Skip to comments.Bronze Age mouse offers clues to royal shipwreck [ Ulu Burun wreck ]
Posted on 09/09/2008 12:31:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Remains of a long dead house mouse have been found in the wreck of a Bronze Age royal ship. That makes it the earliest rodent stowaway ever recorded, and proof of how house mice spread around the world.
Archaeologist Thomas Cucchi of the University of Durham, UK, identified a fragment of a mouse jaw in sediment from a ship that sank 3500 years ago off the coast of Turkey.
The cargo of ebony, ivory, silver and gold - including a gold scarab with the name of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti - indicates it was a royal vessel. Because the cargo carried artefacts from many cultures, its nationality and route is hotly debated, but the mouse's jaw may provide answers. Cucchi's analysis confirms it belonged to Mus musculus domesticus, the only species known to live in close quarters with humans (Journal of Archaeological Science, vol 35, p 2953). The shape of the molars suggests the mouse came from the northern Levantine coast, as they are similar to those of modern house mice in Syria, near Cyprus.
And, when generations of rodents live aboard ships, they evolve larger body shapes. Yet this mouse was roughly the same shape and size as other small, land-dwelling mice of the time, suggesting it boarded just before the ship set sail.
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
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If they have bronze age mice, do they have bronze age keyboards, monitors and printers?
The people who spend years looking for and analyzing things like this amaze me. Imagine searching through whatever kinds of rotting debris as they have to in order to try and uncover something of some value. And of all things, finally, they have this. A little piece of a thousands of years old mouse jaw! And they think this is important? When, for thousands of years people have always known that mice, rats, roaches, cats, dogs, etc. got on the ships, or in caravans, or rode on wagons, etc. that people used to travel anywhere and, thus, spread everywhere.
Interesting that the ship is identified as a royal ship with a scarab bearing the name Nefertiti.
She disappeared from Egyptian history sometime around the 14th year of Ankenaten’s reign. There are lots of theories about her disappearance. We could make one up that includes this ship
Maybe she got caught in somebody’s bed and beat feet—or was on a diplomatic/pleasure cruise of the Med—or whatever and wound up on this ship?
It’s OK. There are a whole lot of people in this world and they all need something to do.
Thank a farmer.
So, this "worn from use" scarab -- unique, but that's not a criticism -- with the name of Nefertiti on it, was found on a wreck for which the date had to be rejected on other grounds.Dendrochronological Dating of the Uluburun ShipThe unique gold scarab of Egypt's Queen Nefertiti, Akhenaten's beloved wife, appears to be fairly worn from use, which suggests that it had been around for some time before it was taken on board the ship. Furthermore, it may have been part of a jeweler's hoard, as it was discovered in the midst of complete, cut, and folded jewelry pieces and other bits of scrap precious metals. If the scarab was a part of the scrap hoard, which is debatable, it almost certainly arrived on the ship after Nefertiti's time, when her scarab would have been worthless except for its gold value.
by Dr. Cemal Pulak
In the hope of obtaining an absolute date for the ship, seven wood samples taken from the keel-plank, planking, and cedar logs were submitted to Peter Kuniholm of Comell University for dendrochronological dating. While some samples did not have a sufficient number of tree rings to match the established master sequence, others with more rings appeared not to match at all. A large log-like piece of undetermined purpose, but with its outer layers trimmed, yielded a date of 1441 B.C. ±37 years, the uncertainty factor arising from the carbon dating of samples constituting the floating master conifer-ring sequence.The biggest mystery is, if the (at the time) 100 year old piece of log was part of the wreck, how is it that the rings tested from "the keel-plank, planking, and cedar logs... didn't match at all"? IMHO, the reason is obvious -- the ship doesn't date from that time, so the dendrochronological wiggle-match wouldn't work, or rather, yielded a date incompatible with other features of the wreck. The rings which didn't match at all instead matched a series of years such that the trees themselves hadn't grown when the ship went down. ;')
Oooh, I like it.
It’s a matter of perspective I guess.
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
You ruin my romantic flights of fancy with additional research, boring facts and irrefutable logic.
Curses! Foiled again.
Now wait a minute... have you said that before??? ;’)
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