Weapons and tactics change, but PTSD goes back millennia
Post-traumatic stress disorder is not new, according to a new study of 3,300-year-old Assyrian medical texts describing warriors wandering around depressed, unintelligible, and seeing the ‘ghosts’ of the soldiers they had killed in battle.
A dig in Rome related to work on the city’s new C metro line has uncovered the largest ancient Roman water basin ever found, Rossella Rea, the scientific head of the excavation, said on Wednesday. “It was inside an ancient Roman farm, the nearest to the centre of Rome ever found,” said Rea, who leads an all-women team at a site for the construction of a new metro station that also features archaeologists Francesca Montella and Simona Morretta.
The ancient structure, situated in the San Giovanni district of modern-day Rome, is a monster. “It’s so big that it goes beyond the perimeter of the (metro) work site and it has not been possible to uncover it completely,” Rea explained. “It was lined with hydraulic plaster and, on the basis the size that had been determined so far, it could hold more than four million litres of water”.
Rea said it was part of a facility that functioned from the third century BC. “In the first century (AD), structures to lift and distribute the water were added to an agricultural plant that was operative in the third century,” Rea said. “The basin was about 35 metres by 70, covering an area of about a quarter of a hectare. "It seems likely that its main function was to be a water reservoir for crops and an area that made it possible to cope with overflows from the nearby river.
"No other basin from ancient Roman agriculture is of comparable size. "Beyond the walls of the work site it extends toward the (ancient city) wall, where it is probably preserved”. She added that the structure also spreads out in another direction, towards an existing metro station of the A line. But she said that part of it was almost certainly “destroyed without its existence ever being documented”.
The excavation took place at more than 20 metres below ground. “The historic information about the San Giovanni area (in ancient Roman times) was scarce,” Rea said. “The area underwent transformations that hid republican and imperial age structures that existed up until the third century under metres of soil, first when the Aurelian Walls were built. The urbanisation of the 20th century led to the obliteration of every part of it.
"The dig for the new metro station made it possible to take archaeological research to depths that are otherwise impossible to reach”.
England’s monarchs were sacrificing to Woden and persecuting Christian missionaries when First Nations managed a vast, highly-productive, industrial-scale fish harvesting complex in the estuary of the Courtenay River.
At first, the elaborate arrangement of 300 ingenious traps on the sandy flats of the river mouth harvested herring, which still mass to spawn off the east coast of Vancouver Island every March.
But 700 years ago, perhaps in response to climate change, the technology was altered to exploit pink, chum, coho, chinook and possibly sockeye salmon.
Highly coordinated traps equal in technological sophistication to contemporary commercial fishing traps, enabled the operators to regulate escapement of spawning stocks and maintain abundance, precisely the sustainable resource management model we strive for today.
Forensic anthropology and archaeology in the news…and some strange stuff
Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Science in the News
Id’ing a Skull Just Got Easier: CT Scans May Soon Link Human Remains to Missing PersonsScientific American
You can tell a lot from a skull if you know what you’re doing: an expert can suggest a skull’s sex, age and ancestry just by looking at it. But such a subjective assessment would not hold water in a court of law, where it is essential to know how likely a skull belongs to a particular missing person. For that, you need numerical probabilities. Read more at Scientific American
Skeletal remains in backyard of Ocala home believed to be tied to cold caseMyFoxOrlando.com
Marion County Sheriff’s deputies are trying to find out if human remains that were found buried in the backyard of an Ocala home belong to a person who was murdered years ago. Read more atMyFoxOrlando.com
The mummy of the pharaoh Amenhotep II’s foster brother may have been found in a former monastery, according to archival research into 19th-century documents.
The mummy, now reduced to a skeleton, is believed to be that of Qenamun, the chief steward of Amenhotep II (about 1427–1400 B.C.) who was the 7th Pharaoh of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty and likely Tutankhamun’s great-great-grandfather. Read more atDiscovery News
Richard III bones to remain in Leicester after court battle BBC
Distant relatives of King Richard III have lost their High Court battle over where his remains should be reburied. Read more at BBC
It takes very special qualities to devote one’s life to problems with no attainable solutions and to poking around in dead people’s garbage: Words like ‘masochistic’, 'nosy,’ and 'completely batty’ spring to mind’.
Paul Bahn. 1989. Bluff Your Way in Archaeology. Ravette Books, West Sussex
Ancient ivory tablets reveal high status of Illyrian women
Newly-translated ancient tablets found in Albrania reveal that women were more equal to men in Illyria than anywhere else in Europe at the time, supporting ancient historical records that describe Illyrian women engaging in warfare, holding political and military power, and taking on leadership positions.
Nineteenth-Century Graves Protected from Body Snatchers
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND—
While moving a nineteenth-century cemetery in the West Midlands, England, to make room for a new road, archaeologists found that some of the bodies had been buried with protective devices to deter grave robbers. At the time, fresh bodies could be dug up and sold to medical schools. One of the devices, called a mortsafe, was a metal cage fixed around the coffin of a young woman who suffered from a skin and bone disease. Her condition would have made her corpse desirable. Another grave contained a brick coffin with a false bottom that protected two bodies. “The simplest method of protecting the graves was to employ a guard. However it appears from records in other towns that the money paid for a fresh body, which could be over £25, that these guards were often bribed to turn a blind eye,” said Frank Caldwell, Sandwell Council’s Museums Manager.
An ancient American Indian village and burial site in California that was older than King Tut’s tomb was discovered and then paved over so that a $55 million housing project could move forward.
The San Francisco Chroniclereported that the ancient site was found at the location of the Rose Lane development in Larkspur. The site reportedly contained a “treasure trove” of details about Coast Miwok life from as long as 4,500 years ago.
But all of the 600 human burials, the tools, the musical instruments and other items were reburied so that development could continue.
Object used as door stop identified as rare 3,500-year-old ceremonial dagger
An object pulled up by a plow in a field and used to prop open an office door has now been identified by archaeologists as an extremely rare and valuable Bronze Age ceremonial dagger, known as a dirk, one of only six found in the whole of Europe.