Archaeology

3,700-year-old cellar housed ‘luxurious’ wine

Publication: NBC News   Date: November 22, 2013   View Article

A 3,700-year-old palatial cellar packed with jars once filled with a wine-like brew has been discovered at an archaeological site in northern Israel, a team of researchers announced Friday.

The cellar is perhaps the oldest of its type ever discovered and the wine was anything but ordinary. Spiked with juniper berries, cedar oil, honey and tree resins, it was likely the good stuff pulled from the cellar for grand, royal banquets where resident rulers and perhaps their trading partners washed down a feast of wild cattle with an intoxicating swill.

Inca child sacrifices were drunk, stoned for weeks before death

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 29, 2013   View Article

Three Inca children found mummified atop a 20,000-foot volcano in South America consumed increasing amounts of coca leaf and corn beer for up to a year before they were sacrificed, according to a new study.

Sedation by the plant and alcohol combined with the frigid, high-altitude setting may explain how the children were killed. There is no evidence for direct violence, the researchers noted.

The coca leaf and corn beer consumption rises about six months before death and then skyrockets in the final weeks, especially for the eldest, a 13-year-old girl known as the “Ice Maiden.”

“She was probably heavily sedated by the point at which she succumbs to death,” Andrew Wilson, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom and the study’s lead author, told NBC News.

Tools, artistry flourished with climate change, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 21, 2013   View Article

Sophisticated stone tool-making, artistic symbolism and trade networks were all innovated during times in the Stone Age when the South African climate abruptly became warmer and wetter, according to a new study.

The research is the first to “show that there is a link between the occurrence of these cultural innovations and climate change,” study leader Martin Ziegler, an earth science researcher at Cardiff University in Wales, told NBC News.

100-year-old whisky highlights art of blending

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 9, 2012   View Article

Antarctica-bound explorers would be wise to bring a case or two of Scotch whisky to endure chilly nights. Ernest Shackleton was wise.

In fact, the Scotch he packed for the Nimrod’s 1907 attempt to reach the South Pole was exceptional, according to distillers who sampled and re-created the drink.

Mysterious Mass Sacrifice Found Near Ancient Peru Pyramid

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 28, 2011   View Article

An apparent ritual mass sacrifice—including decapitations and a royal beer bash—is coming to light near a pre-Inca pyramid in northern Peru, archaeologists say.

Excavations next to the ancient Huaca Las Ventanas pyramid first uncovered bodies in August, and more have been emerging since then from a 50-by-50-foot (15-by-15-meter) pit.

The pyramid is part of the Sicán site, the capital of the Lambayeque people—also known as the Sicán—who ruled Peru’s northern coast from about A.D. 900 to 1100.

End of the World in 2012? Maya “Doomsday” Calendar Explained

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 20, 2011   View Article

It’s remotely possible the world will end in December 2012. But don’t credit the ancient Maya calendar for predicting it, say experts on the Mesoamerican culture.

It’s true that the so-called long-count calendar—which spans roughly 5,125 years starting in 3114 B.C.—reaches the end of a cycle on December 21, 2012.

That day brings to a close the 13th Bak’tun, an almost 400-year period in the Maya long-count calendar.

But rather than moving to the next Bak’tun, the calendar will reset at the end of the 13th cycle, akin to the way a 1960s automobile would click over at mile 99,999.9 and reset to zero.

Human Sacrifice Found in Maya City Sinkhole

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 6, 2011   View Article

The bones of six humans—including two children—jade beads, shells, and stone tools are among the Maya”treasures” recently found in a water-filled cave off a sinkhole at the famous archaeological site of Chichén Itzá in Mexico, archaeologists say.

The ancient objects are most likely related to a ritual human sacrifice during a time when water levels were lower, sometime between A.D. 850 and 1250, the researchers say.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach