With the end of my final university semester imminent, it was with little hesitation that I caught the sleeper train 3 days post-dissertation hand in and woke up in Euston station; purposely close to the British Museum. Having joined the the Museums Association and arriving early in the city, the main destination of our journey was to make it to the new Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum...
Archaeological News: World's oldest portrait... →
archaeologicalnews: Twenty-six thousand years ago in the Czech Republic, one of our ice-age ancestors selected a hunk of mammoth ivory and carved this enigmatic portrait of a woman - the oldest ever found. By looking at artefacts like this as works of art, rather than archaeological finds, a new exhibition at the…
Constructing Identity in the Archaeological Record
In 2010 the annual Chacmool Archaeology conference in Calgary took place, titled ‘Identity Crisis: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Identity,’ highlighting case studies of social identity in the archaeological record. Of course, constructions of identity change and vary depending on different time periods and modern projections, and understanding identities in the past is incredibly...
Archaeological News: Who Created Las Labradas... →
archaeologicalnews: Fifty miles north of Mazatlan in Sinaloa State, north west Mexico, there is a beach known as Las Labradas where the rocks are covered in over 600 petroglyphs. Now Mexican investigators have uncovered archaeological sites in the vicinity dating to the Archaic period (2500-1000 BCE) along with…
Ness of Brodgar
The last time I was in Orkney was sadly almost two years ago, and having read over the past couple of weeks increasing reports of this year’s work at the Ness of Brodgar, I have never been more keen to return. Previously thought only to be the remnants of a subsiding glacier, archaeologists began work on the surrounding area of the Brodgar stones in 2002, unearthing incredibly...
'Catherine the Great' in Edinburgh
“Power without a nation’s confidence is nothing” Before I arrived at the Catherine the Great exhibiton currently on at the National of Musuem of Scotland until October 21st, I admit to being regrettably uninformed about the longest ruling female leader of Russia. Conjuring images from the incredibly memorable exhibition in 2005, ’Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last...
"Greece on the breadline"
Interesting interactive map from the Guardian (where else?), highlighting just a few of the thousands of individuals affected by the debt crisis: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2012/mar/13/greece-on-breadline-journey-interactive?CMP=twt_gu Particularly poignant having been there so recently, but also perhaps unusually strengthening my thoughts about going back there this...
Weekend in Athens
It would be fair to assume Athens has experienced a lull in tourist numbers over the tumultuous past few weeks. Thousands of demonstrators, buildings in flames, clouds of tear gas and a generous dose of riot police amidst the recent chaos in Syntagma Sqaure have rather obviously left the city in a most unfavourable light and from the images of anger and uncertainty that...
Visited in antiquity by Strabo, Aelian and Pausanias, the site of Helike which infamously ‘sank’ in 373 BC was thought to be lost to legend, until 2001 when it was rediscovered not underwater as alluded to by ancient literature, but buried inland in a former lagoon. Following an earthquake and resulting tsunami, Helike became completely submerged, and the...
Bible vs. History
When the two meet, the resulting arguments are often explosive. Here’s the most recent story I’ve come across. “Archaeologists strike gold in quest to find Queen of Sheba’s wealth” - http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/feb/12/archaeologists-and-quest-for-sheba-goldmines?INTCMP=SRCH
Clearly I’ve been reading only archaeology sites recently, as I almost missed this incredible story. Found in Thomas Edison’s lab in an unlabelled box in 1957, a wax cylinder phonograph from 1889 has for the first time in 100 years, revealed the voice of Otto Von Bismarck. Restoration work undertaken by the Thomas Edison National Historical Park Museum uncovers a very...
The Legendary Cecrops
Whilst researching for an essay about Erechtheus and the mythology surrounding the Erechtheion, I have been dealing with the very roots of Athenian legendary history. In the most basic form, it is still a rather fantastical tale, beginning with the half-man half-serpent Cecrops, the mythical first King of Athens from whom the ancient citizens claimed descent (Although Pausanias attributes the...
Before beginning this blog almost a year ago, I was directed to the Yahoo group Explorator. Concerning “practically anything relating to archaeology or history prior to WWI”, the weekly email is the perfect time saver for viewing possibly the largest collection of archaeological online news stories, blogs and articles. And free! http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Explorator/ ...
Ancient Popcorn →
Apparently is was National Popcorn day on January 19th? (Although there is some debate, so if you are at all concerned about this, check here: http://bit.ly/6w68Pe) So just before I head up to the Highlands for the weekend, the link in the header is to one of the smaller but nevertheless interesting articles from the past couple of days…Peruvian snacks 6,000 years ago. Also...
Recently acquiring a new metal detector (really, it’s brilliant) and having tested out the settings on Silver Sands beach in Aberdour, I headed up the bitingly cold Fife coastline with particular direction towards to the enigmatic Monk’s cave. Past the golf course and in the shadow of the foreboding Braefoot Bay Gas Terminal, low tide allows access to Monk’s Cave which...
Alternative Museum Finds
With a museum based course project ahead of me, I’ve recently had a excellent excuse to explore more of newly vamped National Museum of Scotland. Having been on opening day and with several visitors in town it’s been nostalgic rediscovering the Animal World and Egypt galleries and hearing the rather ominous hourly chiming of the Millennium Clock Tower. However after a required research...
Genainville excavation, August 2011
You would be forgiven if this was the first you had heard of the tiny village (or more appropriately “commune”) of Genainville in the Val d’Oise region of France. However the archaeological remains of the Gallo-Roman site that lie further down the valley are of a historical richness that can only truly be understood by visiting this remote part of Parc naturel regional du Vexin...
So my interest in Orkney prevails. The link above is to the recent Scotsman article about the Banks tomb in South Ronaldsay, Orkney, which was only discovered last year and is interestingly just under 2km from the Tomb of the Eagles. While many of the mounds that mark the Orcadian landscape are expected to, and do, yield archaeological finds, it was thought until recently that this...
"Egypt's Lost Cities" →
As it’s only available until today, here’s a link to the BBC documentary: http://bbc.in/iy0spL By crossing satellite images with infa-red to highlight material beneath the surface, this follows Dr Sarah Parcak’s work in the ever increasing field of space archaeology. Claiming to have revealed ”more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements,”...
Hearing recently about the suicide bomber tragedy in Jemaa El-Fna square (http://bit.ly/mSI3Zk), it felt difficult to digest two friends and I had been there less than two weeks previously. Classified as an Oral World Heritage Site, there is nothing I have experienced yet that compares to the atmosphere of the centre of the Medina with the constant business, entertainment and smell of cooking...
Since moving into the city it’s sometimes easy to forget the history right across the Firth. I’m fairly sure no one could deny the grandeur of Edinburgh castle; along with Arthur’s Seat it’s another spectacular centrepiece of the ancient town. But with a high fee (I’d recommend visiting on St Andrews day when entrance is free), I’d be tempted to look...
"Looters strip Latin America of archaeological... →
If there’s one place I am set on travelling to after university, it is South America. It’s becoming increasingly aware to me however, that I better make it fast, particularly when I hear reports like the one above. According to a recent report by Saving our Vanishing Heritage, there are nearly 200 “at risk” sites in developing nations, with South and Central America...
Archaeological mystery or a fake? →
With so much controversy surrounding the origin of “The Starving of Saqqara” statue, the debate was finally open to the public at Concordia University in Montreal for a few days last week when the statue went on public display. With inscriptions that are classed as an unidentified language and a bizarre composition, it’s easy to see why there is much speculation regarding the...
Rosslyn Chapel (officially named the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew) is one of many enigmatic buildings I hope is never fully understood. Teeming with carvings of nature, music and paganism alongside Christian imagery, its 500 year history is wrought with perplexity and myth and with many of the stone depictions open to interpretation, it’s easy to form ideas about the...
Two cold and snowy hours later by bus, I arrived early last Saturday morning at the first stop of a Hadrian’s Wall day visit. Driving down through the Scottish Borders, Roman influence is clear as far north as Dalkieth as we drove down Dere Street, now more imaginatively titled the A68, the Roman road between York and Scotland. Although not easily visible from the road, the whole landscape...
A case study: Gender assumptions
Here’s the link to an article I wrote which archnews.co.uk kindly published for me: http://www.archnews.co.uk/featured/4376-women-in-archaeology-meets-the-men-a-fruitful-meeting.html Before I’d begun studying archaeology, whether I was consciously aware of it or not, I had assumptions about the practice. Preconceptions about how excavations were carried out, how material was analysed,...
Few snapshots of Orkney
Bronze Age burial →
Some local news from BBC Scotland about burial pots found around the Carlinwell Stone in Angus. Not the first time human remains have been found at the base of a standing stone, but as stated, will “go some way to solving the mystery of whether the stone was erected to mark the graves, or whether the pots were put in place afterwards.”
Rennibister Earth House, Orkney
Perhaps overshadowed by the iconic ‘heart of Neolithic Orkney’ sites, a curious small Iron Age earth house is located on the southern coast of the Bay of Firth on the main island. Roughly dated around the 1st millennium BC, the site is situated inside a working farm and the rather inconspicuous entrance - in the middle of the farmyard - may explain why it is less frequented than its...
So as a platform for musing about archaeology, recent discoveries and life otherwise, I have started a blog. With considerable trepidation that is, as I may have misjudged the purpose of blogging and end up with a series of posts that have no relation to anything. In any case, it feels like a worthwhile venture. And to aptly coincide with a beginning, a photo of Skara Brae I took last November on...