Monthly Archives: December 2008

1000 year old Fake Designer Viking swords are revealed

It must have been an appalling moment when a Viking realised he had paid two cows for a fake designer sword; a clash of blade on blade in battle would have led to his sword, still sharp enough to slice through bone, shattering like glass.

Looks good - but is it real!

Looks good - but is it real!

 

You really didn’t want to have that happen,” said Dr Alan Williams, an archaeometallurgist and consultant to the Wallace Collection, the London museum which has one of the best assemblies of ancient weapons in the world. He and Tony Fry, a senior researcher at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, south-west London, have solved a riddle that the Viking swordsmiths may have sensed but didn’t quite understand. …..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/dec/27/archaeology-vikings-sword

Find out about the whole shocking story! – Imagine the shame as you enter your first battle with your shiney new sword – only to find out to your horror, that it was cheap for a reason, buying fake goods at the local tavern was a false economy? Or was it becasue you did not want to put the ral ones into a grave, so had a copy made? interesting article.

See more about the Wallace Collection here:

http://www.wallacecollection.org/index.php

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Activists celebrate as insurers pull plug on £1.1bn Turkish Ilisu dam

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/24/ilisu-dam-insurers-environment-turkey

Read all about it!

…Insurers delivered a victory for environmentalists and dealt a body blow to Turkey’s economic regeneration plans yesterday by pulling the plug on a bitterly contested dam project that critics claimed would wreck habitats, displace people and drown ancient archaeological treasures….
Basically, in terms of heritage, this dam (like others alreay constructed.. ie the Ataturk Dam and Birecik (drowning Zeugma) for example)

Here, in Upper Mesopotamia, the world of the Middle East met the civilisation of Anatolia, and brought about a flourishing of cultures that survive today in countless ruins and monuments. The ancient city was occupied by nine major civilisations, stretching from the Assyrians through to the Ottomans. Each period has left its own unique mark upon the city. Mosques, castles, a twelfth century palace, a citadel, a monumental bridge, and much more that has barely been studied, testify to a magnificent history… which would have been lost

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Ancient stone with phallic motif found in Denmark

This 5-7,000 year-old decorated stone found by a couple walking along Horsens Fjord.

This 5-7,000 year-old decorated stone found by a couple walking along Horsens Fjord.

A young couple walking along Horsens Fjord (Denmark) in August this year made a sensational discovery a 7,000 year old stone with a carved man with an erect phallus and two fishes.

Archaeologists at Horsens museum were taken aback, and immediately passed the stone on the National Museum of Denmark to determine whether the motif was indeed from the Stone Age or simply a later work of art using an ancient style.

They now believe the stone to be from the Ertebølle Culture between 5,400 and 3,900 BCE.

Apart from its phallic representation, the man in the motif seems to have some form of head dress with animal ears – possibly in the tradition of a shaman.

Though it could be an early joke involving two fish, and a donkey …  or am I letting my imagination run riot!

This is one of these unfortunate stories, that is both fascinating and elicits mirth in abundance…  I feel about 4 years old!  Shame on me!

A reproduction of the decoration on a stone showing a male with a headdress and a phallos surrounded by two fish.

A reproduction of the decoration on a stone showing a male with a headdress and a phallos surrounded by two fish.

article comes from here

http://politiken.dk/newsinenglish/article585168.ece

and was edited by  Julian Isherwood

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SWISS WATCH FOUND IN ANCIENT TOMB

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are stumped after finding a 100-year-old Swiss watch in an ancient tomb that was sealed more than 400 years ago.

UPDATE: read this

http://xenophilius.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/swiss-watch-in-400-year-old-tomb/?referer=sphere_related_content/ 

Evidence of Time travel perhaps ?? :)

Evidence of Time travel?

Evidence of Time travel?

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Çatalhöyük now protected by a large roof

Çatalhöyük, Turkey’s most famous Neolithic site, is one the oldest known areas of human settlement, animal domestication and wheat cultivation.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry’s Cultural Assets and Museums general manager, Orhan Düzgün, announced that the roof’s construction, which began in June of this year, had now been finished.

 The roof is made of specially laminated wood and will protect the historical site and the archaeological work going on there from damage resulting from exposure to the elements.

     The roof was constructed with an eye for aesthetics as well, in a design beneficial to both tourists and the archaeologists working the site.

     Çatalhöyük is a major tourist attraction as well as an archeological site, and    recent excavation on the Neolithic site, under the leadership of British professor of archeology Ian Hodder, began in 1993 and has continued intermittently ever since.

Discoveries made so far at the 9,000-year-old site include wall paintings, seals, and cooking and eating utensils decorated with various painted and carved figures. Except for its southern area, the site did not have any protection against the harsh weather conditions characteristic of the Central Anatolia region.

 

Roof
Roof – a thumbnail of the large images.. see them by following the link

See the photos of the roof here…  it is pretty lovely!

 

 

Photos are by Dave Minty:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30825760@N05/2920881031/

 

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BAJR Federation – Draft 2

Taking into consideration the comments and suggestions made both on and off the BAJR Forum and elsewhere, the following is a revision of the membership, aims and organisation of what will become the

BAJR Federation

Membership:

Member:
The sole trader/ small company (5 or less); Freelancers; Specialists (the surveyor, ceramicist, geophysicist, finds specialist etc.); Short term contract employees; and individual or small group who is active within what can broadly be termed archaeology within the UK.
Student:
Those in full time or part time education related to any aspect of archaeology.
Affiliate:
A person who is either not directly involved in archaeology or is involved in archaeology but is out-with the United Kingdom, and so not directly affected by issues within the confines on the United Kingdom.
Group Affiliation:
Existing groups within the profession, such as the Diggers Forum, the British Women Archaeologists, the AAIS etc.. would be invited as group affiliates, and information exchange formalised, to inform of issues and initiatives both to and from the BAJR Federation.

The process of communication with the current bodies would be decided – to ensure that again, information and methods of approach could be understood by all parties.

The thrust of the Federation would be in three parallel directions.

1. An information gathering and dissemination service to provide advice and notification of new and current issues, regarding the various membership groups
2. A lobbying organisation on matters put forward by Federation members, with voting on a collective response; providing a collective response to consultations.
3. A voice to actively interact with current groups that is representative of a majority rather than as an individual.

Each of these seven categories would put forward a member to the Council yearly to represent the concerns of each group.

Issues, information and self help could be addressed by each group and disseminated.

For example, for sole traders help in running your own business; for freelancers, requirements for insurance; for specialists, new research in various fields; for students, details on requirements and expectations in the different facets of archaeology; the short term contract workers, having a voice with which to ensure the union represented them robustly and a collective voice to speak for the individual.

Skills and training would be paramount to the federation and therefore connection to and working with the pre-existing organisations would be complementary and not conflicting.

Membership of the federation will be (at least initially) free and rely on recognition that an independent organisation is needed.

Over the past ten years BAJR (as an individual) has established a reputation for honesty and trust and there is no reason why BAJR Federation(as an separate but affiliated organisation) cannot continue with the same stance, no longer a single voice but many voices speaking as one.
It is essential that this is not seen as a replacement for any of the existing organisations and is not seen as a Union, but a federation of like minded and dedicated professionals who wish to see that the standards and future of archaeology are ensured. T

Voting would be the main responsibility of members.. with first a discussion on the nature of the question and answers and then a system of voting that is inclusive (both web based and SMS) ensuring those who have limited access to the internet have the ability to have their say. A majority vote would be required to actively move forward on an issue. Non-voting over a protracted period could lead to a loss of voting rights. (with certain safeguards against those unable to be involved for legitimate reasons– perhaps a three strikes rule?)

A Bi-monthly Newsletter would inform members of activities.. available as a pdf download.. (thoughts on paper copies would have to be addressed) – The main concept is to keep people informed, to communicate, to support and to lobby.

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BAJR Federation

The concept is simple, but in practice is dependant on support.

To be realistic, we have to understand what ‘we’ want, who ‘we’ are, and to ensure that there is no duplication of effort.

BAJR as an organisation must be a confederation of those who are as yet unrepresented within British archaeology. Five categories present themselves:

1. The sole trader
2. The freelancer
3. the specialist (the surveyor, ceramicist, geophysicist, finds specialist etc.)
4. student
5. the employee (which would be best done in partnership with Prospect)

Each of these categories would put forward a member to the Council yearly to represent the concerns of each group. Issues, information and self help could be addressed by each group and disseminated. For example, for sole traders help in running your own business; for freelancers, requirements for insurance; for specialists, new research in various fields; for students, details on requirements and expectations in the different facets of archaeology; the employees, who would have to be unionised, having a voice with which to ensure the union represented them robustly.

Minimum standards and minimum rates (words not used lightly) would be agreed and held to. Skills and training would be paramount to the federation and therefore connection to and working with the pre-existing organisations would not be seen as over-riding but complementary.

Membership of the federation will be (at least initially) free and rely upon a recognition that and independent organisation is needed. Over the past ten years BAJR (as an individual) has established a reputation for honesty and trust and there is no reason why BAJR (as an organisation) cannot continue with the same stance, but now no longer being a single voice but many voices speaking as one. It is essential that this is not seen as a replacement for any of the existing organisations and is not seen as an union, but a federation of like minded and dedicated professionals who wish to see that the standards and future of archaeology are ensured. This is a concept to be discussed by fellow BAJRites as this direction is one that concerns us all and so we must all have our voice. Below, I have set out the four main principles and I am open to comment on everything. I cannot stress enough that this is not a challenge to the IfA or Prospect or any other existing organisation, it is an obvious step forward to fill a gap and we should be prepared to work in co-operation with every other existing organisation to reach a concordance.

1. Responsibility to Society.

Responsible archaeological work, including all levels of professional activity, requires acknowledgment of public accountability and commitment to make every reasonable effort, to consult actively with local groups and to ensure that the public are considered in any activity. Opportunities to promote archaeology should be integral to any works, and communication and interpretation of archaeological remains should be undertaken where applicable. The deposit and availability of archaeological records should be placed in an accessible location. Publications (including grey literature) should be distributed within an acceptable timescale as widely as possible.

2. Responsibility to Heritage.

Responsible archaeological work, should take into consideration, the finite and fragile nature of archaeology. Methodologies must be chosen that require a minimum of damage to the archaeological record. Excavation should only be undertaken when appropriate resources are in place, and both mitigation and post excavation strategies are provided for. Adequate storage of records, artefacts and other archaeological material must be considered prior to any works. Projects should contain specific plans for conservation, preservation, and publication from the very outset, and funds should be secured for such purposes. Project designs must be fit for purpose – and no contract should be entered into that does not place the importance of the archaeology as the prime concern.

3. Responsibility to Staff and fellow workers.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

a. Fair employment conditions, that include potential for career progression, pay on or above the BAJR guidelines and compliance with all current employment laws. ie bogus self-employment
b. Training opportunities including access to in-house training, NVQs and other relevant courses.
c. Adequate Health and Safety provision, PPE and suitable site and workplace facilities.
d. Consultation and communication with staff regarding projects and company policy

4. Responsibility to Client.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

a. Respect the interests of the client, so far as is consistent with the public welfare and the Code and Standards;
b. You must however refuse to comply with any request or demand of a client which conflicts with the Code and Standards;
c. You must not offer services to a client that you cannot provide to a recognised standard.
d. Provide a cost that accurately reflects the work to be carried out, and make the client aware of the potential and scope of post excavation and mitigation as soon as this is known.
e. Ensure that the client is provided with a final product that is both useful and recognised as value for money.

Additional Clause:

The principals and sub clauses outlined in the IFA Code of Conduct must be adhered to, whether an IFA member or not. http://www.archaeologists.net/modules/icontent/index.php?page=15

PRINCIPLE 1:
The archaeologist shall adhere to the highest standards of ethical and responsible behaviour in the conduct of archaeological affairs.
PRINCIPLE 2:
The archaeologist has a responsibility for the conservation of the archaeological heritage.
PRINCIPLE 3:
The archaeologist shall conduct his/her work in such a way that reliable information about the past may be acquired, and shall ensure that the results be properly recorded.
PRINCIPLE 4:
The archaeologist has responsibility for making available the results of archaeological work with reasonable dispatch.
PRINCIPAL 5:
The archaeologist shall recognise the aspirations of employees, colleagues and helpers with regard to all matters relating to employment, including career development, health and safety, terms and conditions of employment and equality of opportunity.

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