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Discovery News Rossella Lorenzi on mummies, buried treasures and more


Dig Diary
2008-03-10 15:30:00
Follow the daily work of John Hopkins University Egyptologist Betsy Bryan at the Temple of the goddess Mut in Luxor, Egypt. Bryan has posted three updates -- just click on the thumbnail image to read her reports. “... after two levels, a feature has appeared...” “... we see a trench of sandstone chip crossing the trench from north to south..." “... it is an interesting puzzle for us to consider..."
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International Women's Day
2008-03-08 15:53:00
"And yet they say we live secure at home, while they are at the wars, with their sorry reasoning, for I would gladly take my stand in battle array three times o'er, than once give birth." Medea by Euripides
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The World's Top 10 Museums
2008-03-05 15:56:00
TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel community, announced the top 10 most popular art museums in the world.  The list was compiled through an analysis of the search activity and postings on the website, which attracts some 30 million hits per month. It features six European museums and four US galleries, with the Louvre topping the list. It is interesting to notice that eight out of ten museums feature ancient art  in their collections. Here is the top 10, complete with reviews of TripAdvisor travelers. 1. Musee du Louvre, Paris, France : "The world's greatest museum-from its Italian Renaissance Masters, to its Dutch Masters and the exquisite collection from Egypt's Pharaonic period. Each time I visit I always discover new treasures and I reacquaint myself with my favorites." 2. Vatican Museums , Vatican City, Rome, Italy : "The amount of history and art that is located here is mind-boggling, from the frescoes to the statues, virtually every nook and corner (even...
Dig Diary
2008-03-04 13:56:00
Follow the daily work of John Hopkins University Egyptologist Betsy Bryan at the Temple of the goddess Mut in Luxor, Egypt. Bryan has posted another update -- just click on the thumbnail image to read her report. “... we will now begin to excavate a small square...”
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Shroud of Turin Goes Digital
2008-02-28 17:23:00
As promised, here is an update on the Turin shroud -- and a video too.
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Dig Diary
2008-02-25 14:18:00
Follow the daily work of John Hopkins University Egyptologist Betsy Bryan at the Temple of the goddess Mut in Luxor, Egypt. Two updates -- just click on the thumbnail images to access to online diary. “...The journey of another block...” “... As the plane circles around, the view of the Mut Temple enclosure from the south appears ...”
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The Turin Shroud: Testing A New Hypothesis
2008-02-23 14:13:00
A BBC documentary, to be aired on Easter Sunday, is going to reopen the debate around the dating of the Turin shroud, one of the most controversial relics in Christendom. Venerated by many Catholics as the proof that Christ was resurrected from the grave, the shroud was dismissed as a brilliant, medieval fake twenty years ago, following radiocarbon dating. Indeed, in 1988, three reputable laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona, concluded that the cloth on which the smudged outline of the body of a man is indelibly impressed, was a medieval fake dating from 1260 to 1390, and not the burial cloth wrapped around the body of Christ. Since then, the shroud has been at the centre of increasing debates over the validity of the carbon-14 tests. The latest claim, based on microchemical tests, suggested that the sample used for the 1988 dating was taken not from the shroud, but from a rewoven area of the linen. The documentary will investigate “a new hypothesis that co...
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Dig Diary
2008-02-20 11:19:00
Follow the daily work of John Hopkins University Egyptologist Betsy Bryan at the Temple of the goddess Mut in Luxor, Egypt. Two updates -- just click on the thumbnail images to access to online diary. “.......You see here a block that has part of the carved and painted legs of a king....” “... So often what appears to be the trace of a sign is only the natural erosion surface...”
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Afghanistan: More Treasures Coming To Light
2008-02-19 19:17:00
From today Discovery News story
More About: Afghanistan , Light , Treasures
Dig Diary
2008-02-18 18:04:00
Follow the daily work of John Hopkins University Egyptologist Betsy Bryan at the Temple of the goddess Mut in Luxor, Egypt. This is the eighth year that Bryan and her team are excavating 3,000 year old remains around the temple. In 2006, the team discovered a statue of Queen Tiye, which is now housed in the Cairo Museum. Here is online diary of their excavation. To follow the day to day progress of the JHU Expedition, click on the thumbnail images in the calendar below.   February 2008 S M T W T F S           1 2 ...
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New Love Nest For Prehistoric Romeo And Juliet
2008-02-14 17:51:00
Foto: SAP per Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Lombardia. Clipped from Forget Juliet ’s house in Verona. A visit to an archaeological museum might be the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day next year. The National Archaeological Museum in Mantova will soon be the permanent love nest for the “Love rs of Valdaro”, a neolithic couple buried in love for more than 5,000 years. The prehistoric lovers, locked in the longest known hug, were discovered last year in a Mantova suburb of farmland and factories. Since then, they have been resting face to face, their arms and legs entwined in an eternal embrace, in a room at the archaeological laboratory in Como. “Analysis are still going on, but I can tell you that their gender has now been established. We are talking of a young couple, a man and a woman. By the end of the year, they will go on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Mantova,” Elena Menotti, the archaeolo...
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Scientists Crack Renaissance Murder Mysteries
2008-02-05 18:53:00
Pico della Mirandola (left) and Poliziano Two great cold cases of the Renaissance have been solved. Italian scientists say they can prove that Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Agnolo Ambrogini, better known as Poliziano, were given a lethal dose of arsenic. Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano, two of the geniuses at the 15th century court of Lorenzo de' Medici, died within a few weeks of each other in 1494. Pico the philosopher, celebrated for his prodigious memory, died at only 31, Poliziano the poet at 40. Rumours about poisoning spread quickly. Another theory was that they died from syphilis, which killed thousands in Europe at the end of the 15th century. Now, more than 500 years after their mysterious deaths, DNA analysis on the exhumed remains has established beyond doubt that Pico and Poliziano were poisoned. Clear evidence of poisoning comes from high levels of arsenic, especially in Pico’s tissues and nails, the Italian news agency Adnkronos reports. The m...
More About: Murder , Scientists , Crack
The Super Bowl And The Ancient Hohokams
2008-01-31 18:14:00
The University of Phoenix stadium, the site of the Super Bowl XLII, has its roots in a network of sophisticated canal systems once built by the ancient Hohokams, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times: "Centuries ago, native people known as the Hohokam built an agricultural civilization on a stretch of desert known today as Arizona's Valley of the Sun. Some archaeologists believe the brutally arid climate forced the people to scatter in search of milder environs, leaving behind miles of irrigation channels, stick-figure pictographs and no forwarding address. From the ashes of that civilization rose one of America's fastest-growing assemblies of planned urban developments, golf courses and cactus, and it will host Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3." Here is an interesting website about this mysterious civilization believed to have lived in central and southern Arizona for about 1,500 years. Courtesy: Michael Tang/University of Colorado at Denver
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Hidden Afghanistan: The Recovered Treasure
2008-01-25 13:41:00
The treasure was sealed in seven trunks and hid in a vault carved out of rock. It was protected by a steel gate bolted shut by seven locks, with keys held by seven people. The vault could only be opened if all seven keys were used. If any of the key holders died, the key reverted to his eldest son. It is not a fable. It is the real story of the archaeological treasures kept in Kabul's National Museum. In 1979, when the Soviets Union invaded the country, the museum had some 100,000 objects on display. As well as causing two million deaths, the Russian invasion destroyed the country's economy and the cultural infrastructure. Many treasures were plundered. But the low point for the museum came in 2001, when the Taliban regime, who opposed to any art displaying human or animal forms, wiped out not only the colossal figures of the Bamiyan Buddhas, but also 2,500 priceless artifacts at the museum. Luckly, the Taliban did not get it all. Already in 1988, when the situation wa...
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Michelangelo’s David too big for Florence
2008-01-18 16:49:00
How do you like it here? According to Paolo Cocchi, Tuscany’s culture councilor, Michelangelo’s David should stand in this dismissed railway station on the edge of the city ring road. The place, known as Stazione Leopolda, is set to become a new concert hall. “Florence has already reached the point at which tourism becomes unsustainable," Cocchi wrote in a letter to the minister of Culture and the Mayor of Florence. "To enlarge the area visited by tourists and reduce congestion in the centre would bring benefits for everyone." Every year, around 1.3 million tickets are sold for the Galleria dell’Accademia, where David has been the star attraction for 135 years. Moving the towering sculpture would be "extremely risky," according to Franca Falletti, the director of the Accademia Gallery. "There are cultural and conservation reasons that render this idea baseless and inopportune. The proposal is one that absolutely cannot be shared. For historical and scientific reasons ...
Naples garbage crisis: a 2,000 year old problem
2008-01-14 20:32:00
What do they have in common? Much more than you might think. The first image has become distressingly popular in Naples these days. The other shows some analysis carried on a titulus pictus, a painted inscription used to communicate decrees and measures in ancient Herculaneum. It was discovered in 2006 (here is my article ) on the eastern side of the city's water tank, but the find is now even more topical. Yes, Naples' mountains of garbage aren't just a modern-day problem: the inscription shows that even before Mount Vesuvius buried Herculaneum under 75 feet of ash, local authorities were already trying to reign in trash. "No Garbage Dumping," said the inscription, which was issued by two joint magistrates, Rufellius Romanus and Tetteius Severus. Local authorities were very strict, at that time. Transgressors, if free citizens, would have had to pay a big fine. Lashes were reserved for slaves.
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Digging Deep Into Da Vinci's Masterpieces
2008-01-09 23:40:00
Well, this isn't strictly archaeological. However, you have to dig hard to find what a group of Da Vinci theorists claim to have unearthed in Leonardo's masterpieces. Yes, another Da Vinci code is emerging from Leonardo's brushes, according to a forthcoming book by a group called "The Mirror of The Sacred Scriptures and Paintings," who believe that biblical images -- showing horrendous faces, demons and four legged women -- are hidden within the master's artworks. Here is my article and here is how Da Vinci's paintings are mirrored: It's an intriguing theory. Nevertheless, the claim has raised skepticism in Italy. It seems you can make mirrored images do what you want them to do. In his website computer scientist Mariano Tomatis shows what you can obtain by mirroring Pellizza da Volpedo's "Fourth Estate," Munch' s "The Scream," and even a picture of Marilyn Monroe. Here is a slideshow I created with pictures from his website. While the first two images show s...
More About: Deep
The Camels Are Safe
2007-12-28 20:52:00
I’m so happy about these little souvenirs I bought in Egypt a couple of years ago. It seems that the camels are safe -- for now. Egypt is planning to pass a law requiring royalties to be paid whenever copies are made of its cultural heritage -- from pyramids to the sphinx to scarab beetles. "The new law will completely prohibit the duplication of historic Egyptian monuments which the Supreme Council of Antiquities considers 100 percent copies," Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told the AFP. He added that the law "does not forbid local or international artists from profiting from drawings and other reproductions of pharaonic and Egyptian monuments from all eras -- as long as they don't make exact copies." Hawass however did not specify what constitutes a "100 percent" copy. While one can comprehend the proposal's goal  -- raising funds for the preservation and maintenance of Egypt’s precious monuments -- the ...
More About: Safe
No place, but home
2007-12-22 00:23:00
Italian officials have called it "an early Christmas present" to art and history lovers. But the exhibition Nostoi: Recovered Masterpieces, which has opened in Rome today, is much more. An allusion to a lost epic poem recounting the return of heroes from the Trojan War, Nostoi (from the Greek world nostos, meaning homecoming) is the symbolic conclusion of Italy's decade-long campaign to repatriate illegally trafficked antiquities. The Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities on display at the Quirinal presidential palace have all been returned by American museums in recent months. Ranging from finely painted ceramics to marble statues, from Etruscan architectural ornaments to gold and silver drinking vessels, the 68 objects came out of the ground in the last 30 years. Dug up by grave robbers, they were then sold to American museums such as the J. Paul Getty Museum in California, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the Princeton University Art Museum and the Metropolitan Mu...
More About: Home , Place
Archaeorama's Top 10 Discoveries of 2007 -- Part 2
2007-12-17 15:57:00
Here are the remaining five picks for the 2007’s most important discoveries. King Herod's Tomb Unearthed Near Jerusalem Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer and colleagues announced in May the discovery of the tomb of King Herod the Great, noted in the New Testament for his Massacre of the Innocents. Pieces of an elaborate sarcophagus believed to contain Herod's remains were found at Herodium, a mesa rising more than 2,475 feet above sea level some 12 7.5 miles south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Alexander the Great's Causeway Nobody could figure out how Alexander the Great managed to build a 0.6-mile-long causeway of timber and stone in deep waters to conquer the seemingly impenetrable island-fortress of Tyre in 332 B.C. A geological study published in May shows that Alexander’s engineers simply exploited a unique geomorphological context. “A shallow underwater sandbank existed between the island of Tyre and the mainland," explained Nick Marriner of the...
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Archaeorama's Top 10 Discoveries of 2007 -- Part 1
2007-12-14 00:33:00
It’s that time of the year again, when we look back at the year that almost was. Lots of important archaeological findings are dated 2007. This is my list of the top 10 discoveries, those that will be talked about for several years, I believe. Here are my first five picks, starting from the most recent finds....the next five will follow shortly. Mythical Roman 'She-Wolf' Cave Found Italian archaeologists announced the discovery of an underground grotto thought to have been the place of worship where Romans believed a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the god of war Mars who were abandoned in a basket and left adrift on the Tiber. Decorated with seashells and colored marble, the vaulted sanctuary is buried 52 feet inside the Palatine Hill -- video Knights  Templar were innocent  More than 5 meters of parchments, recovered from the Vatican archives, chronicle the accusations of heresy, the Templars' defense and the Pope's absolution of the o...
More About: Part , Discoveries
Is Italy's Spectacular Find Authentic?
2007-12-03 16:15:00
It’s the headline of an article in Der Spiegel. According to the German weekly, Italy's proud announcement of the discovery of the sacred cave linked to the myth of Rome's foundation, might have been nothing less than a dramatic attempt to save the country's national pride. In his rather depressing portrait of Italy, Matthias Schulz writes: Things are generally not going too well in Italy. The mafia refuses to let up. After police shot a fan in mid-November, there has been no end to the unrest in soccer stadiums. What's more, when a Romanian man killed a naval officer's wife, a wave of racism rippled across the country. The government -- splintered into myriad miniature parties -- is far more paralyzed than usual. And the turmoil continues: In a surprise move, opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi has dissolved his Forza Italia. He wants to establish a new party. So the headlines of the famous lupine cave emerge as a glimmer of hope -- at least on the horizon to a golde...
More About: Find , Spectacular
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