Archaeology News for the Week of August 11th, 2013

August 11th, 2013

Tomb of a Powerful Moche Priestess-Queen Found in Peru

Some 1,200 years ago, a prominent Moche woman was laid to rest with great pomp and ceremony. Now archaeologists have uncovered her tomb along with clues that testify to her privileged status and the power she once wielded. The discovery—made over the last couple of weeks at the site of San José de Moro in the Jequetepeque River valley of northern Peru—is one of several that have revolutionized ideas about the roles women played in Moche society. (National Geographic)

Laois ‘bog body’ said to be world’s oldest

The mummified remains of a body found in a Laois bog two years ago have been found to date back to 2,000BC, making it the oldest “bog body” discovered anywhere in the world. The 4,000-year-old remains, which predate the famed Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun by nearly 700 years, are those of a young adult male. He is believed to have met a violent death in some sort of ritual sacrifice. (The Irish Times)

Temple of Apollo to be excavated again

Restoration and excavation works have begun at the Apollo Temple in the Aegean province of Aydın’s Didim district. The excavations continue with the support of Germany’s Halle University, İzmir University and the German Archeology Institute. The excavations will continue for 4 weeks. The excavation work that has been conducted in the temple for 106 years by the German Archaeology Institute was canceled this year for the storage and restoration of materials unearthed during this process. (Hurriyet Daily News)

Search for 1760 Bray School turns up something even older

Mark Kostro stood in the back yard of Brown Hall, looking down at a hole in the ground. Even at a glance, the hole was different from the other features investigated by the students and professional archaeologists who were spending a second summer working behind the William & Mary residence hall in a quest to find archaeological evidence of the Bray School, the 18th-century institution established for the education of free and enslaved black children. (The Virginia Gazette)

Coca, liquor: death meal for Inca teenager – Samples of hair, X-ray offer fresh insights

Scientists have reconstructed in unprecedented detail how a 13-year-old mummified Inca maiden received increasing amounts of coca plant extracts and alcohol before she became a victim of child sacrifice nearly 600 years ago in the Andes mountains. An international team of researchers has used samples of her hair and X-ray images to provide fresh insights into the final months of the teen, found in a mountaintop shrine in northwest Argentina in 1999 along with the frozen remains of a younger boy and a girl. (The Telegraph)

Grisly human trophies at East Lothian hill fort

Broxmouth hill fort in East Lothian, which had first been identified from aerial photographs, was examined before the site was destroyed by a cement works. It had been known that there had been a community of a couple of hundred people living at the fort for almost 1,000 years before the site was abandoned when the Romans left. (The Scotsman)

‘Mona Lisa’s’ identity could be revealed through DNA testing

The mystery of “Mona Lisa’s” real-life muse, which has spawned centuries of speculation, could be solved through DNA testing. Researchers on Friday opened a family tomb in Florence, Italy, to help confirm the identity of Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo, Leonardo da Vinci’s neighbor who is believed to be the woman behind the enigmatic smile. Archaeologists cut a hole in the family crypt where Lisa Gherardini’s husband and sons are buried. (