Stonehenge: Best. Headstone. Ever.

A new study suggests that Stonehenge was first and foremost a burial ground, most likely for one highly prominent family.

The earliest cremation, a pile of burned bones and teeth, came from one of 56 pits called the Aubrey Holes.

These remains were dated to the monument’s first phase, when a circular bank and ditch were created on Salisbury Plain.

The second cremation, from inside the ditch surrounding Stonehenge, is said to be that of an adult buried between 2930 to 2870 B.C.

The latest burial studied, from the ditch’s northern side, was identified as that of a woman in her twenties. It dates to 2570 to 2340 B.C.—the period when the huge sandstone blocks known as sarsen stones were put up.

“We’re looking at a long-term use of the monument for burying the dead,” Parker Pearson said.

It’s estimated that up to 240 people are buried at Stonehenge in total, mainly in the Aubrey Holes. It is the largest known cemetery of its time in Britain.

I had no idea there were so many people buried right in the thick of things at Stonehenge. Those fellows last month only referred to one body buried nearby as evidence for their Neolithic Lourdes theory.

Instead, the place is ringed with burials (see the red spots on the map).

Not that the fact that there seems to have been some sort of dynastic burial situation going on before and while the stones went up necessarily conflicts with the healing temple idea. They just didn’t include that data in their PR materials.

Horn baby bottles?

It’s quite clever design, really. They drank out of the broad side once they grew up, so why not out of the small end as babies?

It’s like a natural funnel (that just happens to resemble those ear trumpets old Victorian gentlemen used).

Here the archeologists found wooden feeding devices made of cow horns. The Slavs used to attach leather sacks with milk to the broad ends of hollow horns and their babies would suck the milk through holes in the narrow part of horns.

How can a wooden feeding device be made of cow horns, you ask? Best not delve. Sometimes the press release translations can get a little wacky.

No preliminary dating of the find yet, but I’m going to front like I know what I’m saying and guess that it’s medieval. Veliky Novgorod was big in the middle ages.

Indy pisses off Peru

It was bound to happen.

Viewers here cringed when the world’s most famous fictional archaeologist arrives in Peru and announces that he learned to speak Quechua, the language of indigenous people across the Andes, when he was captured by Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.

Villa and his revolutionaries raided the US town of Columbus, New Mexico in 1916 — and in an episode of the 1990s TV show, “The Young Indiana Jones,” the young Jones is kidnapped.

But Villa’s men spoke Spanish, not Quechua, which is spoken by some 10 million people in places like Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

Wake up, people! Lucas did that on purpose to embrace the Campbellian mythos of pompously imperialist and ethnically confused 30’s adventure stories to which all his Indiana Jones movies are a loving, humble, even pious, homage.

Oh, and another thing, Peru (if that’s your real name):

The movie also shows quicksand, man-eating ants and enormous Hawaiian waterfalls, all of which do not exist in the Peruvian Amazonia.

I’m not falling for the “no man-eating ants or bottomless pits of sandspooge here” line again. There’s just no oversight on these chamber of commerce slogans.

He he… Scramasax…

The skeleton of a thousand-year-old Lombard warrior skeleton was found buried with his horse in Testona, Italy.

“This is a very rare find,” said Gabriella Pantò, the archaeologist leading the dig. “We have not seen many precedents in Italy. We have seen horses’ heads buried with warriors, but this find shows the area is vitally important,” she added. […]

The warrior was also buried with a treasure chest being x-rayed by archaeologists. In addition, a small bag held a pair of pincers, a bronze belt buckle and some armour.

He wore a ring on his left index finger and also had both a knife and a “scramasax”, a short sword designed for close combat.

I’m confused about the dating. The Lombards had been defeated by the Franks in the 8th century in the Turin area. A thousand years ago when the above fellow and his poor horse were buried, the Lombards were centuries away from their warrior heydey.

How do they know he wasn’t a Frank? The sequential conqueror/conquered cultures seem to have borrowed from each other liberally. The first Holy Roman Emperor Otto I used the famous Iron Crown of Lombardy when he was ever-so-fatefully crowned by the pope in 951 A.D., and that was 200 years after Pepin first spanked the Lombards in northern Italy.

Maybe his accessories mark him as a Lombard. The belt buckle, perhaps. Because lots of Germanic and Frankish peoples rocked the scramasax. He he… Scramasax.

Skeleton in the basement = real estate gold

Homebuyers in York have a unique opportunity to buy a lovely Georgian home with a Roman burial chamber for a basement, complete with visible skeleton.

The skeleton is visible and has been entombed in an archway which forms part of the chamber, currently used as a store room, and is described by the current owner as his “Roman princess”.

Estate agents have dismissed any ghoulish overtones and Ben Pridden, manager of Savills York, said: “It’s in its own room really, so you’re not aware it’s there at all and imagine the fun to be had at a Hallowe’en party – taking your guests down to the basement to see a real skeleton.

“I don’t think it will deter buyers.”

Oh please. No need to be coy. We all know this is real estate gold, Jerry, GOLD! The minimum offer price is $1.2 million dollars. The skeleton is at least $575,999 of that value.

Also, would it kill you to hand out a picture along with the press release? :facepalm: