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More terracotta warriors unearthed in China

Image
© Agence France Presse/Getty Images
Chinese archaeologists at work in the extended excavation of the Pit One of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum in Xian, using delicate equipment to help preserve the detailed work in their original production more than 2,000 years ago, of the latest terracotta warrior find in Xian, China's Shaanxi province.

Image
© Agence France Presse/Getty Images
Chinese archaeologists at work in the extended excavation of the Pit One of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum in Xian, June 9, 2012.

Sherlock

Plucked from the Earth after 2,000 years: Archaeologists unveil 120 stunning new figures after third dig at terracotta warriors' site

Archeologists working on the latest dig at the site of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an say the project has already turned up vital historical finds.
Image
© Zhang Yuan / China News Service
Painstaking: Archaeologists at work in the extended excavation of the Pit One of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum in Xian, China where they are measuring and recording the dimensions of the latest terracotta warrior find
Experts restarted work on the No 1 pit of the Terracotta Warriors in 2009 and have so far unearthed 310 artifacts, including parts of chariots, weapons and tools, along with 12 pottery horses in three groups, and about 120 more warriors.

"For the first time, we have found a painted, cortex shield on a chariot, which is the first of its kind to be discovered in any of the three pits," said Cao Wei, curator of the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang.

Shields used by soldiers in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) were 60 cm long and 40 cm wide, with red, green and white geometric patterns.

"The shield was partly broken, and it's believed it was the type used by a high-ranking official, as it's larger and had colorful patterns," said Zhang Weixing, a researcher on the archaeology team.

Hardhat

Short History of Upper Peninsula of Michigan Copper Mining

mining stones
© Unknown
Copper was first mined in this area by an ancient vanished race between 5,000 and 1,200 bc. These miners left no burial grounds, dwellings, pottery, clay tablets or cave drawings. What was left behind was thousands of copper producing pits and more thousands of crude hammering stones with which the pits had been worked. The ancients apparently worked the copper bearing rock by alternately using fire and cold water, to break the copper ore into smaller pieces from which they could extract the metal with hand held hammering stones or stone hatchets. With this copper, they made tools.

Scientists and engineers estimate that it would have required 10,000 men 1,000 years to develop the extensive operations carried on throughout the region. It is estimated that 1.5 billion pounds of copper were mined by these unknown people.

The pure copper of Lake Superior has been discovered in prehistoric cultures throughout North and South America.

mining tools
© Unknown
The mystery of their origin remains unsolved. The mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved.

Many hammered copper knives, arrow and spear heads and axes were recovered at ancient mining sites. Some fine examples are on display at Fort Wilkins.

In 1842, the Chippewa ceded all claims to 30,000 square miles of the Upper Peninsula to the United States Government. The Copper Rush was on. In 1843, before the western gold rush of the '49ers, thousands came to the Copper Country to try their luck.

The first mining rush came to Copper Harbor. All travel was by boat, there were no roads. Copper Harbor became a bustling sea town.

Comment: Interestingly, Cassiopaean Experiment has references to the origin of this mining.

Session 20 August 2001

Q: What group mined the copper in northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, like in Isle Royale?
A: Aryans.
Q: What did they want the copper for?
A: Weapons.
Q: Wouldn't iron make better weapons?
A: Not in 4th density.


Sherlock

Measuring up: Ancient jugs hold the secret to practical mathematics in Biblical times

ancient measuring jugs
© American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Because we're used to the metric system, which defines units of volume based on the cube, modern archaeologists believed that the merchants of antiquity could only approximately assess the capacity of these round jugs.
Archaeologists in the eastern Mediterranean region have been unearthing spherical jugs, used by the ancients for storing and trading oil, wine, and other valuable commodities. Because we're used to the metric system, which defines units of volume based on the cube, modern archaeologists believed that the merchants of antiquity could only approximately assess the capacity of these round jugs, says Prof. Itzhak Benenson of Tel Aviv University's Department of Geography.

Now an interdisciplinary collaboration between Prof. Benenson and Prof. Israel Finkelstein of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures has revealed that, far from relying on approximations, merchants would have had precise measurements of their wares - and therefore known exactly what to charge their clients.

The researchers discovered that the ancients devised convenient mathematical systems in order to determine the volume of each jug. They theorize that the original owners and users of the jugs measured their contents through a system that linked units of length to units of volume, possibly by using a string to measure the circumference of the spherical container to determine the precise quantity of liquid within.

The system, which the researchers believe was developed by the ancient Egyptians and used in the Eastern Mediterranean from about 1,500 to 700 BCE, was recently reported in the journal PLoS ONE. Its discovery was part of the Reconstruction of Ancient Israel project supported by the European Union.

Palette

Stoneage Artists Created Prehistoric Movies

Stoneage Painting
© HTO/Wikimedia Commons
Lions painted in the Chauvet Cave.
Stone Age artists used‭ ‬cartoon-like techniques to give the impression that wild beasts were trotting or running across cave walls,‭ ‬a new study‭ has suggested.

‭Reporting in ‬ the June issue of Antiquity, archaeologist Marc Azéma of the University of Toulouse - Le Mirail in France and independent French artist Florent Rivère, argued that by about‭ ‬30,000‭ ‬years ago Paleolithic artists used "animation effects" in their paintings. To render the movement, they deconstructed it in successive images.

According to the researchers, this would explain multiple heads or limbs on some cave paintings.

"Prehistoric man foreshadowed one of the fundamental characteristics of visual perception, retinal persistence," Azéma and Rivère wrote.

Azéma, who spent ‭ ‬20‭ ‬years researching Stone Age animation techniques,‭ isolated 53 ‬figures in‭ ‬12‭ ‬French caves which superimpose two or more images to represent trot or gallop,‭ ‬head tossing and tail shaking.‭

"Lascaux is the cave with the greatest number of cases of split-action movement by superimposition of successive images. Some 20 animals, principally horses, have the head, legs or tail multiplied," Azéma said.

When the paintings are viewed by flickering torchlight, the animated effect "achieves its full impact," said Azéma.

"That such animation was intentional is endorsed by the likely use of incised disks as thaumatropes," he added.

Clock

The Antikythera Time Machine

Antikythera
© Marsyas via Wikimedia Commons
Part of the Antikythera Mechanism.
Leonardo da Vinci may have left behind sketches of helicopters, tanks and submarines but it is rare that we find actual artifacts that seem so way ahead of their time. Almost like a science fiction tale of archaeologists finding a wristwatch buried deep in an Egyptian pyramid or motorcar under the foundations of Stonehenge, we do have an example of a scientific computer that was built between 150 and 100 BC. It was so advanced, nothing as complex would be developed again until the 14th century.

The Antikythera mechanism was lost to the world for centuries. The device was salvaged in 1900 from a ship that sank en route to Rome, in the 1st century BC, between Crete and the island of Antikythera in the Mediterranean. When one of the fragments was discovered to contain a bronze gear wheel, the idea that this was some kind of astronomical clock was dismissed as too fantastic an anachronism. It was not until 1951 that the investigation was picked up by a British science historian Derek J. de Solla Price. So far 82 fragments have been recovered of what is now considered the oldest known astronomical computer.

The device is made of bronze and contains 30 gears though it may have had as many as 72 originally. Each gear was meticulously hand cut with between 15 and 223 triangular teeth, which were the key to discovering the mechanism's various functions. It was based on theories of astronomy and mathematics developed by Greek astronomers who may have drawn from earlier Babylonian astronomical theories and its construction could be attributed to the astronomer Hipparchus or, more likely, Archimedes the famous Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer. Why it was built, or for whom is unknown.

Sherlock

Amelia Earhart Survived as Castaway, Newly Discovered Artifacts Suggest

Amelia Earhart jar
© TIGHAR
The jar was recovered from a remote island site where Amelia Earhart may have survived for a time as a castaway.
A small cosmetic jar offers more circumstantial evidence that the legendary aviator, Amelia Earhart, died on an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.

The jar was found on a remote island where Amelia Earhart may have lived as a castaway.
  • A small cosmetic jar found on a remote island in the Pacific offers new clues in the Amelia Earhart mystery.
  • The artifact could have been a jar of Dr. Berry's Freckle Ointment, a concoction once used to fade freckles.
  • It's well documented Amelia had freckles and disliked having them.

Info

Great Wall of China Twice As Long As Thought

Great Wall
© Nicolas M. Perrault/Wikimedia Commons.
The Great Wall of China, near Beijing.
The Great Wall of China is more than twice as long as originally believed, according to the first definitive archaeological survey of the iconic ancient defensive structure.

Released by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), the survey began in 2007, mapping every trace of the wall across 15 Chinese provinces.

It emerged that the wall is much longer than previously thought. Indeed, it measures 13,170.6956 miles, or 21,196.18 km. A preliminary study released in 2009 estimated the wall to snake 5,500 miles, or 8,850 km across the country.

A total of 43,721 heritage sites were identified during the survey, "including stretches of the wall, defense works and passes, as well as other related Great Wall facilities and ruins," Tongo Mingkang, SACH deputy chief, said.

Known to the Chinese as the "Long Wall of 10,000 Li", the Great Wall is the world's largest human-made structure -- a series often overlapping fortifications made of stone, bricks and earthen works whose construction begun as early as the 7th century BC.

The defensive structure was first linked up under Emperor Qin Shi Huang in about 220BC. to protect the ancient Chinese empire from marauding tribes from the north.

Since then, many dynasties have maintained and renovated the wall. The majority of the existing structure was reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Sherlock

19th-Century "Time Capsule" Warship Emerging Near D.C.

A warship submerged for two centuries in a river near Washington, D.C., could provide new insight into the relatively obscure War of 1812, say archaeologists who are preparing to excavate the wreck.

The war started because the British, who had been fighting with France since 1803, imposed restrictions on U.S. trade with the French, infuriating Americans. Relations worsened when British ships began intercepting U.S. vessels on the high seas, removing any British-born sailors, and forcing them to serve in the British navy.

The U.S. Congress declared war on the British - including their Canadian colonists - in June 1812.

Image
© Naval History and Heritage Command, U.S. Navy
Ceramic bowls, a clay pipe, medical gear, and a grog cup are among artifacts recovered from earlier work at the shipwreck site

Fish

World's Oldest - 9,000 Year-old Fish Trap Discovered

Archaeologists have unearthed what they believe are the oldest known fish traps that date back to at least 9,000 years.

The remains of seven basket traps were discovered in the Baltic Sea off Sweden by a team of marine archaeologists from Stockholm's Sodertorn University.

The ancient finger-thick hazel rods are thought to be the remains of stationary basket traps, the researchers said.

"This is the world's oldest find when it comes to fishing," Johan Ronnby, a professor in marine archaeology, was quoted as saying by British media.

Arne Sjostrom, a fellow archaeologist who worked on the Sodertorn project, said the sticks seemed to have been used as a "sort of fence to lead the fish into a creel or they were part of the actual creel".