ArtiFACTS: Recent News in Archaeology 10/5/06

Aztec Ruins
In Mexico, archaeologists have uncovered a 15th century monolithic altar with a frieze of the raingod Tlaloc and an agricultural deity. This altar is an exciting find to Mesoamerican archaeologists and it wasn’t found in some remote jungle but in the very heart of Mexico City! Mexico City Major Alejandro Encinas said:

“It is a very important discovery, the biggest we have made in 28 years. It will allow us to find out much more.”


It’s believed that this may be the entrance to an underground chamber and efforts are undoubtedly underway to determine this.

Syrian Building from 8,800 BCE
On the banks of the Euphrates in Syria, near Ja’de, a French archaeological team discovered a building that dates back to 8,800 BCE and contains ” multi-colored geometrical paintings,” which may be the oldest of their kind in the Middle East. Tools for hunting and domestic living, mostly of flint and some obsidian, were found at the site’s level and the archaeologist working the site, Eric Coqueugniot, remarks that the building is larger than expected for residences:

“had a collective use, probably for all of the village or a group. A part of this community building takes the shape of the head of a bull and retains painted decorations, the oldest known in the Middle East.”


Taliban Terrorize Archaeologists
Okay… maybe not directly. Teams working to salvage the giant Buddhas that were destroyed by the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan work carefully as munitions experts on site help them clear unexploded munitions that are still present in the debris. The Taliban destroyed the 1,500 year old monuments in March 2001. As work to recover this nearly lost cultural heritage continues, they are periodically interrupted (“every half hour or so”) to look for unexploded ordinance. The pressure is on the International Council for Monuments and Sites to reconstruct the Buddha’s but as Omar Sultan, deputy culture minister, said:

“[A]s an archaeologist, I can’t imagine we could go reconstruct a Buddha from concrete or something. Those artists who did it 1,500 years ago had another feeling for it.”

And reconstruction of a single Buddha could cost $30 million in a nation that desparately needs additional funds to rebuild infrastructure.

Not archaeology, but Just Because It’s Cool:
Scientists in Copenhagen have teleported a chunk of matter nearly 18 inches! To do so, they used light, magnatism and “entanglement.” Professor Eugene Polzik said of the project:

“Creating entanglement is a very important step, but there are two more steps at least to perform teleportation. We have succeeded in making all three steps — that is entanglement, quantum measurement and quantum feedback.”

About Carl Feagans 313 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.

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