This week at Forbes: Beheadings and cannibalism, origins of obesity, Roman dentistry, historic cemetery clean-up, and endangered Native American sites
- Gruesome evidence of political torture found on Precolumbian skulls. This amazing (and very readable) paper is by good friend Sara Becker, who let me post a picture of a skull with evidence the eye had been gouged out. She and her coauthor think these were victims of political torture.
- New St. Louis Rams stadium may be built on ancient Native American city. For whatever reason, I missed this news back in April with St. Louis's NPR station covered it... which was odd, since I was in St. Louis in April for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists conference, staying not too far from the proposed location of a new NFL stadium. This short piece summarizes the battle so far, but I suspect there will be more to come.
- How devastating floods created opportunities for Tennessee archaeology. Another good friend, Tanya Peres, was telling me how it's the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic 1,000-year flood that inundated Nashville. So I wrote up a summary of her work in mitigating damage to archaeological sites caused by the flooding. Whole lot of shellfish eating going on!
- Industrial Revolution caused rise in cancer, obesity, and arthritis, archaeologists suggest. Several weeks ago, I read a brief press release about a new study at the Museum of London to address the origins of modern diseases that may have increased with the Industrial Revolution. The coverage was uneven and didn't explain what information was being collected, so I reached out to the study leader, Jelena Bekvalac, to learn more about this fascinating research.
- Ancient Mesoamerican recipe for cooking human flesh decoded by archaeologists. It can be hard to make taphonomy interesting, but the paper this article is based on was a well-written study that employed various methods to see how human remains were cooked in Mesoamerica. Turns out, some were grilled and some were boiled with a colorful spice.
- Roman Forum yields stash of teeth extracted by ancient dentist. I talked with bioarchaeologist Marshall Becker about his recent publication of 86 teeth from a drain in the Temple of Castor and Pollux. He argues that they were extractions done by a very skilled dentist. These also seem to be the first direct evidence for dental extractions in ancient Rome.
- Clean up a cemetery this Memorial Day. Wondering what to do with the kids for the long weekend? Why not visit a local cemetery to learn about your community's history and clean it up a bit while you're at it? In this piece, I talk with Sarah Miller, an old friend from grad school, about her state-wide Cemetery Resource Protection Training program. I just like that CRPT is like crypt.
I'm gonna try to dial it back next week, since I have a deadline for a contributed chapter based on my actual research I need to write. But it's hard, because blogging is way more fun.