Friday, 16 November 2018

A Map that Seems to Show the PAS Fluff is Just That


I am sure one of the supporters of PAS and collection-driven exploiters of the archaeological record can explain this to us. Here is a map of a rather large European island. In one part, artefact hunting with metal detectors is banned. In the other, in the UK, artefact hunting with metal detectors is not banned. Who can show use where the recovery of information about otherwise unknown sites by metal detectorists is reflected on this map?  Ixelles Six/Helsinki Gang here is an actual case study you can use to test your ideas about liberalistion of legislation on artefact hunting... Go on.

IRELAND OF ARCHAEOLOGY. It's a map of Ireland composed almost solely of 167,293 dots, representing all of the Ireland's recorded archaeological sites. The IWTN asked archaeologist Richard Clutterbuck to draw the map.


Even comic books laugh at Pseudo-archaeology


Even comic books laugh at pseudo-archaeology:

 

Spotted by  in Issue #3 of the supernatural series 'Border Town', that features Mesoamerican flashback scenes. Preview pages here:

Thursday, 15 November 2018

The PASt is not Such a Foreign Country After All?



More PAS dumbdown masquerading as cutting edge archaeologcal outreach
 13 lisWięcejJust finished the record for this exquisite little medieval mirror case, complete with glass fragments. These are fairly common finds and suggest that the medieval individual was just as vain as the rest of us:
and they ate bread and cheese, and went to the toilet, just like the rest of us. "Amazing innit, nuffink's changed..". One day perhaps the FLOs will get it into their heads that this is not the kind of patronising guff we need to get archaeology across to the general public, not all of whom have the minds of eleven-year olds.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Remember: Iraq 2003


This gem from Max Boot illustrates the scale of the nonsensical arguments used to get public support for the Iraq escapade of Bush, Blair and the others:




A Crystal Sphere Found 'Somewhere around Worcestershire'



Metal Detectives Group (@DetectingDigsUK) 'Detecting the past for Our Future' Organisers of regular weekly Metal Detecting digs for our members & Detectival UK rallies seem to have some information about an object that is in the news at the moment (is the finder a member?)
"found somewhere around Worcestershire a few years back"
6 lis  6th November
Well I saw this posted online a while ago, but recently some who got a screen shot of it re posted it, so this time I took a screenshot myself to share with you all. I believe it was found somewhere around Worcestershire a few years back. What a amazing discovery
There can't be too many of these around. This wouldn't be the 'crystal sphere' mentioned in the West Mercia Police press release about the upcoming Leominster Tainted Artefacts trial would it? Ten more days to go. Not a lot of plough damage visible on this one...

Monday, 12 November 2018

Verifying Atlantis Theories from Santa Barbara (I): Lake Titicaca


Mr John Clevenger, a former music teacher from Santa Barbara in Trump's USA runs 'Genesis Quest' which represents itself as 'an international team of investigators, scientists, and engineers dedicated to solving the world's greatest ancient enigmas'. Mr Clevenger reckons he can rewrite the history of the Earth and human civilization. This is even though he is not himself a geologist or particularly knowledgeable in the earth sciences (or anything much it appears). He believes in giants, aliens, conehead gnomes, tunnels under the Giza Plateau, Atlantis and much else besides. He considers that if somebbody gave him enough of their money, he single-handedly can overturn the principle of Uniformitarianism on which the interpretation of the geological (and indeed archaeological) record is based. If he could only get the money, he intends to replace established methodology with a Catastrophic Geology and modern stratigraphy with what he believes is a 'New Archaeology' built on narratives deriving from his 'research' (I use the term loosely) in the scribblings of 'nearly 200 "alternative" researchers around the globe'. He seems to implicitly believe almost anything one of these 'alternative researchers' say is 'unexplained' by current scholarship, so has constructed a hotchpotch and cherry-picked worldview based on anecdotes, none of which he seems to have verified against actual fact and checking out whether they can in any way be accommodated by twenty-first century science.

A key point in his argument seems to be occupied by Tiwanaku, a pre-Inca site 270 km from the Bolivian coast and at an altitude of some 3860 metres above sea level. Mr Clevenger says:  
I believe the argumentation I've assembled on that convincingly establishes that it was at sea level when built, and its purpose was the processing of tin ore. 
Well, the fact that the site did not even exist when he postulated that it was a key emporium trading in Bronze Age tin, that's pretty bold. Also tin was not used in bronze making in the Andes region until much later. 

Anyhow, it's pretty easy to check out Mr Clevenger's story. Almost by accident, I came across a work in the University library that really Mr Clevenger and his financial supporters should look at. It's C. Dejoux and A. Iltis (eds) 'Lake Titicaca: A Synthesis of Limnological Knowledge' published by Springer. This is a pretty exhaustive compendium of knowledge about the lake and its development. Nowhere is there any mention of anything that suggests that in the last two million years the lake was a marine environment - connected to the sea.

Pretty easily one can find online another interesting article that the Clevenger gang would have to explain away: Oliver Kroll, Robert Hershler, Christian Albrecht, Edmundo M Terrazas, Roberto Apaza, Carmen Fuentealba, Christian Wolff, and Thomas Wilke, 'The endemic gastropod fauna of Lake Titicaca: correlation between molecular evolution and hydrographic history'  Ecol Evol. 2012 Jul; 2(7): 1517–1530. Once again, very detailed coverage of the development of the lake's fauna without any mention of any marine episode in the recent past.

There has been a Lake Titicaca drilling project that has produced a core of lake sediments 136m long that allows continuous record of lake sedimentation and paleoenvironmental conditions for Lake Titicaca to be recovered going back to about 370,000 BP. Again, no evidence of marine conditions (would-be Genesis Quest sponsors could look this up online to check out the organization's claims, with a summary here, or here).

The prehistoric bird population (see here) also show freshwater and not coastal species. The evidence, recovered by speciliasts in different natural science fields seems irrefutable.

And I do not think anyone could claim that geologists or geneticists have any qualms about reporting evidence of a marine phase in Titicaca's past if the evidence under their noses suggests that was the case. I rather think the fact that they do not report it really can only be construed as meaning it simply is not there.

Verifying Atlantis Theories from Santa Barbara (II): Evidence is Against a "Genesis Quest Atlantis"


Genesis Quest are trying to raise money to send its members on hare-brained expeditions to find gnomes, giants, pyramids in the Urals, but before somebody forks out to finance these jaunts, perhaps they need to look at the science. The Group postulate that Atlantis really existed and that its a big lump of the ocean floor (now the Mid-Atlantic ridge). The map over to the right is from their website.  The bit of the midatlantic ridge that they show as above water is composed of bits of the edges of four tectonic plates (N. American, S.American - on which Tiwanaku stands, African and Eurasian). Clevinger suggests that these parts of the edges of all four plates catastrophically dipped downwards at the same time and 'Atlantis' vanished (all except the Azores). Well, normally we'd be inclined to say that Clevenger simply does not understand plate tectonics, but we are warned that he - being cleverer than the rest of the world sees any arguments based in uniformitarianism as 'laughably wrong'. OK, so we'll skip the bit about the Mid-Atlantic  Ridge being where two plates are moving apart - so the bits allegedly above water are magma... because Mr Cleverer does not want to believe that.

So if this is land, why have none of the cores that have been taken here of sediments revealed buried soild below the marine sediments? Why is the terrigeneous material in those sediments well-sorted as if by transporttthere by water rather than formed in situ? The only deposits reported in the online texts are marine and contain fossil material from such an environment (here for example, or here). I am not going to go into it in any detail, it's not my field, I'm just concerned to show that Genesis Quest, without spending a dollar of somebody else's money can go straight to source material and test their what-if-story, going to the most obvious place to prove this had been dry land a few thousand years ago.

Another place they could check this out without any real footwork (or spending other people's money) is also obvious. They are postulating a large landmass the size of Spain and Portugal, France and Italy put together suddenly slumped, splash, into the sea. Now believe in uniformitarianism or not, but we all know what would happen if obese Auntie Ada getting in the bath slipped and fell on her flabby bottom into the water. Mega splash. Look at the Genesis Quest map, just 2000 km or so from the northern coast of "Atlantis" is gaping open the funnel-shaped mouth of the Bristol Channel. A mega- splash tsunami would slam into that and ... I am thinking about the Somerset levels. Any massive tsunami occurring at 1200 BC (a date Mr Clevenger suggested as when his "Atlantis" sank) would come at the beginning of the Pennard phase and flood those well-investigated Levels. And the archaeological evidence of this is... (so far) zero.  There are traces of a Neolithic tsunami in the Orkneys, but not in the Middle Bronze Age. I think I have heard that another Atlantis-cult bunch are claiming a Bronze Age tsunami in Spain, but have not seen a proper presentation of this so one can see what evidence they actually have for it.

The notion that this group of American amateurs has 'solved' any ancient mystery is laughable. They clearly have not the faintest idea of how to go about it.  Back to music school.

 
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