Some works are so valuable they were flown business class with individual security guards:

The works glitter in their cases and moving parts shimmer as you pass. This is the scene at the British Museum where curators are this week starting to install precious gold sent from Colombia for a new show about the master craftsmen of South America.

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BEIRUT, LEBANON—

A shortage of trained personnel and the lack of a director at the culture ministry’s directorate of antiquities have been blamed for the loss of ancient sites to construction projects across Lebanon. Archaeological projects that do take place are often funded by developers. But an activist group known as the Association to Protect Lebanese Heritage has filed a complaint with the Beirut governor’s office to stop the destruction of what is left of a 2,000-year-old hippodrome at a site slated for the construction of luxury homes. A Roman theater where 1,400 gladiators are said to have fought in a single day is located nearby. “We are committed to protecting the hippodrome and the theater. This is a declaration of war,” said group member Raja Noujaim.  

Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s most outspoken atheists and author of a new book, appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Tuesday to discuss some rather deep thoughts about religion, science and the potentially catastrophic intersection of the most extreme forms of the two. Jon Stewart asked Dawkins whether the end of human civilization was more likely to come through “religious strife or scientific advancement.”

Researchers may have just scratched the surface of a major new dinosaur site nearly inside the Arctic Circle. This past summer, they discovered thousands of fossilized dinosaur footprints, large and small, along the rocky banks of Alaska’s Yukon River. In July, the scientists from the University of Alaska Museum of the North embarked on a 500-mile (800 kilometers) journey down the Tanana and Yukon rivers; they brought back 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) of dinosaur footprint fossils. “We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped at,” expedition researcher Paul McCarthy, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said in a statement.

misantropologe

Linguists have recently reconstructed what a 6,000 year-old-language called Proto-Indo-European might have sounded like. This language was the forerunner of many European and Asian languages, and now you can listen to what it may have sounded like.

Photo by Horus Neo Ikon Epifanes

Over at Archaeology magazine, Kentucky linguist Andrew Byrd does a dramatic reading of a story written using only the vocabulary we are certain existed 6,000 years ago. Eric Powell explains:

Proto-Indo-European (PIE) was spoken by a people who lived from roughly 4500 to 2500 B.C., and left no written texts. The question became, what did PIE sound like? In 1868, German linguist August Schleicher used reconstructed Proto-Indo-European vocabulary to create a fable in order to hear some approximation of PIE. Called “The Sheep and the Horses” … As linguists have continued to discover more about PIE, this sonic experiment continues and the fable is periodically updated to reflect the most current understanding of how this extinct language would have sounded when it was spoken some six thousand years ago. Since there is considerable disagreement among scholars about PIE, no one version can be considered definitive.

museumofclassicalantiquities

museumofclassicalantiquities:

International Archaeology Day is fast approaching! The Museum will be partnering up with the Archaeological Institute of America, Ottawa Chapter in order to put on the event.

From mini-excavations and pottery reconstruction to how to write your name in hieroglyphics and tie a Roman toga,…

NEGEV DESERT, ISRAEL—

Geochronologist Naomi Porat of the Geological Survey of Israel used optical dating to measure the amount of radiation that had been absorbed from the environment by two animal traps thought to have been recently used by Bedouins to protect their flocks. One of the traps turned out to be 5,000 years old, the other 1,600 years old. “They look like a pile of stones, like a cairn, and you need a good eye and also some digging around to realize what it is,” she said. Sheep and goat herders would have attached a piece of meat to the end of a rope to bait the trap. When a carnivore pulled on the bait, the rope closed a slab door, trapping the animal. Predators such as foxes, wolves, hyenas, leopards, and caravels were probably caught this way in the Middle East for thousands of years.

Crete Eleutherna City

RETHYMNO, CRETE—The University of Crete has been excavating the ancient site of Eleutherna, a fortified city which was occupied from 3000 B.C. through the thirteenth century A.D., since 1985. “It overlooks the sea, but is also invisible to enemies approaching by boat. It is only one-and-a-half hours’ walk from its port. It is on a hill that can be reached only through a narrow pass, providing excellent natural protection. No weapons during antiquity could shoot this far,” said chief archaeologist Nicholas Stampolidis, as he explained the long-lasting success of Eleutherna. In addition to natural defenses, the site also had fresh running water, plentiful woodlands, land for farming and grazing, and a quarry. Grave goods show that the people had extensive trade networks from other parts of the Aegean. A museum is being built at the site to hold its artifacts, but the natural surroundings will be preserved. “When I first came here as a young man, I told myself that I would dig up all of Eleutherna before I retired. The hill must have heard me and laughed at my plans. Now that I am older, I am better at hearing what the hill has to say,” Stampolidis added.

archaeologicalnews

archaeologicalnews:

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Archaeologists believe they have found the remains of a Bronze Age boat building community in Monmouth.

Excavations show 100ft-long (30m) channels in the clay along which experts think vessels were dragged into a long-gone prehistoric lake.

Monmouth Archaeological Society started to unearth new findings when work started on Parc Glyndwr housing estate two years ago.

The research is being published in a book called The Lost Lake.

Author and archaeologist Stephen Clarke, 71, said: “I started digging here with the society 50 years ago - I wish I had another 50 years.” Read more..

emilymrkvicka

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Heinrich Schliemann is the man who is credited with finding the “Mask of Agamemnon.” It is so called because Schliemann supposedly claimed that he had “gazed upon the face of Agamemnon” after discovering the mask. Over the last two years, I wrote a 13 page (plus a fancy schmancy appendix)…