Tag Archives | Archaeology

Giant Rodents Lead Scientists To Discover Ancient Face Carvings In East Timor

Face carving found in Lene Hara Cave. Photo: John Brush (CC)

Face carving found in Lene Hara Cave. Photo: John Brush

CSIRO News reports:

Ancient stone faces carved into the walls of a well-known limestone cave in East Timor have been discovered by a team searching for fossils of extinct giant rats.

The team of archaeologists and palaeontologists were working in Lene Hara Cave on the northeast tip of East Timor.

“Looking up from the cave floor at a colleague sitting on a ledge, my head torch shone on what seemed to be a weathered carving,” CSIRO’s Dr Ken Aplin said.

“I shone the torch around and saw a whole panel of engraved prehistoric human faces on the wall of the cave.

“The local landowners with whom we were working were stunned by the findings. They said the faces had chosen that day to reveal themselves because they were pleased by the field work we were doing.”

The Lene Hara carvings, or petroglyphs, are frontal, stylised faces each with eyes, a nose and a mouth.

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Teeth From Homo Sapiens Older Than Accepted History Of Homo Sapiens

Qesem Cave, Israel. Source: Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University

Qesem Cave, Israel. Source: Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University

In keeping with Disinfo’s tradition of challenging accepted boundaries in all things, as well as in the spirit of the disinformation book Underground!, here’s a little jewel of a discovery written by Daniel Estrin for AP via Yahoo News. Homo Sapiens teeth … potentially 400,000 years old. So much for the old timeline of human history!

Israeli archaeologists said Monday they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern man, and if so, it could upset theories of the origin of humans.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.

“It’s very exciting to come to this conclusion,” said archaeologist Avi Gopher, whose team examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans and dated them according to the layers of earth where they were found.

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Climate Change and the 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence

saharasiaMatriarchy.info reviews Dr. James DeMeo’s book SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World:

A new geographical study on the ancient historical origins of human violence and warfare, drawing upon global archaeological and anthropological evidence, has just been published presenting substantial proof that our ancient ancestors were non-violent, and far more social and loving than are most humans today – moreover, the study points to a dramatic climate change in the Old World, the drying up of the vast Sahara and Asian Deserts, with attending famine, starvation and forced migrations which pushed the earliest humans into violent social patterns, a trauma from which we have not yet recovered in over 6000 years.

The study and book, titled SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World, by retired professor James DeMeo, Ph.D., is the culmination of years of library and field research on the subject.

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Dry Summer Weather Reveals Lost ‘Cropmarks’

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Photo from English Heritage

Summers with dry weather seems uncommon in England, but this summer the dry agricultural fields revealed new marks depicting buried features from the past. BBC News reports:

Hundreds of ancient sites have been discovered by aerial surveys, thanks to a dry start to the summer, English Heritage has said.

The surveys show marks made when crops growing over buried features develop at a different rate from those nearby.

The newly-discovered Roman and prehistoric settlements include a site near Bradford Abbas, Dorset.

The Roman camp was revealed in June after three sides became visible in sun-parched fields of barley.

The lightly-built defensive enclosure would have provided basic protection for Roman soldiers while on manoeuvres in the first century AD and is one of only four discovered in the south west of England, English Heritage said.

Continues at BBC

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Stonehenge Expert Julian Richards on The Black Fridays!

The Black Fridays Episode 16 — Julian Richards

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The Black Fridays is pleased to bring you Julian Richards! We believe Julian to be one of the foremost experts on Stonehenge today and we were thrilled that stopped by for a chat! We cover most of the new discoveries that have been made in the areas around the site, as well as other sites of interest in the vicinity. Our honor to talk to Julian … we hope you enjoy!

You can learn more about Julian Richards at www.archaemedia.net.

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Enter Syria’s ‘Tell Zeidan': A 7,500 Year-Old Harbinger of The World’s First Cities

Truly fascinating article from John Noble Wilford in the New York Times. Is this the place where social classes — the rich and the poor — as we know them today first emerged? Reports the New York Times:
Tell Zeidan Artifacts

Archaeologists have embarked on excavations in northern Syria expected to widen and deepen understanding of a prehistoric culture in Mesopotamia that set the stage for the rise of the world’s first cities and states and the invention of writing.

In two seasons of preliminary surveying and digging at the site known as Tell Zeidan, American and Syrian investigators have already uncovered a tantalizing sampling of artifacts from what had been a robust pre-urban settlement on the upper Euphrates River. People occupied the site for two millenniums, until 4000 BC — a little-known but fateful period of human cultural evolution.

Scholars of antiquity say that Zeidan should reveal insights into life in a time called the Ubaid period, 5500 to 4000 BC.

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Dr. Robert Schoch on The Black Fridays!

The Black Fridays Episode 14 — Dr. Robert Schoch

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Robert SchochWell, what can we say? Dr. Robert Schoch! How humbling it has been to have the guests we’ve had so far! But, this goes beyond our expectations. We talk with Dr. Schoch about his findings in Bosnia and Japan and of course his discoveries that turned the scientific world on it’s head.

Dr. Robert M. Schoch, a full-time faculty member at the College of General Studies at Boston University since 1984, earned his Ph.D. (1983) in Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. He also holds an M.S. and M.Phil. in Geology and Geophysics from Yale, as well as degrees in Anthropology (B.A.) and Geology (B.S.) from George Washington University.

Dr. Schoch is the author or coauthor of both technical and popular books, including the trilogy with R. A. McNally: Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes and Ancient Civilizations (1999), Voyages of the Pyramid Builders: The True Origins of the Pyramids from Lost Egypt to Ancient America (2003), and Pyramid Quest: Secrets of the Great Pyramid and the Dawn of Civilization (2005).… Read the rest

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Vampire Exorcism Skull Found in Venice

Venice VampireMove over Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, looks like the Old World had their fair share of these abominations. Christine Dell’Amore reports on National Geographic:

Among the many medieval plague victims recently unearthed near Venice, Italy, one reportedly had never-before-seen evidence of an unusual affliction: being “undead.”

The partial body and skull of the woman showed her jaw forced open by a brick (above) — an exorcism technique used on suspected vampires.

It’s the first time that archaeological remains have been interpreted as belonging to a suspected vampire, team leader Matteo Borrini, a forensic archaeologist at the University of Florence, told National Geographic News.

“I was lucky. I [didn't] expect to find a vampire during my excavations,” he said. Belief in vampires was rampant in the Middle Ages, mostly because the process of decomposition was not well understood.

For instance, as the human stomach decays, it releases a dark “purge fluid.” This bloodlike liquid can flow freely from a corpse’s nose and mouth, so it was apparently sometimes confused with traces of vampire victims’ blood.

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Oldest ‘Writing’ Found On 60,000-Year-Old Eggshells

What do they say? (Image: Pierre-Jean Texier/Diepkloof Project)

By Kate Ravilious for New Scientist:

Could these lines etched into 60,000-year-old ostrich eggshells (see photo) be the earliest signs of humans using graphic art to communicate?

Until recently, the first consistent evidence of symbolic communication came from the geometric shapes that appear alongside rock art all over the world, which date to 40,000 years ago (New Scientist, 20 February, p 30). Older finds, like the 75,000-year-old engraved ochre chunks from the Blombos cave in South Africa, have mostly been one-offs and difficult to tell apart from meaningless doodles.

The engraved ostrich eggshells may change that. Since 1999, Pierre-Jean Texier of the University of Bordeaux, France, and his colleagues have uncovered 270 fragments of shell at the Diepkloof Rock Shelter in the Western Cape, South Africa.

They show the same symbols are used over and over again, and the team say there are signs that the symbols evolved over 5000 years.

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