Best archaeological finds of 2009

National Geographic rounds up its favorite archaeological finds of 2009, from vampire corpses to pirate booty:
8. Blackbeard Pirate Relics, Gold Found
A sword guard, tiny gold pieces, and a coin are among newfound artifacts from a shipwreck off North Carolina--shown in exclusive pictures. The discoveries, announced in March, add to evidence that the ship belonged to the pirate Blackbeard.

7. World War II "Samurai Subs" Found--Carried Aircraft
Two advanced Japanese "samurai subs" were found off Pearl Harbor in February and announced in November--including a stealth aircraft-carrying submarine and a supersleek vessel engineered for utmost speed.

Top Ten Archaeology Finds: Most Viewed of 2009 (Thanks, Marilyn!)


  1. This really great, pirates and skeletons and caches of lost treasure, etc. I especially like the slate they dug out of a 17th-century Jamestown well/trash pit.

    But what’s with the constant ironic reference to “bling” when talking about prehistoric cultures that liked to wear jewelry? Not to get all uptight about it, and it’s the middle of the night, but I think there’s something condescending about constantly using universal square-white-person-code for hip-hop culture to describe “primitive” societies. There is also the fact that it’s such a stupid, stupid word.

  2. Be sure to look at the other linked Top Tens while there, too. Personally, I was fascinated by the transparent headed Pacific barrel-eye fish in the Top Ten Photos section.

    gws asked “But what’s with the constant ironic reference to “bling” when talking about prehistoric cultures that liked to wear jewelry?”

    I think ‘bling’ has expanded way beyond your perception of it. Bling is what the girls up here always use as a term to mean “flashy jewelry” and similar accessories. There’s no hip-hop connotation to it at all for them. The term has moved out into general vernacular, often used to make the speaker seem trendy. Nothing more.

    So relax. It only means that hip-hop has had an impact on the general culture; that it’s grown enough to have a mark on overall society, not just a small segment.
    That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

    (But yes, it’s a stupid, stupid word.)

  3. Well Bling this GWS: The term “Bling” took off like mad because everyone immediately got that blinging has been around for all time. From prehistoric kings to medieval clergy to latterday pimps, chicks & rappers, the bling has been with us from day one. Don’t fight it; it’s illuminative. ;)


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