Archive for the 'Archaeology' Category

3,000-year-old Frankenstein monsters discovered

Our ancestors lived lives straight out of nightmares:

In a “eureka” moment worthy of Dr. Frankenstein, scientists have discovered that two 3,000-year-old Scottish “bog bodies” are actually made from the remains of six people.

According to new isotopic dating and DNA experiments, the mummies—a male and a female—were assembled from various body parts, although the purpose of the gruesome composites is likely lost to history.

World not ending 2012?

Stupid archaeologists ruin my lack of retirement planning plan.

“The paintings we have here—we’ve never found them anyplace else,” excavation leader William Saturno told National Geographic News.

And in today’s Xultún—to the untrained eye, just 12 square miles (31 square kilometers) of jungle floor—it’s a wonder Saturno’s team found the artwork at all.

At the Guatemalan site in 2010 the Boston University archaeologist and Ph.D. student Franco Rossi were inspecting a looters’ tunnel, where an undergraduate student had noticed the faintest traces of paint on a thin stucco wall.

The pair began cleaning off 1,200-year-old mud and suddenly a little more red paint appeared.

“Suddenly Bill was like, ‘Oh my God, we have a glyph!'” Rossi said.

In all seriousness, I love stories where the exclamation comes from a glyph’s discovery.

Hawass out

There’s very few Egyptian posts on this site that also didn’t have his name tied to them because of his penchant for publicity. New York Times:

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s powerful and controversial antiquities chief, resigned on Thursday along with the prime minister, after posting on his Web site for the first time a list of dozens of sites that have been looted since the beginning of the uprising that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Hawass said he was happy that he had made the “right decision” in resigning and lashed out at colleagues who have criticized him, including one who has accused him of smuggling antiquities.

Archaeologists discover race of skeleton people

I should email Harvard archaeologist Jason Ur, the Official* Archaeologist of The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire, about this amazing discovery reported in America’s finest news source since the closing of the Weekly World News:

AL JIZAH, EGYPT—A team of British and Egyptian archaeologists made a stunning discovery Monday, unearthing several intact specimens of “skeleton people”—skinless, organless humans who populated the Nile delta region an estimated 6,000 years ago.

“This is an incredible find,” said Dr. Christian Hutchins, Oxford University archaeologist and head of the dig team. “Imagine: At one time, this entire area was filled with spooky, bony, walking skeletons.”

snip

“The evidence of an evolutionary link between humans and skeletons is sparse at best,” said Dr. Terrance Schneider of the University of Chicago. “Furthermore, it is downright unscientific to theorize that skeleton life originated in Egypt merely because mummies, another species of monster, are indigenous to the area. Spooky creatures are found all over the world, from the vampires of Transylvania to the headless horsemen of Sleepy Hollow.”

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Real-life vampire found in plague pit

No, this isn’t a Weekly World News headline (I mean really… would they even know what a plague pit is?) – it’s from Reuters:

By Daniel Flynn ROME (Reuters) – Italian researchers believe they have found the remains of a female “vampire” in Venice, buried with a brick jammed between her jaws to prevent her feeding on victims of a plague which swept the city in the 16th century.

Worth the click…

Newly discovered Egyptian tomb yields 30 mummies

Story here:

CAIRO – Egyptian archaeologists say they have discovered 30 mummies inside a 4,600-year-old tomb, in the latest round of excavations at the vast necropolis of Saqqara 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Cairo.

The Disloyal Vampire, Chapter 9

Chapter 9
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The Disloyal Vampire, Chapter 5

Chapter 5

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A mysterious crate left at my door

Early in June I woke at dawn to let my dog out and found a wooden crate, the type used decades ago by a tea importer, outside the back door. The box was nearly identical to one I had found in an old barn in Ohio years earlier. The Ohio crate had contained diaries and journals of several people as well as newspapers and photographs – all from the 1890s – and a previously unknown story from author William Hope Hodgson that appeared to have been written in 1913 shortly before he left for the war that claimed his life. I had published several of the diary entries and the Hodgson story online as The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.

My dog sniffed the box outside the back porch door with a suspicious air before she walked off to do her business under the trees.

I looked around, but did not see anyone. On top of the crate was an envelope with a handwritten note inside. The writer claimed to have tracked me down and left the chest to me because of my previous interest in the contents of the other crate. I carried the crate inside with my dog following at my heels. I set it on the kitchen table. Inside I found letters, notebooks, folders holding sheaths of yellowed, typewritten manuscripts, and a photo album containing dozens of images from the 1920s and 1930s.

As my morning coffee brewed, I glanced through the contents of the folder on top. It appeared to have been a manuscript written in the style of a 1930s pulp magazine story. My first guess was, of course, that the story was fictional. But as I went through the box and read the notebooks and what appeared to be investigation reports I began to wonder. I now suspect the story referred to actual events and the unknown author wrote up the account as a fictional story. I do not know if the author ever attempted to publish his or her stories, but I suspect from the writing style they were intended for Weird Tales or another pulp horror or adventure magazine such as Weird Spicy Tales.

In the initial story, with chapters posted on Fridays (photos on Wednesdays), and in other stories, there are references to other investigations, hidden pasts, dark deeds referenced only in passing, and secret organizations. I shall do my best to fill in the blanks where possible, but those secrets might be hidden away in other crates, perhaps to be unveiled at a later date.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15

Ancient graves unearthed in Sahara

From The Washington Post:

An international team of archaeologists yesterday unveiled findings from graveyards and settlements occupied at different times over a 5,000-year period by two groups of people.

“Part of discovery is finding things that you least expect,” Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, said at a news conference at the National Geographic Society. “When you come across something like this, it sends a tingle up your spine.”

The site, which contains at least 200 burials, was found by chance in 2000 while Sereno was looking for dinosaur bones. The encounter, in an unusually remote section of central Niger, lasted less than an hour. It would be three years before Sereno could survey the discovery, let alone dig into it.

Three expeditions later, his team of American, African, French and Italian researchers has uncovered one of the larger Neolithic sites in Africa and one with an unusually rich collection of artifacts and animal, plant and human remains. They are starting to sketch a picture of Gobero’s ancient environment and inhabitants.

“I have never seen such an exceptional site as Gobero. It is actually eight sites where people not only buried their dead but actually lived, as well,” said lead archaeologist Elena Garcea of the University of Cassino, in Italy.

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