ArtiFACTs: Recent News in Archaeology and Anthropology

Here’s a roundup of some recent news relevant to archaeology and anthropology. Click below the fold for more…

Circular formation found in Indiana
The earthen structure was discovered by GIS workers for Delaware County (Indiana) as they studied topographic information during plans to widen a highway. The description of the formation provided in the link above appears to be a GC-Form, where the central mound or platform is created by digging a ditch around the perimeter. At a diameter of 150 feet, it isn’t quite the monument that one might find at the Liberty Earthworks (1700 ft in diameter), but significant enough that the highway project will be carefully scrutinized to ensure it doesn’t impact a cultural resource.

Cambodia’s Angkor may have been abandoned because of climate change
Not because of being sacked by the Thai army as originally thought. This news comes from Australian archaeologists who note that the Khmers of Angkor had a “meticulously organized water management system” designed to sustain their population of 750,000. The archaeologists believe the system broke down due to obstructions in structures that controlled it. Professor Fletcher, one of the archaeologists, suggests that the city was abandoned after climate changes brought on new monsoon patterns.

Israeli Archaeologists Discover Ancient Neighborhood
The IAA has said that the neighborhood, covering about 100 acres and included a network of streets, houses, and mikvah baths, was discovered as workers were constructing a railway. The site dates to the Second Temple era at around 70 CE. “In the digs, many stone tools and caches of coins were discovered, including a rare gold coin with the image of the Emperor Trajan,” Antiquities Authority official Rahel Bar-Natan said.

Looted German Treasure in Russia via Der Spiegel
Priceless cultural treasures looted by Russia from Germany at the end of WWII are on display at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Der Spiegel has a photo gallery set up of ten or so items of jewelry and other items from the Merovingian era. They were stolen from a Nazi bunker in Berlin by Red Army soldiers in 1945. My personal favorite is the sword pictured in thumbnail (in accordance with Fair Use) to the right. Go there and see the full-size version.

Private Lancaster finally gets a funeral -93 years later!

His son was four when Private Lancaster was killed in action on November 10, 1914 when his unit, the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd Battalion, attacked German troops in the woodland near Ypres in Belgium. Two French amateur archaeologists found the remains and he was identified through his badly corroded dog tag found among his remains and other artifacts including ammo pouches, cap badge and scabbard.

Oldest Member of the Genus Homo: 160,000 years
The mandible of an 8 year old child was found in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco and dates to about 160,000 years ago. By examining the growth patterns of the teeth and the molar eruption, the scientists were able to add to the growing body of knowledge and data regarding early humans and the social, biological, and cultural processes in childhood development. It would seem that children of 160,000 years ago developed at about the same rate as modern children.


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