Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "archaeologist"

A wannabe archaeologist is on trial in France accused of looting some of the country’s best historical sites after being caught with thousands of ancient artifacts. Experts say France is facing an epidemic of archaeological pillaging.

While taking the stand in his own defense this week a Frenchman accused of looting thousands of valuable historical items from some of the country’s most culturally important sites, explained his crime simply.

“I always wanted to be an archaeologist, but I couldn’t,” the 60-year-old winemaker told a court in the Paris suburb of Meaux on Tuesday, AFP reported. Read more.

George Stuart, who participated in many of the most important investigations of Mesoamerican sites as staff archaeologist at the National Geographic Society, and brought the discoveries to a global readership as a senior editor at the magazine, died June 11 at his home in Barnardsville, North Carolina. He was 79 years old.

In the course of a nearly 40-year career at the Geographic, as well as after retirement, Stuart helped shape the field of Maya studies; his contributions included work on the ruins of Coba, Dzibilchaltún, Balankanche Cave, and others. He also served as vice president for research and exploration, overseeing millions of dollars in research grants every year. Read more.

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. | Funeral services are planned Thursday, Oct. 11, in Charleston, S.C., for Dr. Charles Vance Peery II, a physician, surgeon and underwater archaeologist who helped excavate several wrecks in the Lower Cape Fear region.

Peery, 71, died Oct. 6 at his home in Mount Pleasant, S.C., after a long illness.

Born June 22, 1941, in Kinston, the son of a doctor, Peery whetted his interest in archaeology as a teenager, recovering artifacts from the Confederate ironclad CSS Neuse, which had been scuttled in the Neuse River late in the Civil War.

"He was very interested in the Civil War period," recalled Peery’s friend, Leslie Bright, retired underwater archaeologist for the state of North Carolina. "Later on, he became a real collector of Civil War memorabilia." Read more.

It took more than 700 years, but in 1939 archaeologist Dorothy Garrod became the first female professor at Oxbridge – nearly a decade before women were even allowed to take degrees at Cambridge University.  ALICE HUTTON reports on the opening of the first permanent exhibition honouring one of the most important female academics you have probably never heard of.

It is hard to over-estimate the importance of what took place 73 years ago on May 5, 1939. By unanimous vote, senior members of Cambridge University elected their candidate for the Disney Professor of Archaeology – a position that remains one of the most prestigious in the field.

A note was passed to the Vice-Chancellor, who legend has it replied: “Gentlemen, you have presented us with a problem.”

They had indeed.

Because they had chosen Dorothy Garrod – the stand-out archaeologist in Britain at the time and by far the best candidate for the job. Read more.

BERKELEY — Crawford Hallock Greenewalt, Jr., emeritus professor of classical archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a leading participant for more than 50 years in the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis in Turkey, died on May 4 at the age of 74.

He passed away in Delaware, due to complications from a brain tumor just over a week after receiving the American Archaeological Institute’s esteemed Bandelier Award for Public Service to Archaeology for his personal and scholarly achievements in the field.

Greenewalt, or “Greenie” as he was known by friends and colleagues, was an expert on Lydian culture and published extensively on the site of Sardis, an ancient city that was the capital of the Lydian Empire and home of King Croesus, famous for his legendary wealth; and later, a capital city under Persian, Roman, and Byzantine rule. He also took part in Turkish excavations at Pitane, Old Smyrna, and Gordion. Read more.

He may not sport a fedora on his head or a bullwhip on his belt, but Lee Preston can be recognized by the ARKLOGIST license plate on his car. And by a book that might be tucked under his arm: “Archaeology in Howard County and Beyond: What I’ve learned in 40 Years about its People and Sites,” written by the man himself.

Preston’s opus was published last year under his full name, M. Lee Preston Jr., for the James and Anne Robinson Foundation (of the new Robinson Nature Center in Columbia), which partnered with him in publishing it and receives all profits from its sale. But as the title indicates, the tale has been in the works for four decades, ever since Preston arrived at Glenelg High School in 1970 to replace the designer of the county’s first cultural anthropology course, who resigned before ever teaching it. Read more.

Scanning a brushy field near known archaeological sites, Kay Hindes noticed the curled-up rattlesnake. But her heart rate barely picked up. Having grown up in a rural community south of San Antonio, she’d encountered plenty of rattlesnakes.

What got to her was being shot at.

That time, she peered across to the adjacent property, where a “very eccentric” elderly woman stood with a shotgun.

“She didn’t want us around the property,” laughs Hindes, recalling the scariest moment in her three decades as an archaeologist.

Hindes isn’t usually up against danger. Rather, as San Antonio’s city archaeologist, she confronts miles and miles of open land in search of artifacts the size of a quarter. She scrutinizes excavations, standing beside backhoes in her flannel lumberjack shirt and pink hard hat. And she faces developers seeking to, for example, tear down a 150-year-old rock wall or build subdivisions on 19th century farm and ranch complexes with some type of historic value. Read more.

It’s not unusual for an archaeologist to get stuck in the past, but Carl Gustafson may be the only one consumed by events on the Olympic Peninsula in 1977.

Sifting through earth northwest of Seattle, he uncovered something extraordinary - a mastodon bone with a shaft jammed in it. This appeared to be a weapon that had been thrust into the beast’s ribs, a sign that humans had been around and hunting far earlier than anyone suspected.

Unfortunately for Gustafson, few scientists agreed. He was challenging orthodoxy with less-than-perfect evidence.

For almost 35 years, his find was ridiculed or ignored, the site dismissed as curious but not significant.

But last month, a team that re-examined his discovery using new technology concluded in the prestigious journal Science that Gustafson had been right all along. Read more.