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Digging up our Past

Archaeology

Archaeology: Ancient seeds, pollen show Ohio’s ‘lost crops’

When you think of the plants that eastern North American Indian farmers grew in their gardens and fields, corn is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But corn, or maize, was not a local plant. It was domesticated in Mexico and did not become important in Ohio until after about A.D. 900. Ohio’s first farmers, beginning sometime after 5,000 years ago, relied instead on a number of local plants, including sumpweed, goosefoot, maygrass, erect knotweed and little barley. These plants, referred to collectively as the Eastern Agricultural Complex, helped to fuel the rise of Ohio’s spectacular mound-building cultures: …

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Girls uncover the past at Armenian archaeology camp

Campers with camp co-director Armine Harutyunyan, Armenian archaeologist and executive director of the Aragats Cultural Heritage Foundation, far left, and camp co-director Lori Khatchadourian, associate professor of Near Eastern Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, middle of back row. On the slopes of Mount Aragats, the tallest mountain in Armenia, archaeologists are painstakingly uncovering the ancient past. From July 17 to 20, six Armenian girls got an insider’s view as participants in the pilot session of Camp Aragats. The camp is the first programmatic initiative of the U.S.-based Aragats Foundation and its Armenian sister organization, the Aragats Cultural …

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How ancient Babylonians could have predicted the 2017 eclipse

Ancient Babylonians living almost 4,000 years ago could have predicted Monday’s total solar eclipse. In fact the ancient Babylonians were the fathers of modern astronomy. They could track and predict the relative movements of the sun and moon, and even but those of the Solar System planets that they recognized, Venus and Mercury. skip – live eclipse [embedded content] How exactly could peoples living thousands of years ago who hadn’t even discovered iron yet, predict a solar eclipse today? Absent computer technology, they did it the old-fashioned way: by keeping records over generations, and noticing patterns. And math. Cuneiform tablets …

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220-Year-Old Refugee Camp Found Near Galway

GALWAY, IRELAND—Accoring to a report in the Irish Times, archaeologists working in southeast Galway’s Slieve Aughty Mountains have discovered the remains of a refugee camp dating to the 1790s, when a group of Catholics from the island’s northern Ulster province, the majority of which remains a part of the United Kingdom, were forced south during a sectarian war within the linen industry. Galway community archaeologist Christy Cunniffe believes a series of circular ditches dug around hut foundations on land owned by a local farmer, which researchers initially thought might date back to the Bronze age, are evidence of temporary camps …

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Ancient Trade Network Identified in Vietnam

MEKONG DELTA, VIETNAM—Archaeologists excavating a site in southern Vietnam have discovered evidence for a previously unknown 4,500-year-old trading network, reports VnExpress. Led by Australian National University archaeologist Catherine Frieman, the team discovered stone axes at a site in the region of Rach Nui, which has no stone resources of its own. “We knew some artifacts were being moved around, but this shows evidence for a major trade network that also included specialist tool-makers and technological knowledge,” said Friema. “This isn’t a case of people producing a couple of extra items on top of what they need. It’s a major operation.” …

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Portrait of Young Woman Revealed in Herculaneum

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A previously unstudied portrait of a Roman woman in Herculaneum, which was destroyed in A.D. 79 by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, has been revealed using a portable X-ray fluorescence machine, according to a report from Seeker. Excavations in the nineteenth century uncovered much of Herculaneum, including the “House of the Mosaic Atrium,” where the portrait was found. Analysis by Eleonora Del Federico, a chemistry professor at Pratt Institute, showed that a young woman was sketched with an iron-based pigment and then her eyes were highlighted using a lead-based pigment. High levels of potassium detected in the woman’s cheeks …

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Oxford flood channel archaeology digs to begin within days

ARCHAEOLOGICAL investigations for Oxford’s £120m flood channel are beginning this month. The Environment Agency has said it will digging near Botley Road in the coming days and continue through to November. Trenches will be dug along the 5km channel route down through North and South Hinksey to Sandford. The New Hinksey Causeway, near The Fishes pub, will be closed for a short period of time in the autumn. The findings will form part of the planning application next year. The EA’s senior archaeologist Catherine Grindey said: “Completing this work will allow us to design the scheme taking into consideration areas …

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Bizarre 18th century Jewish items seized from archaeology smuggler in Egypt

A collection of 18th century Jewish items was seized from archaeology smugglers by Egyptian authorities late last week in a joint operation between the Hurghada Ports Authority and the Egyptian Ports Antiquities Unit of the Ministry of Antiquities. The smugglers attempted to move six Jewish artifacts via the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada. According to a report in AhramOnline, Ahmed Al-Rawi, head of the Central Administration of Seized Antiquities Unit at the antiquities ministry, said the seized loot was discovered in the possession of a Saudi citizen. Al-Rawi said the finds were authenticated in accordance with law 117/1983. Included …

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Girls uncover the past at Armenian archaeology camp

Campers with camp co-director Armine Harutyunyan, Armenian archaeologist and executive director of the Aragats Cultural Heritage Foundation, far left, and camp co-director Lori Khatchadourian, associate professor of Near Eastern Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, middle of back row. On the slopes of Mount Aragats, the tallest mountain in Armenia, archaeologists are painstakingly uncovering the ancient past. From July 17 to 20, six Armenian girls got an insider’s view as participants in the pilot session of Camp Aragats. The camp is the first programmatic initiative of the U.S.-based Aragats Foundation and its Armenian sister organization, the Aragats Cultural …

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The Archaeology of Public Memory and Civic Identity

Last week’s widespread, vigorous, and continuing debate about Confederate monuments provides a useful entry point to a broader conversation about the nature, planning, and design of public commemorative landscapes. Scholars generally agree that monuments condense, simplify, and often distort complex histories. They are produced selectively, by those who have the power to choose how history is remembered in public places.  This makes monuments powerful instruments for shaping public memory and individual ideologies. At the same time, the social meaning of monuments is always in flux and even contradictory, because the world around monuments is never fixed. An evolving social context changes how they …

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