Friday, March 30, 2012

Hot Links


A looter has been convicted for stealing Civil War artifacts from the Petersburg battlefield in Virginia. The picture shows cans of minie balls he collected.

Reanalysis of a Pleistocene ground sloth bone from a museum in Ohio determined that it showed butcher marks. I believe this is the first evidence for ground sloth butchering in North America. There are many Paleoindian sites with evidence of bison and mammoth hunting, but not much evidence of hunting other megafauna. It's only been in recent years that we have found the first Paleoindian horse and camel kill sites. This specimen comes from a Jefferson's ground sloth (one of the big boys!) and is radiocarbon dated to between 13,435 and 13,738 BP. There's a reason we store these things in museums!

Chocolate Allergies Linked to Cockroach Parts. I just couldn't resist that headline.

A DNA study of modern cattle has come to the conclusion that all our current domesticated cattle are descended from a single herd of aurochs that lived about 10,500 years ago.

The shipwreck of the Titanic has been much in the news lately, with James Cameron's further exploration there and the coming reissuance of the popular movie in 3D. This article provides a very different perspective as it discusses the large amounts of trash that have been deposited in the wreck area since 1912.

Archaeologist Bill Kelso will receive a well-deserved honor: he is being made an Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In the 1990s, Kelso led the excavation team that relocated the original Jamestown fort in Virginia dating to 1607. It had long been thought that the fort had eroded into the James River and been lost, but Kelso proved that wasn't so. I recently bought a copy of Kelso's book on his quest, Jamestown, The Buried Truth.

I posted about the important Turkish archaeological site of Gobekli Tepe a few months ago. This study on source analysis of obsidian artifacts from the site shows that the raw material comes from a wide variety of sources from all over Anatolia. That's pretty much what you would expect to find at a site that was an important regional ceremonial center.

This report from a Grand Junction, Colorado TV station tells of some historic Spanish artifacts recently found in the Grand Valley near there. They got a little carried away: I believe they mean 16th and 17th centuries. I hadn't heard about this discovery and look forward to hearing more.

4 comments:

Kitty said...

FTA: ...metal detecting in the National Battlefield with his dog was his only outlet.

Several years ago I visited a Gettysburg gift shop and noticed they had Civil War ammunition for sale. I had already visited the battlegrounds and had seen the signs warning against scavenging. So I asked how they came by the ammo. They explained that when you take your dog for a walk at night you also take a flashlight and a metal detector, because when the dog throws his metal collar, you'll need the metal detector to find it {wink wink nudge nudge}.

Chas Clifton said...

As to the last item, how come no one mentions the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776, which did pass through the Grand Junction area.

Seems like you have to rule out what is know before you start speculating about what is not known.

And of course Ms. TV news person is chronologically challenged.

A. Lane Batot said...

Regarding the domestication of cattle, and those folks that think that wolves were too difficult/dangerous for prehistoric man to tame--who was the nut that decided he'd/she'd start keeping wild Aurochs about the place?!!.....And as for EARLY Spanish settlements--remember our little discussion awhile back about melungeon origins and early(1500's) settlements in the Southern Appalachians(which they have solid evidence for now--archaeological even if the DNA evidence is too mish-mashed to be definitive)--those settlements were supposed to link up with others out West they were trying to establish at the time--so it is quite feasible therewere some attempts that early(even if they ultimetely failed). An early settlement chapter in our county's history often overlooked. Google stuff about "Juan Pardo expeditions" for more info on that.....

Retrieverman said...

I don't think this study examined indicus cattle (zebus).

There is a pretty wide mtDNA variance between indicus and taurine cattle.

http://www.pnas.org/content/91/7/2757.full.pdf

Indicus cattle domestication is a lot less clear. The aurochs that was their ancestor went extinct not long after the domestication event.

I'd like to see what y-chromosome analysis exists on aurochs, because I know I read somewhere that certain cattle in Italy were found to have European aurochs y-chromosomes.