Sunday, September 25, 2016

Earth Wobbles May Have Driven Ancient Humans Out of Africa

A computer model simulated human density 80,000 years ago, showing the arrival of humans in eastern China and southern Europe as well as migrations out of Africa along vegetated paths in Sinai and the Arabian Peninsula.
Credit: Tobias Friedrich

Ancient human migrations out of Africa may have been driven by wobbles in Earth's orbit and tilt that led to dramatic swings in climate, a new study finds.
Modern humans first appeared in Africa about 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. It remains a mystery as to why it then took many millennia for people to disperse across the globe. Recent archaeological and genetic findingssuggest that migrations of modern humans out of Africa began at least 100,000 years ago, but most humans outside of Africa most likely descended from groups who left the continent more recently — between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago.
Previous research suggested that shifts in climate might help explain why modern human migrations out of Africa happened when they did. For instance, about every 21,000 years, Earth experiences slight changes to its orbit and tilt. These series of wobbles, known as Milankovitch cycles, alter how much sunlight hits different parts of the planet, which in turn influences rainfall levels and the number of people any given region can support. [See Photos of Our Closest Human Ancestor]
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New broch site excites archaeologists

A first photo of the possible broch on the Holms of Hogaland 
Photos: http://scottishcrannogs.wordpress.com

THE REMAINS of what could be an Iron Age broch have been identified in a loch near Whiteness by a researcher from the University of Aberdeen.
Michael Stratigos found the site on one of the three Holms of Hogaland islets in the Loch of Strom.
He said the majority of the islet, which is the smallest of the three, is covered by a large mound around 3m high and 16x14m across.
It is unclear at the moment whether the find is the remains of a broch or of a roundhouse.
A small circular depression in the centre is believed to be the "internal space" of the structure.
There are also the potential remains of orthostats, or piers, while coursed stonework was noted.
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Internationaler Mumienkongress mit neuen Erkenntnissen zu Ötzi


Das Kupfer von Ötzis Beilklinge stammt nicht – wie bisher angenommen ‐ aus dem Alpenraum, sondern wurde aus südtoskanischem Erz gewonnen. Ötzi war wahrscheinlich nicht in den Prozess der Metallverarbeitung eingebunden, wie es erhöhte Arsen‐ und Kupferwerte in seinen Haaren bislang vermuten ließen. Seine Ermordung vor über 5.000 Jahren scheint auf eine persönliche Konfliktsituation Tage vor seinem Tod zurückzugehen, und der Mann aus dem Eis litt trotz Normalgewichts und viel Bewegung unter etlichen Gefäßverkalkungen. Diese und andere neue Erkenntnisse präsentieren Wissenschaftler aus aller Welt in diesen Tagen auf dem internationalen Mumienkongresses in Bozen. Zum 25. Jubiläum von Ötzis Entdeckung waren alle drei Kongresstage, vom 19. ‐ 21.9.2016, dem Mann aus dem Eis gewidmet.

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Indigenous Australians most ancient civilisation on Earth, extensive DNA study confirms


The first extensive study of Indigenous Australians' DNA dates their origin to more than 50,000 years ago, backing the claim that they are the most ancient continuous civilisation on Earth. 

Scientists used the genetic traces of the mysterious early humans that are left in the DNA of modern populations in Papua New Guinea and Australia to recontruct their journey from Africa around 72,000 years ago.

Experts disagree on whether present-day non-African people are descended from explorers who left Africa in a single exodus or a series of distinct waves of travelling migrants.

The new study supports the single migration hypothesis. It indicates that Australian aboriginal and Papuan people both originated from the same out-of Africa migration event some 72,000 years ago, along with ancestors of all other non-African populations alive today.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

BACK AT THE SMERQUOY NEOLITHIC SITE


Work resumed at the site of Smerquoy, on the Orkney Mainland, at the start of this month, involving a team of archaeologists from the UHI Orkney College, the University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire, as well as volunteers.
Excavations in previous years uncovered the remains of early Neolithic houses, alongside more ephemeral remains and structures.
In this final year we hope to understand the sequence of house construction across the site and definitively date the different phases of use.
Progress has been slowed by some mixed weather in the first week, including heavy rain, thick mist and strong gales. Nevertheless there have been some very exciting finds.
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Burnt cheese casts light on 3,000 year-old family drama


When someone in Bronze Age Denmark quickly disposed of a burnt pot, they unintentionally provided archaeologists with a unique find.


A moment of carelessness, 3,000 years ago has given Danish archaeologists an unexpected gift.
A clay pot unearthed during an archaeological excavation in central Jutland, Denmark, contains the possible remains of a failed attempt of cheese making.
Something went wrong during the process and the cheese maker most likely threw the pot away into the street, only to show up again thousands of years later.
“We found the clay pot in what was once a pit. Quite unusually, it was in near mint condition and this is itself is an exciting find,” says curator and archaeologist Kaj F. Rasmussen from Museum Silkeborg, Denmark.
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World's Oldest Snowshoe Found In Italy's Dolomites


Scientists in Italy’s Dolomite mountains have unveiled what they believe to be the world’s oldest snowshoe.


The snowshoe was discovered by chance on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier, close to Italy’s border with Austria 
[Credit: ANSA-USP]

Carbon-dating has shown that the rudimentary snow shoe, made of birch wood and twine, was made in the late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC.

“It is the oldest snowshoe in the world so far discovered, dating to around 5,800 years ago,” scientists said in a statement.

It was discovered by chance at an altitude of 3,134 metres (10,280ft) on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier, close to Italy’s border with Austria.

The ice and freezing temperatures of the glacier had provided “ideal conditions for the preservation of organic material,” the researchers said.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Prehistoric Cochno Stone unearthed near housing estate


A prehistoric stone panel said to be the "most important in Europe" is being unearthed for the first time in more than 50 years in Clydebank.
The Cochno Stone dates to 3000BC and is described as one of the best examples of Neolithic or Bronze Age cup and ring markings in Europe.
Located next to a housing estate, the stone was buried in 1965 to protect it from damage.
Excavation work started on Monday and is expected to last three weeks.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Danish archaeologists find mysterious well

The mysterious site was found near Aars west of the Limfjord in northeastern Jutland (photo: Google Maps)

Danish archaeologists have discovered a mysterious New Stone Age construction near the town of Aars in northeastern Jutland.
“I never use the word sensation, but I must admit this is as close as it gets,” Bjarne Nielsen, the leader of the research team and curator at Vesthimmerlands Museum, told newspaper Nordjyske Stiftstidende.
“We have not seen anything like it before.”
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Archaeological Finds In Bulgaria: July 2016 Highlights


The month of July 2016 saw the traditional archaeological season in Bulgaria in full swing, with finds at digs in various parts of the country – from an 8000-year-old settlement in Sofia to the rock tomb of a Thracian princess near Benkovski to the long-awaited unearthing of the eastern gate of Perperikon – producing headlines.


An aerial shot showing the excavated section of the prehistoric, ancient, and medieval rock city of Perperikon  in Southern Bulgaria, i.e. almost fully excavated acropolis 
[Credit: Nikolay Ovcharov]


At the beginning of July, it was announced that a team of Bulgarian archaeologists had uncovered the remains of an early Neolithic settlement, dating back 8000 years, in the Slatina neighbourhood of Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

It has long been known by archaeologists that the oldest human settlement in Sofia was in Slatina.

In recent days, archaeologists had come across the remains of two burnt houses, of an impressive size for the age. The head of research, Professor Vassil Nikolov, said that the structures were 150 square metres, with three rooms and two additional business premises.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Gibraltar caves reveal Neanderthals' secrets


The cave systems at the base of the rock of Gibraltar have just received Unesco world heritage status, in recognition of the rich insights they bring to the study of Neanderthals.
They reveal that modern humans share a little more than you might expect with the extinct species, as Melissa Hogenboom explains.
Video courtesy of BBC Earth.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Archaeologists find arm bone on dig


ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found a human arm bone during an excavation of Neolithic buildings at Ness of Brodgar on Orkney.
The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, leading the dig, believe the bone was deliberately placed and could be the remains of a respected original founder of the large complex.
Ness of Brodgar site director Nick Card described it as an important and exciting find.
He said there were several theories as to who the arm belonged to which would be explored further.
The Ness of Brodgar is a new archaeological discovery in Orkney located between the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness.
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What The World's Oldest Calculator Tells Us About The Ancient Greeks' View Of The Universe


When we talk of the history of computers, most of us will refer to the evolution of the modern digital desktop PC, charting the decades-long developments by the likes of Apple and Microsoft. What many don't consider, however, is that computers have been around much longer. In fact, they date back millennia, to a time when they were analogue creations.


The fragmented remains of the Antikythera mechanism 
[Credit: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis]

Today, the world's oldest known "computer" is the Antikythera mechanism, a severely corroded bronze artefact which was found at the beginning of the 20th Century, in the remains of a shipwreck near the Mediterranean island of Antikythera. It wasn't until the 1970s that the importance of the Antikythera mechanism was discovered, when radiography revealed that the device is in fact a complex mechanism of at least 30 gear wheels.

The mechanism has since been established as the first known astronomical calendar, a complex system which can track and predict the cycles of the solar system. Technically, it is a sophisticated mechanical "calculator" rather than a true "computer", since it cannot be reprogrammed, but nonetheless an impressive artefact.

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Menschen nutzten schon vor 40.000 Jahren spezielles Werkzeug zur Seilherstellung


Archäologen der Universität Tübingen präsentieren gut erhaltenen Fund aus Mammutelfenbein – Test an der Universität Lüttich bestätigt Funktion

Schon vor 40.000 Jahren haben Menschen ein spezielles Werkzeug zur Herstellung von Seilen genutzt. Wie Professor Nicholas Conard und seine Grabungsmannschaft von der Universität Tübingen am Freitag berichteten, wurde bei Ausgrabungen im »Hohe Fels« auf der Schwäbischen Alb ein gut erhaltenes Exemplar dieses Werkzeugs gefunden. Das sorgfältig geschnitzte Stück aus Mammutelfenbein ist 20«4 Zentimeter lang und diente dazu, Pflanzenfasern zu Seilen zu drehen, wie Tests an der Universität Lüttich in Belgien zeigten.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

South Downs pre-Roman 'farming collective' discovered

The survey revealed the extent of farming on the South Downs before the Romans arrived

Evidence of a prehistoric "farming collective" has been discovered after aerial laser scanning was carried out in the South Downs National Park.
Large-scale farming from before the Roman invasion suggests a high level of civilisation, archaeologists said.
The survey also revealed the route of a long-suspected Roman road between Chichester and Brighton.
It covered an area between the Arun river valley in West Sussex and Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire.

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Neandertaler im Kreis Olpe


Heimatforscher findet den ersten Nachweis für den Neandertaler
Für ungeübte Augen sieht er aus wie ein schlichter dunkelgrauer Stein. Bei den Archäologen des Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) sorgt er jetzt für mehr als bloße Begeisterung. Das gerade einmal acht Zentimeter lange Stück Kieselschiefer trägt eine kleine Sensation in sich, ist es doch ein Werkzeug des Neandertalers. Damit ist dieser Stein, den die Fachleute als »Levallois-Kern« bezeichnen, der erste Nachweis für den Neandertaler im Kreis Olpe. Entdeckt haben ihn weder hochmoderne Techniken noch die bei »Schatzjägern« aktuell besonders gefragten Metallsonden, sondern schlicht die geübten Augen von Heimatforscher Gilbert Schmelter.
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