CNN International reports, under the "Technology" section (strange), that archaeologists in Rome have uncovered a "city of the dead" (see right). Actually it is a necropolis where the tombs and graves were ornately decorated to resemble city buildings and streets. Pottery evidence shows that the necropolis was used in the Medieval Period as a residential area. Uh eww?
The Mainichi Daily announced that a Japanese team working at the site of Tell el-Kerkh in Syria have uncovered the oldest crematorium. Specifically archaeologists from the University of Tsukuba uncovered "cremated bones" and deep pits used for cremation. Is it just me or does this sound strange to you? If a bone is fully cremated, wouldn't it just be ash? The article doesn't specify but I image they found pits filled with ash and human bones inside. Unless there is evidence that the bones were charred, I don't know if I am buying this cremation thing. Guess I'll have to read the final site report, though it will most likely be only available in Japanese. Nic, I may need your help on this one!
In other news:
-the New Eden Project is trying to restore the marsh lands of southern Iraq that were decimated by Saddam.
-rotten fish entrails are helping to more precisely date the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. As if 79 AD is not enough, we just had to know that it most likely happened in July or August of that year and if you are really liberal, it was August 24 as Pliny the Younger recounted.
-the Field Museum and the Oriental Institute (both in Chicago) are teaming up to teach Iraqi archaeologists the basics of artifact preservation. This is part of a larger Cultural Heritage Project funding by the US to help "preserve the history of Iraq." Too little too late?
-finally, in case you didn't know this already, Greek medicine derived in many ways from ancient Egyptian (and I'll add, ancient Mesopotamian) medicine. Remember people: the foundation of our modern western world lies in the Middle East and not Greece/Rome!