Recent Archaeomags

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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!

More like this

Frag of a brooch decorated with embossed silver foil. 5th century. Photograph Tobias Bondesson. Our site in Kimstad parish looked even better than I'd thought. This was one of many cases where I've come swooping in to sites that I've never visited before and directed metal detecting. In Kimstad, I…
Anders Winroth (born in 1965) is a Swedish historian who received his PhD from Columbia in 1996 and now holds an endowed professorship in history at Yale. He has written several books on the Viking Period for lay readers, the latest one of which I've been given to review. The main contents of The…
Tom Christensen, who heads excavations at storied Lejre on Zealand, Denmark, has a paper about the lovely Lejre figurine in ROMU 2009 (full text on-line) and another one in the new issue of Skalk. Here he offers some well-chosen comparative material and presents his arguments for the figurine's…
Apparently the Lejre excavators still haven't realised that the lovely silver miniature they found depicts an aristocratic woman who can't be Odin, regardless of who may be the owner of the throne she sits on. A Danish news site contacted me today and asked me about the issue. Here's what I said (…

Thank you - your blog just made my morning better. And forgive me for giving in to my querulous personality streak when i quibble on the use of the word ethnic in the "Skalk" review. Given that Denmark historically has been a province on the North-German plains for millenniums (as notoriously stated by a late Danish politician) the term "ethnic" may be stretching things a bit. So, I feel so much better now...

By Jette Linaa (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

Thank you Jette!

So you're basically saying that ethnically speaking, Danes are just a type of German? (-;

Or Germans is a type of Danes :-)...It might not be the most popular point of view in light of recent history, but basically it is truth as i see it. The same accounts for Denmark and Sweden - or Norway, by the way....

By Jette Linaa (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

The Schleswig-Holstein region is a good example of "a language is a dialect with an army".

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Too bad the "Face of Mars" has been debunked. The oddly deformed gold-foil face would have fit right in with the "tin-foil" brigade, proclaiming that the latter was a reproduction of the former, enter ancient astronauts et cetera.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 17 Sep 2011 #permalink

It's the same face that's on Mars!

Kevin, great minds think alike.

Archaeology Southwest: Considering the Europeans brought devastating diseases with them, I find it surprising that the pueblos survived long enough as urban centers to see cathedrals being erected.

Schlock science: Apparently the History Channel is into nazi UFOs now. Didn't anyone tell them "Iron Sky" is not a documentary???

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 18 Sep 2011 #permalink

Birger, the devastating disease period was mainly in the early 16th century. The Spaniards didn't make it into New Mexico until the 17th century. And those who made it here had to survive a 1000 miles hike through the desert, downselecting heavily on sick individuals that made it up here.