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sovietmcdavid t1_j8y797v wrote

A lot of these are well known and documented "tells", large mounds known to cover ruins, ziggurats, cities, etc.

Often, they are left alone because exposing them to the elements can ruin the site. South and Central america have untold amounts of these "hills" in the jungle as well covering all kinds of ancient ruins


Initial_Cellist9240 t1_j8yso98 wrote

Ireland too! It’s really interesting how we have to strike a balance between continuing research, and preventing disturbance for future generations that may have access to better information tools and techniques


weaponizeddonut t1_j8zi47x wrote

Hope I'll be still alive when they excavated Qin Shi Huang's tomb


Jindabyne1 t1_j8zqtd4 wrote

Was he Irish?


Real_Jackraps t1_j90jeu5 wrote

No, he was very contentious.


surle t1_j90ynmb wrote

The two aren't mutually exclusive though


Real_Jackraps t1_j90zm52 wrote

I don't know if or who ruined Scotland, but whoever they are, they're a contentious bunch!


Jindabyne1 t1_j911czm wrote

That was the Chinese iirc


Real_Jackraps t1_j9133r1 wrote

No, they thought it was the dolphins but it was actually secret mission by the chickens and cows.


FreshMull t1_j94wj7z wrote

chicken and cow use dolphin and whale as a scapegoat!? This is outrage!


Pilgrim_of_Reddit t1_j8zjtp7 wrote

> Hope I’ll be still alive when they excavated Qin Shi Huang’s tomb

That was excavated last week. You still alive?


dusmeyedin t1_j8zzppj wrote

No, they left the imperial resting place untouched because they don't know how to preserve it if it's exposed to the elements.

They've partially opened up some of the buried statues, but they immediately started to lose their coloring as the paint fades on exposure.


Pilgrim_of_Reddit t1_j90ij88 wrote

You are correct. But the whole thing is a tomb, buried statues and all.

Amazing photograph of when statues were first uncovered.


dusmeyedin t1_j9185un wrote

The terminology might be a bit confusing. The Qin mausoleum is a fairly large complex that mimics the layout of the old capital city Xianyang. There are many structures in this complex, including the resting place of the emperor himself, and the outer armies statues and other ceremonial structures.

Archeologists distinguish between the emperor's tomb, which is the resting place of his body, vs the rest of the complex, which is generally called the mausoleum or the necropolis.

They have excavated parts of the necropolis and seen the damage this caused, and so they have not excavated the emperor's actual tomb. There's a whole half of the necropolis which they are unwilling to touch because they don't know what their archeological process will do to it - contemporary reports said that Qin had a relief terrain map of the whole empire set up with liquid mercury filling in for the rivers and lakes. Modern excavation techniques are still not up to the task of preserving this.

The commenter you responded to might have been using that distinction: they hope to see some day when our science is advanced enough to examine Qin's personal resting place, amidst all its riches and ceremonial finery, without destroying it.


libginger73 t1_j92itju wrote

And there was a moat of mercury buried as well. So that's probably a bit dangerous.


Putnum t1_j92mekm wrote

Hope I'll be still alive to say I'm from a future generation


maaku7 t1_j907s7l wrote

They never will. I guarantee you it has been grave robbed and they’ll keep it undug to prevent knowledge of that fact.


an_actual_lawyer t1_j8zn6nu wrote

Can ground penetrating radar help or is the resolution just not good enough.


Hakairoku t1_j90xd4k wrote

Same reason why cops shouldn't be messing with crime scenes


crimedog69 t1_j8ytc24 wrote

If we never see what’s inside then why does it matter if they stay intact?


Bentresh t1_j8yx42m wrote

They'll be excavated eventually, but it takes decades if not centuries to fully excavate a major site like Girsu. Babylon has been excavated for over a century, but only about 3% of the Neo-Babylonian levels have been excavated (and virtually nothing of the Old/Middle Babylonian levels has yet been uncovered).

Archaeologists choose where and what to dig based on their research questions, usually after surveying a site and (when possible) mapping it with techniques like ground-penetrating radar. If you are interested in early glass production, for example, you are going to focus on excavating crafts workshops from the Middle Bronze Age rather than, say, tombs and houses from the Neo-Assyrian period.


Helix014 t1_j8yzyr1 wrote

Yeah. The reality is archeology is very slow, expensive, done by a small number of highly experienced/trained researchers, in a small area at one time. They focus on what they know they will find rather than destructive treasure hunting like Scliemann.


Ripcord t1_j8zxh1o wrote

But according to Time Team, you only get 3 days for these projects.


gwizone t1_j8zzhoo wrote

I laughed way too hard at this. Watched every ep on YouTube during the pandemic and was amazed by the sheer number of Roman artifacts spread throughout the English countryside. You can’t walk a mile without tripping over a piece of Roman pottery, caldinium, or tesserae.


maaku7 t1_j9084wz wrote

Time Team was responsible for something crazy like 25% or 50% of British archeology while it was under production. It being cancelled was actually quite a blow to British archeology.


BenMottram2016 t1_j90iafp wrote

You know it has resurrected itself don't you? Patreon/crowd funded.


randathrowaway1211 t1_j900vzk wrote

Why does it take so long to excavate an archaeological site?


Bentresh t1_j90229y wrote

It’s just a very slow process. Every step has to be documented in careful detail (mapped, photographed, recorded, etc.), every bucket of dirt has to be sifted with a mesh screen for small finds, any architecture has to be articulated (i.e. the dirt between stones is removed carefully and slowly), and so on. It’s not uncommon to dig down only about 20-30 cm a day.

I've been working in the same 10x10 meter square for about a decade, and we haven't even gotten out of the Iron Age levels, with the Bronze Age and earlier levels still untouched. Multiply that square by 800-1000 and you get a sense of how long it takes to excavate the citadel of a standard mound (~8-10 hectares), to say nothing of the sprawling lower town!

Additionally, many excavations only run for a couple of months a year. Partly this is because of weather and seasonal rain patterns, but it’s also because archaeologists and hired diggers have other obligations during the rest of the year (typically teaching or museum work for archaeologists and farming/agriculture for local workers).


randathrowaway1211 t1_j90tvlz wrote

What are the qualifications needed by someone who isn't an archaeologist to get a job on a digsite? What sort of duties do the locals perform?


Bentresh t1_j92aigw wrote

It depends where one wants to dig. Excavations in some countries like Greece and Israel regularly take volunteers with no dig experience, whereas it’s very difficult to join a dig in Iraq even as an archaeologist. The AIA fieldwork opportunities page is a good place to start.

Local workers are usually hired for digging.

  • The square is excavated from north to south using shovels, pickaxes, or hoes. Usually only a 5 or 10 cm layer is removed at a time, since you want to be able to quickly identify any changes in soil texture or material culture indicating that you’ve moved from one period of occupation into an earlier one.

  • All of this dirt is shoveled into buckets (guffa in Arabic), and the buckets are loaded into wheelbarrows.

  • Each of the buckets is dumped into the sifter and examined for bones, seals and seal impressions, beads, potsherds, and other small objects.

  • The square is swept clean after completing a pass so that it can be photographed.

  • Any architecture (stone or mudbrick) or statuary we come across is articulated. This is usually done with a trowel and a stiff brush.

Typically each square has one or two archaeologists and three or four workers. I like to get down and dirty and dig as much as possible too, but a lot of my time has to be spent doing paperwork (mapping the square, packaging and labeling artifacts we find, recording details about soil color and texture, etc.).

Additionally, a couple of local villagers are hired to cook meals and wash pottery.


NotSureWTFUmean t1_j95hvw0 wrote

Willingness to be attacked by mummies, endure curses, be first in line for spike traps, rolling boulders, swinging blades etc


AWholeMessOfTacos t1_j90eapm wrote

Guy spends his whole life digging around your big toe, he’s going to remember you.


zaque_wann t1_j8yu08l wrote

Better tech in the future that may allow for better information extraction and analysis.


JunkoBig t1_j8zvy6g wrote

What do you mean by "tells"? Coincidentally "tel" is the Arabic word for "hill".


sunshinersforcedlaug t1_j906298 wrote

> hill

Yes, hills made of the remains of a building or city.

>Coincidentally "tel" is the Arabic word for "hill".

Not a coincident :)


OarsandRowlocks t1_j90gg00 wrote

I wonder if it means something similar in Hebrew.


JunkoBig t1_j92ai39 wrote

That makes a lot of sense. I'm assuming that the word went from Arabic to Spanish, then to the new world where it was applied to ziggurat-hills?


[deleted] t1_j92d8ze wrote



JunkoBig t1_j92dmbx wrote

I know the origin of ziggurat, I just meant the curious use of "tell" to refer to such hills, and its purported Arabic origin. After checking Wikipedia it actually seems to have made it to English directly from Arabic.


AidilAfham42 t1_j91ofjo wrote

Were they deliberately buried or was that just nature taking over?


JesseBricks OP t1_j8xyv7t wrote

The British Museum press release and some images

The project has previously worked on preserving the world’s oldest bridge whilst training local archaeologists, partly in response to damage caused by Daesh:


[deleted] t1_j8zbk2r wrote



Negative_Gravitas t1_j8yojxj wrote

>Rey said that when he first brought up the project at international conferences no one believed him. “Everyone basically told me, ‘Oh no you’re making it up you’re wasting your time you’re wasting British Museum UK government funding’ – that’s what they were telling me,” he said.

That seems . . . odd. No one believed him? It seems like it would be very hard to get away with falsifying findings like this, and to not get away with it would be instant professional suicide. And to effectively and publicly accuse someone of fraud seems pretty close to libel/slander.

Strange. Probably I am missing something. At any rate, this is really cool and just goes to show that sometimes even the oldest and best known sites can still teach us new things.


xzekezx37 t1_j8yrjq6 wrote

I mean all throughout the history of science, new discoveries were often mocked and ridiculed by contemporaries.


Bentresh t1_j8ytuqf wrote

Yes, but it's still a rather strange statement, at least in my opinion as an ancient historian who digs in the Middle East. It's hardly uncommon for Mesopotamian archaeologists to uncover new temples and palaces, and many are known from texts but have not yet been found. The entire point of conferences like ASOR and ICAANE is the dissemination of new archaeological and historical discoveries.

Perhaps he meant that people believed that the damage to the site from slipshod excavations in the late 1800s and early 1900s and the more recent looting precluded the discovery of more monumental architecture.


ManOfDiscovery t1_j938igi wrote

After spending time around some archaeologists, actual archeology is only like the 3rd most important thing for them. Right behind arguing and drinking.


Mississimia t1_j8ysn99 wrote

While this is true, I find it especially interesting when it comes to archaeology. Drawing conclusions from material remains that are thousands of years old seems to be a shaky business, it doesn't make sense to be so stubborn about new discoveries.


Time-Ad-3625 t1_j8zcxc5 wrote

Often probably not. It did happen but often isn't really correct. Especially given the totality of scientific discoveries that have occurred and still occur.


812many t1_j8yxgsz wrote

Yeah, this is kinda weird without more context. Who exactly said what and when? Was this before or after the official discovery of the temple last year?

The article very quickly moves past that to the actual findings, which is nice. Kinda like it was written by two people, one with the controversial first paragraph, then the rest as facts and findings.


Bitter_Mongoose t1_j91bkh1 wrote

Have you ever heard the Tragedy of Galileo Galilei?

It's not a story the church would tell you.


Neat-Plantain-7500 t1_j8ys10k wrote

Is that as old as the pyramids?


ZincLloyd t1_j8yt0bz wrote

It’s in the range. Maybe a tad younger.


Muzzerduzzer t1_j8zdna6 wrote

If you are refering to the big ones in Egypt, they were built during the 4th dynasty so almost exactly 4,500 years ago. But also it's important to keep in mind that "built at the same time as the pyramids" could be like someone, 4500 years from now, "user neat-plantain-7500 lived around the time the statue of liberty was built."


Brandalini1234 t1_j8za98z wrote

There's stuff thats older than the pyramids


Muzzerduzzer t1_j8ze607 wrote

Yeah but it gives a could time frame since it's generally understood a lot of pyramids (especially the big ones) are dirt old.


ThePr1d3 t1_j90wjs8 wrote

So there's this building 20min away from my home that was built more than 2000 years before the pyramids


hippydipster t1_j91b0y5 wrote

>Radiocarbon dates indicate that the first phase of the monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC, and the second phase between 4450 and 4000 BC.


Penitent_Exile t1_j90c7lo wrote

So did it thrive in pre-Akkadian Sumer or during? Akkadian clay tablet has been found.


Morbanth t1_j90e71l wrote

> So did it thrive in pre-Akkadian Sumer or during?

Both. Also, the Akkadians were thoroughly a part of Sumer long before Sargon, and the first bilingual documents date a few centuries before him as well.

Incidentally, Ningirsu, the tutelary deity of Girsu, had a talking mace called Shar-ur, meaning "Smasher of thousands". :D Not related to anything, just think it's great.


vincento36 t1_j914wk2 wrote

“May Hold Key” What do they mean by this? I read the whole article and they never say why this discovery is important or what makes it so ground breaking. If the city and the civilization have been known for 140 years and we already knew about the Sumerian advances in writing etc., then why do we care about these new tablets or this palace?


ljseminarist t1_j921kfu wrote

Just sloppy journalistic writing. They want to make it sound interesting to the general reader and don’t know how.


ten-million t1_j90yw3w wrote

So many of these ancient sites are in now inhabitable places. It seems like the story of ancient civilization is a story of climate change and technological development.


williamthebanks t1_j8yyr04 wrote

Oh wow they’ve been in there pretty long then?


SuperSaiyan2589 t1_j918fkv wrote

Discovery of (insert whatever you want here I guess I don’t know) in (Insert wherever you want here I guess I don’t know) may hold key to ancient civilization.


alikazi t1_j94kcek wrote

I mean if it isn't already destroyed by the Americans while they try to kill innocent people.


DC-DE t1_j913zmb wrote

Did they find the WMDs there?


Durable_me t1_j92882l wrote

when did 2500 BC become 'ancient civilisation' .... ? Egypt was flourishing by then, Mesopotamia also, Sumerian civilisation was far older, Indus too
Talk 11000 BC like Gobleki Tepi, THAT is an ancient civilisation .


HippCelt t1_j932qxm wrote

better make a copy before they lose it again.....


Nowuh7 t1_j93mvrm wrote

Incredibly fascinating, stuff like this invigorates my sense of wonder with this world


cthulusbestmate t1_j95iwx4 wrote

There’s a single key to ancient civilisation?


Southphltrashfire t1_j94epqc wrote

Hopefully the local militias won’t blow up this one , those guys must of hated history class


goldenhour710 t1_j92c6wu wrote

There have been landmarks carbon dated older than this by 2-3 fold that are believed to have been built by ancient civilizations. Some pre-date the ice age. Accepting this will wipe out everything that has been taught about ancient civilizations and discredit many professionals in the field.


LadyBugTango t1_j90z4te wrote

Noah's ark 4,800 years ago.... so 4,500 years ago..


[deleted] t1_j8zbpox wrote