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Latest Archaeology News

ASIA

 Early dispersal of neolithic domesticated sheep into the heart of central Asia

 Along the Tian Shan and Alay mountain ranges of Central Asia, sheep and other domestic livestock form the core economy of contemporary life. Although it was here that the movements of their ancient predecessors helped to shape the great trade networks of the Silk Road, domestic animals were thought to have come relatively late to the region. A new study, published…

No evidence of interbreeding between modern humans and the ancient humans in Island Southeast Asia

An international group of researchers led by the University of Adelaide has conducted a comprehensive genetic analysis and found no evidence of interbreeding between modern humans and the ancient humans known from fossil records in Island Southeast Asia. They did find further DNA evidence of our mysterious ancient cousins, the Denisovans, which could mean there are major discoveries to come in the region. In the study published in *Nature Ecology and Evolution,* the researchers examined the genomes of more than 400 modern humans to investigate the interbreeding events between anci..

Near East

‘House of the Drinking Contest’ Mosaic Among Restored Artifacts From the Ancient City of Antioch in New Exhibition


× Roman, Antioch, Mosaic pavement from The House of the Drinking Contest, c. AD 200 — 300, Stone Tesserae, Museum purchase, Museum of Fine Arts, St. PetersburgHellenistic, Seleuceia Pieria, Gravestone of Tryphe , c. 150 — 100 BC, White marble, Princeton University Art Museum: Gift of the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch to Princeton UniversitRoman, Tetrarchic, Relief from a Sarcophagus with Christ as the Good Shepherd , c. AD 300, Marble, Princeton University Art Museum: Gift of the Friends of the Princeton University Art Museumxcavation of Antioch – on – the – Orontes, Vi…

Archaeologists uncover earliest evidence of domesticated dogs in Arabian Peninsula

A team of archaeologists in north-west the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has uncovered the earliest evidence of dog domestication by the region’s ancient inhabitants. The discovery came from one of the projects…

How people living in what is now Turkey over 5,000 years ago adapted agricultural practices as conditions became more arid

Humans are remarkably adaptable, and our ancestors have survived challenges like the changing climate in the past. Now, research is providing insight into how people who lived over 5,000 years ago managed to adapt. Madelynn von Baeyer Ph.D. ’18, now at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, UConn Associate Professor of Anthropology Alexia Smith, and Professor Sharon Steadman from The State University of New York College at Cortland recently published a paper in the *Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports* looking at how people living in what is now Turkey …

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Early Neolithic sheep-breeders were faced with high levels of mortality among young animals

A study of ancient bones shows that Early Neolithic sheep-breeders were faced with high levels of mortality among young animals in their herds. A statistical model, partly developed at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich, allowed the age distribution of the bones to be precisely determined. In the 8th millennium BCE, early sheep-herders were already aware that the conditions under which their animals were housed had an impact on mortality rates among the lambs. This one result of a study researchers led by Nadja Pöllath (a curator at the State Collection for Anthropol…

Europe – Neanderthals

Neanderthal ancestry identifies oldest modern human genome


The fossil skull of a woman in Czechia has provided the oldest modern human genome yet reconstructed, representing a population that formed before the ancestors of present-day Europeans and Asians split apart MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN HISTORY Research News SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: INITIAL ATTEMPTS TO DATE ZLATÝ K?? BASED ON THE SHAPE OF HER SKULL SUGGESTED SHE WAS AT LEAST 30,000 YEARS OLD. RESEARCHERS NOW BELIEVE SHE LIVED MORE THAN 45,000 YEARS… view more CREDIT: MARTIN FROUZ Ancient DNA from Neandertals and early modern humans has …

Ancient genomes shed new light on the earliest Europeans and their relationships with Neandertals


PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: THE NICHE 1 SECTOR (LEFT) AND THE MAIN SECTOR (RIGHT) DURING THE EXCAVATIONS OF BACHO KIRO CAVE, BULGARIA, IN 2016. THE CEMENT AREA IN THE FOREGROUND WAS PREVIOUSLY EXCAVATED IN… view more CREDIT: MPI-EVA/ NIKOLAY ZAHERIEV An international research team has sequenced the genomes of the oldest securely dated modern humans in Europe who lived around 45,000 years ago in Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria. By comparing their genomes to the genomes of people who lived later in Europe and in Asia the researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutiona…

AFRICA

Modern human brain originated in Africa around 1.7 million years ago

Modern humans are fundamentally different from our closest living relatives, the great apes: We live on the ground, walk on two legs and have much larger brains. The first populations of the genus Homo emerged in Africa about 2.5 million years ago. They already walked upright, but their brains were only about half the size of today’s humans. These earliest Homo populations in Africa …

Humans were apex predators for two million years


What did our ancestors eat during the stone age? Mostly meat TEL-AVIV UNIVERSITY Research News SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: HUMAN BRAIN view more CREDIT: DR. MIKI BEN DOR Researchers at Tel Aviv University were able to reconstruct the nutrition of stone age humans. In a paper published in the Yearbook of the American Physical Anthropology Association, Dr. Miki Ben-Dor and Prof. Ran Barkai of the Jacob M. Alkov Department of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, together with Raphael Sirtoli of Portugal, show that humans were an apex predator for about two mil…

Early humans in the Kalahari were as innovative as their coastal neighbours

Archaeological evidence in a rockshelter at the edge of the Kalahari Desert, South Africa, is challenging the idea that the origins of our species were linked to coastal environments UNIVERSITY OF INNSBRUCK Research News SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE AT A ROCK SHELTER IN SOUTH AFRICA’S KALAHARI DESERT: MORE THAN 100,000 YEARS AGO, PEOPLE USED THE SO-CALLED GA-MOHANA HILL NORTH ROCKSHELTER FOR SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES…. view more CREDIT: JAYNE WILKINS “Our findings from this rockshelter show that overly simplified models for the origins of…

ISRAEL

Was a much earlier version of Deuteronomy discovered and then lost?

Jonathan Kantrowitz, Archaeology News Report – 1 week ago
“In 1883, a Jerusalem antiquities dealer named Moses Wilhelm Shapira announced the discovery of a remarkable artifact: 15 manuscript fragments, supposedly discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea. Blackened with a pitchlike substance and their paleo-Hebrew script nearly illegible, they contained what Shapira claimed was the “original” Book of Deuteronomy, perhaps even Moses’ own copy. The discovery drew newspaper headlines around the world, and Shapira offered the treasure to the British Museum for 1 million pounds. While the museum’s expert evaluated it, two fragments were put on …

Americas

Study: Scant evidence that ‘wood overuse’ at Cahokia caused collapse

IMAGE: ARCHAEOLOGISTS AT WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS FOUND SCANT EVIDENCE THAT ‘WOOD OVERUSE’ AT CAHOKIA CAUSED LOCAL FLOODING AND SUBSEQUENT COLLAPSE.view more CREDIT: JOE ANGELES / WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY Whatever ultimately caused inhabitants to abandon Cahokia, it was not because they cut down too many trees, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis. Archaeologists from Arts & Sciences excavated around earthen mounds and analyzed sediment cores to test a…

Mummified parrots point to trade in the ancient Atacama desert


Research News PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: MUMMIFIED SCARLET MACAW RECOVERED FROM PICA 8 IN NORTHERN CHILE. CALOGERO SANTORO AND JOSÉ CAPRILES. view more CREDIT: CALOGERO SANTORO, UNIVERSIDAD DE TARAPACÁ, AND JOSÉ CAPRILES, PENN STATE Ancient Egyptians mummified cats, dogs, ibises and other animals, but closer to home in the South American Atacama desert, parrot mummies reveal that between 1100 and 1450 CE, trade from other areas brought parrots and macaws to oasis communities, according to an international and interdisciplinary team. “Feathers are valued across …

Astronomy and Landscape in the city of Caral, the oldest city in the Americas


INSTITUTO DE ASTROFÍSICA DE CANARIAS (IAC) Research News SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: ONE OF THE MAIN PYRAMIDAL BUILDINGS OF THE CENTRAL SQUARE OF CARAL, WHOSE MAJOR AXIS IS ORIENTED PARALLEL TO THE SUPE RIVER, AND TOWARDS THE MAJOR SOUTHERN LUNASTICE. view more CREDIT: A. CÉSAR GONZÁLEZ-GARCÍA (INCIPIT-CSIC). A team of researchers, led by the Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio (Incipit-CSIC) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), in collaboration with the team from the Arqueological Zone of Caral (Perú) led by Dr. Ruth Shady Solís, has establ…

Ancient Maya houses show wealth inequality is tied to despotic governance

Every society has some degree of wealth inequality–over history, across continents, there always seem to be some people who have more than others. But the amount of inequality differs–in some civilizations, a few powerful people have nearly all the wealth, whereas in others, it’s more spread out. In a new study in *PLOS ONE*, archaeologists examined the remains of houses in ancient Maya cities and compared them with other Mesoamerican societies; they found that the societies with the most wealth inequality were also the ones that had governments that concentrated power with a sm…

Underwater sites challenge the current understanding of ancient coastal life in the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Europe

The excavation of shell middens off two sites in the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Europe dating back to when the seabed was dry land thousands of years ago, reveal how they can offer new ground-breaking insights into the hidden history of submerged landscapes. An international team of archaeologists from Moesgaard Museum (Denmark), the University Of Georgia (USA), the University of York (UK) Flinders University and James Cook University partnered to excavate two sites containing shell middens in the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Jutland in Denmark in 2018, showing that middens can be…

Worth one’s salt- Researchers uncover more on the ancient Maya commodity

Research News The first documented record of salt as an ancient Maya commodity at a marketplace is depicted in a mural painted more than 2,500 years ago at Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. In the mural that portrays daily life, a salt vendor shows what appears to be a salt cake wrapped in leaves to another person, who holds a large spoon over a basket, presumably of loose, granular salt. This is the earliest known record of salt being sold at a marketplace in the Maya region. Salt is a basic biological necessity and is also useful for pr…

Scythians

Ancient genomes trace the origin and decline of the Scythians


MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN HISTORY Research News SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: MOUND 4 OF THE ELEKE SAZY NECROPOLIS IN EASTERN KAZAKHSTAN view more CREDIT: ZAINOLLA SAMASHEV Because of their interactions and conflicts with the major contemporaneous civilizations of Eurasia, the Scythians enjoy a legendary status in historiography and popular culture. The Scythians had major influences on the cultures of their powerful neighbors, spreading new technologies such as saddles and other improvements for horse riding. The ancient Greek, Roman, Per…


Europe
 

Foetus in bishop’s 1679 coffin was probably his grandson

Bishop Peder Winstrup died in 1679, and is one of the most well-preserved human bodies from the 1600s. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden may now have solved the mystery of why a foetus was hidden in his coffin in Lund Cathedral. DNA from the bishop and the foetus, along with kinship analyses, has shown that the child was probably the bishop’s own grandson. Something is protruding between Bishop Peder Winstrup’s two calves. The X-ray reveals small bones. Could it be an animal? When the image is studied more closely, the osteologists from Lund University can see faint signs…

800-year-old medieval pottery fragments reveal Jewish dietary practices


PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: MAP SHOWING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CITY OF OXFORD FROM THE 8TH CENTURY TO C. 1292, WITH THE JEWISH QUARTER SHOWN IN BLUEview more CREDIT: PAM MANIX A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, with archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology, have found the first evidence of a religious diet locked inside pottery fragments excavated from the early medieval Jewish community of Oxford. Keeping kosher is one of the oldest known diets across the world and, for an observant Jew, maintaining these dietary laws (known as Kashruth) is a fundame…

The origin and uniqueness of Basque genetics revealed

A new study reveals that the genetic uniqueness of the Basque population is not due to its external origin in respect of other Iberian populations, but reduced contacts as of the Iron Age. UNIVERSITAT POMPEU FABRA – BARCELONA Research News SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: COLOUR REPRESENTATION OF THE GENETIC MIX AND STRUCTURE IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY; GREEN SYMBOLIZES THE BASQUES, WHILE BLUE AND RED SHOW MIXING WITH ADJACENT POPULATIONS. view more CREDIT: ANDRÉ FLORES-BELLO The Basques are a unique population in Western Europe; their language is not related to any I…

Sheepskin as an anti-fraud device for hundreds of years

Medieval and early modern lawyers chose to write on sheepskin parchment because it helped prevent fraud, new analysis suggests. Experts have identified the species of animals used for British legal documents dating from the 13th to 20th century, and have discovered they were almost always written on sheepskin, rather than goatskin or calfskin vellum. This may have been because the structure of sheepskin made attempts to remove or modify text obvious. Sheep deposit fat in-between the various layers of their skin. During parchment manufacture, the skin is submerged in lime, which …

Warriors’ down bedding in boat graves from the 600s and 700s CE

The burial field in Valsgärde outside Uppsala in central Sweden contains more than 90 graves from the Iron Age. “On a light note, we could say that Valsgärde is Scandinavia’s answer to Sutton Hoo in England as portrayed in the film The Dig on Netflix,” says Birgitta Berglund, professor emeritus of archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s NTNU University Museum. Valsgärde is especially known for its spectacular boat graves from the 600s and 700s CE. This timeframe is in the middle of what Norway calls the Merovingian period, the era just before the Vik…

The Painters of Pompeii: Roman Frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples


× “The Painters of Pompeii: Roman Frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples” will travel exclusively to Oklahoma City Museum of Art, from June 26 to Oct. 17, 2021. Archivio Fotografico del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli The exhibition “The Painters of Pompeii: Roman Frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples” will travel exclusively to Oklahoma City Museum of Art from Italy and be on view from June 26 to Oct. 17, 2021. “The Painters of Pompeii” highlights a seldom seen medium – the Roman wall painting – which was pervasive in ancient Rome, th…

Bronze Age mining sites in what is now Austria received deliveries of pre-processed foods

Bronze Age mining sites relied on outside sources to deliver pre-processed food to sustain the community, according to a study published March 24, 2021 in the open-access journal *PLOS ONE* by Andreas Heiss of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and colleagues. Bronze Age copper mining sites are thought to have been specialized communities of craftspeople and miners that would not have produced their own food, instead requiring food to be provided by outside sources. While some research has examined the animal-based foods common to these communities, few studies have investigated pl…

LAST SUMMARY

Latest Archaeology Reports

*Africa* Ancient bone artefact found The discovery of a rare bone artefact near the Lower Murray River casts more light on the rich archaeological record on Ngarrindjeri country in southern Australia. Details of the Murrawong bone point, dated between c. 5,300-3,800 years old, has have been described by Flinders University, Griffith University … Ancient skeletal hand could reveal evolutionary secrets A 4.4 million-year-old skeleton could show how early humans moved and began to walk upright, according to new research led by a Texas A&M anthropology professor Evolutionary e…