Archaeology

Swiss Army Jewelry?

The recent discovery of a pendant at the Irikaitz archaeological site in Zestoa in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa may be as old as 25,000 years, which would make it the oldest on the Iberian Peninsula.  This stone is nine centimeters long and has a hole for hanging it from the neck although it would seem it was used to sharpen tools. 

A prehistoric bronze artifact made from a cast has been found in Alaska, apparently a buckle.

There was no Bronze Age in Alaska, though it existed several thousand years earlier in Europe and Asia.  Perhaps some of the earliest Inupiat Eskimos in northwest Alaska, thought to have migrated into Alaska from adjacent Siberia some 1,500 years ago, might have brought the object with them from the other side of the Bering Strait. The Inupiat Eskimos are believed to have occupied Cape Espenberg from about A.D. 1000 until the mid-1800s, said Hoffecker. They are part of the indigenous Eskimo culture that lives in Earth's circumpolar regions like Alaska, Siberia and Canada.

An exciting new discovery from Blombos Cave, South Africa indicates that early Homo sapiens were assembling collections of artistic implements approximately 40,000 years earlier than previously thought. This has been determined by dating 2 toolkits--abalone shells filled with objects used to process pigments--to approximately 100,000 years ago. The only other known pigment-related tools that date back that far are grindstones and hammerstones--objects like those that would have been used in conjunction with the toolkits from Blombos Cave, but which do not indicate the same level of "planning, production, and curation" that would have been associated with the collection and use of the newly-discovered artifacts.

If you ask a random sampling of people to tell you everything they know about turtle consumption in Europe, they are likely to mention the popularity of turtle soup in England during the 18th and, especially, 19th centuries. Indeed, the most fashionable and prosperous of Victorian hosts served the dish to impress their guests. But it turns out that the practice of turtle eating dates back to long before the Victorians, and that it wasn't even first attempted in the British Isles. Rather, recent research has uncovered the earliest evidence to date of turtle consumption among humans--to approximately 1.2 million years ago, at the northern Spanish archaeological site of Atapuerca.

Ayurveda, the most ancient and important system of medicine in India,  is important to modern natural medicine proponents(1) because it regards preserving health and curing diseases as fundamental in providing meaning to our lives.
 
For thousands of years it has been modified based on newer information but efforts have long been made to reconstruct a more authentic version of this treatise and its content and to assess the originality of the different versions of the text, which was written in Sanskrit.  
A clay tablet discovered Greece changes what is known about the origins of literacy in the western world, obviously a good thing, and, unfortunately, also about the origins of bureaucracy.    Measuring 2 inches by 3 inches, the tablet fragment is the earliest known written record in Europe, dating back to between 1450 and 1350 B.C., 100-150 years before the tablets from the Petsas House at Mycenae.
The Clovis people, Paleo-Indians whose tools were known for their distinctive 'fluted' points, were once thought to be the original settlers of North America about 13,000 years ago.    The name originates not from the 5th century Frankish king but rather the town in New Mexico where the stone projectile points created by their distinctive percussion and pressure flaking techniques were first discovered.
Tsunamis are big news for the last few days and there may be an ancient reason along with a current one.  A group of researchers are saying a tsunami likely destroyed the fabled lost city of Atlantis...and it is underneath mud flats in southern Spain. 

The team's findings are the subject of "Finding Atlantis," a National Geographic Channel special that aired this weekend (and you can watch again tomorrow evening).
A group of German archaeologists have set off to find a priceless ancient treasure and I'd rather they not get it.    Sounds like the plot of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" right?

As smashing as I look in a Stetson fedora, the reality involves no Nazis or theological death rays, instead it involves 2,156 gold tablets on which the Maya recorded their laws, which may be buried in Guatemala's Lake Izabal.  But the reality does involve a treasure map, which is always fun.  

Mayan expert Joachim Rittsteig claims to have thoroughly studied the Dresden Codex, a pre-Columbian Maya book which contains most of what we know about Mayan Culture, and says it details the location of this treasure.
If you've been to Bible study classes, you know the story of Jericho.   Actually, if you're an atheist you may know it even better, since on quizzes atheists seem to know The Bible better than many religious people.  In the story, Joshua, successor to Moses, led the Jews across the Jordan to what would be their land.   Jericho was clearly sitting on it so using trumpets for seven days and finally their voices they were able to take out the walls of the city and kill most everyone inside.

Wait until the Mythbusters try and tackle that one.