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  • Originally published 07/15/2013

    'World's oldest calendar' discovered in Scottish field

    Archaeologists believe they have discovered the world's oldest lunar "calendar" in an Aberdeenshire field.Excavations of a field at Crathes Castle found a series of 12 pits which appear to mimic the phases of the moon and track lunar months.A team led by the University of Birmingham suggests the ancient monument was created by hunter-gatherers about 10,000 years ago.The pit alignment, at Warren Field, was first excavated in 2004.The experts who analysed the pits said they may have contained a wooden post....

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Did medieval sailors reach Australia?

    Archaeologists hope to unravel the mystery of how coins dating back to the 10th century were found off the shores of Australia.Ian McIntosh, professor of anthropology at Indiana University, will be leading an archaeological search on an island in northern Australia in order to see if evidence of a medieval settlement can be found. This was the same place that nearly seventy years ago several coins were discovered that date back as far as the year 900 AD.The coins raise the possibility of shipwrecks that may have occurred along an early maritime trading route and bring to mind the ancient trading network that linked East Africa, Arabia, India and the Spice Islands over 1,000 years ago. Aboriginal folklore also speaks of a hidden cave near where the coins were found that is filled with doubloons and weaponry of an ancient era....

  • Originally published 06/04/2013

    Bronze age boats found in Cambridgeshire

    A fleet of eight prehistoric boats deliberately sunk thousands of years ago has been discovered in a Cambridgeshire quarry.The vessels, including one which is almost nine metres long, are the largest group of Bronze Age boats ever found in one site in the UK.Many are still well-preserved and one is even able to float after 3,000 years buried in the site on the outskirts of Peterborough.Others display intricate carvings and have handles carved from oak tree trunks for lifting them out of the water. Traces of a fire lit on the surface of one boat to cook the day's catch were also found....

  • Originally published 05/29/2013

    'World's oldest Torah' found

    It was virtually ignored for centuries, but what may be the world's oldest Torah, the holy book of the Jewish faith, has now been discovered at the world's oldest university.The priceless scroll was found in the archives of Bologna University, which was founded in 1088 and predates both Oxford and Cambridge.The scroll, written in Hebrew, is 118ft long and 25 inches wide and consists of the first five books of the Jewish Bible, from Bereshit (the equivalent of Genesis) to Devarim (Deuteronomy).It had been wrongly dated to the 17th century by a librarian who studied it in 1889, but it now transpires that it is more than 800 years old....

  • Originally published 05/16/2013

    Church discovered under castle

    Experts believe that the church is one of the most important archaeological finds in Britain, as it pre-dates both the castle and the Norman Conquest.Construction workers have also unearthed eight skeletons in the Norman building, believed to be the remains of powerful and wealthy people.Cecily Spall, an archaeologist on the site, said the find was hugely significant for Lincoln. “The information we can get from this undocumented church is gold dust,” she said.“Historical documents only tell part of the story for this area so this find is very special.”...

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Frontier Fort From Revolutionary War Found in Ga.

    Less than two months after British forces captured Savannah in December 1778, patriot militiamen scored a rare Revolutionary War victory in Georgia after a short but violent gunbattle forced British loyalists to abandon a small fort built on a frontiersman's cattle farm.More than 234 years later, archaeologists say they've pinpointed the location of Carr's Fort in northeastern Georgia after a search with metal detectors covering more than 4 square miles turned up musket balls and rifle parts as well as horse shoes and old frying pans.The February 1779 shootout at Carr's Fort turned back men sent to Wilkes County to recruit colonists loyal to the British army. It was also a prelude to the more prominent battle of Kettle Creek, where the same patriot fighters who attacked the fort went on to ambush and decimate an advancing British force of roughly 800 men....

  • Originally published 05/03/2013

    Ancient Roman cemetery found under parking lot

    Hidden beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, archaeologists have discovered a 1,700-year-old Roman cemetery that seemed to show no religious bias.The new discovery, found at the junction of Newarke and Oxford Streets, includes numerous burials and skeletal remains from 13 individuals, both male and female of various ages. The cemetery is estimated to date back to around A.D. 300, according to University of Leicester archaeologists who led the dig."We have literally only just finished the excavation and the finds are currently in the process of being cleaned and catalogued so that theycan then be analyzed by the various specialists," John Thomas, archaeological project officer, told LiveScience in an email....

  • Originally published 04/25/2013

    More skeletons found near grave of medieval knight

    A city car park has been hailed a “real treasure trove of archaeology” after seven more skeletons were unearthed from the grave of a medieval knight.Archaeologists working on the site now believe they have uncovered the remains of a family crypt having found bones from three fully grown adults, four infants and a skull.The exciting discovery comes one month after experts ­excavated the burial site of a medieval knight – affectionately christened Sir Eck – within the grounds of the new Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) at High School Yards, off Infirmary Street....

  • Originally published 04/17/2013

    Ancient port found in Egypt

    An ancient Egyptian harbor has emerged on the Red Sea coast, dating back about 4,500 years. "Evidence unearthed at the site shows that it predates by more than 1,000 years any other port structure known in the world," Pierre Tallet, Egyptologist at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and director of the archaeological mission, told Discovery News....

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    Gate to the Underworld found in ancient Hieropolis

    An Italian archaeological mission has found the historical Gate to the Underworld of the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis. The announcement was made this afternoon in Istanbul at a conference on Italian archaeology. The discovery was made by a mission under Francesco D'Andria from the University of Salento, which is in charge of the excavations in the Greco-Roman city. The ruins of the city are near the modern-day Pamukkale in Turkey. According to Greco-Roman mythology and tradition, the Gate to the Underworld, also known as Pluto's Gate - Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin - was the entrance point to hell. Both Cicero and Greek geographer Strabus referred to the Hierapolis Plutonium in their writings, and both had visited it....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Ancient Buddhist site discovered in SE India

    A Buddhist site, probably belonging to the Satavahana/Ikshvaku dynasties, has been unearthed by a freelance archaeologist Kadiyala Venkateswara Rao, near Pondugula village in Mylavaram mandal of Krishna district.Mr. Rao, who hails from Tenali, is also an ex-documentation officer with the Archaeological Survey of India. Among his recent discoveries was a megalith menhir with rock engravings near Karampudi in Guntur district. On trail of Buddhist remnants in Guntur and Krishna districts, Mr. Rao stumbled upon two marble pillars with engravings of Lotus Medallions and bricks used during the Satavahana period buried in a pit on a field at Pangadi village on the outskirts of Pondugula village, about 10 km from Mylavaram. The row of sitting bulls and lion motifs carved intricately on the huge Palnadu white marble stones, is strikingly reminiscent of the Amravati School of Art, says Mr. Rao. Similar pillars have been found at Buddhist sites at Jaggaiahpet, Ghantasala, Amaravati, Nagarjunakonda, and Chinaganjam....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Middle Pleistocene teeth add new data to hominin evolution in Asia

    Although a relatively large number of late Middle Pleistocene hominins have been found in East Asia, these fossils have not been consistently included in current debates about the origin of anatomically modern humans (AMHS), and little is known about their phylogenetic place in relation to contemporary hominins from Africa and Europe as well as to Upper Pleistocene hominins. Dr. LIU Wu, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his international collaborators present a detailed description and comparative analysis of four hominin teeth (I1, C1, P3 and P3) recovered from the late Middle Pleistocene cave site of Panxian Dadong, Guizhou of southwestern China, including two new teeth recovered in 1998-2000 and the reassessment of two teeth already described. The Panxian Dadong teeth combine archaic and derived features that align them with Middle and Upper Pleistocene fossils from East and West Asia and Europe, providing new data for the discussion about the evolutionary course of the Middle Pleistocene of Asia. Researchers reported online March 4 in Journal of Human Evolution (2013).

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Ancient sundial found in Valley of Kings

    During archaeological excavations in the Valley of the Kings in Upper Egypt a team of researchers from the University of Basel found one of the world’s oldest ancient Egyptian sundials. The team of the Egyptological Seminar under the direction of Prof. Susanne Bickel made the significant discovery while clearing the entrance to one of the tombs.During this year’s excavations the researchers found a flattened piece of limestone (so-called Ostracon) on which a semicircle in black color had been drawn. The semicircle is divided into twelve sections of about 15 degrees each. A dent in the middle of the approximately 16 centimeter long horizontal baseline served to insert a wooden or metal bolt that would cast a shadow to show the hours of the day. Small dots in the middle of each section were used for even more detailed time measuring....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Women voted 75 years before they were legally allowed to in 1918

    Sarah Richardson is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Warwick and author of The Political Worlds of Women: Gender and Politics in Nineteenth Century Britain. She is the guest presenter of Document: Votes for Victorian Women which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this evening at 8pm.Occasionally, just occasionally, you encounter a document that radically changes your view of the past. This happened to me very recently. The source was just a few scraps of parchment in a box of solicitors’ papers in Lichfield. But, at a stroke, it provided me with tangible proof that Victorian women were not only eligible to vote, but actually exercised that right, some 75 years before they received the parliamentary franchise in 1918.

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    New look at heretic pharaoh Akhenaton's reign

    Analysis of remains from a cemetery at the city of Tell el-Amarna is painting an unsettling picture of the reign of the famously monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten.

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Richard III: psycho or control freak?

    Thanks largely to his portrayal in Shakespeare’s eponymous play, Richard III is generally remembered as a murderous, hunchbacked villain who killed his nephews to gain the throne. But now that his remains, found beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, have been positively identified, researchers at the University of Leicester now say the 15th century monarch was no bloodthirsty psychopath — just a control freak in need of some security.In findings presented this past weekend, Psychologist Mark Lansdale and forensic psychologist Julian Boon suggest that there is no evidence supporting Shakespeare’s depiction of the last Plantagenet king. After going through historians’ consensus on Richard’s experiences and actions, they found that the king exhibited little sign of the traits used to identify psychopaths today — including narcissism, deviousness, callousness, recklessness and lack of empathy in close relationships....

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    ‘Death sandwich’ in Book of Genesis

    “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” reads the opening words of the King James bible. According to new research, those words might be considered a slice of creation-angled bread in ametaphorical sandwich — one with a rather morbid filling.Using a free online analytics tool dubbed “Search Visualizer” that transforms text queries into color-coded visual charts, researchers at Keele University in the U.K. and Amridge University in the U.S. have reportedly discovered an ancient literary trick in the Judeo-Christian Bible’s famous foundational book. That trick, known as inclusio or “bracketing,” involves placing similar material at the beginning and end of something; in Genesis’ cases, the writers appear to have enclosed a midsection thematically dominated by “death” with intro and outro passages devoted to “life.”...The researchers call this the “Genesis Death Sandwich,” reports Science Daily. (It’s also not a bad way to draw attention to your research.)...

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Art by obscure abstract impressionist discovered in New York garage appraised at $30M

    BELLPORT, N.Y. — Works by an obscure Armenian-American abstract impressionist discovered in a New York cottage have been appraised at $30 million.In 2007, the new owner of a bungalow in Bellport, on Long Island, found thousands of paintings, drawings and journals by Arthur Pinajian in a garage and attic. News 12 Long Island says Peter Hastings Falk valued the works. He once appraised art from the Andy Warhol estate.Some pieces already have sold for $500,000. Fifty of his landscapes are currently on exhibit at Manhattan’s Fuller Building....

  • Originally published 02/28/2013

    Battered skulls reveal violence among stone-age women

    Stone Age farmers lived through routine violence, and women weren't spared from its toll, a new study finds.The analysis discovered that up to 1 in 6 skulls exhumed in Scandinavia from the late Stone Age — between about 6,000 and 3,700 years ago — had nasty head injuries. And contrary to findings from mass gravesites of the period, women were equally likely to be victims of deadly blows, according to the study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology....

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    35 pyramids found in Sudan

    At least 35 small pyramids, along with graves, have been discovered clustered closely together at a site called Sedeinga in Sudan.Discovered between 2009 and 2012, researchers are surprised at how densely the pyramids are concentrated. In one field season alone, in 2011, the research team discovered 13 pyramids packed into  roughly 5,381 square feet (500 square meters), or  slightly larger than an NBA basketball court.They date back around 2,000 years to a time when a kingdom named Kush flourished in Sudan. Kush shared a border with Egypt and, later on, the Roman Empire. The desire of the kingdom's people to build pyramids was apparently influenced by Egyptian funerary architecture....

  • Originally published 02/06/2013

    Princes in Tower will not be dug up

    The Church of England, with support from the Queen and government ministers, has reportedly turned down a number of requests to perform forensic tests to establish whether the bones buried in Westminster Abbey are those of the king’s two nephews.According to previously confidential correspondence, permission to carry out DNA testing has been withheld for fear of setting a precedent for digging up royal remains to test various historical theories.There was also uncertainty by the church about what would be done with the remains if the DNA tests were negative, The Guardian reported....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Richard III facial reconstruction

    A facial reconstruction based on the skull of Richard III has revealed how the English king may have looked.The king's skeleton was found under a car park in Leicester during an archaeological dig.The reconstructed face has a slightly arched nose and prominent chin, similar to features shown in portraits of Richard III painted after his death.Historian and author John Ashdown-Hill said seeing it was "almost like being face to face with a real person"....

  • Originally published 01/28/2013

    17th-century masterpiece discovered at the Ritz in Paris

    PARIS – The Hôtel Ritz Paris, famous for its bar, its swimming pool and its assignations, had a treasure hiding in plain sight, an exceptional painting that had been hanging on a wall for decades without anyone paying it the least attention.With the hotel shut for renovation, the auction house Christie’s announced this week that art experts had decided that the long-ignored canvas was by Charles Le Brun, one of the masters of 17th-century French painting, and that it would be put it up for auction....

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Trent University Archaeologists Find Ancient Jade Spoon in Belize

    Archaeologists from Trent University have discovered a rare jade artefact, one of the first of its kind to be found in an archaeological dig, while excavating the ancient Maya city of Ka’Kabish in Belize.The six centimetre jade object, known as an Olmec spoon, was unearthed in June 2012 from a 2,700 year old grave beneath the Ka’Kabish plaza along with 16 other jade artefacts. Similar objects have been recovered in Mesoamerica, but this is one of the first times an Olmec spoon has been found in a secure archaeological site....

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Japan's oldest bronze comma-shaped bead unearthed in Tottori

    OSAKA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- A team of Japanese archaeologists has found a bronze comma-shaped bead, which is believed to be the oldest of its kind in the country's history, in the western Japanese city of Tottori, local press reported on Thursday.The metal curved bead, dating back to the early sixth century, was excavated from one of the tombs built in the early sixth 6 century at the Matsubara No. 10 Mound in the city according to the daily Mainichi Shimbun....

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Clues to prehistoric human exploration found in sweet potato genome

    Europeans raced across oceans and continents during the Age of Exploration in search of territory and riches. But when they reached the South Pacific, they found they had been beaten there by a more humble traveler: the sweet potato. Now, a new study suggests that the plant's genetics may be the key to unraveling another great age of exploration, one that predated European expansion by several hundred years and remains an anthropological enigma.Humans domesticated the sweet potato in the Peruvian highlands about 8000 years ago, and previous generations of scholars believed that Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced the crop to Southeast Asia and the Pacific beginning in the 16th century. But in recent years, archaeologists and linguists have accumulated evidence supporting another hypothesis: Premodern Polynesian sailors navigated their sophisticated ships all the way to the west coast of South America and brought the sweet potato back home with them. The oldest carbonized sample of the crop found by archaeologists in the Pacific dates to about 1000 C.E.—nearly 500 years before Columbus's first voyage. What's more, the word for "sweet potato" in many Polynesian languages closely resembles the Quechua word for the plant....

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Earliest evidence of chocolate in North America

    They were humble farmers who grew corn and dwelt in subterranean pit houses. But the people who lived 1200 years ago in a Utah village known as Site 13, near Canyonlands National Park in Utah, seem to have had at least one indulgence: chocolate. Researchers report that half a dozen bowls excavated from the area contain traces of chocolate, the earliest known in North America. The finding implies that by the end of the 8th century C.E., cacao beans, which grow only in the tropics, were being imported to Utah from orchards thousands of kilometers away.The discovery could force archaeologists to rethink the widely held view that the early people of the northern Southwest, who would go on to build enormous masonry "great houses" at New Mexico's Chaco Canyon and create fine pottery, had little interaction with their neighbors in Mesoamerica. Other scientists are intrigued by the new claim, but also skeptical....

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Shifting sands yield mystery shipwreck in GA that dates to 1800s

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — The odd skeleton of wooden beams barely poked above the sands, exposed just enough by wind and tides for a beachcomber to report the curious find.Fred Boyles, National Park Service superintendent on Georgia’s Cumberland Island, says the buried beams could have easily been overlooked as ordinary flotsam washed ashore on the beach. But archaeologists called to the remote Atlantic coastal island spent days last week unearthing an astonishing find: an old wooden shipwreck held together with wooden pegs, its backstory lost in time.“Someone had the foresight to say that doesn’t just look like normal wood, and thank goodness they called us,” Boyles said of the island resident, who stumbled on the wreck around Christmas. “Frankly, had I been driving on the beach, I would’ve ridden right by.”This 80-foot-long fragment of history, with some of its wooden siding still intact, is believed to date to the mid-1800s based on its construction, said Michael Steiber, a National Park Service archaeologist trying to crack the mystery of the ship’s origin....

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Prehistoric cave art may have served as an early form of animation

    THE small steel door in the mountainside is the same shade of green as the lush vegetation surrounding us. Before we enter, my guide, prehistorian Roberto Ontañón Peredo, asks if I would like him to switch on the main lights. I decide to discover this place the way my ancestors would have done, with just a small bubble of light. As the door closes behind us, we flick on our flashlights and their beams pick out the irregular walls of the El Castillo cave. What strikes me first is the size of the cavern: I've been in churches that could fit in here.This cave, in northern Spain, was regularly visited by our prehistoric ancestors for tens of thousands of years, and as I follow Roberto inside, I see some of the extraordinary paintings they left behind. Red deer, bison and mammoths hide in the shadows, their outlines eerily materialising ...

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Storms reveal Iron Age skeleton on Shetland Islands

    A series of storms that hit Scotland's Shetland Islands over the holidays revealed what archaeologists believe could be 2,000-year-old human remains.Police were initially called to the scene when storms eroded a cliff at Channerwick and exposed the skeleton, but officials soon determined that they wouldn't have to open a homicide investigation.Local archaeologist Chris Dyer said the ancient skeleton looked as if it were contemporary with the remains of Iron Age structures revealed nearby. Researchers then identified evidence of one or possibly two more burials at the site, but another storm caused a further chunk of the cliff to crumble, covering up the discovery....