Archive for 'Archaeology'
Archaeology has been romanticized in the movies, but even though it is a field that offers a lot less adrenaline rush in real life, it still attracts a lot of brilliant minds. They get a different kind of rush from the archaeological work that they do especially when on the field. If you are interested in this field then you might want to know some of the more famous names connected with it. Here are some of the more famous archaeologists of the 20th Century:
Leakey Family- This is a family of scientists now based in Kenya. Their field of expertise not only extends to archaeology but to anthropology as well. They have made tremendous contributions to science especially in the study of early man. They also play an active part when it comes to Kenyan politics.
Howard Carter- He is responsible for what is rightfully considered to be one of the most spectacular achievements in the history of the field, the discovery of the grave of the Egyptian king Tutankhamun. This discovery caught the imagination of the world and started a craze for ancient Egypt in the United States and Europe. He had to overcome great odds in order to reach this achievement.
Mortimer Wheeler- He developed a system for excavating sites that is still being used today. It was his idea to divide the site into grids so that artefacts could be monitored and marked more easily. It also made the division of work a lot easier. He was responsible for a string of notable discoveries in the Indian subcontinent. He was also probably the most famous archaeologist of his time because he hosted several shows that popularized the field.
Shinichi Fujimura- He is one of the leading names when it comes to archaeology in Japan and what is remarkable is that he is largely a self-thought expert. His interest in only started out as a hobby, but as he started working on some sites he was able to uncover some astonishing finds that were missed by professional archaeologists. He is credited with finding the oldest piece of stoneware to have been discovered in Japan
William Albright- Albright is a pioneer archaeologist and also the founder of the field known as Biblical Archaeology. He is also a first class linguist and Bible scholar. For a time he was considered to be the leading authority in America when it comes to Oriental studies.
These are just some of the more famous names when it comes to archaeology in the 20th Century.
Posted on 1 October '12 by Nubia, under Archaeology. No Comments.
Human civilization has been around for quite some time. Our ancestors have been through a lot. There have been famines, plagues, wars and revolutions. Cities and even whole civilizations have risen and some have crumbled and has left only a trace of their mark. In some cases the world has completely forgotten about these ancient people until recently, when we started uncovering the marks that they have left thanks to archaeology.
There have been some remarkable discoveries in the field of archaeology and here are just some of the most well-known:
Pompeii- Pompeii along with another Roman city, Herculaneum was buried under ash and lava when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. The site of the former city could be found near modern day Naples. The city was completely forgotten for almost two thousand years and it was only rediscovered in 1748. The city has allowed modern day people to have a look at the way that people lived in Roman times. It is also a grim reminder of the power of volcano with the figures of people who died in the eruption that were made in plaster casts, capturing their last moments.
Mohenjo Daro- The Indian subcontinent has been long known as the seat of ancient culture. That was proven when the city of Mohenjo-Daro was uncovered. This site can found in Pakistan and is in the middle of a flood plain. Back in ancient times however, the site was high above the flooding. Eventually the site was abandoned by the ancient people of the area and was forgotten. The place is remarkable because of the high degree of urban planning that was achieved in the construction of the city.
Angkor Wat- This is the largest Hindu temple and one of the largest religious structures in the whole world. The complex can be found in Cambodia and in fact, it adorns their flag. It was built by an emperor of the Khmer empire that ruled the area around 12th century. The site is a self-contained city protected by a moat.
Troy- Troy was the city that vanquished by the Greeks in the Iliad and it figures heavily in the classical mind. The problem is that its true site has been unknown which has led some thinkers to suppose that it was just a product of imagination of ancient writers. That was proven wrong by Heinrich Schliemann, he was the one who led the archaeological digs on the hill known as Hisarlik which finally uncovered the ancient city.
Posted on 23 August '12 by Nubia, under Archaeology. No Comments.
Since an archaeological dig is usually conducted in remote locations, the question of logistics can present a huge problem to the research team conducting it. This problem would even be more acute if the team were to live on the site and get all of their supplies from what they could bring. There would be the problem of essentials such a water, food and fuel.
Then there is also the problem of the supplies needed for the actual excavation work. These are tools needed for actually digging on a site, studying the artefacts and then preserving or storing the finds for shipping or exhibition.
Scaffolds and Tools- One of the most basic need for an archaeological site are scaffolds, especially if the site would have to go down for several meters. The scaffold would be needed by the research team in order to access the lower levels safely. It would also allow them to look at the different layers of the ground and study it. Transporting of scaffolds can be a problem since they are made of metal and are quite heavy. They would take up a great deal of space when being transported.
Here are some of the other tools needed by archaeologists to conduct their dig:
Surveying Transit- You might have seen surveyors using this tool. It looks like a camera on tripod and it is used for measuring distance of areas and the elevation. Archaeologists use it to measure the area of the site and how high it is.
Strings and Stakes- Researchers divide a site in squares so that they could work on it more easily and so that they could identify where an artefact was located. In order to do that they drive stakes on the ground and place strings on it to mark off the area.
Shovels- There are two types of shovels used in an archaeological dig. The first one is the round edged shovel and it is used for removing the surface dirt and soil. Once that has been removed a flat edged shovel is used in order to be more careful.
Trowel- As the diggers get down to the level where artefacts might be found they start to use smaller tools such as trowels and pickaxes. That is needed in order to make sure that they accidentally damage anything valuable underground.
Brushes- Once an artefact has been unearthed; brushes are used in order to remove the dirt and the soil from the ground.
There are other tools that are used by archaeologists but these are the most basic.
Posted on 23 July '12 by Nubia, under Archaeology. No Comments.
A dig or an excavation is one of the most used methods of obtaining information for archaeologists. Since their field is the study of ancient civilizations. Archaeologists spend as much time in the outdoors as they do inside their museums studying their finds. Before they could get those specimens that they have to pore over, they would have to get them first from the ground, and usually they have to dig it out. Because of that, they face unique problems especially when it comes to logistics that other scientists would not have to worry about.
While other scientists are able to conduct their study in the comfort of their laboratory or offices, an archaeologist must go out first and seek what he could study first and retrieve it. They would have to setup archaeological digs on sites of past settlements, cities, burial grounds and virtually anything that might contain artefacts. Normally these sites would be located on places that are remote and far from cities and places of present human habitation. That would mean that it is far from areas where the scientists and their team could get their supplies. That is not always the case but more usually it is so the leader of an archaeological expedition, aside from worrying about the techniques of digging and the scientific side of things, would also have to spend a great deal of time in thinking about how to get supplies to the site.
Lighting- One of the most serious concerns on a remote archaeological site is the problem of lighting. These places would be located in areas that might have no electrical supply and so setting up lights would be a problem and electrical contractors would be required to get it set up. The lighting would be crucial in sites that need to be worked on continuously, or on a 24 hour basis, or even after the dark has settled in. This is the case in sites where the digging has to be finished as soon as possible.
The team would have to setup electrical generators then and the more remote an area is, the problem it would be. The generators would be reliant on fuel which would also have to be brought over to the site. Not only is the lighting essential so that the digging could continue even after dark, but it would also be needed in order to secure the area against thieves or those who might go after the artefacts.
Posted on 14 June '12 by Nubia, under Archaeology. No Comments.