Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Latest Archaeology News


Ancient DNA from Sardinia reveals 6,000 years of genetic history

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 18 hours ago
Analysis of ancient DNA details the population history of Sardinia, providing new insight into its unique history and ancestral connections among the peoples of the Mediterranean UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: THE S'ORCU 'E TUERI NURAGHI, ONE OF MANY DISTINCTIVE SARDINIAN BRONZE AGE STONE TOWERS DATING TO THE MID- TO LATE 2ND MILLENNIUM BC, AT A SITE INCLUDING IN THE STUDY.... view more CREDIT: GRUPPO GROTTE OGLIASTRA A new study of the genetic history of Sardinia, a Mediterranean island off the western coast of Italy, tells how genetic ancestry o...more »

Modern technology reveals old secrets about the great, white Maya road

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 18 hours ago
[image: IMAGE] IMAGE: BUILT AT THE TURN OF THE 7TH CENTURY, THE WHITE PLASTER-COATED ROAD THAT BEGAN 100 KILOMETERS TO THE EAST IN COBÁ ENDS AT YAXUNÁ'S ANCIENT DOWNTOWN, IN THE CENTER OF... view more CREDIT: PHOTO COURTESY TRACI ARDREN/UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI Did a powerful queen of Cobá, one of the greatest cities of the ancient Maya world, build the longest Maya road to invade a smaller, isolated neighbor and gain a foothold against the emerging Chichén Itzá empire? The question has long intrigued Traci Ardren, archaeologist and University of Miami professor of anthropology. Now, she a... more »

Prehistoric skeleton discovered in Southern Mexico

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
Remains of woman provide important clues on settlement of the American continent University of Heidelberg [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *The skeleton was found in the Chan Hol underwater cave near the city of Tulúm on Mexico's Yucatán peninsula. view more Credit: Photo: Eugenio Acevez A prehistoric human skeleton found on the Yucatán Peninsula in southern Mexico is at least 10,000 years old and most likely dates from the end of the most recent ice age, the late Pleistocene. An international research team led by geoscientists from Heidelberg University studied the remains of the approximate... more »

Early North Americans much more diverse than previously believed

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 3 weeks ago
Ancient skulls tell new story about our first settlersAn analysis of four ancient skulls found in Mexico suggests that the first humans to settle in North America were more biologically diverse than scientists had previously believed. The skulls were from individuals who lived 9,000 to 13,000 years ago, in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene eras. These findings complicate the story accepted until now, based on ancient skeletons analyzed from South America, which suggested the first settlers in the Americas were very similar, said Mark Hubbe, co-lead author of the study and prof... more »

New study debunks myth of Cahokia's Native American lost civilization

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 3 weeks ago
Ancient poop levels point to repopulation of iconic pre-Columbian metropolis University of California - Berkeley A University of California, Berkeley, archaeologist has dug up ancient human feces, among other demographic clues, to challenge the narrative around the legendary demise of Cahokia, North America's most iconic pre-Columbian metropolis. In its heyday in the 1100s, Cahokia -- located in what is now southern Illinois -- was the center for Mississippian culture and home to tens of thousands of Native Americans who farmed, fished, traded and built giant ritual mounds. By the... more »
Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 3 weeks ago
Working with lead isotopes taken from tooth enamel of prehistoric animals, researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a new method for assessing the geographic origins of ancient humans. John Samuelsen, doctoral candidate in anthropology and research assistant at the Arkansas Archeological Survey, analyzed linear patterning of lead isotopes on teeth from a 600- to 800-year-old skull and mandible cemetery at the Crenshaw site in southwest Arkansas. The new method allowed the researchers to compare the ancient human teeth to those of prehistoric animals, as well as rocks... more »
Neanderthal-Denisovan etc.

Earliest interbreeding event between ancient human populations discovered

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 4 days ago
Neanderthal-Denisovan ancestors interbred with a distantly related hominin 700,000 years ago UNIVERSITY OF UTAH SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: AN EVOLUTIONARY TREE INCLUDING FOUR PROPOSED EPISODES OF GENE FLOW. THE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN EVENT 744,372 YEARS AGO (ORANGE) SUGGESTS INTERBREEDING OCCURRED BETWEEN SUPER-ARCHAICS AND NEANDERTHAL-DENISOVAN ANCESTORS IN EURASIA.... view more CREDIT: ADAPTED FROM ALAN ROGERS For three years, anthropologist Alan Rogers has attempted to solve an evolutionary puzzle. His research untangles millions of years of human evolution by an... more »

Discovery at 'flower burial' site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 5 days ago
CAPTION The Neanderthal skull, flattened by thousands of years of sediment and rock fall, in situ in Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan. CREDIT Graeme Barker The first articulated Neanderthal skeleton to come out of the ground for over 20 years has been unearthed at one of the most important sites of mid-20th century archaeology: Shanidar Cave, in the foothills of Iraqi Kurdistan. Researchers say the new find offers an unparalleled opportunity to investigate the "mortuary practices" of this lost species using the latest technologies. Shanidar Cave was excavated in the 1950s, when archa... more »

New study identifies Neanderthal ancestry in African populations and describes its origin

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 3 weeks ago
Princeton researchers led by Joshua Akey discovered that all modern humans carry some Neanderthal ancestry in their DNA - including Africans, which was not previously known [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *A team of Princeton researchers led by Joshua Akey found that that African individuals have considerably more Neanderthal ancestry than previously thought, which was only observable through the development of... view more Credit: Matilda Luk, Princeton University Office of Communications When the first Neanderthal genome was sequenced, using DNA collected from ancient bones, it was accom... more »


Ancient engravings were likely produced with aesthetic intent and marked group identity.

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 5 days ago
Symbolic behaviour - such as language, account keeping, music, art, and narrative - constitutes a milestone in human cognitive evolution. But how, where and when did these complex practices evolve? This question is very challenging to address; human cognitive processes do not fossilize, making it very difficult to study the mental life of our Stone Age ancestors. However, in a new study published in the *Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences* journal PNAS, an interdisciplinary team of cognitive scientists and archaeologists from Denmark, South Africa and Australia takes u... more »

Dog domestication during ice age

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 5 days ago
Analysis of Paleolithic-era teeth from a 28,500-year-old fossil site in the Czech Republic provides supporting evidence for two groups of canids - one dog-like and the other wolf-like - with differing diets, which is consistent with the early domestication of dogs. The study, published in the *Journal of Archaeological Science*, was co-directed by Peter Ungar, Distinguished Professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas. The researchers performed dental microwear texture analysis on a sample of fossils from the Předmostí site, which contains both wolf-like and dog-like cani... more »

Canaanite temple at Lachish: gold artifacts, cultic figurines, and oldest known etching of Hebrew letter 'Samech'

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 6 days ago
[image: IMAGE] IMAGE: A CANAANITE STORAGE JAR WITH AN INSCRIPTION BEARING THE LETTER "SAMEK. " view more CREDIT: T. ROGOVSKI "And the Lord delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls therein..." -Joshua, 10:32 The Biblical Book of Joshua tells the story of the ancient Israelites' entry into the Promised Land after a 40-year sojourn in the desert. Now, a team of archaeologists led by Professor Yosef Garfinkel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology and Profe... more »

Canaanite temple uncovered in Lachish, a city destroyed by Joshua

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 1 week ago
Complete article A Canaanite temple and many artifacts have been uncovered in a city that, according to the Bible, was destroyed by the Israelites when they entered the Land of Israel after 40 years in the desert. The discovery shed light on the extensive ruins of a structure dating back to the 12th century BCE in Lachish, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced Monday. “Joshua proceeded with all Israel to Lachish; he encamped against it and attacked it. God delivered Lachish into the hands of Israel. They captured it on the second day and put it and all the people in it to... more »

Monumental ninth-century b.c.e Omride ‘Royal Estate’ Found in Northern Israel

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 1 week ago
Archaeologists have discovered a monumental pillared building at Horvat Tevet, an ancient site in the Jezreel Valley just outside the city of Afula. They believe the complex served as an estate for Israelite officials to collect and redistribute agricultural products in the surrounding region. The ruins at Horvat Tevet were uncovered as part of an ongoing salvage excavation. Due to the planned construction of a new route for Israel’s Highway 65, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University have been hurriedly excavating the site for the past two years... more »
Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
Complete report In 2012, a monumental Iron Age-temple complex dating to late 10th-early 9th century BCE was discovered at Tel Moẓa near Jerusalem by archeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The site, identified as the biblical city of Motẓa – within the boundary of the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18: 26) – served as an administrative center for the storage and redistribution of grain. Aerial photo of the temple at the end of the 2013 excavation. (Credit: SkyView, Israel Antiquities Authority) Horse Figurines. (Credit: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)The dig is the... more »
Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 3 weeks ago
The Israel Antiquities Authority’s Theft Prevention Unit (“The Unit”) had there eyes on a resident of Kfar Kana for some time. Twice he had been caught red-handed using a metal detector without a permit and digging at antiquities sites without authorization. On both these occasions the perpetrator was tried in court, convicted, and sentenced to a fee. Nonetheless, the robber was undeterred. In collaboration with the Kfar Kana Police department, The Unit arrested the suspect for questioning, and searched his house. As a result, they recovered a cache of 232 ancient coins. The Unit’... more »

5200-year-old grains in the eastern Altai Mountains redate trans-Eurasian crop exchange

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 1 week ago
Agricultural crops dispersed across Eurasia more than five millennia ago, causing significant cultural change in human populations across the ancient world. New discoveries in the Altai Mountains illustrate that this process occurred earlier than believed MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN HISTORY[image: IMAGE] IMAGE: DR. XINYING ZHOU AND HIS TEAM FROM THE IVPP IN BEIJING EXCAVATED THE TANGTIAN CAVE SITE DURING THE SUMMER OF 2016. view more CREDIT: XINYING ZHOU Most people are familiar with the historical Silk Road, but fewer people realize that the exchange of items, idea... more »

Arnhem Land, Australia: arliest evidence of Homo sapiens use of plant foods outside Africa and the Middle East.

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 5 days ago
Australia's first plant foods -- eaten by early populations 65,000 years ago -- have been discovered in Arnhem Land. Preserved as pieces of charcoal, the morsels were recovered from the debris of ancient cooking hearths at the Madjedbebe archaeological site, on Mirarr country in northern Australia. University of Queensland archaeobotanist Anna Florin said a team of archaeologists and Traditional Owners identified 10 plant foods, including several types of fruits and nuts, underground storage organs ('roots and tubers'), and palm stem. "By working with Elders and co-authors May Nango ... more »

Oral traditions and volcanic eruptions in Australia

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 1 week ago
[image: IMAGE] IMAGE: LAKE SURPRISE, BUDJ BIM VOLCANIC COMPLEX, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA. view more CREDIT: PHOTO VIA CREATIVE COMMONS. In Australia, the onset of human occupation (about 65,000 years?) and dispersion across the continent are the subjects of intense debate and are critical to understanding global human migration routes. A lack of ceramic artifacts and permanent structures has resulted in a scarcity of dateable archaeological sites older than about 10,000 years. Existing age constraints are derived largely from radiocarbon dating of charcoal and/or optically stimulate... more »

Wasp nests used to date ancient Kimberley rock art

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
12,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art from the Kimberley region, Western Australia, University of Melbourne [image: IMAGE] *IMAGE: *Wasp nests help prove Aboriginal rock art is twice as old as the Giza Pyramids. view more Credit: Damien Finch Mud wasp nests have helped establish a date for one of the ancient styles of Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley. University of Melbourne and ANSTO scientists put the Gwion Gwion art period around 12,000 years old. "This is the first time we have been able to confidently say Gwion style paintings were created around 12,000 years ago," said PhD st... more »

Easter Island society did not collapse prior to European

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report - 2 weeks ago
Easter Island society did not collapse prior to European contact and its people continued to build its iconic moai statues for much longer than previously believed, according to a team of researchers including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York. The island of Rapa Nui is well-known for its elaborate ritual architecture, particularly its numerous statues (moai) and the monumental platforms that supported them (ahu). A widely-held narrative posits that construction of these monuments ceased sometime around 1600, following a major societal collapse. "Our r... more »

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