Archeology News

Archeology News

  • Were dinosaurs killed off by asteroid or volcanoes? It's complicated
    on February 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Every school child knows the dinosaurs were killed off by an asteroid smashing into the Earth some 66 million years ago. […]

  • Obsidian Trade in Poland Dates Back At Least 20,000 Years
    on February 22, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    WARSAW, POLAND—According to a Science in Poland report, obsidian was used for making tools and weapons in what is now Poland at least 20,000 years ago, even though volcanic glass is not known to occur naturally anywhere in the country. “People [have] always paid special attention to exotic products and raw materials from distant lands,” said Dagmara H. Werra of the Polish Academy of Sciences. “It must have been similar with shiny obsidian.” During the Paleolithic […]

  • Additional Ardipithecus ramidus Fossils Studied
    on February 22, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    CLEVELAND, OHIO—Science News reports that a collection of Ardipithecus ramidus fossils, including 42 from the lower body, two jaw fragments, and a large number of teeth, have been discovered in Ethiopia’s Gona Project area, about 60 miles from the spot where 110 fossils from the same species were first discovered in the 1990s. At the time, an examination of the remains of one individual, who was dubbed “Ardi,” concluded that she walked with an upright gait. Among the […]

  • Medieval Terracotta Well Discovered in Southern India
    on February 22, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    TAMIL NADU, INDIA—The Times of India reports that an eleventh-century well has been discovered near a temple dedicated to Shiva located close to the Pambaru River in southwest India. The well was constructed with two terracotta rings measuring seven feet across and six inches tall that were placed one on top of the other and sealed with clay. Archaeologist V. Rajaguru of the Ramanathapuram Archaeological Research Foundation said the well was connected to a tank, and explained that when […]

  • Extinct weasel relative with confounding skull likely ate meat with a side of veggies
    on February 22, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    New research on an extinct weasel relative reveals what it might have eaten when it lived in North America and Asia about 20 million years ago. The oddly shaped skull of Leptarctus primus has long led to conflicting theories about its diet. But the new work, based on biomechanical modeling and published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, shows that Leptarctus was likely a carnivorous predator, with capability for omnivory and a broader diet when prey was scarce, and had a […]

  • Foxes were domesticated by humans in the Bronze Age
    on February 22, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    In the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, between the third and second millennium BC, a widespread funeral practice consisted in burying humans with animals. Scientists have discovered that both foxes and dogs were domesticated, as their diet was similar to that of their owners. […]

  • Australian Museum Repatriates Ancient Egyptian Carving
    on February 21, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    CAIRO, EGYPT—One of four fragments of a relief thought to have been smuggled out of Egypt in the 1990s has been found in Australia’s Macquarie Museum, according to an Ahram Online report. The relief, which belonged to an official named Seshen Nefertum, was unearthed in the El-Assasif necropolis on Luxor’s West Bank by an Italian archaeological mission sometime between 1976 and 1988. An inventory of an antiquities storehouse revealed it was missing in 1995, explained Shanan […]

  • Scientists Revisit Woman Warrior’s Remains
    on February 21, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    UPPSALA, SWEDEN—Live Science reports that a new study conducted by Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson of Uppsala University and her colleagues reaffirms the conclusion that the remains of the person discovered in what is thought to be a Viking grave in east-central Sweden was a woman carrying XX chromosomes, rather than male XY chromosomes. The wood-lined tomb was discovered in the late nineteenth century at Birka, a medieval hill fort settlement, next to other graves containing weapons. The […]

  • Dental Plaque Hints at Diet in Ancient Mongolia
    on February 21, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    JENA, GERMANY—According to a Science News report, adults who lived in what is now Mongolia some 3,000 years ago drank the milk of cows, yaks, and sheep, even though they did not possess genes for digesting lactose. Christina Warinner of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and her colleagues found milk proteins in dental plaque obtained from skeletons recovered from 22 burial mounds left by the Deer Stone people of Mongolia’s eastern steppes. The Deer Stone […]

  • Foxes were domesticated by humans in the Bronze Age
    on February 21, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    In the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, between the third and second millennium BC, a widespread funeral practice consisted in burying humans with animals. Scientists have discovered that both foxes and dogs were domesticated, as their diet was similar to that of their owners. […]

  • Origins of giant extinct New Zealand bird traced to Africa
    on February 21, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Scientists have revealed the African origins of New Zealand's most mysterious giant flightless bird -- the now extinct adzebill -- showing that some of its closest living relatives are the pint-sized flufftails from Madagascar and Africa. […]

  • Half-a-billion-year-old weird wonder worm finally gets its place in the tree of life
    on February 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Amiskwia was originally described by the famous palaeontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) in 1911 who compared it to the modern arrow worms (chaetognaths) - a group of ocean-dwelling worms that are fierce predators, equipped with an array of spines on their head for grasping small prey. […]

  • New species of tiny tyrannosaur foreshadows rise of T. rex
    on February 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    A newly discovered, diminutive—by T. rex standards—relative of the tyrant king of dinosaurs reveals crucial new information about when and how T. rex came to rule the North American roost. […]

  • Sir Charles Lyell's historical fossils (London's Natural History Museum) accessible online
    on February 21, 2019 at 6:50 am

    More than 1,700 animal and plant specimens from the collection of eminent British geologist Sir Charles Lyell—known as the pioneer of modern geology—were organised, digitised and made openly accessible via the NHM Data Portal in a pilot project, led by Dr. Consuelo Sendino, curator at the Department of Earth Sciences (Natural History Museum, London). They are described in a data paper published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal. […]

  • Scientists Examine Stab Wounds in Medieval Skeleton from Sicily
    on February 21, 2019 at 12:24 am

    PALERMO, SICILY—A team of researchers has attempted to determine the cause of death for a man who was buried facedown in a shallow grave in central Sicily in the eleventh century, according to a Live Science report. Roberto Miccichè of the University of Palermo and his colleagues examined the bones with CT scans and created 3-D reconstructions of the skeleton. They found six cuts on the man’s sternum that were probably inflicted with a knife or dagger through his back. A […]

  • Possible African-American Cemetery Mapped in Delaware
    on February 21, 2019 at 12:09 am

    FRANKFORD, DELAWARE—According to a Delaware Public Media report, local citizens alerted county officials to the presence of a possible historic African-American cemetery on 37 acres of private land slated for development in southern Delaware. Archaeologist Ed Otter and his colleagues have so far confirmed traces of 11 burials at the site. One headstone, which is no longer correlated with a specific grave, records the name of C.S. Hall, an African-American veteran of the Civil War. Otter […]

  • Archaeologists Excavate Looted Inca Tomb in Peru
    on February 20, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    LAMBAYEQUE, PERU—According to an AFP report, a tomb containing a collection of spondylus shells, items usually reserved for the Inca elite, has been discovered in northern Peru. Archaeologist Luis Chero said the tomb was looted more than once, but still contains artifacts such as the shells and pottery. The tomb walls were outfitted with niches for holding sculptures, he added. To read about another recent discovery in Peru, go to “All Bundled Up.&rdquo […]

  • New Dates Obtained for Ink Stones Unearthed in Japan
    on February 20, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    ITOSHIMA, JAPAN—The Mainichi reports that Yasuo Yanagida of Kokugakuin University suggests ink stones may have been manufactured in southwestern Japan as early as the second century B.C. This is based upon his study of stone artifacts from the site of the Uruujitokyu ruins in Itoshima, the Nakabaru ruins in Karatsu, and the Higashi Oda Mine ruins in Chikuzen. It had been previously thought that writing emerged in Japan around the third century A.D., based upon the discovery of pottery […]

  • First evidence for an unusual congenital pathology in cave bears
    on February 20, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Scientists from the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) have published a paper in the International Journal of Paleopathology that describes the first case of a congenital pathology in vertebrae of a cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). The findings were based on a specimen recovered in the 2014 excavation campaign in the archaeological and paleontological site of Cueva de Guantes, in Santibáñez de la Peña (Palencia). […]

  • Earliest example of animal nest sharing revealed by scientists
    on February 20, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    An international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Southampton, has shown that fossilised eggshells unearthed in western Romania represent the earliest known nest site shared by multiple animals. […]

  • The monkey hunters: Humans colonized South Asian rainforest by hunting primates
    on February 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    A multidisciplinary study has found evidence for humans hunting small mammals in the forests of Sri Lanka at least 45,000 years ago. The researchers discovered the remains of small mammals, including primates, with evidence of cut marks and burning at the oldest archaeological site occupied by humans in Sri Lanka, alongside sophisticated bone and stone tools. The hunting of such animals is an example of the uniquely human adaptability that allowed H. sapiens to rapidly colonize a series of […]

  • Metropolitan Museum Repatriates Gilded Coffin to Egypt
    on February 20, 2019 at 12:03 am

    CAIRO, EGYPT—According to an Ahram Online report, New York City's Metropolitan Museum handed over an ancient gilded coffin to the Antiquities Repatriation Department at Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities after an investigation conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office concluded it had left Egypt illegally and should be returned. The museum purchased the coffin, which belonged to Nedjemankh, a priest of the ram-god Heryshef of Herakleopolis, from an antiquities dealer […]

  • Sri Lanka’s Early Human Hunters
    on February 19, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    JENA, GERMANY—Cosmos reports that evidence of sophisticated hunting strategies employed some 45,000 years ago by modern humans has been found among thousands of bone fragments in Sri Lanka’s Fa-Hien Lena Cave by an international team of researchers. Many of the bones came from large adult monkeys and squirrels, according to Michelle Langley of Griffith University, and pointed tools had been made from some of the animals' limb bones. In the area's rainforest environment, these […]

  • Study Suggests Neanderthals Ate Fresh Meat
    on February 19, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    LEIPZIG, GERMANY—Cosmos Magazine reports that a new analysis of nitrogen and carbon isotopes in the amino acids found in Neanderthal collagen conducted by Klervia Jaouen of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology indicates the extinct human relatives ate a diet based on fresh meat from large mammals. The collagen samples were obtained from Neanderthal remains uncovered at Les Cottés and Grotte du Renne, which are both located in France. The individual whose remains […]

  • Neolithic Monolith Quarries Investigated in Wales
    on February 19, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    LONDON, ENGLAND—According to a report in The Guardian, an excavation led by Mike Parker Pearson of University College London has investigated two Neolithic quarries in Wales at Carn Goedog, a crag where spotted dolerite rock rests in pillar-shaped slabs on the northern side of the Preseli Hills. Charcoal discovered between the slabs of rock was radiocarbon dated to the fourth millennium B.C. Wedge-shaped stone tools made of imported mudstone or sandstone had been hammered into V-shaped […]

  • 20-million-year-old tusked sea cow is Central America's oldest marine mammal
    on February 19, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Steven Manchester didn't set out to discover Central America's oldest known marine mammal. He was hoping to find fossil plants. […]

  • Isotopes found in bones suggest Neanderthals were fresh meat eaters
    on February 19, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests at least some Neanderthals were mainly fresh meat eaters. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes testing protein samples discovered in Neanderthal bones and what they found. […]

  • Quarrying of Stonehenge 'bluestones' dated to 3000 BC
    on February 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Excavations at two quarries in Wales, known to be the source of the Stonehenge 'bluestones', provide new evidence of megalith quarrying 5,000 years ago, according to a new UCL-led study. […]

  • Pottery reveals America's first social media networks
    on February 19, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Long before Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and even MySpace, early Mississippian Mound cultures in America's southern Appalachian Mountains shared artistic trends and technologies across regional networks that functioned in similar ways as modern social media, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis. […]

  • Ancient 'night' marsupial faced four months of winter darkness
    on February 19, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Paleontologists working on a steep river bank in Alaska have discovered fossil evidence of the northernmost marsupial known to science. […]

  • Biodiversity on land is not higher today than in the past, study shows
    on February 18, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    The rich levels of biodiversity on land seen across the globe today are not a recent phenomenon: diversity on land has been similar for at least the last 60 million years, since soon after the extinction of the dinosaurs. […]

  • Indigenous hunters have positive impacts on food webs in desert Australia
    on February 17, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world. Resettlement of indigenous communities resulted in the spread of invasive species, the absence of human-set fires, and a general cascade in the interconnected food web that led to the largest mammalian extinction event ever recorded. In this case, the absence of direct human activity on the landscape may be the cause of the extinctions, according to an anthropologist. […]

  • How do we conserve and restore computer-based art in a changing technological environment?
    on February 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Software- and computer-based works of art are fragile—not unlike their canvas counterparts—as their underlying technologies such as operating systems and programming languages change rapidly, placing these works at risk. […]

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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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