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Scientists Aiding Search for Lost Cities in Central America Email

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:25
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:53

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FORT COLLINS - Colorado State University professors Christopher Fisher and Stephen Leisz have partnered with an international team of researchers utilizing LiDAR technology to seek ancient settlements and human constructed landscapes in an area long rumored to contain the legendary city of Ciudad Blanca – the mythical “White City” – in Central America.

The project is a collaboration of the Global Heritage Foundation (GHF), UTL Productions, the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM), CSU, and the Honduran government. It is outlined in detail in the May 6 edition of The New Yorker.

Fisher, associate professor of archaeology, and Leisz, assistant professor of geography, have successfully worked with airborne LiDAR to help reveal a lost pre-Columbian city in central Mexico. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technique used to examine the earth’s surface.

Researchers focused their search for evidence of ancient settlements in the Mosquitia Coast region of Central America. Until now, dense tropical forests and relative inaccessibility of the region have hampered systematic archaeological investigation.

Read more: Scientists Aiding Search for Lost Cities in Central America

Nova Scotia shipwrecks swallowed by sea, ignored by government Email

Monday, 06 May 2013 12:15
Last Updated on Monday, 06 May 2013 12:23

KATRINA PYNE

The Globe and Mail

The rugged coastline of Nova Scotia is home to more than 10,000 shipwrecks – a coveted treasure of sailing ships, steamships and paddle wheelers, most from the 1700 and 1800s.

The wrecks, valuable in their own right, are priceless monuments to human exploration. Yet, if the delicate vessels are left unrecovered for too long, they risk becoming lost to the frigid Atlantic waters in which they dwell.

Now the area once fought over by pirates has become the scene of a battle between a cash-strapped government and private enterprise over who has the right to explore and salvage these treasures. It’s an underwater echo of space exploration in the United States, which has seen a major decline in federal funding since its heyday of the 1960s, before companies such as Virgin and Red Bull stepped in.

The Nova Scotia government, struggling to balance its books, says it cannot afford to make such exploration a priority. Private explorers, meanwhile, are keen to step in.

At the forefront of these private interests is Terry Dwyer, who has created the first shipwreck school in Nova Scotia.

The seasonal school will be run by five part-time instructors and will teach everything from underwater photography to detecting objects through sound technology. It’s adventure tourism and professional training all in one, except for one glitch: Shipwreck salvaging is illegal in Nova Scotia. And while the school itself will not be stripping wrecks of their artifacts, the initiative is one step forward for the private sector in this final frontier of exploration.

The southeast winds are famously unforgiving on the coast, where ships hoping to follow the 49th parallel to England misjudged the rocky ledges, crevices and gullies extending to the shore.

Private treasure-salvaging operations were made illegal in Nova Scotia about three years ago, after the province bowed to pressure to “match the spirit of the UNESCO Convention on Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage,” according to a news release from 2010.

Read more: Nova Scotia shipwrecks swallowed by sea, ignored by government

France reveals that false archaeologist wants to excavate Machu Picchu Email

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 12:29
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 13:58

The regional director of Culture of Cusco , David Ugarte Vega Centeno, said yesterday that the French citizen Thierry Jamin , who intended to excavate Machu Picchu in search of the tomb of Pachacutec, is not an archaeologist nor has any scientific training whatsoever.

The information was given to Ugarte by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France , who warned of the risk to our cultural heritage.

Veronique Gervais, of the Division of Research and Exchanges scientists mentioned ministry in France, met with the Ambassador of Peru in Paris, who warned of this.

"This office has sent an official letter warning that Thierry Jamin is considered a person that can harm our heritage and damaging Franco-Peruvian on archeology," said Ugarte to El Comercio.

Read more: France reveals that false archaeologist wants to excavate Machu Picchu

Preservation of Southwest Archaeology in Time of Tight Budgets Email

Sunday, 07 April 2013 13:36
Last Updated on Sunday, 07 April 2013 13:56

By: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photos By: Jennifer Durk and Ryan Washam

Ryan_WashamWhen surveying in the Upper Basin of the Grand Canyon National Park in April 2011, University of Cincinnati faculty and students discovered a previously unknown 17-room subterranean pueblo that likely dates back to the 12th century.

For UC anthropology graduate student Ryan Washam, that find – in which he took part – helped spark his current research in how federal agencies are conducting archaeological and environmental protection and preservation efforts in a time of tight budgets.

Washam, 23, of Florence, Ky., will present a case study of protection and preservation efforts in two locales. He examines such efforts in about one-and-a-half square miles of the Upper Basin of the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, which is managed by the U.S. National Park Service. He also examines protection and preservation efforts in about eight square miles of the adjacent Kaibab National Forest managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture. 

Read more: Preservation of Southwest Archaeology in Time of Tight Budgets

Archaeological Crusade: US Tries to Save Ancient Treasures Email

Saturday, 30 March 2013 14:28
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 March 2013 14:41

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In 2008 a grant for $575,251 was given to the Conservation Foundation of Guatemala to help conserve the pre-classic Maya murals of San Bartolo (one fragment pictured here), conserve the Maya Temple of the Hieroglyphic Staircase and document looting at Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park.
CREDIT: Image courtesy Wikimedia

Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor

TORONTO — The fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones has long enthralled movie audiences, taking on assorted villains in quests to find mythical treasures, with some limited help from the government.

Minus any bullwhips, the real-life U.S. State Department works with other federal departments in a journey to protect important archaeological sites and ancient treasures in the face of conflict, according to professional archaeologists Morag Kersel and Christina Luke in their new book "U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology: Soft Power, Hard Heritage" (Routledge, 2012).

Read more: Archaeological Crusade: US Tries to Save Ancient Treasures

Archaeologists in bid to identify 300-year old shipwreck found near Drumbeg Email

Thursday, 28 March 2013 13:48
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 13:58

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Experts examine the shipwreck (Photo courtesy Daily Record)

 

SCOTLAND - ARCHAEOLOGISTS are trying to identity a three-century old shipwreck found off the Highlands.

Three cannons, cannonballs, anchors and part of a wooden hull were discovered 15 meters down on the seabed near Drumbeg in Sutherland.

Experts believe it could be the remains of a Dutch vessel that sank more than 300 years ago.

Scallop divers have known of the wreck site in Eddrachillis Bay but archaeologists from WA Coastal and Marine began to examine the ship on behalf of Historic Scotland.

It was confirmed to be of national historical importance and is now one of seven shipwreck sites proposed for the Scottish Government’s new Historic Marine Protected Area status.

Charity WA Coastal and Marine used a diver-based imaging technique to create 3D models of the site and the cannons. The models are being used in the effort to better understand the wreck’s story.

Dr Jonathan Benjamin, of WA Coastal and Marine and the University of Edinburgh, was one of the divers on the four-day survey. He said yesterday: “It is too early to say exactly when this vessel sank or who its crew were but the finds indicate it could be dated from 1650 to 1750. This is a very exciting addition to the heritage assets on Scotland’s seabed’s. There are very few intact wooden vessels of this age.”

The cannons have been identified as being of a type cast in Sweden for use by the Dutch. One theory is that the vessel was owned by the Dutch East India Company, also known as VOS.

They were one of the world’s biggest and most powerful trading companies until collapsing in 1799.

Their vessels regularly sailed around the north of Scotland because of the favorable winds and to avoid the English Channel, particularly at times of war and tensions in Europe.

Courtesy: Daily Record

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Neanderthal birthplace kills archaeology funding Email

Thursday, 28 March 2013 13:26
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 13:31

GERMANY - The region is riddled with the remains of all sorts of ancient societies and attracts archaeologists from around the world. 

With Roman settlements along the River Rhine and as the region where Neanderthals were discovered, and thus named after, NRW has long been a source of learning about our predecessors. 

But this could soon die out, as the Der Spiegel news magazine reported on Thursday that the state government plans to cut its funding each year until 2015, when there will be nothing left at all. 

Currently, the state government puts aside €12 million for archaeological projects. Next year this will be slashed to €3.3 million and after that there will be nothing. The cost of a project is split between state and one of the region's two landscape associations – the Landschaftsverbände. They say they will not be able to fund digs alone. 

A new bill drafted by the state government would put the onus of paying for a dig on the person planning to build on land where a find of historical importance is made. 

But legal responsibility ends with the dig - there is nothing to ensure the restoration or examination of what might be found.

This could leave important finds lying in boxes unexamined, Frank Siegmund of the German society for ancient and early history told Der Spiegel. 

He added that without money, archaeologists would not be able to attend digs, and ultimately “people won't be able to work because there will be no money for the necessary equipment.”

The early and ancient history society has started an online petition and hopes to gather enough signatures to halt the law change. The fear is that once NRW makes the cut, other states would follow suit.

The Lower Saxon Harz Mountains are known to rich in dinosaur fossils and on Thursday experts said that they had made their best find in 14 years – half a Europasaurus in a hunk of stone. 

The team from the nearby Dinopark Münchehagen still have funding to use the latest techniques to study the bones further.

Courtesy; The Local

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Technology helps Mexican archaeologists find new structures at El Tajin archaeological zone Email

Monday, 25 March 2013 15:09
Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 15:21

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The use of this vanguard technology allowed the location of the housing building. Photo: Guadalupe Zetina-INAH.

 

Translated by Cristina Perez Ayala


MEXICO CITY.- Three ball fields, a couple of edifications denominated “balconies”, and a housing building of more than a thousand years old, where located in the Archaeological Zone of El Tajin, in Veracruz, by archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Ph.D Guadalupe Zetina Gutierrez, investigator in the Archaeological Zone of El Tajin, allowed some of the project’s advances to be revealed. These are part of the Management Plan of the Archaeological Zone. She detailed that by locating the three ball fields the number of structures similar to these in El Tajin ascends to 20. “All the ball games that can be found in the site are different in dimensions and characteristics and, in the case of the three new fields, we can determine details with a precision of up to 5 centimeters [1.96 inches], thanks to a technology called LiDar, a laser scanner with which they developed a digital model of the Geographic Information System”.

Read more: Technology helps Mexican archaeologists find new structures at El Tajin archaeological zone

Return to Antikythera: what divers discovered in the deep Email

Friday, 22 March 2013 09:43
Last Updated on Friday, 22 March 2013 10:05

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After 2,000 years underwater, it’s not always easy to tell ancient artifacts from the rocks that surround them. Philip Short scrutinises the wreck site with a video camera, metal detector and lights Photograph: Alexandros Sotiriou/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities /WHOI

 

Divers returning to the site of an ancient wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera have found artifacts scattered over a wide area of the steep, rocky sea floor. These include intact pottery, the ship's anchor and some puzzling bronze objects. The team believes that hundreds more items could be buried in the sediment nearby.

The Antikythera wreck, which dates from the first century BC, yielded a glittering haul when sponge divers discovered it at the beginning of the 20th century. Among jewelry, weapons and statues were the remains of a mysterious clockwork device, dubbed the Antikythera mechanism.

Bar a brief visit by the undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s (featured in his documentary Diving for Roman Plunder), no one had visited the wreck since, leading to speculation about what treasures might still be down there. The locals told tales of giant marble statues lying beyond the sponge divers' reach, while ancient technology geeks like me wondered whether the site might be hiding another Antikythera mechanism, or at least some clues as to whom this mysterious object belonged to.

Read more: Return to Antikythera: what divers discovered in the deep

Guatemala calls on France to stop illegal antiquities auction Email

Saturday, 16 March 2013 15:45
Last Updated on Saturday, 16 March 2013 15:51

GUATEMALA CITY - Guatemala called on France to stop a private auction scheduled for next week in Paris, in a lot of Latin American antiquities, including thirteen of the ancient Mayan culture from the Central American country, officials said.

The Guatemalan Ministry of Culture said in a statement that the embassy of the country in France formally asked the Parisian authorities "intervene" for the auction house Sotheby's is scheduled to perform on 22 and 23 March next be suspended because the pieces that aims to sell are legitimate property of the Guatemalan state.

The pieces that Sotheby's plans to auction, about 300 in all from the Barbier Mueller Museum of Barcelona ​​which closed its doors earlier this year, and according to the Guatemalan authorities possessed illegally.

"The State of Guatemala expects French authorities involving the auction and enforce the requests made by the Latin American countries involved, and you cannot allow private collectors unlawfully enrich themselves at the expense of American pre-Hispanic cultural heritage" the ministry said.

The claim that Guatemala runs, "is based on the Guatemalan legal rules protecting cultural heritage, which constitutionally prohibits the sale or export of those goods that make up the cultural heritage such as archaeological," he added.

"The tenure of the 13 archaeological Guatemalan holders by Barbier Muller Collection cannot be considered legal, and according to law, under the description given by the owners of the collection pieces are credited to from Guatemalan Mayan Culture."

Artifacts that Sotheby's plans to auction come from archaeological sites in Mexico, Central and South America.

 

Courtesy Emisoras Unidas

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