Archaeological Institute of America

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ARCHAEOLOGYARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGY November/December 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

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new beginnings

The most exciting thing about making a magazine is that moment when everything begins to come together, when what started out as ideas on a whiteboard takes shape as an issue of ARCHAEOLOGY. Each issue is, in some ways, a blank slate to fill—but one with 70 years of history behind it. As we begin our eighth decade of publication, I would like to introduce myself to you and express my profound thanks for being entrusted with the position of editor in chief.From the time I was seven years old, I wanted to be an archaeologist. I could not have imagined when I first subscribed to ARCHAEOLOGY as a teenager that I would eventually have the chance to join the staff of the one magazine that expresses so very well…

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food for thought

Huqoq excavation team, Petra, JordanEvery summer when I travel to the Middle East, I marvel at the ingenuity of the diverse populations who inhabited the region in antiquity. This past summer I brought my entire dig team from Israel’s Galilee to visit Petra in Jordan. Although people today are familiar with the iconic facade of “The Treasury” from the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, many might not realize this monument has nothing to do with the Holy Grail. Instead, it is one of hundreds of tombs carved into the red sandstone cliffs of Petra.Petra was the capital of the Nabataeans—originally a nomadic, pre-Islamic people who spoke an early form of the Arabic language and controlled the lucrative caravan routes connecting the Arabian Peninsula with the Mediterranean Sea. By…

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from our readers

A CHOICE WEAPONI would suggest that the Neolithic balls (“Spheres of Influence,” September/October 2018) may be bola balls. The weapons are ancient ones, and the grooves would have made it easy to tie the cord around them while allowing the stone to stick out to effect the blow.Bob Dopp Marietta, GANational Museums Scotland curator Hugo Anderson-Whymark replies:There are a few uses for the balls that seem plausible. Their use as weapons is a strong possibility, either bound in cord and thrown like South American bolas, as suggested by Sir John Evans in 1872, or bound to a haft as a macehead, as suggested by John Smith in 1876. However, for at least some of these artifacts, it is likely that they were deployed as symbolic or ceremonial weapons that indicated…

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the american canine family tree

Ancient dog skeleton, Koster, IllinoisThe fate of the indigenous dogs of the New World in the wake of European colonization has long fascinated both scholars and dog lovers. Some modern breeds, such as Catahoulas and Mexican and Peruvian hairless, are popularly thought to trace their roots to ancestors who were present before Columbus’ arrival. In recent years, geneticists have looked into how much ancient DNA these and other breeds actually carry. Now, a widely reported, large-scale study by an international multidisciplinary team suggests that they do not have much—if any—indigenous American ancestry. According to this analysis, modern American dogs are almost entirely descended from European dogs that began arriving 500 years ago. “The indigenous American dogs seem to have been almost completely wiped out,” says Angela Perri, a zooarchaeologist from…

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off the grid

Thingvellir National Park, just under 30 miles northeast of Reykjavik, may accurately be described as the birthplace of the Icelandic nation. Situated on a boundary of tectonic plates, the 35-square-mile park is a patchwork of highlands, fertile fields, and rifts filled with crystal-clear water. Thingvellir translates to “plains of assembly.” The site was home to the Althing, Iceland’s parliament, which was founded as an open-air assembly in a.d. 930 and met there annually until 1798. The governing body was founded by some of the island’s first Viking settlers and turned into the pop-up capital of Iceland for two weeks every year. In addition to hosting legislative debate, the assembly featured markets, sporting competitions, and feasts.Local chieftains are believed to have sent an emissary to Norway to record laws with which…

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mars explored

Diver explores Mars wreckage, Baltic SeaDigital elevation model of wreck siteThe wreckage of Mars, a sixteenth-century Swedish warship that lies 230 feet under the Baltic Sea near the island of Öland, has yielded evidence of the dramatic events that led to its sinking. History records that in 1564, during the Northern Seven Years’ War, several hundred soldiers from Danish and Lübeckian warships boarded Mars and subdued its crew. Then, according to contemporary sources, Mars’ main gunpowder hold exploded, killing most of those on board. “We can see from the remains we have identified that there was a massive fire and the bow of the ship had just been blown off,” says maritime archaeologist Rolf Fabricius Warming. “We found it about 130 feet away from the rest of the ship.”Amid the…

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