Archaeology November 2015

How Floods Shaped Civilization   Slate - November 28, 2015

The inscriptions on this foundation cone mention the building of the temple of the god Numushda in the city of Kiritab by the king of Isin. Old Babylonian period, 2003-1595 B.C. Humans adapted to climate in the past, and we have to do so again. When it comes to confronting global climate change, we don't have much experience to draw on. As world leaders prepare to meet in Paris starting on Nov. 30 to hash out a binding international agreement to limit greenhouse gases, it appears that we are in new and frightening territory, without the past as a reliable guide.

  King Tutankhamun's tomb: Evidence grows for hidden chamber   BBC - November 28, 2015

Egyptian officials now say they are "90% sure" that there is a hidden chamber in King Tutankhamun's tomb. Clearly it does look from the radar evidence as if the tomb continues. The radar behind the north wall of Tutankhamun's burial chamber seems pretty clear as if a continuation - corridor continuation - of the tomb, which will end in another burial chamber.

More Great Images   Daily Mail- November 29, 2015

Sarcophagus of Egyptian High Priest Unearthed with Hieroglyphic Inscriptions and Scenes of Offerings   Ancient Origins - November 27, 2015

The sarcophagus of a high priest of the ancient Egyptian god Amun Ra has been unearthed in Egypt. The well preserved sarcophagus, discovered by a team of archaeologists within the 3,400-year-old tomb of a Vizier of Egypt, contains hieroglyphic inscriptions and depicts offerings to deities. The sarcophagus itself belonged to Ankh-f-n-khonsu (Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu), high priest of the deity Amun Ra, King of the Gods. The coffin was located in the tomb of Amenhotep-Huy, High official, or Vizier of Ancient Egypt during the reign of Amenhotep III.

Thermal Scan of Egyptian Pyramids Reveals Mysterious Anomaly in the Great Pyramid   Ancient Origins - November 10, 2015
Scientists looking to uncover hidden chambers and other ancient secrets of the Egyptian pyramids for the first time using powerful scanning technology, have detected an impressive anomaly within the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which could indicate something hidden behind the ancient walls. The Egyptian Ministry has announced that they have several hypotheses, but will conduct more research before revealing them.

  In Photos: Inside Egypt's Great Pyramids   Live Science - November 13, 2015
New scanning research has revealed so-called thermal anomalies in Egypt's Great Pyramid of Khufu, suggesting a space that could be a tomb within the 4,500-year-old pyramid.

Egypt detects 'impressive' anomaly in Giza pyramids   PhysOrg - November 10, 2015
Two weeks of new thermal scanning in Egypt's Giza pyramids have identified anomalies in the 4,500 year-old burial structures, including a major one in the largest pyramid. Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty and technical experts working on the project showed the higher temperature being detected in three specific adjacent stones at the bottom of the pyramid in a live thermal camera presentation to journalists. The scanning showed "a particularly impressive one (anomaly) located on the Eastern side of the Khufu pyramid at ground level," the ministry said in a statement. The largest of the three Giza pyramids is known locally as Khufu and internationally as Cheops.

Why the Pyramids Spawn So Many Wacky Theories   Live Science - November 10, 2015
GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson stands by an odd theory he floated at a commencement address: that the Egyptian pyramids are not pharaohs' tombs, but ancient grain silos built by the biblical Joseph. The 1998 claim seems out of left field, but actually goes way back - to at least the sixth century. Indeed, though the pyramids are some of the most well-researched ancient structures in the world, they have a long-standing tendency to attract crackpot theories. Over the centuries, people have argued that the pyramids were the work of everyone from Noah (of Noah's ark) to architecturally gifted aliens. Like Carson, these people ignore massive amounts of contemporary evidence about the pyramids.

The Importance of Evidence in the Heated Debate on Homosexuality in Ancient Egypt   Ancient Origins - November 5, 2015
Sexual matters and practices are quite difficult to discern in the archaeological record. Unlike diet or diseases, sexual practices do not to leave traces on human remains. Additionally, objects used during sex (e.g. contraceptives) do not usually survive in the archaeological record, assuming they existed in the first place. Moreover, for many ancient societies sex was regarded as a taboo subject and was seldom depicted in the material culture. When sex was depicted, the interpretation is made by modern viewers. To understand how the society that created such works wanted to present these images, one would need to rely on its literary sources.

Four pre-Inca tombs found in Peru's Lima   PhysOrg - November 27, 2015
Archaeologists in Peru have found four tombs that are more than 1,000 years old in a pyramid-shaped cemetery that now sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Lima. There are four human burial sites, for adult individuals, three women and one man, who lived between the years 1000 to 1450

New study finds that teaching is not essential for people to learn to make effective tools   PhysOrg - November 27, 2015
A new study from the University of Exeter has found that teaching is not essential for people to learn to make effective tools. The results counter established views about how human tools and technologies come to improve from generation to generation and point to an explanation for the extraordinary success of humans as a species. The study reveals that although teaching is useful, it is not essential for cultural progress because people can use reasoning and reverse engineering of existing items to work out how to make tools.

Oldest known Gold Jewelry in Europe Discovered at Bronze Age Bulgarian site   Ancient Origins - November 23, 2015

The first gold jewelry known to have been fashioned in Europe, about 6,600 years ago in Bulgaria, has been discovered in what the lead archaeologist calls the oldest prehistoric town in Europe. The gold pendant is small just 2 grams but it is an important find. Archaeologists uncovered the precious piece in what they call Solnitsata - a Bronze Age settlement near the town of Provadiya in the Varna region that had two-story houses about 4,400 BC. The gold, plus the houses and other developments prompted a researcher to speculate that the people of northern Bulgaria were highly advanced.

  Mysterious Middle East 'Wheel of Giants' Is As Old As Stonehenge   Huffington Post - November 12, 2015

A mysterious stone circle in the Middle East is estimated to be nearly 5,000 years old -- about the same age as Stonehenge. It's known in Arabic as Rujm el-Hiri , or "stone heap of the wild cat," and Gilgal Refaim in Hebrew, which means "Wheel of Giants" and refers to a race of giants mentioned in the Bible. The Wheel of Giants, which sits in the contested Golan Heights, is so vast that it is best seen from the sky. At the heart of the Wheel of Giants is a 15-foot-high burial mound; although who was buried there -- and whatever he or she was buried with -- were taken by tomb robbers long ago.

Stonehenge Begins to Yield Its Secrets   New York Times - November 9, 2015
About 6,300 years ago, a tree here toppled over. For the ancients in this part of southern England, it created a prime real estate opportunity next to a spring and near attractive hunting grounds. According to David Jacques, an archaeologist at the University of Buckingham, mud was pressed into the pulled-up roots, turning them into a wall. Nearby, a post was inserted into a hole, and that may have held up a roof of reeds or animal skin.

Archaeologists in Sicily excavate an ancient Greek city remarkably preserved beneath earth and sand   Ancient Origins - November 10, 2015
In 409 BC, Carthaginian troops from North Africa slaughtered and enslaved the 16,000 soldiers and residents of Selinunte, a Greek metropolis whose ruins were preserved in ancient times by blowing earth and sand. Working for many years, archaeologists have examined and excavated the entire city to find 2,500 houses, the streets and harbor and an industrial zone that produced exquisite pottery.

Unravelling the Mysteries Trapped Within Mayan Hieroglyphs   Ancient Origins - November 5, 2015
For hundreds of years, linguists have been trying to decode the ancient hieroglyphic script of the Mayans, left behind on monument carvings, painted pottery, and drawn in handmade bark-paper books. Now, thanks to ongoing work by expert linguists, decipherment is advancing at a rapid rate and almost reaching completion to date, 85 90% of the symbols have now been decoded. Completing the decipherment will be a huge step forward for deepening our understanding of the social, political, and historical aspects of Maya civilization.

Mayan Pompeii: Remarkable Ancient Village Preserved in Ash Emerges in El Salvador   Ancient Origins - November 5, 2015
About 1,400 years ago, the Loma Caldera volcano of El Salvador erupted, covering the small Maya village of Ceren in ash and preserving it in pristine condition to the present day. Unlike at Pompeii in Italy when Mount Vesuvius blew in 79 AD and surprised and killed the residents, the villagers of Ceren were able to make it out and so apparently were not killed in the eruption.Archaeologists, who've been excavating Ceren since it was discovered in 1978, have speculated that an earthquake rumbled before the volcanic eruption, giving the 200 villagers enough warning to get away in time.

Mysterious Symbols in Kazakhstan: How Old Are They, Really?   Live Science - November 5, 2015
Sprawling earthen swastika designs, crosses and rings that cover part of Kazakhstan are becoming a little less mysterious: Archaeologists have found and investigated 60 of these symbols, called geoglyphs, and determined when they were created and what their potential function might have been. The Kazakhstan geoglyphs, described at an archaeology conference in Istanbul and reported by Live Science last year, range in size from 90 to 400 meters (295 to 1,312 feet) across - longer than a commercial aircraft. The earthen works take on various geometric shapes, including squares, crosses, rings and a swastika. In ancient times, the swastika was a common design with no political undertones. Though the swastika was created from timber, most of the geoglyphs were shaped from earth.

War limits study of Roman Syrian sites, but one has yielded priceless treasures of the past   Ancient Origins - November 4, 2015
The war has so disrupted parts of the Near East that scholars have just a few Roman Empire sites to study in what was the Roman province of Syria. But archaeologists are able to work a few sites, including Doliche in what is now Turkey, where they have recently discovered a wonderful floor mosaic with a delicate pattern, houses, alleys and water pipelines that will give them a look into the ancient people's daily lives.

The History and Photogenic Ruins of the Forgotten City of Thuburbo Maius   Ancient Origins - November 4, 2015
Carthage was at one point of time Rome's greatest rival in the Mediterranean. This great civilization was first founded as a Phoenician colony in modern day Tunisia and extended its influence in time over much of coastal North Africa, coastal Iberia, and the islands of the Western Mediterranean.

  Did an ancient civilization drive tanks across Turkey 14 million years ago? This academic thinks so.   Mail Online - November 3, 2015
Geologist Dr Alexander Koltypin believes mysterious markings in the Phrygian Valley of central Turkey were made by an intelligent race. Rocky fields were covered with the ruts left some millions of years ago....we are not talking about human beings. We are dealing with some kind of cars or all-terrain vehicles.

Controversial Claim by Geologist: Mysterious Tracks in Turkey Left by Civilization Millions of Years Ago   Epoch Times - November 3, 2015
In what is sure to cause controversy, a researcher has claimed that the mysterious and ancient ruts which crisscross the Phrygian Valley of Turkey were caused by an unknown and intelligent race between 12 and 14 million years ago.

Tomb Tells Tale of Family Executed by China's 1st Female Emperor   Live Science - November 3, 2015
A 1,300-year-old tomb, discovered in Xi'an city, China, holds the bones of a man who helped the nation's only female emperor rise to power. The epitaphs in the tomb describe how she then executed him and his entire family. Located within a cave, the tomb contains the remains of Yan Shiwei and his wife, Lady Pei. While little is left of the individual's skeletons, archaeologists found colorful ceramic figurines, a mirror with a gold plaque and, most importantly, epitaphs inscribed on bluestones.

Acra at Last? Site of Ancient Jewish Revolt Unearthed   Live Science - November 3, 2015
Archaeologists in Jerusalem may have just solved one of the city's greatest geographical mysteries. Excavators recently unearthed what they think are the ruins of the Acra, a fortress constructed more than 2,000 years ago by the Greek ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes (215-164 B.C.). At one time mercenary soldiers and Hellenized Jews controlled the ancient fortress, enforcing a brutal rule over Jerusalem's residents. The Acra's existence is recorded in historical documents, but archaeologists and historians have debated its location.

Burial vault discovered 'accidentally' at Gloucester Cathedral   BBC - November 3, 2015
An "extremely well preserved" family burial vault has been discovered "accidentally" at Gloucester Cathedral. The tomb in the North Transept contains coffins belonging to the Hyett family dating from the 17th and 18th Century. It was found by archaeologists who lifted a neighboring ledger stone while carrying out an evaluation ahead of the installation of a new lift. The process caused a small hole to be created which allowed the contents of the vault to be seen.

Five Legendary Lost Cities that have Never Been Found   Ancient Origins - November 3, 2015
The story of Atlantis is one of the most renowned and enduring tales of a lost city, said to have been swallowed up by the sea and lost forever. Yet, the story of Atlantis is not unique, as other cultures have similar legends of landmasses and cities that have disappeared under the waves, been lost beneath desert sands, or buried beneath centuries of vegetation. From the ancient homeland of the Aztecs, to jungle cities of gold and riches, we examine five legendary lost cities that have never been found.

Important 800-Year-Old Jain Inscription Uncovered in India   Ancient Origins - November 3, 2015
An 800-year-old inscription detailing a donation during the Hoysala Regime has been discovered in Arattipura, India. This find is thought to be a very important discovery for researchers interested in Jainism, as it may provide evidence for an older Jain site than the sacred location of Sharavanabelagola and the site appears to have similar structures to the famous Chandragiri hill. The Bangalore Mirror reports that the recently uncovered inscription contains only two lines, although it measures two meters (6.6 feet) in length. Written in halegannada (ancient Kannada language), the inscription says: "It is a donation of a village for the construction of Jain basadis."

14,500-Year-Old Stone Engravings: Archaeologists Uncover Earliest Known Art in Britain   Ancient Origins - November 3, 2015
Examples of the work of Britain's earliest known artists, rock carvings at least 14,500-years-old, have been discovered on the island of Jersey. One of the pieces will be on display through 2016 in Jersey Museum's Ice Age Island exhibition. The engravings date to just after the island was repopulated at the end of the Ice Age, 14,500 to 15,000 years ago, say archaeologists with Jersey Heritage. The rock carvings resemble some found in continental Europe from that time but are the first found in the British Isles, says the BBC. The human Ice Age camp that archaeologists are excavating, Les Varines, is among the first that far north in Europe after the ice retreated.

Ten Stunning Yet Little Known Ancient Treasures Across Africa   Ancient Origins - November 3, 2015
The continent of Africa contains a plethora of ancient wonders, yet very few of them are well-known internationally or attract tourists from across the world. From over a thousand stone circles concentrated in a small area to ruins of great cities, megalithic calendars that predate the pyramids by tens of thousands of years, and the remains of towns that have seen the rise and fall of countless civilizations, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring sites across the continent. Here we feature just ten incredible sites that are little known in the wider world.

Beyond the temples, ancient bones reveal the lives of the Mayan working class   PhysOrg - November 1, 2015
Most of what we know about Mayan civilization relates to kings, queens and their elaborate temples. To understand what life was like for the 99 percent, one researcher turned to ancient animal bones stored at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Rapid evolution of body size enhanced dinosaur and bird survival   PhysOrg - November 3, 2015
Body mass is probably the most important physiological features for all animals. It corresponds strongly with a range of life features, including metabolic and growth rates, population density, diet and dietary strategy, locomotion style and mechanics, and mode of reproduction.

66-Million-Year-Old Giant Raptor Fossils Found in South Dakota   Live Science - November 3, 2015
Sixty-six million years ago, a giant raptor with feathered arms chased prey around the ancient South Dakotan landscape, according to a new study. Researchers named the newly identified species Dakotaraptor steini, after the state and the Dakota First Nations Tribe, as well as raptor, which is Latin for "plunderer." The species name also honors paleontologist Walter Stein, said the researchers, who found the remains in South Dakota's Hell Creek Formation, a famously fossil-rich area.

T. Rex Bone Holds Clues To Dinosaur's Cannibalistic Ways   Huffington Post - November 3, 2015
All animals likely feared the carnivorous Tyrannosaurus rex in Cretaceous times -- even their own kind. A 66-million-year-old fossilized tyrannosaur bone unearthed in Wyoming's Lance Formation in June is providing new evidence that T. rexes were sometimes cannibalistic.

Frozen Cave Lion Cubs from the Ice Age Found in Siberia   National Geographic - November 3, 2015
Russian researchers have announced the discovery of cave lion cubs found in the Ice Age permafrost of Yakutia, Siberia. The frozen cats are the first of their kind ever found in such a well-preserved state.

The Telegram That Broke News of the Civil War   Smithsonian - November 3, 2015
Following South Carolina's secession from the United States and Abraham Lincoln's inauguration as President, on April 10, 1861, Brigadier General Pierre G.T. Beauregard of the provisional Confederate forces demanded the surrender of the besieged U.S. garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

That Time When Alexander Hamilton Almost Dueled James Monroe   Smithsonian - November 3, 2015
As Hamilton, the hit Broadway musical, tells it, Alexander Hamilton, 'the ten-dollar Founding Father without a father' was a feisty, brilliant immigrant who was central to the founding of the nation. Inspired by Ron Chernow's best selling biography, the musical has revived interest in its subject, including his tragic end in an 1804 duel with Aaron Burr. But apart from one short scene, unmentioned in the musical are the many other (nearly a dozen) challenges to duels that Hamilton meted out or received. Most of these challenges never came to firing shots, but one came especially close: a messy affair of honor with future president James Monroe.

New test for ancient DNA authenticity throws doubt on Stone Age wheat trade   PhysOrg - November 3, 2015
The scientists developed a new test to verify the authenticity of ancient DNA. They applied the test to a sample from submerged sediment off the Isle of Wight, thought to provide evidence of trade between English hunter gatherers and more advanced Neolithic European farmers 8000 years ago. The new test, described in the journal eLife, shows the sample to be younger than a few hundreds of years old.

Rice anthropologist identifies extinct antelope species in India   PhysOrg - November 3, 2015
A Rice anthropologist has identified a new species of extinct antelope that once roamed what is present-day India during the late ice age 10,000 and 100,000 years ago. The researchers found that antelope - whose fossils have never been unearthed in the area before - persisted for more than a million years than previously thought and were of an Asiatic variety, unlike waterbucks, which today are found only in Africa.