Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New scientific dating research unravels the story of life in prehistoric Orkney Read

A new study, published today in Antiquity journal, is challenging the previously understood narrative for prehistoric life on Orkney. It was led by Professor Alex Bayliss of Historic England and is based on the interrogation of more than 600 radiocarbon dates, enabling much more precise estimates of the timing and duration of events in the period c.3200-2500 BC. 


Excavating the Smerquoy Hoose [Credit: © Colin Richards]

The study is part of a much wider project, The Times of Their Lives, funded by the European Research Council (2012-2017), which has applied the same methodology to a wider series of case studies across Neolithic Europe. That project has demonstrated many other examples of more dynamic and punctuated sequences than previously suspected in 'prehistory'.

Neolithic Orkney is well-preserved and is a time of stone houses, stone circles and elaborate burial monuments. World-renowned sites such as the Skara Brae settlement, Maeshowe passage grave, and the Ring of Brodgar and Stones of Stenness circles have long been known and are in the World Heritage Site (given this status in 1999). They have been joined by more recent discoveries of great settlement complexes such as Barnhouse and Ness of Brodgar.

The new study reveals in much more detail than previously possible the fluctuating fortunes of the communities involved in these feats of construction and their social interaction. It used a Bayesian statistical approach to combine calibrated radiocarbon dates with knowledge of the archaeological contexts that the finds have come from to provide much more precise chronologies than those previously available.

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House “older than Stonehenge” found in East Ayrshire field

The field near Kilmarnock where man settled some 6,000 years ago. PIC: Scottish Water.

The remains of a pre-historic dwelling older than Stonehenge or the Callanish Stones have been found in a field in East Ayrshire.

Archaeologists believe the site near Kilmarnock is 6,000-years-old and was settled as man moved away from nomadic existence towards farming the land.

The discovery has been described as one of the most important of its kind in recent years.

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Storytelling flints and the original Oxen Ford: Oxford flood scheme archaeology begins


THIS tiny piece of flint is barely an inch long, but it tells an incredible story.

A stone flake reveals that 6,000 years ago, for just a few short minutes, a tribe of Mesolithic hunters stopped in this field in South Hinksey to sharpen their tools.

The miniscule fragment is just the first of thousands of discoveries archaeologists are hoping to make in 200 trenches across South Oxford in the next two months.

The team from Oxford Archaeology are excavating the area that in due course will become the Environment Agency's £120m Oxford flood alleviation channel.

They are looking for evidence of Saxon huts, Norman roads and even the very Oxen Ford, which our city is named after.

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Bronze Age Arrows and a Viking Sword – The 2017 Fieldwork Was Awesome!

Finally, the long wait was over and we were so ready for fieldwork!

We had chosen two large sites for the main fieldwork in 2017 – the Lauvhøe and Storfonne ice patches, both situated in the northeastern part of the Jotunheimen Mountains. More details on why these two particular sites were chosen can be found here.


he Storfonne ice patch, photographed in September 2014 during a major melt. Notice the light grey lichen-free zone surrounding the ice. This area was exposed by ice melt in the last 15-20 years. Photo: Lars Pilø, Secrets of the Ice/Oppland County Council.

Both sites had only seen short visits prior to this field-season. This had resulted in a number of artifact recoveries, especially arrows, found close to the melting ice. However, we knew that there were other finds on these sites, and that they were lying on the surface, exposed to the elements. The main job would be to rescue these artefacts. To achieve this, we planned to conduct a systematic and thorough survey of the lichen-free zone (where the ice has melted recently) surrounding the ice on both sites.

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Neanderthal brains 'grew more slowly'

The skeleton of a boy that shattered our view of Neanderthal brain development

A new study shows that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly than ours.

An analysis of a Neanderthal child's skeleton suggests that its brain was still developing at a time when the brains of modern human children are fully formed.

This is further evidence that this now extinct human was not more brutish and primitive than our species.
The research has been published in the journal Science.

Until now it had been thought that we were the only species whose brains developed relatively slowly. Unlike other apes and more primitive humans, Homo sapiens has an extended period of childhood lasting several years.

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Ancient DNA sheds light on African history

Burials at Mount Hora in Malawi yielded DNA used in the study

DNA from ancient remains has been used to reconstruct thousands of years of population history in Africa.

Researchers sequenced the genomes of 16 individuals who lived between 8,000 and 1,000 years ago.
The data shows how the invention and spread of farming had a major impact on the genes of people in Africa - just as it did in Europe and Asia.

The findings are published in the journal Cell.

The results suggest that populations related to the indigenous people of southern Africa had a wider distribution in the past.

This southern African-like genetic background is found in hunter-gatherers from Malawi and Tanzania in the east of the continent. These hunters lived between 8,100 and 1,400 years ago.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ancient British stone circles were used for ‘Neolithic parties’, study finds

The Ring of Brodgar originally had 60 stones, but now has 27 
Colin Richards, Historic England

Orkney is home to a host of Neolithic stone houses, stone circles and elaborate burial monuments, but a new study into the area has allowed experts to add a new purpose to the prehistoric communities’ use of some of these sites – partying.

New research led by Professor Alex Bayliss at Historic England has challenged the previously understood narrative for prehistoric life on the islands and painted a clearer picture of how communities farmed, gathered together at festivals and buried their dead.

The islands are home to renowned sites such as the Skara Brae settlement, Maeshowe passage grave, the Ring of Brodgar – which originally had 60 stones and is 104 metres in diameter - and Stones of Stenness circles, which were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999.

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Spanish researchers discover 30,000 year-old cave paintings


Cave drawings at Altamira.Museo de Altamira/D. Rodríguez

Researchers have discovered four new sets of cave paintings in Cantabria, northern Spain, the oldest of which was made nearly 30,000 years ago – making it one of the earliest known examples of prehistoric art in the world.

The team from the Museum of Prehistory of Cantabria, led by Spanish prehistorian Roberto Ontañón, used cutting-edge imaging techniques to identify the drawings.

Twenty years ago, a speleologist – a scientist who studies caves – had informed archaeologists of the possible existence of ancient paintings in various rock cavities in Cantabria. However, the techniques available at the time were not sufficient to confirm the existence of the art.

The paintings, like much prehistoric artwork, had degraded so much over time that they were difficult to identify with the naked eye. To overcome this, Ontañón and his team used a 3D laser scanning method, which reproduced the artwork on a computer.

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Secrets of ancient Irish burial practices revealed


Carrowkeel neolithic passage tomb in Co. Sligo.

A new analysis of bones taken from a century-old excavation at Carrowkeel in County Sligo has revealed evidence of the burial practices and death rites of the ancient people of Ireland.
The findings, which have been published in the journal Bioarchaeology International, are part of a project applying modern techniques and research questions to the human remains. 
The team of researchers includes Sam Moore, lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology at IT Sligo, and the group’s work focussed on the 5300 years-old Passage Tomb Complex at Carrowkeel. This site is one of the most impressive Neolithic ritual landscapes in Europe.
“The bones were analysed from an original excavation of Carrowkeel in 1911, led by Prof R.A.S. McAlister,” explains Sam. “They were subsequently presumed missing or lost until a group of boxes with the name ‘Carrowkeel’ on them was discovered in the archive in the University of Cambridge in 2001. The bones date from between 3500 and 2900 BC."
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

The enigma of early Norwegian iron production

Ancient Norwegians made top-quality iron. But where did the knowledge to make this iron come from? A professor emeritus from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology may have solved this riddle.


Where did the expertise to smelt iron ore come from?
And how did it actually get to Norway to begin with? 
[Credit: Colourbox]

For centuries, people in Norway’s Trøndelag region, in the middle of the country, made large amounts of first-class iron out of bog ore for use in weapons and tools. Production peaked at about 40 tonnes a year at around 200 AD. With production levels this high, it is likely that they exported iron to the European continent as well.

But where did the expertise to smelt the ore come from? And how did it actually get to Norway to begin with?

Arne Wang Espelund, a professor emeritus at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been interested in iron making since the 1970s.

He himself has helped to smelt iron with a method described in the 1700s by Ole Evenstad in Stor-Elvdal, just north of Lillehammer.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Bronze Age tombs unearthed during car park construction in Switzerland

The burial site of a Bronze Age warrior has revealed yet more treasures 
[Credit: SBMA - ARIA SA]

Workers digging the foundations for a new car park have unearthed the burial site of a Bronze Age warrior, revealing a rich source of artefacts including a sword, jewellery and other ornaments. 

The tombs were discovered in Sion, a town in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The artefacts were dated between 850 and 400 BC – a period when the Bronze Age was giving way to the second Iron Age.

A bronze sword with an ivory pommel was discovered among the remains of an adult male, along with numerous other ornaments, including a razor.

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13 million-year-old infant ape skull discovered in the Turkana Basin

Alesi partially excavated after careful removal of loose sand and rocks with dental picks and brushes. © Isaiah Nengo.

The discovery in Kenya of a remarkably complete fossil ape skull reveals what the common ancestor of all living apes and humans may have looked like. The find, announced in the scientific journal Nature on August 10th, belongs to an infant that lived about 13 million years ago. The research was done by an international team led by Isaiah Nengo of the Turkana Basin Institute and De Anza College, U.S.A.

Among living primates, humans are most closely related to the apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons. Our common ancestor with chimpanzees lived in Africa 6 to 7 million years ago, and many spectacular fossil finds have revealed how humans evolved since then.

In contrast, little is known about the evolution of the common ancestors of living apes and humans before 10 million years ago. Relevant fossils are scarce, consisting mostly of isolated teeth and partial jaw bones. It has therefore been difficult to find answers to two fundamental questions: Did the common ancestor of living apes and humans originate in Africa, and what did these early ancestors look like?

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New 13-million-year-old infant skull sheds light on ape ancestry

Alesi, the skull of the new extinct ape species Nyanzapithecus alesi (KNM-NP 59050)
[Credit: Fred Spoor]

The discovery in Kenya of a remarkably complete fossil ape skull reveals what the common ancestor of all living apes and humans may have looked like. The find, announced in the scientific journal Nature, belongs to an infant that lived about 13 million years ago. The research was done by an international team led by Isaiah Nengo of Stony Brook University-affiliated Turkana Basin Institute and De Anza College, U.S.A.

Among living primates, humans are most closely related to the apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons. Our common ancestor with chimpanzees lived in Africa 6 to 7 million years ago, and many spectacular fossil finds have revealed how humans evolved since then.

In contrast, little is known about the evolution of the common ancestors of living apes and humans before 10 million years ago. Relevant fossils are scarce, consisting mostly of isolated teeth and partial jaw bones. It has therefore been difficult to find answers to two fundamental questions: Did the common ancestor of living apes and humans originate in Africa, and what did these early ancestors look like?

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Engraved bones are 'evidence of cannibalistic rituals by early humans'

The researchers suggest the engravings may have been part of an elaborate post-death ritual carried that culminated in the deceased being eaten. Photograph: Bello et al (2017)
Engraved bones unearthed in a Somerset cave have revealed new evidence of macabre cannibalistic rituals carried out by early humans in Britain.
The latest analysis of the bones, which were first discovered in the 1980s in Gough’s Cave in the Cheddar Gorge, show signs of having been filleted using sophisticated butchery techniques, decorated and gnawed by fellow humans around 15,000 years ago.
Previous investigations of the remains, belonging to a three-year-old child, two adolescents and at least two adults, already pointed to the grisly possibility that the individuals had been eaten by fellow early modern humans.
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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Contents of 2,500-year-old sarcophagus discovered in Turkey's Balıkesir revealed


Researchers at the ancient Greek city of Antandrus, located in Turkey's Balıkesir province, have discovered the remains of a woman and a man, as well as numerous artifacts inside a 2,500-year-old sarcophagus, reports said Sunday.

According to a statement by project leader Professor Gürcan Polat from Ege University, the excavations, which started on July 10, shed light to the 5th Century sarcophagus.
"The bones most probably belonged to the people from the same family" Polat said.
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Ancient Greek quarry in Marseille 'partly classified' as historic monument

The Greek quarry dating from the 5th century BC in Marseille is going to be partly classified 
as a Historical Monument [Credit: AFP/Bertrand Langlois]

Discovered by chance during the construction of a building in the center of Marseille, a Greek quarry dating from the 5th century BC will be partly classified.

This represents a first victory for the residents against the French city’s authorities who were planning to build on the historic site, according to a report by French Agency, AFP.

“It’s a great step forward,” exclaimed with a smile a resident of the Sandrine Rolengo district where the quarry was discovered.

Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen, who visited the site recently, decided to protect part of the site.

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Slawische und eisenzeitliche Siedlung bei Theißen entdeckt

Blick auf die Ausgrabungsfläche mit Gruben und weiteren Befunden der slawischen Siedlung. 
Foto © LDA Sachsen-Anhalt

Bei Ausgrabungen im Zuge des Neubaus der Ortsumfahrung östlich des Zeitzer Ortsteils Theißen (Burgenlandkreis) wurden die Überreste einer ländlichen mittelslawischen Siedlung des 8.-10. Jh. und Siedlungsbefunde aus der Eisenzeit freigelegt. Die ältesten Befunde sind eine Hockerbestattung aus dem Endneolithikum und eine glockenbecherzeitliche umgebettete Bestattung.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals

A Mycenaean woman depicted on a fresco at Mycenae on mainland Greece.

Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods. Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region.

Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece. And the Mycenaeans themselves were closely related to the earlier Minoans, the study reveals, another great civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from 2600 B.C.E. to 1400 B.C.E. (named for the mythical King Minos).

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Mammut und viel Rohkost

Hinterkopf-Knochen eines anatomisch modernen Menschen der Fundstelle Buran-Kaya III. 
(© S. Prat)

Senckenberg-Wissenschaftler haben die Ernährung des anatomisch modernen Menschen untersucht. Sie konnten in ihrer aktuellen Studie widerlegen, dass sich der frühe Homo sapiens-Vertreter flexibler ernährte, als die Neandertaler.

Auf den Tellern unserer Vorfahren landeten, wie bei den Neandertalern, überwiegend Mammutfleisch und Pflanzen – eine Ernährung mit Fisch konnte nicht nachgewiesen werden. Das internationale Team vermutet daher, dass die Verdrängung der Neandertaler durch eine direkte Konkurrenzsituation erfolgte.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bronze Age Iberia received fewer Steppe invaders than the rest of Europe

Archaeological remains of individual MC337 excavated from the site of Hipogeu de Monte Canelas I, Portugal, and analysed by the archaeologist Rui Parreira and the anthropologist Ana Maria Silva.
Credit: Rui Parreira

The genomes of individuals who lived on the Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age had minor genetic input from Steppe invaders, suggesting that these migrations played a smaller role in the genetic makeup and culture of Iberian people, compared to other parts of Europe. Daniel Bradley and Rui Martiniano of Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, and Ana Maria Silva of University of Coimbra, Portugal, report these findings July 27, 2017 in PLOS Genetics.
Between the Middle Neolithic (4200-3500 BC) and the Middle Bronze Age (1740-1430 BC), Central and Northern Europe received a massive influx of people from the Steppe regions of Eastern Europe and Asia. Archaeological digs in Iberia have uncovered changes in culture and funeral rituals during this time, but no one had looked at the genetic impact of these migrations in this part of Europe. Researchers sequenced the genomes of 14 individuals who lived in Portugal during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages and compared them to other ancient and modern genomes. In contrast with other parts of Europe, they detected only subtle genetic changes between the Portuguese Neolithic and Bronze Age samples resulting from small-scale migration. However, these changes are more pronounced on the paternal lineage.
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Amazingly well preserved 3,500-year-old lunch box discovered in Swiss Alps

An incredibly rare wooden container from the Bronze Age has been discovered on the Lötschberg mountain in Switzerland, still with detectable traces of the grains that the box contained.
The box was found at the summit of the Lötschenpass, a transit through a glacier, at an elevation of about 2,650 metres above sea level. It's thought to have remained frozen since it was lost or abandoned by its owner in 1500 BCE.
Such discoveries are rare. Only one other similar artefact has been discovered, found in another alpine pass, the Schnidejoch, about 25km to the west of the Lötschenpass. Perhaps the most famous discovery from the ice-packed Alps is Ötzi the iceman, a human discovered dating from about 3300 BCE.
Analysis of the box showed traces of spelt, emmer and barley, according to a study in the journal Scientific Reports. The research is the first time that such detailed information on food contents has been retrieved from a Bronze Age artefact.
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

3,000 Year Old Necropolis Discovered Beneath Site Of Visigoth Graves In Spain

Spanish archaeologists excavating a Visigoth necropolis in Sena, in the northeastern province of Huesca, have uncovered what they say is a burial site dating to the 10th century BCE and that was part of the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture.


An urn that revealed the existence of the cemetery dating back more than 2,000 years [Credit: EFE]

Two urns and a lid were discovered in the graveyard. Hugo Chautón, the archaeologist overseeing the excavation, says Urnfield culture spread from central Europe into northeastern Spain around 1,000 years BCE. The name comes from the Urnfield culture’s custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns, which were then buried.

“This culture represents the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron,” said Chautón, “and provides valuable information about burial practices, particularly the move from burying the dead to cremating them.”

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sofia will have a Second Archaeological Complex


Sofia will have a second archaeological park, where visitors can see a prehistoric settlement from the first European civilization. In the place of the excavations is revealed a large residential complex with extremely complex architecture, DARIK writes

The prehistoric settlement, discovered in 1985 by the archaeologists, is situated in the territory of the Slatina district. It has a size of 145 square meters and the complex has an unusual construction for its time. According to archaeologist Vasil Nikolov, the settlement is one of the first made by the Mongoloid race in Europe.

"They suddenly experienced some innovative shock and started building in a whole new way, given the new environmental conditions, having ideas that are unbelievable for their time," he explained.

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Orkney Neolithic 'butterfly-like' motifs found by chance


A sketch of the designs found on a block of stone

Neolithic markings carved into a stone in Orkney that were missed for years by archaeologists have been discovered by chance.
The faintly incised "butterfly-like" motifs were revealed on Tuesday as sunlight lit up the rock at the "right moment, at the right angle".
Experts believe the marks were deliberately made to be delicate and to catch light at certain times of day.
The find was made during excavations at Ness of Brogdar.
The incisions are so faint they do not show up in photographs taken so far of the stone.
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Copper in Ötzi the Iceman’s ax came from surprisingly far away BLADE TRADE Copper for Ötzi the Iceman’s ax, or possibly even the finished blade, came from what’s now central Italy, an unexpectedly long way from the ancient man’s home region in northern Italy. Ötzi the Iceman’s copper ax was imported. The mummy’s frozen body and assorted belongings were found in 1991 poking out of an Alpine glacier at Italy’s northern border with Austria. But Ötzi’s ax originated about 500 kilometers to the south in what is now central Italy’s Southern Tuscany region, say geoscientist Gilberto Artioli of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues. It’s unclear whether Ötzi acquired the Tuscan copper as raw material or as a finished blade, the investigators report July 5 in PLOS ONE. While mostly copper, the blade contains small concentrations of lead, arsenic, silver and more than a dozen other chemical elements. Researchers previously suspected the copper came from known ore deposits 100 kilometers or less from the site of the Iceman’s demise. But comparing the mix of different forms of lead, or isotopes, in the ax with that in copper ore from present-day deposits across much of Europe indicated that the ancient man’s blade came from Southern Tuscany. Other chemical components identified in the copper implement also point to a Southern Tuscan origin. Read the rest of this article...

BLADE TRADE  Copper for Ötzi the Iceman’s ax, or possibly even the finished blade, came from what’s now central Italy, an unexpectedly long way from the ancient man’s home region in northern Italy.

Ötzi the Iceman’s copper ax was imported.
The mummy’s frozen body and assorted belongings were found in 1991 poking out of an Alpine glacier at Italy’s northern border with Austria. But Ötzi’s ax originated about 500 kilometers to the south in what is now central Italy’s Southern Tuscany region, say geoscientist Gilberto Artioli of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues. It’s unclear whether Ötzi acquired the Tuscan copper as raw material or as a finished blade, the investigators report July 5 in PLOS ONE.

While mostly copper, the blade contains small concentrations of lead, arsenic, silver and more than a dozen other chemical elements. Researchers previously suspected the copper came from known ore deposits 100 kilometers or less from the site of the Iceman’s demise. But comparing the mix of different forms of lead, or isotopes, in the ax with that in copper ore from present-day deposits across much of Europe indicated that the ancient man’s blade came from Southern Tuscany. Other chemical components identified in the copper implement also point to a Southern Tuscan origin.

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How did dogs become our best friends? New evidence


Dogs most probably evolved from wolves at a single location about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, a study suggests.
Previously, it had been thought that dogs were tamed from two populations of wolves living thousands of miles apart.
Researchers studied DNA from three dogs found at archaeological sites in Germany and Ireland that were between 4,700 and 7,000 years old.
The ancient canines share ancestry with modern European dogs.
By looking at the rates of change to the DNA from the oldest specimen, scientists were able to place the timing of the domestication of dogs to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Archaeologists go high-tech in 2,500-year-old Greek cold case


A conservator of archaeological works on a human skull in a lab at the American School 
of Archaeology in Athens on July 7, 2017 [Credit: Aris Messinis/AFP]

More than 2,500 years ago, an Athenian nobleman named Cylon -- the first recorded Olympic champion -- tried to take over the city of Athens and install himself as its sole ruler.

The discovery of the 80 skeletons of men is "unequalled" in Greece, said site project director Stella Chrysoulaki.

The men, young and well-fed, were found lying in the unmarked grave in three rows, some on their backs while others were tossed facedown on their stomachs.

All of the men had their hands in iron chains and at least 52 of them had their hands tied above their heads.

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Did human women contribute to Neanderthal genomes over 200,000 years ago?

A new Neanderthal mitochondrial genome supports a remarkable hypothesis – that there was interbreeding with an extremely early migration of African hominins

Head and shoulders of a sculpted model of a female Neanderthal.
Photograph: Alamy

Keeping pace with new developments in the field of human evolution these days is a daunting prospect. It seems as though every few weeks there’s an announcement of exciting new findings from hominin fossils, or the recovery of an ancient genome that significantly impacts our understanding of our species’ history.
The best way to keep up is by regularly revisiting and reassessing a few core questions. When and where did our species first appear? How and where did we migrate? What was our relationship to our (now-extinct) hominin relatives? What evolutionary and cultural factors influenced our histories? How do new findings change the answers to these questions? Are they generally accepted by the relevant community of experts, or are they provisional or controversial? 
This month’s challenge is to understand the significance of a recently publishedNeanderthal mitochondrial genome from a femur that was excavated in 1937 from the Hohlenstein-Stadel (HST) cave site in southwestern Germany. This new genome brings the total number of Neanderthals from whom we have genetic information to eighteen. 
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ancestors of Stonehenge people could be buried inside ‘House of the Dead’ discovered in Wiltshire


The site in a farmer's field was identified in aerial photographs 

[Credit: University of Reading]

A ‘House of the Dead’ has been discovered in Wiltshire dating back 5,000 years by University of Reading archaeologists and students, and could contain the ancestors of those who lived around Stonehenge and Avebury.

As part of the University’s final Archaeology Field School in the Pewsey Vale, students and staff, with the support of volunteers from the area, have investigated the site of a Neolithic long barrow burial mound in a place known as Cat’s Brain – the first to be fully investigated in Wiltshire in half a century.

The monument, which predates nearby Marden Henge by over 1,000 years, may contain human remains buried there in around 3,600 BC. The monument was first spotted by aerial photography and followed up by geophysical survey imagery.


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Analysis of Neanderthal teeth grooves uncovers evidence of prehistoric dentistry

Three views of the four articulated teeth making up KDP 20. a. occlusal view showing lingually placed mesial interproximal wear facet on P4 (arrow) and buccal wear on M3; b. lingual view showing a mesially placed interproximal wear facet on P4 (arrow), chips from lingual faces of all teeth and rotated, partially impacted M3; c. buccal view showing rotated buccal face of M3 (arrow) and hypercementosis on its root.
Credit: David Frayer, University of Kansas

Neanderthals treating toothaches?
A discovery of multiple toothpick grooves on teeth and signs of other manipulations by a Neanderthal of 130,000 years ago are evidence of a kind of prehistoric dentistry, according to a new study led by a University of Kansas researcher.
"As a package, this fits together as a dental problem that the Neanderthal was having and was trying to presumably treat itself, with the toothpick grooves, the breaks and also with the scratches on the premolar," said David Frayer, professor emeritus of Anthropology. "It was an interesting connection or collection of phenomena that fit together in a way that we would expect a modern human to do. Everybody has had dental pain, and they know what it's like to have a problem with an impacted tooth."
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Dead heads: Turkish site reveals more evidence of neolithic 'skull cult'

Fragments of three skulls found at Göbekli Tepe have hallmarks of being carved with flint after being scalped and defleshed first


 A carving found on a pillar at Göbekli Tepe, apparently showing a figurine holding a head. Photograph: German Archaeological Institute (DAI)

Wednesday 28 June 2017 20.06 BST Last modified on Wednesday 28 June 2017 20.12 BST
Fragments of carved bone unearthed at an ancient site on a Turkish hillside are evidence that the people who spent time there belonged to a neolithic “skull cult” – a group that embraces rituals around the heads of the dead.

The remains were uncovered during field work at Göbekli Tepe, an 11,000-year-old site in the south-east of the country, where thousands of pieces of human bone were found, including sections of skulls bearing grooves, holes and the occasional dab of ochre.

Pieces of three adult skulls recovered from the sitehave hallmarks of being carved with flint after being scalped and defleshed first. Evidence that the latter was not always an effortless affair is found in multiple scrape marks where the muscles once attached to the bone.

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Roman oil and wine pottery found at Ipplepen dig site

Archaeologists washing evidence of the iron works and pottery

Archaeologists say pre-Roman Britons who lived in a rural location since the 4th Century BC may have enjoyed Mediterranean oil and wine.

Radiocarbon analysis of a dig site showed there was a settlement at Ipplepen, Devon, for about 1200 years longer than previously thought.

The discovery of Roman pottery suggests there was a community trading widely with the Roman world.

University of Exeter archaeologists are digging at the site this month.

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Podkarpackie / Unique figurine from 7 thousand years ago discovered in arable field

Photo by Piotr Alagierski
While walking in a field in one of the villages of Podkarpacie, an archaeologist from Wielkopolska came across a fragment of a clay figurine from around 7 thousand years ago, depicting a man. This is one of the few finds of this type from this period in Poland - believes the finder.
Archaeologist Piotr Alagierski spent his vacation in the village Kosina in Podkarpacie. On a Sunday walk in a cultivated field, he stumbled upon a 7-centimeter fragment of a man figurine made of fired clay. Most of the clearly shaped head, torso and part of the hand have survived to our times - according to the information provided to PAP by the finder.

"There is no doubt that this is a national-level monument - one of the oldest depictions of a human in our country. Similar finds from that period are very rare" - the archaeologist noted in an interview with PAP.

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