I love my Archaeology

I am so glad I subscribed to Achaeology. The Aussie ones are just so dull, and boring, and often poorly written….

Here’s what’s in the jan/Feb issue:
An article that looks at the problems of even thinking about working in northern Cyrpus (the Turkish bit, which I didn’t realise is only recognised by Turkey), and the consquences on people who have the temerity to go and (possibly) vital resuce work on important ancient sites.
Clay tablets from Qatna, which was destroyed by Hittites, and the city where they were found… there’s correspondence between the Prince of Qatna and Akhenaten in the Amarna files.
An article on Selam, the near-complete skeleton of a c. 3 year old child even older than Lucy, who is 3.2 million years old.
Underwater archaeology in the North Sea, mapping ancient rivers and thinking about where people might have lived when the North Sea and the Englsih Channel were land (very, very cool).
Trying to figure out where Hannibal crossed the Alps – to their credit, it addresses the question of whether this is actually relevant to anything, and has a stab at arguing that yes this is valid research (and certainly, if you want to find out, it makes as much if not more sense to, like, go to the Alps and do some digging than just read Polybius…).
Excavating some fort in Georgia, US.
The legacy of some semi-nutter, Augustus le Plongeon, who thought world culture was thanks to a Mayan queen called Moo.
And, finally, an article on reshaping Waterloo – making it more touristy, but at the expense of any archaeological explortions, which have apparently never been conducted on the site (what the?). I can understand wanting to make money, but at the expense of finding out interesting stuff about the battle it doesn’t seem to make sense.

Anyway, it was a brilliant read.

2 responses

  1. I liked it, too. This was my first issue. I needed to buy something more to get free shipping from amazon.com. This was it, a good decision.

    My favorite was the bit of news on page 11 about 92 year-old archaeologist Muazzez Ilmiye Cig who was cleared of charges of insulting Muslim sensibilities stemming from her contention that head scarves were first used as part of a Sumerian seduction ritual 5000 years ago. I suppose Sumerian women used them somewhat differently than proper Muslim women do now. Well, maybe it’s different in private.

    My second favorite is about the Hittites burning another city that thought Egypt would save them. I realize I have this bias for Hittites since Egypt gets so much more publicity. Maybe I wouldn’t if I knew them better.

    Third is that study of North Sea sediments. That map of 13,000 years ago when there was no North Sea is impressive. People are so proprietary over their islands now. It’s interesting how recently there were no islands.

    I realize I’ve gotten tired of homanid fossils. It’s just not going to matter much until geneticists figure out which genes mattered most for human evolution, how long it’s been since they changed, what they correspond to as far as structural and functional proteins, how they vary in modern humans, what functional significance that has, and whatever else. It’s like doing physics experiments knowing that everything I do will be obsolete when the next bigger accelerator is finished. I love it when a detailed answer is just a matter of time, maybe beyond my lifetime, but still just time.

  2. I hope you keep reading it! I’ve been subscribing for about 18 months now – I decided to buy it on holidays once, and liked it so much I kept buying it, and then got my mother to sub me up. Makes it much easier – especially in Australia, since we get it something like a month late. Which isn’t necessarily a problem, but I like being up to date.

    Yeh, the bit about the Muslim archaeologist was interesting. Without knowing anything at all, I would guess that Sumerian women may have used scarves but there isn’t a direct genealogy, so to speak, twixt it and Islam! Like you, I really enjoyed the story about the Hittites – there are so many layers to the story, as with the city. Hittites, Egyptians, Qatna natives… international relations in the ancient world… brilliant.

    The North Sea stuff was brilliant, wasn’t it? Any extension of locations of evidence is a welcome thing to me. I didn’t mind the stuff on the hominids – I haven’t read much about it interesting, so I like being updated. The most recent stuff that has really made the news here is the ‘hobbit’… which I think has been determined as a genuine new species, rather than simply a dwarf.

    Thanks for the comment – and keep reading Archaeology!

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