Monday, 25 August 2008
This implies that the shrinkage of glaciers over the last five years is greater than at any time since the Neolithic, which is rather worrying. But the archaeological finds are fascinating, as they show what Neolithic life was like, and that Neolithic people regularly went up into the mountains.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
Anyway, the marks are a very clear example of the type. I took these photos on my mobile phone last Sunday.
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Elizabeth Blake suspended three flint blades from a small wooden frame. Holding her cell phone in one hand, she took a piece of antler in the other and gently struck each blade once. Over a bad transatlantic connection, our phone conversation had been difficult, but the tones from the four-inch-long blades came through—clear, sweet, and crystalline. They sounded like hand bells or struck goblets. The blades are replicas of 30,000-year-old artifacts from the sites of Isturitz in the French Pyrenees and Geißenklösterle in southwestern Germany.
Friday, 15 August 2008
» DNA tests to study tiny mummies from King Tut tomb
This article is about the upcoming DNA testing on two infant mummies found in King Tutankhamun's tomb. But the part that interests me the most concerns Hatshepsut. I've blogged on the discovery of her body before ( here and here). The Discovery Channel special on the testing of unidentified mummies, in the quest to find Hatshepsut's remains, was certainly interesting. But there are now some problems. The media savvy Head of Egyptian Antiquities, Zahi Hawas has not exactly been forthcoming about his results:
...He has never disclosed the full outcome of the examinations of the mummy of Hatshepsut, Egypt's most powerful queen and the only female pharaoh. Nor has he submitted the results for a test by second lab, as it is a common practice. This has raised concerns about the validity of the Egyptian results...In the last year, I've been reading of increasing concern in regards to the above. The thing is, even just a careful watching of the televised special reveals some concerns. First off, a great deal of the identification relies on a scan of a supposed tooth fragment imaged in an unopened canopic box. The box has been accurately attributed as containing the organs of Hatshepsut, and the mummy identified as her body is missing a tooth. But that seems rather flimsy evidence. (The box remains unopened, so we don't even know if the object is indeed a tooth.) In addition, Hatshepsut has always been portrayed as rather a petite woman. Yet this mummy is large and obese. In addition, a number of mummies from the Tuthmosis line have been accurately identified, all of them having rather similar facial appearances. Although a forensic match-up was provided in the documentary, the fact is, at least to my eyes, the faces don't really match up.
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Mysterious pits shed light on forgotten witches of the West
Since 2003, 35 pits at the site in a valley near Truro have been excavated containing swan pelts, dead magpies, unhatched eggs, quartz pebbles, human hair, fingernails and part of an iron cauldron.The Saveock swan pits excavation has an online diary where you can catch up with the latest finds. Unfortunately it's not a proper blog so there's no feed to subscribe to, no comments, and no facility to link to individual posts. Though you can link to individual photos.
Anyway the really interesting thing is that the practices associated with the pits appear to have been going on from about the 1740s to the 1950s, according to the carbon-dating results:
The next pit we got a date for was the cat pit and that was over a hundred years later 1740’s to 1780’s which we were really pleased with because it meant that this particular belief system had been going on for at least four generations. Then we looked at the date for the dog pit and were completely taken aback! The dog had been alive since the 1950’s!!! It showed what they call ‘Bomb Carbon’ which is as a result of the thermo-nuclear bomb testing in the 1950’s. So we have over 350 years of this practice of depositing various bits of birds and animals in either north south or east west aligned pits in our valley.I guess this isn't that surprising when you consider that some of the weird stuff they have in the Witchcraft Museum at Boscastle dates from as recently as the 1930s and 1940s.
Monday, 11 August 2008
She is merely 11 centimetres high and approximately 25,000 years old: the famous "Venus of Willendorf", found in the village of Willendorf located in the Wachau region. 7 August 2008 is the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the "Venus of Willendorf". Austrian Post is honouring this very special occasion with a unique stamp. For the first time ever, a three-dimensional stamp has been produced.