EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Science
ARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGY May - June 2018

ARCHAEOLOGY magazine offers readers incisive reporting, vivid storytelling, compelling photography – and the latest news from around the globe – all devoted to exploring the world’s ancient past. Whether reporting from a dive on an Arctic shipwreck, trekking through Afghanistan, or digging just beneath Beirut, ARCHAEOLOGY’s editors and writers bring readers the science, and the magic, of archaeological discovery.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Archaeological Institute of America
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
encounters with the natural world

Excavations at Casas del Turuñuelo, an Iron Age complex in southwestern Spain, have uncovered a scene of ritual destruction involving animal sacrifice on an arresting scale. “A Sanctuary’s Final Farewell” (page 38), by contributing editor Jason Urbanus, details the site’s final days and discloses what is known about the enigmatic Tartessian civilization that chose to destroy it. In “Cultivating an Arid Landscape” (page 26), by Sara Toth Stub, we are taken to Israel’s Negev Desert and to Shivta, a once-thriving Byzantine-era village. There, archaeologists are learning how the region’s inhabitants developed a successful agricultural economy in the middle of the desert, how members of this Christian settlement may have coexisted with their Islamic neighbors, and why, within just a few hundred years, Shivta was abandoned. During the Neolithic Revolution, some 11,000 years…

2 min.
our shared humanity

I am recalling a trip that I took to Hawaii last year to deliver a lecture in Honolulu for the Hawaii Society of the Archaeological Institute of America. While there, I was able to spend a week on the Big Island. In addition to enjoying the spectacular scenery and local hospitality, I visited several archaeological sites, among them the Place of Refuge, a sanctuary with a heiau, or temple, and fish ponds, and another sacred site where a lava outcrop is covered with petroglyphs depicting humans, birds, and turtles. Having spent my career working around the Mediterranean and Middle East, I was struck by the obvious differences in environment and culture. At the same time, I marveled at our shared humanity, and especially the sense of adventure and confidence that…

3 min.
from our readers

A TOOLMAKER’S INSIGHTS I’m writing regarding the article “Imaging the Past” by Andrew Curry (March/April 2018). I worked in the tool and die industry as a lathe hand and welder. As you can imagine, tools were a big part of the work we did. I worked in these trades during the 1970s and 1980s, before computer control of machine operations came about. I feel fortunate to have learned these skills and feel a kinship to these original stone-chipping tool and die makers. I say that because while reading the article I knew instinctively what they imagined while working those stones so long ago. Before there was computer-controlled, single-point path control, we had to make a tool to shape, say, a radius at the root of a shoulder for a spindle. What we…

3 min.
conquistador contagion

A pathogen possibly responsible for one of several catastrophic sixteenth-century epidemics in Mexico has been identified in DNA taken from the teeth of several of its victims. The 1545 huey cocoliztli, or “great pestilence,” as it was called at the time in the Nahuatl language, raged through Mesoamerica 25 years after the Spanish arrived, killing tens of millions. Working with genetic material from 29 individuals buried in the only known cemetery from the 1545 outbreak, a team from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History has discovered the presence of Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi C, a bacterium that causes paratyphoid fever. It’s rare today but has a high mortality rate if untreated. Max Planck’s Christina Warinner says, “People have been wondering about the cause of this epidemic…

2 min.
off the grid

Archaeology at southern Oregon’s Fort Rock Cave is central to debates on when the Great Basin region was first colonized by Paleoindian peoples. In 1938, archaeologist Luther Cressman discovered dozens of sagebrush bark sandals beneath a layer of ash that were eventually radiocarbon dated to between 9,000 and 11,000 years old. The cave also produced projectile points from the Western Stemmed Tradition, a Paleoindian culture thought to have emerged around 11,000 b.c. In the 1970s, Cressman’s student Stephen Bedwell reported finding tools in Fort Rock Cave going back even further, to 15,000 years ago, a date dismissed as farfetched by most researchers. However, recent evidence of a nearly 15,000-year-old occupation at nearby Paisley Caves prompted a team from the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History to reexamine…

1 min.
circle of life

A rare circular burial found at the site of Tlalpan in southern Mexico City holds the remains of 10 males and females ranging in age from infancy to adulthood. The burial dates to approximately 2,400 years ago, a period when state-level societies were beginning to take shape in the Valley of Mexico. Some of the skeletons in the 6.5-foot-diameter grave show signs of intentional skull deformation and tooth filing, which were common practices in later Mesoamerican civilizations. The arrangement of the skeletons suggests to archaeologists that the burial could symbolize the stages of life, progressing from young to old.…