Archaeology

Dating human migration has always been something of a guess, especially without corroborating archaeological evidence.

Researchers at the University of Leeds say they have devised a more accurate method .  That's good news, because the most widely used genetic method works back to find the last common ancestor of any particular set of lineages using samples of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), but this method has recently been shown to be unreliable, throwing 20 years of research into doubt. 
A University of Leicester student will be presenting his discovery of 425 million year-old fossils found in rocks from the Silurian period of geological time in Herefordshire.  The fossils represent a great range of animal groups and their study has tremendously increased knowledge of the evolution of life.

David Riley’s research represents the first major attempt by scientists to understand the preservation pathway giving us a rare ‘window’ into a Silurian sea floor environment.
2008 excavations at Hohle Fels Cave in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany recovered a female figurine carved from mammoth ivory from the basal Aurignacian deposit. The figurine is the earliest depiction of a human and one of the oldest known examples of figurative art worldwide and is at least 35,000 years old.

If you're looking closely at the Venus of Hohle Fels below, you may also notice those are breasts, which radically changes our views of the context and meaning of the earliest Paleolithic art; maybe it's porn-eolithic.

Venus of Hohle Fels Swabian Jura

The oldest submerged town in the world is about to give up its secrets — with the help of equipment that could revolutionise underwater archaeology.

The ancient town of Pavlopetri lies in three to four metres of water just off the coast of southern Laconia in Greece. The ruins date from at least 2800 BC through to intact buildings, courtyards, streets, chamber tombs and some thirty-seven cist graves which are thought to belong to the Mycenaean period (c.1680-1180 BC). This Bronze Age phase of Greece provides the historical setting for much Ancient Greek literature and myth, including Homer’s Age of Heroes.



A recent find has archaeologists and pet-lovers equally excited. How much do you love your little Fido? Enough to wrap him in linen and take him with you?  I'm not thinking summer vacation here but something more along the lines of Valhalla. That is exactly what happened to an Egyptian puppy some 2,300 years ago.



Kidding, Fresh Kokanee: The Pathways of Salmon just seemed so bland. Just testing out a wee hypothesis. Human with an opposable thumb and all that? Still reading this? Good.

Thanks for that commercial break. And now back to Kokanee.

A trove of Benjamin Franklin letters has turned up in the British Library. Discovered by University of California, San Diego professor Alan Houston, the letters are copies of correspondence that hasn't been seen in more than 250 years. 

All dating from the spring and summer of 1755, the 47 letters by, to and about Franklin are in the hand of one Thomas Birch, a contemporary of Franklin's who was a prodigious – almost inveterate – compiler and transcriber of historical documents.   They are being published for the first time in the April issue of the William and Mary Quarterly
A project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF wants to uncover the history, significance and precise origins of Islamic art contained in Viennese art collections; comprehensive work to reconstruct the background of several Ottoman flags has already been carried out with impressive results.

Traces of the era of the Turkish wars - such as the tradition of the Vienna coffee house and the Ring boulevard that encircles the city centre - are still evident today in the day-to-day culture and street layout of the Austrian capital. The Turkish sieges of Vienna (16th/17th century) led to an expansion of the city's fortifications and heralded the introduction of coffee.

If Van Helsing were poking around Transylvania these days, chances are he'd be more likely to be looking for the decaying remains of 35,000 year old humans than blood drinking vampires.  Romania's dark history extends back way past the days of Vlad.  It seems vampires and ghouls aside, something darker and much more interesting lurks in that eastern belly.  I travelled to Transylvania last year and spent some time in Cluj, the newly minted anthro-capital of Romania. I was lucky enough to brush shoulders and prep tools with paleoanthropologists working on a new find that changes what we know about ear

Photograph property of John HoyteWhat did you do on your summer vacation?  Go to the beach?  Space camp?  Visit grandma?  In 1959, Cambridge engineering student John Hoyte and friends hiked across the Alps with Jumbo the elephant.