A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. This was the year we learned that looters led archaeologists to spectacular and unparalleled royal tombs in both Turkey and Guatemala. An unexpected find brought us closer to Pocahontas, and an underwater archaeological survey in the high Canadian Arctic located the ill-fated HMS Investigatorabandoned in A of breakthroughs happened in the lab, too.
A new radiocarbon dating technique was perfected this year that will allow scientists to date artifacts without harming them.
Laboratory analysis of the bones of a close relative of Lucy revealed how early hominins walked. And anthropologists in Germany announced startling news about the Neanderthal genome that might send you scrambling to submit your own DNA for sequencing. For the third year, we also highlight five threatened sites that remind us of how fragile the archaeological record is.
One of the most alarming stories this year out of the American Southwest was the news that as part of a cost-cutting measure the Arizona state government closed Homolovi Ruins State Park. But at press time we learned the Hopi Tribe ed an agreement with the state to reopen the park.
An innovative government-tribal partnership will allow the descendants of the people who once lived at Homolovi Ruins to safeguard its future. The looters reached the underground chamber, which lies below a temple to Zeus near the town of Milas, by digging in from a nearby house and an adjacent barn. Scholars believe the tomb belonged to Hecatomnus, the fourth-century b. Hecatomnus was the father of Mausolus, who was buried in the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
The chamber held an elaborately carved marble sarcophagus with a relief of a bearded, reclining man, believed to depict Hecatomnus.
The tomb of hecatomnus
Police arrested 10 suspected looters in a raid in August. At press time, five of the defendants remained in jail awaiting court proceedings. Acar believes that while the drilling equipment they used to tunnel into the site may have been sophisticated, the looters were not professionals. Due to the ongoing police investigation, details about both the case and the discovery are still incomplete. But there is little doubt that the tomb is potentially of great importance for understanding the art and craftsmanship of the Carians, the greatest example of which was the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
Created by the finest architects and sculptors of the day, parts of the mausoleum stood until the late fifteenth century. A statue of Mausolus in the British Museum seems to bear a family resemblance to the bearded man depicted on the sarcophagus.
Aresearch team led by Thomas Strasser of Providence College and Eleni Panagopoulou of the Greek Ministry of Culture announced the discovery of stone tools at two sites on the island of Crete that are betweenandyears old. The tools resemble those made by Homo heidelbergensis and Homo erectusshowing that one of these early human ancestors boated across at least 40 miles of open sea to reach the island, the earliest indirect evidence of seafaring. They discovered, just 10 feet beyond where the looters had stopped digging, increasingly bizarre caches, including bowls containing severed fingers, teeth, and a partially cremated infant.
He was buried with the skeletons of four infants, the skulls of two older children, textiles, carvings, and an array of ceramics, including a tamale bowl depicting a peccary. Based on the position, wealth, and date of the tomb A. The tomb is located in a palatial complex high above the central part of the ancient city, next to a spectacular stuccoed pyramid that would have been visible for miles around.
The discovery also shows that even sites hit hard by looters have much to offer. But the discovery of two ancient pyramid complexes near the town of Jaen, on the western edge of the Amazon lowlands, shows that monumental architecture had spread across the Andes and well into the jungle thousands of years before the Spaniards arrived. He soon found evidence of construction on a massive scale—walls up to three feet thick, ramps, and s of successive building phases stretching back at least 2, years. Until now, it was assumed they lived in huts made of tree trunks and leaves.
At the same pyramid he found the tomb of a high-status man who, at his burial around b. The man was probably a healer or priest of some kind, says Olivera. He found marine mollusk shells in another tomb nearby, testament to the busy trade ties from the coast over the Andes to the jungle.
The finds suggest that, along with sophisticated architecture, complex worship had spread far from the coast centuries before once believed. They found the old British ship exactly where it was supposed to be. The crew, abandoning the ship when it became trapped in pack ice, spent three winters in the area before being rescued and returning to Britain, which made them the first people to travel the passage by ship, foot, and sled from end to end.
Harris used side-scan sonar towed from a foot inflatable boat to locate the well-preserved wreck. The crew of Investigator never found the two lost British ships, Erebus and Terrorthey were sent to find. Harris plans to return to Mercy Bay with dive gear in summer to take a closer look at Investigator. And to keep an eye out for whatever else might be in those Arctic waters. This past year will always be remembered as the year we found out that the Neanderthals survived and they are us. Although this sequence includes only 60 percent of the Neanderthal genome, it does provide some interesting insights into the biology of this distinctive human species.
The sequence showed that variations in just one gene might for the differences in the shape of the skull, rib cage, and shoulder t between Neanderthals and modern humans. The team found that all three had inherited between 1 and 4 percent of their DNA from Neanderthals. They also compared the Neanderthal sequence to two African individuals one Yoruba and one San and found no indication that they had inherited genes from Neanderthals, who are known to have evolved outside Africa.
The research supports the idea that Neanderthals interbred with Homo sapiens betweenand 80, years ago as our anatomically modern ancestors left Africa and spread across the globe. Ateam led by University of Pittsburgh physical anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz has refuted the long-held claim that the Carthaginians carried out large-scale child sacrifice from the eighth to second centuries b. Schwartz determined that about half the children were prenatal or would not have survived more than a few days beyond birth, and the rest died between one month and several years after birth.
Only a very few children were between five and six years old, the age at which they begin to be buried in the main cemetery. The mortality rates represented in the cemetery are consistent with prenatal and infant mortality figures found in present-day societies. Schwartz also has another type of evidence to support his claim that the Tophet children died of natural causes.
Now, the discovery of a 3. The new fossil demonstrates these early human ancestors were fully bipedal. Many dozens of A. It finally takes knuckle-walking off the table.
Records indicate the wooden church, built inwas 60 feet long. Precisely dating archaeological artifacts is not as easy or harmless as it might seem. The most common method, radiocarbon dating, requires that a piece of an organic object be destroyed—washed with a strong acid and base at high temperature to remove impurities, and then set aflame.
The resulting release of carbon dioxide is fed to an accelerator mass spectrometer, which measures the decay of radioactive carbon 14—the more the carbon 14 has decayed, the older the object is. This year he further refined the method so it will work on objects coated in sticky hydrocarbons, such as the resins that cover Egyptian mummy gauze. Subscribe to the Digital Edition! Archaeology e-Update Subscriber Alert! Subscribe Now! Special Introductory Offer Renew.
Top 10 Discoveries of Powell Nondestructive Radiocarbon Dating College Station, Texas Precisely dating archaeological artifacts is not as easy or harmless as it might seem.