archaeology and mythology

 

archaeology and mythology has a lot of contacts in some points.

The story of Noah’s Ark in the Hebrew Bible, Genesis is a a great ship which built in accordance with the instructions of God, described as square vessels. And it was built for Noah and his family, as well as a variety of terrestrial biological creature to be able to escape a big flood disaster, which made by God for some reasons.Noah’s Ark took 120 years to complete in record until this story were recorded in the Hebrew Bible, Genesis , and Islam the Koran”.

Outside the modern religious, people still believe in its authenticity,  but most people do not use it as a historical event occurred. However, in September of 1961 “Life” magazine published a photo which shot by Turkish reconnaissance aircraft at an altitude of ten thousand feet. The figure can be seen in the near Turkey alat Hill where did have a boat-shaped relics. Although further research is needed to know if the photo on the ruins really is Noah’s Ark, however, scientific discovery provides us a clue to think about this myth of authenticity and think about the reasons of the massive floods.

Moreover, many of the myth workscould be affected by archaeological sites as well.

According to the British “Daily Mail” website reported on November 29, the Greek archaeologist has said that an ancient cave is located in the southern part of the country may be “hell ” in ancient Greek mythology.

This cave called A Pucui Pa, located in the the Maina Peninsula Diluo Si Wan with near a full size of four football fields, where there is an underground lake. The caves can be traced back to the Neolithic Age

After decades expedition, archaeologists dig out the tools, pottery, obsidian, silver and copper utensils, and thus there must be hundreds of people liviing the cave before. This conclusion makes A Pucui become Pa hole, Europe is now one of the earliest discovered prehistoric village – but unfortunately, the entrance of the cave collapsed 5,000 years ago, all residents living inside were buried alive.

The archaeologist most significant finding is the cave cemetery and funeral venue. Archaeologists believe that this cave was to describe the the hell in Greek mythology

A archaeologists Gela Ti also said: “As you can imagine the fire here and bonfire, the people here had to die and bury in the cave. Cemetery and funeral really add to this cave hell feel here like hell,”

Chinse Building in Archaeology

When I checked the World Heritage List, As of 2012, Italy became the country which has the largest number of World Heritage World Heritage– 44, Spain 39, China 34.Italy has been a great dynasty of ancient Rome and the center of the European literary Fuxing,
and the long struggle in Spain Christian countries and Muslim.So these two cultures have huge amounts of  World Heritage List is understandable, But China, which is considered as the only ancient civilization which has been stable for thousands of year in the world , predating 1500 earlier than the Roman Empire appeared in the world, so it is
reasonable for me to doubt why chinese cultural heritage has far less remains than Italy and Spain .
Inevitably, when the rise of a dynasty is in various places.When the dynasty, the rise time, the emperor is usually to build buildings in various places to display their own power.
China from ancient times to the end of the feudal dynasties of 1911, a total of eleven dynasty should have left many magnificent buildings, such as the royal palace, but existing only the Forbidden City of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the reason is that the ancient Chinese engineers prefer to use woodrather than stones, because the wood more easily obtain and transport relative to the stone.And China’s rulers need to quickly build, so the wood is their first choice, however, because the wood vulnerable to fire, termites, rain corrosion, compared to masonry not long maintained.Frequent dynasty replacement is also an important reason, Qin Shi Huang built Metrical, quite area and now the world’s largest existing palace – the Forbidden City in Beijing, but because of the tyranny of the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang created decades was overthrown, the rebelsburned this great building. This kind of thing happened too many times in the history of China, destroyed many great building. And complex religion also contribute a lot, because Confucianism and Buddhism compete for the support of the Chinese royal family in 2000, so whenever beliefs change, Buddhist, Taoist or Confucian ruins will be national destruction. Therefore, most of the Chinese ancient buildings has been preserved. By contrast in Europe, due to the huge cost of stone buildings constructed, each dynasty accustomed to save rather than destroy, which left behind a large number of buildings.These are what i am thinking about today’s Archeology issue, I hope we can protect our legacy of monuments in  great effort

Vikings were FABULOUS

teeth-007

Due to the prompt-less nature of our third blog, I thought I’d try to find something a little racier than the standard fair of archeological discoveries. Well not to disappoint, I found articles surrounding a mass grave of young Viking men in Dorset, England.
During routine construction work, a pit of over 50 skeletons of young Viking men was uncovered. The pit was clearly a mass burial but the jury is still out on what put those bodies in the ground. One theory is of a nasty illness wiping out the hardened warriors. Another is of an angry mob tearing apart a group of captured Viking warriors. Another theory is that of an offering of the human sacrifice kind. However, Dr. Britt Baillie believes they were unfortunate participants of the St. Brice Day Massacre. Apparently on November 13th, 1002, King Aethelred the Unready had had enough with all the Danish men. Following a Viking raid the king, being the reasonable sort, ordered all Danish men in England to be executed.
Despite the horrific demise of these 1000 year old men, I digress. The interesting bit is the fashion statement of these late marauders. Apparently filing groves into the front of your teeth was all the rage back then. These men had parallel horizontal groves carved into their incisors. These findings further support the worldwide craze Vikings had for sawing crap into their teeth (so metal). A Viking cemetery in Gotland produced a hoard of Viking skulls with this strange marking. Some teeth had complex intersecting lines in them instead of the standard parallel. Researchers, such as Caroline Arcini, believe the grooves would be filled with different colored charcoals – because if you’re going to file holes into your teeth, you just got to pack it full of dirt.
The Dorset skulls are the first evidence of this strange practice seen outside of Sweden. Further evidence found in Denmark seems to show that this practice was fairly common. At the time the article was written, Arcini was waiting on strontium samples to determine the background of our Viking fashionistas. In the meantime, Arcini wrote a children’s book on the subject – don’t ask me why.
In terms of this class, I find this article very relevant. If there is such a thing as “cultural heritage”, it most certainly manifests as strange practices like this. From now on, I’ll picture Vikings with a crazy charcoal-filled filled smile, because they weren’t intimidating enough already.

Link to article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/jul/11/tooth-filing-craze-vikings

Death and Archaeology

Death is the only guarantee in life. It is the creation of a new begging, to remove the old to make way for the new. We are inherently fascinated with death, but it is completely out of our control.  This simple truth is so toxic to our behavior, we become obsessed in trying to understand it, embrace it, or attempts to escape it. In doing so we try to make connections, form relations, and create significance.

Nowadays, we do not embrace death as our ancestors once did. We are too busy with day-to-day responsibilities to consider the inevitable, and we become surprised when death occurs to someone we may know. The fact that many do not embrace life strictly because we know it is limited removes any potential we have to build connections or relations of any real importance.  We no longer, as a society, dedicate unfathomable fortunes, resources and manpower to embrace death.

This was not always the case. Even our relatively recent relatives, in relation to the entire length of human history, did embrace, fear, or attempt to escape death.

For example, lets start with the Egyptians – specifically at the great pyramids of Giza Plateau. My first blog post, “It’s Just A Burial Site,” talks about my reasoning at the time and why the Egyptians built these ridiculously enormous monuments that were essentially an oversized tombstone.  I state, “They are simply apart of a glorified cemetery whose owners were hell-bent to build the largest representation of [themselves]… relative to the importance, riches, or ego of the individual who lies beneath.

However, as I have grown to understand more about ancient culture, and analyzed their actions from a systems viewpoint with a focus on behavioral and cultural influence, I realize these monuments were not just representations of an individual, but how the civilization viewed death. The Egyptians did not embrace or fear death; their culture was one that believed they could escape it. Their medium of escape was the mummification process and the pyramid was their vessel. Its magnitude and significance increase the chances of a safe arrival to another life.  As the Pharos, Priests, and other important individuals gained or loss power or significance, we observe the civilization’s approach to death through their dedication in building these monuments.

The second example of archeological significance I want to address is Stonehenge. As I analyze Stonehenge, its development over thousands of years, the way it was built, and theories of its use, I can hypothesize the civilization(s) in occupation did not try to escape death like the Egyptians, but they embraced it. They saw it as a new beginning. I’m not saying I have discovered the exact purpose of the structure, but I can define with confidence where every theory of its purpose over laps. (see my second blog post, “You Don’t Know What you Don’t Know… Or do you?.”

Stonehenge went through a series of developmental phases over roughly 7,000 years, each generation adding a significant addition. Each theory, or reason for these additions spoke of new begins and celebrating a new phase of life, in many forms. For example: When the ditch and embankments were being created, they were filled with deer and oxen bone, as well as flit tools at the bottom of the pit representing a sacrifice to the monument. In the same time period, Aubry Holes were created surrounding the monument. At the bottom of these holes over 5,000 pieces of cremated human and animal bones were found under tombstone type rock pillars. This finding reveals that the civilization dedicated life to the monument. Not much can be rendered from this, except only when this information is applied to later events. Next, we can observe the Durrington Walls, huge embankments that were used for festivals in December and January, during the winter solstice. At the festivals, enormous volumes of wild game were sacrificed and consumed in celebration of a new beginning – a new year. Many more theories suggest monument for death and life, a calendar to map the winter and summer solstice, and so on.  All have over lapping cultural relations with embracing death as a renewal of life.

Today, although we do not see these actions on a grand scale, some individuals realize the significance of death. We view these individuals as different from the rest of us. They embrace life and live it to the fullest. Some choose to party until it literally kills them, while others choose to make a name for themselves.  I believe if you do not fully embrace the inevitable, you can never really live in the present. It is those who realize their time is finite that make a lasting impression.

Leaps of Faith

One of the characteristics of archaeology that I find most striking is how very little material archaeologists must (and do) use to derive a great deal of information.  In history, everything is more often than not spelled out in plain ink – just right there in text, meaning exactly what it says and all too often precious little else.  If Suetonius says that Nero killed his mother it means that Suetonius thought Nero killed his mother – or wanted us to think so – and while it also means that Suetonius probably didn’t like Nero very much, it doesn’t mean a great deal more than that.  In archaeology nothing is spelled out like that.  There are no real accounts to be believed or disbelieved, no voices from the past to doubt or credit.  Instead there is this array of objects which, be they scarce or numerous, are utterly mute.  The task of the archaeologist is not to validate them (though falsehood is occasionally a factor) but far more so to make them speak.  And somehow, they do.  When every object is related to those around it, to the context in which it belongs, a narrative can be formed, an image of people and their lives that is remarkably clear considering its taciturn source.  From a sherd a pot can be extrapolated – from a pot, a culture.

That being said, the link between the tangible and the extrapolated can seem extraordinarily tenuous.  To those used to gaining knowledge from the direct, transmitted word, learning that basic assumptions about an entire culture are based on the contents of a single grave or an ancient latrine can be deeply distressing.  Sometimes, after being familiar with certain facts for years, it can be startling to discover what those facts are actually based on.  Many of the assumptions archaeologists seem to make without batting an eyelash are logical leaps that I would hesitate to make.  Does the presence of an artifact associated with a certain culture really indicate the presence of individuals from that group, or might it be indicative of trade between groups?  Can a specific design on a pot really be used to date it, or was some craftsman merely feeling particularly creative that day?  Though these are not necessarily the best examples, I frequently find myself challenging the necessary assumptions of archaeology in my head, wondering if that much can really be taken as given.

All fields, obviously, have assumptions they require to operate properly.  One must assume that the laws of mathematics will never change before attempting to solve an equation, and  presume the existence of an external world before tackling most questions of philosophy.  The question, however, is in how much is permissible.  Many of the assumptions of archaeology are most probably true.  Many operate simply by Occam’s razor.  But there will always be that question – how much can be extrapolated from each find?  In an increasingly complex world where proof proves perpetually elusive, what is the acceptable distance for a leap of faith?

Rabbit Season!

Although I am in college, I absolutely LOVE cartoons. Some of my favorites are Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, and many more. I always love when Bugs Bunny tricks either Elmer Fudd or Daffy Duck that instead of it being rabbit season, it was duck season. Well perhaps if our ancient ancestors had eaten more rabbits, then perhaps they could’ve survived and perhaps altered our evolutionary history. Perhaps resulting in an outcome other than Homo sapiens. As an avid reader of National Geographic publications, I came across a story last week about Neanderthals. I am a Biological Anthropology major, so human evolutionary history is right up my alley. The article that I came across was titled “Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals’ Demise?” and it was truly fascinating. Neanderthals are part of the same genus as we are, Homo. This means that they are not too far away from us in the evolutionary ladder and gave rise to modern humans through adaptation and evolution. Neanderthals mainly hunted the mega-fauna of their age, meaning that they hunted very large animals such as mammoths. As the global climate changed due to plate tectonics and other widespread factors, many species had to adapt. Primates, especially hominids, are extremely adaptable animals and Neanderthals were able to survive in a range of environments, so long as there were enough food resources. Climates continued to change and the mega-fauna species were becoming extinct, but small animals were on the rise. Animals such as rabbits were high in population, but Neanderthals did not possess the skills necessary to hunt and kill these animals. Hunting large animals took more brawn than brain, but small animals took talent. Other species of the genus Homo were popping up at this time and they were better equipped to survive in this changing environment. As the other species thrived, Neanderthals eventually died out and evolution continued to produce all humans today. Why didn’t the Neanderthals adapt to their changing environment? Maybe they viewed larger animals as having a greater reward, or maybe they tried to hunt smaller animals, but lacked the tool making or intelligence to be successful. I don’t know the answer, but learning about ancient cultures is still very interesting to me. Neanderthals gave rise to many of the species responsible for the archaeological discoveries we have been learning about in class. In conclusion, maybe Bugs Bunny tricked the Neanderthals into thinking it wasn’t rabbit season resulting in their demise and the birth of modern man. So thanks, Bugs. Life’s good.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/failure-to-hunt-rabbits-part-of-neanderthals–demise-/

Avebury’s Better Henge

“It does as much exceed in greatness the so renowned Stonehenge as a Cathedral doeth a parish church.”  Such were the words of John Aubrey, describing the megalithic complex which has now become integrated into the surrounding landscape of the area.  Although its stones were of impressive size and spacing, the truly remarkable feature of Avebury was the enormous ditch and bank that surrounded it.  This has since eroded and filled in, but is still fairly impressive; at its peak, excavations have revealed that the ditch was likely three times as deep as it is today. Cut into the white chalk of the area, this must have been a thrilling and brilliant sight, especially in full sunlight.

The henge at Avebury is incredibly large.  It is composed of a main ring of 98 sarsen stones, with two inner rings, side by side, each comprised of around 30 stones.  The stones comprising the henge were, like those of the more famous Stonehenge, originally of Marlborough Downs, and were transported the dozens of miles to their eventual destination.  While these stones were not worked, they were placed with the least eroded side to the center, much like their counterparts at Stonehenge.  There were likely originally over 600 stones that comprised the henge and related complexes, but for various reasons, the majority were destroyed or deposed.

In the late 1600s, the majority of the stones were destroyed for various reasons.  The main culprit seems to be one Tom Robinson, who was apparently a housing speculator.  He headed gangs that broke them up for building material in the nearby houses and other structures. Many of the houses, and especially Avebury Chapel, can be seen to have used portions of the megaliths as building material.  As the various areas remained largely unprotected until nearly 1930, there was considerable destruction of the entire complex.

Today, there has not been very much archaeological research poured into Avebury henge and the related structures.  Many of the stones’  original placements are now marked by concrete plinths, especially along the original stone avenues leading up to the henge.  In modern diagrams of the henge, it is amazing how much of the original area is covered by modern-era structures, especially where the original center stone circles were.

I suppose that we should feel lucky, as modern archaeologists and tourists, that our predecessors didn’t have the change to completely demolish the henge, and that there were those who began to diagram it before the wholesale destruction began in earnest.  The pervading lesson from Avesbury, though, is that once something is destroyed, it is very difficult to know exactly what it is we lost.  We can only get a vague idea that it was something massively important to someone, at one point in time.

Where did those crazy ideas come from?

Now I can understand why someone would want to remember some place as being special if that was where some “prophet had a vision or where a great battle of your people occurred or even where some great individual was born but the idea to build these earthworks or to build a place like Stonehenge must have been looked at as one of two things I could see it as either one of worst ideas ever like most works of brilliance seem too or it started as a great idea and was quickly built on but I have a feeling that it started as a horrible idea that once the works were in progress large amounts of people decided to jump in and run along side the original genius. The reason I feel that they started as a bad idea is because of the fact of what they decided to make. For example the earth work of the snake with the egg in its mouth the idea to create something like that must have sounded absolutely crazy. In my mind I picture one individual going up to his group of friends saying “hey lets go make a giant snake out of dirt to honor life and the globe” to put it in modern terms and I can see the others saying “what are you on” just the idea of such things are so far fetched that it had to be difficult to get people to invest in such things. Another example would be the idea of pyramids or Stonehenge how would someone of normal status or even a pharaoh or king convince people that one this was a good idea and two that it would be worth investing years into or in the case of Stonehenge thousands of years. But even beyond that once you decided to undertake this earth work projects imagine what it would take to keep them in that shape for long enough to be established and not blow away but then also to keep them standing long enough to be here today is unbelievable and made an impact on todays history that I doubt they could ever imagine.