LEXINGTON — Alison Bell still feels the buzz the night before a dig.
And that’s true even though the archaeologist’s first such excavation occurred some 25 years ago.
“It is still the case that I’m so excited about going into the field to dig that I can’t sleep the night before,” Bell said Tuesday.
This time, the field was close at hand for Bell, an associate professor of archaeology at Washington and Lee University, where she is also chairwoman of the historic preservation committee.
Last week, Bell heard from the department of facilities management that renovation work was beginning at Robinson Hall, a building on the university’s front campus — better known as the Colonnade. She learned that workers had taken off a layer of sod behind Robinson Hall, which was built in 1840 and replaced Graham Hall. Read more.
Many ancient artefacts were plundered in Iraq during the most recent conflicts, with many turning up in collections in other countries. A decade ago, the UN urged its members to return any of these stolen pieces of Iraq’s heritage and thousands have found they way back.
However, the items in the collection of the National Museum in Helsinki are not these types of plundered archaeological artefacts.
In April, the Director General Helena Edgren at National Museum of Finland received a letter from the Iraqi Embassy in Helsinki in which the Ambassador presented a request for the return of six items.
The unusual request led to a thorough investigation of how the artefacts came into the museum’s collection that included information from records at the Office of the President and the Urho Kekkonen Museum. Read more.
A new method of sourcing the origins of artefacts in high definition is set to improve our understanding of the past.
Dr Ellery Frahm at the University of Sheffield developed the new technology to better study Mesopotamian obsidian tools unearthed in Syria, where cultural heritage is threatened by the ongoing conflict.
The research brings five decades of research full circle and presents a significant advance in the field. While at the University of Sheffield from 1965 — 1972, Professor Lord Colin Renfrew developed a technique that matched stone tools made of obsidian, naturally occurring glass, to their volcanic origins based on their chemical fingerprints.
Considered one of the greatest successes in scientific archaeology, matching artefacts to specific volcanoes was a significant leap forward in understanding trade, contact, and cultural change in the ancient world. Read more.
Nepal’s archaeologists have discovered artifacts dating from the Buddha era from an excavation site at Devdaha of Rupandehi district, which is located at a distance of 20km from Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini in western Nepal.
A team of Nepal’s Department of Archeology (DoA) started excavation at the Devdaha area some two years ago after archeological evidences suggested that it was the maternal home of the Buddha.
The excavation at Bhawanipur began three weeks back. Walls, bricks, silver and wooden bracelets, clay utensils, butter lamps and stones are among the things discovered.
Prakash Darnal, officer at the archeological department, said that findings of relics such as a bust of the Buddha, a well and the ruins of the Siddhartha palace will help prove the area’s relation with the Buddha. Read more.
Kerry Lippincott shook the wood-framed screen back and forth, sifting dirt from pieces of the past.
“Carolyn, Carolyn, Carolyn!” the Casper archaeologist shouted, bringing forth a cream-colored stone no bigger than a quarter.
Carolyn Buff, the executive secretary/treasurer for the Wyoming Archaeological Society, inspected the find Wednesday morning. Unremarkable to the untrained eye, the piece of stone was identified as an Indian “flake,” a rock piece that resulted from striking one stone against another to make tools.
It was the first Indian artifact of the renewed excavation to join a growing collection of military and period items such as metal, nails and buttons. Volunteers have until Sunday to collect what they can before the former military site in Evansville becomes a housing addition. Read more.
As the number of development projects on University Lands increases, further inspections of the land are needed. In turn, archeologists are expanding their knowledge of West Texas — and finding hundreds of Native American artifacts along the way.
In the last year and a half, more than 500 sites have been found, examined and documented, according to Solveig Turpin, a UT alumna who owns Turpin and Sons Inc., an archeological surveying company that regularly inspects sites for University Lands. The sites can range from an area of a few ancient hand tools to engraved drawings known as petroglyphs.
“With the petroglyph it’s always interesting and exciting to see something like that and try to understand what they were doing,” Turpin said. “[The petroglyph] isn’t an isolated phenomenon. The more sites we get, the more we can see a pattern.” Read more.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.—A judge in Paris is holding a hearing Thursday on the auction of dozens of items central to an Arizona tribe’s religious practices.
Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou plans to sell the collection Friday that it describes as 70 kachina masks of the Hopi Indians, although some of the items are labeled as coming from New Mexico pueblos.
The Hopi Tribe contends the items were stolen and has asked the auction house to prove otherwise through certificates of ownership or some chain of title. The items are considered communal property of the Hopi Tribe, and its chairman said no one other than a Hopi has the right to possess them.
The non-profit organization, Survival International, took up the Hopi’s cause this week with a lawyer filing a motion in a Paris court to suspend the auction so that the origin of the items could be determined. The Hopi consider the kachinas living beings that emerge from the earth and sky to connect people to the spiritual world and their ancestors. Read more.
More than 10,000 artefacts and an entire streetscape have been found at the site in Bank, where waterlogging by the long-lost Walbrook river created perfect conditions for their preservation for nearly 2,000 years.
The finds include 100 wax tablets, which are written records and which experts hope will reveal the names of Roman Londoners and the streets they lived on.
The discoveries have been all the more surprising because the site has already been heavily investigated. Archaeologists were brought in as part of the planning process for the new European headquarters of Bloomberg, the news organisation, because the site on Queen Victoria Street was already home to the most important excavation in London of the 20th century. Read more.