A half-hour video news magazine each month bringing you stories from the wide world of archaeology
Guam: The Ocean Oasis
Separated by 1500 miles from the nearest large land mass, Guam saw the first human migrants 3500 or more years ago. These colonists participated in the longest over-water migration in human history up to that point and became the native Chamorros of Guam and its sister islands. Their cultural identity lives on despite centuries of colonialism, devastation in war and the influences of the modern global economy. After bridge construction reveals human burials in an ancient village site, the ALI film team explores the native culture and its people.
Shipwrecks of Biscayne National Park; story of Stone Mother; Building in Conflict
(1) Visitors to the Maritime Historic Trail are invited to explore a series of shipwrecks in the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay National Park in southeastern Florida. (2) Northern Paiute Elder Ralph Burns tells the traditional story of Stone Mother, a tufa rock formation on the east side of Pyramid Lake, Nevada, first in Paiute and then in English. (3) Bombing in the the night of 24 November 1940 destroyed the city center of Bristol, UK. A combination of oral history and archival footage captures the meaning of a city transformed through conflict.
Palestine architectural restoration; Etruscan Odyssey
(1) The Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation for more than two decades has used architecture to restore more than 100 historic sites in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2012, Riwaq won the Curry Stone Design Prize for designers addressing critical social needs. (2) Archaeologists have long grappled with questions about Etruscan origins and their way of life. Gregory Warden of Southern Methodist University is employing some new methods and coming up with some new answers.
Eugene’s Civic Stadium; Chinle Valley Singers in China
(1) Civic Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, is one of the last remaining Depression-era ballparks in the US. Last used for public events in 2009, it now stands empty, its future uncertain. This short video is a trailer for a planned documentary on the stadium and its place in the local community. (2) The Chinle Valley Singers are a Navajo family group who have shared their rich cultural tradition since 1981 in story-telling and in songs and dances adapted from ceremonial contexts. In 2012 they performed for audiences at the University of Shanghai in China.
Lummi Nation and coal exports; Day of the Dead; They Called Him Skipper
(1) Jay Julius, fisherman and tribal council member of the Lummi Nation, who have lived on Puget Sound for millenia, opposes the use of Cherry Point, Washington, as the largest coal export terminal in North America. (2) The Winchester Cultural Center in Las Vegas is where diverse Hispanic communities share their ways of celebrating the Day of the Dead in a multi-day festival. (3) Lacey V. Murrow was the Director of Highways for Washington State from 1933 to 1940 and is best known for building the historic Lake Washington floating bridge.
Hozomeen chert; WWII segregation; Guam trailer
(1) Used for making flaked stone tools, Hozomeen chert illustrates a 10,000 year tradition of Native American involvement with the rugged North Cascades of Washington State. (2) Archaeologists at Tyntesfield, England, investigate an American military complex where segregated soldiers may have resided during World War II. What went on there proves to be hard to determine. (3) The ALI film team visited Guam in June 2013 for a film project about Guam’s cultural heritage. Here we present our film trailer.
Ebey Slough Bridge; Sandor Lau interview
(1) In 1927, a new and innovative bridge closed one of the last gaps in the Pacific Coast Highway between Mexico and Canada: Ebey Slough between Everett and Marysville, Washington. In 2012, the Washington State DOT decommissioned the bridge and documented its historic character. (2) Rick Pettigrew interviews Sandor Lau about his planned TV series, “Sandor’s Oregon Trail.” Sandor intends to trek the old Oregon Trail and tell its story in front of millions of viewers.
Arizona roadside prehistoric site; Tom Dillehay interview
(1) In an area of northeastern Arizona formerly used by the Zuni, Hopi, Apache, and Navaho, archaeologists with the Arizona Department of Transportation explore a prehistoric habitation site, the Beethoven Site. The area was slated for future highway construction work. (2) At TAC Festival 2013, Rick Pettigrew interviews Keynote Speaker Tom Dillehay, whose work at the Monte Verde Site in Chile overturned the Clovis-First hypothesis for the peopling of the Americas. He explains how it took two decades of persistent research to accomplish this feat.
Mochica’s Sacrifice; ancient temple site on Pacific island
(1) Mochican iconography comes to life in this film, which portrays a ceremony of sacrifice carried out by the Moche culture in coastal Peru between A.D. 100 and 800. Each part of the ceremony is shown, beginning with the battle of great warriors. (2) On the Micronesian island of Kosrae lies the site of Menke. Oral history says a temple existed in that area, where people worshiped the goddess Sinlaku. Is it 1300 years old, one of the oldest temples in the Pacific, as expected? Dr. Felicia Beardsley and her excavation team have spent a dozen years finding out.
A Treasure of Gold; de Soto’s 1539 army encampment in Florida
(1) In the 1970s, near the Greek village of Aidonia, a mule fell into a hole. Upon rescuing the animal, villagers discovered a rare golden treasure buried amidst a group of skeletons. They tried to keep it a secret. This is the story of the plunder of Mycenaean tombs and the recovery of precious cultural heritage. (2) Aided by a hurricane, a project in Florida finds an ancient Native American town where Hernando de Soto and his army encamped and which later became one of the earliest Spanish missions established in what is now the United States.
Simpson Avenue Bridge; film clips from TAC Festival 2013
(1) In 1928, the coastal city of Hoquiam in Washington state was a boom town supplying timber for the rapidly growing American West. The Simpson Avenue Bridge opened that year, but its design became problematic as it entered the Twenty-First Century. Transportation engineers found a smart way to preserve the bridge and keep it functioning for the people of today. (2) Lisa Westwood concludes our preview series for The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival (7-11 May 2013, Eugene, Oregon) with seven short clips.
A Tomb Raider in Cyprus; film clips from TAC Festival 2013
(1) During his stay on the island from 1865 until 1876, the American consul in Cyprus, Luigi Cesnola, became an amateur archaeologist to profit from the trade of antiquities. He gathered up more than 35,000 objects. When local authorities prohibited the export of this enormous collection, Cesnola loaded his treasures onto boats and shipped them to New York. (2) Lisa Westwood launches our preview series for The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival (7-11 May 2013, Eugene, Oregon) with nine short clips.
Egyptian cave hides royal mummies; Robert Blake and English Civil War
Text: (1) Three thousand years ago, Egyptian priests gathered up the mummies and grave goods from many royal tombs and hid them away in a secret cave. Three thousand years later, a young boy chanced upon the tomb. Then the looting began. (2) The English Civil war marked the point in history when the monarchy no longer could govern without the consent of Parliament. In 1644, the city of Taunton under the command of Robert Blake was the only place in the southwest of England held by the Parliamentarians.
Volunteers catalog Utah artifacts, abandoned Irish island, indigenous tale from Brazil
(1) Lay volunteers catalog artifacts through the Forest Service Passport In Time (PIT) program at the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding, Utah. (2) The rocky island of Inishark, off the west coast of Ireland, was inhabited for thousands of years and then abandoned in 1960. Archaeologists fortunately can bring three former residents to the island to help them document the very visible ruins. (3) An imaginative film brings to life a Native American tale from the Amazon rain forest about a young girl who falls in love with the moon.
Tennessee egg fight, historic UK theater
(1) In a family feud nearly two centuries old, two Appalachian families keep alive their tradition of egg fighting. The annual Peters Hollow Easter Egg Fight in Stoney Creek, Tennessee, was a way to settle a dispute over which family's chickens laid harder eggs. (2) The Watermill Theatre in Berkshire, England, resides in a structure with a three hundred year history. The wooden building that stands there today has served as a flour mill, a cloth mill, a paper mill, and since the 1960s as a theater for stage productions.
Nevada rock art, Illinois archaeology
(1) One of the greatest places to see rock art is Nevada, which has lots of rock faces, a dry climate that preserves it, and limited vegetation to cover it up. The Nevada Rock Art Foundation is busy recording what’s there and finding ways to preserve it. (2) Lots of archaeology goes on in Illinois all the time, outside the attention of most people. In this segment, the Illinois Archaeological Survey describes how they do that work. Visit some excavation sites and drop in on the lab where the archaeologists organize, catalog and interpret what they find.
Highway Archaeology in Pennsylvania
Important decisions surrounding archaeological work in the path of a major Pennsylvania highway involved sensitive discussions among 15 Native American tribes, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. For archaeologists, the research was exciting, yielding prehistoric longhouses, a palisade, key-hole structures, and 100,000 artifacts. For both Native Americans and archaeologists, consultation about the excavation and discovered burials was troubling and hard, but compromise finally came.
Maya pyramid, Roman walls, Hawaiian historic structure
(1) A Maya pyramid at El Zotz, Guatemala, with images done in dramatic painted stucco and a royal tomb full of artifacts and human remains, may have linked the deceased lord to the eternal sun; (2) technicians using ancient building techniques work to save crumbling walls at “The Mithraeum of the Painted Walls” in Ostia Antica, the harbor of classical Rome; (3) workers restore Paschoal Hall, the central structure of Kalaupapa.
Malaysia's archaeological heritage
Always a cultural melting pot, Malaysia has cultural and historical links to distant places in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Archaeology here is young, but already reveals a rich and deep cultural record both on land and in the sea extending from Paleolithic sites in the Lenggong Valley to the Neolithic, Iron Age, and more recent periods. The recently discovered Sungai Batu civilization 2000 years ago may have provided iron for India and Arabia while sea people in Borneo obtained volcanic glass from New Britain, thousands of miles to the east.
Highway excavations in Missouri, video interview with Dr. Tom King
(1) Excavations in 2005 prior to the upgrade of “The Avenue of the Saints,” U.S. Route 61 in 15 miles of the Mississippi River valley in Missouri, revealed over 1000 buried features, 60,000 artifacts, and copious environmental data from over two dozen sites spanning 10,000 years; (2) In a video interview at TAC Festival 2011, Dr. Tom King brings us up to date on the continuing search for aviatrix Amelia Earhart on and around the remote Pacific island of Nikumaroro.
An Introduction to Contemporary Archaeology, video interview with Dr. Mark Van Stone
(1) Famed UK archaeologist and lecturer Dr. Brooklyn Hornswoggle-Smyth expounds on contemporary archaeology (exploring the very recent past) in a short film parody created by two irreverent UK students from the University of Bristol; (2) Rick Pettigrew interviews Dr. Mark Van Stone, Keynote Speaker for TAC Festival 2012 and noted specialist on Maya hieroglyphics and calligraphy, with a particular focus on the Maya calendar and predictions of the end of the world in 2012.
Penn Museum Maya exhibit, Louvre Museum Macedonia exhibit, Pohnpei canoe
(1) The Penn Museum’s exhibit, “Maya 2012: Lords of Time,” rides a wave of interest in the Maya calendar; which this year reaches the end of something, and hopefully the beginning of something else; (2) the recently concluded Louvre Museum exhibit, “In the Kingdom of Alexander the Great: Ancient Macedonia,” featured nearly 500 priceless objects from northern Greece; (3) the last traditional “warasap” canoe made on the Pacific island of Pohnpei preserved an important cultural heritage, but it was made 20 years ago.
Mayan monument, Florida prehistoric site, TAC Festival 2012
(1) Dr. Mark Van Stone, a leading expert on the Mayan calendar and the significance of 2012, describes the front of Quiriguá Stela K, a Guatemalan stone monument carved in AD 805, just before the Maya Collapse. (2) The USDA Forest Service investigates the extent and significance of the prehistoric Silver Glen Springs Site in Florida. (3) Our preview series for The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival (8-12 May 2012, Eugene, Oregon) begins with nine short clips.
Mayan king, making ancient coins, TAC Festival 2012
(1) Dr. Mark Van Stone, a leading expert on the Mayan calendar and the significance of 2012, reads the story of a powerful Mayan king on Quiriguá Stela D, a late Eighth Century stone monument in Guatemala. (2) A French team of experimental archaeologists stamps coins in an effort to recreate the “Silver Owl” coins of the Fifth Century B.C. Greek city-state of Athens. (3) Our preview series for The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival (8-12 May 2012, Eugene, Oregon) begins with three short clips.