Archeology News

Archeology News

  • Half-a-billion-year-old fossil reveals the origins of comb jellies
    on March 21, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    One of the ocean's little known carnivores has been allocated a new place in the evolutionary tree of life after scientists discovered its unmistakable resemblance with other sea-floor dwelling creatures. […]

  • Big gods came after the rise of civilisations, not before, finds study using huge historical...
    on March 21, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    When you think of religion, you probably think of a god who rewards the good and punishes the wicked. But the idea of morally concerned gods is by no means universal. Social scientists have long known that small-scale traditional societies – the kind missionaries used to dismiss as "pagan" – envisaged a spirit world that cared little about the morality of human behaviour. Their concern was less about whether humans behaved nicely towards one another and more about whether they […]

  • Complex societies gave birth to big gods, not the other way around: study
    on March 21, 2019 at 10:52 am

    An international research team, including a member of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna, investigated the role of "big gods" in the rise of complex large-scale societies. Big gods are defined as moralizing deities who punish ethical transgressions. Contrary to prevailing theories, the team found that beliefs in big gods are a consequence, not a cause, of the evolution of complex societies. The results are published in the current issue of the journal Nature. […]

  • Roman Tile Factory Unearthed in Northern England
    on March 20, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    CUMBRIA, ENGLAND—Cumbria Crack reports that a Roman tile factory and a medieval foundation and burial were discovered in the original path of a water pipeline in northwest England. Archaeologists had expected to find the remains of a medieval farm at the site. The medieval structure was built within the Roman one, perhaps as an outbuilding for the farm. The body was found within the outline of the medieval building. “Usually a grave cut can be seen during excavation, but here there […]

  • Traces of York’s First Railway Station Uncovered
    on March 20, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    YORK, ENGLAND—Minster FM reports that traces of York’s first railroad station, which was built in 1840 for George Hudson’s York and North Midland Railway, have been uncovered in the city’s historic center during construction work. The structure, designed by architect George Townsend Andrews, was the terminus of a line that traveled to London. The station fell out of use in 1877 when a new station, which is still used today, opened nearby. A recently excavated train […]

  • Song Dynasty Shipwreck In South China Sea Conserved
    on March 20, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    GUANGZHOU, CHINA—Xinhua reports that more than 140,000 artifacts have been recovered from a Song Dynasty (A.D. 960–1279) shipwreck discovered in the South China Sea in 2007. Cui Yong of the Guangdong Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology said the merchant ship measured about 72 feet long and about 30 feet wide. It carried a cargo of porcelain, gold, silver, copper, iron, bamboo, and lacquered wood items, as well as copper coins. The remains of plants and animals have also […]

  • North Africans were among the first to colonize the Canary Islands
    on March 20, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    People from North Africa are likely the main group that founded the indigenous population on the Canary Islands, arriving by 1000 CE, reports a new study. […]

  • North Africans were among the first to colonize the Canary Islands
    on March 20, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    People from North Africa are likely the main group that founded the indigenous population on the Canary Islands, arriving by 1000 CE, reports a new study by Rosa Fregel of Stanford University and Universidad de La Laguna, Spain, and colleagues, published March 20, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. […]

  • Archaeologist debunks alien influence, other conspiracy theories in archaeology
    on March 20, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Have you heard the one about the aliens and the pyramids? Or what about the technologically advanced but tragically lost city of Atlantis? […]

  • Researchers shed new light on the origins of modern humans
    on March 20, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Researchers from the University of Huddersfield, with colleagues from the University of Cambridge and the University of Minho in Braga, have been using a genetic approach to tackle one of the most intractable questions of all—how and when we became truly human. […]

  • New Cretaceous fossil sheds light on avian reproduction
    on March 20, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    A team of scientists led by Alida Bailleul and Jingmai O'Connor from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported the first fossil bird ever found with an egg preserved inside its body. Their findings were published on March 20 in Nature Communications. […]

  • Project adds 11,400 intra-American journeys to Slave Voyages database
    on March 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Blending the power of big data and history, an expanded and redesigned version of Slave Voyages – one of the most utilized resources in the digital humanities – is now available. Housing both trans-Atlantic and intra-American slave trade databases, the Slave Voyages website illuminates the ubiquity of the slave trade from the 16th century to the 19th century. A research team co-led by the University of California, Irvine focused on the intra-American database, adding 11,400 records […]

  • Descendants of Great Moravian Noblemen Identified
    on March 20, 2019 at 12:27 am

    BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC—Czech Radio reports that a study of Y-chromosome markers has identified 18 men who are descended from Great Moravian noblemen who lived in what is now the Czech Republic some 1,000 years ago. A team of researchers led by Ludĕk Galuška of the Moravian Museum compared samples of DNA obtained from 340 living men whose surnames appeared in historic registry records with samples of 75 men buried in high-status graves near the town of Uherské […]

  • Study of Hepatitis B Virus Tracks Australia's Ancient Migrations
    on March 20, 2019 at 12:17 am

    NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA—According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation report, a new study has found that the hepatitis B virus affecting between 10 and 20 percent of the Aboriginal people living in northern Australia today is a unique strain named HBV/C4. Margaret Littlejohn of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory noted that there are also differences in the virus among the 30 communities that offered samples for testing, which allowed the scientists to study […]

  • New Project Focuses on Colonial Garden in Virginia
    on March 19, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA—The Virginia Gazette reports that archaeologists led by Jack Gary of Colonial Williamsburg are investigating pastureland where the eighteenth-century home of John Custis IV once stood. Enslaved Africans are also known to have lived on the property, called Custis Square, and tended its house and elaborate gardens. The foundations of the house were uncovered in the 1960s. Now Gary and his team members want to find out how the landscaping, thought to feature topiary, […]

  • First Anatolian farmers were local hunter-gatherers that adopted agriculture
    on March 19, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    An international team led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and in collaboration with scientists from the United Kingdom, Turkey and Israel, has analyzed eight prehistoric individuals, including the first genome-wide data from a 15,000-year-old Anatolian hunter-gatherer, and found that the first Anatolian farmers were direct descendants of local hunter-gatherers. These findings provide support for archaeological evidence that farming was adopted and […]

  • Scholar probes secrets of sacred North Korean mountains
    on March 19, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    The conclusion of a second Trump-Kim summit with no North Korean opening to the West puts an even greater premium on the research that Maya Stiller, University of Kansas assistant professor of the history of art, has been able to do inside the hermit kingdom, and about which she continues to publish. […]

  • New Thoughts on Egtved Girl and Skrydstrup Woman
    on March 19, 2019 at 1:15 am

    AARHUS, DENMARK—Isotope geochemist Rasmus Andreasen of Aarhus University and his colleagues suggest that the presence of modern, strontium-rich agricultural lime in the landscape may have skewed earlier interpretations of the Egtved Girl and Skrydstrup Woman, according to a Live Science report. Previous analysis of isotopes obtained from the Bronze Age remains indicated that the Egtved Girl may have grown up in southern Germany, and traveled between Denmark and another location in the […]

  • Boat Described by Herodotus Discovered in Nile River
    on March 18, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    OXFORD, ENGLAND—According to a report in The Guardian, a unique shipwreck has been discovered near the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion, which is located at the mouth of the Nile River. The vessel was constructed in a manner described by the fifth-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus, who visited Egypt and observed the construction of an unusual trading vessel. Damian Robinson of Oxford University said the hull is the first such ship to be found. Known as a “baris,” the […]

  • Giant squid gets makeover before showtime
    on March 18, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    A little elbow grease, some formaldehyde, and a lot of ingenuity—that's what it took for taxidermists at the Museum of Natural History to prettify a giant squid along with a coelacanth, a rare fish known as the "living fossil". […]

  • Neanderthal Tool Workshop Unearthed in Poland
    on March 18, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    SILESIA, POLAND—Science in Poland reports that a 60,000-year-old flint workshop has been discovered on a riverbank in southern Poland. Among some 17,000 pieces of flint, thought to have been worked by Neanderthals, Andrzej Wiśniewski of the University of Wrocław and his team were able to find areas where certain kinds of tools were crafted. In fact, the researchers were able to reconstruct the waste from the production of individual tools, and determine how they had been made. […]

  • Sicily's Lost Theater
    on March 18, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Going to the theater was an essential part of ancient Greek civic and religious life. Plays such as the tragedies of Aeschylus and Euripides, the comedies of Aristophanes and Menander, and likely numerous other works that have not survived, were regularly staged at religious festivals. Masked actors and a chorus whose role was to comment on the play’s action in song, dance, and verse entertained festivalgoers and paid honor to the gods. “Since the very beginning of Greek […]

  • Hepatitis B virus sheds light on ancient human population movements into Australia
    on March 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Australian researchers have used hepatitis B virus genome sequences to deduce that the mainland Aboriginal population separated from other early humans at least 59,000 years ago. […]

  • Earliest known Mariner's Astrolabe research published today to go in Guinness Book of Records
    on March 18, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Guinness World Records have independently certified an astrolabe excavated from the wreck site of a Portuguese Armada Ship that was part of Vasco da Gama's second voyage to India in 1502-1503 as the oldest in the world, and have separately certified a ship's bell (dated 1498) recovered from the same wreck site also as the oldest in the world. […]

  • DNA Obtained From Tobacco Pipe at Maryland Plantation
    on March 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MARYLAND—WTOP reports that female human DNA has been obtained from a 200-year-old tobacco pipe discovered in the slave quarters at Belvoir, a Maryland plantation. “Using modern DNA databases,” said archaeologist Julie Schablitsky of the Maryland Department of Transportation, it was “found that the person that smoked that particular tobacco pipe was most genetically similar to the Mende of Sierra Leone [in] West Africa.” Descendants of the […]

  • Changes in Diet May Have Fostered Changes in Speech
    on March 15, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND—According to a report in Science, the spread of agriculture and consumption of easier-to-chew foods may have led to changes in human jaws and their arrangement of teeth, which in turn allowed people to make new sounds and create new words. In the 1980s, linguist Charles Hockett suggested that chewing tough, gritty food would have put force on hunter-gatherers’ lower jaws, making the bone grow larger so that the upper and lower teeth aligned in an […]

  • Genomes Offer Clues to Population History of Iberia
    on March 15, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS—BBC News reports that a new genetic study conducted by an international team of scientists led by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Barcelona’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology analyzed the genomes of 403 people who were buried on the Iberian Peninsula between 6000 B.C. and A.D. 1600, nearly 1,000 people who lived elsewhere in antiquity, and some 2,900 living people. One of the study’s conclusions suggests that hunter-gatherers in the region […]

  • Artificial intelligence for the study of sites
    on March 15, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    An experimental study led by researcher Abel Moclán, from the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has just been published in the Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences journal, which proposes a new method to understand how the faunal assemblages were generated in archaeological sites, and how they could have interacted with groups of humans and carnivores in the places they occupied. […]

  • Softer, processed foods changed the way ancient humans spoke
    on March 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    The human capacity for language divides our species from the rest of the animal kingdom. Language has not only allowed us to conquer all corners of the globe, but to devise writing, mathematics and all things thereafter. […]

  • New Dates for Ireland’s "Bog Butters"
    on March 14, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    DUBLIN, IRELAND—The Journal reports that a new study of Ireland’s "bog butter" has been conducted by Richard Evershed of the University of Bristol, Jessica Smyth of University College Dublin, and their colleagues. They dated 32 bog butters held at the National Museum of Ireland, and analyzed samples of the fats to determine whether they were actually milk fats or fats from animal carcasses. The results of the tests indicate that the waxy substances are indeed degraded butter, and […]

  • The Archaeology of Otters
    on March 14, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    LONDON, ENGLAND—CBC News reports that archaeologists joined biologists to investigate otters’ use of stones as tools at a site in central coastal California where there are plentiful mussels growing on a series of drainage pipes. Archaeologist Natalie Uomini of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History noticed piles of broken mussel shells and damaged rocks near the pipes. Continued observation of the otters and mapping of the rocks revealed that the otters tended to […]

  • Unique diversity of the genetic history of the Iberian Peninsula revealed by dual studies
    on March 14, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Researchers have analyzed ancient DNA from almost 300 individuals from the Iberian Peninsula, spanning more than 12,000 years. The first study looked at hunter-gatherers and early farmers living in Iberia between 13,000 and 6,000 years ago. The second looked at individuals from the region over the last 8000 years. Together, the two papers greatly increase our knowledge about the population history of this unique region. […]

  • Ancient DNA research shines spotlight on Iberia
    on March 14, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    The largest study to date of ancient DNA from the Iberian Peninsula (modern-day Portugal and Spain) offers new insights into the populations that lived in this region over the last 8,000 years. The most startling discovery suggests that local Y chromosomes were almost completely replaced during the Bronze Age. […]

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Sudan’s forgotten pyramids

Sudan’s forgotten pyramids

Nubian pyramids – Bagrawiyah, Sudan – More than 200km from the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the remains of an ancient city rise from the arid and inhospitable terrain like a science-fiction film set. Nestled between sand dunes, the secluded pyramids seem to have been forgotten by the modern world, with no nearby restaurants or hotels to cater to tourists.

The Nubian Meroe pyramids, much smaller but just as impressive as the more famous Egyptian ones, are found on the east bank of the Nile river, near a group of villages called Bagrawiyah. The pyramids get their name from the ancient city of Meroe, the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, an ancient African kingdom situated in what is now the Republic of Sudan.

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