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Monday, November 21, 2011

Archaeology News: November 21, 2011

Elad, the Jerusalem-based group that operates the City of David archaeological park, has begun a new initiative to map, photograph and record all of the Jewish tombstones from the Mount of Olives, some of which may date back several millennia.

New CT scans revealed a deep incision on the right eye of Ötzi the Iceman. Experts disagree about whether an arrow wound killed the Iceman, or if a fall or blow to the head did him in.

Graffiti daubed on the walls of a flat by the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten could be as important as the discovery of early Beatles recordings - or even the prehistoric Lascaux cave paintings.

A study of human bones from the ruins of Harappa has revealed signs of lethal interpersonal violence and challenged current thinking that the ancient Indus civilisation was an exceptionally peaceful realm for its inhabitants.

A man has been arrested for bulldozing the Priddy Circles, a set of Neolithic earthworks in southwestern England. “What has happened is outrageous, this sort of vandalism is shocking. It is serious, we will never be able to get this back,” said MP Tessa Munt.

In northeastern Poland, skeletal remains of some 350 people have been found in a forgotten cemetery during the construction of a new road. Some are thought to have been soldiers who died after Napoleon marched on Moscow in the early nineteenth century.

A large kitchen area stocked with over-sized cooking tools has been unearthed at the Maya site of Kabah in southeastern Mexico. “We think large quantities of food were cooked in palaces,” said Lourdes Toscano of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

A seal stone made of red jasper was uncovered at the Minoan sanctuary at Vrysinas on the Greek island of Crete. It is carved on all four sides with Minoan hieroglyphs.

The search for a colonial-era tavern in south-central Pennsylvania yielded more than 30,000 artifacts, including copper and silver coins, a religious medal, pottery, plaster, window glass, and iron nails.

In 1962, Philip Smith of the University of Toronto discovered rock art on the banks of the Nile River while looking for ancient Egyptian settlements ahead of the construction of the Aswan Dam. “They were everywhere on the rock. But we weren’t able to date it directly. At that time there was no way of dating art on the cliffs themselves,” he recalls. American and Belgian scientists recently dated that rock art to between 15,000 and 19,000 years old.


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