Ancient Colony News

Ancient Colony News

  • Water Filtration System Found at Ancient Maya City of Tikal
    on October 27, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    CINCINNATI, OHIO—According to a statement released by the University of Cincinnati, evidence of a 2,000-year-old water-filtering system has been found at the Corriental reservoir in Tikal, which is located in northern Guatemala. Archaeologist Kenneth Tankersley said the crystalline quartz and zeolite detected in the reservoir’s sediments had been transported some 18 miles from the ridges around the Bajo de Azúcar. The Maya probably observed that the water bleeding out of these cliffs was […]

  • Lost Medieval Villages Found in The Netherlands
    on October 27, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS—Dutch News reports that maritime archaeologist Yftinus van Popta has detected traces of four settlements in the Noordpoostpolder, an area to the northeast of Amsterdam flooded by the Zuiderzee in the late thirteenth century. It had been previously suggested that the bricks, bones, and pottery found in the area had fallen from passing ships. Van Popta pointed out that the objects date from the eleventh through thirteenth centuries A.D., but shipping did not begin to […]

  • Scientists Reevaluate Germany’s Bronze Age Battlefield
    on October 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    MECKLENBURG-WEST POMERANIA, GERMANY—According to a report in The Times, new genetic and chemical analyses of an estimated 145 sets of human remains unearthed in what had been thought to be a Bronze Age battlefield in northern Germany’s Tollense River Valley suggest that the dead were not members of a local army, but had come from many different regions. In addition, few of the individuals shared kinship ties. Wear and tear on the bones of the lower body also shows that some of the dead had […]

  • Antarctica yields oldest fossils of giant birds with 6.4-meter wingspans
    on October 27, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Fossils recovered from Antarctica in the 1980s represent the oldest giant members of an extinct group of birds that patrolled the southern oceans with wingspans of up to 21 feet (6.4 meters) that would dwarf the 11½-foot wingspan of today's largest bird, the wandering albatross.

  • Can individual differences be detected in same-shaped pottery vessels by unknown craftsmen?
    on October 27, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    An interdisciplinary research team has investigated whether there are quantitative differences that can be used to identify individual potters who make traditional, fixed-shape vessels that have been made in the same way for generations. Consequently, they discovered that there are clear variations between individuals in the formation process and hand movements used.

  • Pet cemeteries reveal rise of belief in pet afterlife
    on October 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Whilst many have explored changing social trends with human cemeteries, few archeologists have studied the animal equivalent. Dr. Eric Tourigny examined the graves at pet cemeteries in Newcastle and London over 100 years—starting with the opening of the first public pet cemetery in 1881.

  • Smuggling Attempt Foiled at Egypt’s Port of Alexandria
    on October 26, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT—Ahram Online reports that officers from the Alexandria Port Customs Office seized three artifacts under Antiquities Protection Law 117 of 1983, which claims for the Egyptian state all movable and immovable objects produced from prehistory through the nineteenth century A.D. and found within Egypt’s borders. The confiscated objects, including a nineteenth-century porcelain lantern, a nineteenth-century pear-shaped porcelain vessel with a round mouth, and a decorated glass […]

  • Mummified Remains of Sacrificed Llamas Found in Peru
    on October 26, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    ALBERTA, CANADA—Live Science reports that Lidio Valdez of the University of Calgary and his colleagues discovered the naturally mummified remains of five young llamas thought to have been sacrificed by the Inca some 500 years ago at Tambo Viejo, an archaeological site on the coast of Peru. The animals wore colorful string necklaces and earrings, and had been decorated with red paint and the feathers of tropical birds attached to wooden sticks. One brown llama and three white ones were found […]

  • New Dates Suggest Clovis Culture Lasted Just 300 Years
    on October 26, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS—The Clovis people of North America made their distinctive stone tools for a period of just 300 years, according to a statement released by Texas A&M University. Michael Waters and David Carlson of Texas A&M University and Thomas Stafford of Stafford Research radiocarbon dated bone, charcoal, and carbonized plant remains from ten Clovis sites in South Dakota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, and found they ranged in age from […]

  • Possible 15th-Century Cemetery Uncovered in Scotland
    on October 26, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    SHETLAND, SCOTLAND—A possible medieval cemetery has been uncovered at a private residence on Mainland, the largest of the Shetland Islands, according to a report in The Herald. The homeowner was beginning to build a bike shed when he found a human skull under just ten inches of soil. Researchers from Historic Environment Scotland were called to the site, and they proceeded to discover the remains of 26 people ranging in age from one to 60, who appear to have been buried in family groups. […]

  • Inks containing lead were likely used as drier on ancient Egyptian papyri
    on October 26, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Analyzing 12 ancient Egyptian papyri fragments with X-ray microscopy, researchers were surprised to find previously unknown lead compounds in both red and black inks and suggest they were used for their drying properties rather than as a pigment. A similar lead-based 'drying technique' has also been documented in 15th century European painting, and the discovery of it in Egyptian papyri calls for a reassessment of ancient lead-based pigments.

  • Red and black ink from Egyptian papyri unveil ancient writing practices
    on October 26, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Scientists led by the ESRF, the European Synchrotron, Grenoble, France and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, have discovered the composition of red and black inks in ancient Egyptian papyri from circa 100-200 AD, leading to a number of hypotheses about writing practices. The analysis, based on synchrotron techniques, shows that lead was probably used as a dryer rather than as a pigment, similar to its usage in 15th-century Europe during the development of oil painting. They have published […]

  • More Possible Graves of Oklahoma Race Massacre Victims Found
    on October 23, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    TULSA, OKLAHOMA—Tulsa World reports that researchers looking for the remains of victims of Tulsa's 1921 Race Massacre have found an unmarked trench holding the poorly preserved remains of ten wooden coffins in Oaklawn Cemetery. The trench was found near a single burial discovered earlier this week, in an area of the cemetery noted in old funeral home records as a burial site for some of the 300 Black people killed by a white mob on May 31 and June 1, 1921. State archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck […]

  • 19th-Century Polish Sword Unearthed in Bulgaria
    on October 23, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    WARSAW, POLAND—Science in Poland reports that a nineteenth-century sword bearing the remnants of a Polish inscription has been unearthed in northern Bulgaria, near the historic capital of Veliko Tarnovo, which is located on the Yantra River. The inscription, “Vivat Szlachcic Pan I fundator wojska,” translates to “Long live the Noble Lord and founder of the army.” Archaeologist Piotr Dyczek of the University of Warsaw said this phrase was usually followed by the phrase, “Long live […]

  • Cache of Medieval Silver Pennies Found in Slovakia
    on October 23, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    TRNAVA, SLOVAKIA—The Slovak Spectator reports that a cache of medieval coins was discovered under an uprooted tree in western Slovakia by a tourist who reported the find to the Regional Monuments Board. Archaeologist Matúš Sládok said most of the 147 small, silver coins were Wiener pfennigs minted in Austria, and imitation Wiener pfennings made in Hungary between 1251 and 1330. Sládok thinks the coins may have been wrapped in fabric or leather that has not survived. “Owners hid their […]

  • Homo erectus May Have Invented Barbed Bone Points
    on October 23, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    FORT COLLINS, COLORADO—According to a Science News report, biological anthropologist Michael Pante of Colorado State University and his colleagues found an 800,000-year-old barbed point among 52 animal bones recovered from East Africa’s Olduvai Gorge in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The unfinished implement, which features three curved barbs and a carved tip, was crafted from a piece of a large animal’s rib. The set of animal bones also included choppers, hammering tools, and hammering […]

  • Tools made by some of North America's earliest inhabitants were made only during a 300-year period
    on October 23, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    There is much debate surrounding the age of the Clovis—a prehistoric culture named for stone tools found near Clovis, New Mexico in the early 1930s—who once occupied North America during the end of the last Ice Age. New testing of bones and artifacts show that Clovis tools were made only during a brief, 300-year period from 13,050 to 12,750 years ago.

  • East Africa Sediment Core Offers Human Evolution Clues
    on October 22, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to a Science News report, a 450-foot-long sediment core from Kenya’s Koora Basin holds one million years of environmental data that could elucidate details of human evolution. Paleoanthropologist Rick Potts of the Smithsonian Institution said that chemical and microscopic studies of the layers in the sediment core revealed that some 400,000 years ago, volcanic eruptions reduced the size of lakes and the amount of available water, while the climate fluctuated […]

  • Possible Neanderthal Artifacts Unearthed in Denmark
    on October 22, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    ROSKILDE, DENMARK—Yahoo! News reports that worked flint and mussel shells thought to have been shaped by Neanderthals some 120,000 years ago have been found in a steep cliff on the Danish island of Ejby Klint by archaeologists from Denmark’s National Museum and Roskilde Museum. It had been previously thought that reindeer hunters first settled Denmark some 14,000 years ago. “I did not think we would find anything at all, but we have actually found some stones that have possible traces of […]

  • Ancient Maya built sophisticated water filters
    on October 22, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Ancient Maya in the once-bustling city of Tikal built sophisticated water filters using natural materials they imported from miles away, according to the University of Cincinnati.

  • A unique pre-Columbian manuscript and the mystery behind its colors
    on October 22, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    The Codex Cospi is one of the few Aztec 'books' in the world and it is kept at Bologna University Library. A new research project will investigate with unprecedented detail the painting techniques and tools with which it was made.

  • Search for Tulsa Race Massacre Victims Yields Remains
    on October 22, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA—The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma state archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck and her colleagues identified an unmarked, intact grave shaft through a geophysical search of an area in Tulsa’s Oaklawn Cemetery noted in old funeral home records as the burial place of victims of the 1921 Race Massacre. “We do have one confirmed individual and the possibility of a second,” Stackelbeck said. The remains, found just three feet underground, will be examined for signs […]

  • Ancient Maya built sophisticated water filters
    on October 22, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Ancient Maya in the once-bustling city of Tikal built sophisticated water filters using natural materials they imported from miles away, according to new research. A multidisciplinary team of anthropologists, geographers and biologists identified quartz and zeolite, a crystalline compound consisting of silicon and aluminum, that created a natural molecular sieve. Both minerals are used in modern water filtration.

  • Tooth marks and lost teeth offer insights into dinosaur feeding behavior
    on October 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    The carcass of a large long-necked dinosaur in the Junggar Basin in northwestern China served as food for several other dinosaurs, Tübingen paleontologists say, citing tooth marks on the bones and several dinosaur teeth, which matched the tooth marks perfectly. A research team from the Geoscience Department at the University of Tübingen found that the large number of bite marks on the 20-meter carcass showed that other animals fed on it for a long period of time. The bones and teeth were […]

  • African crocodiles lived in Spain six million years ago
    on October 22, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Millions of years ago, several species of crocodiles of different genera and characteristics inhabited Europe and sometimes even coexisted. But among all these species, it was thought unlikely that crocodiles of the genus Crocodylus, of African origin, had ever lived in the Mediterranean basin. The remains found in the Italian regions of Gargano, Tuscany and Scontrone over the last few decades confirm that they did.

  • These two bird-sized dinosaurs evolved the ability to glide, but weren't great at it
    on October 22, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Despite having bat-like wings, two small dinosaurs, Yi and Ambopteryx, struggled to fly, only managing to glide clumsily between the trees where they lived, researchers report October 22 in the journal iScience. Unable to compete with other tree-dwelling dinosaurs and early birds, they went extinct after just a few million years. The findings support that dinosaurs evolved flight in several different ways before modern birds evolved.

  • Possible evidence of Inca burying llama alive in ritualistic ceremonies
    on October 22, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    A team of researchers from Canada and Peru has found evidence of Inca people burying llamas alive as part of ritualistic ceremonies approximately 600 years ago. In their paper published in the journal Antiquity, the group describes their study of five preserved llama remains found at a southern Peruvian dig site called Tambo Viejo.

  • Turbulent environment set the stage for leaps in human evolution and technology 320,000 years ago
    on October 22, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    People thrive all across the globe, at every temperature, altitude and landscape. How did human beings become so successful at adapting to whatever environment we wind up in? Human origins researchers like me are interested in how this quintessential human trait, adaptability, evolved.

  • Unravelling prehistoric fire use: Variation in fire conditions equals variation in human behavior
    on October 22, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Building a fire involves many variables, such as size, choice of fuel, temperature, and burn time, that affect the way the generated heat can be used, and therefore the potential function of a fire. A group of Leiden archeologists are, together with a team of international colleagues, investigating remains of Paleolithic hearths in order to characterize the use of fire by our distant ancestors. Results of this project, initiated by the late Freek Braadbaart, were recently published in the […]

  • Main Gate Discovered at Harran Palace
    on October 21, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    SANLIURFA, TURKEY—The Anadolu Agency reports that Mehmet Önal of Harran University and his colleagues have unearthed the main gate at Harran Palace, which was built in southeastern Turkey in the ninth century A.D. First occupied around 6000 B.C., the city of Harran was situated along trade routes to cities such as Nineveh, Iskenderun, and Antioch. “The gate, around 23 feet high, is made of basalt stones,” Önal said. “Star motifs were also unearthed in our excavations near the […]

  • Turbulent era sparked leap in human behavior, adaptability 320,000 years ago
    on October 21, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    The first analysis of a sedimentary drill core representing 1 million years of environmental history in the East African Rift Valley shows that at the same time early humans were abandoning old tools in favor of more sophisticated technology and broadening their trade, their landscape was experiencing frequent fluctuations in vegetation and water supply that made resources less reliably available. The findings suggest that instability in their landscape was a key driver of human adaptability.

  • Turbulent era sparked leap in human behavior, adaptability 320,000 years ago
    on October 21, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    For hundreds of thousands of years, early humans in the East African Rift Valley could expect certain things of their environment. Freshwater lakes in the region ensured a reliable source of water, and large grazing herbivores roamed the grasslands. Then, around 400,000 years ago, things changed. The environment became less predictable, and human ancestors faced new sources of instability and uncertainty that challenged their previous long-standing way of life.

  • Bronze Age herders were less mobile than previously thought
    on October 21, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Bronze Age pastoralists in what is now southern Russia apparently covered shorter distances than previously thought. It is believed that the Indo-European languages may have originated from this region, and these findings raise new questions about how technical and agricultural innovations spread to Europe.



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