Archaeology Weekly Roundup!

§ April 5th, 2012 § Filed under Archaeology in the News § Tagged archaeology in the news § No Comments

Syria’s year-long revolt has exposed to looting and destruction the country’s archaeological treasures, including the ancient city of Palmyra and the Greco-Roman ruins of Apamea, experts warned. Most vulnerable are strife-torn areas that have fallen outside the full control of the regime where looters have already targeted museums, excavation sites and monuments.

After studying ancient Mesopotamian, Chinese and Egyptian cultures, middle schoolers at one Pennsylvania middle school got to take part in a mock archaeological dig run by two California University of Pennsylvania professors.

Cyprus and Israel will cooperate to form a bank that will house the enormous amount of data which results from the numerous excavations that are conducted in both countries. The database is planned to hold information about antiquities in both Cyprus and Israel that will enable scholars and academics to deepen their understanding about each other’s culture.

New analysis of skeletons uncovered in Oxford indicates they could have been the remains of Viking pillagers rather than settlers killed in the famous Brice’s Day Massacre in 1002, as was first thought.

Whatever the reasons behind their domestication, dogs have left their pawprints all over the archaeological record, sometimes literally, for thousands of years. Read about the role of dogs in past cultures from Archaeology Magazine.

The earliest evidence of the use of fire by humans has been found at Wonderwerk Cave in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, say scientists. Their analysis, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has shown that the intentional use of burning and fire, a pivotal point in human evolution, could date back to over a million years ago.

The discovery of a well-preserved juvenile woolly mammoth suggests that ancient humans “stole” mammoths from hunting lions, scientists say. Wounds indicate that both lions and humans may have been involved in the ancient animal’s death.

With Greece moving into a fifth year of recession, licensed archaeology digs are finding it ever harder to obtain public funds while antiquity smuggling is on the rise, archaeologists have warned. “There are an increasing number of illegal digs near archaeological sites,” said Despina Koutsoumba, head of the association of Greek archaeologists.

The British Museum is adding the ‘Ramesseum papyri to it’s online research catalogue, with full color photographs of all papyri originally uncovered along with links to all of the artifacts excavated with the papyri and now in museums around the world. The project site can be found here.

Archaeologists and music experts believe they have found the remains of the earliest stringed instrument ever found in Western Europe – dating to more than 2,300 years ago – at the excavation of Uamh An Ard Achadh (High Pasture Cave) on the Island of Skye, Scotland.

The government of Turkey is asking American museums including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection,  to return dozens of artifacts that were allegedly looted from the country’s archaeological sites.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention and a range of events to mark the anniversary are scheduled throughout 2012, including conferences in Norway and China, a youth forum in Spain, and a commemorative ceremony in Germany.

Numerous trees across the country known as Indian marker trees or trail trees, were bent in their youth by Native Americans to indicate such things as a trail or a low-water creek crossing and now various groups are working to identify, protect, and promote them.

The European Commission has approved funding from the European Regional Development Fund for a major project to restore the area of the UNESCO site of Pompeii, in Campania, Italy. The project ‘preservation, maintenance and improvement of the archaeological site of Pompeii will lead to the investment of 105 million euro of EU and national contributions combined.

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