Bonus Blog

To be serious, i have been loving to post blog. i can learn so much thing while writing historical blog. Of course, history and archaeology is my favorite thing to learn about.

in these posts, all i wrote about are sites from other cities. This time, i would like to write something about a royal tomb in my city which is Beijing, –Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty

The Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty is the Chinese Ming Dynasty emperor’s burial buildings, located in ChangPing District, Beijing . It has 40 square kilometers of the foundation, and it is  about 50 km from the capital. The Tomb was Built since the third emperor of Ming Dynasty of Yongle  until the last Emperor –ChongZhen. It last more than 230 years with a total of 13 Ming emperors buried, 23 Queen, 2 Prince, and more than 30 concubines. It is one of the best preserved and intact imperial tomb in the world.In 2003, The thirteen tomb of Ming dynasty was listed as a World cultural heritage.

There is one interesting fact about the building of this tomb. i think everyone has noticed that the tomb was start build from the third emperor Yong Le instead of Zhu Yuan Zhang who was the fist emperor of Ming Dynasty.Meanwhile,the second emperor of Jian Wen ‘s royal tomb and seventh emperor of Jing Tai’s royal tomb were not built there.

The Ming Dynasty has a total 16 emperor who formally ascended the throne, but the Ming Tombs in Beijing has buried only 13 emperor. The Founding emperor Zhu Yuanzhang built the capital in Nanjing in early year and he was buried in Nanjing Zhongshan Tomb ; The second Emperor after Zhu Yuanzhang was the  Emperor of Jian WenZhu. but  his uncle who was the later Yongle Emperor Started the  Battle of JingNan and he succeed grab the capital NanJing at that  time and moved the capital to Beijing. that is why the Ming Tomb was built on Beijing. the end of this story if the disappearance of emperor JianWen, so he did not have any tomb.

The emperor JingTai became a emperor his brother Ming Hidemune lost and captured in the the battle of Fort . The Mongolian release Hidemune  back  to his throne and JingTai was killed, Hidemune does not admit that Jingtai is the emperor, so he was buried in the western suburbs of Beijing Kingsoft Jingtai Mausoleum instead of Ming Tomb.

Although the Ming tomb is famous, but to be so close to it. i have never been there.

i think i will go to have a look this summer and study more details about Ming Dynasty.





Bonus Blog: Egypt

Choosing one site was difficult for me because I really have enjoyed learning about all the sites that we have covered in class.  My favorite thing to learn about though was the pyramids of ancient Egypt.  Even before coming into this class, I have always been interested in Egypt and its rich culture and deities.  Although I already knew a great deal about King Tut, from my history classes back in middle school and high school, the lay out of the Valley of the Kings was relatively unfamiliar to me.  Despite the common knowledge that there were graves there, the idea of the site being a necropolis had never really occurred to me.  With the Nile acting a divider between the land of the living and the land of the dead, their environment helped strengthen their beliefs.  When fairing the dead Pharaoh across the Nile, it was as if they were actually delivering the body from the land of the living to the land of the dead.  Comprehending the purpose behind an archeological site is much more important than the actual discovery.  That was the very first piece of information that I learned in this class and it is the most valuable thing that I could’ve taken away from this course.  Archeology is about understanding past civilizations, and not about finding the civilization’s lost ruins.  With the ancient Egyptians, they did not make these colossal tombs to show off how import their rulers were, but rather as a way to allow them an easier path to the afterlife.  The artifacts that were left in the tomb were not there because they belonged to the Pharaoh lying next to them, but because the Pharaoh would need these objects in the afterlife.  New research into the city of the pyramid’s builders is showing us how these lived in between building of the great site of Giza. The workers are suspected of working on the last of the three great pyramids, Menkaure.  The workers were greatly compensated for their works on the pyramids. Looking thorough artifacts of animal bones and chemical testing of bodies, the archeologist at the site were able to hypothesize that the city of the workers went through at least four thousand pounds of meat a day.  The pyramids of Egypt have long been fantasizing and romanticized about for about as long as they have been there. Plenty of books, TV shows, and movies, the Ten Commandments, and the Prince of Egypt to give some examples, have given into the imagination and what some would say the mysticism of the idea of what the pyramids are.

Bonus Blog – Stonehenge

This semester has been a captivating one filled with new information and exciting discoveries. When trying to decide which one I thought was the most important so I could write this blog, I was stumped. At first I wanted to say Machu Picchu because it was left undisturbed, which is really important. Then I wanted to say the Great Pyramids of Giza just because that was my favorite discovery this semester. However, when I really think hard about it and pull in every possible angle, the best discovery to talk about here is Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is incredibly interesting to me because of the mystery behind it. We really have no idea who built Stonehenge or why it was built. There are plenty of rumors, and we heard a few of the wacky ones in class, but we still do not know the truth. I love the mystery that comes with archaeology (I know, I am the cliché archaeology student) and that is why I think Stonehenge is the best discovery we learned about this semester.

Not only is there an intense mystery surrounding Stonehenge, but there are plenty of lessons to be learned as well. We know that during an excavation of the Aubrey Holes around the Stonehenge complex everything was removed and dumped into hole number seven. I really wish the archaeologist had not done that. If the contents of each hole had remained where they were found, we could have learned so much more. However, even with this blunder we still can learn a lot. For example, we know that during the time the Aubrey Holes were dug, human beings cremated the dead. We can also infer that these cremated remains were buried, since so many were found in Aubrey Hole seven. That is just one lesson the Stonehenge complex can teach us.

Another thing that I found interesting about Stonehenge is the woodhenge built on the complex. The idea that woodhenge signifies the land of the living while Stonehenge signifies the land of the dead fascinates me. We learned that Ancient Egypt was divided into two parts: east and west/land of the living and land of the dead. The fact that this idea was carried over to England by the builders of Stonehenge is interesting. Most places I have been to do not have physical lands for the living and the dead (beyond cemeteries). However, the idea of lands for living and dead are portrayed everywhere, thanks to modern religions. It is an idea that started a long time ago, in several different cultures that is still present today.

Stonehenge still has more to teach us. One day, hopefully, we can discover a few more truths about it. However, I hope we never know the whole truth because that will kill the mystery and enchantment that draws people in.

Pyramids of Giza and King Tut

There is not one site that I think is more important than another. I believe all of the ruins and different archaeological sites are very important in a variety of ways. One of the most interesting topics to me was the Pyramids of Giza and King Tut. This was most interesting to me because I have always been interested in ancient Egypt and I have always wanted to travel there one day. I learned the basics of Egypt, the pyramids and King Tut when I was in elementary school, but I never got to learn the in depth details about every little thing you can learn about Egypt. This is why I really enjoyed taking Archaeology 264 and getting to learn all about the different cultures and places and see how they are all different.

I thought it was really interesting learning about the sphinx and why it doesn’t have a nose. I also thought it was really interesting how the three Pyramids of Giza line up with the stars in the Orion’s belt, and the sphinx is actually a representation of the constellation of Leo. I never knew King Tut had a name other than Tut, and how long it was. I also never knew that Tut, or Tutankhamun changed his name. I think it is really interesting how West Egypt was the land of the dead and East Egypt is the land of living and they correlated it with how the sun dies in the west and is born in the east. I also cant believe that when Tut’s tomb was discovered the guy who discovered his tomb, Howard Carter, pulled off his head. It surprises me how some people are not careful with ancient objects. Howard Carter also discovered the only undisturbed tomb in the Valley of the Kings. I think it is really interesting that when Kings were mummified and put in a sarcophagus, the whole entire sarcophagus is made of solid gold. The outer sarcophagus is coated with offerings and pomegranate leaves and was made of gold and semi precious stone. There are 3 layers in the sarcophagus. Within the 3rd layer of the sarcophagus is the mummy itself, and again is solid gold. I think it is also very interesting how King Tut’s death was unexpected. I remember learning in Elementary school that King Tut died at a very young age but we never learned that he only ruled for 5 years and that when his mummy was discovered there was an injury on the back of his skull. There was talk that Tut was murdered by getting bashed in the back of the head. There was also a fracture in one of his legs that may have resulted in his death. I think that everything about Egypt is very interesting and im glad that I got to learn so in depth about all of the different pharaohs and dynasties and everything about ancient Egypt.

Bonus Blog

After thinking a while about what my favorite archaeological site is, I realized that the discovery that was most interesting to me was Stonehenge. I thought that it was super interesting that Stonehenge represented the “land of the dead” (since stones aren’t alive) and woodhenge was the “land of the living” (since trees are obviously living things). I think that the most amazing thing is how those giant stones were put there when back then people did not have machines such as bulldozers and cranes. Just like the pyramids, I think that it’s amazing that human beings just like us were able to band together and figure out a way to drag these huge stones to a specific location without machines. To me, it really shows what human potential is really like and it makes me feel like I’m capable of doing more than I ever thought that I could. And even more amazingly, the stones (named standing stones) weren’t just brought out there and dumped wherever, but were actually placed together to make 2 near perfect circles, and later the people opened up the inner circle to make the shape of a horseshoe. Even more interestingly, we found out that the stones were not all the same types. We learned that some of the stones were bluestone, which was brought in from Wales. Then, an earthwork in the form of a perfect circle was dug around the stones with 2 more inside. From an aerial view, the earthworks look so perfect that it doesn’t seem that humans could make them. The whole location looks like it was put there by extraterrestrial efforts.

The cool thing is, Stonehenge is not abandoned today. Even though a lot of stones have fallen and now there are several menhirs (isolated standing stone), it is still the location of a huge celebration during the summer solstice. As we learned, many citizens of England and tourists come there for the summer solstice in order to meet the season, to use the celebration as a “renewal” of emotional and spiritual energy, and of course, to party and have a good time. We also learned that there are many neo-pagans that use Stonehenge during both the summer and winter solstices for their spiritual and religious reasons. Overall I really enjoyed this class and learned a lot about the great discoveries of archaeology that shape the world we live in today.

Bonus Blog

I’m not entirely sure if anyone can say that one specific site is more important than another. I don’t think we can really compare all the different sites we talked about in terms of important because they give an idea of what the people, culture, and time was in that area and time.

The site that I thought was most interesting site was Machu Picchu. Just by looking at it (or seeing pictures of it) you can tell how incredible the site is. Taking a closer look at it becomes even more amazing with how painstakingly the stones were cut and put into place, and knowing it was built almost 8,000 feet above sea level on a mountain. It is an absolute masterpiece of architecture, which tells a lot about the Incan culture and technology.

One of the more interesting parts of the site is the drainage system that was built specifically for the needs of the area, as well as the water supply system that would prevent the buildings from falling down the mountain and have drinking water be made accessible to the people. A canal descends the mountain slope, enters the city walls, passes through the agricultural sector, then crosses the inner wall into the urban sector, where it feeds a series of 16 fountains known as the stairway of fountains.

The site rested on top of a ridge with a roughly 50 percent slope and received almost 2,000 mm of rainfall. For their city to endure, the Inca had to find a way to keep it from sliding down the mountain. Part of the drainage systems include the agricultural terraces, which not only  maximized the land available for farming, the terraces also protected the agricultural sector from erosion. They layered each terrace for efficient drainage, with a layer of stones at the bottom, followed by gravel, sandy material, and topsoil. The slope of terraces generally directs water toward a system of drainage channels that are integrated with stairways and other structures. These channels direct the drainage water to a large, east-west main drain that runs through the center of Machu Picchu, separating the agricultural and urban sectors. Gravity flow carries runoff into the main drain in both sectors, taking it safely away from the city. Inca also constructed their plazas in the same way as their terraces, with a deep subsurface layer of rock chips. The plazas received runoff from other areas of Machu Picchu, and the subsurface layer of rocks helped the water to penetrate the ground quickly.

Overall, Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade. The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites, but scholars are still looking to uncover clues to the mysteries of the site.

Without iron, wheels, or steel, it is a truly impressive achievement from the Inca.

Bonus Blog: Machu Picchu

Every one of the cultures we have discussed this year and their respective archaeological sites are greatly captivating, interesting and exciting in  their own ways. They all differently express mankind’s ability to adapt, overcome, provide and show progress all around the world even in ancient times. Of these awe-inspiring examples of the feats of man’s will, however, the site and culture which brought me the most pleasure in learning about was definitely the Inca people’s site at Machu Picchu, in Peru.

What I find so special in the site at Machu Picchu is how the Inca were able to put this piece of architecture in such a forbidding location. High on a remote mountain ridge, 8,000 feet up in the Andes, the location sits along a fault line as well, which makes it a sitting duck for seismic activity in the region. The spot was most likely picked because it sat by a holy river and also in proximity, in the cardinal directions, of four large mountain deities of the Inca beliefs. The ingenious architecture itself at Machu Picchu also struck my wonder when learning about it in lecture and while watching a video on it in class. Inca architects and builders formed the entire city of Machu Picchu by fashioning huge granite stones, one by one, so that each stone would fit in perfectly with its neighboring stones. In a climate that receives a good amount of rainfall annually, the Inca kept Machu Picchu from basically sliding down the mountain with their genius drainage and terrace systems. Extensive filtering systems of soil, sand and rock below the city and its terraces, and over 100 drains for run-off water throughout the city worked perfectly to move water away and keep it from harming the city’s foundation; the terraces supported farming in such high altitudes also. The Inca were even built canals to draw water from a nearby spring and feed Machu Picchu’s fountains for both beauty and drinking water. It’s crazy to me how the Inca designed such sophisticated systems beneath Machu Picchu, enabling the site to work so well in a place where one would least expect it!

The mystery of Machu Picchu is also an interesting aspect when learning about it. Hiram Bingham III thought it to be the lost Incan city of Ilcabamba when he first found it, though that is known to be far from accurate. The use of Machu Pichhu, however, is still not known for sure; many think it was a royal estate for the emperor and his royalty to retreat to for vacations of some sorts. Most mysterious about the site is how it was undisturbed when Bingham came upon it. The Spanish defaced all other Incan establishments when they conquered the empire, so, luckily, they must have never even known of Machu Picchu or its whereabouts.

I find the Inca culture and their story to be one of the most intriguing of those discussed this semester as well. They had such a vast empire and conquered so much in only about 100 years of existence as an empire. Extensive road networks connected the large empire through communication and trade, and their use of quipu kept such accurate and sophisticated data record without even needing to establish a form of writing. It’s hard to believe that the Spanish were able to topple such a vast, populous and sophisticated empire in such short time. Looking on the bright side of that, however, the rapid collapse of the Inca left the site at Machu Picchu untouched and intact for us to enjoy.

Bonus Blog

Over the course of the semester we have learned about many different discoveries, as is pretty obvious because of the name if the class, but I do believe that some were more important than others. I know some people have had a difficult time choosing which one they found was the biggest, but one cam to my mind almost immediately/ They discovery of the Mayans and their downfall would have to be the one that I believe is the most influential and the most important to our future. Not only that, but finding an ancient city and knowing that the descendants of the people we are talking about make it so much better.

The first thing that I would like to discuss would be the way that these ancient Mayans made themselves completely different from any other civilization at the time, such as the Incas or the Aztecs. The Mayans had city states and each ruled their section. With the emblem glyphs they made others aware of their possession of certain places. The four big cities fought with each other, but each city had their own thing going on. When discovered Tikal and Calakmul had their own Temples dedicated to their specific Kings that were enormous in size. Also, I loved the fact that this population was so obsessed with one particular game. These ancient peoples showed that doing something new, becoming something different in the aspect of politics or society, isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it reminds me a little of how the US took many different aspects of other governments before its time and remixed them to get what we have today.

The other part of the Mayan story that I really admired and liked learning about was their unwillingness to be taken over. When the Spanish came, and no doubt the Spanish were a much bigger and more advanced force than the Mayans, the ancient Mayan people held strong and lasted much longer than any of the other civilizations of the time. At first they were polite and offered gold, which I completely agree was a horrible idea though they didn’t know it at the time. Then as the Spanish came back to continue and try to make these people their slaves, and tried to find the gold they were so sure the Mayans were hiding, the Spanish continued to run away multiple times because these multiple city states were not going to back down.

I feel that the tenacity and strength of these people that continue to fight against the oppression that holds them down to this day, should be recognized. People still haven’t learned that conquering and ruling others is not acceptable and that it almost never works out well for anybody. So, I feel that rediscovering the ancient Mayans and their story helps to warn people against what the Spanish did, and also helps to give strength to those that are maybe in a similar position.