Archaeological News

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MEXICO CITY (AFP).- Mexico’s largest exhibit of Mesoamerican manuscripts features a codex made of fig tree bark suggesting that Aztec emperor Moctezuma was slain by a Spanish conquistador with a sword.

The piece is among 44 codices made by several pre-Columbian populations — including the Mayas, Purepechas and Zapotecos — on display at the National Museum of Anthropology.

Some of the pieces in the temporary exhibit, titled “Codices of Mexico: Memories and Wisdom,” are as large as 10 square meters (108 square feet). One cost the government $1 million to buy from the Bible Society in Britain. “It’s the biggest codex exhibit (in Mexico),” curator Baltazar Brito, director of the National Anthropology and History Library, told AFP. Read more.

Excavations around the Hecatomnus Mausoleum in the western province of Muğla’s Milas district have unearthed a written stela that dates back over two millennia.

The stela, which is estimated to have been written for the ruler of its era, is in the poetry format and the longest among other similar classical-era findings.

According to information provided by the Milas Uzunyuva Project Epigraph Professor Christian Marek, the writing on the stela has a poetical language in a style called “catalectic trochaic tetrameter.”

There are 121 lines in the stela, although its upper surface has been eroded. It is estimated that the stela was erected at the end of fourth century B.C. or at the beginning of the third century B.C. (source)

The “special” skeleton of a hardworking lady who lived in neolithic Wales 5,500 years ago will be given a fitting public showcase if a six-week crowdfunding appeal succeeds in raising £3,000.

The remains of the woman, who is known as Blodwen and suffered arthritis and cancer, have been held by a natural history society in Lancashire since being discovered on Little Orme in 1891.

Curators hope to create an exhibition, display case and community programme after welcoming the bones back to the region in 2015.

"Blodwen provides us with a window into Llandudno’s ancient past more than 5,000 years ago," says Helen Bradley, of Llandudno Museum. Read more.

VELIKY NOVGOROD, RUSSIA — The note, from father to son, was the sort of routine shopping list that today would be dashed off on a smartphone. In 14th century Russia, it was etched into the bark of a birch tree and curled into a scroll.

“Send me a shirt, towel, trousers, reins, and, for my sister, send fabric,” the father, whose name was Onus, wrote to his son, Danilo, the block letters of Old Novgorod language, a precursor to Russian, neatly carved into the wood with a stylus. Onus ended with a bit of humor. “If I am alive,” he wrote, “I will pay for it.” 

The scroll and a dozen others like it were among the finds from this year’s digging season, adding to a collection of more than 1,000 birch-bark documents uncovered here after being preserved for hundreds of years in the magical mud that makes this city one of the most extraordinary archaeological sites on earth. Read more.

Excavations at the new Bomber Command Centre on the outskirts of Lincoln have revealed artefacts dating back to Roman times.

Eleven trenches were dug by Allen Archaeology as a condition of getting planning permission for the development. And visitors now have the chance to get their hands dirty and help out.

An open day is being planned for Wednesday, October 29 to encourage families, amateur archaeologists and anyone interested in the work to see what is happening. 

Bomber Command Centre director Nicky Barr said: “We found Roman artefacts including a section of wall and it is that which we are excavating. Read more.

She was a scrappy sea mongrel who went down with her ship. Now nearly 500 years after Hatch the crossbreed drowned with the crew of the Mary Rose, it has emerged that the world’s most famous sea dog, and the only known female aboard, was male.

Hatch’s remains went on display four years ago at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, where some of the 19,000 objects from Henry VIII’s ill-fated flagship are on show. She quickly became a popular attraction, but ongoing DNA testing of the crew has revealed the true sex of the unfortunate hound, which was named after divers discovered her remains near the hatch entrance to the Mary Rose’s carpenter’s cabin. Read more.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology is opening new laboratories this weekend that will improve efforts to study and preserve the more than 1 million artifacts in its collection.

Inside the new facility, display cases filled with hundreds of skulls from the 19th century Morton Skull Collection look out onto a 21st century classroom with state-of-the-art research equipment.

Head conservator Lynn Grant says the $18 million renovation brings high-tech tools to the museum¹s ongoing research.

"We’ll have a full digital X-radiography suite, so we’ll be able to take high resolution X-rays of our artifacts and find out what’s going on inside them," said Grant. Read more.

The imposing mosaic unearthed in the burial mound complex at Amphipolis in northern Greece might contain the best-ever portrait of Alexander the Great as a young man, according to a new interpretation of the stunning artwork, which depicts the abduction of Persephone.

It might also confirm previous speculation that the tomb belongs to Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great.

The mosaic portrays the soul-escorting Hermes, Hades and Persephone. In reality, the mosaic most likely has human counterparts represented in the guise of the three mythological characters, said Andrew Chugg, author of “The Quest for the Tomb of Alexander the Great.”

“I am thinking very much that Persephone should be an image of the occupant of the tomb being driven into the Underworld,” Chugg told Discovery News. Read more.