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Thursday, March 31
March 31, 2011

A new study of a 3,500-year-old clay tablet unearthed in Greece determined that its marks are the oldest-known decipherable text in Europe. The tablet was found in a trash heap near an early Mycenaean palace.

A US federal appeals court has ruled that Persian artifacts from Iran that were targeted in a lawsuit in 2004 cannot be seized as compensation for victims of a terror attack in Israel. The artifacts had been housed at the University of Chicago for decades. 

The first batch of artifacts from Machu Picchu has arrived in Peru from Yale University. “They are treasures, even though they’re not made of gold or precious stones, because they represent the dignity and pride of Peru,” said President Alan Garcia. 

A fossilized bone collected by the ancient Greeks will go on display in England. Known as the Nichoria bone, it was presumed lost when it turned up in a cellar at the University of Minnesota. 

The 76th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology is underway at the Sacramento Convention Center. 

One of the presentations at the meeting is about a survey of wetlands in the Tigris-Euphrates delta and the emergence of Mesopotamian cities. “The early period of settlement is always linked to the development of agriculture,” said Carrie Hritz of Penn State University. 

Turkey celebrated the return of more than 3,000 artifacts that had been smuggled out of the country since 2007. 

Archaeologist Ruben G. Mendoza is studying the light effects at California’s historic mission churches. “If we go back to the medieval era, we know that the churches of Italy would be laid out is such a way that they would plant a post in the ground on the feast of a particular day, wait for the sun to rise and it would cast a shadow. Then the friars would tie a rope and drag it along the shadow and build the church along that alignment,” he explained.

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Wednesday, March 30
March 30, 2011

Zahi Hawass has been renamed minister of Egyptian antiquities, according to the official MENA news agency.  You can read about what he’s been up to since he resigned from the post earlier this month at his site, 

A team from Cardiff University is reexamining the Egyptian tunnels known as The Dog Catacombs. As many as eight million animals are estimated to have been placed there. “These animals were not strictly ‘sacrificial.’ Rather, the dedication of an animal mummy was regarded as a pious act, with the animal acting as intermediary between the donor and the gods,” explained archaeologist Paul Nicholson. 

The remains of babies and hundreds of sacrificed animals have been excavated from a Roman site in the greater London area. 

Scientists will begin a new investigation of Serpent Mound in Ohio. “We expect to generate a new and detailed understanding of the serpent’s internal structure,” said team leader William F. Romain. 

The city of St. Augustine, Florida, has dedicated a new archaeology center, named for Dr. Sue A. Middleton. 

Goats, sheep, and cows have the run of Cyrene, a Hellenistic city in eastern Libya. “This is our history and there are goats all over it. We have no government, so how can you expect a place like this to be protected?” asked visitor Fitah al-Fakhri. 

National Geographic Daily News has picked up the story on the possible trade of cacao and turquoise between the prehistoric peoples of New Mexico and Mesoamerica.

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