Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mexico: Underworld tunnel found under the Temple of the Snake

Teotihuacan, with its huge pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, its palaces, temples, homes, workshops, markets and avenues, is the largest pre-Hispanic city in Mesoamerica. It reached its zenith in the years 300-600 AD.

Researchers found a tunnel under the Temple of the Snake in the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, about 28 miles northeast of Mexico City.

The tunnel had apparently been sealed off around 1,800 years ago.

Researchers of Mexico's National University made the finding with a radar device. Closer study revealed a "representation of the underworld," in the words of archaeologist Sergio Gomez Chavez, of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Experts found "a route of symbols, whose conclusion appears to lie in the funeral chambers at the end of the tunnel."

The structure is 15 yards beneath the ground, and it runs eastwards. It is about 130 yards long.

"At the end, there are several chambers which could hold the remains of the rulers of that Mesoamerican civilization. If confirmed, it will be one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 21st century on a global scale," Gomez Chavez said late Thursday.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Egypt's lost pyramids

Some of them, at least. This is the best archaeology story of the day - 17 pyramids found using satellite infra-red survey techniques. Over 3000 settlements and 1000 tombs were also detected. This is a much needed boost to the region's tourist industry. It also clearly demonstrates that there is still a vast amount of material left to be newly uncovered, even in such a well-studied and extensively excavated country.

Read the full story here

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Young child discovers hair from extinct Mastodon

I hope this story gets used to get kids excited about volunteering on projects - that they could be the next to discover a really fun find!

Read the full story here

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Incredible holographic technology

This material is crazy! I can see the potential uses for museum/galleries that don't have a lot of space but want to show, for example, 3D representations of ruins and the like.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Berkeley Castle Excavations (University of Bristol)

Having a great time digging this week at Berkeley Castle, check out their official website: http://www.berkeley-castle.com/index.php

I've been helping clear up some of the overgrowth, move plenty of buckets and barrows, and of course TROWLING!

Archaeological photos and details coming soon!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Limerick's continuing destruction of heritage

I'll let this article speak for itself, source here . Thanks to Emily for notifying me of this.

Check out the comments section on his article for more info... Angry Bock is angry:

Limerick City Council — Destroying Your Heritage One Cellar At A Time

Another big round of applause to Limerick City Council for smashing in the hidden treasures beneath our feet. This is what happens when a local authority has no conservation officer, no archaeologist, no heritage officer and no architect. It puts hundreds of years of history at the mercy of an ignorant lout with a digger.

Under our town, there’s another hidden city of subterranean caverns, 200 years old, which the city council is busy demolishing. In a grown-up country, some official would see that this is a resource and would plan a way to use it for the common good, but not here in Ireland.

In this country, we give such decisions to roads technicians — people who wouldn’t know heritage from a hole in the ground.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Found this gem by accident today

This is how to write an angry letter!

For those of you unfamiliar with 18th century writing, I have transcribed the text

You curst, damned, Hell-Fire Dog, if you don’t answer our first Letter, you damned Dog, I will blow up your House, and kill you wheresoever I meet you. As for the Son of a Bitch your Brother, I will cut him in Pieces, and broil him in Beef-Shakes in the Flames of his own House. You Son of a damned Bitch, obey my Commands, or I will serve you as I will your Brother, for making Game of my last Letter. As for the Names I subscribed in the last Letter, they laughed at it as a Jest; but they shall, like a Pack of Hell-Fire Dogs, find their Houses in Flames in earnest. As for the Proclamation (here he used language not fit to be mentioned).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Could all our carbon dating be wrong?

I am no chemist or physicist, just wondering what the science buffs amongst you think after reading this article? What are your thoughts on the potential implications for archaeology?

Here's a quote from the article:

Carbon-14 has a very defined half-life of 5730 years; i.e. it takes 5,730 years for half of a sample of carbon-14 to radioactively decay into stable nitrogen-14. Through spectroscopic analysis of the ancient organic sample, by finding out what proportion of carbon-14 remains, we can accurately calculate how old it is.

But as you can see, carbon dating makes one huge assumption: radioactive decay rates remain constant and always have been constant. If this new finding is proven to be correct, even if the impact is small, it will throw the science community into a spin.

Interestingly, researchers at Purdue first noticed something awry when they were using radioactive samples for random number generation. Each decay event occurs randomly (hence the white noise you'd hear from a Geiger counter), so radioactive samples provide a non-biased random number generator.

However, when they compared their measurements with other scientists' work, the values of the published decay rates were not the same. In fact, after further research they found that not only were they not constant, but they'd vary with the seasons. Decay rates would slightly decrease during the summer and increase during the winter.