BBC: The key to cracking long-dead languages?

BBC: The key to cracking long-dead languages?. “…since cuneiform was first deciphered by scholars around 150 years ago, the script has only yielded its secrets to a small group of people who can read it. Some 90% of cuneiform texts remain untranslated. That could change thanks to a very modern helper: machine translation.”

Scientific American: Geologists Measure Bullet Damage to Ancient Middle Eastern Settlements

Scientific American: Geologists Measure Bullet Damage to Ancient Middle Eastern Settlements. “[Lisa] Mol, who specializes in rock art and rock deterioration, is now spearheading an initiative—the first of its kind—to quantify and catalogue the impacts of bullets in rock at a heritage site in the Middle East. The eventual goal is to inform efforts to conserve or repair such sites.”

Ars Technica: Archaeologists map centuries of history beneath world’s oldest cathedral

Ars Technica: Archaeologists map centuries of history beneath world’s oldest cathedral. “The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran doesn’t quite look its age. The basilica, where the Pope presides in his role as Archbishop of Rome, was already ancient when it was rebuilt in the 1650s…. Centuries of Roman history lie buried in the darkness in layers stretching down to 8.5 meters (27.89 feet) below the modern floor of the cathedral, and the subterranean archaeological sites are like a honeycomb through the city’s Caelian Hill. Now, using a combination of laser scanning and ground-penetrating radar, archeologists have made a complete map of the site.”

The Harvard Gazette: Fish teeth mark periods of evolution

The Harvard Gazette: Fish teeth mark periods of evolution. “Elizabeth Sibert is rewriting the story of how the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs affected fish, and she’s doing it one tooth at a time. Based on close examination of thousands of fossilized fish teeth, Sibert, a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, found that while the impact did cause some fish species to die off, it also set the stage for two periods of rapid evolution among marine life….Going forward, Sibert said she hopes to continue to build a database of fossil teeth and is working with collections at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) to connect the ancient teeth with modern fish.”

Azernews: New rock paintings discovered in Gobustan

Azernews: New rock paintings discovered in Gobustan. “Since the discovery, being at the center of attention of researchers, Gobustan rock paintings are a very interesting part of Azerbaijan history. More than 4-5,000 animals, human pictures, scenes drawn on rocks by generations coming one after another for thousands of years are the creativity of an ancient art school. As many as 521 new paintings and 14 new pictorial stones were discovered in Jingirdag-Yazilitepe area in recent years. The initial stage of the project ‘The Creation of a Digital Database of Rock Paintings’ is coming to an end. “

San Diego State University: A Glimpse Into the Long-ago

San Diego State University: A Glimpse Into the Long-ago . “Visitors to New York, London, Athens and other cities often flock to museums to view their collections of priceless Greek pottery dating from the BCE period. What visitors don’t see are the many other pottery fragments that lie, broken and forlorn, in the museums’ storerooms. Some of these fragments are the work of unscrupulous art dealers, who deliberately shattered small vases and urns and used the sherds to repair larger, more valuable pieces. Danielle Smotherman Bennett has ambitions to bring those pottery shards into the light with a digital archive that would eventually contain tens of thousands of 3-D models of sherds from museums around the world.”

The Conversation: America’s archaeology data keeps disappearing – even though the law says the government is supposed to preserve it

The Conversation: America’s archaeology data keeps disappearing – even though the law says the government is supposed to preserve it . “Today, nearly all archaeological fieldwork in the U.S. is executed by private firms in response to legal mandates for historic preservation, at a cost of about a billion dollars annually. However, only a minuscule fraction of the data from these projects is made accessible or preserved for future research, despite agencies’ clear legal obligations to do so. Severe loss of these data is not unusual – it’s the norm.”