Archaeology

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.
In a marked cemetery northwest of Lake Baikal, a skeleton was found, buried ceremoniously with a nephrite disk and four arrowheads, one of which was broken and found in the eye socket. An arrow in the eye? That's no accident.

After radiocarbon dating and analysis, it was determined the individual was a 35-40 year-old male from the early Bronze Age, between 2406 and 1981 B.C.

Unlike most hunter-gatherer societies of the Bronze Age, the people of the Baikal region of modern Siberia (Russia) respected their dead with formal graves. This particular specimen was so unique that bioarchaeologist Angela Lieverse traveled across the world just to bring it back to the Canadian Light Source synchrotron for examination.

Nature gets a bad rap, according to a new paper. For thousands of years, fickle weather has been blamed for tremendous suffering caused by massive flooding along the Yellow River, long known in China as the "River of Sorrow" and "Scourge of the Sons of Han."


Shakespeare characterized Richard III as a hunchback because his personal and physical deformities were well known. Certainly some history is written by the winners, and he was a big loser in the War of the Roses, but now everyone can explore the true shape of one of history's most famous spinal columns.

Multimedia experts have created a 3-D model of Richard III's spine and the visualization reveals how the king's spine had a curve to the right, but also a degree of twisting, resulting in a "spiral" shape. During analysis, the skeleton was analyzed macroscopically for evidence of spinal deformity and any changes to the tissue caused by the condition.


Who had the privilege to spend eternal life next to the pharaoh?

Kids and other family members, much like today. If you can afford a tomb, that is.

In the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, excavations by Egyptologists from the University of Basel have been working on tomb KV 40, close to the city of Luxor, for three years. From the outside, only a depression in the ground indicated the presence of a subterranean tomb. Up to now, nothing was known about the layout of tomb KV 40 nor for whom it was build and who was buried there.  


A new study suggests that early humans living thousands of years before Neanderthals, were able to work together in groups to hunt and slaughter animals as large as the prehistoric elephant.

University of Southampton archaeologist Dr. Francis Wenban-Smith discovered a site containing remains of an extinct straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) in 2003, in an area of land at Ebbsfleet in Kent, during the construction of the High Speed 1 rail link from the Channel Tunnel to London. Investigation of the area was carried out with independent heritage organization Oxford Archaeology, with the support of HS1 Ltd.

The inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone may be one of the world's oldest weather reports - and it could cause us to revise our chronology of the ancient Middle East.