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The General Purpose Archaeology Thread

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Since we don't have a general, all purpose archaeology topic, let this be a repository for all matters involving the science which has been made cool by whip-cracking, mummy-fighting, big-breasted, relic-hunting adventurers. And the real life stuff that is far more interesting.

 

 

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And to get the topic rolling, I read last week that technology called "X-ray phase-contrast imaging" is being used and might someday enable scientists to read the contents of the Herculaneum papyri scrolls.

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150122114405.htm

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25106956

 

These scrolls are sort of a "lost ark" of classical literature which were buried and carbonized during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and its hoped that they might contain new works or more faithful translations of original classical literature and history.

 

On the other hand, the library could be the equivalent of a Daniel Steele/Tom Clancy/Stephen King collection.

 

Ever the optimist, I'm hoping for the former.

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I would bet 5 Internet Points that they are ancient porno mags.

The most interesting archeological news is that some pre-columbian skeletons in Peru showed signs of TB. The theory is that seals and/or sea lions introduced the disease into the Americas.

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I would bet 5 Internet Points that they are ancient porno mags.

The most interesting archeological news is that some pre-columbian skeletons in Peru showed signs of TB. The theory is that seals and/or sea lions introduced the disease into the Americas.

 

It wouldn't be the worst bet on the Internet. But I'm hoping that old Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (or whoever the actual owner of the library was) had a taste in literature and ancient (contemporary?) history.

 

Curious about the seal/sea lion theory. Particularly since I interact with seals every summer. I'm a believer that the ancient and medieval world was more interconnected than we give them credit for. (No, the Lost Tribe of Israel didn't journey to America and hang out with the Cherokee). 

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It wouldn't be the worst bet on the Internet. But I'm hoping that old Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (or whoever the actual owner of the library was) had a taste in literature and ancient (contemporary?) history.

 

Curious about the seal/sea lion theory. Particularly since I interact with seals every summer. I'm a believer that the ancient and medieval world was more interconnected than we give them credit for. (No, the Lost Tribe of Israel didn't journey to America and hang out with the Cherokee). 

We can hope. 

 

Nature provides the paper on the pinniped-TB connection here. Polynesian-American contact might have happened on the Peruvian Coast, but I'm not sure about the introduction of TB into the Americas pre-Columbus. 

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Ever the optimist, I'm hoping for the former.

 

I'm hoping for Lives of Famous Whores. Suetonius is fun. (I know, chronology).

 

Serious biggest hope for Romain archaeology in general is Claudius' history of the Etruscans and/or his dictionary.

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We can hope. 

 

Nature provides the paper on the pinniped-TB connection here. Polynesian-American contact might have happened on the Peruvian Coast, but I'm not sure about the introduction of TB into the Americas pre-Columbus. 

Reading it now.

 

In Alaska, a certain number of fish are partially eaten out of our nets, usually the heads are just crunched off. During the peak of the run when their are hundreds of nets and hundreds of thousands of fish, this isn't a worry. It does get a bit disheartening when you're one of the few scratch fishing at the start or end of the season and you see a half-dozen black heads bobbing around your net.

 

We never saw anything wrong with grabbing a "seal hit" fish, cutting off the part that was gnawed on an eating the rest. But we came to learn that the natives would never eat that fish because of the germs that live in the mouth of a seal and the diseases that can get transferred. Which is kind of funny since they do eat rendered seal meat and seal oil.

 

So I imagine the TB getting transferred this way from stuff that the seals partially eat to that of the Peruvian fishermen. Or from eating the seal itself. Assuming this theory is correct.

 

 

I'm hoping for Lives of Famous Whores. Suetonius is fun. (I know, chronology).

 

Serious biggest hope for Romain archaeology in general is Claudius' history of the Etruscans and/or his dictionary.

 

Little do we know that George R.R. Martin just found some Roman manuscripts and changed the names to get "Game of Thrones".

 

That's probably the aggravating thing for classicists knowing that there is so much work out there, knowing the names of the work and knowing that you'll never get to read it because it's lost. Also we know that a lot of our favorite classical historians were every bit as biased as we are today. It would be nice to get some second and third sources about historical events and people rather than assuming that a scribe is exaggerating the flaws of Nero, Caesar, Augustus, etc.

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It varies I suppose. If the seal pulls the whole fish out and eats it, I wouldn't know because it's gone (other than the suspicious hole ripped in the net). But they do seem to prefer the heads because that's where all the crunchy nutrition is, Omega oils and what not. If you watch a bear on the beach eat a dead salmon, they'll crunch off the head, then eat the guts and eggs, then they'll strip off the skin and fat. Only then will they eat the meat. Whereas humans cut off the head, chuck the guts, get rid of the skin and eat the meat.

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That's probably the aggravating thing for classicists knowing that there is so much work out there, knowing the names of the work and knowing that you'll never get to read it because it's lost. Also we know that a lot of our favorite classical historians were every bit as biased as we are today. It would be nice to get some second and third sources about historical events and people rather than assuming that a scribe is exaggerating the flaws of Nero, Caesar, Augustus, etc.

 

That'd be fantastic because saying classical historians were as biased as we are now is a grave disservice to modern historical study and even then there's a very good reason why the word historiography exists and describes a thing that happens.

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That'd be fantastic because saying classical historians were as biased as we are now is a grave disservice to modern historical study and even then there's a very good reason why the word historiography exists and describes a thing that happens.

I suppose I could have chosen my words more carefully when I was pounding out that paragraph. You are correct. On the other side of the coin, if 99 percent of humanity got wiped out and archaeologists from the future sifted through the ashes of a prepper's house and found their library of Tom Clancy novels, Bill O'Reilly and Michael Savage books, they'd get a different perspective of the history of today.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

What the Romans ate.

 

http://www.insidescience.org/content/dinner-pisos/2536

 

Just like today, the poor ate lesser cuts of meat from street vendors. I wouldn't be surprised if there was an early "McDonald's"-esque street vendor franchise 

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I was not aware of this "Yoshinoya" and had to use Das Google to discover it. It looks like the closest one to me is on the El Camino Real in Santa Clara, California.

 

There will be no "Road Trip".

 

Fortunately, the amount of Asian restaurants in Seattle is nearly surfeit and I don't have to resort to chains.

 

*Smug*

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

What the Romans ate.

 

http://www.insidescience.org/content/dinner-pisos/2536

 

Just like today, the poor ate lesser cuts of meat from street vendors. I wouldn't be surprised if there was an early "McDonald's"-esque street vendor franchise 

 

Umm. Vomitoriums are exits to arenas and amphitheatres where large numbers of people would walk out.

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Umm. Vomitoriums are exits to arenas and amphitheatres where large numbers of people would walk out.

 

Hmm. I guess I didn't see that last paragraph. Whoopsee on that writer's part.

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This struck my fancy, not only for the archaeology angle but also for the Alaska bit. But here is information about possible trade links between East Asia and natives in Alaska with scientist unearthing bronze artifacts from an ancient 1000 year old house someplace called Cape Espenberg which is on the West Coast of Alaska near Kotzebue (which is in the rough neighborhood of Nome).

 

http://www.livescience.com/50506-artifacts-reveal-pre-columbus-trade.html

 

From the article.

 

"The Rising Whale discoveries include two bronze artifacts, one of which may have originally been used as a buckle or fastener. It has a piece of leather on it thatradiocarbondates to around A.D. 600 (more tests will take place in the future). The other bronze artifact may have been used as a whistle.

Bronze-working had not been developed at this time in Alaska, so archaeologists think the artifacts would have been manufactured in China, Korea or Yakutia, and made their way to Alaska through trade routes.

Also inside that house, researchers found the remains of obsidian artifacts, which have a chemical signature that indicates the obsidian is from the Anadyr River valley in Russia."

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A key piece of evidence for the fringe Solutrean-Clovis hypothesis, that proposes that Europeans crossed the Atlantic to the Americas before the Bering Land Bridge was dry, is likely a fraud. 

 

The hypothesis points towards a trawler that pulled up a stone blade and a mastodon. The problem is, is that that trawler's crew never said anything about finding a mastodon along with other inconsistencies about the finding. Sounds like someone likes to make up a story. 

 

Link

 

However, it isn't like anyone besides the History Channel took the idea seriously. 

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What exactly was the proposed method for the Europeans crossing the Atlantic? Did they suppose that they had large shipbuilding knowledge during the neolithic period, which was somehow lost?

An "ice bridge" is what I've read most about. So either walking across hundreds of miles of ice or by small little boats going along the edges of the ice. 

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Recent findings around Lake Turkana in Kenya reveal tool use by ancient primates ~1 million years before hominids come about. That would be 3.3 million year old tools. It shouldn't be that surprising as chimps and bonobos use tools, but still interesting as it is the earliest known tools found yet.

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