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from the trenches
From the Trenches Volume 60 Number 4, July/August 2007

News and Notes from the World of Archaeology

Desert Solitaire
The U.S. Department of Defense is distributing decks of playing cards with archaeological messages to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Herod's Tomb Discovered?
Israeli archaeologists say they have discovered the tomb of King Herod the Great.

Museums
   The Met's New Temple

Books
   God's Gold
   A New Human
   Editor's Picks

Trowel Tales
The history of archaeologist Kathleen Deagan's trusty trowel

It's Good to be the
[Maya King]
(King)

Thanks to advances in translating Maya hieroglyphs, the names of royals such as Water Sun Shark and Bird Jaguar are an endless source of amusement for us tamely monikered modern-day folks.

Below are the results of our online poll, which gave readers the chance to vote for their favorite Maya royal name. Sadly, staff favorites Knot-Eye Jaguar, Turtle Tooth, and Curl Snout wound up at the bottom of the list. (Frankly, we were a little surprised that the lamely named 18 Rabbit was runner-up.) And the winner is...

[Smoking Squirrel]
Smoking Squirrel - 24%

The Rest of the Royals:
18 Rabbit - 15%
Lady Six Sky - 13%
Moon Skull - 12%
Dark Sun - 11%
Smoke Monkey - 10%
Knot-Eye Jaguar - 9%
Turtle Tooth - 4%
Curl Snout - 2%

World Roundup
[map]
Recent discoveries around the globe

Web Watch
Where to go for the lowdown on ancient writing:

  • www.ancientscripts.com
    Created by a software engineer who moonlights as an amateur linguist, this site not only covers ancient writing systems—complete with illustrations, translations, and maps—but also offers games and downloadable fonts based on ancient scripts.
  • www.historyworld.net
    A search for "writing" at HistoryWorld turns up pages devoted to everything from cuneiform to the "talking leaves" of the Cherokee.
  • www.ancient-egypt.org/language
    The Ancient Egypt Site is brimming with information on writing and literature from the Early Dynastic period up to Greek and Roman times. Its most useful feature is a handy list of heiroglyphs.
  • www.harappa.com/script
    An excellent compendium with links to all the information in cyberspace related to the undeciphered Indus Valley script, this site also features interviews with preeminent linguists and a "dictionary" that offers possible intepretations of the enigmatic signs.
    --Amélie Walker

Magic Fluteball
The only Neolithic flutist on the planet studies a 6,000-year-old spherical flute found in Macedonia.

Destination
Francis McManamon, National Park Service chief archaeologist, on his favorite site in the U.S. park system

The Face That Launched an International Incident
Egyptian authorities would like to borrow Queen Nefertiti's bust from Berlin's Egyptian Museum.

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© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America
archive.archaeology.org/0707/trenches/
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