Friday, January 27, 2012

Robots used in underwater archaeology, searching for Minoan shipwrecks
Long story on the use of robots in underwater archaeology in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greek priest arrested for illegal digging in church
Hint: If you're going to dig illegally for antiquities, don't use a pneumatic drill that will wake up the whole neighborhood and make people ask what's going on. Apparently, the financial situation in Greece is driving more people into the do-it-yourself archaeology business.

Ancient Akkadian Riddles
Someone has translated some Akkadian tablets that contain riddles. To no one's surprise, we don't really get them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thinking like a Neandertal
The author of a book titled "How to Think Like a Neandertal" explains what he hypothesizes about Neandertals' personality traits, sense of humor, life span, social organization, etc. Bottom line: if they did know humor, it was probably of the Three Stooges variety.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

State of Libyan sites
NATO reports that the "no-strike" list compiled for them by some archaeologists seems to have kept them from blowing up any ancient sites.

Trash in the gravesites at Pompeii
Why are tombs at Pompeii mixed in with garbage dumps? A grad student from Cincinnati presents a paper at AIA on this question. It seems Pompeii did not have a centrally organized plan for disposing of waste.

Pompeii in Danger: UNESCO report
A report on the dangers to Pompeii includes the fact that once you get a job working at Pompeii, you keep it for life and you don't have to do much. Visitors to Pompeii can testify to this. Also, getting competent people--as opposed to someone's nephew--hired seems to be a problem. The report also documents the declining number of houses that are open to visitors: only 15 are open at all, and only 5 are always open. (It used to be 60.) Ironically, the most damage occurs to houses that are closed.

Mystery Solved (partially): Stonehenge bluestones
The "bluestones" at Stonehenge didn't come from anywhere nearby the henge itself. Now someone has found an outcropping of rock in Wales that exactly matches the bluestones.
All that remains is to figure out how the heck someone or something got them to Stonehenge.

Roman Ruins in Tunisia
I do not know these sites. The article says they have been neglected for many years, but now UNESCO is kicking in some money to preserve them. They are on the edge of the desert in Tunisia.

No, Russian tycoon, you may not buy a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The mayor of Agrigento has informed a certain Russian mining mogul that his offer to buy the temples in the Sicilian Valley of the Temples has been rejected. Sicilians cannot be bought.

Roman Helmet

Restored Roman Helmet Unveiled by British Museum
News from the BBC about a Roman helmet, perhaps dating from very close to the invasion of 43 AD, newly restored and displayed at the British Museum. It seems to be a very fancy cavalry helmet.