Archaeology

In 1934, American archaeologist Nelson Glueck named one of the largest known copper production sites of the Levant, located deep in Israel's Arava Valley, "Slaves' Hill."

This hilltop station seemed to bear all the marks of an Iron Age slave camp – fiery furnaces, harsh desert conditions, and a massive barrier preventing escape, but new evidence uncovered by Tel Aviv University archaeologists overturns that narrative and says the people there were instead highly regarded craftsmen rather than slaves.



A key part of civilization? Credit: E Photos, CC BY-SA

A Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace at the Tel Kabri excavation in Israel has revealed an ancient wine cellar.


Researchers have discovered new evidence to suggest that the origins of mummification started in ancient Egypt 1,500 years earlier than previously thought.

Traditional theories on ancient Egyptian mummification suggest that in prehistory -- the Late Neolithic and Predynastic periods between c. 4500 and 3100 B.C. -- bodies were desiccated naturally through the action of the hot, dry desert sand.

Scientific evidence for the early use of resins in artificial mummification has, until now, been limited to isolated occurrences during the late Old Kingdom (c. 2200 BC). Their use became more apparent during the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1600 BC).


Recent papers have suggested that women improve small working groups and so adding women to a group is a surefire way to boost team collaboration and creativity.

A new study from Washington University in St. Louis says that is only true when women there is no competition. Force teams to go head to head and the benefits of a female approach evaporate.

"Intergroup competition is a double-edged sword that ultimately provides an advantage to groups and units composed predominantly or exclusively of men, while hurting the creativity of groups composed of women," said Markus Baer, PhD, lead author of the study and associate professor of organizational behavior at Olin Business School.


Excavations at an archaeological site at Kathu in the Northern Cape province of South Africa,
one of the richest early prehistoric archaeological sites in South Africa, have produced tens of thousands of Earlier Stone Age artifacts, including hand axes and other tools.

It is situated between the Kuruman Hills to the east and the Langberge mountains to the west and estimated to be between 700,000 and one million years old.


An archaeological dig in southeast Turkey has uncovered a large number of clay tokens that would ordinarily been have dated before the invention of writing - but the new find of tokens dates from a time when writing was commonplace, thousands of years after it was previously assumed this technology had become obsolete.

Sound strange? Perhaps not. Researchers compare it to the continued use of ink pens from the early 1800s in the age of computers. 


Skeletal remains uncovered near the site of a Roman villa in Dorset are likely the five skeletons of the owners and occupants of the villa – the first time in Britain that the graves of villa owners have been found in such close proximity to the villa itself.

The five skeletons were two adult males, two adult females and an elderly female – with researchers postulating that they could be the remains of three generations of the same family, who all owned the villa. The bones are thought to date from the mid-4th Century (around 350 AD).
Forty-eight centuries ago, a bronze-age settlement flourished on the southern coast of Peloponnese, about 30 miles south of what would two thousand years later become the important town of Sparta. The city had a harbour facing east on calm waters, and had a few dozen buildings, roads, a burial site, and probably more. We do not know its ancient name, so the place has been called with the name of the modern-times place, Pavlopetri.
The Brus, written by John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, in about 1375, covers the Wars of Independence waged by Robert the Bruce, and includes a vivid, early description of the Battle of Bannockburn, which will have its 700th anniversary this week.

It is one of the best-known works written in early Scots and its central theme - that freedom is a prize worth winning at all costs - has resonated in Scotland through the ages and is a poignant reminder before the Scottish Independence Referendum.