Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Europe's Earliest Humans Did Not Use Fire

New research conducted by scientists at the University of York and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona reveals for the first time that Europe's earliest humans did not use fire for cooking, but had a balanced diet of meat and plants - all eaten raw.

Studying dental plaque from a 1.2 million year old hominin (early human species), recovered by the Atapuerca Research Team in 2007 in Sima del Elefante in northern Spain, archaeologists extracted microfossils to find the earliest direct evidence of food eaten by early humans.

These microfossils included traces of raw animal tissue, uncooked starch granules indicating consumption of grasses, pollen grains from a species of pine, insect fragments and a possible fragment of a toothpick.

All detected fibres were uncharred, and there was also no evidence showing inhalation of microcharcoal - normally a clear indicator of proximity to fire.

Read the rest of this article...

Archäologen entdecken erste befestigte Flachland-Siedlung der Eisenzeit in Westfalen

Werne (lwl). Wo der Versandhandelsriese Amazon aktuell künftige Geschenke für das Weihnachtsfest lagert, deponierten die Menschen schon vor über 2.000 Jahren in Speichern und Gruben Lebensmittel und Ernten. Mit Siedlungsspuren aus dem ersten Jahrhundert vor Christi Geburt rechneten die Archäologen des Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) durchaus, als die Untersuchungen auf dem Gelände des neuen Logistikzentrums des Versandhändlers in Werne begannen. Dass zusätzlich eine gewaltige Befestigungsanlage bei den Bauarbeiten im neuen Gewerbegebiet Wahrbrink II zum Vorschein kam, war eine Überraschung. Die Archäologen dokumentierten hier die Spuren der ersten Siedlung der Eisenzeit in Westfalen abseits der Gebirgsregionen, die mit einem riesigen Graben gesichert war. 

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Neanderthals visited seaside cave in England for 180,000 years

SAINT HELIER, Jersey, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Neanderthals may have taken vacations, or at least they liked the view from the granite cliffs of Jersey. New evidence suggests Neanderthals visited La Cotte de St Brelade, a prehistoric site on the island of Jersey, for at least 180,000 years.
Previous surveys of La Cotte de St Brelade have been limited in scope, focused mostly on concentrations of mammoth remains within the cave. The latest effort involved a wide-angle approach.
Researchers re-examined stone artifacts unearthed in the 1970s to better understand how they were made and where materials were sourced from. The survey helped archaeologists get a better sense of how visitors to La Cotte de St Brelade utilized local resources and the surrounding landscape. The analysis also revealed where Neanderthals were visiting from.
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sex of prehistoric hand-stencil artists can be determined forensic analysis

"This geometric approach is very powerful as it allows us to look at the palm and fingers independently," researcher Patrick Randolph-Quinney said.

Researchers built a model cave wall to test their ability to determine the sex of hand stencil artists in the lab. Photo by University of Liverpool

Attempts to determine the sex of prehistoric hand-stencil artists have turned up contradicting conclusions. Researchers in England and South Africa suggest focusing on hand size and finger length is unreliable.

To solve the problem, scientists adopted a forensics technique to yield more definitive results. Scientists believe the new analysis strategy can sex 40,000-year-old hand stencils with 90 percent accuracy.

"The problem with focussing on hand size and finger length is that two different shaped hands can have identical linear dimensions and ratios," Patrick Randolph-Quinney, a forensic anthropologist at the universities of Central Lancashire and Witwatersrand, said in a news release. "To capture shape, we applied geometric morphometrics, a technique used in forensic studies that had never been tested on hand stencils before."

Read the rest of this article...

Late Bronze Age Grave Of Yound Girl Wearing Elaborate Diadem Found In Northern Greece

The skeleton of the young girl as found during the discovery of the tomb [Credit: Ethnos]

The coronet was unearthed among a trove of other valuable personal items found in the grave of a young girl thought to be between 6-7 years of age.

The diadem, which is comprised of three rows of spherical bronze plates mounted on a perishable material (leather or, more likely, a fabric), was wrapped at least twice around the girl's head.

Archaeologist Konstantinos Noulas said the skeleton of the girl, found in a strongly contacted position in the grave, was adorned with numerous jewels and precious items. Among these was a necklace with glass and carnelian beads, a bracelet, three bronze rings, two bronze girdles or belts, while pottery surrounded the interior of the grave.

Read the rest of this article...

Why don't humans have a penis bone? Scientists may now know

Speed of human mating might be behind the lack of a baculum in humans, suggests study tracing bone’s evolution

It can be as long as a finger in a monkey. In the walrus, it can be two feet long. But the human male has lost it completely. And researchers are a little stumped.
Known as the baculum to scientists with an interest, the penis bone is a marvel of evolution. It pops up in mammals and primates around the world, but varies so much in terms of length and whether it is present at all, that it is described as the most diverse bone ever to exist.
Prompted by the extraordinary differences in penis bone length found in the animal kingdom, scientists set out to reconstruct the evolutionary story of the baculum, by tracing its appearance in mammals and primates throughout history.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

France to unveil stunning copy of landmark prehistoric art cave

More than 70 years after the original cave was discovered, France will unveil a stunning real-to-life copy of the 18,000 year-old Lascaux cave, which cost €66 million and took four years to create.
The last of four boys who discovered the Lascaux cave paintings, a stunning display of prehistoric art in southwest France, will visit a new replica of the site Saturday.
Simon Coencas, now 89, will join President Francois Hollande for the inauguration of the display at a visitors' centre in Montignac, a village at the foot of the hills where he discovered the cave as a teenager.
More than seven decades after he got his first look at the site, Coencas will -- health permitting -- revisit a complete copy of the caves.
Read the rest of this article...

Human blood, organs, and a surprising virus detected in ancient pottery

The vessels were interred in a burial mound near an Iron Age hillfort in Germany, known as the Heuneburg, reconstructed here.

Sometime between 600 and 450 B.C.E., a high-status individual in what is today Germany developed some disturbing symptoms: large bruises, bleeding from the nose and gums, and bloody diarrhea and urine. His fellow villagers, shocked—or perhaps intrigued—by his condition, stored his blood and organs in pottery vessels after he died, and interred them in a burial mound. Now, using a novel technique based on analyzing ancient proteins, archaeologists have reconstructed the contents of these vessels to conclude that the individual likely died from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), a severe tick-borne disease that still kills people across the world today.
"This is the first identification of CCHFV or any hemorrhagic fever virus in the archaeological record," says Conner Wiktorowicz, the study's lead researcher and a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. It’s also the only known example of human blood and organs being buried in pottery vessels during this time in this region, raising the question of whether this was a more widespread practice, previously unknown to archaeologists.
The contents of ceramic vessels decay over time, leaving a film of residue containing proteins from any organic matter stored within. Archaeologists are exploring new ways to recover and analyze these proteins. In the new study, a team led by Wiktorowicz ground up a small portion of each of the pottery fragments (or sherds), used detergent and other chemicals to dislodge any proteins stuck to them, and isolated and analyzed the protein fragments using various techniques. The team then fed this information into a national protein database.
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Archaeologists uncover clues to life of Iron Age man

Archaeologists have been able to provide insights into the life of a man whose remains were found at an Iron Age site on Orkney.
A human jaw with two teeth was discovered centrally placed in a large, carved whalebone vertebra within the ruins of a broch earlier this year.
Analysis, including radiocarbon dates, of the find on South Ronaldsay show the man died when he was 50 or older.
His diet also appears to have been unusually rich in fish.

Read the rest of this article...

Anglesey dig discovers human remains at 'internationally important' neolithic site

Archaeologists have also unearthed a fourth house from the period at the Llanfaethlu dig.
CR Archeology have been working at the site since late 2014 and have called the discoveries made there "unparalleled".
More than 6,000 artefacts have been recovered which is the most of any Prehistoric site in North Wales and these include a massive range of pottery styles from both the neolithic and Bronze age.
The discovery of two partial sets of human remains could cause a "revolution" in how historians view the origins of North Wales agriculture, say CR Archeology, who have been working with Anglesey Council, Wynne Construction and Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Services.
Read the rest of this article...

Moderner als gedacht - Neandertaler passten ihre Überlebensstrategien aktiv an

Wissenschaftler des Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment an der Universität Tübingen haben herausgefunden, dass Neandertaler auch ohne äußere Einflüsse, wie Umwelt- oder Klimaveränderungen ihre Überlebensstrategien variierten. Mit einer neuen Methode zeigen sie anhand von Karbonatisotopie an fossilen Zähnen, dass die Vorfahren der heutigen Menschen vor 250.000 Jahren moderner in ihrer Entwicklung waren als bisher gedacht.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

‘Bronze Age burial reveals its long held secret’

Archaeologists studying Neolithic and Early Bronze Age human remains in the Manx Museum collection for the ‘Round Mounds of the Isle of Man’ project have made an exciting discovery. 

Contained within a box of cremated bones excavated in 1947, osteologist Dr Michelle Gamble, discovered a collection of small bone objects that had not been noticed by the excavators. The bones had been buried almost 4000 years ago at Staarvey Farm in what is now German parish, Isle of Man. 

The site was excavated by Basil Megaw (1913-2002) who was director of the Manx Museum (1945-1957). Mr Megaw had been contacted by the farmer who had hit a large stone during ploughing. Excavations revealed a stone-built cist (a box made out of stone slabs) containing fragments of burnt bone, two flint tools, and two Collared Urns (Bronze Age pots) buried upside-down. But it is only now that the bones have been studied in detail.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, November 28, 2016

5,000-Year-Old Hill Fort 'Damaged By Metal Detectors'

Cissbury Ring is the largest hill fort in Sussex [Credit: National Trust]

A 5,000-year-old hill fort is being damaged by the "illicit use of metal detectors", police say. The damage to Cissbury Ring, on the South Downs near Worthing, is irreversible, Sussex Police said.

The use of metal detectors on scheduled monuments is prohibited without a licence.

PCSO Daryl Holter said: "Illicit metal detecting is a shady unscrupulous act, and deliberate damage to this site is irreversible."

He said the site was protected by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and managed by the National Trust.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Vast 5,600-year-old religious centre discovered near Stonehenge

The centre was built more than 1,000 years before the stones of Stonehenge were erected

A reconstruction of part of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure at Windmill Hill, which would have been similar to the complex discovered near Stonehenge Historic England Archive/Judith Dobie

A huge, prehistoric religious and ceremonial complex has been discovered near Britain’s most famous prehistoric temple Stonehenge. 

Its discovery is likely to transform our understanding of the early development of Stonehenge’s ancient landscape.

Built about 5,650 years ago – more than 1,000 years before the great stones of Stonehenge were erected – the 200m-diameter complex is the first major early Neolithic monument to be discovered in the Stonehenge area for more than a century.

Read the rest of this article...


A second Antiquity fortress has been found at the ancient rock shrine Hasara near Bulgaria’s Mineralni Bani. Photo: Mineralni Bani Municipality

A second previously unknown Antiquity fortress has been found by archaeologists a prehistoric and later Ancient Thracian rock shrine in an area known as Hasara near the town of Angel Voyvoda, Mineralni Bani Municipality, Haskovo District, in Southern Bulgaria.

In May-June 2016, the team of archaeologists led by Assoc. Prof. Zdravko Dimitrov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia announced the discovery of an Ancient Roman fortress with an Early Christian church at the ancient rock shrine near Bulgaria’s Angel Voyvoda.

The Ancient Thracians were found to have used the Hasara shrine at about the period of the Trojan War.

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeological finds on route of Inverness West Link

Burnt grains and timbers found while excavating a grain-drying kiln at Torvean

Prehistoric and Bronze Age finds have been made during work to construct the new Inverness West Link road.
Pottery fragments and the remains of kilns used for drying grain were among discoveries made at Torvean.
Archaeologists who have been monitoring the building of the West Link displayed some of the items at Lochardil Primary School last week.
The new road is being built for Highland Council to ease traffic flow through Inverness.
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, November 11, 2016

Prehistoric Greenlanders ate bowhead whales to survive 4,000 years ago

Bowhead whales in the Fram Strait between Svalbard and Greenlandfruchtzwerg's world/Flickr

The first humans to arrive at Greenland feasted on bowhead whales in order to survive, scientists believe. Through DNA analysis, researchers have reconstructed the diets of the first settlers, finding large marine mammals were a bigger part of their diet than previously believed.

How paleo-Eskimo cultures successfully migrated to Greenland is not entirely known. They first arrived around 4,500 years ago and there were several waves of settlement. However, most of our understanding of the culture is based on fossils analysed using traditional techniques. Because of this mostly consists of bones, a skewed picture of their diet emerges.

In a study published in Nature Communications, scientists from the University of Copenhagen looked at the DNA extracted from sediments that dated back to 2000BCE. Samples came from four well-described midden deposits and allowed the team to distinguish organic tissue, including fat, skin and microfossils. From this they could work out which species it belonged to.

Read the rest of this article...

Shackle-Bound Skeleton Found in Etruscan Burial

The gruesome find suggests the ancient people had a dark side.

Archaeologists digging in central Tuscany have brought to light a dark side of the Etruscan civilization, unearthing a 2,500-year-old skeleton still bound by shackles on his neck and ankles.

The finding appears to be the first case of an Etruscan burial containing a shackled individual.

The unusual grave was found in Populonia, a unique Etruscan settlement built directly on the sea. There, in a simple pit dug into the sandy soil near the beach of Baratti, the archaeologists found the complete skeleton of a male between 20 and 30 years of age.

Read the rest of this article...

The Fate Of Neanderthal Genes

The Neanderthals disappeared about 30,000 years ago, but little pieces of them live on in the form of DNA sequences scattered through the modern human genome. A new study by geneticists at the University of California, Davis, shows why these traces of our closest relatives are slowly being removed by natural selection.

Modern humans and Neanderthals interbred tens of thousands of years ago. New work shows how the difference in  population size has led to genes that survived in Neanderthals being removed from the modern human genome 
[Credit: WikiCommons/DrMikeBaxter]

“On average, there has been weak but widespread selection against Neanderthal genes,” said Graham Coop, professor in the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology and Center for Population Biology, and senior author on a paper describing the work published in the journal PLOS Genetics. That selection seems to be a consequence of a small population of Neanderthals mixing with a much larger population of modern humans.

Neanderthals split from our African ancestors over half a million years ago, and lived in Europe and Central Asia until a few tens of thousands of years ago. Archaeological discoveries have shown that they had quite a sophisticated culture, Coop said. Thanks to DNA samples retrieved from a number of fossils, we have enough data on the Neanderthal genome to identify their genes among ours.

When modern humans left Africa about 50,000 to 80,000 years ago and spread through Europe and Asia, they interbred with Neanderthals. The first hybrid offspring would have been, on average, a 50-50 mix of modern human and Neanderthal genes, and could then have themselves bred with modern humans, Neanderthals or other hybrids.

Read the rest of this article...

Monday, November 7, 2016

A 9,000-year-old axe sheds light on burial practices

Ireland’s earliest burial site gives up the secrets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors

Analysis of an axe that is more than 9,000 years old, found at Ireland’s earliest burial site, in Co Limerick, has shed light on the ancient burial practices of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Archaeologists believe the highly-polished stone axe, known as an adze, was made especially for the funeral of a very important person, whose remains were cremated and then buried at the site.

Microscopic analysis has revealed the shale tool, believed to be the earliest fully polished adze in Europe, was only used for a short time, and then deliberately blunted.

Situated on the banks of the river Shannon at Hermitage, Castleconnell, the burial site, dating back to between 7,530 and 7,320 BC, is twice as old as Newgrange.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

‘Ancient Passage Tomb’ Found Beneath Dublin’s Hellfire Club

An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club - the popular Dublin viewing spot on Montpelier Hill in the Dublin mountains - has uncovered what is believed to be an ancient passage tomb.

An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club in the Dublin mountains has uncovered what is
believed to be an ancient passage tomb [Credit:Abarta Heritage]

Archaeologists working at the site near Tallaght in South County Dublin believe the large tomb discovered beneath the remains of the former lodge was once a large passage tomb similar to the tomb at Newgrange.

It is believed the passage tomb, which was destroyed by workmen building the Hellfire Club shooting lodge in 1725, would have once been a large circular mound with a stone line passageway that led to a burial chamber. This type of tomb generally dates to around 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic period.

Archaeologists taking part in the dig believe the tomb is part of an extended cemetery of tombs that top a number of mountains in south Dublin and Wicklow.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stone Age people 'roasted rodents for food' - archaeologists

The vole may have been a food source 5,000 years ago
Rodents appear to have been roasted for food by Stone Age people as early as 5,000 years ago, archaeological evidence suggests.
Bones from archaeological sites in Orkney show voles were cooked or boiled for food, or possibly for pest control.
This is the first evidence for the exploitation of rodents by Neolithic people in Europe, say scientists.
Rodents were consumed later in history, with the dormouse regarded as a delicacy during Roman times.
The Orkney vole - found only on the archipelago - is thought to be a subspecies of the European common vole.

Read the rest of this article...

5,000 years ago, rodents were apparently considered food in part of Europe

New evidence including this ancient, charred vole mandible suggests that 5,000 years ago, rodents were on the menu in Europe. (Courtesy of Jeremy Herman)
The European palate may not always have been so sophisticated.
This week, researchers report the first evidence of ancient Europeans snacking on rodents at least 5,000 years ago.
The discovery suggests that rodents like mice and voles have not always been mere pests hellbent on annoying humanity throughout its history: They may have been a food source as well. 
“Rodents are frequently excavated from older archaeological sites in Europe, but people haven’t examined why they are there,” said Jeremy Herman, a biologist at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. “Maybe because they are not currently a food source in Europe, no one ever thought to ask if they had been in the past.”
Read the rest of this article...

Spectacular archaeological find in Denmark

More and more Stone Age maps are turning up on Bornholm (photo: National Museum)

A mysterious stone found in a ditch on Bornholm by archaeology students during the summer has proven to be a 5,000 years old map.
According to the magazine Skalk, the stone was discovered during  archaeological excavation work at the Neolithic shrine Vasagård.
The stone has been studied by researchers at the National Museum of Denmark. Unlike previous and similar findings, archaeologist and senior researcher at the National Museum, Flemming Kaul, is reasonably certain that the stone does not show the sun and the sun’s rays, but displays the topographic details of a piece of nature on the island as it appeared between the years 2700 and 2900 BC.
Read the rest of this article...

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]
Read the rest of this article...

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.
Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

Friday, September 16, 2016


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.
Read the rest of this article...

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.
Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.”
Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.
Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.

Read the rest of this article...

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.
Read the rest of this article...