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Maya Stelas in 3-D

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

A full view 3-D model of Stela 1 from Wiztna created by University of Alabama archaeologist Alexandre Tokovinine:


A 3-D model of Stela 2:

Girsu’s Enigmatic Construction


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Girsu Iraq Bridge FoundationsGirsu Iraq Bridge BricksIn the 1920s and early 1930s, French archaeologists at Girsu excavated a monumental brick structure measuring up to 130 feet long by 33 feet wide, with 11-foot-high walls, that resembled a pair of parentheses. Unsure of its purpose, they termed it the “enigmatic construction.” Based on satellite imagery and excavation of the landscape surrounding the structure, British Museum archaeologist Sebastien Rey identified traces of an ancient canal that had once passed directly through the structure. The canal was some 100 feet wide, and Rey concluded that the structure had served as a bottleneck to reduce its width to around 12 feet, narrow enough to be spanned with the planks of a bridge.


The bridge’s foundation was built of fired bricks coated with bitumen to make it sturdy and watertight. On 15 of these bricks, Rey’s team has identified inscriptions dedicating the structure to the god Ningirsu and naming Ur-Ningirsu (r. ca. 2110 B.C.), the king Gudea’s son and successor as ruler of Girsu. All of these inscriptions faced down lest the god’s name be trod upon.


Standing about a third of a mile to the east of Gudea’s great temple, the bridge would have been the main entrance to Girsu’s sacred precinct, crossed by pilgrims who traveled to the city for religious festivals held several times each year. “That’s why the bridge was so monumental,” says Rey. “It had the same significance as the temple or a city gate or a city wall. It was built by a king and was meant to be visible in the landscape.”

3-D Walkthrough of Vemork Plant

Monday, December 11, 2017

This 3-D walkthrough of the heavy water facilities at Norway’s Vemork Plant was created by Telemark County Council archaeologist Sindre Arnkværn. The plant was demolished in 1977 and little documentation or study of the site had been conducted since Operation Gunnerside in 1943. Although researchers had to make their way through demolition rubble, they still were able to understand Gunnerside’s events in the location and context in which they occurred. To read a full article on the archaeology of the site, go to “The Secrets of Sabotage.” (Courtesy Sindre Arnkværn/Telemark County Council)





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Operation Gunnerside
Trenches Norway Vemork
The Secrets of Sabotage


Neolithic Enigmas in 3-D

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

National Museums Scotland used a technique called photogrammetry, which combines hundreds of still images, to produce this interactive 3-D model of several examples of 5,000-year-old stone spheres that have been found mostly in Scotland. To read more about researchers' study of the spheres, click here

Recreating a Renaissance Song

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

After archaeologists in France unearthed a schist plaque inscribed with a sixteenth-century musical score, they turned to soprano Dominique Fontaine to decode the notes. Fontaine, a member of the musical ensemble Ad Lib, which specializes in sacred music, recorded her interpretation of the brief chant.


To read more about the discovery, go to “Renaissance Melody.”





From the Trenches