserve the evidence and artifacts of the ship that changed the world,” said Mr. Clifford.
“I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America.”
“Ideally, if excavations go well and depending on the state of preservation of any buried timber, it may ultimately be possible to lift any surviving remains of the vessel, fully conserve them and then put them on permanent public exhibition in a museum in Haiti.
“I believe that, treated in this way, the wreck has the potential to play a major role in helping to further develop Haiti’s tourism industry in the future,” he said. Leading American maritime archaeologist, Professor Charles Beeker of Indiana University, who accompanied Mr Clifford’s recent reconnaissance expedition to Haiti and who also carried out an underwater visual assessment of the site, says that it “warrants a detailed scientific investigation to obtain diagnostic artifacts”.
“There is some very compelling evidence from the 2003 photographs of the site and from the recent reconnaissance dives that this wreck may well be the Santa Maria,”
“But an excavation will be necessary in order to find more evidence and confirm that,” said Professor Beeker who is Director of the University of Indiana’s Office of Underwater Science.
The evidence so far is substantial. It is the right location in terms of how Christopher Columbus, writing in his diary, described the wreck in relation to his fort.
The site is also an exact match in terms of historical knowledge about the underwater topography associated with the loss of the Santa Maria. The local currents are also consistent with what is known historically about the way the vessel drifted immediately prior to its demise.
The footprint of the wreck, represented by the pile of ship’s ballast, is also exactly what one would expect from a vessel the size of the Santa Maria.

The Santa Maria was built at some stage in the second half of the 15 century in northern Spain’s Basque Country. In 1492, Columbus hired the ship and sailed in it from southern Spain’s Atlantic coast via the Canary Islands in search of a new western route to Asia.
After 37 days, Columbus reached the Bahamas – but, just over ten weeks later, his flagship, the Santa Maria, with Columbus on board, drifted at night onto a reef off the northern coast of Haiti and had to be abandoned. Then, in a native village nearby, Columbus began building his first fort – and, a week later, leaving many of his men behind in the fort, he used his two remaining vessels to sail back to Spain in order to report his discovery of what he perceived as a new westerly route to Asia to his royal patrons – King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

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