mercoledì 7 agosto 2013

Looking around

by Siziliano

Dear all, allow me to submit from time to time some comments or contributions of events that are not in
Testina in piombo,
da materiale sequestrato dai
Carabinieri di Oristano (1). MP
everybody’s focus.
The ALEXANDER-VON-HUMBOLDT foundation supports scientific exchange around the world. Their Journal “Humboldt kosmos” from this year (appears semi-annually) shows an aspect that might be interesting in the context of Sardinian excavations (tick English in the top right corner): the second article has the follwing title: Why Should Grave Robbers Fear Google?*
It describes the use of Google Earth to document illegal digging through a newly set project by an archaeologist.

PS: Article #5 is entitled
What Secrets Are Hidden in the genes of the Langobards**

(might be interesting for a certain fraction of the MontePrama readership).

*: Why Should Grave Robbers Fear Google?

By Jirka Niklas Menke

Looters and grave robbers are destroying the traces of our ancestors. Many antiquities are lost to research, sold instead through murky channels into the hands of private collectors. Daniel Contreras is using the Internet to combat this plunder.

One look at a site like Bab edh-Dhra’, a Bronze Age burial ground in Jordan, shows the damage that looters and grave robbers can do. Looting pits as far as the eye can see. Many archaeologically significant sites around the world present a similar picture. One of the greatest obstacles in the fight against grave robbers is that governments ignore the issue, claiming insufficient evidence. “Images on Google Earth are now proving the extent of the damage caused by looters,” explains Contreras. Together with a colleague, he has developed an online project at Stanford University that uses Google Earth to gather information from Internet users about further looting. The freely available satellite images clearly indicate where landscapes have been disturbed by digging. “Our aim is both to document the true extent of the damage and to raise awareness among the public,” says Contreras. “Only if we succeed will we be able to continue exploring the history of humanity in the future.”

At Stanford University in the USA Dr. Daniel A. Contreras investigates how human societies lived in the Neolithic Age and what impact the change from being hunter-gatherers to settled farmers had on the landscape. He is currently working as a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Institute for Ecosystem Research at Kiel University

**What Secrets Are Hidden in the Genes of the Longobards?
By Georg Scholl

Who were the barbarians who, according to Roman sources, invaded northern Italy and threatened Rome itself in the sixth century? Where did tribes like the Longobards come from? Did they displace the Roman population, or did they mix with it? Did they come in wild hordes or in small groups?

Historians have so far been unable to tell us with any certainty. With the help of state-of-the-art genetic analysis, American historian Patrick Geary and his team of geneticists, archaeologists and anthropologists are now seeking new answers. One of their most important sources are DNA analyses of bones and teeth from burial sites. “Until recently, it was difficult to analyse material that was many hundreds of years old. We have only had the necessary technology, next-generation DNA sequencing, for a short while,” says Geary. Carefully interpreted and considered in conjunction with written and archaeological sources, the finds will allow deep insights into the society of the period. Was it, for example, mostly men who headed for distant lands and found themselves new wives there? Or were the bonds with their wives so close that they set off for Italy together as families? Were seemingly entirely different cultural groups actually closely related to each other? Geary is excited about the possibilities opened up by genetic history research: “It has the potential to radically alter our understanding of the changes that took place in the Roman Empire at that time.”

Professor Dr. Patrick J. Geary is a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA. As an Anneliese Maier Research Award Winner he cooperates with Heidelberg University.

(1) E. Usai, R. Zucca, 2011,  Nuovi bronzi nuragici dell’Antiquarium Arborense di Oristano: contributo alle rotte mediterranee della Sardegna. In: Mastino, Attilio; Spanu, Pier Giorgio; Usai, Alessandro; Zucca, Raimondo (a cura di). Tharros Felix 4. Roma, Carocci editore. pp. 323-350;