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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Archaeology News: February 21, 2012


MSU undergrads look for clues about Nubian society in old skeletons. The Nubian society stretched from parts of modern-day Egypt into parts of modern-day Sudan. "We don't know much about Nubia," said Carolyn Hurst, a doctoral student who runs the lab with Todd Fenton, an associate professor in the MSU Department of Anthropology. "So much of the focus is on Egypt. We don't have internal texts from Nubia telling us about their society, so these bones are our chance to study it and learn about it."

Slogans are powerful tools of control, which were used in the colonial days and appear to be coming up in not so subtle ways. They are relative to the time, place, and the environment in which they are used and they are indicative of power relations. Those with capacity to coin slogans to be negatively applied to others are powerful. It happened in the early colonial days when colonialists made distinctions between two studies, "anthropology" and "sociology".The study of European behaviour and ways of life was "sociology" and aimed at self-understanding of the "socio". The study of the Africans, however, was anthropology, which had a virtual licence to popularise the application of such slogans as natives and tribes to various Africans as the "anthros".

Dirks, an anthropology professor and former department chair, discussed the formation of the Office of Strategic Services in the 1940s, which organized spy missions for the United States Armed Forces, and how a number of professors played influential roles in providing an understanding of other cultures.

The remains of 20,000-year-old huts lived in by hunter-gatherers have been unearthed in eastern Jordan. “It may not look very impressive to the untrained eye, but it is one of the densest and largest Palaeolithic open-air sites in the region,” said Lisa Maher of the University of California, Berkeley. These long-term residences were in use 10,000 years before the practice of agriculture began.

Scientists have analyzed a grisly collection of mummies created by Italian anatomist Giovan Battista Rini in the early nineteenth-century. “They have a wooden consistency,” said forensic anthropologist Dario Piombino-Mascali of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano.

Archaeologists at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia plantation, are excavating in the area known as Mulberry Row, a road lined with buildings in the slave quarters. “We’re getting the information here that we would need if we were able to reconstruct Mulberry Row,” said research manager Sara Bon-Harper.

The second conservation phase of the Khufu solar boat project, which is being conducted by the Egyptian government and a team from Japan’s Wasida University, is set to begin. The two 4,500-year-old boats were discovered in 1954 in a pit next to the Great Pyramid.

1 Comment:

Jim said...

The link between the the slogan article and the Nubian piece is interesting. Subsaharan or "Black" African society and archaeology has always gotten the short end of the stick because 1) they were so "other" they could possibly be "social" and 2) what could they possibly have created of greatness - they are Africans?!?! We are now seeing the impressive and ancient cultures that did exist in Africa for the first time. Ultimately, it was completely change how we look at history and humanity in general.

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