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]
Tests are being carried out to find out how the man died
[Credit: Hills Quarry]
Archaeologists made the discovery at Woodsford, near Dorchester, where they have been carrying out excavations for several years. Thames Valley Archaeological Services said the man died in his 20s or 30s. Tests are being carried out to determine how he died and to understand more about his "unusual grave". The limestone sarcophagus was found in a 1.80m (5ft 11in)-long, 0.55m (1ft 10in)-wide and 0.3m (1ft)-deep grave. Read the rest of this article...
Les fouilles préventives réalisées sur prescription de l’Etat par une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap sur le parc Saint-Georges avaient mis au jour, en 2003, 16 bateaux dont un chaland datant du deuxième siècle de notre ère, vraisemblablement utilisé pour le commerce fluvial sur le Rhône. Propriété de la Métropole de Lyon, ce chaland est destiné au musée gallo-romain de Lyon Fourvière. Dans cette perspective, il a subi une restauration complète, conjointement pilotée par un archéologue de l’Inrap et une restauratrice d’Arc-Nucléart. Read the rest of this article...
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...
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.
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.
Othe surface,Oppenheimlooks like your typical German town resting along the banks of the Rhine River. But there's more to Oppenheim than beer halls and a Gothic-style cathedral from the Middle Ages. Beneath its narrow cobblestone streets lies something deeper—an entire labyrinth of tunnels and cellars.
“The town is practically honeycombed with cavities,” Wilfried Hilpke, a tour guide with Oppenheim’s tourism office, tells Smithsonian.com.
Hilpke should know. For the past ten years, he’s spent much of his time leading hour-long hardhat tours of Oppenheim’s elaborate tunnel system, taking visitors through a journey that covers just a fraction of the 25 miles of known tunnels residing beneath the surface. (It’s believed that there could be more than 124 miles of tunnels underneath the town, which is located 30 miles southwest of Frankfurt. However, many sections remain uncharted; they are thought to lead to private cellars beneath residents’ homes.)
Not only are the Kellerlabyrinth tunnels long in distance, but their history is equally deep. According to Hilpke, some of the oldest tunnels date back to 700 A.D. The tunnels got their start as food and wine storage cellars, and workers carved out the bulk of them using pickaxes and shovels during the 1600s, when residents were in need of extra storage space and channels to transport goods like wine. The tunnels took on a secondary purpose when the city's inhabitants used them to hide from Spanish troops during theThirty Years' War. (They also used them to store Katharinenkirche cathedral’s stained glass windows to protect them during that war's bombardments.)
A new archaeological excavation in Denmark reveals the remains of graves and buildings that span the Stone Age, Bronze Age, the Vikings, and right up to the Middle Ages.
Archaeologists are busy unearthing the traces of three thousand years of activity at Silkeborg, west Denmark.
Excavations have already revealed pit-houses, which were typically used as workshops during the Viking era, and residential homes in the so-called Trelleborg style (see Fact Box), together with several graves.
At least two of the graves could have accommodated high-status Vikings.
“There’s been activity here at least since the Stone Age,” says one of the archaeologists involved in the dig, Maria Thiemke, from the Silkeborg Museum, Denmark.
“There’s at least 14 houses and five graves from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, right up until the Middle Ages,” says Thiemke.
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.
From the excavation site in Stöðvarfjörður. Photo: Screenshot from Stöð 2
A recent archeological find in Iceland suggests that the country may have been inhabited as early as the year 800, or 74 years earlier than its official settlement date, Vísir reports. Four weeks of excavation in Stöðvarfjörður, the East Fjords, under the direction of archeologist Bjarni F. Einarsson, have revealed some of the most interesting signs of human presence found i the country. They suggest a longhouse was built there shortly after 800, but until now, Iceland’s first permanent Nordic settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, is said to have arrived in 874.
“The C-14 dating method shows a date shortly after the year 800,” Bjarni explained. “I have no reason to doubt that analysis.”
Signs of human presence from a similar time have been discovered before in Kvosin, Reykjavík, in Hafnir, Reyjanes, and in Húshólmi by Krýsuvík.
“We’ve started detecting a longhouse-shaped structure with thick floor layers,” Bjarni stated. The long-fire is missing, but a fireplace is coming into view by one of the gables, by the wall.
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
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...
Hunters tracking geese in the wilds of southern Iceland have returned with an unexpected catch - an incredibly well-preserved 1,000 year old Viking sword. The group of hunters fortuitously stumbled upon the weapon in Skaftárhreppur, south Iceland, a region badly hit by floods last year. Pictures of the Viking weapon of war - a double edged sword - show it to be in remarkably good condition, save for the tip which has broken off. The sword is slightly curved at the point and due to years of exposure the metal blade has partially corroded. But despite years out in the open, splinters of wood can still be observed around the handle. Read the rest of this article...
Archaeology has gotten better at estimating the timeline of civilization. But there are limitations for the earliest cultures thousands of years ago, like the Maya and the Egyptians. Dating can’t get more precise than within a few centuries for those ancient peoples. But a pair of highly-radioactive solar storms that occurred long ago left their indelible mark in trees growing at the time – and could provide important new touchstones for dating civilizations, argues an Oxford team in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. Levels of the isotope carbon-14 spiked during Miyake Events, in the years 775 and 994 A.D., and is encased like a “secret clock” within timber, papyrus, linen garments, baskets and other artifacts, the team says. The Miyake Events are thought to be solar storms that bombard the Earth with gamma rays and massive amounts of solar protons, spreading the irradiated particles worldwide. “The spikes in 775 and 994 A.D. were almost vertical and of comparable magnitude all around the Earth,” said Michael Dee, the lead author, from Oxford’s School of Archaeology. “Such markers can be easily identified in known-age tree-rings and are fixed in time. Read the rest of this article...
A few friends hunting for geese accidentally discovered an impressive Viking sword this weekend which they handed over to the Cultural Heritage Centre of Iceland. The sword was found in Hrífunes, South Iceland. Only 20 such swords have been found in Iceland and this one is in a very good condition. Experts believe it dates from between 900 - 1000 AD and that it was placed in a pagan grave. Read the rest of this article...
Les archéologues étudient les vestiges de l’Abbaye Saint-Faron (VIIe-XIXe siècles) établie sur un quartier antique. La fouille permettra d'appréhender les états médiévaux de l’abbaye et d’analyser les modalités de son implantation sur les vestiges antiques. Rue Saint-Faron, préalablement à la construction d’un immeuble d’habitations, l’État (Drac Île-de-France) a prescrit des recherches archéologiques menées par l’Inrap de juillet à décembre 2016, sur 1570 m2. Les archéologues étudient les vestiges de l’Abbaye Saint-Faron (VIIe-XIXe siècles) établie sur un quartier antique. Fondé au VIIe siècle par Faron, évêque de Meaux, le monastère est d’abord dédié à Sainte Croix. Il prit ensuite le nom de son fondateur canonisé. Disparue du paysage urbain meldois avec la Révolution française, l’abbaye a fait l’objet de deux interventions archéologiques. L’une, en 1990-1991, a permis de repérer l’église abbatiale (Danielle Magnan, SRAIF), l’autre en 2012 de dégager une portion du cloître (Erwan Bergot, Inrap). La fouille actuelle, porte sur la partie sud de l’établissement monastique qui, d’après les sources historiques, est réservée à l’abbé. Son objectif est de pouvoir appréhender les états médiévaux de l’abbaye et d’analyser les modalités de son implantation sur les vestiges antiques. Read the rest of this article...
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.
Delighted volunteers at a South Shields culture spot had a blast from the past after unearthing a Roman goddess. Volunteers from the WallQuest community archaeology project and the Earthwatch Institute made the startling discovery at Arbeia Roman Fort. The dramatic discovery is a beautifully crafted miniature bronze figure of the Roman goddess Ceres which is thought to be a mount from a larger piece of furniture. Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, grain and fertility which is a highly appropriate goddess for Arbeia because it was a supply base where thousands of tons of grain were stored in granaries to feed the army stationed along Hadrian’s Wall. Read the rest of this article...
The ancient Roman kitchens of a Pompeii launderette have once again been kitted out with pots and pans as part of a new project that is trying to give visitors a sense of what day-to-day life in the city was like.
The kitchens at the Fullonica di Stephanus
[Credit: Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii]
Before they were buried by a volcanic eruption in AD 79, the kitchens once provided food for the hungry attendants of the three-storey launderette, the Fullonica di Stephanus. The Fullonica was the place where wealthy Roman patricians sent their togas to be washed in huge baths using clay and urine. The garments were then rinsed, dried and placed on special presses to ensure they returned to their noble owners crease-free. Thanks to a refurbishment which finished on Monday, the kitchens inside the Fullonica now appear as they did 2,000 years ago, complete with metal grills, pots, pans and earthenware crockery. Read the rest of this article...
This summer archaeologists have been excavating in Cornwall at Tintagel, the famous site for Arthurian Legend. The results are exhilarating.
English Heritage, which runs Tintagel, recently commissionedCornwall Archaeological Unit to carry out onsite excavations at Tintagel, the famous seat of the legendary King Arthur.
The first phase of excavations, which took place in July, included digging trenches in two previously unexcavated terrace areas of the island settlement. It was hoped research into these carefully chosen areas would reveal more about how the people of Tintagel lived in the Post-Roman period from 5th to 6th centuries AD. Read the rest of this article...
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.
Recently a very large Merovingian cemetery was discovered. With more than 600 graves the medieval archaeologists from INRAP are excited.
This summer, as part of the construction of a school in the village of Monchy-Lagache east of Amiens in Somme, an archaeological evaluation has – as is required by French law – been carried out . Huge was the amazement, when the archaeologists found a unique cemetery.
McKenna McFadden, an Irish American film and television major at New York University, is in Dublin for the summer with an NYU program. She was walking on the shore of Oney Island in Connemara in the west of Ireland this week when something sitting in the sand caught her eye. Little did she think it would be a rare artifact from the 12th century. The NYU Dublin group was being led on a tour of the island by the Connemara-based archaeologist Michael Gibbons. As McFadden told IrishCentral, “I had been looking at some rabbit burrows with my friend while on a tour of the island lead by archaeologist Michael Gibbons. When stepping back from the burrows, I looked down and saw the back of the brooch and picked it up. Read the rest of this article...
A beautifully crafted miniature bronze figure of the Roman goddess Ceres was found by volunteers from the WallQuest community archaeology project and the Earthwatch Institute at Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields.
The figure of the Roman goddess Ceres uncovered in South Shields
[Credit: Arbeia Fort]
The artifact thought to be a mount from a larger piece of furniture. Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, grain and fertility which is a highly appropriate goddess for Arbeia because it was a supply base where thousands of tons of grain were stored in granaries to feed the army stationed along Hadrian’s Wall. This is the second goddess that the WallQuest project has found at Arbeia in two years. In 2014, a local volunteer found a carved stone head of a protective goddess, ortutela. Read the rest of this article...
A team of Duke scholars and students spent this summer at two historic sites in Italy and made significant discoveries. The team, based in part in the dig@lab, a digital laboratory run by Maurizio Forte, a professor of classical studies and art, art history and visual studies, discovered two Roman Empire-era facilities, a public building and an amphitheater. The project team included Duke faculty members Bill Seaman, David Johnson, Todd Berreth and Regis Kopper, as well as Nevio Danelon, a post-doctoral fellow; Katherine McKusker, PhD student; Benedict Parfit, an undergraduate student. Everette Newton, who works with Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment's marine lab, piloted the drone used in the excavation. The team also included scholars from other universities. Read the rest of this article...
One of the largest Dane axes ever found, recovered by archaeologists from a 10th-century Viking tomb near Silkeborg in central Denmark.
Credit: Silkeborg Museum
Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest Viking axes ever found, in the tomb of a 10th-century "power couple" in Denmark.
Kirsten Nellemann Nielsen, an archaeologist at the Silkeborg Museum who is leading excavations at the site near the town of Haarup, said Danish axes like the one found in the tomb were the most feared weapons of the Viking Age.
"It's a bit extraordinary — it's much bigger and heavier than the other axes. It would have had a very long handle, and it took both hands to use it," Nielsen told Live Science. [See Photos of the 10th-Century Viking Tomb]
The simplicity of the mighty ax, without any decorations or inscriptions, suggests this fearsome weapon was not just for show. "It's not very luxurious," she said.
Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have discovered the hidden gems of the Leicestershire village during an investigation into how different generations have re-used ancient sacred places.
Archaeologists have dug into Rothley's ancient past and discovered a bronze age barrow and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery - shedding important light on the history of the area.
Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have discovered the hidden gems of the Leicestershire village during an investigation into how different generations have re-used ancient sacred places.
The project, funded by Persimmons Homes in advance of a new housing development off Loughborough Road, Rothley, explored the concept of Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon people possibly making connections with Bronze Age barrow builders in order to create their own sense of place in the landscape.
Several 2000-year-old personal hygiene sticks with remains of cloth, excavated from the latrine at Xuanquanzhi.
Credit: Reproduced from the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
Silk, tea and spices weren't the only things that travelers carried on China's legendary Silk Road: Ancient poop shows that infectious diseases were also transported along this network of trade routes, according to a new study.
Researchers excavated 2,000-year-old feces from a latrine along the Silk Road in northwestern China, and found that it contained eggs from the Chinese liver fluke, a parasitic worm that is typically found at least 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) away, according to the study.
The researchers suggested that the traveler infected with this parasite must have journeyed a great distance. "This is the earliest evidence for the spread of infectious diseases along the Silk Road, and the first to find evidence at an archaeological site along the Silk Road itself," Piers Mitchell, a paleopathologist at the University of Cambridge and the senior author of the study, told Live Science. [7 Devastating Infectious Diseases]
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.