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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Archaeology News: May 16, 2012

New photographs reveal what lies beneath the surface of Easter Island, one of the most remote places in the world -- the carved bodies of the island's 887 famous guardians.

A massive block of limestone in France contains what scientists believe are the earliest known engravings of wall art dating back some 37,000 years, according to a study published Monday. The 1.5-metric-ton ceiling piece was first discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, a well known archaeological site in southwestern France that holds some of the earliest forms of artwork, beads and pierced shells.

Like a real life Indiana Jones, William Breece, the archaeology instructor at Orange Coast College, spends his time excavating prehistoric artifacts and teaching anthropology and archaeology. “Indiana Jones is no comparison to me,” Breece said. “But he has made archaeology popular.”

Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Shah Nazar Khan talked about the excavation and preservation work at various sites in the province, including Jinnah Wali Dheri, Hunad, Jamal Garhi, Aziz Dheri, Takht Bhai and Jehanabad Buddha statue and Amluk Darra stupa in Swat.

The Lost City Museum will host a free Kids Archaeology Day from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 19. Budding archeologists are invited to learn the process of archaeology by participating in a mock excavation and learning to analyze the artifacts they find. Students will learn about phases of an archaeological investigation from a professional archaeologist in a hands-on way, from the excavation to the analysis phase. Space is limited to 16 children ages 7 to 13, so early sign-up is suggested. For more information or to sign up, please call the museum at (702) 397-2193.

A few years ago scientists reported large quantities of sulphur and iron compounds in the salvaged 17th century warship Vasa, resulting in the development of sulphuric acid and acidic salt precipitates on the surface of the hull and loose wooden objects.

On the cliffs of Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains, Nancy Beavan of the University of Otago is investigating the burials of an unnamed culture. The burials consist of log coffins and jars of human bones dating to between 1395 and 1650 A.D. that were left on dangerous ledges. She thinks the bones were placed on the ledges using systems of ropes and bamboo baskets after the bodies had been exposed and the bones de-fleshed.


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