Archaeology

Archaeologists have found evidence of an ancient gold trade route between the south-west of the UK and Ireland, which would mean people were trading gold between the two countries as far back as the early Bronze Age, 2500 B.C.

The finding was made after measuring the chemical composition of early gold artifacts in Ireland and discovering that the objects were actually made from imported gold, rather than Irish. The gold is most likely to have come from Cornwall, which means the symbiotic link between Ireland and England is even farther back then believed.


Lunula and discs. Credit National Museum of Ireland

Remarkably similar carvings and simple cross sculptures mark special sites or places once sacred, spanning a zone stretching from the Irish and Scottish coasts to Iceland. We can look to Skellig Michael, which rises from the sea 12 kilometers off the southwest Irish coast; to Aird a’Mhòrain on the Outer Hebridean island of North Uist; to the Isle of Noss, Shetland; and to Heimaklettur cliff face in Iceland’s Westman Islands.

Also in southern Iceland, a number of the 200 man-made caves found there are marked by similar rock-cut sculpture. And these dark remote places suggest a different answer to a puzzle that we thought we had solved a long time ago.

If you like mummies (and who doesn't like mummies?) you are in luck: The Anatomical Record has a special issue with 26 articles devoted to them, all open access. You may not leave the house this weekend.
Mapping archaeological digs used to take plenty of time and a lot of measuring, photographing, drawing and note taking, much of which can now be done with a technique called photogrammetry.

Photogrammetry is a method that uses two-dimensional images of an archaeological find to construct a 3-D model and it doesn't require special glasses or advanced equipment. Coupled with precise measurements of the excavation, photogrammetry can create a complete detailed map of an archaeological excavation site while being more precise than older, more time-consuming methods.

This method is already being put to use by archaeologists. When a possible Viking grave was found in Skaun in Sør-Trøndelag in 2014, the excavation site was mapped using photogrammetry.
A detailed analysis of the remains of a high-status Danish Bronze Age female, known as the Egtved Girl, has revealed information about her movements, what she ate, and where her clothes came from.

The Egtved Girl, a 16–18 year old female, was discovered in the Danish village of Egtved in an oak coffin, calculated to have been buried around 3,400 years ago.
Scientists have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans, and by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered.

The tools, whose makers may or may not have been some sort of human ancestor, push the known date of such tools back by 700,000 years and may challenge the notion that our own most direct ancestors were the first to create new technology.

The discovery is the first evidence that an even earlier group of proto-humans may have had the thinking abilities needed to figure out how to make sharp-edged tools. The stone tools mark "a new beginning to the known archaeological record," say the authors of a new paper about the discovery. 

It's a First World Idyll that ancient indigenous people sustained themselves using nature's bounty, in harmony with the land.

Science knows otherwise. Instead, from Alaska to Washington, indigenous people created productive clam gardens to ensure abundant and sustainable clam harvests. There was nothing natural about it.


In the most famous versions of Richard III, written by William Shakespeare, the last Plantagenet king was physically and mentally deformed. 

But the public probably did not know what, and if they did, they wisely never mentioned it. A king busy fighting the War of the Roses could easily hide a deformity. Dr. Mary Ann Lund, of the University of Leicester's School of English argues that Richard's body image in life was carefully controlled and he probably kept any signs of his scoliosis hidden outside of the royal household - but after his death at the Battle of Bosworth, he was carried to Leicester and exhibited before being buried and it wasn't a secret after that.


We tend to think society is more sexualized today but perhaps it's only now that the common people are getting it on the way elites once did.

In the Eilat Mountain region around Nahal Roded in Israel, recently discovered sites look distinct from other ones nearby: They have 126 ‘regular’ standing stones along with perforated ones and anthropomorphic stone images to go with them.  The tools date back to the Neolithic period - before pottery.
In 1722, when Europeans arrived on Easter Island, nearly 2,300 miles off the west coast of Chile, the native Polynesian culture known as Rapa Nui were already in a demographic tailspin from which they would not recover.

Pick a fad belief of the moment, and someone has correlated it to Easter Island. Environmental damage? Easter Island. Climate change? Easter Island. Add in political partisanship and lifestyle diseases and you can also find a correlation-causation arrow being abused. 

Will there ever be an answer? Hard to say, but a new paper attempts at least some clarification.