Tag Archives | Archeology

Ancient Peruvian Astronomy Lab Uncovered

So this is awesome: archaeologists have found an ancient astronomy lab where it’s speculated that ancient people would track star movement.

Peruvian archaeologists found carvings that depict the stars and have lasted thousands of years. Silvia Depaz/Andina/Peru This Week

Peruvian archaeologists found carvings that depict the stars and have lasted thousands of years. Silvia Depaz/Andina/Peru This Week

via International Business Times:

Archeologists have stumbled upon a site where ancient people observed the stars thousands of years ago in Peru, a country famous for using drones to help uncover and map archeological treasures, as Reuters reported.

Excavators working on a complex at Licurnique, in the country’s northern region, have uncovered evidence of an “astronomical laboratory,” that dates back between 3,500 and 4,000 years, according to Peru This Week.

“Astronomical [observations] were engraved on a flat-surface rock, which were used to track stars,” its report said. It added that the petroglyphs were likely used in forecasting rain and weather patterns to help farmers. “It is worth exploring without a doubt.”

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Nine new Dead Sea Scrolls found

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Teh...

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Tehilim) from Qumran Cave 11. The Tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew can be clearly seen six times in this portion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What else is gathering dust in storage?

via The Times of Israel

An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has been tasked with unraveling and preserving the new discoveries — an acutely sensitive process and one which the IAA says it will conduct painstakingly, and only after conducting considerable preparatory research.

Phylacteries, known in Judaism by the Hebrew term tefillin, are pairs of leather cases containing biblical passages from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

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Mystery Shrouds the Ancient Oshoro Circle

The Oshoro Circle has puzzled academics and laymen alike for years.

via The Japan Times s-oshoro01

In 1861 at Oshoro, southwestern Hokkaido, a party of herring fishermen, migrants from Honshu, were laying the foundation for a fishing port when they saw taking shape beneath their shovels a mysterious spectacle — a broad circular arrangement of large rocks, strikingly symmetrical, evidently man-made. What could it be? An Ainu fortress?

They would have been astonished to learn, as in fact they never did, that the Oshoro Stone Circle is a relic from a time before even war — let alone fortresses — likely existed in Japan.

Oshoro today is part of the city of Otaru, on its western fringe, 20 km from the city center and 60 km west of Sapporo.

The Late Jomon period (circa 2400-1000 B.C.) was an age of northward migration. The north was warming, and severe rainfall was ravaging the established Jomon sites, primarily in the vicinity of today’s Tokyo and Nagoya.

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Found: Medieval City in Cambodia

Fans of lost civilizations, this one's for you, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald:
Archaeologists using revolutionary airborne laser technology have discovered a lost mediaeval city that thrived on a mist-shrouded Cambodian mountain 1200 years ago. The stunning discovery of the city, Mahendraparvata, includes temples hidden by jungle for centuries - temples that archaeologists believe have never been looted. An instrument called Lidar strapped to a helicopter which criss-crossed a mountain north of the Angkor Wat complex provided data that matched years of ground research by archaeologists. The research revealed the city that founded the Angkor Empire in 802AD. The University of Sydney's archaeology research centre in Cambodia brought the Lidar instrument to Cambodia and played a key role in the discovery that is set to revolutionise archaeology across the world...
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Hands-on Tikal

Embraer 110 Bainderante small twin-turboprop

The Embraer 110 Bainderante doesn’t look exactly brand-new. Later on I’ll read that this small twin-turboprop was last produced in 1990, which means that the one we were flying on was at least 23 years old, though I’d say a few more. The din inside is deafening, so even if I wanted to say some (famous) last words to my wife, she wouldn’t hear them. It’s strange how we shy away from risk at home, wear seatbelts religiously, pay insurance on this and that, but throw all caution to the wind when traveling to exotic places. The thing is, Tikal remains a difficult place to reach, and even when flying in, the airport of Santa Elena is about seventy minutes away by bus from the archeological marvel.

Once inside the minibus a guide tells us that the Petén, the vast region that makes up Northern Guatemala, used to be all jungle, but then was deforested only to find out, after what must have been a herculean task, that the soil was not suitable for farming: too thin, sitting on top of limestone ridges.… Read the rest

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Newly Found Mayan Calendar Goes Far Beyond 2012

MayanCalender

Wikimedia Commons (CC)

World to end on December 21st, 5012? Brian Vastag writes in the Washington Post:

The ancient Mayans were masters of time, keepers of good calendars. And now we have one of their timekeepers’ workrooms to prove it.

In a striking find, archaeologists in Guatemala report the discovery of a small building whose walls display  calendars that destroy any notion that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012. This calendar spans some 7,000 years — heading much farther into the future than the supposed doomsday date.

The newly found calendars, which track the motion of the moon, Venus and Mars, provide an unprecedented glimpse into how these storied sky-gazers — who dominated Central America for nearly 1,000 years — kept such accurate track of months, seasons and years.

“What they’re trying to do is understand the large cycles of cosmic time,” said William Saturno, the Boston University archaeologist who led the expedition.

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5,000 Years of Sustainability

Rice FieldWhile we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our catastrophic environmental ills, what if we could contextually approach and learn from sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant reaches of North America’s past? Jude Isabella writes on Archeology:

A re-evaluation of evidence along North America’s western coast shows how its earliest inhabitants managed the sea’s resources stone walls serve as evidence that early peoples cultivated the intertidal zones to build clam gardens and fish traps

When the tide is out, the table is set. —Tlingit proverb

The tide is going out at Gibsons Beach, in the Strait of Georgia on Canada’s west coast. When the tide is low, it’s easy to spot rock walls in the intertidal zone, the area of shore land that’s exposed during low tide and hidden when the tide is in. A person can look at this beach for years and never understand that apparently random scatterings of piled rocks were actually carefully constructed to catch food from the sea.

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Fossils Reveal A New Ancestor On The Family Tree

Photo: Lee Berger of University of Witwatersrand

Photo: University of Witwatersrand

We may have some relatives we didn’t know about. Jeffrey Kluger writes onTIME:

One August day in 2008, a pair of nine-year-old boys crossed paths at a cave in South Africa. The boys didn’t play, didn’t speak, didn’t even smile at each other. One of them was Matthew Berger, the young son of paleoanthropologist Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, accompanying his dad into the field for an expedition. The other boy was known only as Australopithecus sediba, a pre-human child who died 1.977 million years ago, leaving only his fossilized bones behind.

The site, 30 miles northwest of Johannesburg, had been visited before and other bones had been found, but the remains Matthew stumbled across, along with those of an adult female, are the subject of no fewer than five papers in this week’s issue of the journal Science — and with good reason.

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How To Build The Great Pyramid

Photo using Dassault Systemes

Photo using Dassault Systemes

Many myths of how the Great Pyramid of Giza was built include help from extraterrestrial visitors, elaborate ramps and crane machines. Still is remains a mystery. French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin has used a 3D modeling software to explain his theory that suggests “that a ramp was indeed used to raise the blocks to the top, and that the ramp still exists—inside the pyramid!” Bob Brier writes in Archeology:

Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only the Great Pyramid of Giza remains. An estimated 2 million stone blocks weighing an average of 2.5 tons went into its construction. When completed, the 481-foot-tall pyramid was the world’s tallest structure, a record it held for more than 3,800 years, when England’s Lincoln Cathedral surpassed it by a mere 44 feet.

We know who built the Great Pyramid: the pharaoh Khufu, who ruled Egypt about 2547-2524 B.C. And we know who supervised its construction: Khufu’s brother, Hemienu.

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Egyptian Pyramids Found By Infrared Satellite Images

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

Not only were pyramids found, but an entire city-scape could be seen, fit with various buildings and roads. Frances Cronin of BBC News reports:

Seventeen lost pyramids are among the buildings identified in a new satellite survey of Egypt.

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.

The work has been pioneered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham by US Egyptologist Dr Sarah Parcak.

She says she was amazed at how much she and her team has found.

“We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the “Aha!” moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we’d found and I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.

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