Archaeological Institute of America

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ARCHAEOLOGYARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGY November - December 2017

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.

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

IN THIS ISSUE

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translating the past

Mosaic, Uzès (Courtesy Denis Gliksman/ INRAP)The Rosetta Stone, known worldwide because its inscription holds the key that allowed scholars to finally read hieroglyphics, also tells of the ruthless victory of Egypt’s pharaoh Ptolemy V over insurgents. “In the Time of the Rosetta Stone” (page 50), by contributing editor Jason Urbanus, covers the excavations of the ancient city of Thmuis in the Nile Delta. Archaeologists have recently uncovered the first evidence that a bloody siege did indeed take place there, giving credence to the stone’s account of incidents from the Great Egyptian Revolt.Located in a rock shelter close by the confluence of the Pecos River and the Rio Grande is an elaborate mural measuring nearly 26 feet long. This extraordinary painting is the subject of “Reading the White Shaman Mural” (page…

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furthering our mission

AIA president Jodi MagnessThe holiday season is a time to gather with family and friends, exchange gifts, and remember those less fortunate than ourselves. It is also a time when we count our blessings. Therefore, I wish, in this letter, to thank our supporters, and particularly the generous benefactors who have endowed our programs, enabling the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) to carry out our mission to excavate, educate, and advocate. Our programs include public lectures hosted by our Local Societies, the preservation and conservation of archaeological sites around the world, the publication and dissemination of fieldwork reports, undergraduate participation on excavations, and research by graduate students and recent PhDs.In a previous letter, I addressed the proposed cuts to federal agencies, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities that…

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from our readers

CROWNING GLORYThank you very much for Marley Brown’s excellent article about the Egyptian mummy shroud (“To Die like an Egyptian,” September/October 2017). Margaret Maitland is correct that the gold laurel wreath resonated with Egyptian sensibilities as a symbol of triumph over death. One can note an Egyptian precedent: the “crown (or wreath) of justification.” This is conferred by the gods on the blessed dead; it is mentioned from the New Kingdom on and is the subject of Chapter 19 of the Book of the Dead.Edmund S. Meltzer Carpinteria, CAPAINFUL PASTSamir S. Patel’s article on Spanish Civil War archaeology (“Landscape of Secrets,” September/October 2017) is superb—perhaps the best I’ve ever read in your magazine. He handled the many layers of the research, including the painful politics of the Civil War, with…

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the hidden stories of the york gospel

Around a.d. 990, the monks at Saint Augustine’s monastery in Canterbury, England, made an illuminated copy of the four gospels of the New Testament. This parchment manuscript is one of the oldest books in Europe and is still used in ceremonies at the Cathedral and Metropolitan Church of Saint Peter in York, better known as York Minster, where it has been kept since about a.d. 1020. All of that history has left its traces on the book’s pages. Now, researchers have found a way to use erasers to recover DNA from the book’s parchment pages without harming them. DNA sampling typically requires destroying a small piece of whatever is being studied. “There was no way they were going to let us cut the York Gospel,” says Sarah Fiddyment of the…

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off the grid

On a desert ridge in Arizona’s Verde Valley sits Tuzigoot National Monument, the ruins of a 110-room pueblo built about 1,000 years ago by a pre-Columbian culture archaeologists call the Sinagua. Tuzigoot was originally excavated in the 1930s with funding from the New Deal Works Progress Administration. It was also then that one of the first excavators, who was Apache, gave the site its name, which means “crooked water” in the Apache language. The history of the Sinagua people is shrouded in mystery, as they had abandoned Tuzigoot and other settlements in the area by the time the Spanish arrived. They are known for the remains of their pit houses and pueblos that dot central Arizona, as well as clay pottery called Alameda Brown Ware, and expansive, intricate petroglyphs that…

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iconic discovery

Archaeologists have unearthed a fragment of an ivory icon at the Byzantine frontier fortress of Rusokastro in southeastern Bulgaria. Depicting the archangel Gabriel and Saint Basil, the 3.2-inch-tall icon dates to the tenth century and was likely made in Constantinople on the orders of an emperor, says archaeologist Milen Nikolov of the Burgas Regional Historical Museum. “This was an expensive—very expensive—item,” says Nikolov, who is surprised that such an elaborate artifact made its way to the imperial frontier. He and his team discovered the object, which was once a wing of a triptych, beneath a large thirteenth-century building that was probably the residence of the local governor.Icon (front)Icon (back) ■…

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