Here’s a quick look at the most recent windfall of popular archaeomags that has reached my big black mailbox. I’ve decided to terminate a few of the complimentary subscriptions, so these rundowns will be shorter and/or less frequent in the future. If you want, Dear Reader, you can check back at the five instalments I’ve written since late December: 23 Dec – 27 Jan – 15 March – 30 April – 14 June.
- To me, the high point of Archaeology Southwest #25:2 (spring ’11) are two aerial photographs of the Gran Quivira / San Buenaventura mission pueblo in central New Mexico (pp. 6-7). Here is a major Native American pueblo settlement with many very large kivas (round underground ceremonial rooms), all uncovered and neatly preserved – and at one end of the thing are two whopping big cathedral ruins built of exactly the same local stone. What a strange and intriguing historical situation in the 17th century, when Spanish monks supported by armed forces latched onto a local proto-urban culture and diverted its surplus resources to new religious and political ends.
- Skalk’s August issue (2011:4) presents some new funny gold foil figures and tiny figurines from Bornholm, probably deposited in the 6th century. The figurines are finer versions of the ugly little gold man from Lunda in Södermanland, but some of the foil figures are really strange. They’re not the usual rectangular piece of embossed foil, but the rarer foil cut-out figures – with an oversized face embossed on the chest/belly region (pic above). This face looks distinctly Roman to me. I wonder what they used as a die. Also, I enjoyed a piece by Inge Adriansen on the adventures of the Isted lion, a piece of repeatedly moved 1862 public sculpture caught up in the ethnic tension between Danes and Germans in contested Schleswig.
- British Archaeology #120 (Sept/Oct) notes that one of the decapitated Vikings found in a Dorset mass grave in 2009 had the horizontal filed grooves on his front teeth that have started to crop up in Viking populations everywhere. Apart from that, I must confess that what mainly caught my eye in this issue was the toothsome young lady operating a magnetometry rig in Stratascan’s advert. Babes always sell, I guess.
- In Current Archaeology’s October issue (#259), don’t miss the piece on the seventeen 1st / 2nd century altars to Jupiter found in 1870, buried in pits near the Roman fort of Maryport on the coast of Cumbria. Documentation was sketchy at the time, and the idea has been that the altars were ritually decommissioned or hidden. Recent re-excavation of the site showed that in fact, they had been used quite unceremoniously as post packing for a major timber building in the 4th century. I’d like to see the entire ground plan of that thing!