Archaeology

If Van Helsing were poking around Transylvania these days, chances are he'd be more likely to be looking for the decaying remains of 35,000 year old humans than blood drinking vampires.  Romania's dark history extends back way past the days of Vlad.  It seems vampires and ghouls aside, something darker and much more interesting lurks in that eastern belly.  I travelled to Transylvania last year and spent some time in Cluj, the newly minted anthro-capital of Romania. I was lucky enough to brush shoulders and prep tools with paleoanthropologists working on a new find that changes what we know about ear

Photograph property of John HoyteWhat did you do on your summer vacation?  Go to the beach?  Space camp?  Visit grandma?  In 1959, Cambridge engineering student John Hoyte and friends hiked across the Alps with Jumbo the elephant.
Until a few months ago, the only connection that I was aware of between archaeology and Lego was the fact that I like both of them. But apparently other people do too.

I recently played the Lego: Indiana Jones game for Wii. The point of the game is to re-enact all three classic Indiana Jones movies (please, the Crystal Skull belongs in the same place as the Star Wars episodes 1-3: in a galaxy far, far away, or in a tomb deep underground where no one can see them). Playing Lego Indiana Jones with a bunch of archaeologists is even more fun than watching the movies with a bunch of archaeologists.

In the game you get to re-live all your favourite parts of the movie, and the cinematic scenes are sometimes shot for shot reconstructions:

It's spring cleaning time, and while most of us are thinking of packing a way our winter linens and airing out our summer clothes, a historian at the Vatican has decided to drag out another mouldering old bit of cloth to dangle before u

The Archaeological Institute of America's fundraising gala this year is celebrating the 130th anniversary of the Institute, and the 60th anniversary of their publication, Archaeology magazine. And boy are they celebrating. 

Here's how they describe it: 

The legend is that the great rulers of Canaan, the ancient land of Israel, were all men. But a recent dig by Tel Aviv University archaeologists at Tel Beth-Shemesh uncovered possible evidence of a mysterious female ruler.


Tel Aviv University archaeologists Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations have uncovered an unusual ceramic plaque of a goddess in female dress, suggesting that a mighty female "king" may have ruled the city. If true, they say, the plaque would depict the only known female ruler of the region.


On the eve of the Passover holiday, researchers from the University of Haifa reveal an exceptional and exciting archaeological discovery that dates back to the time of the People of Israel's settlement in the country: For the first time, enclosed sites identified with the biblical sites termed in Hebrew "gilgal", which were used for assemblies, preparation for battle, and rituals, have been revealed in the Jordan valley.
A while back there was a news story that the Pantheon may have been constructed to create a special effect in the sunlight at the equinoxes. I'm slow in reacting because I've read the book where the claim appears, and I've been taking time to try and track down one or two other ideas regarding the Pantheon. The story is based on a chapter from a new book Time in Antiquity by Robert Hannah, and it's a great example of how thinking about ancient astronomy has gently expanded over the past decade.
In the days of Columbus, dead men could tell no tales.  Today, dead men can tell us a lot and science has just taken that forensic interrogation to new heights.

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is extracting the details of the lives of crew members who remained on the island of Hispaniola after the second voyage of Christopher Columbus to America in 1493-94.
New exciting proof that Cleopatra was of African descent and killed her sister!

Really?

Yes, if you believe the BBC. The story, reported by AFP, the Times, and the Daily Telegraph, goes like this: In the 1920s a tomb at Ephesus in Turkey was opened which contained a single skeleton. The skull was removed, measured, and subsequently lost. More recently, a team of Austrian archaeologists have reexamined what's left of the skeleton, determining it to be the body of an apparently healthy young
female.