A half-hour video news magazine each month bringing you stories from the wide world of archaeology
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.
Cyprus wine; Chinese district of historic Nevada boom-town; Titanic Auction
(1) People have been making wine in Cyprus for thousands of years, so the Cypriots are thoroughly familiar with all facets of the wine industry and long ago developed their own distinctive wine culture. (2) In the 1860s, Aurora, a mining boom town in western Nevada, was home to a Chinese population for which history is mute. Excavations by the US Forest Service PIT Program are bringing that story to light. (3) Dr. Pettigrew offers his criticism of the impending auction of artifacts from the Titanic wreck site.
Maya creation story; historic Greek fountain
(1) Dr. Mark Van Stone reads the Creation story on Quiriguá Stela C, the late Eighth Century monument in Guatemala which tells us the myth of the "Planting of the Three-Stone Hearth (of Creation)." This creation myth has a connection with current fears that the world will end in 2012. (2) The fountain Syntrivani, a central monument of Thessaloniki, Greece, was built in 1884 after the demolition of the eastern wall. A personal gift of Sultan Abdul Hamid to its citizens and part of the city’s embellishment plan, it stands today as a reminder of times past.
Geophysical Survey of Ohio Earthworks; Mysterious Prehistoric Temples of Malta
(1) Magnetometer survey by Dr. Jarrod Burks in Ohio relocates part of the 1000 foot wide Shriver Circle, a now invisible Woodland Period (300 B.C. - A.D. 500) earthworks feature, suggesting that remote sensing can revolutionize our understanding of Ohio earthworks. (2) Long before Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, Neolithic people in Malta built many impressive megalithic temples. Then the temple builders vanished from the archaeological record. Our ALI film team goes to Malta to explore the temples and their mysteries.
European 1708 Battle Site; Language Discovery in Peru; Writing Maya Glyphs
(1) In 1708, over 180,000 soldiers battled at Oudenaarde, Belgium, during the War of Spanish Succession. Now archaeologists and lay volunteers use new technology to explore the battlefield. (2) In the early 17th Century, a Spaniard in Peru jotted down some notes on the back of a letter. Four hundred years later, archaeologists dug it up and found traces of a lost language. (3) Dr. Mark Van Stone, Keynote Speaker for TAC Festival 2012, explains how Maya hieroglyphs are constructed by writing a modern name in ancient phonetic Mayan characters.
Bahrain Fort; Alexandria Cisterns; Human Fossils
(1) A British archaeology field team explores a historic fort in the small island country of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf to find out what remains beneath the ground.. (2) Development of the modern city of Alexandria, Egypt, has obscured traces of old Alexandria on the surface, but an ancient subterranean world of waterworks still remains to be fully explored. (3) The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology takes pains to make perfect casts of the fossil bones of human ancestors.
Grand Canyon Archaeology; Tubuai: Polynesian Island
(1) Between 2006 and 2009, in the first major excavation project in the vicinity in 40 years, archaeologists sampled nine pre-contact sites along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. This action was taken to recover data before the sites were lost to erosion. (2). In 2007, a group of archaeologists came to Tubuai, an island in east Polynesia, to look for traces of some of the greatest explorers in human history. The people of the island, descendants of those ancient explorers, welcomed the archaeologists with open arms.
Historic Fort Gadsden, Greek Village Becomes Archaeological Site
(1) In 1816, Andrew Jackson ordered the destruction of historic Fort Gadsden, on the Apalachicola River in the Florida Panhandle. Hundreds died in a cataclysmic explosion. This now is a historic site operated by the US Forest Service and open to the public. (2) Residents abandoned the Greek village of Moussai in the 1960s. Now the settlement is decaying. This process of destruction, which archaeologists call "site formation," shows how a living site becomes an archaeological site.
Florida Prehistoric Canoe Recovered, Day of the Dead Altar
(1) Working quickly without heavy equipment to avoid damage to the artifact, archaeologists excavate a thousand-year-old forty-foot wooden canoe from the sandy shore of an island in Tampa Bay. Submitted by Pinellas County Communications. (2) Dr. David Carrasco of Harvard University’s Peabody Museum explains the essential elements of a Day of the Dead altar, by which Mexican families honor their beloved dead. Held each year on November 1-2, this ancient festival combines Aztec and Spanish motifs.
TAC Festival 2011 Results, London Olympics, Vandalism at Hidden Forest Cave
(1) The competitive results from the 2011 edition of The Archaeology Channel International Film and Video Festival. (2) London is hosting the 2012 summer Olympics, but people in London have differences of opinion about the alterations to their city, which is more than two thousand years old. (3) Vandals tag the walls of a mountain cave, obscuring Native American rock art drawn on the walls many centuries ago. Authorities are looking for the perpetrators.