Archaeology Weekly Roundup! 12-21-12

Fragment of an Abbasid Quran, showing geometric ornamentation. Probably written in the ninth century. (Cambridge University Library)

The Cambridge Digital Library has just made available thousands of pages from fragile religious manuscripts for Internet users’ perusal, including a 2,000-year-old copy of the Ten Commandments, known as the “Nash Papyrus.”

New CT scans of Ramessess III show that his throat was slit, solving an ancient mystery. Additional test also indicate an unidentified mummy may be his disgraced son.

Thousands of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls went online Tuesday with the launch of a new website by Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority, part of a move to make the famed manuscripts easily available to scholars and casual web surfers.

The New York Times has uncovered evidence that Wal-Mart in Mexico used bribery to be able to build a store near the pyramids of Teotihucan without following.

The first unequivocal evidence that humans in prehistoric Northern Europe made cheese more than 7,000 years ago is described in research by an international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, UK, published in Nature.

At Laodicea, a long abandoned Greco-Roman city is being resurrected wholesale from its ruins by construction cranes and teams of workmen in hard-hats. Officials are hoping a restored Laodicea will draw more tourists than visit the site currently.

The University of Chicago received a mysterious package addressed to Indiana Jones and containing a replica of Abner Ravenwood’s journal from the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

A group of physicists and optometrists say they have cracked the optical properties of the Viking sunstone, which legend has it aided the northerly, often storm-beset navigators long before the invention of the compass.

The BBC has an article on the promise of Lidar and how it has been used to uncover the vast extents of sites, such as the Maya city of Caracol, covered in vegetation.

A brain-removal tool used by ancient Egyptian embalmers has been discovered lodged in the skull of a female mummy that dates back around 2,400 years.

Archaeologists in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia have found a basilica said to date from the time of emperor Constantine the Great in the area of the West Gate of Serdica, as the city was known in Roman times.

A portion of the passages beneath the baths of Caracalla will open this month, providing a slave’s eye view of the ancient baths.

Archaeologists are uncovering an Inca pool they’re calling “the Water Temple” the site of Inca-Caranqui in Ecuador, which shows Inca hydraulic mastery and possible ritual use.

Despite their modern-day diversity, Europe’s widespread Romani population shares a common, if complex, past. It all began in northwestern India about 1,500 years ago, according to a study reported on December 6th in Current Biology.

Archaeologists find Maya ceramics and mural paintings in three underwater caves in Mexico. Underwater archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), recently explored three spaces, all abundant with Mayan culture materials: two semidry caves in Campeche and a cenote in Yucatan.


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