Tag: Archaeology

Mice of Pompeii

The plaster cast figures from Pompeii are pretty famous. The casts are made by pouring plaster into hollows left in the ash by an item that has decomposed (like bodies, wood, etc.). The resulting figures capture the expressions and last moments of the people who were killed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79CE.

A snippet of a documentary shows the mice from Pompeii captured using the same plaster technique developed by Fiorelli:

On a side note, it’s interesting to read the recounting of the eruption in letters from Pliny the Elder to Tacitus.

Learn Latin Online

I found a link to an online Latin immersion course, Latinum. The course provides sample tracks along with some text for studying. Sounds interesting.

I started studying Latin last fall, but ended up setting it aside due to lack of time and server issues with the course. I learned a lot while I was in it. (Learning Latin using a French text was *hard*. Here’s to having friends who have taught Latin or studied it extensively!)

Why study Latin? Because it provides an insight into the cultures that spoke it. When I learned French in college and high school, the language provided better phrases (maybe more elegant phrases?) for expressing ideas and dreams than English did. English is great for technical discussions because of its precision. My French isn’t near what it was in college, but I still appreciate the phrases and just the way it sounds. Learning Latin could provide a similar insight into the intricacies of the culture. (Besides, it would be cool to go into a museum and be able to read the inscriptions on the artifacts not to mention reading the CIL.)

Shrine to Jupiter found at Vindolanda

Found a link to the article below on Archaeological News. Amazing find! I’d love to be able to see it.

To my friend on the right side of the pond — if you get to visit the site, send me a picture?

hexham-courant.co.uk — ONE of the most important artefacts ever unearthed at the Vindolanda Roman site near Bardon Mill could also be the heaviest. The 1.5 tonne altar depicts Jupiter riding a bull and wielding an axe and thunderbolt. The inscription was dedicated by Sulpicius Pudens, prefect of the Fourth Cohort of Gauls.

Destroying an archaeological site to build a Sam’s Club

I was reading Archaeologica during lunch and discovered an article about an American Indian mound in Oxford, Alabama being used as fill dirt for a Sam’s Club. The council members don’t seem to care about the possible historical site being demolished. Instead they are doing “what is best” for the city.

Here are some articles about the destruction of this mound:

The Archeology Magazine blog article written by Heather Pringle has the best description of the archaeology of the site and of Mound Builders in general. Dan Whisenhunt’s article in The Aniston Star defines the funding and political background to the deal between the CDA and Taylor Corporation.

Do we really need another Sam’s or Wal-Mart so much that an archaeological site has to be destroyed for our shopping pleasure?

Remains Of Gallo-Roman Winery in Burgundy

Science Daily had an article on the remains of a Gallo-Roman winery found in Burgundy. My favourite region in France is Burgundy. I should post some of the pictures I have of the grapevine-covered hill sides. It’s amazing. It would have been The Place to do a wine tasting — if I wasn’t allergic to alcohol…

Gevrey-Chambertin, 12 km from Dijon, is famous throughout the world for its Burgundy wines. It is now possible to conclude that winegrowing in this region goes back to the Gallo-Roman era, as testified by the findings of excavations by the Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives , at the spot known as “Au dessus de Bergis.”

read more | digg story

Seleukid coin with mare and foal

My friend Nantonos owns a coin (shown below) from the Ekbatana region in the Seleukid Kingdom, reign of Antiochos III (223-187 BC).

Seleukid coin, with suckling foal

This is probably my favorite coins of the one that Nantonos owns. See how the mare is nuzzling the foal’s rump? Mares do that to encourage a foal to suckle. Who ever struck this coin really knew horses.

Check out his photostream on Flickr to see other coins and photos.

Witches of Cornwall (Archaeology Magazine)

Tis the season for this particular season. The finds in the article below are interesting — especially since the finds date to as late as the 1950s.

Macabre evidence of age-old spells surfaces in an archaeologist’s front yard. Witchcraft, the rituals of a number of pagan belief systems, was thought to offer control of the world through rites and incantations. Carbon dating places evidence from the 1600s through the 1950s.

read more | digg story

Scientist discovers flaw in Oceanic Carbon dating

It is interesting when something considered as stable as carbon dating gets reevaluated. What might this mean for archaeologists who use carbon dating on artifacts?

As a consequence of the findings, changes in 13C/12C records need to be reevaluated, conclusions regarding changes in the reservoirs of carbon will have to be reassessed, and some of the widely-held ideas regarding the elevation of CO2 during specific periods of the Earth’s geological history will have to be adjusted.

read more | digg story