Geoarchaeology

Drilling to Save Aswan Obelisk Quarry

The Ancient Egyptians are still marveled at today for some of their enduring hard-rock creations. Of course everyone thinks of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids, but perhaps just as impressive if not more impressive were the gigantic obelisks that were quarried and somehow transported into place. There is work underway to preserve a rare archaeological site, a granite quarry with a large unfinished obelisk near Aswan.

Archaeological evidence combined with some shallow seismic refraction surveys and bore holes confirm the finding of a canal believed to have been used to transport these obelisks to the Nile River during flooding. However, dewatering will be needed to excavate these canals to verify these claims. Another problem is the salt deposits that are slowly destroying the quarry. National Driller Magazine is the location of this interesting article. Link after the break.  (Photo by Son of Groucho)

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Geoarchaeology

Drilling for Origins of Humanity

Lake Malawi is an African rift lake, formed as the earth’s crust is slowly spreading apart. This lake is one of the deepest in the world and one of the lead geologists, Dr. Andy Cohen of the University of Arizona (go Cats!) says that the lake "acts like a rain gauge" and through their drilling expedition they have determined that the lake at one time dropped nearly 2,000 ft between 135,000 and 90,000 years ago. This drought in what is now a lush tropical part of Africa may explain why Man’s early ancestors migrated from that continent. More after the break.

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Geoarchaeology

Columbus Era Aztec Emperor’s Tomb Found with GPR

Archaeologists beleive that they may have found the tomb of Aztec emperor Ahuizotl (ah-WEE-zoh-tuhl). Using ground-penetrating radar, they have detected underground chambers that could contain the remains of Ahuizotl, who ruled the Aztecs when Columbus landed in the New World.

This find would not have been possible were it not for strong earthquake in 1985 that severely damaged a Colonial Spanish building. Buildings of this type were built a top the Aztec ruins and are considered too valuable to remove for excavations. Apparently, before this find, no Aztec emperor’s tomb had ever been found at this location despite writings describing an Aztec ceremonial center because Spanish conquerors constructed over the site. Read on for the full story link. (Photo by Grabthar)

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Geoarchaeology

World War II Prisoners Tunnels Discovered with GPR

Remember the 1963 movie "The Great Escape" starring Steve McQueen, James Gardner, and Charles Bronson about Allied prisoners planning a mass escape from a German POW Camp? Ok, me neither, but in the movie, the prisoners dug 3 tunnels to escape from the German POW camp Stalag Luft III in Zagan (formerly in East Germany, now in Poland). A recent archeology study used ground penetrading radar or GPR to uncover not 3 but over 100 different tunnels. Read more…

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