Archaeology

The mystery of why ancient South American peoples who created the mysterious Nazca Lines also collected human heads as trophies has long puzzled scholars who theorize the heads may have been used in fertility rites, taken from enemies in battle or associated with ancestor veneration.

A recent study using specimens from Chicago's Field Museum throws new light on the matter by establishing that trophy heads came from people who lived in the same place and were part of the same culture as those who collected them. These people lived 2,000 to 1,500 years ago. 
A research team led by Professor Michael Chazan, director of the University of Toronto's Archaeology Centre, has discovered the earliest evidence of our cave-dwelling human ancestors at the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.

Stone tools found at the bottom level of the cave — believed to be 2 million years old — show that human ancestors were in the cave earlier than ever thought before. Geological evidence indicates that these tools were left in the cave and not washed into the site from the outside world.

Archaeological investigations of the Wonderwerk cave — a South African National Heritage site due to its role in discovering the human and environmental history of the area — began in the 1940s and research continues to this day.
In spring 2004, at the meeting of the Scientific Council of the Frombork-based Baltic Research Centre, Jerzy Gąssowski received an interesting challenge - find the remains of Nicolas Copernicus. 

To be sure, something was known of his death.   He had died in Poland at age 70, and he was buried at his church somewhere, but he died while his work was being printed so the man who theorized that the sun, rather than the Earth, is at the center of the universe, was not yet famous enough to merit a monument.    But the provost of the Frombork metropolitan church, bishop Doctor Jacek Jezierski, did not think the job impossible.
Analysis of newly revealed items found at the site of what is believed to be the mausoleum of King Herod at Herodium (Herodion in Greek) have provided Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeological researchers with more evidence affirming that this was indeed the site of the famed ruler's 1st century B.C.E. grave.

Herod was the Roman-appointed king of Judea from 37 to 4 B.C.E., who was renowned for his many monumental building projects, including the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the palace at Masada, the harbor and city of Caesarea, as well as the palatial complex at Herodium, 15 kilometers south of Jerusalem. 
The new discovery of a 2 million year old female pelvis is changing theories about how smart our ancestors really were. The analysis of the Homo erectus pelvis structure (found in Gona, Ethiopia) indicates an increased possibility of neonatal brain size as well as locomotive ability for homeostasis, two opposing aspects in birth that never previously known for that time.
Archaeologists have made a discovery in Egypt, which fills in a missing piece of history in the Old Kingdom ancient burial ground of Saqqara.  The newest discovery, found in the sand south of Cairo about two months ago, most likely housed the remains of Queen Shesheshet.  Shesheshet, the mother of King Teti, ruled from 2323 BC to 2291 BC and founded Egypt's Sixth Dynasty -- over 4,000 years ago.
Two Durham University scientists are playing a key part in a 3,000 mile trip following the migration route of ancient Pacific cultures.   Drs Keith Dobney and Greger Larson, both from the Department of Archaeology, are taking part in the voyage, which will be the first ever expedition to sail in two traditional Polynesian boats - ethnic double canoes - which attempts to re-trace the genuine migration route of the ancient Austronesians.
The earliest known Hebrew text written in a Proto-Canaanite script has been discovered by Hebrew University archaeologists in an ancient city in the area where David slew Goliath – the earliest Judean city found to date. The 3,000 year old finding is thought to be the most significant archaeological discovery in Israel since the Dead Sea Scrolls – predating them by 1,000 years. 

The ostracon (pottery shard inscribed with writing in ink) comprises five lines of text divided by black lines and measures 15 x 15 cm. and was found at excavations of a 10th century B.C.E. fortress - the oldest known Judaic city. 

The ostracon was found lying on the floor inside a building near the city gate of the site, known as the Elah Fortress at Khirbet Qeiyafa. 
The skeleton of a 12,000 year-old Natufian Shaman has been discovered in northern Israel by archaeologists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The burial is described as being accompanied by "exceptional" grave offerings - including 50 complete tortoise shells, the pelvis of a leopard and a human foot. The shaman burial is thought to be one of the earliest known from the archaeological record and the only shaman grave in the whole region.
Cast away on a desert island, surviving on what nature alone can provide, praying for rescue but fearing the sight of a boat on the horizon.   Just the imaginative creations of Daniel Defoe in his famous novel "Robinson Crusoe?"   There has long been a theory that it was based on the real-life experience of sailor Alexander Selkirk, marooned in 1704 on a small tropical island in the Pacific for more than four years, and now archaeological evidence has been found to support contemporary records of his existence on the island.