Ancient Colony News
Grave Exhumed in Pursuit of 16th-Century French Philosopher
on November 22, 2019 at 10:00 pm
BORDEAUX, FRANCE—Human remains have been discovered in the basement of a Christian convent in southwestern France that now houses the Aquitaine Museum, according to an AFP-JIJI report. The remains are thought to belong to the sixteenth-century statesman and philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who died in 1592 at the age of 59. His body was moved several times after his death, leading to confusion over his final resting place. Museum director Laurent Vedrine said the basement tomb contained a […]
8,000-Year-Old Monument Uncovered in Turkey
on November 22, 2019 at 9:30 pm
CANAKKALE, TURKEY—The Anadolu Agency reports that a monument thought to be 8,000 years old has been discovered in northwestern Turkey’s Ugurlu-Zeytinlik mound by a team of researchers led by Burcin Erdogu of Trakya University. The T-shaped monument resembles standing stones at the 10,000-year-old site of Göbekli Tepe, which is located in southeastern Turkey, Erdogu said. He explained that the structure at Ugurlu-Zeytinlik looks like an obelisk made up of two pieces of […]
Lion Figurine Fragment Found in Siberia's Denisova Cave
on November 22, 2019 at 9:00 pm
NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA—The Siberian Times reports that a fragment of a cave lion figurine estimated to be 45,000 years old was unearthed in Siberia’s Denisova Cave by researchers led by Mikhail Shunkov of the Novosibirsk Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography. Carved from wooly mammoth ivory, the fragment, which measures about 1.6 inches long and less than one-half inch tall, depicts the animal’s shoulders, belly, and hip. The hip is extended as if the lion is in motion. The […]
Were other humans the first victims of the sixth mass extinction?
on November 22, 2019 at 1:53 pm
Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago. Now there is just one. The Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, were stocky hunters adapted to Europe's cold steppes. The related Denisovans inhabited Asia, while the more primitive Homo erectus lived in Indonesia, and Homo rhodesiensis in central Africa.
3,000-Year-Old Temple Excavated in Peru
on November 21, 2019 at 10:00 pm
LAMBAYEQUE, PERU—Live Science reports that archaeologist Edgar Bracamonte of the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum and his colleagues have discovered a 3,000-year-old temple at the site of Huaca El Toro in northwestern Peru’s Zaña Valley. The temple, built on a foundation of cone-shaped clay with large, carved stones carried to the site from mountains located about two miles away, is situated between two rivers, and is thought to have been used for fertility rituals by a water […]
Double Viking Boat Burial Discovered in Norway
on November 21, 2019 at 9:30 pm
TRONDHEIM, NORWAY—The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) announced the discovery of a single grave in central Norway containing the poorly preserved remains of two people who had been interred on separate occasions. The original burial dates to the eighth century A.D. and consists of a boat measuring nearly 32 feet long, in which the remains of a man and weapons were found. Some 100 years later, this burial was carefully excavated, and the remains of a woman were […]
1,400-Year-Old Anglo-Saxon Burial Unearthed in Canterbury
on November 21, 2019 at 9:00 pm
CANTERBURY, ENGLAND—Kent Online reports that archaeologists investigating a site ahead of a construction project on the grounds of Christ Church University in southeastern England uncovered the remains of a young Anglo-Saxon woman who was buried sometime between A.D. 580 and 600. The grave was close to St. Augustine’s Abbey, which was first constructed in the early seventh century A.D. by Christian monks who arrived in Canterbury in A.D. 597. The woman was wearing a disc brooch made […]
Extinction of ice age giants likely drove surviving animals apart
on November 21, 2019 at 1:39 pm
As the world grapples with an extinction crisis, our large mammals are among the most endangered. These threatened species—rhinos, pandas, tigers, polar bears and the like—greatly influence their ecosystems. So what will happen to the smaller animals left behind?
Only eat oysters in months with an 'r'? Rule of thumb is at least 4,000 years old
on November 20, 2019 at 10:56 pm
Foodie tradition dictates only eating wild oysters during months containing the letter 'r' -- from September to April. Now, a new study suggests people have been following this practice for at least 4,000 years.
New Technique Could Help Identify Modern Human Ancestors
on November 20, 2019 at 10:30 pm
DENTON, TEXAS—The University of North Texas announced that an international team of scientists including archaeologist and geologist Reid Ferring developed a way to identify a species of creatures that lived more than one million years ago by analyzing proteins extracted from fossils. Ferring explained that proteins can survive in fossilized collagen from tendons, ligaments, skin, bone, and teeth for a longer period of time than DNA, which is limited to about 200,000 years. To test the […]
Farmer’s Field in Poland Contains 2,000-Year-Old Cemetery
on November 20, 2019 at 10:00 pm
KRAKÓW, POLAND—According to a Science in Poland report, heavily damaged artifacts dating back some 2,000 years have been discovered in a farmer’s field in south-central Poland by a team of researchers led by Jan Bulas of Jagiellonian University. The artifacts include fragments of urns, cremated remains, and 200 pieces of corroded iron making up four swords, nine spears or javelins, and brooches known as fibulae. Bits of bone, stone, and pottery items were also recovered. […]
Roman-Era Bath Identified in Bulgaria
on November 20, 2019 at 9:30 pm
VARNA, BULGARIA—Archaeology in Bulgaria reports that a public bath complex dating to the fifth century A.D. has been uncovered in the ancient city of Odessos, which is located on the Black Sea coast. At first, archaeologists led by Elina Mircheva of the Varna Museum of Archaeology thought the well-decorated structure, which featured a water-storage facility and a fountain, might have been part of a nymphaeum, or shrine dedicated to divine spirits often depicted as beautiful young women. […]
New Nazca Lines Spotted in Peru
on November 20, 2019 at 9:00 pm
YAMAGATA, JAPAN—The Asahi Shimbun reports that researchers led by Masato Sakai of Yamagata University have discovered 143 new geoglyphs in the southern Peruvian desert—home to a group of previously identified geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines—through a combination of fieldwork and analysis of high-resolution 3-D data. Sakai said the newly-discovered geoglyphs date to between 100 B.C. and A.D. 300, and are spread over a six-mile area on the west side of the Nazca plateau. One […]
Vanishing ice puts reindeer herders at risk
on November 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Deep in the Sayan Mountains of northern Mongolia, patches of ice rest year-round in the crooks between hills.
Ancient komodo dragon-like animals had heads proportionally larger than dinosaurs
on November 20, 2019 at 1:50 pm
An international team of researchers has found evidence showing that the ancient meat-eating creature Vjushkovia triplicostata had a proportionally larger head than any known dinosaur. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes their reexamination of V. triplicostata and what they learned about the large Komodo dragon-like creature.
Rescue Excavation in Wales Recovers Skeletal Remains
on November 19, 2019 at 9:30 pm
GLAMORGAN, WALES—BBC News reports that the bones of at least six people were recovered at the edge of an eroded cliff at Nash Point, a beach on the coast of South Wales, by a team of archaeologists from Cardiff University and Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, climbing experts, geologists, and ecologists. Previous rescue missions at the cemetery site have retrieved bones radiocarbon dated to the late sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries. Bioarchaeologist Jacqui Mulville of Cardiff […]
Ancient Remains of Infants Wearing “Helmets” Found in Ecuador
on November 19, 2019 at 9:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA—Sara Juengst of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and her colleagues discovered the remains of two infants who had been buried some 2,100 years ago wearing “helmets” crafted from the crania of other children, according to a Live Science report. The infants’ remains, discovered with nine other burials in central Ecuador, were interred not long after a volcanic eruption had covered the region in ash. Lesions on the bones indicate the […]
Modern technology reconstructs properties of ochre, commonly found in ancient rock art
on November 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm
Ochre, one of Earth's oldest naturally occurring materials, was often used as a vivid red paint in ancient rock art known as pictographs across the world. Despite its broad use throughout human history and a modern focus on how the artistic symbolism is interpreted, little research exists on the paint itself and how it was produced.
Infants from 2100 years ago found with helmets made of children's skulls
on November 19, 2019 at 3:10 pm
A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Universidad Técnica de Manabí in Ecuador has found and reported on ancient infant skulls that were excavated at a site in Salango, Ecuador. In their paper published in the journal Latin American Antiquity, the group describes how the infant skulls were encased in the skulls of older children.
New finding on origin of avian predentary in Mesozoic birds
on November 19, 2019 at 2:51 pm
The predentary bone is one of the most enigmatic skeletal elements in avian evolution. Located at the tip of the lower jaw, this bone is absent in more primitive birds and in living birds; it is thought to have been lost during evolution. For over 30 years, the origin and function of the avian predentary has remained mysterious.
UNT scientist helps advance archaeology millions of years
on November 19, 2019 at 8:35 am
Reid Ferring, a professor in the University of North Texas Department of Geography and the Environment, is part of an international team of scientists who have developed a breakthrough method of identifying the sex and species of animal in fossils more than a million years old.
Gravestone Fragments Will Be Returned to Prague Jewish Cemetery
on November 18, 2019 at 11:29 pm
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC—BBC News reports that surviving members of Prague’s Jewish community and the city’s government have agreed that fragments of Jewish gravestones uncovered during future excavation work will be turned over to the city’s Old Jewish Cemetery. The stones were removed from the cemetery in 1987, when the country’s Jewish population had dropped to just 8,000 people, and cut into cobbles for the construction of pedestrian walkways in areas including […]
France Repatriates 18th-Century Sword to Senegal
on November 18, 2019 at 11:23 pm
DAKAR, SENEGAL—According to an Artnet News report, French prime minister Edouard Philippe handed over an eighteenth-century saber and its scabbard to Senegal president Macky Sall in a ceremony at the Palace of the Republic in Dakar. The weapon belonged to Omar Saïdou Tall, founder of the Toucouleur Empire, and was seized in 1893 by the French, who defeated his son Ahmadou in battle in Mali. At its height, the Toucouleur Empire encompassed parts of what are now Guinea, Senegal, and […]
Are hyoliths Palaeozoic lophophorates?
on November 18, 2019 at 3:33 pm
Hyoliths are extinct invertebrates with calcareous shells that were common constituents of Cambrian fauna and formed a minor component of benthic faunas throughout the Palaeozoic until their demise in the end-Permian mass extinction. The biological affinity of hyoliths has long been controversial and the group has been compared with a number of animal phyla, most frequently the Mollusca or the Sipuncula, although other researchers have considered hyoliths as a separate "extinct phylum." […]
Researchers in Japan uncover fossil of bird from Early Cretaceous
on November 18, 2019 at 2:10 pm
A combined team of researchers from Japan and China has announced the finding and study of the fossilized remains of a bird from the Early Cretaceous. In their paper published in the journal Communications Biology, the group describes where the fossil was found, its features and what it represents to avian evolutionary history.
Fossil dig leads to unexpected discovery of 91-million-year-old shark new to science
on November 18, 2019 at 1:55 pm
A 91-million-year-old fossil shark newly named Cretodus houghtonorum discovered in Kansas joins a list of large dinosaur-era animals. Preserved in sediments deposited in an ancient ocean called the Western Interior Seaway that covered the middle of North America during the Late Cretaceous period (144 million to 66 million years ago), Cretodus houghtonorum was an impressive shark estimated to be nearly 17 feet or slightly more than 5 meters long based on a new study appearing in the Journal of […]
DNA Study Tracks Ancestry of Today’s Finns
on November 15, 2019 at 10:59 pm
HELSINKI, FINLAND—The University of Helsinki announced that scientists including Sanni Oversti of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences analyzed mitochondrial DNA samples obtained from the remains of more than 100 individuals who were buried in Finland between the fourth and nineteenth centuries A.D., and detected separate populations in different geographic regions that all contributed to the ancestry of modern Finns. The mitochondrial DNA lineages found in southern and […]
Early DNA lineages shed light on the diverse origins of the contemporary population
on November 15, 2019 at 12:44 pm
A new genetic study demonstrates that, at the end of the Iron Age, Finland was inhabited by separate and differing populations, all of them influencing the gene pool of modern Finns. The study is so far the most extensive investigation of the ancient DNA of people inhabiting the region of Finland.
Çatalhöyük Mural: The Earliest Representation of a Volcanic Eruption?
by Noah Wiener on November 15, 2019 at 12:05 pm
In the early 1960s, archaeologist James Mellaart uncovered a mural at Çatalhöyük, the world’s largest and best-preserved Neolithic site, which he interpreted to represent a volcanic eruption. The post Çatalhöyük Mural: The Earliest Representation of a Volcanic Eruption? appeared first on Biblical Archaeology Society.
What felled the great Assyrian Empire? Team weighs in
on November 14, 2019 at 5:24 pm
The Neo-Assyrian Empire, centered in northern Iraq and extending from Iran to Egypt—the largest empire of its time—collapsed after more than two centuries of dominance at the fall of its capital, Nineveh, in 612 B.C.E.
Megadrought likely triggered the fall of the Assyrian Empire
on November 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm
The Neo-Assyrian Empire, centered in northern Iraq and extending from Iran to Egypt -- the largest empire of its time -- collapsed after more than two centuries of dominance at the fall of its capital, Nineveh, in 612 B.C.E. Despite a plethora of cuneiform textual documentation and archaeological excavations and field surveys, archaeologists and historians have been unable to explain the abruptness and finality of the historic empire's collapse.
Alpine rock axeheads became social and economic exchange fetishes in the Neolithic
on November 14, 2019 at 4:13 pm
Axeheads made out of Alpine rock had strong social and economic symbolic meaning in the Neolithic, given their production and use value. Their resistance to friction and breakage, which permitted intense polishing and a re-elaboration of the rock, gave these artefacts an elevated exchange value, key to the formation of long-distance exchange networks among communities of Western Europe. Communities that had already begun to set the value of exchange of a product according to the time and effort […]
Climate change fueled the rise and demise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, superpower of the ancient...
on November 14, 2019 at 12:39 pm
Ancient Mesopotamia, the fabled land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, was the command and control center of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. This ancient superpower was the largest empire of its time, lasting from 912 BC to 609 BC in what is now modern Iraq and Syria. At its height, the Assyrian state stretched from the Mediterranean and Egypt in the west to the Persian Gulf and western Iran in the east.