Category Archives: New World Archaeology

Smarthistory: Khan Academy for Social Studies

Great Mosque at Damascus by G. Lewis, courtesy of Smarthistory & Flickr

Great Mosque at Damascus by G. Lewis, courtesy of Smarthistory & Flickr

Khan Academy is popular in math for its brief lectures and interactive modules. However, you can also use it in the Social Studies. Check out Smarthistory, a free multimedia platform for student and teacher of history, archaeology, museum curation, and art history.

It includes an interactive timeline, in-depth yet easy to understand articles, vibrant images, and videos about topics throughout history and around the globe. Check out “Teach with Smarthistory” for ideas on how to incorporate it into your classroom. If you are a historian, archaeologist, museum curator, or otherwise involved in the social science consider contributing an article or multimedia content. Additionally, Smarthistory contributes videos to Google Art Project.

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Mexican archaeologists reveal studies made on sacrificial stone found at Templo Mayor

inah-2MEXICO CITY.- Some months ago, a stone where human sacrifices were performed was found as part of the archaeological salvage work that has been made by the Program of Urban Archaeology (PAU) from the Great Temple Museum. Today, thanks to numerous studies, we know that the location where the monolith was discovered was not the place where it had been used 500 years ago. It was removed from its original place back…

Mexican archaeologists reveal studies made on sacrificial stone found at Templo Mayor.

Explore the Mesoamerican Ball Game: Online and Interactive

589px-Maya_Vase_BallplayerKuddos to my student Matthew who sent me this website. We are on the Mesoamerican section right now in my history course. The ballgame was an integral and pervasive activity throughout Ancient Mesoamerica. It is in their history, religion, and art. It was one of the most socially and ritually important activities in the Ancient Americas.

The website “The Mesoamerican Ballgame” explores the history and significance of the ballgame throughout history. You can explore an interactive timeline, study its history among various cultures, and even see vide of the game being played today! It also includes lesson plans and activities for students of all grade levels.

The website was developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mint Museum of Art.

Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2012

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 12.24.08 PMToday, Archaeology Magazine has rolled out its “Top 10 Discoveries of 2012.” The list includes (in no particular order):

Maya Sun God Mask

Neanderthal Medicine Chest

First Use of Poison

Aztec Ritual Burial

Caesar’s Gallic Outpost

Europe’s Oldest Engraving

The First Pots

Scottish “Frankenstein” Mummy

2,000 Year Old Stashed Treasure

Oldest Egyptian Funerary Boat

 

Traces of Chocolate Found at 2,500 Year old Mexican Site

Archaeologists working at Paso del Macho in Veracruz, Mexico have uncovered traces of chocolate on serving vessels at a site dating to 500 BCE. While not the oldest example of chocolate found in the archaeological record, it affirms theories that the Ancient Americans used chocolate as a spice or a dipping paste.

“I think their inference that cacao was being used in a sauce is likely correct, though I can imagine other possibilities [such as an ] addition to a beverage (cacao-based or other) as a condiment or garnish.”John S. Henderson, Cornell University

To learn more about this exciting find, see the article in The Telegraph and Time Magazine.

Native American Accounts of the Donner Party Provide New Insight into the Tragedy

Most school children have heard the story of the ill-fated Donner Party, the small group of pioneers who became stranded in the Sierra Nevada pass (now termed “Donner Pass”) and resorted to cannibalism to survive. This month’s Archaeology Magazine highlights a new and previously unexplored source on the Donner Party tragedy – the local Native Americans.

The Route Taken by the Donner Party

Archaeologist Julie Schablitsky incorporated oral traditions handed down by the Washoe people to learn more about what happened during the tragic winter of 1846-1847.

Their oral tradition recalls the starving strangers who camped in an area that was unsuitable for that time of year. Taking pity on the pioneers, the northern Washoe attempted to feed them, leaving rabbit meat and wild potatoes near the camps. Another account states that they tried to bring the Donner Party a deer carcass, but were shot at as they approached. Later, some wel mel ti observed the migrants eating human remains. Fearing for their lives, the area’s native inhabitants continued to watch the strangers but avoided further contact. (Archaeology Magazine, Schablitsky).

To learn more about this fascinating story, see the article in Archaeology Magazine: “Letter from California: A New Look at the Donner Party” or Julie Schablitsky’s Donner Party Research.

Mass Grave Found in Mexico Identified as Ancient Victims

A mass grave recently uncovered in Mexico has, fortunately, been identified as more than 1,000 years old – putting to rest fears that they were victims of modern violence.

The grave contains more than 160 people (men and women) who were likely ritually sacrificed. The bones demonstrated markings of body modification ocular amongst the Ancient native inhabitants.

To learn more about this discovery, see the article at MSNBC.