thingsfreelygiven:

archaeology:

Teens in Naples collaborate on the restoration of early Christian catacombs in their city.

When Don Antonio Loffredo arrived here about a decade ago, he found three levels of frescoes, chapels and cubicles beneath the neighborhood’s trash-strewn streets. It’s a burial ground that dates to the 2nd century, the largest of its kind in southern Italy. But back then, tourists only wound up in this part of town by mistake.

Loffredo saw an opportunity. “We took kids with one foot in the streets and one foot in the church, so to speak,” he says. Some of them even came from mafia families. “I can say this because your audience is far away,” he adds. “It could easily be the case that the sons of a boss are here, and one of them has nothing to do with the mafia”.

Loffredo says crime families often feel trapped by a life they were born into, and are eager to find alternatives for their kids. So he put them to work fixing up the seriously neglected catacombs. Mud and dirt covered much of the floor; an old lighting system left much of the artwork in shadows; and a store room had been stuffed with waste and old equipment from a nearby hospital. All of it had to go.

"When we started they were 16-year-olds. Now they’re in their 20s, and they’re paid because they are entrepreneurs. It’s not hard to offer alternatives to crime if you’re creative and available," he says. And after fixing up the Catacombs, they went to work in management, the ticket office, and as guides.

ARCHAEOLOGY FOR THE PEOPLE! ACADEMIA FOR THE PEOPLE!

(via roselalxnde)

Tags: naples italy

Archaeologists to resume digging at Native American site where prehistoric building found

archaeologicalnews:

OKLAHOMA CITY — Archaeologists will return to an ancient Native American site in eastern Oklahoma next month to resume excavation, after they discovered a prehistoric building there last October.

Few artifacts have been discovered near the formation — which measures just about 12 feet across — at Spiro Mounds making it difficult for researchers to determine the time period of the building, said Scott Hammerstedt, a researcher at the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey.

"It’s a building. A prehistoric building, a fairly faint one — but one nonetheless," he said.

Researchers will head back to excavate a handful of other areas during five weeks of fieldwork in May and June, Hammerstedt said. Read more.

Byzantine Monks Used Asbestos Beneath Wall Art

archaeologicalnews:

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Hundreds of years before asbestos became ubiquitous in the construction industry, Byzantine monks used the fibrous material in plaster coatings underlying their wall paintings during the late 1100s, new research shows.

Asbestos is a type of natural, rock-forming mineral known for its ability to separate into long, flexible fibers. It has long been thought that asbestos fibers, which are corrosion- and combustion-resistant, were first integrated into such things as plaster, finish coatings and floors after the Industrial Revolution.

But while investigating the 12th-century paintings in the Byzantine monastery Enkleistra of St. Neophytos in Cyprus, UCLA researchers discovered the magnesium silicate mineral, chrysotile (white asbestos), in the finish coating of the plaster underneath a portion of a wall painting. Read more.

dead-men-talking:

valdanderthal:

I am sure most of you have seen this horrendous video-

http://natgeotv.com/za/nazi-war-diggers/videos/human-bone-removal

The show “Nazi War Diggers” and other “Digger” shows promote general treasure hunting and metal detector techniques in the finding and removal of archaeological items.

In this one episode, the stars of “Nazi War Diggers” excavate a grave. Hacking away at the dirt right around the bones with a pick axe and vigorously shaking the bones loose from the dirt for removal was gut wrenching to watch. No context recorded.. nothing! They have no bioarchaeological or forensic training and completely prove their ignorance through their behavior.

Please sign the petition linked below to show your opposition to this show and others like it. 

"Archaeological sites are fragile, non-renewable resources that take decades, centuries and sometimes millennia to form. Yet a careless digger with a shovel can damage or destroy them in minutes. On federal and state lands such vandalism of our national heritage is on the increase, in part because of programs like The National Geographic Channel’s Diggers, The Travel Channel’s Dig Wars and Spike TV’s American Diggers. These three programs on cable glorify destructive relic collecting and promote looting of our future. For example: a recent episode of “Dig Wars’” followed the exploit of gleeful metal detector enthusiasts as they grabbed artifacts from a private portion of Fort Phantom Hill in Taylor County, Texas. There was no attempt at proper site recording or documentation. All they were after was the loot."

Petition

Sick.

(via theladygoogle)

oosik:

Electrolysis

In 2005, I found a slag hammer in the north end of Lake Washington. This hammer is generally used for removed slag during welding and is likely from the days when this area was a shipyard used for the construction of WWII vessels.

For almost 3 years this hammer sat rusting away at either my house or in the lab at my school. Finally I was able to convince somebody to walk me through the electrolysis process to keep this metal item from rusting any further.

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Here is the basic set up. The long metal bar which acts as the (positive) cathode rests over the tub filled with water and some lye drain cleaner. Copper wire is wrapped around the metal bar as well as the hammer, effectively suspending it above the metal grating, which also acts as the (negative) anode. The hammer is fully submerged under the solution.

There is a clamp connecting the bar to a battery which will pump a charge through the bar and into the hammer suspended in the solution. The gauge on the left shows the volts pumping through the metal. While in the lab 9 volts was a good level. When leaving the electrolysis to do its thing overnight the power source was set to 3 volts.

The chemical reaction should be that the ferrous oxide (FeO2) is reduced to just iron with oxygen and hydrogen bubbling off as byproducts. Water may also be made in the process. This should “reverse” the rusting and keep the hammer in a stable enough condition to be preserved for quite some time. 

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After the electrolysis, tannic acid is applied to the piece after the ferrous oxide is completely eliminated. This will hopefully keep the hammer from becoming immediately re-oxidized. Tannic acid is a large polyphenol that has the chemical formula of C76H52O46The number of hydrogen atoms attached to double-bonded oxygen keeps other oxygen molecules from breaking down the piece. The unfortunate side effect is that it turns the piece a bit black.

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After the tannic acid is applied and dried, a couple of layers of satin acrylic spray is applied. This effectively coats the piece as would wax. Finally, the piece is completed.

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This electrolysis process is used exclusively for metals. Conservation of organic materials is a different process which can include silicon or other polymers that fill the molecular gaps between the wood, bone, antler, ivory, or leather materials. Polymer size can be chosen based upon the desired outcome. Certain polymers consist of larger molecules which do not fill entire gaps between the materials, leaving them with some flexibility. This does not preserve as well as polymers with smaller molecules which can almost completely fill the molecular gaps within the treated material, which in turn better preserves the artifact. However, this method can sometimes leave a less authentic-looking sheen on the treated material. 

From surf to turf: Archaeologists and chemists trace ancient British diets

archaeologicalnews:

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Studies of old rubbish dumps and dirty dishes have revealed that, 6,000 years ago, ancient Britons gave up their passion for fish to begin a love affair with milk. The research by archaeologists and chemists from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University is published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The change by our ancestors from hunter-gathers to farmers is one of the most intensively researched aspects of archaeology. Now a large-scale investigation of British archaeological sites dating from around 4,600 BC to 1,400 AD has examined millions of fragments of bone and analysed over 1,000 cooking pots.

The team, led by Professor Richard Evershed of the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry, developed new techniques in an effort to identify fish oils in the pots. Read more.

America’s only Clovis skeleton genome offers clues to Native American ancestry

archaeologicalnews:

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They lived in America about 13,000 years ago where they hunted mammoth, mastodons and giant bison with big spears. The Clovis people were not the first humans in America, but they represent the first humans with a wide expansion on the North American continent – until the culture mysteriously disappeared only a few hundred years after its origin. Who the Clovis people were and which present day humans they are related to has been discussed intensely and the issue has a key role in the discussion about how the Americas were peopled.

Today there exists only one human skeleton found in association with Clovis tools and at the same time it is among the oldest human skeletons in the Americas. It is a small boy between 1 and 1.5 years of age – found in a 12,600 old burial site, called the Anzick Site, in Wilsall, Montana, USA. Read more.

Workers uncover artifacts underneath Hubbard Park
Today, Hubbard Park is where students throw Frisbees and where Iowa City residents hold events — but what did the park look like in the mid-1800s?
New archaeological findings uncovered beneath Hubbard Park may shed more light on what this area looked like in the mid-19th century and what people used the space for then, said John Doershuk, a state archaeologist at the University of Iowa.
“Bit by bit, we’re patching together a more complete understanding,” he said.
Miron Construction contractors working for the University of Iowa uncovered the findings during the past few weeks near the Iowa Memorial Union while working on a new chilled water line, part of UI’s flood mitigation and recovery project.

Workers uncover artifacts underneath Hubbard Park

Today, Hubbard Park is where students throw Frisbees and where Iowa City residents hold events — but what did the park look like in the mid-1800s?

New archaeological findings uncovered beneath Hubbard Park may shed more light on what this area looked like in the mid-19th century and what people used the space for then, said John Doershuk, a state archaeologist at the University of Iowa.

“Bit by bit, we’re patching together a more complete understanding,” he said.

Miron Construction contractors working for the University of Iowa uncovered the findings during the past few weeks near the Iowa Memorial Union while working on a new chilled water line, part of UI’s flood mitigation and recovery project.

(Source: press-citizen.com)

theladygoogle:

rare-shots:

The first photo following the discovery of Machu Pichu in 1912.

I hate to be knit-picky, but I’m gonna do it anyway, because the history of Machu Picchu as an archaeological site/site of European interest is fascinating.Machu Picchu wasn’t discovered in the least, in fact, before Hiram Bingham was shown where it was (by a Quechua guide, to whom it was old hat), there are at least five other (white/European) people that may or may not have already interacted with the site, nevermind that it was a well known place to locals Quechua people (some of whom had repurposed site materials for their homes). While the Spanish supposedly weren’t aware of the site, a few German and English visitors were. Bingham was looking for Vilcabamba (by the way, that’s in Ecuador~), and wouldn’t have ‘found’ Machu Picchhu if not for his guides blatantly pointing it out. The ‘cleaning up’ and essential looting of the site by Bingham’s team remains a point of contention between Peru and Yale. Also, he though it was a temple of the Virgins of The Sun, probably after osteologist George Eaton categorized skeletal remains from the site as most all female. In 2000, that was debunked by modern osteological knowledge of variation in height and size of Inca male individuals as compared to the way osteologists primarily learned from white/Euro skeletal remains (remains were nearly 50/50 male/female).Here are some sources, also the wiki page is sourced well.

theladygoogle:

rare-shots:

The first photo following the discovery of Machu Pichu in 1912.

I hate to be knit-picky, but I’m gonna do it anyway, because the history of Machu Picchu as an archaeological site/site of European interest is fascinating.

Machu Picchu wasn’t discovered in the least, in fact, before Hiram Bingham was shown where it was (by a Quechua guide, to whom it was old hat), there are at least five other (white/European) people that may or may not have already interacted with the site, nevermind that it was a well known place to locals Quechua people (some of whom had repurposed site materials for their homes). While the Spanish supposedly weren’t aware of the site, a few German and English visitors were. Bingham was looking for Vilcabamba (by the way, that’s in Ecuador~), and wouldn’t have ‘found’ Machu Picchhu if not for his guides blatantly pointing it out.

The ‘cleaning up’ and essential looting of the site by Bingham’s team remains a point of contention between Peru and Yale. Also, he though it was a temple of the Virgins of The Sun, probably after osteologist George Eaton categorized skeletal remains from the site as most all female. In 2000, that was debunked by modern osteological knowledge of variation in height and size of Inca male individuals as compared to the way osteologists primarily learned from white/Euro skeletal remains (remains were nearly 50/50 male/female).

Here are some sources, also the wiki page is sourced well.

iowaarchaeology:

An October “From the Repository,” copper rattail points and a copper spud.  Artifacts similar to these can be seen at the Iowa Hall Eastern Iowa Archaic Exhibit at The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.

iowaarchaeology:

An October “From the Repository,” copper rattail points and a copper spud.  Artifacts similar to these can be seen at the Iowa Hall Eastern Iowa Archaic Exhibit at The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.