October 22, 2014

6:56 PM | Roman Gladiators' (and a Gladiatrix's?) Diet
A press release is going around about a dietary analysis of Roman gladiator skeletons from Imperial-era Ephesos, headlined "Roman gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank a tonic of ashes after training."While I haven't had time to carefully and thoroughly dissect the publication, which came out last week in PLoS (Losch et al. 2014), it seems reasonably sound. The published C/N isotope ratios are totally in line with what we'd expect from the Roman diet--and also show the variation […]
3:05 PM | Ancient Human Skulls Shed Light on Dairy Use
The research unexpectedly revealed that ancient Europeans started dairying thousands of years before they evolved genes to make the most of it.
1:50 PM | Sphinx Head Found in Mysterious Greek Tomb
The head is the face of a beautiful woman, smiling slightly. But why was the head of the sphinx found inside the tomb's chamber? Continue reading →

October 21, 2014

2:00 PM | 6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Found
A 6,000-year-old temple holding human-like figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered in Ukraine..
1:45 PM | The Future of Cemeteries
If there is anything that we’ve learned from the past, its that there are a myriad of options for dealing with the deceased. The way the deceased are buried or […]

October 20, 2014

9:20 PM | King Tut Re-Creation Presents a Shocking Image
The pharaoh’s parents were brother and sister, he had a club foot, feminine hips and a large overbite. Continue reading →
12:20 PM | New Popular Book On The Viking Period
Anders Winroth (born in 1965) is a Swedish historian who received his PhD from Columbia in 1996 and now holds an endowed professorship in history at Yale. He has written several books on the Viking Period for lay readers, the latest one of which I’ve been given to review. The main contents of The Age…

October 19, 2014

12:07 PM | Ownit Deploys Wifi Routers With Security Hole Across Sweden
My whole housing development recently changed Internet Service Providers. We now have optical fibre from Ownit, offering hundreds of megabits per second. It works just fine. But there’s a security issue and Ownit aren’t taking it seriously. All over Sweden, Ownit are deploying wifi routers that work out of the box. If you want to…

October 18, 2014

7:23 PM | Best-Ever Portrait of Alexander the Great Found?
The recently uncovered mosaic in a mysterious Greek tomb may be the clearest depiction of the famous ruler as a young man.

October 17, 2014

4:09 PM | October Pieces Of My Mind #1
The Relentless Babblings of the Darkmire Soothsayer: “And then there shall come a day when things will be lost and people won’t know where things really are and brothers will run away for absolutely no reason at all and fathers won’t know where other fathers are or where they once were. And friends will walk…
3:35 PM | Bones - Season 10, Episode 4 (Review)
The Geek in the GuckEpisode SummaryTwo tween boys trying to evade their parents' internet block manage to find a dead body on a satellite map of the shore along the Potomac River. Offscreen, the body is recovered and brought to the Jeffersonian.  Brennan and intern Jessica Warren see a narrow sciatic notch and partially defined lower extremity of the pubic face to conclude that the individual was a white male in his 20s. Hodgins estimates based on blowfly larvae that the body has been on […]

October 16, 2014

2:30 PM | Mysterious Slab in Russia May Be a Sundial
A strange chunk of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age.
1:00 PM | Association
I really want a new Kindle. This makes no sense. I already have a Kindle, it works well enough. Certainly it’s fast enough to read from. The money I would spend on a new Kindle I could spend on books instead. What I think has happened is association. When I think about buying a new…
12:43 PM | Greek Tomb Mural Depicts Abduction of Persephone
A mural on the floor of a mysterious tomb in Greece reveals the character of Persephone, the daughter of Zeuis and Demeter in Greek mythology. Continue reading →

October 15, 2014

11:57 PM | Pitfalls for new professional archaeology bloggers
This is the last of three posts for students in my Introduction to Professional Archaeology topic, as well as other people who are new to blogging about archaeology. You can read previous posts here and here. So you are considering starting a blog yourself—or have started one already. Great! In this post, I look at some of the […]
4:52 PM | English Votes for English Laws makes sense, so long as you don’t actually think about it
So it became apparent surprisingly quickly that the Union side of the Scottish referendum had no Plan A for if they won. The panicked offer given to Scotland has stirred up the demand for EVEL, English Votes for English Laws. EVEL is interesting because it highlights the problems there are with the union. The basic…
1:00 PM | Largest Pottery Workshop of Greek Antiquity Found
The largest kiln is 17 feet in diameter, making it the biggest kiln ever found in a Greek city. Continue reading →

October 14, 2014

10:14 PM | The benefits of blogging
In a post earlier this week I provided a brief account of why blogging is of interest to archaeologists and also touched on aspects of the history of ‘archaeo. blogging’. I’ve taken the time to do this to provide students in my Introduction to Professional Archaeology class with a background to blogging and social media in archaeology, which I […]
3:49 PM | New Morbid Terminology: Overburden
As funerary archaeologists, we need to consider the whole range of behavior surrounding death and burial. This includes the ritual surrounding preparation of the body for burial, modes of transportation […]

McGowan, G. & Prangnell, J. (2014). A method for calculating soil pressure overlying human burials, Journal of Archaeological Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.09.016

3:30 PM | Ancient Sailors Made Sacrifices on Ships
A large incense burner found aboard a 2000-year-old shipwreck suggests that ceremonies and sacrifices were a regular part of sailors' lives.
3:20 PM | Diving Into a Mediterranean Shipwreck: Photos
A dive into a 2000-year-old wreck yields signs of ceremonies and sacrifice.
2:00 PM | Ancient Cult Complex Discovered in Israel
A massive cult complex, dating back about 3,300 years, has been discovered at the site of Tel Burna in Israel.

October 13, 2014

8:45 PM | Fossilized Bladder Stone Found in Medieval Cemetery
It may look innocuous now, but the little stone may have killed someone 700 years ago.
3:20 PM | 'Flying Coffin' WWII Wreck Found
A wreck of a U.S. World War II plane found in Italia brings back a forgotten story of death and survival. Continue reading →
11:28 AM | 5 Trowel Blazers who have influenced my career
I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking over the past year about women in archaeology. I've become increasingly aware of the concept of privilege and the impacts it has on the structure of academia, and since joining Twitter it is something I reflect on regularly. Twitter really is one of the best sources of information and interaction on this topic, letting you connect directly with so many people and understand different viewpoints. It is through Twitter that I became aware of the […]

October 12, 2014

11:49 PM | Social media and professional archaeology in retrospect
This is the first of two posts directed at students enrolled in an online topic that I teach at Flinders University on Professional Archaeology.  The focus of this week’s module is to encourage students to critically evaluate the role of social media in professional archaeology. It is naturally the case then that this is an […]
8:26 PM | Philip Who? On the recent reanalysis of skeletal remains from Vergina
Facade of the tomb at VerginaWhen I was an undergrad, one particular class lecture on Greek archaeology made a big impression on me.  We were learning about the amazing tomb discovered buried underneath a mound of dirt at Vergina in the late 1970s.  It's sort of a house-tomb style, with a gorgeous facade, wall paintings, and a slew of artifacts.  We also learned that the excavators had found the remains of at least four people in three tombs -- but that's all we learned, as […]
6:35 PM | Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 18)
A new "vampire" grave was just announced this week in Bulgaria.  But I'm not writing about the interpretation of the way the skeleton was buried, which honestly seems to fit with the current theory that, prior to the understanding of germ theory, many of these "revenant" graves are related to keeping the dead in their place so they don't infect the rest of the population with whatever plague was going around.No, the picture that accompanies every news story I've seen of the Bulgarian […]
2:55 PM | Stunning Mosaic Floor Uncovered in Greece's Mystery Tomb
The central theme depicts a chariot in motion driven by Hermes, who is most likely escorting King Philip II to the Underworld. Continue reading →
2:45 PM | Greek God Hermes Featured in Ancient Mosaic: Photos
A mosaic floor made from small white, black, gray, blue, red and yellow pebbles emerged during a dig.
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