July 29, 2014

7:44 PM | Traversar VII – dodging the clouds
Tuesday evening and I am staring out at the clouds that are slowly filling the valley top to bottom again. It has been a bit of a fight with the weather so far. We had a good day on monday, … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | Finding the Missing Stories: The Prior Cemetery’s Unmarked Slave Graves
One of the more common (though often frustrating) questions we get in archaeology is “Why are you doing historic archaeology? We already know what happened”. To some extent, for eras […]

July 28, 2014

9:25 PM | Tree Rings Solve Mystery of World Trade Center Ship
New report finds that tree rings in the waterlogged ribs show the vessel was likely built around 1773, in a small shipyard near Philadelphia.

July 27, 2014

3:51 PM | Traversar VI – a day in the clouds
A day in the clouds. Now that might sound rather romantic and such day does give you very dramatic views. Sadly however it is also rather wet and it limits your view, not very handy when doing archaeological survey work. … Continue reading →
10:01 AM | The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld: Wyrd Sisters
Wyrd sisters is about a trio of witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat with the addition of Nanny Ogg’s evil cat Grebbo. The book makes many references to Shakespeare, particularly Macbeth and Hamlet. For example, the book begins with ‘When shall we three meet again?’ Many lines have been influenced by Macbeth whilst the […]

July 26, 2014

4:01 PM | Traversar V – Gauliglacier Dakota
On the road to the Vorderrheinvalley we stopped at the Grimseltor, Innertkirchen. In November 1946 a US Dakota DC-3 crashed in bad weather on the Gauliglacier. Parts of the plane reappeared in 2012. These parts had moved 3350m with the … Continue reading →

July 25, 2014

1:00 PM | Carving Defaced by King Tut's Possible Father Found
The carving dates back more than 3,300 years and bears the scars of a religious revolution that upended the ancient civilization.

July 24, 2014

4:38 PM | Week 17 Volunteering at the Royal College of Surgeons
This week, as predicted, I started off from where I left off last week. This meant finishing off sorting out the individual hands bones. After that I moved on to vertebrae and sacrums. The hand bones this week consisted of the remaining carpals; the trapezoids and capitates, and then the metacarpals and phalanges. I quite […]
1:12 PM | Using Teeth to Learn About Diet, Cooking and Food Processing in Prehistoric Sudan
How could someone determine what you eat from only examining the things you leave behind? To add to the challenge, you would be hypothetically deceased and unable to communicate your […]
12:15 PM | Preparing for fieldwork – Traversar IV
Het is stil in Nederland. “Mr. President, We are here to discuss a tragedy: the downing of a commercial airliner and the death of 298 innocent people. Men, women and a staggering number of children lost their lives, on their … Continue reading →

July 23, 2014

3:34 PM | 400-Year-Old Crucifix Found by Canadian Student
A tiny crucifix found during the excavation of a 17th century colony on Newfoundland symbolizes early religious freedom in North America. Continue reading →

July 22, 2014

3:15 PM | How long was the average Roman foot, and what was their shoe size?
Archaeologist Eric Poehler just keeps coming with the questions about Roman walking and feet.  Today, he wanted to know the size of the Roman foot.  In my last post, I'd kind of given up on the idea of figuring out foot size, since I didn't think I had any foot measurements.  Then I remembered this morning that of course I have calcaneus maximum length.  The trick was to find a formula using calcaneus maximum length to approximate foot size.Sandaled foot from the Augustan […]
1:42 PM | Weddings and the Dead
I’ve been thinking about weddings a lot recently. It’s not just that I’m planning my own wedding which is less than ten weeks away, I’m also in my little brother’s […]
8:50 AM | An Example of Osteogenesis Imperfecta in the Archaeological Record
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), more commonly known as ‘brittle bone’ disease is a condition which causes bones to be fragile and break easily. I have a personal interest in this condition and therefore wondered if there was any evidence of the condition in the archaeological record. A quick search produced this article ‘Osteogenesis Imperfecta in the […]

July 21, 2014

12:20 PM | The Crowning of the Lion
Deep in a single square metre of trench D at Landsjö castle, on the inner edge of the dry moat, we found five identical coins. Boy are they ugly. They’re thin, brittle, made of a heavily debased silver alloy and struck only from one side; they bear no legend and the image at the centre…

July 18, 2014

8:49 PM | July Pieces Of My Mind #1
This lady in Wyoming sends me a picture of “sacred procreation rocks”, one looking like the sideways outline of an erect cock and the other simply with a hole in it. “They were found less than a few thousand feet from each other.” In the picture, the cock stone is helpfully pointed at the hole.…
4:11 PM | How long was the average Roman stride?
Eric Poehler (@Pompeiana79) posed this question on Twitter this morning. Katy Meyers (@BonesDoNotLie) and Keith Chan (@ChekeiChan) commented that there are formulae to estimate stride based on height. The forensic articles I found were actually going in the reverse -- from footfalls/strides to height (which makes sense if you want to find a murder, for example).  Keith suggested exercise medicine articles, and the most often-quoted article, Hatano, Y. "Use of the pedometer for […]
12:54 PM | The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld – Guards! Guards! Guards!
This is the 8th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett and the first to include the Watch. The Watch is the law enforcement of Ankh Morpork who patrols the streets, although they don’t have a big job as the Thieves’ Guild is self regulating. However, they become more active after a new recruit, Carrot, joins and […]
8:07 AM | Week 16 at the Royal College of Surgeons
There’s not a lot to say about today’s work. The boxes of bones I went through consisted of elements of the arm and shoulder. These included the scapula (shoulder blade), humerus and the individual hand bones. There wasn’t much to look at with any of the bones, particularly the humerus and scapulars. However there were […]

July 16, 2014

11:04 AM | Day of Archaeology 2014
Last Friday, the 11th of July, was the annual Day of Archaeology! It is when we archaeologists creep out of our offices, labs, archives and trenches and share with you what our day, a normal Friday in July, looks like. … Continue reading →

July 15, 2014

5:37 PM | Craniosynostosis
I was searching for some information about the process and progression of infant skull growth when I came across a condition called craniosynostosis. According to NHS Choices it is a condition which causes abnormal shaped heads in babies due to the premature fusing of some of the sutures in the skull. This means that growth […]
3:55 PM | Medieval Italian Skeleton Reveals Livestock Disease
A sip of unpasteurized sheep or goat's milk may have spelled doom for a medieval Italian man.
2:53 PM | Presenting Anthropology - New Links to Others' Cool Stuff
Ever since I taught Presenting Anthropology, a graduate proseminar, in the spring of 2013, I've been thinking about new and different ways to do public outreach and have been saving links to clever projects by others.  Here are a few links I came across this morning and had to share:Drunk Archaeology -- Two students in my Presenting Anthropology course (Zach and Andy) created a Drunk Archaeology video on analogy with Drunk History, starring fellow grad student Will.  Because they are […]
12:53 PM | Using the Dead to Understand Access to Water
As humans, we cannot survive without water. In the first world, we are privileged to have consistent access to fresh clean water. In many countries, access to water is based […]

Lightfoot, E., Šlaus, M. & O'Connell, T. (2014). Water consumption in Iron Age, Roman, and Early Medieval Croatia, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 154 (4) 535-543. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22544

Editor's Pick

July 14, 2014

1:00 PM | Ancient Coins Found Buried in British Cave
Digging through a cave in central Britain, archaeologists uncovered 26 ancient gold and silver coins belonging to the Corieltauvi tribe.
12:20 PM | Coin Challenges Written Record
A fun thing about historical archaeology, the archaeological study of areas and periods with abundant indigenous written documentation, is when the archaeology challenges the written record. According to the patchily preserved historical sources, Landsjö hamlet was a seat of the high nobility in about 1280 but then became tenant farms no later than 1340. This…

July 12, 2014

10:52 PM | Some Figures from the Discworld
As I’m visiting my Mum this weekend I don’t have the ‘Wit and Wisdom of Discworld’ on me. However, I do have all of my Mum’s books and figurines of the Discworld figures so I thought I would share some of my favourites instead. Every since I can remember my Mum has been collecting the […]
1:30 PM | Cursed, 450-Year-Old Shipwreck To Be Explored
The cold, dark waters of the Baltic Sea have preserved the Mars, a Swedish war ship that sank in 1564.

July 11, 2014

5:12 PM | Day of Archaeology 2014: Codes, Bones and a Backstory
Happy Day of Archaeology 2014! It is a day where archaeologists from all around the world share what they are doing in order to spread awareness of the breadth and diversity […]

July 10, 2014

6:05 PM | Week 15 Volunteering at the Royal College of Surgeons
A slightly greyer and cooler day yesterday – a good insight into the British weather! One week it’s gorgeous sunshine the next it’s grey and threatening to rain! Never mind, what ever the weather I always enjoy my Thursdays. This week I wasn’t in my own but had another volunteering working with me. It was […]
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