The Getty Iris: An International Conservation Partnership Is Preserving Herculaneum, Ancient Roman Town Buried by Vesuvius. “Herculaneum began to be formally excavated in 1738, mainly via tunnels in the volcanic tuff (rock made from ash and other debris from an eruption). In the late nineteenth century, open-air excavation began, followed by a more systematic approach from 1927 until 1961 led by archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri. In decades following, the site’s rapid deterioration and lack of resources for its maintenance had many crying in alarm. Historical images taken during Maiuri’s time at the site—compared with later conditions—clearly illustrate the disturbing rate of deterioration and loss.”
Florida Museum: New Data Platform Illuminates History Of Humans’ Environmental Impact. “The human environmental footprint is not only deep, but old. Ancient traces of this footprint can be found in animal bones, shells, scales and antlers at archaeological sites. Together, these specimens tell the millennia-long story of how humans have hunted, domesticated and transported animals, altered landscapes and responded to environmental changes such as shifting temperatures and sea levels. Now, that story is available digitally through a new open-access data platform known as ZooArchNet, which links records of animals across biological and archaeological databases.”
Route Fifty: Finding History Along the Highway. “A one-inch grey pipe stem excavated by Maryland state archeologists doesn’t look like much. But this artifact dug up on a site near a rural stretch of highway eventually led to an important clue about the lives of enslaved people in the state about 200 years ago. DNA found inside the stem was identified as belonging to a woman and linked to people currently living in Sierra Leone—a rare breakthrough in using genetic testing to uncover the history of people divorced from their homelands in West Africa when forced onto slave ships.”
Ars Technica: Declassified photos from U2 planes are helping archaeologists unlock the past. “During the 1950s and 1960s, US spy planes made regular flights across Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, photographing the terrain to track military targets. A chunk of the Middle Eastern photographs were declassified in 1997, and now those airborne images are helping archaeologists track changing features in the landscape that in many cases are no longer visible today, according to a new paper published in Advances in Archaeological Practice.”
IrishCentral: Thousands of Ireland’s ring forts to be documented in new social media account. “[Keith] O’Faoláin wrote that he is using data from the Archaeological Survey of Ireland’s database of the National Monuments Service Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). In the dataset, 30,0125 sites in Ireland are categorized as rath, cashel, or ringfort, but O’Faoláin is working with 29,772 sites that have correct coordinates.” If you’d like to learn more about ring forts, Daily Kos has an extensive article.
Archaeological Institute of America: Launch of New Website for Cultural Property Protection Groups . “The new website of the Cultural Heritage by Archaeology and the Military Panel (CHAMP) is now active! CHAMP’s sister organization, Military Cultural Heritage Advisory Group (MilCHAG), is now sharing the website. MilCHAG has the same overall goal of protecting endangered cultural heritage, but the group focuses on directly helping military personnel plan, train, and operate to protect cultural property in areas in conflict.”
SBS News (Australia): ‘Flying blind’: Researchers call for national database of Indigenous sites. “Researchers have called for the development of a national database of historical and culturally significant Indigenous sites after findings that the lack of an up-to-date, national record has led to issues with the management of sites, including an inability to engage with threats such as climate change.”