Blogs & Videos: Archaeology

How to Uncoffin a Mummy

Removing the lid of the coffin was just the start. Now there was the problem of removing the damaged mummy from the lower half of the coffin. With the lid off we found that the right side piece, which had been held in place by the lid, was detached from the bottom of the coffin and could easily be removed. This meant that the mummy could be slid out, instead of trying to pick it up – good news because the assembly was very fragile. Even so, this was no small task, and it took four people to safely move him out of the coffin.

Introduction to the Conservation of "Mummies: Images of the Afterlife"

  Traveling exhibits pose a challenge for museums, especially when particularly fragile objects such as mummies are involved. We want to share our objects and what we’ve found out about them with people outside the museum, but transporting the objects to other museums involves all kinds for risks – traffic accidents, malfunctioning forklifts, road vibration, and freezing winters to name just a few.

Field Museum Women in Science (FMWIS) Internships 2014 -- Madeleine Farris

Learn more about FMWIS intern Madeleine Farris, and her work with Emily Baca and Ryan Patrick Williams.  Madeleine's project, "Archaeological Study of Peruvian Materials in the South American Laboratory" involved working with ceremanics and pottery to learn more about Inca economy and society. 

An Earlier Great Wall of China

The centuries before China’s unification under the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) are known as the Warring States period, an era when large armies clashed in fierce competitions for power and territory.  The rulers of these competing large states amassed giant armies of tens of thousands of infantrymen, who marched in combat against their enemies.  In China, one innovation against such attacks was the construction of fortification walls built along borders.  

Using Modern Technology to Construct Ancient Ritual

Ceremonial structures like the 5,000-year-old temples I have been investigating at Huaricanga are marvels to behold. Often such buildings are well-maintained and represent the dedicated effort of ancient individuals who invested considerable time and materials in their construction. Walls and doorways tend to have elaborate decorations as well. When discovered, temples and churches receive quite a bit of attention from public media. 

Flakes, Cores, and Groundstones Oh My!

Thanks to the generous support of the Field Museum's Women's Board, I have been able to purchase a high-powered microscope to conduct micro-analysis of stone tools from the Late Archaic (3,000-1,800 B.C.) site of Huaricanga in the Fortaleza Valley of Peru's north-central coast. The Late Archaic is also known as the Late Preceramic because it was a epoch BEFORE the advent of ceramics in ancient Peru. Therefore, stone tools represent the predominate artifact recovered from archaeological digs.

Video: Piecing Together Early Societies

Bill Parkinson studies 6500-year-old societies in eastern Europe.  How did those societies form?  How have they changed into the world we see today? How can anthropologists find out about them after all this time, with all the dirt, mud, and rocks in the way?  It seems to take a village--a multidisciplinary, long-term village of devoted researchers including Attila Gyucha and Rick Yerkes with the Koros Regional Archaeological Project. 

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