Archaeological News

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It has been a long-accepted notion that the great-house society of the AD 900 to 1150 puebloan Chaco Canyon culture of the American Southwest collapsed because of deforestation to build their impressive communities. It is popularly cited as an example and warning of how human society employs unsustainable land-use practices.

But not so fast, say these researchers.

According to studies conducted by W.H. Wills, Brandon L. Drake and Wetherbee B. Dorshow of the Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, there is no substantial evidence, archaeological or otherwise, to support the contention that the puebloan peoples who built the architecturally impressive 11th-12th century AD structures of Chaco Canyon in present-day New Mexico abandoned their homes and centers in the 13th century because they exhausted their resources—the self-imposed poor-land-use destruction model often cited as a warning by environmentalists and others for our own future. Read more.

A massive research project, 15 years in the making, has revealed that beneath Dublin’s modern streets lies a trove of buried Viking warriors and artifacts.

Archaeologists say the number of Viking warrior burials in Dublin is astounding. A project cataloguing these burials was began in 1999. Now nearing its conclusion, the project will result in the publication of an 800-page tome titled ‘Viking Graves and Grave Goods in Ireland.’

“As a result of our new research, Kilmainham-Islandbridge is now demonstrably the largest burial complex of its type in western Europe, Scandinavia excluded,” says Stephen Harrison, who co-wrote the catalogue with Raghnall Ó Floinn, the director of the National Museum of Ireland. Read more.

The world’s largest solar boat, the catamaran PlanetSolar, will embark on a Greek mission to find one of the oldest sites inhabited by man in Europe, an organiser said Monday.

Starting on August 11, a team of Swiss and Greek scientists will seek a “prehistoric countryside” in the southeastern Peloponnese peninsula, University of Geneva researcher Julien Beck told AFP.

The month-long mission, jointly organised with the Swiss school of archaeology and the Greek culture ministry, will search around the Franchthi cave in the Argolic gulf, where early Europeans lived between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. Read more.

In July 2010, amid the gargantuan rebuilding effort at the site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, construction workers halted the backhoes when they uncovered something unexpected just south of where the Twin Towers once stood.

At 22 feet (6.7 meters) below today’s street level, in a pit that would become an underground security and parking complex, excavators found the mangled skeleton of a long-forgotten wooden ship.

Now, a new report finds that tree rings in those waterlogged ribs show the vessel was likely built in 1773, or soon after, in a small shipyard near Philadelphia. What’s more, the ship was perhaps made from the same kind of white oak trees used to build parts of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed, according to the study published this month in the journal Tree-Ring Research. Read more.

The 1895 fire that all but destroyed Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda was thought to have left no traces of the iconic building’s dome. But University of Virginia masons working on the building’s current renovation have discovered pieces of that structure preserved within the walls.

The Rotunda, the centerpiece of Jefferson’s Academical Village, is closed until the summer of 2016 while workers upgrade its mechanical systems, repair portico roofs, install new column capitals and improve fire and life safety systems.

The original dome structure was wood, which would have been destroyed in the fire, and its roofing was made from tin-coated iron shingles. Read more.

A group of researchers from İzmir’s Dokuz Eylül University’s Institute of Marine Science and Technology (IMST), who conduct research on sunken ships located between Muğla’s Datça peninsula and Antalya, have discovered eight new sunken ships.

The latest research project by the IMST, which receives funding from the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Development Ministry and Bodrum Municipality, has taken three months to complete.

The institute’s deputy director Associate professor Harun Özdaş said the first stage of the Aegean and Mediterranean research had been finished in 2004, adding: “The main purpose of the project is to expand the inventory of sunken ships. Read more.

The grave of King Richard III, immortalised by Shakespeare as one of history’s great villains, was opened up to the public on Saturday in central England.

The remains of the infamous ruler were found in 2012 under a car park in the city of Leicester.

Around a hundred visitors were on hand to watch city mayor Peter Soulsby cut the ribbon on the £4 million ($6.8 million, 5 million euro) new visitor centre at the discovery site.

Early arrivals at the building, in an abandoned school close to Richard’s grave, were able to examine a replica of his skeleton made using a 3D printer. Read more.

MEXICO CITY.- In the southern parts of Sinaloa, a burial of unusual characteristics was discovered, made up of elements from old Occidental Mexico and rich offerings deposited around bone remains.

As the excavation advanced, never seen before archaeological traces surged; informed archaeologist Victor Joel Santos Ramírez, director of the project.

First, there were dozens of miniature figurines. “In no other excavation in Chametla have we found figurines in such numbers and with such rare characteristics, which made us believe that this was an important offering, to wit, we decided to begin a systematic investigation,” he said. Read more.