Archaeology

Archaeological evidence shows that bone skates (skates made of animal bones) are the oldest human powered means of transport, dating back to 3000 BC. Why people started skating on ice and where is not as clear, since ancient remains were found in several locations spread across Central and North Europe.

In a recent paper, published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Dr.

A team led by a Cardiff University archaeologist has reconstructed a 3,000-year-old glass furnace, showing that Ancient Egyptian glassmaking methods were much more advanced than previously thought.

Dr Paul Nicholson, of the University’s School of History and Archaeology, is leader of an Egypt Exploration Society team working on the earliest fully excavated glassmaking site in the world. The site, at Amarna, on the banks of the Nile, dates back to the reign of Akhanaten (1352 - 1336 B.C.), just a few years before the rule of Tutankhamun.

It was previously thought that the Ancient Egyptians may have imported their glass from the Near East at around this time.

Remains of an ancient synagogue from the Roman-Byzantine era have been revealed in excavations carried out in the Arbel National Park in the Galilee under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The excavations, in the Khirbet Wadi Hamam, were led by Dr. Uzi Leibner of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology and Scholion – Interdisciplinary Research Center in Jewish Studies.

Dr. Leibner said that the synagogue’s design is a good example of the eastern Roman architectural tradition. A unique feature of the synagogue is the design of its mosaic floor, he said.

Mosaic floor found at site of newly discovered Galilee synagogue shows workman with woodworking tool.


Whales were the economic drivers of the 1850s. So important was this resource that the founder of the U.S. Oceanographic Office, Matthew Fontaine Maury, created a map showing the worldwide distribution of sperm and right whales in 1851.

“Whale oil then was like petroleum is today,” says Christopher Baruth. “This is a graphic device that showed where the whales were located by type and season.”

Baruth is curator of the American Geographical Society (AGS) Library, where a copy of the whale map is one of thousands of rare cartographical materials and geographical photographs.

The Mappamundi, the oldest original map in the AGSL holdings, was produced in 1452 by the Venetian cartographer Giovanni Leardo.


Cashew nut fossils have been identified in 47-million year old lake sediment in Germany, revealing that the cashew genus Anacardium was once distributed in Europe, remote from its modern “native” distribution in Central and South America.

It was previously proposed that Anacardium and its African sister genus, Fegimanra, diverged from their common ancestor when the landmasses of Africa and South America separated. However, groundbreaking new data in the October issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences indicate that Europe may be an important biogeographic link between Africa and the New World.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Yang Cai is developing new technology that could revolutionize the way archeologists work. Cai, director of the Ambient Intelligence Lab at Carnegie Mellon CyLab, is developing new software to scan 200-year-old gravestones at Old St. Luke’s Church in nearby Carnegie to help its Episcopal pastor identify all the names on the cemetery’s tombstones.

“We are very excited and pleased that Professor Cai and his research team are helping us reclaim our past by identifying some of the 20 graves at our cemetery,” said Rev. Richard Davis, director of Old St. Luke’s Church at 330 Old Washington Pike.

Amihai Mazar, Eleazar L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, revealed that the first apiary (beehive colony) dating from the Biblical period has been found in excavations he directed this summer at Tel Rehov in Israel’s Beth Shean Valley. This is the earliest apiary to be revealed to date in an archaeological excavation anywhere in the ancient Near East, said Prof. Mazar. It dates from the 10th to early 9th centuries B.C.E.

Tel Rehov is believed to have been one of the most important cities of Israel during the Israelite monarchy. The beehives there were found in the center of a built-up area there that has been excavated since 1997 by Dr. Nava Panitz-Cohen of the Hebrew University. Three rows of beehives were found in the apiary, containing more than 30 hives.


It is summertime in Greece, and with it come the traditional wildfires. These are not natural forest fires; at least, it is thought that most of them are the result of deliberate arson. This is the product of a conflict between Greek law and society that has been going on for years. Most forested land in Greece is protected from development.
Excavations of an underwater Stone Age archaeological settlement dating back 8000 years are taking place at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Maritime archaeologists from the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (HWTMA) have been working at the site just off the Isle of Wight coast. Divers working at depths of 11 metres have raised sections of the seabed, which have been brought to the NOCS laboratories for excavation.

An artificial big toe attached to the foot of an ancient Egyptian mummy could prove to be the world's earliest functional prosthetic body part, say scientists. If true, the toe will predate what is currently considered to be the earliest known practical prosthesis - Roman Capua Leg from 300BC, made from bronze - by several hundred years. The leg was held at the Royal College of Surgeons in London but was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombs during the Second World War.

Research at The University of Manchester is hoping to prove that the wood and leather artefact in the Cairo Museum not only looked the part but also helped its owner walk 'like an Egyptian'.

The prosthetic toe in the British Museum.