Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fieldwork in Nicaragua

On Friday morning, I'll be leaving for Nicaragua to conduct survey and excavation in the Department of Chinandega, in the northwestern corner of the country.

I will attempt to blog about our progress, but I can't promise because it may be difficult to find a seat in an Internet cafe. More important, the pressure to make the best use of one's valuable, limited time in the field is intense.


Etching of a Mammoth Found in Vero Beach, Florida

I apologize to my many (ha! ha!) readers for neglecting this blog. I've been working on a NSF grant proposal, teaching, and preparing for an upcoming expedition. I leave next Friday morning for Nicaragua, so the pressure is on!

Nevertheless, I couldn't resist mentioning an archaeological find just up the road from me in Vero Beach, Florida. An avocational fossil collector found a bone with an beautiful etching of a mammoth inscribed on the surface. He passed it along to Dr. Barbara Purdy, professor emerita at the University of Florida, for study. She assembled a group of experts who looked at the specimen pretty closely using a range of instrumental methods and declared it authentic. It's quite a remarkable find. A local newspaper has published the most detailed description of the find. The description of the investigation convinces me that it is very likely to be authentic. Interestingly enough, the specimen seems to come from the area of an "early man" site that was investigated at the turn of the twentieth century, one of the many whose antiquity was later rejected when archaeologists became doubtful about the age of the human occupation of the New World. The site probably merits another look. It's always interested me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mammoth Barbecue

There's a fine article in the most recent number of Antiquity describing the excavation of an Upper Paleolithic mammoth roasting site in the southern Czech Republic. At the center of the site was a 5 m wide roasting pit where the Gravettians were cooking up a female mammoth and her calf. What a great find! The archaeologists also recovered some bone tools and fragments of ceramic. It's all about 29,000 years old.


Svoboda, Jiri, Miroslav Kralik, Vera Culikova, Sarka Hladilova, Martin Novak, Miriam Nyvltova Fisakova, Daniel Nyvlt, and Michaela Zelinkova (2009). Pavlov VI: An Upper Paleolithic Living Unit. Antiquity 83: 282-295.

[Apologies to the authors for not adding the MANY diacriticals in their names]