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 Archaeology - OMG! moments ...

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nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ


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Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Archaeology - OMG! moments ...   Wed 27 Apr 2016, 12:04

Archaeology is 99.99% discomfort, and then those infrequent .01% moments which make all the rain-soaked, joint-crunching, back-breaking and downright dispiriting drudgery completely worthwhile. But every now and then even this wonderfully remedial thrill of discovery is enhanced a thousandfold by the very nature of a find itself, be it because of its beauty, its unexpectedness, its importance, or simply its power to stop even the most hardened and dig-weary archaeologist in their tracks and render them speechless.

In central Taiwan, while excavating the prehistoric fossilised remains of 48 individuals, archaeologists recently had just such a moment. Among the human remains were those of a woman and child, locked in an almost 5,000 year old embrace, her head tilted towards the baby in her arms in an attitude which even now can only be interpreted as one of love, attention and concern, the last gesture indeed of this young woman's life now frozen forever in death.



The Taiwanese have yet to determine what actually transpired to produce such a moving tableau. Had the baby died first? Had the woman? Had the pose been arranged by grieving relatives when burying both? But all who worked on the site (it has been an ongoing project since 2014) admitted that this find brought everyone to a standstill.

These, I suppose, are the real "Indiana Jones" moments that almost justify the whole concept of archaeology on their own. Maybe people can suggest others of the ilk?
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology - OMG! moments ...   Wed 27 Apr 2016, 14:15

"There was naturally short suspense for those present who could not see, when Lord Carnarvon said to me 'Can you see anything?' I replied to him 'Yes, it is wonderful.' I then with precaution made the hole sufficiently large for both of us to see. With the light of an electric torch as well as an additional candle we looked in.

Our sensations and astonishment are difficult to describe as the better light revealed to us the marvelous collection of treasures: two strange ebony-black effigies of a King, gold-sandaled, bearing staff and mace, loomed out from the cloak of darkness; gilded couches in strange forms, lion-headed, Hathor-headed, and beast infernal; exquisitely painted, inlaid, and ornamental caskets; alabaster vases, some beautifully executed of lotus and papyrus device; strange black shrines, with a gilded monster snake appearing from within; quite ordinary looking white chests; finely carved chairs; a golden inlaid throne; beneath our very eyes, on the threshold, a lovely lotiform wishing-cup in translucent alabaster; and, lastly, a confusion of overturned parts of chariots glinting with gold, peering from amongst which was a mannequin.


The first impression suggested the property-room of an opera of a vanished civilization. Our sensations were bewildering and full of strange emotion. We questioned one another as to the meaning of it all. Was it a tomb or merely a cache? A sealed doorway between the two sentinel statues proved there was more beyond, and with the numerous cartouches bearing the name of TutAnkhAmun on most of the objects before us, there was little doubt that there behind was the grave of that Pharaoh."

—from the Diary of archaeologist Howard Carter [edited], Sunday, November 26, 1922
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology - OMG! moments ...   Wed 27 Apr 2016, 14:35



This image from September 1st 1985, relayed to the surface from the unmanned Argo submarine, must have caused a few cardiac flutters among Ballard's team aboard the USS Knorr.
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