Im working on categorizing materials in the lab (aka going through tagged excavation material and putting it in our database) and I encountered a phenomena of fellow Israeli archaeology students who find the word “charcoal” enigmatic and just cant for the life of them write it correctly. This is WAY too funny to keep to myself so enjoy a compilation of archaeologists who cannot correctly english the word “charcoal” (black boxes of death cover up excavation details):
I’m sitting up with full enthusiasm because Syaoran’s
interest in archaeology and geology is finally becoming relevant and I am HERE
He’s just silently running erosion calculations in his head
and coming up with answers that don’t make sense to the point where he actually
mentions to the others, which means it’s a THING. He’s lived in a desert most
of his life as well, so he would definitely know exactly what the natural rate
of erosion /should/ be, and this is not it.
They believed their chiefs were were-jaguars, turning into jaguars at night and prowling in the darkness.
Made these giant carved stone heads to honor their chiefs.
Possibly the mother culture of Mesoamerica - it’s a hot debate within Mesoamerican archaeological groups.
Fun facts about the people in the Maya, Oaxaca and Basin of Mexico regions: :
Existed LONG before the Aztecs! (The Aztecs didn’t show up until AD 1428)
Built Teotihuacan - which was one of the largest cities at that time (200 BC to AD 750), and is so big that archaeologists haven’t even excavated half of it! 600+ pyramids.
Teotihuacan’s had a habit of visiting developing cities and just taking them over.
Believed that their houses were alive/had a spirit and would leave offerings buried in deep pits in the foundation when they built the home or when they had to leave it.
Had a form of counting + math. A dot = 1, a dash = 5. Stacked vertically to count. One of very few cultures that had a sign for 0.
Sacrifice was a big part of their religion. Both sacrifice of others, and auto sacrifice (sacrifice of self, usually involved blood-letting of the tongue, earlobe, or penis… go big or go home I guess!).
Caves were sacred and believed to be a portal to the underworld.
First team sport, 3,500 years ago! A ballgame where it was viewed as “good vs. evil”. They basically made prisoners play on one team, and healthy commoners and elites on the other, and the losing team was sacrificed/killed. It was very rigged.
At some point, there was believed to be a revolt and all sign of elites ended, but the commoners carried on with their lives.
(Aztecs and more under the cut)
Fun facts about the Aztecs:
Ruled over 100,000 square miles, and 1.6 million people.
Had Chinampas (floating gardens) that made it so they could yield 3 crops each year.
Amount of people sacrificed correlated with a person’s rank.
Ruled for a pathetically short amount of time compared to all other societies in Mesoamerica (AD 1428 to 1519/1521).
The Spanish ‘befriended’ and slowly conquered them from AD 1519 to AD 1521. They easily conquered the Aztecs due to: Disease (influenza, measles, small pox), superior technology (horses and guns) and psychological warfare.
Fun facts about Great Zimbabwe:
In SE Africa, about a mile above sea level, which meant that the Tsetse fly didn’t live there and give diseases to the people and cattle. Great Zimbabwe was part of the Karanga Kingdom.
They were huge on metallurgy (the art and science of extracting metals from their ores and modifying the metals for use).
Smelting (separating metal from slag) was highly associated with sex and fertility. The forges were often shaped with breasts and genitalia, and some forgers would only do smelting in private/at night due to the nature of it.
Kraal = a circular enclosure that was found throughout SE Africa. Generally in the center of villages, and held the cattle. It was also where men had meetings and important people were buried.
In the Great Enclosure (which resembles a large kraal but is made of a stone wall that is 800′ long), there is this 33′ conical tower that is solid and it’s only purpose was to represent the ruler’s power (by showing the size of his penis).
They made beautiful carved soapstone bird figurines, usually in the form of eagles, and it is believed they represent their ancestors. There was a large amount of effort put into retrieving one of the stolen eagles back, and it was successful. The soapstone eagle is now a part of the flag for Zimbabwe.
A LOT of the history and artifacts here have been stolen, destroyed, or compromised due to racism (originally by the Europeans). The Europeans claim to have built everything, and to this day the descendants of the Karanga Kingdom, the Shona, still can’t lay claim to what their ancestors built. This is extremely infuriating to me.
*Note that I am in Archaeology 101, and am basing this off of information from my professor, lecturers, and a textbook. Some information might be off.*
Tales of the tower of skulls which struck fear into the hearts of Spanish conquistadors have been passed down through the generations in Mexico.
Said to be the heads of defeated warriors, contemporary accounts describe tens of thousands of skulls looming over the soldiers - a reminder of what would happen if they did not conquer territory.
For the next 500 years, the skulls lay undisturbed underneath what was once the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, but is now Mexico City.
Until, that is, a group of archaeologists began the painstaking work of uncovering their secrets two years ago.
What they found has shocked them, because in among the skulls of the young men are those of women and children - bringing into question everything historians thought they knew.
“We were expecting just men, obviously young men, as warriors would be, and the thing about the women and children is that you’d think they wouldn’t be going to war,” Rodrigo Bolanos, a biological anthropologist investigating the find, told news agency Reuters.
“Something is happening that we have no record of, and this is really new, a first.”
So far, archaeologists have found 676 skulls in a site next to Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built over the Templo Mayor, one of the most important Aztec temples.
Its base has yet to be uncovered, and it is thought many more skulls will be found.
They are believed to form part of the Huey Tzompantli, a skull rack some 60 metres (200ft) in diameter which stood on the corner of the chapel of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of the sun, war and human sacrifice.
Archaeologists have no doubt it is one of the racks, or tzompantli, described by soldier Andres de Tapia, who accompanied Hernan Cortes in the 1521 conquest of Mexico.
Cortes landed at Veracruz, on Mexico’s east coast, in 1519. Two years later, allied with other native forces, Cortes’ men captured the Aztec capital.
Archaeologist = Digging Up Dead Humans (and their belongings/homes/ environmental impact); think H. Neanderthalensis, H. Sapien, H. Erectus…
Paleontologist = Digging Up Dead Non-Humans (ok, can include pre-modern humans, there’s some intersection in the fields with human ancestry); think dinosaurs, prehistoric life, all that shit from the Precambrian Explosion…
What’s incredible is that there were two thousand years of
history that were completely forgotten. Completely. An entire civilization that
nobody even knew about. No residual folk awareness. No garbled semi-historical
legends. Everyone between the Atlantic and the Himalayas owed Sumer a direct
debt for writing, the wheel, and social hierarchy, and yet the only scrap of
Sumer that remained anywhere in the archive of civilizational awareness after
the last cuneiform tablet had been incised around 75 CE was some Near Eastern
demon named Jiljamish whose name got
passed around between different sects until its last attestation c. 1500 CE.
Both Christian and Islamic civilization got their account of
history from the Greeks, and the Greeks only knew about stuff as far back as
the Neo-Assyrian Empire. That’s only 900 BCE. Everything before that they had
only the faintest awareness of. I mean, with Egypt, they were aware of the
Pyramids and stuff. They knew Egypt was old as fuck, but they had absolutely no
conception of the actual time depth, or that there had been entire other
civilizations contemporaneous with Egypt during its earliest history.
It was basically the biggest file format transfer failure in
the history of the world. How is it that no Greek ever bothered to learn
cuneiform? Or at least ask one of those Babylonian priests what that gibberish
they were chanting in was? It’s like I found a floppy disk and was like “Hey
this floppy disk has records from an entire lost civilization on it” and you’re
like “Oh too bad…the last floppy disk reader broke 70 years ago and nobody
knows how to manufacture them anymore.” Actually not even, it’s more like I
found a floppy disk, said “Who cares about floppy disks, Herodotus already told
me about everything that’s on these things” and threw it out without even
knowing there was a whole civilization on there.
And Sumer was only rediscovered in the mid-1800s by Western archaeologists.
So now two million cuneiform tablets are sitting in storage in museums around
the world today, but only a hundred thousand or so have ever been read or
published, since there’s only a few hundred people in the entire world who can decipher
cuneiform. Sure, most of them are probably tax records, but there’s absolutely
no chance there’s not some really important history, poetry, and spicy
interdynastic drama in there, as well as probably a dozen or so undiscovered
languages. And it will all have to wait for now.
This fills my feed day and night and I hate it almost as much as that screenshot post from like 2010…
Sto[ [icking fights and goddamn google it.
Many of the facts were recalled from the Horrible History magazine series that’s around here somewhere; the others from all over the internet, but youtube has a lot of documentaries about the sexy side of history if you’re bored af and looking for something to do.
summary: “So you’re really an archaeologist?” asks the ridiculously, supernaturally beautiful man with the long silver hair who’s currently leaning over the bar counter soaking up Yuuri’s every word. He feels small, feels too keenly the wrinkles around his eyes, the lines on his face, the slow deterioration of the cells in his body. “Like Indiana Jones?”
“Um, I’ve never had to deal with still-functioning booby traps on the digs I’ve gone to,” he says. “And there’s a lot more dusting off rocks than, uh, recovering golden idols and stuff.”
“But is it fun? Do you like it?” The man is batting his lashes. Somewhere, a puppy is being born. Maybe even two of them.
“It can get tedious,” he says. “But it’s pretty rewarding to find first-hand evidence of what people were like in ancient times. What sort of stories they told, what gods they believed in. To construct a more holistic view of the past to inform the future. Yada yada. Sorry, I probably am boring you.”
“Oh no,” simpers the man, taking a sip of his wine. Yuuri can’t help but notice that he holds the glass like he’s holding some sort of Medieval drinking cup. “I find this… modern society to be very invigorating.”
(viktor is a god who comes back to learn more about the 21st century. yuuri is an archaeologist with a deep love of folk history and traditions. they learn a lot about each other, and also have to work together to figure out who’s been selling artefacts from yuuri’s current dig on the black market before yuuri gets in serious trouble for it)