Laetoli Museum Closer To Reality

Laetoli, for those who don’t know, is the home of hominin footprints that are around 3.6 million years old. The footprints have posed a preservation problem to the paleoanthropology community – something I have written about here and here. Phys.Org has a press release on the subject:

In many ways the museum is the brainchild of Musiba, a Tanzanian-born anthropologist who has been studying the footprints since 1996 and has long championed protecting them while making the collection available to the public. Currently, the footprints are preserved by keeping them buried.
“Right now the footprints are covered up and the only way to study them is to re-excavate them, which could be damaging,” he said. “We would like to excavate half of the site and build the museum over it. We can then control the ambient air, the moisture and pH levels inside to protect the prints.”
Musiba and Lockley will advise Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism on how best to protect the Laetoli Conservation Project. The $35 million project will develop the Laetoli World Heritage Site into a state-of-the-art complex that will include a museum, research facility with labs and accommodation for 35 scientists and an education center that can host 50 students and six teachers.

The new facility is expected to be completed in about five years and will have a laboratory dedicated specifically for students and researchers from CU Denver, the premier public research university in Denver.

Joshua Tree National Park Closures and Social Media: This Sucks!

Parts of the Joshua Tree National Park have been closed due to vandalism in both canyons and to some archaeological sites. The Inquisitr has more:

In addition to allowing park workers time to repair some of the damage, the Joshua Tree closures will give them an opportunity to investigate the crime. The park officials strongly suspect the vandals are involved in a social media campaign which involves sharing photos of their graffiti on Facebook.

However, they haven’t revealed if they’re looking at specific Facebook pages or if they have any leads on specific criminals. They did ask if you see something to report it to park workers.

Yeah, you read that right vandals are, possibly, sharing pictures of their destruction via social media. I can’t imagine what there is in these acts of destruction that would be worth bragging about via Facebook, but, in the words of Vonnegut “Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

Interesting Video: Mesa: Hohokam Civilization in the Salt River Valley

This is pretty cool!

Mississippian Era Suburb of Cahokia

I think I have written a post about this story before, but after almost 3,000 posts I’ll be damned if I can find it in my archives. At any rate, NPR has an interesting article (there is a link where you can listen to an audio version as well) on a Mississippian era suburb of Cahokia. The site was discovered during the ongoing construction of a new bridge. Continue reading

Mounds in Illinois Damaged

This sucks!

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Authorities in southern Illinois are asking for the public’s help in finding the people who are damaging and may be looting some prehistoric Native American burial mounds.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says someone last month dug several small holes in a portion of Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site. That’s a 1,000-year-old site in rural Massac and Pope counties.

The agency says the culprits likely were searching for items Native Americans buried with their dead. But it’s unclear if any artifacts or human remains were taken.

The agency says someone recently also drove an all-terrain vehicle or truck on one of the mounds, where ATVs are prohibited.

Anyone with information about the damage is being asked to call the Massac County Sheriff’s Department or the historic preservation agency.

Vero Beach: An Update

Back in June of 2009 I wrote a post about a bone with a mammoth or mastodon etched on it (you can find a video on the find here). I don’t have anything new to report on that find, but there are some interesting developments concerning Vero Beach. Continue reading

Bloody Archaeology!

There are a couple if interesting stories this week. Both concern blood and archaeology.The first concerns Otzi the Iceman – a 5300 year old mummy found in the Alps. Researcher used atomic force microscopy and Raman spectroscopy to identify red blood cells from samples taken from wounds on Otzi’s right hand and left shoulder. The study also identified degraded remnants of a blood clot. The paper, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface is open access and available here.

The second item is even cooler. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 58 other followers