Posted on May 18, 2011
Posted by Steve LaPidus
I have spent the last six weeks as a volunteer on the AERA Giza Plateau Project with some of the most interesting and knowledgeable people I have ever met. I went on a site tour set up for the team early on in the schedule. We had a chance to walk through the sites, to listen to presentations and to ask questions on the project’s operations. It was easy to understand why there was a requirement by the Egyptian Government and AERA to submit your security paperwork six months in advance. It is obvious how much thought goes into the selection of the team members because there are multiple openings on the project and for each opening, there is a specific expert with just the right background and interest.
For the first five weeks, I shared a local apartment with a Swedish human osteologist Johnny (“Bones” for all of you who watch the TV show). He explained to me how he reviewed the excavated burials and drew the skeletons while determining the sex, age at death and whether there was any obvious disease before he had to remove the bones quickly as they easily crumbled apart if left for too long.… READ MORE »
Posted on Apr 10, 2011
Posted by Hilary McDonald
Archaeological photography is a diverse field. Much of it is a waiting game dependent on sun and wind to work with everyone’s schedules. The time must be right when a full excavation space can be cleared of tools (and people) and look its best. Sand is swept, shadows shift and the unit is ready to be presented.
By researching old archives – photographs from areas excavated 101 years ago, almost to the day, were matched up to some areas we had open this season. Images like these remind archaeologists that we aren’t necessarily seeing the architecture and features exactly the way the ancients left them; we are also seeing what previous archaeologists left behind in their own search. The archaeology of the archaeology, so to speak.
Old photographs reveal changes in imaging technologies where digital files have replaced glass plates and chemical developing. Software can now help piece together long expanses of walls and instantaneous electronic developing can reveal onscreen if millimeters of pottery inclusions are in focus or have to be redone.
There are a lot of moments on an excavation, however, that have nothing to do with the cleaning of trenches, the placing of meter sticks and the proper positioning of the north arrow.… READ MORE »