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Public input sought on Florida comprehensive historical preservation plan Email

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 10:16
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 10:24

Submitted by Gillian Finklea

Sarasota, Florida -- State and county staff will host a public input session 3-5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 15 at Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota on the proposed Florida's Statewide Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan. The plan has been developed by the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources.

Participants will discuss how the plan can guide efforts to work together to preserve Florida's history and historical, archaeological, and cultural resources. Full color copies and an executive summary will be available. "We are pleased to partner with the State Division of Historical Resources to offer the community the opportunity to review this important plan," said Lorrie Muldowney, manager, Sarasota County Historical Resources. "Sarasota County is a virtual treasure trove of historical sites so we are encouraging the community to share their priorities about protecting our irreplaceable cultural resources."

The Mission of the Florida Division of Historical Resources is to inspire a love of history through preservation and education. Departments in the Division of Historical Resources include the Bureau of Historic Preservation which conducts programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving and interpreting the historic and folklife resources of the state. The Bureau also manages one of the largest state supported grants-in-aid programs in the country, providing funds to help preserve and maintain the state's historic buildings and archaeological sites.

The Bureau of Archaeological Research is responsible for the state's archaeology program. The bureau's archaeologists carry out archaeological surveys and excavations throughout the state, mostly on state-owned lands. They maintain records on historical resources that have been recorded, and assist consultants and planners in protecting sites. The state's underwater archaeology program includes not only historic shipwreck sites but also pre-Columbian sites in underwater contexts.

For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000, or visit

Courtesy; WTSP

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Mayan Discovery Reveals Turmoil Email

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 11:25
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 11:34


Maya hieroglyphs on Stela 44, a monument at the El Peru-Waka archaeological site in Guatemala, refer to a Maya Snake queen known as Lady Ikoom. The queen is thought to have played a role in a multigenerational story of power shifts in the Maya world.


A stone slab dated 564 A.D., which tells a story of a struggle between Royalty in the Mayan Empire has been discovered.  It reveals the turmoil of an ancient power struggle lasting for seven years.

Archaeologists are calling it a “dark period.”  The slab was found beneath the main temple of El Peru-Waka’, an ancient Maya city in northern Guatemala.  The hieroglyphics tell the story of a princess whose family survived a struggle between two royal dynasties.  The slab reveals that the battles were often extremely bloody.

David Freidel, PhD, a professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), said “great rulers took pleasure in describing adversity as a prelude to ultimate success.” In this case, Lady Ikoom, known as the Snake queen, “prevailed in the end.”

The slab also revealed the names of two rulers who were previously unknown.

The kingdom of the Mayans flourished for nearly 600 years, and then they seem to have disappeared around 900 A.D.  Among the Mayans many accomplishments was the construction of the massive city of Tikal, developing a hieroglyphic writing system, and a calendar, which famously ended in 2012.  Very little of their writings remain, because they were mostly on paper instead of stone.

Read more: Mayan Discovery Reveals Turmoil

Treasure ahoy! Email

Sunday, 07 July 2013 13:06
Last Updated on Sunday, 07 July 2013 13:21


Iron fencing seals off a shipwreck site off Vietnam’s central coast for excavation. Photos by Hien Cu


A shipwreck discovered last September off the coast of central Vietnam is the oldest, least damaged ever found in the country, and possibly the “most special one” of its kind in Asia, archaeologists say.

While they are intrigued by the antique artifacts found on the boat, they add that the ship itself is as valuable as all the items found in it.

The ship is relatively intact and has some rare materials and a unique structure compared to five other ancient boats found in Vietnam.

At a press briefing held June 30, it was announced that the ship, discovered off Quang Ngai Province, has been identified as a three-story merchandise sailing vessel 700 years old, 20.5 meters long and 5.6 meters at its widest part, and built with 12 bulkheads for 13 compartments.

This was determined after salvage operations conducted between June 4 and 23.

It appears that there had been a fire accident on the ship. However, despite being under water for a long time, one-third of the boat’s height is still intact.

The bottom of the ship, still buried under the seabed, is 80 percent intact while its rudders are in almost pristine condition.

Read more: Treasure ahoy!

Swiss watch discovered in ancient tomb Email

Saturday, 29 June 2013 13:18
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 June 2013 13:25


Mystery: Archeologists have uncovered a 100-year-old watch in a tomb believed to have been undisturbed for 400 years



CHINA - Archaeologists are stumped after finding a 100-year-old Swiss watch in an ancient tomb that was sealed more than 400 years ago. 

They believed they were the first to visit the Ming dynasty grave in Shangsi, southern China, since its occupant's funeral. 

But inside they uncovered a miniature watch in the shape of a ring marked 'Swiss' that is thought to be just a century old.

The mysterious timepiece was encrusted in mud and rock and had stopped at 10:06 am.
Watches were not around at the time of the Ming Dynasty and Switzerland did not even exist as a country, an expert pointed out.

The archaeologists were filming a documentary with two journalists when they made the puzzling discovery.

'When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, suddenly a piece of rock dropped off and hit the ground with metallic sound,' said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Museum. 
'We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. 

'After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch,' he added. 

The Ming Dynasty - or the Empire of the Great Ming - was the was ruling dynasty in China from 1368 to 1644.

Courtesy; Mail Online

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Extensive Maya Site Discovered Southeast of Campeche Email

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 12:06
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 12:15


CAMPECHE, MEXICO - Chactún Dubbed as "Red Rock" or "Piedra Grande", this monumental area is located north of the Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul, and had its peak between 600 and 900 AD. The site "is definitely one of the largest sites in the Central Lowlands, comparable in extent and magnitude of its buildings with Becan and El Palmar" said Ivan Sprajc, the archaeologists who leads a team of national and international experts.

Located in the southeast of Campeche, Chactún is one of the largest sites registered in the Central Lowlands of this ancient civilization. Discovered a few weeks ago, it is believed that the city was the leading center of a vast region a thousand 400 years, between 600 and 900 AD, according to the researcher who heads the expedition supported by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), indicating that this is inferred by the extent of the site, more than 22 hectares, and the amount of monuments, at least a dozen of them with inscriptions.

The exploration initiative, with the approval of the INAH Archaeology Council, is funded by the National Geographic Society, and Austrian companies and Slovenia Villas Ars longa. Along the centuries, Chactún remained hidden in the jungle of northern Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul. According to Sprajc, is part of an area over 3,000 square kilometers, located between the Rio Bec and Chenes region, an area that has remained as "a total blank on the archaeological map of the Maya area.

Read more: Extensive Maya Site Discovered Southeast of Campeche

19th Century Shipwreck Located Off Of Mexico Email

Saturday, 08 June 2013 17:10
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 June 2013 17:19


Mexican marine archaeologists have located the wreck of the 19th-century British ship HMS Forth, which sank off the Yucatan Peninsula 164 years ago, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

The ship, which belonged to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, sank after hitting the Alacranes reef.

HMS Forth went down on the night of Jan. 14, 1849, while sailing to Bermuda.

The ship’s crew made it to a nearby island, was rescued by a steam ship and reached Havana.

An INAH team led by archaeologist Helena Barba Meinecke explored the northern section of the reef and spotted metal items on the sea floor that gave researchers clues that it was a mail ship.

One of the other wrecks found in the area may be that of HMS Tweed, another Royal Mail Steam Packet Company vessel that sank in 1847 or of the Belgian ship Charlote, which went to the bottom in 1853.

Research conducted from 2010 to 2012 turned up historical references to 25 shipwrecks.

Marine archaeologists are planning other expeditions to explore additional wrecks, the INAH said.


Courtesy; Hispanically Speaking News

Michigan Issues Dig Permit That Could Uncover The Great Lakes' Oldest Shipwreck Email

Monday, 03 June 2013 11:51
Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2013 11:58

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">By Linda Stephan

The State of Michigan has issued a permit for a major archeological dig in Lake Michigan. It could uncover the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

Underwater explorers have been given the go-ahead to dig up bottomlands off the coast of the Garden Peninsula near Green Bay. They’re in search of the French fur trading ship Le Griffon, which went down in 1679.

The dig has been a thirty-year obsession for members of Great Lakes Exploration, a team out of Dayton, Ohio. After years of diving and exploring this site using remote sensing equipment, they plan to reveal wreckage on an excursion in mid-June.

The state permit for the dig this summer comes after 20 years of legal wrangling between the explorers, the State of Michigan, and even involving the French government, which owns Le Griffon. It was sailed by the famous explorer Robert de La Salle.

Courtesy; Interlochen Public Radio

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Utah Road Project Uncovers Ancient Ruins Email

Saturday, 01 June 2013 15:00
Last Updated on Saturday, 01 June 2013 16:04


by Sarah Stephenson.

ST. GEORGE, UTAH - The Southern Utah Parkway is a 33-mile project that will eventually become an eastern belt route for Washington County. Eight miles are complete from I-15 to the new St. George Airport. The third segment of the parkway is currently under construction at Washington Dam Road, where more than 15 archaeological sites have been found.

Crews have discovered prehistoric Native American ruins, one of which has been named one of the oldest sites investigated in Southwestern Utah. After significant research, scientists have discovered that the area has had continuous human habitation for up to 10,000 years.

UDOT has worked closely with local Native American tribes throughout the project. The Shivwits tribe, a native Utah tribe, was invited to the archaeological sites to search the ruins. They were also highly involved in the decision-making process regarding the preservation of the many ruins found.

Arrowheads, pottery, pit-houses and even prehistoric ruins including dinosaur fossils have been discovered throughout the project site and have been dated as far back as 400 B.C. During construction, 200-million-year-old fossils were also found, including the teeth from nine species, three of which could be new species. These were archived for future data and research.

Furthermore, UDOT has worked to protect threatened and endangered species throughout the project’s construction.

Overall the construction has gone fairly smoothly and the experiences during the archaeological findings have been incredibly valuable to UDOT as a whole. Dana Meier, project manager for UDOT, said, “We are an organization that learns,” which is what UDOT will continue to do throughout this project.

The project has received considerable public support because it allows for the future growth and expansion of St. George and its surrounding areas. Construction continues this spring and summer to extend the new highway another eight miles.

Photos were taken by Bighorn Archaeological Consultants, and Eric Hansen.

Courtesy; Utah DOT

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Archaeologist arrested after artifacts spotted on eBay Email

Thursday, 30 May 2013 12:04
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 12:13

UNITED KINGDOM - An archaeologist who stole three 17th-century vases discovered during the development of SouthGate shopping centre in Bath was caught out four years later after trying to sell the items on eBay.

James Vessey, 35, was employed by the Museum of London Archaeology during an excavation in 2008.

The team uncovered three Bellarmine vessels dating back to between 1650 and 1700, which were traditionally used to protect against witchcraft, but the items disappeared before they could be delivered to the museum for analysis.

They resurfaced last year when another archaeologist spotted one of the vases for sale on eBay and contacted the museum's project officer Bruno Barber.

Police then executed a warrant at Vessey's narrowboat home in Oxfordshire.

Bath Magistrates Court was told that Vessey, who admitted theft, had a history of stealing historical artefacts from archaeological digs which he was working on, and in 2001 had been jailed for 15 months.

Andrea Edwards, prosecuting, read a statement from Mr Barber outlining the impact of the theft of the Bellarmine vessels. He said not only had the crime cast suspicion over other archaeologists, but had led to the loss of potentially significant historical evidence.

The court heard Vessey was no longer working as an archaeologist and had been dealing with the illness and death of both his parents at the points in his life when he had committed his crimes.

He was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 270 hours of unpaid community work, as well as to compensate the man who had bought the vase from him on eBay.


Courtesy; The Bath Chronicle

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Metal detectorist seeks legitimacy more than treasure Email

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 11:03
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 11:11

By Tom Eblen — Herald-Leader columnist

KENTUCKY — I always thought it would be fun to have a metal detector. I wasn't so much interested in hunting for buried treasure as finding bits of history hidden a few inches beneath my feet.

Scott Clark, an Internet business consultant in Lexington, has similar interests. An avid metal detectorist since 1985, he has become quite skilled at it — and increasingly passionate about improving the ethics and image of his hobby.

Metal detecting doesn't have the best of reputations, thanks to "treasure hunters" who look for relics on Civil War battlefields or pock-mark parks in search of lost valuables. Many historical archaeologists view detectorists about as favorably as a brain surgeon would a witch doctor.

But serious detectorists are trying to change that. Earlier this year, Clark was part of a group that worked with archaeologists to explore James Madison's Montpelier estate in Virginia. Clark co-authored an article with Montpelier archaeologist Matthew Reeves on the blog of the Society for Historical Archaeology about how the two groups can work together and literally find common ground.

Clark has a blog at and often writes about best practices in the hobby. Those include always asking landowners' permission before detecting, sharing finds with them and digging carefully so grounds are not damaged. He also avoids truly historic areas, such as battlefields.

Clark often donates his services to people who have lost valuables outside. Last month, he found a wedding band for a Versailles man after it slipped off his finger while he was mowing his yard.

Clark said he never accepts payment or rewards, but people often thank him by arranging access to interesting sites he can search. "The currency of the hobby is permission, which requires being trustworthy and transparent," he said.

Read more: Metal detectorist seeks legitimacy more than treasure