While digging in the ruins of a centuries-old building on Baffin Island (map), far above the Arctic Circle, a team led by (Dr. Patricia) Sutherland, adjunct professor of archaeology at Memorial University in Newfoundland and a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, found some very intriguing whetstones. Wear grooves in the blade-sharpening tools bear traces of copper alloys such as bronze—materials known to have been made by Viking metalsmiths but unknown among the Arctic’s native inhabitants.
Taken together with her earlier discoveries, Sutherland’s new findings further strengthen the case for a Viking camp on Baffin Island. “While her evidence was compelling before, I find it convincing now,” said James Tuck, professor emeritus of archaeology, also at Memorial University.
Tag Archives | Archaeology
Looks like the builders of Angkor Wat may have taken a short cut transporting the materials used in the construction of the temple. Newly-discovered traces of a series of long-gone canals may have halved the distance it took to transport massive blocks of sandstone from quarries at Mount Kulen.
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The sandstone blocks each weigh up to 1.5 tonnes and originate from quarries at Mount Kulen. It was thought they were taken 35 kilometres along a canal to Tonlé Sap Lake, rafted another 35 km along the lake, then taken up the Siem Reap River for 15 km, against the current.
Thinking this was unlikely, Etsuo Uchida and Ichita Shimoda of Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, used satellite images to search for a shortcut. The canals they discovered led from the foot of Mount Kulen to Angkor – a gentle 34-km route, as opposed to the arduous 90-km trek previously suggested.
Could your favorite ancient animal species not be real? Via the Archaeology News Network:
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Fake fossils are duping scientists and museums, a senior paleontologist has warned, after a scholar was forced to retract a controversial essay that stated the cheetah originated in China.
According to Li Chun, associate researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, counterfeits are now widespread and have become a serious risk to genuine study projects. “I believe many scholars are victims of fake fossils,” he said, before estimating that more than 80 percent of marine reptile specimens on display in Chinese museums “have been altered or artificially combined to varying degrees”.
Li’s alert follows the debunking last month of an essay co-authored by Huang Ji, a Chinese scientist, and Danish researcher Per Christiansen in 2008 about an alleged new species of cheetah.
“Probably to make it appear more complete, thus enhancing its commercial value, Chinese fossil dealers makes numerous fake fossils.
Aren’t archaeology and “history” fascinating?
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I don’t see how the identity of the owners is going to remain secret for long, though, as property tax assessments are part of the public record. Keep an eye out for some interesting revelations about Grammie and Gramps in the coming months. From Joe Arnold of WHAS11:
LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) — The mystery of an underground sadomasochism club continued to unravel on Tuesday after WHAS11 News aired images of what work crews discovered during Whiskey Row stabilization efforts.
Judging by the state of decay in the collapsing buildings, demolition crews had estimated the club dated to the 1970’s, but e-mails and posts to WHAS11’s Facebook and Twitter accounts reflect a more recent sadistic history.
A former founding member told WHAS11 that LATEX, short for Louisville Area Trust EXchange, was in operation in the mid to late 1990’s with close to 1,000 dues paying members.
The true adventure will begin soon when some brave souls attempt to enter Ciudad Blanca on foot, opening themselves up to deadly curses. The Los Angeles Times reports:
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Since Spanish explorer Herman Cortes first noted the existence of Ciudad Blanca, the White City, in 1526, archaeologists, explorers and treasure hunters have been searching for the site, reputed to contain vast wealth. Many have claimed to find it, including the CIA’s Theodore Morde, who based the bizarre travelogue “Lost City of the Monkey God” on it. None of those claims have held water, however, and contemporary archaeologists are not even sure the city ever existed.
But now a team, using laser-based light detection and ranging (LIDAR) from a survey plane, have found the ruins of an ancient city deep in Honduras’ Mosquito Coast region and hidden by centuries of jungle growth.
Ciudad Blanca plays a central role in many Central American stories and mythology.
A mysterious fossil that has evoked images of a sea monster roaming the shallow waters of prehistoric Ohio [has] scientists stumped as to what kind of creature it was. One thing is sure: The enigmatic "blob" — discovered in elliptical pieces that, when fitted together, extended about 7 feet long, was once alive. The team, along with the fossil hunter who discovered the 450-million-year-old specimen, suggest a range of possibilities: a type of huge algae or microbial mat, or even a member of the cnidarian family, which includes jellyfish (though scientists concede the jellyfish idea is highly unlikely).
This is a strange bit of disputed archaeology. Check it out over the web and Wikipedia does have a good description:
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The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone is a large boulder on the side of Hidden Mountain, near Los Lunas, New Mexico, about 35 miles south of Albuquerque, that bears a very regular inscription carved into a flat panel. The stone is also known as the Los Lunas Mystery Stone or Commandment Rock. The inscription is interpreted to be an abridged version of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments in a form of Paleo-Hebrew. A letter group resembling the tetragrammaton YHWH, or “Yahweh,” makes four appearances. The stone is controversial in that some claim the inscription is Pre-Columbian, and therefore proof of early Semitic contact with the Americas.
The first recorded mention of the stone is in 1933, when professor Frank Hibben, an archaeologist from the University of New Mexico, saw it.
Insects have bugged human beings for a long time. Via Discover:
In a South African cave, researchers have uncovered traces of the oldest known human bedding, 77,000-year-old mats made of grasses, leaves, and other plant material. While it’s not especially surprising that early humans would have found a way to improve the cold, generally unpleasant experience of sleeping on a cave floor, archaeologists know little about our ancestors’ sleeping habits and habitats.
Using scanning electron microscopy, the researchers identified several species of local rushes and grasses that made up the bulk of the mattress, as well as leaves of the Cryptocarya woodii tree. These leaves contain chemical compounds that repel mosquitoes, lice, and other insects, suggesting that the cave’s ancient residents protected their bedding with natural insecticide.