MEXICO 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…
Kuddos 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.
Today, Archaeology Magazine has rolled out its “Top 10 Discoveries of 2012.” The list includes (in no particular order):
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
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.
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.
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.
The USS Monitor was one of the first iron clad naval ships and most famous for engaging in battle with the Merrimack (in the first battle between ironclad ships). When the turret of the Monitor was raised, two skeletons were found along with it.
Now, forensic anthropologists are using the skulls of the deceased crewmen in an attempt to reconstruct the faces of the ship’s sailors. The men both appear to be Caucasian and between the ages of 17 and 24. If successful, this will be the first time their faces have been seen in more than a hundred and fifty years.
This month’s Archaeology Magazine highlights the top ten finds of the 2011 Field Season. The list includes:
- A Viking Boat Burial in Scotland
- A Neolithic Community in Jordan
- Open Source Australopithecus in South Africa
- First Domesticated Dogs in the Czech Republic
- Remains of a female Mayan Ruler in Guatamala
- Gladiatorial School in Austria
- Ancient Chinese Takeout in Xinjiang China
- War Formations of Lake Titicaca in Peru
- Atlantic Whaler found off the coast of Hawaii
- Arab Spring Impact on Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, & Libya
Archaeologists working in San Antonio have recently uncovered a hut, dating to approximately 1,500 BCE, along the San Antonio River. This find proves that the natives of Southern Texas (often characterized as ‘primitive’) were in fact living in sophisticated communities replete with permanent structures.
To read more about the find, see the article in the Washington Examiner.
2012 – it’s been the subject of conspiracy theories, catastrophic predictions, and terrible, terrible films. People frequently cite the ‘ancient wisdom’ of the Maya that the end of the world is nigh. However, the 2012 phenomenon is one of the greatest fallacies of history. The Maya, in fact, never predicted the world would end in 2012
While it is true that the Mayan calendrical cycle, which spans approximately 5,125 years and begins with their creation event (in 3114 BCE) ends December 21, 2012 it does not mean dire and catastrophic world’s end. In fact, it simply means that the clock will start over (much like when the odometer goes from 999,999 it starts back over at 0).
So, don’t get all your crazy partying out now, plan for 2013. If you want to learn more about the Mayan Calendar and the consequences of 2012, see the article in National Geographic.