Archaeoastronomy, meteor showers, mass extinction: What does the fox say? (And what the crane? The aurochs?)

If you have been hearing about Gobkeli Tepe, constellations, and comets in the news lately, check out what the archaeologists from the site have to say!

The Tepe Telegrams

Recently a paper published by two researchers of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering has made headlines, suggesting that the Göbekli Tepe enclosures actually were space observatories and that some of the reliefs depict a catastrophic cosmic event (the original publication in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 17(1), 2017 is accessible online here [external link]).

A selection of the carved reliefs found on many of Göbekli Tepe’s T-shaped pillars is linked to and interpreted as depiction of actual stellar constellations. In particular Pillar 43, which is indeed an outstanding (but actually not exceptional) example of the site’s  rich and complex iconography, is interpreted as record of a meteor shower and collision – with quite serious consequences for life on earth 13,000 – 12,000 years ago (this whole ‘Younger Dryas Impact’ hypothesis [external link] actually is disputed itself [external link], so making Göbekli Tepe a ‘smoking gun’ in this argument…

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The Secret Identity of Hawkman

Every good super hero needs a secret identity!  Superman can explain his presence at major events as reporter Clark Kent, Wonder Woman can avoid attention passing as mild mannered Diana Prince, and of course Batman can explain away virtually anything as millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.  The function of a secret identity is not only to … Continue reading The Secret Identity of Hawkman

Public Archaeology Twitter Conference, 2017

The first (annual?) Public Archaeology Twitter Conference is coming up on Friday, April 28th, and yours truly will be there Tweeting about the Lore of Lost Cities! The conference has been organized by Lorna Richardson (@lornarichardson) and will feature Professor Shawn Graham (@electricarchaeo) and Dr. Colleen Morgan (@clmorgan) as key note "speakers."  More than 50 … Continue reading Public Archaeology Twitter Conference, 2017

Mysterious Ancient Rituals!

In today's fast paced world of media consumption, we see increasing use of tropes.  As figurative expressions, tropes can be of immense power given that they carry a type of semantic density that allows a single word to conjure up a depth of imagery.  And yet, as clichés, tropes quickly become tiresome, particularly when they are aimed … Continue reading Mysterious Ancient Rituals!

The Danger of Lost City Tropes

Archaeology enjoys a place of some prominence in popular media.  Major news outlets often pick up and run stories about recent archaeological discoveries, perhaps as light hearted asides between more serious stories, but nonetheless these stories form the core of what most popular audiences see as serious archaeological research. Media outlets, however, have developed an … Continue reading The Danger of Lost City Tropes

So you want to be a hero?

Pop culture today is heavily influenced by gaming.  Increasingly that term refers specifically to video games, but for some of us it still holds broader connotations of board games and ultimately table top role playing games.  Regardless of your preferred gaming medium, it turns out that archaeology is a frequent and popular theme throughout the … Continue reading So you want to be a hero?