archaeologicalnews

archaeologicalnews:

image

Archaeologists have unveiled the most detailed map ever produced of the earth beneath Stonehenge and its surrounds.

They combined different instruments to scan the area to a depth of three metres, with unprecedented resolution.

Early results suggest that the iconic monument did not stand…

intelligibledirigible

historical-nonfiction:

Egyptian blue — a bright blue crystalline substance — is believed to be the first unnatural pigment in human history. Ancient Egyptians used a rare mineral, cuprorivaite, as inspiration for the color. Cuprorivaite was so rare searching and mining for it was impossible. Instead, using advanced chemistry for the time, Egyptians manufactured the color. It was made by mixing calcium compound (typically calcium carbonate), a copper-containing compound (metal filings or malachite), silica sand and soda or potash as a flux, then heating to between 850-950 C.

Egyptian blue was widely used in ancient times as a pigment in painting, such as in wall paintings, tombs and mummies’ coffins, and as a ceramic glaze known as Egyptian faience.  Its use spread throughout Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and the far reaches of the Roman Empire. It was often used as a substitute for lapis lazuli, an extremely expensive and rare mineral sourced in Afghanistan. After the decline of the Roman Empire, though, Egyptian Blue quickly disappeared from use.

Aaaaah, I get so excited about this ancient pigment stuff!  But we can’t talk about Egyptian Blue without also talking about Han Purple (more correctly called Chinese Purple, since its earliest occurrences predate the Han Dynasty).

image

image

image

The famous Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an (which I have visited! lucky me) were originally painted a bright array of colors, including a remarkable purple - barium copper silicate.  Remarkable, because it doesn’t occur in nature, which means it was synthetically produced, which means that the Chinese were dabbling in inorganic chemistry almost three thousand years ago (most likely independent of the Egyptians).  Then it was lost somewhere in the labyrinth of history, until its rediscovery a few decades ago.  Even more remarkable, recent molecular analysis of BaCuSi2Ohas yielded unexpected results relevant to the science of superconductivity & quantum computing.  What?!  True!

Further reading:
The Mysterious Color Purple - Cosmos magazine
Purple Reign - Archaeology magazine
Han Purple - AsianArt.org

3-D Insulator Han Purple Loses a Dimension to Enter Magnetic ‘Flatland’ - Stanford News

archaeologicalnews

Arkansas archaeologists get repatriation grant

archaeologicalnews:

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Archaeological Society has received a $63,000 grant to document and return human remains and cultural objects to their native people.

The grant announced Wednesday was among $1.5 million awarded nationwide by the National Park Service under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The grants were awarded to museums, Indian tribes and Alaska native villages.

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis says more than 10,000 Native American human remains and 1 million sacred objects have been returned to tribes and native organizations under the program.

The program requires museums and federal agencies to inventory and identify Native American human remains and cultural items in their collections. (source)

archaeologicalnews

New Inca road to Machu Picchu discovered

archaeologicalnews:

image

Archaeologists have discovered a new section of Inca Road— and this one leads right to Machu Picchu.

According to Andina news agency, the newly discovered road is about one and a half kilometers long, and varies between 1.2 and 1.4 meters in breadth, depending on the terrain. The road begins at Wayraqtambo and leads up to a platform from which travelers can see parts of the complex at Machu Picchu.

Right now, much of the road is covered in vegetation and therefore difficult to sée. El Comercio reports that specialists are working to clear the road. Read more.

!!!

archaeologicalnews

These Are The World’s Oldest Pants

archaeologicalnews:

image

Two men whose remains were recently excavated from tombs in western China put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. But these nomadic herders did so between 3,300 and 3,000 years ago, making their trousers the oldest known examples of this innovative apparel, a new study finds.

With straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch, the ancient wool trousers resemble modern riding pants, says a team led by archaeologists Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. The discoveries, uncovered in the Yanghai graveyard in China’s Tarim Basin, support previous work suggesting that nomadic herders in Central Asia invented pants to provide bodily protection and freedom of movement for horseback journeys and mounted warfare, the scientists report May 22 in Quaternary International. Read more.

For swordgirl, because it’s important to study your enemies. 

archaeologicalnews

Battered pot found in Cornish garage unlocks Egypt excavation secrets

archaeologicalnews:

image

A battered pot found in a garage in Cornwall, broken in antiquity and broken again and mended with superglue some 5,500 years later, was treasure – but the scruffy little cardboard label it held is now unlocking a lost history of finds from excavations in Egypt scattered across the world in the late 19th century.

The pot came with an odd family legend that back in the 1950s it was accepted in lieu of a fare by a taxi driver in High Wycombe. Alice Stevenson, curator at the Petrie Museum in London, which among its 80,000 objects has the original excavation records and hundreds of pieces from the same Egyptian cemetery, believes the story is true and may even have identified the mysterious passenger. Read more.

archaeologicalnews

7,000-year-old cave paintings found in Spain

archaeologicalnews:

image

Archaeologists in eastern Spain have discovered 12 prehistoric rock paintings depicting hunting scenes from 7,000 years ago.

Town hall representatives in the Valencian municipality of Vilafranca announced the finding on Tuesday, the first of its kind and importance for many years in the region.

Although archaeologists are still searching the area for more rock paintings, their work has already unveiled detailed depictions of prehistoric hunting; including bulls, goats and archers chasing them down.

The site’s location is being kept a secret until the necessary security precautions are in place. Read more.

archaeologicalnews

Ancient Puppy Paw Prints Found on Roman Tiles

archaeologicalnews:

image

The paw prints and hoof prints of a few meddlesome animals have been preserved for posterity on ancient Roman tiles recently discovered by archeologists in England.

"They are beautiful finds, as they represent a snapshot, a single moment in history," said Nick Daffern, a senior project manager with Wardell Armstrong Archaeology. "It is lovely to imagine some irate person chasing a dog or some other animal away from their freshly made tiles."

The artifacts, which could be nearly 2,000 years old, were found in the Blackfriars area of Leicester, the English city where the long-lost bones of King Richard III were discovered under a parking lot in 2012. Read more.