Friday, January 24, 2020

Latest Archaeology News

Asia and Oceania

3,000-year-old teeth solve Pacific banana mystery

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 day ago
University of Otago [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *The findings were made from 3,000-year-old skeletons at Teouma, the oldest archaeological cemetery in Remote Oceania, a region that includes Vanuatu and all of the Pacific Islands east and South,... view more Credit: University of Otago Humans began transporting and growing banana in Vanuatu 3000 years ago, a University of Otago scientist has discovered. The discovery is the earliest evidence of humans taking and cultivating banana in to what was the last area of the planet to be colonised. In an article published this week in *Nature Hum... more »

Early humans arrived in Southeast Asia later than previously believed

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
American Association for the Advancement of Science New dates from the World Heritage archeological site at Sangiran on the island of Java suggest that that the first appearance of *Homo erectus* occurred more recently than previously thought, researchers report. The new findings place the arrival of the first hominins in Sangiran between 1.3-1.5 million years ago (Ma), suggesting that early humans migrated from Asia to Southeast Asia and Java nearly 300,000 years later than previously believed. The fossil-rich Sangiran dome in Java contains the oldest human fossils in Southeast Asi... more »

The last known settlement by a direct ancestor to modern humans

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 5 weeks ago
*Homo erectus*, one of modern humans' direct ancestors, was a wandering bunch. After the species dispersed from Africa about two million years ago, it colonized the ancient world, which included Asia and possibly Europe. But about 400,000 years ago, *Homo erectus* essentially vanished. The lone exception was a spot called Ngandong, on the Indonesian island of Java. But scientists were unable to agree on a precise time period for the site--until now. In a new study published in the journal *Nature*, an international team of researchers led by the University of Iowa; Macquarie Universi... more »
Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 month ago
An Indonesian cave painting that depicts a prehistoric hunting scene could be the world's oldest figurative artwork dating back nearly 44,000 years, a discovery that points to an advanced artistic culture, according to new research. Spotted two years ago on the island of Sulawesi, the 4.5 metre (13 foot) wide painting features wild animals being chased by half-human hunters wielding what appear to be spears and ropes, Complete report Using dating technology, the team at Australia's Griffith University said it had confirmed that the limestone cave painting dated back at least 4... more »

Scientists find that tin found in Israel from 3,000 years ago comes from Cornwall, England.

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 day ago
Complete article Scientists have revealed tin ingots from more than 3,000 years ago found in Israel. They have established that ancient tin ingots found in Israel actually came from what is now modern-day Britain. Archaeologists believe it shows that tin was transported over long distances about 3000 years ago. Moreover, the researchers may have solved the mystery of the origin of the tin that was so vital for Bronze Age cultures. The origins of Bronze-age tin ingots have been investigated by researchers from the University of Heidelberg and the Curt Engelhorn Center for Archaeom... more »

Study reveals 2 writers penned landmark inscriptions in 8th-century BCE Samaria

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 day ago
Discovery illuminates bureaucratic apparatus of ancient kingdom of Israel, say Tel Aviv University researchers American Friends of Tel Aviv University [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *Ostraca (ink on clay inscriptions) from Samaria, the capital of biblical Israel. The inscriptions are dated to the early 8th century BCE. Colorized Ostraca images are courtesy of the Semitic... view more Credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Colorized images courtesy of the Semitic Museum, Harvard University. The ancient Samaria ostraca -- eighth-century BCE ink-on-clay inscriptions unearthed at the b... more »

Ancient Potter's Secret 'Piggy Bank' Uncovered in 1,200-Year-Old Ceramics Kiln in Israel

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
*1,200 year old hoard of gold coins found in Israel Antiquities Authority excavations at Yavneh* “Hanukka Gelt” was found last week during archaeological excavations in Yavneh during excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) prior to the development of a new neighborhood at the behest of the Israel Lands Authority. The archaeologists were surprised to discover a broken clay juglet containing gold coins dating to the Early Islamic period. The excavations revealed an ancient industrial area which was active for several hundred years, and the archaeologists sugges... more »

Findings Point to Site of Jerusalem’s Millennia-Old Marketplace on Pilgrimage Road

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
Photo Credit: Ari Levi, Antiquities Authorities Helene Machline, Israel Antiquities Authority Archaeologist, with the table portion. The top of a rare 2000-year-old measuring table used for liquid items such as wine and olive oil has been discovered in what appears to have been a major town square along the Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem. The discovery was made during excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the City of David National Park. The top part of the measuring table / Ari Levi, Israel Antiquities AuthoritiesIn addition to the measuring table, tens of st... more »

7,000-year-old seawall in Tel Hreiz, Israel reveals earliest known structure built against sea level rise

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 5 weeks ago
[image: IMAGE]Flinders University *IMAGE: * Photographs of finds from the Tel Hreiz settlement: (a-b) exposure of stone-built features in shallow water. (c) wooden posts dug into the seabed. (d) bifacial flintadze. (e) in situ stone bowl made... view more Credit: All photographs by E. Galili with the exception of Fig 3G by V. Eshed Ancient Neolithic villagers on the Carmel Coast in Israel built a seawall to protect their settlement against rising sea levels in the Mediterranean, revealing humanity's struggle against rising oceans and flooding stretches back thousands of years. An ... more »

Roman Fish Sauce - Made in Ashkelon

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 5 weeks ago
Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently discovered ancient vats for producing fish sauce about 2km south of Ashkelon. Fish sauce (garum) was a popular condiment in the Mediterranean diet during the Roman and Byzantine periods, but archaeologists have rarely found the installations used to produce it. These vats are among the few discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean. “ Long before pasta and pizza, the ancient Roman diet was based largely on fish sauce. Historical sources refer to the production of special fish sauce, that was used as a basic condiment... more »

Beach-combing Neanderthals dove for shells

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 week ago
Did Neanderthals wear swimsuits? Probably not. But a new study suggests that some of these ancient humans might have spent a lot of time at the beach. They may even have dived into the cool waters of the Mediterranean Sea to gather clam shells. The findings come from Grotta dei Moscerini, a picturesque cave that sits just 10 feet above a beach in what is today the Latium region of central Italy. In 1949, archaeologists working at the site dug up some unusual artifacts: dozens of seashells that Neanderthals had picked up, then shaped into sharp tools roughly 90,000 years ago. Now, ... more »
Near East and Egypt

Anthropologists confirm existence of specialized sheep-hunting camp in prehistoric Lebanon

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 day ago
Early evidence of complex system of hunter-gatherer practices just before domestication University of Toronto TORONTO, ON - Anthropologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) have confirmed the existence more than 10,000 years ago of a hunting camp in what is now northeastern Lebanon - one that straddles the period marking the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural settlements at the onset of the last stone age. Analysis of decades-old data collected from Nachcharini Cave high in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range that forms the modern-day border between ... more »

Celebrated ancient Egyptian woman physician likely never existed

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 5 weeks ago
For decades, an ancient Egyptian known as Merit Ptah has been celebrated as the first female physician and a role model for women entering medicine. Yet a researcher from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus now says she never existed and is an example of how misconceptions can spread. "Almost like a detective, I had to trace back her story, following every lead, to discover how it all began and who invented Merit Ptah," said Jakub Kwiecinski, PhD, an instructor in the Dept. of Immunology and Microbiology at the CU School of Medicine and a medical historian. His stud... more »

Rare find: human teeth used as jewelry in Turkey 8,500 years ago

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 month ago
University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Humanities [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *The two drilled 8,500-year-old human teeth found at Çatalhöyük in Turkey. view more Credit: University of Copenhagen At a prehistoric archaeological site in Turkey, researchers have discovered two 8,500-year-old human teeth, which had been used as pendants in a necklace or bracelet. Researchers have never documented this practice before in the prehistoric Near East, and the rarity of the find suggests that the human teeth were imbued with profound symbolic meaning for the people who wore them. During excavatio... more »

Archaeologists has uncovered — for the first time — two “head cones” in the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 month ago
Ancient Egyptians wearing head cones of wax were excavated from graves at Amarna, south of Cairo. A. Stevens et al., via The Amarna Project and Antiquity Publications, 2019 via The New York Times. Complete report Painted throughout ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics are scenes of people at boisterous banquets. On top of the dark, braided heads of some revelers sat peculiar white cones. Archaeologists have long puzzled over the purpose of the mysterious headgear, and whether they were real items worn by people, or just iconographic ornaments, like halos crowning saints in Christia... more »

First ancient DNA from West Africa illuminates the deep human past

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 day ago
A team of international researchers dug deep to find some of the oldest African DNA on record, in a new study published in Nature Saint Louis University [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *The Shum Laka rock shelter in Cameroon, home to an ancient population that bears little genetic resemblance to most people who live in the region today. view more Credit: Photo by Pierre de Maret. A team of international researchers, which includes a Saint Louis University Madrid anthropologist, dug deep to find some of the oldest African DNA on record, in a new study published in *Nature*. Africa is the homel... more »

Early humans revealed to have engineered optimized stone tools at Olduvai Gorge

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
University of Kent Early Stone Age populations living between 1.8 - 1.2 million years ago engineered their stone tools in complex ways to make optimised cutting tools, according to a new study by University of Kent and UCL. The research, published in the Journal of *Royal Society Interface*, shows that Palaeolithic hominins selected different raw materials for different stone tools based on how sharp, durable and efficient those materials were. They made these decisions in conjunction with information about the length of time the tools would be used for and the force with which th... more »

Early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa, 170,000 years ago

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 3 weeks ago
The discovery also points to food being shared and the use of wooden digging sticks to extract the plants from the ground University of the Witwatersrand [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: **Hypoxis angustifolia* growth habit. view more Credit: Prof. Lyn Wadley/Wits University "The inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the Kwazulu-Natal/eSwatini border were cooking starchy plants 170 thousand years ago," says Professor Lyn Wadley, a scientist from the Wits Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (Wits ESI). "This discovery is much ... more »

Ostrich eggshell beads reveal 10,000 years of cultural interaction across Africa

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 month ago
Ostrich eggshell beads are some of the oldest ornaments made by humankind, and they can be found dating back at least 50,000 years in Africa. Previous research in southern Africa has shown that the beads increase in size about 2,000 years ago, when herding populations first enter the region. In the current study, researchers Jennifer Miller and Elizabeth Sawchuk investigate this idea using increased data and evaluate the hypothesis in a new region where it has never before been tested. *Review of old ideas, analysis of old collections* To conduct their study, the researchers recorded... more »

Pre-Hispanic history, genetic changes among indigenous Mexican populations

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 day ago
Recent highlights from the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press) [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *To better understand the broad demographic history of pre-Hispanic Mexico and to search for signatures of adaptive evolution, an international team led by Mexican scientists have sequenced the complete protein-coding... view more Credit: Ruben Mendoza, National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (LANGEBIO) - UGA, CINVESTAV As more and more large-scale human genome sequencing projects get completed, scientists have been able to trace... more »

Gold bar found in Mexico was Aztec treasure

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 4 days ago
Complete article The 1.93-kilogram bar was found by a construction worker during excavations for a new building along the Alameda. Photo: MNA-INAH. A gold bar found in a Mexico City park in 1981 was part of the Aztec treasure looted by Hernan Cortes and the Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago, a new study says. The 1.93-kilogram bar was found by a construction worker during excavations for a new building along the Alameda, a picturesque park in the heart of the Mexican capital. For 39 years, its origins remained a mystery. But thanks to specialized X-rays, Mexico's Nation... more »

The colors of the Pachacamac idol, an Inca god, finally revealed

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 week ago
CNRS [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *In the last picture, the red arrows mark the presence of red pigments containing mercury. view more Credit: © Marcela Sepulveda/Rommel Angeles/Museo de sitio Pachacamac The legend of Pachacamac will not soon die. Since the 16th century, Spanish chroniclers have said that Hernando Pizarro had destroyed the idol of the deity when he conquered the Inca Empire in the Andes. But a carved wooden post representing Pachacamac was discovered on the archaeological site of the same name in 1938, so it was considered that the Spaniards may have been wrong in thinki... more »

Caribbean settlement began in Greater Antilles

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 5 weeks ago
Rigorous reexamination of radiocarbon dating of sites on 55 islands shoots down the idea that colonization moved step by step from south to north University of Oregon [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *Students from the University of Oregon, North Carolina State University and University College London work at a Grand Bay cultural site on Carriacou Island, located in the Grenada Grenadines in... view more Credit: Photo by Scott Fitzpatrick EUGENE, Ore. - Dec. 18, 2019 - A fresh, comprehensive look at archaeological data suggests that seafaring South Americans settled first on the large norther... more »

Ancient dietary practices in Mexico

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 month ago
New research from anthropologists at McMaster University and California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), is shedding light on ancient dietary practices, the evolution of agricultural societies and ultimately, how plants have become an important element of the modern diet. Researchers examined plant remains found on ceramic artifacts such as bowls, bottles and jars, and stone tools such as blades and drills, dating to the Early Formative period (2000-1000 BCE), which were excavated from the village site of La Consentida, located in the coastal region of Oaxaca in southwest ... more »

Exhibition at The Met to Explore Superb Artistic Achievements of Ancestral Caribbean Civilizations

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 month ago
*Exhibition Dates:* December 16, 2019–January 10, 2021 *Exhibition Location:* The Met Fifth Avenue, Floor 1, The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, Gallery 359 Deity Figure (zemí) (detail), ca. A.D. 1000. Dominican Republic (?). Taíno. Wood (Guaiacum), shell, 27 x 8 5/8 x 9 1/8 in. (68.5 x 21.9 x 23.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 A special exhibition highlighting the artistic achievements of early Caribbean civilizations will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginni... more »

Late Neolithic Italy was home to complex networks of metal exchange

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 day ago
Analysis reveals where prehistoric Italian communities got their copper, from Tuscany and beyond PLOS [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *Articulated burial and dismembered human remains from Ponte San Pietro, tomb 22. The chamber tomb is typical of the Rinaldone burial custom, central Italy, c.3600-2200 BC. Reprinted from Miari 1995 under... view more Credit: Dolfini et al, 2020 During the 4th and 3rd millennia BC, Italy was home to complex networks of metalwork exchange, according to a study published January 22, 2020 in the open-access journal *PLOS ONE* by Andrea Dolfini of Newcastle Univer... more »

The Vikings erected a runestone out of fear of a climate catastrophe

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
University of Gothenburg [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *Rök runes. view more Credit: Helge Andersson Several passages on the Rök stone - the world's most famous Viking Age runic monument - suggest that the inscription is about battles and for over a hundred years, researchers have been trying to connect the inscription with heroic deeds in war. Now, thanks to an interdisciplinary research project, a new interpretation of the inscription is being presented. The study shows that the inscription deals with an entirely different kind of battle: the conflict between light and darkness, warmth ... more »

Magnitude of Great Lisbon Earthquake may have been lower than previous estimates

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
The magnitude of the Great Lisbon Earthquake event, a historic and devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Portugal on All Saints' Day in 1755, may not be as high as previously estimated. In his study published in the *Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America*, Joao F. B. D. Fonseca at the Universidade de Lisboa used macroseismic data -- contemporaneous reports of shaking and damage -- from Portugal, Spain and Morocco to calculate the earthquake's magnitude at 7.7. Previous estimates placed the earthquake at magnitude 8.5 to 9.0. Fonseca's analysis also locates the epi... more »

Over-hunting walruses contributed to the collapse of Norse Greenland

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
[image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *Church ruins from Norse Greenland's Eastern Settlement. view more Credit: James H. Barrett The mysterious disappearance of Greenland's Norse colonies sometime in the 15th century may have been down to the overexploitation of walrus populations for their tusks, according to a study of medieval artefacts from across Europe. Founded by Erik the Red around 985AD after his exile from Iceland (or so the Sagas tell us), Norse communities in Greenland thrived for centuries - even gaining a bishop - before vanishing in the 1400s, leaving only ruins. Latest research fro... more »
Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 4 weeks ago
Roman emperors faced a high risk of violent death in their first year of rule, but the risk slowly declined over the next seven years, according to an article published in the open access journal *Palgrave Communications*. When statistically modelled, the length of time from the beginning of their reign until their death followed a set pattern, similar to that seen in reliability engineering, interdisciplinary research by Dr Joseph Saleh, an Aerospace Engineer from the Georgia Institute of Technology, US suggests. Historical records show that of 69 rulers of the unified Roman Empire... more »

Large scale feasts at ancient capital of Ulster drew crowds from across Iron Age Ireland

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 4 weeks ago
[image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *One of the analysed pig jaws for the study. view more Credit: Dr Richard Madgwick People transported animals over huge distances for mass gatherings at one of Ireland's most iconic archaeological sites, research concludes. Dr Richard Madgwick of Cardiff University led the study, which analysed the bones of 35 animals excavated from Navan Fort, the legendary capital of Ulster. Researchers from Queen's University Belfast, Memorial University Newfoundland and the British Geological Survey were also involved in the research. The site had long been considered a cen... more »

New archaeological discoveries reveal birch bark tar was used in medieval England

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 4 weeks ago
University of Bristol [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *Skeleton from grave 293, Anglo-Saxon child burial. view more Credit: Oxford Archaeology East Scientists from the University of Bristol and the British Museum, in collaboration with Oxford Archaeology East and Canterbury Archaeological Trust, have, for the first time, identified the use of birch bark tar in medieval England - the use of which was previously thought to be limited to prehistory. Birch bark tar is a manufactured product with a history of production and use that reaches back to the Palaeolithic. It is very sticky, and is wate... more »

Archaeologists find Bronze Age tombs lined with gold

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 5 weeks ago
The family tombs are near the 2015 site of the 'Griffin Warrior,' a military leader buried with armor, weapons and jewelry. University of Cincinnati [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *UC archaeologists found a sealstone made from semiprecious carnelian in the family tombs at Pylos, Greece. The sealstone was engraved with two lionlike mythological figures called genii carrying serving vessels... view more Credit: UC Classics Archaeologists with the University of Cincinnati have discovered two Bronze Age tombs containing a trove of engraved jewelry and artifacts that promise to unlock secrets a... more »

Ancient 'chewing gum' yields insights into people and bacteria of the past

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 5 weeks ago
University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *During excavations on Lolland, Denmark, archaeologists have found a 5,700-year-old birch pitch. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in extracting a complete ancient human genome from the pitch... view more Credit: Photo: Theis Jensen. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in extracting a complete human genome from a thousands-of-years old "chewing gum". According to the researchers, it is a new untapped source of ancient DNA. During excavations o... more »

Long-distance timber trade underpinned the Roman Empire's construction

Jonathan KantrowitzatArchaeology News Report - 1 month ago
The ancient Romans relied on long-distance timber trading to construct their empire, according to a study published December 4, 2019 in the open-access journal *PLOS ONE* by Mauro Bernabei from the National Research Council, Italy, and colleagues. The timber requirements of ancient Rome were immense and complex, with different types of trees from various locations around the Roman Empire and beyond used for many purposes, including construction, shipbuilding and firewood. Unfortunately, the timber trade in ancient Rome is poorly understood, as little wood has been found in a state a... more »

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