Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stratigraphy and Site Formation

From Time Team America:

Fort James, South Dakota

In 1865, a unit of cavalry soldiers thought they had volunteered to fight in the Civil War. Instead, they found themselves sent west to keep the peace between incoming pioneer settlers and the Sioux Indians in what is now South Dakota. Upon their arrival, the soldiers built Fort James, one of the few stone forts on the American frontier. The fort’s quartzite walls still peek out from under a grassy field that seems to have somehow survived intact. The site has never been excavated but experts believe that the fort’s remains hold a time capsule of information about life on the early frontier. Time Team America traveled to South Dakota on a rescue mission: to find out how much of the fort survives and how big an area it covers so that the site’s archaeology can be protected for future research.

Time Team America archaeologist Julie Schablitsky explains how archaeologists read the evidence in the layers of soil. Relative dating can establish an older than/younger than chronology.

Watch Reading the Stratigraphy of the Soil on PBS. See more from Time Team America.

Burnt Mounds – Recent archaeological discoveries at Bradford Kaims, Northumberland UK

This video shows some of the remarkable features discovered as part of the Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project. The site is located in the ancient prehistoric wetland landscape of Newham bog, near Lucker, Northumberland. This work was carried out by volunteers and students of Bamburgh Research Project, and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage. This community archaeology project is open to people of all ages and abilities and we’d like to hear from you if you want to get involved. Please go to the website at for further details in the ‘Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project section and check out the latest updates on our blog: http://bamburghresearchproject.wordpr…

Archaeology Conservation in the Grand Canyon

The National Park Service (NPS) and the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) excavated nine archaeological sites along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon during three years of fieldwork. The NPS/MNA excavation project was the first major archaeological excavation to occur along the river corridor in Grand Canyon in nearly 40 years. The NPS has a “preservation-in-place” mandate, and excavates archaeological sites only when they cannot be stabilized and preserved in place. These sites were disappearing due to erosion; artifacts were literally washing into the river. Because these sites were being lost, the NPS initiated excavations to learn more about the people who lived here before the archaeological evidence of their lives in the canyon was completely gone.

Archaeologists excavated the sites, exposing them for a few days or weeks during which time these videos were taken. Immediately after excavation, the sites were reburied to protect them from further damage from exposure to the elements and possible damage from visitation. This video and the virtual tour (below) is now the only way to experience these places where people once lived.

Archaeology: Holocene Europe

Europe’s Oldest Town?

Bulgarian archaeologists led by Professor Doctor Vasil Nikolov, from the National Archaeology Institute and Museum, claim to have discovered one of the oldest towns in Europe, in north-east Bulgaria.

Dr. Nikolov, who has been studying the area for many years, located the town near the salt pans in the vicinity of Provadia in the Varna Region, the same locale as the first salt factory in Europe.

[Dr. Vasil Nikolov, National Archaeology Institute and Museum]:
“We can now say that the Provadia salt pans are in the oldest town in Europe, existing between 4,700 to 4,200 BC, in the second half of the fifth millennium before Christ.”

Dr. Nikolov says, it was the salt—equivalent in value to today’s oil—which led to the town being established.

[Dr. Vasil Nikolov, National Archaeology Institute and Museum]:
“What makes this ancient village different from all the others in South-East Europe is the salt springs; the salt body is nine meters below us. The salt water was likely evaporated by different techniques in ceramic bowls and the salt produced may have been used as money, because salt was important for humans and animals as well. So salt production made this village different from others, giving it prosperity.”

Further hints of a rich society were found in skeletal remains showing remnants of copper hair accessories.

[Margarita Lyuncheva, Deputy Head, Archaeological Team]:
“There are two graves; probably of people with higher social status, because we found copper spiral needles there, used for hairdressing. We found them where the hair of the buried should have been. We think that the women had their hairstyle in the form of a bun.”

Dr. Nikolov’s discoveries have been confirmed so far by scientists from Japan, Great Britain and Germany, who have closely followed the research connected to the Provadia salt pans.

Climate Threats, Climate Future

A few items of interest from the intertubes:

Mann: Reality and threats of climate change are clear

This is a guest column in the Times Dispatch by climate scientist Michael Mann discussing ongoing legal issues.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli certainly has some odd characters coming to his defense in this paper for his attempts to go after climate scientists like myself.

First came Charlie Battig, who sought to defend Cuccinelli’s 2009 attempt to subpoena my personal U.Va. emails …

Most recently the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley of Edinburgh, Scotland, used offensive personal attacks and completely false statements in another attempt to defend Cuccinelli’s use of state funds to engage in a politically motivated attack on both me and Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia. …

The reality and threat of human-caused climate change are clear. Those such as Cuccinelli, who would silence scientists, and those like Monckton who are misleading the public about this critical issue, are doing a grave injustice not just to us, but to our children and grandchildren who will inherit the legacy of the energy choices we are making today….

AccuClimate: The Future of Climate Change Forecasting

Although personal experience may sometimes suggest otherwise, the accuracy of weather forecasting improved drastically along with the introduction of computer-based modeling some 40 years ago. According to Jones, the seven-day forecast now is probably as reliable as the one-day forecast was then.

“If climate science becomes more in-tune with societal impacts and decisions that people have to make then the probability of better outcomes is increased,” Jones said. “Tying science to decision-making will improve the science.”

The Wild Weather of the Future

In this talk, meteorologist and America’s “Science Idol” contest winner Tom DiLiberto gives a forecast of the weather of the future—the weather that will be produced by climate change.

Can Monckton Put His Money Where Is Mouth Is? NO! it turns out (UPDATE)

Climate science denialist Christopher Monckton wrote a post at WUWT blog in which he describes the non-existent stall in global warming. At the end of the post he writes:

Meanwhile, enjoy what warmth you can get. A math geek with a track-record of getting stuff right tells me we are in for 0.5 Cº of global cooling. It could happen in two years, but is very likely by 2020. His prediction is based on the behavior of the most obvious culprit in temperature change here on Earth – the Sun.

My friend and Colleague, John Abraham of St. Thomas University (he blogs here) wrote the following letter:

Dear Mr. Monckton,

I understand that you’ve claimed Earth’s temperatures will likely decrease by 0.5 oC in two years, but most certainly by 2020. Specifically, you stated this on a website:

“Meanwhile, enjoy what warmth you can get. A math geek with a track-record of getting stuff right tells me we are in for 0.5 Cº of global cooling. It could happen in two years, but is very likely by 2020. His prediction is based on the behavior of the most obvious culprit in temperature change here on Earth – the Sun.”

Here is the link:

I am calling your claim. I challenge you to a $1000 bet on both. Specifically,

1. I challenge you to a $1000 bet that the Earth temperature will not drop 0.5 C in two years
2. I challenge you to a second $1000 bet that the Earth temperature will not drop 0.5 C by 2020

Let’s keep stipulations as few as possible. My only requirement is that any major volcanic eruptions would make the bet void. I will let you choose the temperature dataset (NASA GISTEMP, NOAA, HADCRUT4). Any reputable data set of land-ocean surface temperatures. I will let you choose the starting year of 2012 or 2013. Obligations to pay can be based off our word and the publicity of this challenge. If you require payment to be sent to a third party ahead of time, I will gladly oblige.

Please respond at your earliest convenience, I am anxious to finalize this agreement. Please be assured that if you decline this wager, I will make your declination public.

Can we agree to donate the money to a charity that deals with climate issues. Selected by winner of the wager.

Cheers, As Always

Dr. John Abraham
University of St. Thomas

Monckton’s public reply is as follows:

One Rabett says someone wants to take a bet with me about whether the world will cool by 0.5 K before 2020 is out. However, it was not I but another who forecast that. In an earlier posting I merely reported the forecast, which is one of a growing number that find cooling more likely than warming in the short to medium term. To make any such bet symmetrical, there would be no payout if the temperature fluctuated by less than 0.5 K in either direction by 2020 compared with today. The bedwetters would win if the temperature rose by 0.5 K; the army of light and truth would win if it fell by 0.5 K.

However, the creature seeking cheap publicity by offering the bet has, I discover, been part of an organized (and probably paid) campaign to prevent skeptics such as me from being allowed to speak at various universities around the world to which we are from time to time invited. Evidence is being gathered, since in Scotland tampering with the right of academic freedom in this characteristically furtive way, particularly with the wildly malicious claims the perpetrator and his little chums have apparently been making, would be held to constitute a grave libel.

I had hoped to sue the defalcating nitwit in the U.S for an earlier malicious attempt by him to assert that I take a skeptical line because I am paid to do so (if only …). However, the lawyers whom I consulted, after having a good look at the case, concluded that, though what this inconsequential little creep had said was unquestionably libelous, as well as displaying an exceptionally poor grasp of elementary science and even of arithmetic, I did not have title to sue because, in the US, I am counted at law as a “public figure” and the jerklet is not. If he were a public figure, I could sue him. If I were not a public figure, I could sue him. But, since I am a public figure and he is not, I cannot sue him. Not in the U.S., at any rate.


What a pompous lying ass. A gentleperson’s bet over a disagreement that would raise a bit of money for charity responded to by a threat of a law suit.

Let this be a warning to you, if you are a person of any kind, a journalist, a scientist, an institution, anything: Don’t approach this guy Monckton. He’ll sue you if you sneeze. HE WILL GATHER EVIDENZE!!!!

Here’s what’s funny. Look up defalcating. Here in his comment Lord (but he’s a fake lord) Christopher Monckton just called John Abraham a criminal. Explicitly. In the UK you can sue someone for that.



Anyway, that’s over with.

Perhaps this would be a good time to donate to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund!!! HERE