Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Here's the 2009 blog Christmas card with best wishes to everyone, whether your celebrate Christmas or not (click to see the large version if required). I've escaped the chaos of pre-Christmas London and am now in Wales for a very quiet few weeks.

Here's a short selection of odds and ends to celebrate Christmas. Most of them are general archaeology rather than Egyptology.

Archaeology Magazine's Top Ten Discoveries of 2009

ARCHAEOLOGY's annual list of the year's most exciting discoveries--from North America's earliest canals to evidence for chemical warfare at a Roman outpost in Syria--highlights sites, artifacts, and scientific studies we feel most enrich our knowledge of the past.

Archaeology is an incremental science, and "eureka" moments are rare. Often the most significant advances result from many years of research. For instance, we feature the work of archaeologists who have dug for four decades at a second-century B.C. Greek city in southern Russia. They were only recently able to identify a large structure at the site as the palace of King Mithradates VI, a legendary foe of Rome.

Two elite tombs excavated this year are on the list, one belonging to a Moche lord in Peru and the other to a family of Iron Age priestesses on Crete. Meanwhile, graves of exotic animals now emerging at the Predynastic Egyptian capital of Hierakonpolis show that the city's rulers kept extensive menageries--the world's first zoos.

We hope 2009's remarkable finds inspire you to make your own connections with the past, and whet your appetite for the discoveries to come.

The Ancient Origins of Christmas Traditions, The Independent

The Christmas Tree: We might curse the fact that we're still picking pine needles out of our toes come spring, but the idea of decorating your house with greenery at winter goes back thousands of years. King Tut may never have seen the multicoloured mess we put up with nowadays, but he would have had date palm leaves scattered around his royal abodes on the winter solstice.

Ancient Egyptian Games Online (Vincent Brown)

Vincent has gathered together a terrific selection of Ancient Egyptian Games that you can play online. Enjoy!

Top Ten Archaeology News Stories of the Decade
(K. Kris Hirst )

Many of the stories I chose for the top ten overthrew long-prevailing theories concerning human evolution and human migrations around our big blue marble. Others include a startlingly complex civilization discovered in Peru and a slab of serpentine appears to present information about the ancient roots of language in Mesoamerica. A man who was pulled out of a melting glacier in the Alps provided an astoundingly clear window into life as it was lived 5,000 years ago. It's truly been an amazing ten years.

The Biblical Story of Jesus in Egypt
(Jill Kamil)

Despite the biblical references to the Holy Family's journey to Egypt: Take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt [Matt: 2:13], and Out of Egypt have I called my son [Matt: 2:15], outside of the Coptic communities around the world, the early years of Jesus are not as widely known as the Nativity, the Passion, and the Resurrection. Is it not time to stage a three-act play in Coptic churches that combines the Nativity with the Flight into Egypt? It should be borne in mind that, apart from Copts in Egypt and the Middle East as a whole, there are more than 500,000 in the United Sates, 100,000 or in Canada, 300,000- odd in Australia, and more than a million residing in Europe, Latin America, Africa and New Zealand.

Savour Every Santa

From the East Father Christmas arose, and in the West he became a popular iconic totem, now his status has partially been reinstated in Egypt and much of the Orient precisely because of the spread of Western-style consumerism, a way of life the Greek Saint Nicholas may not have approved of, writes Gamal Nkrumah, through the lens of Sherif Sonbol.

How to cook Christmas Dinner - in the style of European Prehistoric people! (Heritage Key, Jacqui Wood)

As an experimental archaeologist and independent researcher, I've spent the last 30 years investigating the eating habits of ancient civilisations - including their ancient Christmas dinners. Here are some tips and recipes for the perfect xmas dinner that I've collected along the way.

I use a technique that I've developed over the years to explore the practical aspects of the daily lives of prehistoric Europeans. The approach is based on the theory that the inherent skills and ingenuity of prehistoric European is still latent in the people of Europe today. But the skills of surviving in the northern European landscape have been forgotten because we no longer have a use for them in our modern-day society.

During my researches I have discovered that these skills are very easily acquired – particularly if one is not impeded by any training in the skill to be researched. It has to be approached purely by logic. It is essential, though, not to single out any particular skill, but to attempt to do all the required jobs that a prehistoric settlement would have to do to survive.


pier said...

My best wishes

Ingeborg W. said...

Merry Christmas Andie, enjoy!