Tag Archives: new world archaeology

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

 

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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.

Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2011

This month’s Archaeology Magazine highlights the top ten finds of the 2011 Field Season. The list includes:

Archaeologists in Texas Uncover Prehistoric Hut in San Antonio

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.

Sorry – the Maya did *not* Predict the End of the World in 2012

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.

Texas Drought Uncovers Slave Cemetery

The record dry summer in Texas has uncovered a large slave graveyard in Corsicana, Texas. Archaeologist Alan Skinner of AR Consultants has uncovered at least twenty graves of African Americans, dating to the 19th century.

Archaeologists are currently working with government officials to determine the proper steps to further analyze and ultimately preserve the cemetery. To learn more about the finds, see the article in the Athens Review.

Archaeologists Uncover Nearly Pristine Mayan Road

Archaeologists from the University of Colorado Boulder have uncovered a nearly pristine Mayan road in El Salvador. The remains were covered by volcanic ash during an eruption in 600 CE.

The road was a surprise find for archaeologists, who stated: “Until our discovery, these roads were only known from the Yucatan area in Mexico and all were built with stone linings, which generally preserved well.”

To learn more about the find, see the article on Science Daily News.