A confession: I’m really not very interested in politics. In a better world, I’d spend my time thinking about other things. Like archaeology, which I became interested in some years ago when I spent ten days in Israel, courtesy of a client for whom I won a case. The day’s most interesting story was out of Bulgaria:
Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed about 15,000 tiny golden pieces that date back to the end of the third millennium B.C. _ a find they said Wednesday matches the famous treasure of Troy.
The golden ornaments, estimated to be between 4,100 and 4,200 years old, have been unearthed gradually during the past year from an ancient tomb near the central village of Dabene.
Another confession: I read very few blogs. Not because I don’t find them interesting, but because I have to devote pretty much every minute I can spare for my hobby to keeping up with the news, researching and writing. But there are one or two obscure bloggers I read regularly; my favorite blogger, who is pretty much unknown, wrote this about today’s archaeological find:
I read with interest, today, the story of the Bulgarian archaeologists who have discovered a tomb, 75 miles east of Sophia, containing over 15,000 tiny gold pieces, mostly miniature rings, so finely made that they cannot find seams in them with microscopes. The site is about 4100 years old. It is the most important find since Heinrich Schliemann located the site and treasure of Troy in 1868, and is the oldest “golden treasure” found since the nearby Varna Necropolis which dated to the 5th Milleminum B.C.
That story reminded me of the one I read nine months ago about Genghis Khan’s Tomb. A team of Japanese and Mongolian archaeologists claimed to have found the Khan’s Palace about 250 miles east of Ulan Bator and were looking for his tomb within a 10 mile radius. The Khan died in 1227 and people have been looking for his tomb ever since. According to legend, the 800 soldiers and 1000 laborers who built it were killed, tens of thousands of horses trampled the site and trees were planted over everything. So far, no luck.
I read another story about the same time (maybe involving the same archaelogists, maybe not) describing how the area might be haunted. Mishaps befell the explorers, cars mysteriously fell over cliffs, people died mysteriously. It was the Curse of the Khan.
And all this reminded me, somehow, of another story I saw four or five years ago about Archimedes. Remember him? He lived in Syracuse in the third century B.C. and discovered that if you step into a full bathtub, the water overflows the top (there’s a little more to it than that).
In the 10th Century a monk copied Archimedes’ manuscript onto parchment. 200 years later, another monk, looking for parchment, washed off the Greek and used the book for a new prayerbook. The msnuscript was discovered in a monastic library in Constantanople in 1906, and lost during WW1. It resurfaced in Paris in the ’60s. Christies sold it at auction in 1998 to an anonymous bidder who loaned it to a university for study. With the help of computer technology, they have recovered these Archimedes writings:
Method of Mechanical Theorums
On Floating Bodies
On the Measurment of the Circle
On the Sphere and the Cylinder
On Spiral Lines, and
On the Equilibrium of Planes.
Archimedes was studying Infinity and was about discover Calculus when he was killed in the Second Punic War.
Archaeologists are having field days. Where’s Indiana Jones?
UPDATE: This post generated a great deal of feedback, some from readers who shared their own archaeological fantasies, most from people who wanted a link to the obscure blogger quoted above. Alas, he prefers to remain obscure, and doesn’t want a Power Line link. But given the strong response to this post, I may quote him again from time to time.