Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Update - Aztec Ritual Depost and possible "tomb"

As noted 2.5 years ago, Mexican archaeologists found a carved slab which they believed covered the tomb of Aztec emperor Ahuizotl. This has not immediately turned out to be the case, as shown in today's presentation of the materials to the press. The researchers still believe they are near such a tomb.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Did Maya Architects Tie Fossils to Creation?

Art Daily posts an announcement of research at the Maya city of Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, suggesting fossils may be tied to Maya ideas of Creation. This new study notes the use of fossil-bearing stones in ritual and elite funerary contexts at Palenque, and combining historical and epigraphic evidence, suggests that the fossils hearkened back to a watery world at the dawn of Creation.

This would not be the first discovery of fossils in Mesoamerican ritual contexts. At La Venta (I believe, I don't have the original reports here at my fingertips) at least one fossil shark teeth was part of an Olmec ritual cache.

The idea of pre-19th century people conducting different forms of paleontology is a compelling and common sensical notion, one discussed by Adrienne Mayor in her books, as profiled in the New York Times.

I would need to see more about the Palenque research to comment further, but it raises a potentially fascinating possibility.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Colonial Cherokee Archaeology - My Current Project

It's listed over in the "colleagues" links on the right, but another reminder to check out the blog for our work on the 2010 Illinois State University Historical Archaeology Field School. I'm directing lab work and working in the field with project director Kathryn Sampeck and field director Burton Smith and a number of students.