A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Asia & the Pacific
Marquesas IslandsPost-Impressionist Paul Gauguin spent his later, syphilitic years on the island of Hiva Oa. Locals excavated the well by his home, which was filled after his 1903 death. In contrast to the beauty of his work, some of the finds, including four rotted teeth, a syringe, and two ampules of morphine, speak to his late-life suffering. Other discoveries include a beer bottle from New Zealand, liquor and perfume bottles, pigments and a coconut shell used to mix paint, and a jar of Bovril, a salty English beef extract.
Mexico Did the hunger of the Maya elite for meat and furs lead to overhunting of large mammals? Researchers sifting through deposits from 25 sites discovered that bones of large game, such as jaguar and deer, peaked in the Late Classic period and declined following the Maya "collapse" around A.D. 900. The finds suggest that wildlife populations dropped at that time. Researchers say there may be a lesson here about letting political motivations dictate animal exploitation.