Archive for October, 2013


Topic: Beer and All Hallows’ Eve

Ok so my husband found this article and I agreed is should be posted before Halloween even if it’s not exactly ancient- beer on the other hand is!

While you may have found the perfect costume for Halloween, you probably haven’t given much thought to what beer you will be drinking. This is Halloween, and picking up a six pack of domestic at the convenience store just will not make the cut.

On this night, everything should be a bit scarier. Homes are decked with spiderwebs and jack o’ lanterns, horror movies are in constant rotation and people dress up as zombies, monsters and vampires.

So why should your beer be any different? Dive into seven wicked brews that are sure to make your Halloween night a bit more frightening and also freakishly tasty.

Midas Touch: Dogfish Head – Milton, Delaware
While the name isn’t necessarily scary, the fact that this beer is made from mummy yeast just might unsettle you. Dogfish conjures up this Ancient Ale with spores found in the tomb of King Midas.

This beer will appeal to wine drinkers because its sweet floral notes and lack of hop bitterness. However be warned: at 9% ABV this potent brew does have the potential to awaken a monster that has been dormant for thousands of years.

Zombie Dust: Three Floyds Brewing – Munster, Indiana
This American Pale Ale bears a label featuring the artwork of Tim Seeley, a comic book artist best known for G.I. Joe. Zombie Dust will not only protect you from the undead, but also fortify you with extremely hoppy flavor and a coffin load of style points.

Dead Guy Ale: Rogue Brewing – Portland, Oregon
Here lies a stone-cold excellent example of a Maibock or Helles Bock beer. The label was inspired by a Mayan Day of the Dead festival in Portland, and no self-respecting Halloween zombie would be caught dead without one of these in its rotting hand.

DirtWolf: Victory Brewing – Downingtown, Pennsylvania
The full moon is sure to bring out the monster flavor in this new Double IPA from Victory. Wild notes from whole flower hops in this fairly strong IPA give drinkers something to howl about.

Four Witches Black Saison: New Holland Brewing – Holland, Michigan
There is definitely some black magic going on with this Black Saison. According to the brewers, this beer is the ultimate battle of good and evil, featuring both white and dark roasted wheat. The result is sure to cast its spell upon whomever is brave enough to break its seal

Wake Up Dead: Left Hand Brewing Company – Longmont, Colorado
This Imperial Stout was left to languish in the cellars of Left Hand for four months, until they unleashed it upon the public. It’s is said to have coffee, chocolate and licorice notes, but I am going to lock this 10.2 ABV beast up for a while longer. The bottle says it can be cellared for up to seven years, so stay tuned for my review when I unleash it in 2020.

Witch Hunt: Bridgeport – Portland, Oregon
Grab your torches and your neighbors and be on the lookout for this Spiced Harvest Ale from Oregon’s oldest brewery. Witch Hunt conjures up cinnamon and nutmeg, spices traditionally found in pumpkin beers, but don’t mistake it for one. It’s executed quite well, so take this fall seasonal for a spin on your broomstick.

Give these spooky beers a try if you dare, and have a happy, hoppy Halloween.

Original article:

By Greg Bowman
Greg Bowman is an Editor Producer with CNN Creative Services in Atlanta and is also a craft beer enthusiast. Follow his beer escapades on Twitter @gboCNN.


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Layout of Nottingham caves

Topic Saxon Man made caves

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND—Archaeologists of the Nottingham Caves Survey are attempting to map each of the hundreds of human-made caves that are underneath the town. The team is using a 3-D laser scanner to create highly accurate maps of each chamber, some of which date back to the sixth century A.D., when Saxons settled the area and first began to carve out chambers in the easily excavated sandstone that underlies Nottingham. The chambers served as cisterns, malt kilns, pub cellars, and jails, most famously the one said to have held Robin Hood. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a great number were dug for storage beneath buildings. Though many were lost in the nineteenth century due to development, archaeologists estimate that some 450 survive, including several that served as bomb shelters during air raids in World War II. Gizomodo journalist Geoff Manaugh toured the caves this summer in the company of Nottingham Caves Survey archaeologists and has written a fascinating account of his visit.

Original article:
October 22, 2013

More on these caves is found at Nottingham caves survey

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High Rise Village, a prehistoric Native American hamlet more than 10,000 feet up into the Wind River Range in northwestern Wyoming. The Winds, as the mountains are known, are not an easy place to collect data. Researchers have trekked across glaciers and scaled cliffs in their search for new villages, contending with “everything from flash flooding to forest fires to bear encounters,” says Matthew Stirn, a University of Sheffield-Britain graduate student who has helped locate many villages.
(Photo: None None)

Topic Early Native American villages

Archaeologists uncover secrets of high-altitude Wyoming villages where Native Americans would go in summer to hunt and collect pine nuts for winter.

To an outsider, the Wind River Range of Wyoming does not seem a hospitable place. Glaciers dot the peaks, and snow can fall even in August. But in the thin air above 10,000 feet, archaeologists have discovered a host of sky-high prehistoric villages, including one that may be the oldest mountain settlement in North America.

Researchers will report 13 new Wind River villages in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Archaeological Science, bringing the total number to 19. Such high-altitude settlements are extremely rare in North America, and scientists plan to study plant remains from the villages that may help them understand the prehistoric peoples who moved to the roof of the world.

“To find honest-to-God villages up there … was astounding,” says Colorado State University archaeologist Richard Adams, whose team identified the first one. “They’re on the crest of the continent. Who’d have thunk it? Nobody expected this.”

The sheer number of sites is “shocking,” says archaeologist David Hurst Thomas of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, who is not involved in the Wind River work. “And this (research) is … expensive, it’s hard, and it’s a killer on the knees.”

The Winds, as the mountains are known, are not an easy place to collect data. Researchers have trekked across glaciers and scaled cliffs in their search for new villages, contending with “everything from flash flooding to forest fires to bear encounters,” says Matthew Stirn, a University of Sheffield-Britain graduate student who has helped locate many villages. “It’s as close to extreme archaeology as you can get.”

The job has gotten easier, thanks to a formula Stirn developed to predict where villages are likely to be, based on factors such as altitude and the presence of whitebark pine, a tree that produces large quantities of fatty nuts. Stirn’s formula guided the team to the newly reported villages, which contained the vestiges of ancient lodges and everyday objects such as grinding stones.

The artifacts in the new villages are much like those at the largest Winds village, discovered several years before the most recent batch. Christened “High Rise,” it sprawls down a mountainside so steep that Adams compares it to an intermediate ski run. At 26 acres, it’s the biggest alpine village in North America and was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Amid the ruins of the 60-odd lodges at the site lie sewing tools,stone arrowheads and body paint. A piece of pottery made from local clay and a fragment of bowl made from local stone mean that women were probably crafting objects up at High Rise, Adams says.

All those remnants — many also found at other villages — suggest these weren’t just short-term hunting camps. Instead they were high-altitude resorts where entire families lived for months at a time, hunting and collecting pine nuts for the winter. The villages are awash in stone food-grinding tools, which could have been used to extract nuts from the pine cones. People probably wouldn’t have left those valuable tools at the high villages unless they planned to return.

“There seems to be a predictable draw that brings people back to the same place year after year,” says archaeologist Laura Scheiber of Indiana University, who excavates other high-altitude sites. “Children are learning from their parents and grandparents, ‘This is the place we go at this time of year.'”

The age of the oldest villages is unknown, but it’s clear that some were built at least 2,700 years ago, and High Rise may be 4,000 years old, Adams says. That would make it the oldest alpine village in North America. There’s evidence that people lived at High Rise on and off for at least 2,000 years running. The Sheepeater Shoshone, the Native American people who built the Winds villages, used them until they were confined to reservations.

Researchers puzzle over why prehistoric people headed for the hills in the first place. Perhaps changes in climate made food scarcer in the lowlands, or perhaps immigrants drove people off their traditional territory. Nor do scientists know whether the Wind River people came up with the idea of high-mountain settlements on their own or heard about it from others. But Wind River has helped put to rest the old stereotype that prehistoric peoples stuck to the lowlands.

The range “was the place to be in the summer. … It is just exhilarating to be there, and the living was easier than in the basin,” Adams says. “I think they were up there having fun.”


A modern-day replica of a “wickiup,” the branch-and-bark structures that High Rise residents built as homes.(Photo: Handout)

Original article:
USA today

By Traci Watson, Special for USA TODAY 9:27 a.m. EDT October 20, 2013

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Topic: Ancient Wine Cellar

Sofia. A team of archaeologists, headed by Associate Professor Aneliya Bozhkova with the National Archaeological Institute with Museum with the Bulgarian Academy of Science, and Petya Kiyashkina with the Ancient Nesebar Museum, discovered a perfectly preserved cellar with amphorae from the 5th century BC, over the last days of the archaeological excavations in the Bulgarian coastal town of Nesebar, the press office of Nesebar Municipality announced.
The research is organised under a project of the Ancient Nesebar Museum, financed by the Ministry of Culture, with the participation of experts in archaeology.
The ancient amphorae warehouse was dug in deep into the ground along the northern coast of the peninsula, which preserved it from the encroachment of time and the following cultural layers.
The cellar is 2.60 x 2.50 meters big and belonged to a house, which was destroyed yet in the 5th century BC. Archaeologists found more than 30 untouched amphorae – ceramic vessels for transportation and preservation of wine and olive oil. The amphorae are 0.70-0.80 centimetres tall. They used to be produced in big ancient Greek workshops and transported wine from prominent producers and importers, such as the islands of Chios, Lesbos, Thasos and others.

Original article:


October, 17, 2013

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Blick Mead, near Stonehenge, where a charred toad’s leg was found. Photograph: University of Buckingham/PA

Topic: English delicacy?

Dig at Blick Mead, Wiltshire, a mile from Stonehenge, turns up bones of toad’s leg dating to between 7596BC and 6250BC

If you’re French, asseyez-vous, s’il vous plait. Archaeologists digging about a mile away from Stonehenge have made a discovery that appears to overturn centuries of received wisdom: frogs’ legs were an English delicacy around eight millennia before becoming a French one.

The shock revelation was made public on Tuesday by a team which has been digging at a site known as Blick Mead, near Amesbury in Wiltshire. Team leader David Jacques said: “We were completely taken aback.”

In April they discovered charred bones of a small animal, and, following assessment by the Natural History Museum, it has been confirmed that there is evidence the toad bones were cooked and eaten. “They would have definitely eaten the leg because it would have been quite big and juicy,” said Jacques.

The bones, from a Mesolithic site that Jacques is confident will prove to be the oldest continuous settlement in the UK, have been dated to between 7596BC and 6250BC.

And it’s not just toads’ legs. Mesolithic Wiltshire man and woman were enjoying an attractive diet. “There’s basically a Heston Blumenthal menu coming out of the site,” said Jacques. “We can see people eating huge pieces of aurochs, cows which are three times the size of a normal cow, and we’ve got wild boar, red deer and hazelnuts.

“There were really rich food resources for people and they were eating everything that moved but we weren’t expecting frogs’ legs as a starter.”

The discovery is entertaining, but has a wider importance, said Jacques, as it adds to evidence that there was a near-3,000-year use of the site. “People are utilising all these resources to keep going and it is clearly a special place for the amount of different types of food resources to keep them going all year round. Frogs’ legs are full of protein and very quick to cook: the Mesolithic equivalent of fast food.”

Jacques is senior research fellow in archaeology at the University of Buckingham which is funding a new dig on the site. He said it was looking increasingly likely that the site was the “cradle to Stonehenge” which was built around 5,000 years later.

Andy Rhind-Tutt, chairman of Amesbury museum and heritage trust, said: “No one would have built Stonehenge without there being something unique and really special about the area. There must have been something significant here beforehand, and Blick Mead, with its constant temperature spring sitting alongside the River Avon, may well be it.

“I believe that as we uncover more about the site over the coming days and weeks we will discover it to be the greatest, oldest and most significant Mesolithic home base ever found in Britain.”

Original article:
the guardian.com

Mark Brown, arts correspondent
The Guardian, Tuesday 15 October 2013

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Topic: Bourbon distillery; 1830’s

archaeological dig at early distillery yields valuable insights

Woodford distillery’s past comes to light with archaeology dig

VERSAILLES — One of Kentucky early distillers, Oscar Pepper, is making history again, this time about what early farm life was like in the Bluegrass.

Brown-Forman owns the Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles, on the site of the original Pepper distillery. Late this summer, archaeologists began excavating around the 1812 log cabin built by Elijah Pepper on a hill above Glenn’s Creek, where the first distillery and grist mill were built.

“We hoped to find any artifacts or architectural remains that would help fill in the picture of life there at the Pepper house,” said Dr. Kim McBride, co-director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, which is a partnership between the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology and the Kentucky Heritage Council.

McBride and the other archaeologists located an area just to the side of the house, which is still standing, that proved a surprisingly rich source of one of archaeology’s best resources: trash.

“It’s other people’s garbage we are working with but we use that to get a picture of the culture, the socioeconomic status, such as how much they were spending on material goods,” McBride said. “By combining the archaeology with oral history and documentary research, we can get a picture of 19th-century life.”

They knew that Elijah and Sarah Pepper built the cabin around 1812 and used the nearby limestone springs for a grain mill and for making whiskey. Stone buildings built from 1838 are still used today by Woodford Reserve, along with post-Prohibition warehouses.

Elijah Pepper’s son, Oscar, and Scotsman James Crow in the 1830s revolutionized the bourbon industry by using scientific and hygienic practices and writing down their processes, said Chris Morris, present day master distiller at Woodford Reserve.

“Oscar Pepper was born in that house, as were so many other Peppers, and James Christopher Crow probably ate dinner in that house, slept in that house,” Morris said.

Elijah Pepper passed away in 1825, and Oscar Pepper took over the farm and distilling, Morris said.

“He built our current distillery between 1838 and 1840, that beautiful limestone building. He hired James Christopher Crow to be his distiller, and Crow worked most of his life in that stone building,” Morris said. “Historians credit Pepper and Crow with pretty much defining bourbon as we know it today. They have no claims on any inventions — they did not invent the sour mash process but they perfected it. They did not invent charring and using new barrels but they perfected it. … And the most important thing they did was they wrote this down. … We owe those two gentlemen a lot.”

Through oral histories and documents, the archaeologists knew that a long-lost structure, built at the same time as the cabin, once stood at the side of the house. But when they began digging they soon realized it was much larger than they had thought.

“We were really surprised and delighted to find the mirror image of the structure,” McBride said. “The eastern room had been really heavily turned over to yard use. There was a drilled well in there, and it was right near the back door, so that area had been heavy yard work area. That didn’t lead us to expect that this was really twice as big as what you could see on the surface. … Often what you find underground is more complicated — when you find out what you thought was an end wall is a divider wall.”

They eventually uncovered stone walls measuring 44.5 feet from east to west by 17.5 feet north to south, with chimneys on the east and west ends and a dividing wall in the middle.

The chimney on the east end was probably for heat but the one on the west end had a substantial fire box with a stone platform, probably large cooking pots, she said.

“This was probably a combination kitchen and slave quarters,” McBride said, which were common in that era. Records indicated the Peppers had six slaves when they settled in Woodford County and acquired more.

“After 1865, we have the death of Oscar Pepper and the estate is in transition, and with emancipation the structure was probably no longer needed,” McBride said.

Many of the most interesting artifacts the archaeologists found were probably dumped into what became a rubbish tip.

Yesterday’s trash, today’s treasure.

Lots of toys — especially marbles and doll parts — smoking pipes, coins, fasteners including hooks and eyes from corsets, and buttons were unearthed, as well as an inkwell, a salt shaker, broken glass stemware, pottery, eating utensils such as bone handled forks and knives, and what they think might have been a pool cue ball.

There was a tremendous assemblage of animal bones, including some with bullet holes, “so that will give us good insight into diet,” McBride said,

“The excavation is just the beginning. We bring everything back to an archaeology lab, where it’s cleaned, sorted, and cataloged. … We hope Woodford Reserve will find some of them useful for exhibits interpreting life at Pepper house, and they will be available for other scholars to use.”

Morris’ dream is to display the artifacts, possibly in the distillery’s popular visitors’ center. He also would love to use the stone foundation and the cabin in some way, possibly in another public distillery space.

With bourbon again on the rise, the Woodford distillery is expanding and Brown-Forman will be building several new barrel warehouses, including one very close to where the house is. They haven’t determined whether the cabin will be moved.

“We’re still working on plans for what we’re going to do with the house,” Morris said.

And the archaeologists aren’t done: Morris said they will be coming back to dig around the original distillery and grist mill site along the creek.

“I can’t wait to see what they find there,” Morris said.

Original article:


By Janet Patton —October 14, 2013



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Blätterhöhle’ cave near Hagen in Germany,
Topic: Early communities

Hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the hunter-gatherer communities died out or were absorbed into the farming population.

In a paper published today in Science, researchers describe their analysis of DNA and isotopes from human bones found in the ‘Blätterhöhle’ cave near Hagen in Germany, where both hunter-gatherers and farmers were buried.

The team, led by anthropologist Professor Joachim Burger of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany, used stable isotopes to determine their diet, DNA to investigate how they were related, and radiocarbon to establish how old the bones were.

“It is commonly assumed that the European hunter-gatherers disappeared soon after the arrival of farmers”, said Dr Ruth Bollongino, lead author of the study. “But our study shows that the descendants of the first European humans maintained their hunter-gatherer way of life, and lived in parallel with the immigrant farmers, for at least 2,000 years. The hunter-gathering way of life only died out in Central Europe around 5,000 years ago, much later than previously thought.”

“Until around 7,500 years ago all central Europeans were hunter-gatherers,” said Professor Mark Thomas, professor of evolutionary genetics at UCL, and a co-author of the study. “They were the descendants of the first wave of our species to arrive in Europe, around 45,000 years ago. They survived the last Ice Age and the warming that started around 10,000 years ago. And now it seems they also survived the initial wave of farmers spreading across Europe from the southeast of the continent.”

Previous genetic studies by Professors Burger and Thomas showed that agriculture was brought to Central Europe by immigrant farmers around 7,500 years ago. From that time on, little trace of hunter-gathering can be seen in the archaeological record, and it was widely assumed that the hunter-gatherers rapidly died out or were absorbed into the farming populations.

“Although there is some archaeological evidence of interactions between immigrant agriculturalists and local hunter-gatherers, its extent and duration has remained something of a mystery,” said Professor Thomas. “But our study now shows that the hunter-gatherers stayed in close proximity to farmers, had contact with them for thousands of years, and buried their dead in the same cave.

“This contact was not without consequences, because hunter-gatherer women sometimes married into the farming communities, while no genetic lines of farmer women have been found in hunter-gatherers”, explained Burger. “This pattern of marriage is known from many studies of human populations in the modern world. Farmer women regarded marrying into hunter-gatherer groups as social demotion.”

For a long time the team were unable to make sense of the findings. “It was only through the analysis of isotopes in the human remains, performed by our Canadian colleagues, that the pieces of the puzzle began to fit,” states Bollongino.

She added: “The results showed that the hunter-gatherers sustained themselves in Central and Northern Europe on a very specialized diet that included fish, among other things, until 5,000 years ago. And what is more, the hunter-gatherers living at the same time as the farmers were genetically more similar to the pre-farming hunter-gatherers than to the contemporaneous farmers.”

The team also pursued the question of what impact both groups had on the gene pool of modern Europeans.

Adam Powell, mathematician and specialist in demographic modeling at the JGU Institute of Anthropology, who obtained his PhD with Professor Thomas at UCL, explained: “While neither hunter-gatherers nor farmers are to be regarded as the sole ancestors of today’s Europeans, it is the mixing of both populations that potentially represents the ancestry of modern-day Europeans.”

It seems that the hunter-gatherers’ lifestyle lasted at least until around 5000 years ago in Central Europe. However, some of the prehistoric farmers had hunter-gatherers as ancestors, and their genes are still found in Central Europeans today.

Original article:
October10, 2013

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