BRIEFS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
CURRENT EDITION FEATURES
Searching for the Witches’ Tower
Archaeologists hunt for evidence of a 17th-century English family accused of witchcraft
Artists of the Dark Zone
Deciphering Cherokee ritual imagery deep in the caves of the American South
Life in the City of the Gods
Inside the neighborhoods of Teotihuacan, Mesoamerica’s first great metropolis
Farm to Emperor’s Table
Excavations reveal the inner workings of an ancient Roman imperial estate
Magical Beasts of Babylon
How the Ishtar Gate safeguarded the Mesopotamian world
For almost one hundred years the immense metropolis at Kerkenes in central Turkey has lain shrouded in mystery. Scholars have puzzled over this large pre-planned city apparently built and occupied by the Phrygians, of King Midas fame, for a brief period of time between the fall of the Assyrian Empire and rise of the Persian Empire around 550 BC. Over the past twenty-seven years, the site has been a showcase of new technologies being used alongside active excavation, useful in reconstructing the plan of the buried city and the activities and interactions of the people who inhabited it. Together, the latest excavations and technologies are shedding new light on what transpired in this ancient city in the years prior to its fiery destruction.
NOVEMBER 16, 2019
Dr. Scott Branting, professor at the University of Central Florida
The Rise and Fall of Kerkenes: New Technologies for Exploring Ancient Cities
JANUARY 25, 2020
Dr. Jacqueline Meier, professor at UNF, will present the results of her research into the lives of Neanderthals with some surprising findings.
FEBRUARY 15, 2020
Dr. John Cherry, Professor at Brown University, will present a lecture titled "Taking to the Water: New Evidence and New Debates about the Earliest Seafaring in the World.”
MARCH 21, 2020
Lisa Duffy, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Florida, will present the results of her fascinating research into pottery residues.
APRIL 18, 2020
Dr. Sarah Clayton, University of Wisconsin—Madison, will present a lecture titled “The End of Teotihuacan: Perspectives on Collapse and Regeneration from Beyond the Ancient Metropolis.”
MAY 16, 2020
Dr. James P. Delgado, Senior Vice President of SEARCH, INC, will present a lecture about the recent recovery of the Clotilda, the last ship to bring slaves into the United States. its location has long been the subject of great interest to archaeologists.
THIS SEASON'S LECTURES
IRELAND: A farmer in County Meath who long suspected something curious existed beneath his field was proved right—a recent investigation revealed clues about his land’s surprising medieval occupants. French pottery, a grain-drying oven, and other artifacts are evidence of an unusual community of French Cistercian monks who moved to Ireland around the 13th century. Instead of founding a typical monastery, though, the monks established a grange, raising sheep and growing crops that they sent back to their home monastery of De Bello Becco in Normandy.
ETHIOPIA: Given the harsh conditions, it’s notoriously difficult for humans to live at extreme altitudes. This did not deter some of our ancient ancestors. Evidence shows that humans were living at least 11,000 feet above sea level in the Bale Mountains some 40,000 years ago. Hearths, stone tools, animal bones, and human feces from the Fincha Habera rock shelter comprise the earliest-known evidence of a high-altitude residential site. It is believed that humans survived there by eating giant mole rats and drinking water from glacial runoffs.
ARCHAEOLOGY MAGAZINE NEWS
Seventeenth-Century Tunnel in Mexico Preserves Pre-Contact Artwork
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Dr. Branting is an archaeologist with specializations in the ancient Near East and geospatial science. He holds advanced degrees in archaeology and geography from the University at Buffalo and the University of Chicago. For ten years he served as the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. He directs the Kerkenes Project in central Turkey, an enormous ancient city that was built around 600 BC by the Phrygians of King Midas fame and destroyed around 547 BC during the rise of the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great. The Kerkenes Project seeks to understand this ancient city, and aspects of other cities by comparison, through excavations, remote sensing, and advanced simulations. Dr. Branting is also involved in using satellite images to monitor cultural heritage sites from space, and has worked on archaeological projects around the world.
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ECATEPEC, MEXICO—Mexico News Daily reports that archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History have discovered 11 images built into the walls of a 27-foot-long tunnel dating to the seventeenth century. The tunnel is part of a 2.5-mile-long network of dikes first constructed in the fifteenth century by Moctezuma I to regulate the flow of water into Mexico City, which was built on an island in the center of an inland lake system. The dike was destroyed by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, and later rebuilt to control flooding. Archaeologist Raúl García said the images in the tunnel include a war shield, the head of a bird of prey, and a paper ornament. A picture of a temple, or teocalli, dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc, was etched into the central stone in the arch at the entrance to the tunnel. García suggests the petroglyphs and stucco relief panels could have been carved by people who lived in the nearby towns of Ecatepec and Chiconautla before the arrival of the Spanish and were later incorporated into the tunnel by people from the towns who worked on the rebuild. Four iron nails, two wooden beams, and a pile of organic material found in the tunnel may have been part of a gate to the seventeenth-century dike, García added. To read about the remains of the Aztecs' buried capital city, go to "Under Mexico City."
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