Category Archives: Archaeology

Excerpt–At the Dig in Hearts in Ruin

In HEARTS IN RUIN, a Midwestern college archaeology team takes up a Southwestern dig with some unusual characteristics. Following is an excerpt providing just a taste of the project and the conflicts in play. The scene takes place as routines are beginning to set in. Andrea and Daniel have had a recent intimate moment, but have not discussed it since. Andrea is skeptical of Daniel’s theories about the age of the site. But in this scene, Andrea discovers something she doesn’t expect–in fact, something far outside her expectations that changes the course of conflicts in the story.

HEARTS IN RUIN EXCERPT

Under the mid-morning sun, Andrea helped Chloe and Courtney with an interesting shard. She noted the position and strata evidence and corrected Chloe’s photographic technique. But the item seemed, even though the evidence was sound, to be in the wrong place.

She scanned the area. The strata was clear. She decided to check it against the vertical. Daniel was there, lost in thought. “You mind?” she interrupted.

He looked slightly startled. “No, of course not.”

Andrea stepped past him.

He jotted notes in a field book, closed it, and walked away toward the lab tent.

Is he trying not to talk?

Andrea shrugged it off. She reviewed the strata and crouched at the two-thirds point. A strata mix caught her eye. Where the lines should have continued consistently from one side to the other, a gap appeared, line after line, creating a very thin column of earth-tone that interrupted the lines. It appeared to be a hole—a hole that had been carefully dug and filled ages ago. Only the smallest part of it showed. The vertical trench had either almost completely dug up what had been the fill in the ancient hole, or, if she was lucky, had only barely sliced into it. She scraped slightly. The column broadened. Most of the hole and its fill were still there, intact. Yes! These were the nuggets of the past archaeologists lived for. She took photos and notes, meticulously recording all pertinent data, and then traced the column to its bottom, searching for whatever had been, hopefully, buried there.

In her experience, not many things were buried during the Clovis period. She might find remains. That would be a score. She might find trash. Also a score from an archaeological perspective. But when she located the bottom, she noted an object that might not be either. She brushed away at it, taking notes and photos as she progressed.

Finally, the nature of the small object was clear. A small vessel. A bowl. It was wrapped in something, leaves, large leaves, something organic. But the entire setup was puzzling. Even the top of the hole was too low according to Daniel’s numbers. But there it was. There were clear, unbroken strata directly above it. The hole had been dug unbelievably early. Pre-Clovis.

She studied the artifact in place. It appeared to have artwork, but also…no, that wouldn’t be possible, not for something this old. It had to be something else. But its markings had the unmistakable characteristics of…written language?

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DNA Research Suggests a Mystery Population Invented Agriculture

Researchers from Cambridge University have announced the recovery of ancient DNA from a 36,000-year-old skeleton, the second oldest skeleton from which genetic material has been extracted successfully.  The DNA shows three things:

  • Our earliest European genomes weathered the Ice Age
  • The date when our ancestors interbred with Neandertals
  • That a mystery population that disappeared for around 30,000 years gave us agriculture about 8,000 years ago.

Homo Sapiens originated hundreds of thousands of years ago in Africa before expanding and moving north toward the Middle East where so many remains of our earliest ancestors are found, along with the remains of our earliest culture before we expanded world-wide starting around 30,000 years ago at the onset of the last Ice Age.

“That there is continuity from the earliest Upper Palaeolithic (Late Stone Age) to the Mesolithic,  (a cultural period between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic or New Stone Age), across a major glaciation, is a great insight into the evolutionary processes underlying human success.” (Dr Marta Mirazón Lahr, Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies. and co-author of the study)

Work by other geneticists, archeologists and anthropologists focus on the Nile Delta to the Fertile Crescent.  Geneticists have even identified a genetic Adam, based on analysis of our common Y chromosome, and a genetic Eve, based on our mitochondrial DNA.

We believe that 36,000 years ago we were still hunters and gatherers of the Stone Age, all with black skin but some of us having blue eyes, taking our food and creating tools as we could find them before we figured out that we could cultivate plants and domesticate animals. That innovation appears to have happened about 8,000 years ago.  Agriculture created surplus, which permitted a stable, settled life that promoted the development of modern civilization, for better or worse, with government, architecture, the arts and eventually writing, which further changed humanity, probably forever. Learn more about these findings at THIS LINK.

Ancient Couple Remains Together

These remains of a man and a woman were found at the Chapel of St Morrell, a 14th-century pilgrimage site in Hallaton, by archeologists from the University of Leicester.

The university's Vicki Score told MailOnline : "We've seen similar skeletons before from Leicester where a couple have been buried together."
University of Leicester Archaeological Services
“The main thing is why were they buried up there? There is a perfectly good church in Hallaton. Was it a special place?”
The pair are believed to be of a similar age.
The pair are believed to be of a similar age.
University of Leicester Archaeological Services
According to the Leicester Mercury, the couple aren’t the only discovery the team of volunteers digging the site have made. Tiles from a Roman building have been found underneath the chapel.
“It shows this ground has been used as a special sort of place by people for at least 2,000 years.”
Score told the paper: "It shows this ground has been used as a special sort of place by people for at least 2,000 years."
University of Leicester Archaeological Services
There is a gap in the archeologists’ knowledge of what happened between the Roman and medieval periods.

“We are missing about 500 years. We don’t know what happened here during that time.”

Internet Archaeology is going Open Access and you can win a prize- #iaopen

Doug's Archaeology

Internet Archaeology was the first Open Access Archaeology journal when it was launched back in 1996. It then took a brief detour into paywall publishing to pay the bills. But, now it is heading back to being Open Access i.e. free to read. In celebration of this fact Judith is having a neat little contest on Twitter. Create a tagline for this momentous occasion and win this prize:

Click on the image to see that it is a USB stick in the shape of a trowel. I thought it was pretty cool. Just tweet your tagline to  . Or, if you don’t have twitter get a friend to do it. Due in by August 29th.

I had…

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Comparing Clovis DNA with Modern and Pre-Clovis Sequences

The mystery of humanity’s occupation of the continent is not mere fiction. Evidence continues to challenge past presumptions, including recent DNA sequencing of skeletal remains.

Migratory route of first humans to reach Ameri...
Migratory route of first humans to reach America, through an ice free corridor (Clovis theory). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “Anzick” skeleton of a small boy dating from Clovis period time (11,500-9,500 BCE) was found in Montana many years ago. Radiocarbon dating of the burial show the burial is dated at 10,600 BCE. Scientists have sequenced the boy’s full genome and have found it closely related to all modern Native Americans. This result may be very contrary to an idea that the Clovis people were from a Solutrean group from Europe. The DNA study shows also that there is a deep divergence between northern Native Americans and those from Central and South America that happened before the Clovis era.

For more CLICK HERE.

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