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 A question I never found the answer to.

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PostSubject: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 2:54 am

This is a bit weird, but here's the question:

How come archaeology is always under the ground?

Now I know surface material gets spread around over the centuries, but how does it get to be two feet down?

Where does all this soil come from ? How does an item that was on the surface 400 years ago get to be 2 feet down ?

I used to be a big fan of Time Team on Ch4 and Discovery Channel. Great stuff. But this question was always on my mind.

Was Medieval Britain/Ireland two feet lower ?
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:00 am

I know that bogs grow over the land like a big moss but normal dirt...? Maybe it's erosion from the mountains which are wearing away constantly from being blasted by nature including human activity. Then the mountains get replaced elsewhere again when lava pours out for rebuilding.

Maybe it's all covered with dead stuff over years and year What a Face They say the Burren in Clare is all dead fish like on Henderson in Collapse...
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:16 am

It isn't always underground. There are plenty of things thousands of years old above ground and things a couple of hundred years below ground. Its down to location and history.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:19 am

cactus flower wrote:
It isn't always underground. There are plenty of things thousands of years old above ground and things a couple of hundred years below ground. Its down to location and history.

Yeh I accept that. There's a place in Mexico or somewhere where the surface stones are 4 Billion years old.

But how does the undergroud stuff get undergroud?
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:34 am

Volcanic dust, blown loess from the Sahara & Chinese loess (depending where you are), organic material being deposited and broken down - flood plain soils get wash-down (which is what kept Nile civilisation going) from the mountains and hills.

Where human settlement is enduring over thousands of years, it builds up into huge mounds - the tells of the Fertile Crescent - the mound in the centre of the photo is a tell built up of human rubbish over thousands of years.

Farming causes soil loss - somewhere there's a photo of a church standing 8 foot above the surrounding wheat fields in the US plains. If soil is farmed faster than it renews...well, the result is obvious.

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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:36 am

Added to that in towns there is demolition and re-construction. Some of Waterford and Kilkenny's fairly dull 19th century terraces stand on top of medieval vaulted basements.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:42 am

That's archaeology. Over geological time stuff gets buried by the laying down of sediment on top - shallow seas, mostly, but any basin will do. A 'basin' being any area of the earth's surface which is subsiding for tectonic reasons, and which sediment enters - so Death Valley is a basin, into which you get occasional flash-flood deposits.

Somewhere like the North Sea, which has been a pair of shallow basin s (South and North) for about 350 million years, has received in that time thousands of metres of sediment. The stuff buried down the bottom was originally at surface, being in some places delatic and swamp sediments - it's now cooked into oil and gas.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:54 am

Fair play ibis. Those explanations make sense, but what about Roman Britain, say Gloucestershire(spell?) 2000 years ago. Loads of Romans swanning about drinkin' and beating people up.

Enter Channel 4, and Mr. Romanus' beer mug is under 50mm of turf + 150mm of topsoil + 150mm of subsoil ?

Are you saying that lots of this stuff comes from the sky ? And dead grass ?
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 3:58 am

There is a path in my garden that I made five years ago out of bricks. I went to look for it today and it is completely covered with grass. If I didn't know it was there I would not have been able to find it. In a very few years if it was left the grasses would die down and compost through bacterial action, birds and insects eating and pooing and so on until it would be inches underground pretty quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:08 am

cactus flower wrote:
There is a path in my garden that I made five years ago out of bricks. I went to look for it today and it is completely covered with grass. If I didn't know it was there I would not have been able to find it. In a very few years if it was left the grasses would die down and compost through bacterial action, birds and insects eating and pooing and so on until it would be inches underground pretty quickly.

And you are quite sure the path was there to begin with ?

A map dropped from my hands
And a voice cried, From now on
You will proceed in darkness.
Alas, he laughed, that is true.

Was it a black map?
I do not remember.

We all love clarity.
But you love darkness.
But darkness is clear.

We do not know now and we will never know.
White night, perilous night.


– David Shapiro
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:09 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Fair play ibis. Those explanations make sense, but what about Roman Britain, say Gloucestershire(spell?) 2000 years ago. Loads of Romans swanning about drinkin' and beating people up.

Enter Channel 4, and Mr. Romanus' beer mug is under 50mm of turf + 150mm of topsoil + 150mm of subsoil ?

Are you saying that lots of this stuff comes from the sky ? And dead grass ?

Pretty much. You're only talking about 0.2 mm/year there. Plus, chances are, it got chucked out and buried under rubbish in a midden.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:15 am

miidden ? I'll have to goog....

Oh look, the folks at meathwest.com have linked to us ! cyclops


Last edited by EvotingMachine0197 on Sat May 17, 2008 4:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:23 am

Cactus, are you only let out once every 5 years. I presume it is to vote for FG every election.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:24 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
miidden ? I'll have to goog....

Oh look, the folks at meathwest.com have linked to us ! cyclops

Midden = rubbish heap!
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:33 am

ibis wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
miidden ? I'll have to goog....

Oh look, the folks at meathwest.com have linked to us ! cyclops

Midden = rubbish heap!

So that would be two questions answered. One of them unsolicited.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 9:31 am

'Middens' first time I heard it too on Collapse - some sort of ratshit that dries in the heat of Central America and around New Mexico/California. It can be hundreds and hundreds of years old and contain all the stuff they used to eat totally preserved. They are found as balls just outside the ratcave and contain urine too - you might know if you licked it like the original discoverers did ...

They are pieces of biological archaeology that might lie hundreds of feet above ground, on the sides of mountains etc.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:03 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
'Middens' first time I heard it too on Collapse - some sort of ratshit that dries in the heat of Central America and around New Mexico/California. It can be hundreds and hundreds of years old and contain all the stuff they used to eat totally preserved. They are found as balls just outside the ratcave and contain urine too - you might know if you licked it like the original discoverers did ...

They are pieces of biological archaeology that might lie hundreds of feet above ground, on the sides of mountains etc.

That's specifically a "packrat midden"...
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:05 pm

Did you learn all this back when you were popping up unannounced in people's back gardens, ibis?
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:14 pm

youngdan wrote:
Cactus, are you only let out once every 5 years. I presume it is to vote for FG every election.

???? What brought that on? Nice avatar by the way.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:40 pm

When you mentioned that the path you put in 5 years ago had dissappeared the assumption would be that you had not visited the back yard in the intervening time period.
I was reading that Libermann had a global warming bill going to a Senate vote in early June that could increase the gas price by 1.50 to 5 dollars a gallon. These tidings were such a shock to my system that when I looked in the mirror that was the image I saw.
I just figured out how to put in an avator and hope to come up with a more appropiate image later
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 4:58 pm

Kate P wrote:
Did you learn all this back when you were popping up unannounced in people's back gardens, ibis?

The geology is, although the soil stuff is more from the MSc. Archaeology & history is a personal interest (up to about 1750).
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 5:14 pm

youngdan wrote:
When you mentioned that the path you put in 5 years ago had dissappeared the assumption would be that you had not visited the back yard in the intervening time period.
I was reading that Libermann had a global warming bill going to a Senate vote in early June that could increase the gas price by 1.50 to 5 dollars a gallon. These tidings were such a shock to my system that when I looked in the mirror that was the image I saw.
I just figured out how to put in an avator and hope to come up with a more appropiate image later


Not the path - the FG vote.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 5:33 pm

When you asked about our Enda I thought you had an affection for him. I was of the opinion that you had left leaning views but then again I consider every party there to be left leaning so it is hard to judge.
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 5:37 pm

Kate P wrote:
Did you learn all this back when you were popping up unannounced in people's back gardens, ibis?

Perhaps he had an easement, says he, as he gazes over his property law text...
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PostSubject: Re: A question I never found the answer to.   Sat May 17, 2008 5:40 pm

ibis wrote:
Kate P wrote:
Did you learn all this back when you were popping up unannounced in people's back gardens, ibis?

The geology is, although the soil stuff is more from the MSc. Archaeology & history is a personal interest (up to about 1750).

I agree. It all gets a bit shite after that.
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A question I never found the answer to.
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