Posts Tagged ‘Archaeology’

The ‘Lost Cities’ of the Amazon

August 3, 2022

After 300 years of hunting a mythical El Dorado in the Americas, archaeologists looked more closely at Amazonia’s forest floor, working with the remaining Indigenous people and excavated long ditches and mounds. Mapping them, they found the markings of large settlements; walls, moats, plazas, and roads connected to even more settlements, all over the Amazon.  A Vox video by Sam Ellis.

More:

“‘Mind blowing’ ancient settlements uncovered in the Amazon,” Freda Kreier, Nature

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Roman Concrete

April 27, 2022

From the 2nd century BC on, concrete (opus caementicium) was everywhere in the Roman Empire, in breakwaters of artificial harbors, soaring vaults of great public baths, the Colosseum, and the dome of the Pantheon. But during late antiquity, concrete all but vanished, and would not be used again until the twentieth century. Garrett Ryan explains.

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The Sins of Hobby Lobby

September 29, 2021

The Sins of Hobby Lobby

The 5,000 year old Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, an ancient clay artifact looted from Iraq and owned by Steve Green, the evangelical entrepreneur who heads Hobby Lobby craft stores and the so-called Museum of the Bible, has been returned to the Baghdad museum it was stolen from.

Uber-evangelical Mr. Green runs a $5 billion, 932-store retail chain which claims to be “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” He was caught buying 11,500 looted artifacts (“Thou Shalt Not Steal”), and smuggling them into the country with forged invoices (“Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness”) because he really, really wanted them for his Museum of the Bible (“Thou Shalt Not Covet”). Money paid for many of Iraq’s looted antiquities was used to fund terrorism (“Thou Shalt Not Kill”).

Hobby Lobby closes on Sundays, so that sabbath-observing thing is covered, anyway.

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The Cyrus Cylinder

December 1, 2020

After Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, he needed to keep the peace and rule over vast distances and peoples of different cultures, languages and faiths. Neil MacGregor explains how a clay cylinder helped achieve that.

More here.

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Ghost Town

October 31, 2019

The Comune di Craco is a village in the Province of Matera, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. It became a ghost town, partly due to it’s own success, partly because of natural processes. A Science Channel video.

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The Secret Chambers of King Tut’s Tomb

June 4, 2018

The Secret Chambers of King Tut's Tomb

Remember when Egypt experts were “90 percent positive” that there’s a secret hiding place in King Tut’s tomb, maybe Nefertiti’s burial chamber?

Oops. A third radar scan conclusively shows there are no additional chambers behind its walls.

More:

“In King Tut’s Tomb, Hope For Hidden Chambers Is Crushed By Science,” Vanessa Romo, NPR

“There’s No Secret Chamber Behind King Tut’s Tomb, Investigation Concludes,” George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

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Richard III’s Parking Lot

December 26, 2017

Richard III's Parking Lot

In 2013, Richard Plantagenet of the House of York, better-known as King Richard III, was discovered under a parking lot in Leicester, England, where he had been since 1485. He was quite dead, so authorities made no attempt to collect 500-years-worth of parking fees.

The scruffy lot, site of Greyfriar’s monastery when Richard III entered long-term parking, was recently declared a national historic site. It’s convenient to the King Richard III Visitor Centre, which notes: “Despite King Richard III being known as the car park king, there is no parking available at the Visitor Centre.” Park at ye olde Holiday Inn or the Highcross Shopping Centre.

More:

“Leicester car park where Richard III was buried given protected status,” Maev Kennedy, The Guardian

“English Car Park Where Remains Of Richard III Were Found Declared A Monument,” Scott Neuman, NPR

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Hobby Lobby Breaks a Commandment. Big Time.

July 7, 2017

Hobby Lobby Breaks a Commandment. Big Time.

The Department of Homeland Security caught Evangelical corporate person Hobby Lobby smuggling ancient ceramics from Iraq. The company will pay a $3 million fine and give up the stolen loot, 5,500 clay tablets and cylinder seals, which will presumably be returned to the Iraqi government as part of its cultural patrimony. Archaeological artifacts are often stolen and smuggled by terrorist groups and provide a major avenue of funding for their activities.

Hobby Lobby is owned by the Green family, currently building a great Ark the Bible Museum in godless Washington, DC. We wonder how many ancient items of dubious provenance are in the museum’s collection.

More:

“Hobby Lobby’s Black-Market Buys Did Real Damage,” Candida Moss and Joel Baden, New York Times

“Christian Retailer Hobby Lobby Stole Middle East History to Make a Bible Museum in Washington, Nina Burleigh, Newsweek

“D.C. Bible Museum Denies Connection to Hobby Lobby’s Smuggled Antiquities,” Julie Strupp, DCist

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Aristotle’s Tomb. Maybe.

June 24, 2016

Artistotle's Tomb. Maybe.
Archaeologist Konstantinos Sismanidis believes he has discovered the 2400 year-old tomb of Aristotle (384-322 BC) on a hilltop in Stagira, in the Greek region of Macedonia. Stagira was the hometown of Aristotle, the ancient philosopher who tutored Alexander the Great, so it would be especially fitting if the domed tomb was built to honor his ashes. There’s no real physical proof backing up the claim, and some classicists are skeptical. In any case, it’s a great looking structure:

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Les pyramides d’Égypte

April 17, 2016

“Les pyramides d’Égypte,” directed by Corentin Charron, Lise Corriol, Olivier Lafay, and Nicolas Mrikhi. Music: Kalina Świątnicka. No camels were harmed in the making of this animation.

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