A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Asia & The Pacific
ChinaWhen you see 400-year-old Ming Dynasty porcelain on a fishing boat, something must be wrong. Police confiscated more than 100 pieces in the last few months. After a little "persuasion," the fishermen led authorities to a shipwreck archaeologists have dubbed South China Sea II. Coincidentally, the find came as state archaeologists had just begun salvage operations on South China Sea I, an even older Song Dynasty ship also laden with porcelain.
North KoreaAccording to a report on The Daily NK--a South Korea-based website dedicated to democracy--thieves raided the historical museum in Haeju, North Korea, making off with a golden Buddha statue and a variety of unspecified ancient Korean artifacts. A representative of the notoriously secretive government told ARCHAEOLOGY that the story was fabricated by South Korean and American intelligence agencies.
IndiaWhen Toba Volcano in Indonesia blew its top 74,000 years ago--the largest known volcanic eruption--it decimated human populations worldwide. In addition to affecting climate, it blanketed the Indian subcontinent in 4 to 6 inches of ash. But new finds in south India suggest that humans there endured. On both sides of the ash layer, archaeologists have found similar sets of stone tools, suggesting both that modern human foragers reached India by that time and that they took the eruption in stride.
TurkeyThe world's oldest wooden anchor was found embedded in 5 feet of sediment at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Discovered near the modern coastal city of Urla, the 7th-century B.C. artifact consisted of a wooden post with a metal cap on one end. The port of Klazomenai, where it originated, likely sank because of a natural disaster in the 6th century B.C.
Near & Middle East
MexicoBraving the frigid waters of a lake on an extinct volcano near Mexico City, archaeologists found wooden scepters shaped like lightning bolts. The curvy sticks were used 500 years ago to summon the Aztec rain god, Tlaloc. The team also discovered obsidian flakes and cactus spines that may have been used for ritual bloodletting and other ceremonies.