I like dirt!

Posted on July 24, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Science, Travel |

Dirt, of the archaeological kind, not so much of the celebrity gossip kind. A few weeks ago I wrote about visiting the mountains of northern Arizona, and happening upon a more-than-thousand-year-old residential site recently discovered on land which had been inhabited by the same family for 130 years. The family never knew it was there!

Just this month, while doing construction on a new park for a nearby town, a 700-year-old site was found. The park now needs to be constructed around the ancient site, which will be preserved and become part of the park. Remains of bodies buried there have been claimed by the local tribe; and rightly so. It’s interesting that the bodies of dogs were found at the site, and that no one knows quite what that means, other than that dogs must have been important to the people, as they were carefully buried. I’ve heard of cats buried and mummified in Egypt, but this was the first I’d heard of dogs. I plan to go see the site when it’s open. Officials, and local native leaders have identified the site as belonging to the same people who built the largest and best preserved southern Arizona Hohokam tribal structure.

I feel deeply connected to the earth, and I think these ancient sites have a lot to tell us. I’m not an archaeologist, amateur or otherwise, but I’d liked to find things in the ground from a young age. I’d come in from the back yard or the beach; the park or the playground covered in dirt, which displeased my mother, but “Look at this Rock I found!” or “Shell!” or “Bone!”Β  Besides, there were people who would travel north of us, to a hotsprings in the Napa Valley, and pay good money for a mudbath! I did this for myself for free! (I had great skin as a result.)

There seem to be a lot of new finds lately, including in one of the richest archaeological areas, Peru. Just recently, a thousand-year-old mummy was discovered there, as well as a ceremonial plaza dating civilization there back to 3500 B.C.E. Can you imagine?

I like to visit sites such as these (I haven’t been to Peru yet, but I want to go) because when I do, and allow myself to become quiet, I really do feel a connection with the ancient peoples. I find it heartening to know that these ancient sites are still being found, and in many cases, preserved. The “western way” used to be to build new cities and highways and parking lots over these things. Now, we’re a bit more respectful.

How about this? A man out hunting one day in looked down and found this rock, in 2004, in New Mexico, USA. It has a reverse carving of an image exactly like a crop circle found in 1996, in Oxfordshire, England. He finally, just this month, allowed the rock to be tested; the results are here.Β  I draw no conclusions, but it certainly gets me to think…

images: Casa Grande National Monument
rock: Earthfiles.com/news
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14 Responses to “I like dirt!”

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Wow, quite an interesting read. I’m a sucker for mysteries of this universe. I would have loved to be an archaeologist only if I had the patients to study it, Lol! It’s amazing how we discover more about ancient generations and how some were so advanced in their technology and way of living, almost at our level. It definitely does get you thinking… Life is one interesting mystery.

Beautiful blogsite by the way! I absolutely love it…

Archaeological sites and discoveries are very interesting stuff! It’s wild to think that some of the ancient civilizations were able to discover and learn so much w/o the tools and technology that we have today. And the mysteries that are behind some of the sites are very very interesting.

I briefly read over the article on that rock that has the crop circle carving on it. Very cool how it spins in circles if you put a magnet over it!

What a find, Muse. And you will be able to go and visit it, walk the in the same footsteps! I wonder what else they will find. It is a good thing that we have more respect and interest in the past, and they we preserve the structures. Doesn’t it make you wonder what could be in your own back yard? Maybe it’s time to invest in a metal detector.

I read the article on the rock. Interesting and creepy. I don’t know why the thought of it makes me uneasy. I’ve always chalked up that stuff to the government. πŸ™‚

I get goosebumps just thinking about seeing things that old. I can’t wait to hear about your travels there.

I have a Ushabti or actually just a fragment of one which includes the head and it is over 2000 years old. It is not a replica. I got it at a reputable gallery in NYC.

“The ushabti (also called shabti or shawabti, with a number of variant spellings) funerary figurines were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as substitutes for the deceased, should he be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife. They were used from the Middle Kingdom (around 1900 BC) until the end of the Ptolemaic Period nearly 2000 years later.”

Got the above info from Wiki. in case you are unfamiliar with them. Sometimes I just stare at it wondering where it has been and who touched it.

That rock with the crop circles is interesting. I’m going to have to look into that. I think you and I are a lot alike in many ways. I was just talking about Machu Picchu to someone yesterday.

WOW JUST WOW!

Thank you so much, Creative Tazzy. πŸ™‚ I know, “western” culture tends to label ancient cultures as “primitive”, when many had methods and practices which would blow our minds! Take the Egyptian pyramids, for instance… Yes, archaeology takes much patience, and a lot of digging! I very much appreciate the compliment πŸ˜€ and your visit.

Shane, I’m so pleased you were interested enough to explore further. I too was amazed at how the rock would spin in a particular direction depending upon where the magnet was placed. And, that kind of rock isn’t supposed to be magnetic! I truly don’t know what to make of this.

Well, that rock is an anomaly, BD. I don’t know if I’d feel better if it could be explained, or if it couldn’t! πŸ˜‰ I will post about the Hohokam site; it will be a while before it’s open to the public. Thanks!

Oh, my, your Ushabti, joan! What an amazing thing to have! Did you ever put up a picture on your blog? I’d love to see it, but perhaps you’d want to keep it private. I would certainly understand, if so. I remember your small Stonehenge. Huh! Machu Picchu! I have a friend who’s there now! I’ll be interested in what he has to say upon return.

kaylee! I appreciate all that enthusiasm! Thank you, I love to see that from you. πŸ™‚

I never have put it up but I will. It’s really cool to just think about where it has been.

To be able to hold it and wonder about it, Joan, sounds magical. I shall look forward to the picture, many thanks.

Wow, they are amazing finds! Particularly the second one; it seems in remarkably good condition for a 700 year old site, and for a large village too. The artifacts they’ve uncovered are priceless. I hope you get to see it; I’d love to read your impressions.

I’ve always loved archeology; I buy several magazines to keep up with the latest finds and I love Egyptian archeology. I’d love to see the pyramids one day! These sites are the one thing we don’t really have in Australia; maybe that’s one reason we travel and enjoy the histories of other countries so much, because we’re still developing our own.

I’m not sure what to make of the rock either. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some explanation for it, like it being formed from magnetite, but the way it changed rotation is puzzling. It was a quarter moon on the 9th of July; maybe the magnetic fields interacted? Perhaps Mulder & Scully should have a look. πŸ˜‰

I can’t wait to get over there, cj, it’s only about 15 miles from where I live. I could go over and peer and peep, I suppose, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be allowed in until the excavation is complete. I knew you liked this sort of thing, but didn’t know you read so widely in the field. (or should I say about the field?) πŸ˜‰ Hmmm, I guess indigenous Australians have lived lightly on the land, and did not build such structures, so nothing really to discover? You’re welcome over here anytime to poke around in our ruins; we have lots in Arizona.
Certainly the magnetic properties of that rock may be explained, but what about the image? Whatever we may believe about the origin of crop circles (and I don’t have firm beliefs about them) how did that particular image (not one in widespread circulation, either) get on a rock in New Mexico? And even the carving style is puzzling; the raised image leaves the rest of the rock looking quite, well, rock-like. You are right, of course. We need the X-files team. πŸ™‚

The dogs really interest me and how lucky for you that it is so close. When I was CJ’s age I stayed with friends in County Meath in Eire and I could not believe how blase they were about these ancient ruins on their farm….the cows grazed around them! As CJ says we are awed by these things. Like the Aboriginals, I feel the white settler’s history is an oral one…the convicts telling their children of their lives and the settlers the same. There is very little left of relics from the first settlers as they had so little I guess. Although we do have restoration of Government type houses etc but this is all only a few hundred years old. You are talking 700 years for those natural inhabitants of your land ….we have some aboriginal art which is timeless I guess and also dinosaur footprints which are pretty amazing….do you have a dinosaur trail at all?

Am going to research that stone/ rock some more as it needs more investigation…the link… earthfiles…. looks fascinating and the woman who has done all those interviews is also interesting…is she known to the average American through television?

I like your point about when you are being quiet you can feel the connection to the ancient peoples of the land….and love the image of you as a “dirty” child…..the roots go deep!

MQ, I hear it’s like that in Peru, too. There are so many ancient pottery shards lying around that the museum in Lima has boxes and boxes they haven’t gotten to yet, and the people just walk right over them: crunch, crunch!
Eire, your ancient land! How splendid for you!
The reporter from the website, Linda Moulton Howe, is a bit of a radio celebrity, here. She’s been on television a few times, but mostly on radio, and her own website. She does a great job with her investigative reporting. I’ve heard her interviews many times. Thanks for mentioning my quiet connection times with the ancients. I find those moments in many places I visit, and not always outdoor archaeological sites; I had one in Canterbury Cathedral, for instance. Yes, I was a dirty little thing, tee hee.

I love ancient ruins. They’re so fascinating.

It’s sad to think that a lot more of these old structures are probably lost to us due to the activities of earlier Westerners.

I agree it is sad, B0bby. I guess that makes it even more precious when something like the thousands-year old cities are discovered.


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