Tag Archives | Archaeology

Mysterious Wooden Idol Found in Russia is 11,000 years old

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The Shigir Idol was found in a peat bog in Russia over 125 years ago. It had previously been dated at 9,500 years old, but new research from Mannheim, Germany suggests the idol is actually 11,000 years old. That’s twice as old as Stonehenge and the Pyramids. Even more mysterious, the idol is covered in some kind of “encrypted code.”

Professor Mikhail Zhilin of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Archeology said: ‘The ornament is covered with nothing but encrypted information. People were passing on knowledge with the help of the Idol.’

The researchers in Mannheim, Germany used tiny fragments of the idol for analysis by Accelerated Mass Spectrometry to determine its new age.

For more reading: The Huffington Post and Yahoo News.

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Britain’s Atlantis

There are some treasures of prehistoric Britain buried under the North Sea and archaeologists are planning to uncover what’s being dubbed “Britain’s Atlantis,” per the Independent:

Archaeologists are searching for the lost tribes of prehistoric Britain – at the bottom of the North Sea.

britain atlantis

In a unique and ground-breaking operation, scientists plan to search for evidence of Stone Age human activity on Britain’s very own ‘Atlantis’ – a vast prehistoric land, once located between England and southern Scandinavia, which was engulfed by rising sea levels some 7500 years ago.

The archaeologists hope to find evidence of flint tool manufacture, plant pollen and the DNA of plant and animal species used by the long-lost land’s ancient inhabitants. Due to be launched later this month, the multi-million pound project is the largest of its kind ever attempted anywhere in the world and will lead to the development by British scientists of an entire range of new scientific techniques and capabilities.

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Gruesome Find: 100 Bodies Stuffed into Ancient House

The 5,000-year-old house found in China was about 14 by 15 feet in size.  Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology

The 5,000-year-old house found in China was about 14 by 15 feet in size.
Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology

Remains of 97 bodies have been discovered in a 5,000 year old house in China. It’s likely that these people were victims of an epidemic.

Owen Jarus via Live Science:

The remains of 97 human bodies have been found stuffed into a small 5,000-year-old house in a prehistoric village in northeast China, researchers report in two separate studies.

The bodies of juveniles, young adults and middle-age adults were packed together in the house — smaller than a modern-day squash court — before it burnt down. Anthropologists who studied the remains say a “prehistoric disaster,” possibly an epidemic of some sort, killed these people.

The site, whose modern-day name is “Hamin Mangha,” dates back to a time before writing was used in the area, when people lived in relatively small settlements, growing crops and hunting for food.

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Decapitated victims discovered at excavation in Mexico

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Archaeologists have recently uncovered the remains of decapitated victims of human sacrifice left by the Aztecs.

Martin Barillas via Spero News:

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History announced on August 20 that archaeologists have found the macabre remains of human sacrifice left behind by Mexico’s Aztec ancestors.

Known as a tzompantli in the language of the Aztecs, Nahuatl. The find consists of a rack of the skulls of human sacrificial victims that was once part of the Templo Mayor complex in Tenochtitlan – the capital of the Aztecs that is now Mexico City.

The tzompantli was found on Calle Republica de Guatemala, a street that runs at the eastern end of the colonial-era Metropolitan Cathedral in the modern city’s central square. This is the first such skull rack that has been found that is mortared together. The human skulls found by the researchers were used almost like bricks. Some of the skulls had holes pierced through them at the temples.

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The Mystery of the Phrygian Ruts: Lost Civilization or Ancient Aliens?

WARNING: If you are driven to the edge of Migraine by Ancient Alien theories, Lost Civilizations, UFOs and especially can’t stand that dude with the crazy hair by all that is Holy, in the name of Neil deGrasse Tyson, STOP READING NOW.image

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way. There are unusual rut-like formations preserved in stone that date back millions of years, long before humankind is supposed to have harnessed that kind of technology. The formations are located in a remote area of modern day Turkey and are baffling archaeologists and historians alike.

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Mass grave reveals organised violence among Europe’s first farmers

The owner of this skull had a nasty run in with an axe. Christian Meyer

The owner of this skull had a nasty run in with an axe. Christian Meyer

The discovery of 26 bodies with lethal injuries in a 7,000 year old mass grave in Germany provides more evidence of organised large-scale violence in Neolithic Europe. The findings, reported in the journal PNAS, also help us understand the sudden and perhaps brutal ending of central Europe’s first farming culture.

Linear Pottery (yellow and bright green) dominated much of Neolithic Europe. Joostik, CC BY-SA

The Linear Pottery (Linienbandkeramik, or LBK) culture which dominated central Europe between 5600 and 4900 BC was once depicted as peaceful and pioneering – farmers who cleared land and carved new communities out of the heavily-forested “wilderness”.

This view began to crumble with the discovery in the late 1980s of a mass grave at Talheim in southern Germany, containing the remains of 34 men, women and children, many of whom showed evidence of lethal injuries caused by stone axes.… Read the rest

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Archeologists discover 400-year-old remains of Jamestown, Virginia colonial leaders

Loney Abrams writes at Hopes&Fears:

Archeologists have unearthed the human remains of four colonial leaders in Jamestown, Virginia. The bodies were buried more than 400 years ago near what had been the US’ first Protestant church, and are believed to belong to some of the earliest English settlers in America. It is the same church where Pocahontas married John Rolfe, which marked the beginning of a peace treaty between the Powhatan Indians and colonists. Archeologists had discovered the remains in November 2013 but they wanted to trace and confirm the findings before making an announcement.

The most interesting aspect of the discovery, however, was not of the bones themselves, but of the relics that were buried with the bodies. For example, on top of the coffin belonging to Capt. Gabriel Archer, a nemesis of the one-time colony leader John Smith, archeologists found a Catholic reliquary that contained bone fragments and a container for holy water, raising questions of whether Archer was part of a secret cell within the Protestant community, or even a Catholic spy on behalf of the Spanish.… Read the rest

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Evidence of Earliest Known Murder Found

Cranium 17 bone traumatic fractures. (A) Frontal view of Cranium 17 showing the position of the traumatic events T1 (inferior) and T2 (superior); (B) Detailed ectocranial view of the traumatic fractures showing the two similar notches (black arrows) present along the superior border of the fracture outlines. Note that the orientation of the two traumatic events is different; (C) Detail of the notch in T1 under 2X magnification with a light microscope. (D) Endocranial view of T1 and T2 showing the large cortical delamination of the inner table (black arrows).

Cranium 17 bone traumatic fractures.
(A) Frontal view of Cranium 17 showing the position of the traumatic events T1 (inferior) and T2 (superior); (B) Detailed ectocranial view of the traumatic fractures showing the two similar notches (black arrows) present along the superior border of the fracture outlines. Note that the orientation of the two traumatic events is different; (C) Detail of the notch in T1 under 2X magnification with a light microscope. (D) Endocranial view of T1 and T2 showing the large cortical delamination of the inner table (black arrows).

Evidence of the earliest murder has emerged in the form of a fractured skull recovered from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site.

Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle Pleistocene via PLOS One:

Evidence of interpersonal violence has been documented previously in Pleistocene members of the genus Homo, but only very rarely has this been posited as the possible manner of death.

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100-Million-Year-Old Predatory Cockroach Found in Amber

Manipulator modificaputis gen. et sp. n. (Manipulatoridae fam.n.) holotype SMNS Bu-116 (deposited in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History) from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber. A – left view, B – dorsal view, C – detail on the forewing articulation, D – forewing surface hexagonal structure. Scales 0.5 mm. Photo credit: Geologica Carphatica

Manipulator modificaputis gen. et sp. n. (Manipulatoridae fam.n.) holotype SMNS Bu-116 (deposited in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History) from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber.
A – left view
B – dorsal view
C – detail on the forewing articulation
D – forewing surface hexagonal structure. Scales 0.5 mm.
Photo credit: Geologica Carphatica

It’s the stuff of nightmares: a predatory cockroach (which hunted at night, of course) was recently found preserved in amber. The cockroach and its kin coexisted with dinosaurs and was found near a mine in Noije Bum, Myanmar.

This predator bears a striking resemblance to a praying-mantis. Scientists, Peter Vršanský from the Geological Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Günter Bechly from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, say that its long legs and and long neck indicate that these critters were adept hunters.

“The specimen is one of dozens of preserved insects found in the area, making it the most important site of dinosaur-age amber in the world,” says Vršanský.… Read the rest

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Tools Found In Kenya 700,000 Years Older Than Previous Record Holder

"LakeTurkanaSouthIsland" by User:Doron - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

LakeTurkanaSouthIsland” by User:DoronOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The tools are 3.3 million years old.

Ian Johnston via The Independent:

The world’s oldest tools – made by ancestors of modern humans some 3.3 million years ago – have been found in Kenya.

Stones had been deliberately “knapped” or flaked to make a sharp cutting edge, researchers said, according to Sciencemagazine.

They are about 700,000 years older than the previous record holder and are likely to have been made by Australopithecus, an ape-like ancestor of Homo sapiens, or another species, Kenyanthropus.

Archaeologist Sonia Harmand, of New York’s Stony Brook University, told the annual meeting of the US Paleoanthropology Society: “The artefacts were clearly knapped and not the result of accidental fracture of rocks.”

About 150 flakes, the stones they were taken from and anvils on which the stones were placed while they were struck were found near Lake Turkana in Kenya.

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