Archaeology

Preliminary results from DNA tests carried out on a mummy believed to be Queen Hatshepsut is expected to support the claim by Egyptian authorities that the remains are indeed those of Egypt’s most powerful female ruler.

Egyptologists in Cairo announced last month that a tooth found in a wooden box associated with Hatshepsut exactly fitted the jaw socket and broken root of the unidentified mummy.

Now, Dr Angelique Corthals, a biomedical Egyptologist at The University of Manchester, says that DNA tests she helped carry out with colleagues at the National Research Centre in Cairo have promising preliminary results suggesting the identity of the queen.

About 250 years before Daniel Massey built his farm house in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, his great-grandfather came to the New World as an indentured servant. 150 years later, Penn State's Archaeological Field School is excavating Daniel's house to see how far he came from those humble beginnings.

"I think historic archaeology can engage a little more directly than the prehistoric archaeology we sometimes do," says Dr. Claire Milner, director of the field school and director of exhibits and curator of Penn State's Matson Museum of anthropology. "It is more obvious and immediate who the people were and what the artifacts are."

Student measures artifact location for mapping.

Dr. Zahi Hawass
June 2007

When the Discovery Channel approached me to search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, I did not really think I would be able to make a definite identification. But I did think that this would give me the perfect opportunity to look at the unidentified female mummies from Dynasty 18, which no one had ever studied in as a group. There were already many theories about the identities of these mummies, but the latest scientific technology had not yet been used to study them.

There are a number of unidentified high-status mummies of the New Kingdom, mostly found in what we call the Royal Mummy Caches.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, sent out this announcement:

On Wednesday (27/6/2007) at 11:00 a.m Culture Minster Farouk Housni and Dr. Zahi Hawass Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) will hold an International Conference at the Egyptian Museum in Tarir in Room 43 to announce the Identification of Hatshepsut's mummy .

Please come to attend the event at 10:00 am. at the Egyptian Museum in order to fix cameras and TV crews.

This is being called the most important discovery in the Valley of the Kings since King Tutankhamun.

Archaeologists from Tübingen report they have found parts of five figurines from the Ice Age at Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany. The figurines were carved from ivory and are of woolly mammoths, date to 35,000 years ago and count among the oldest and most impressive examples of figurative artworks from the Ice Age.

A particularly spectacular find is the first entirely complete figurine from the Swabian Jura depicting a finely carved mammoth. The figurines also include well preserved remains of a lion, a fragment of an additional mammoth and two as yet unidentified representations.

CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER SIZE.

A major question in evolutionary studies today is how early did humans begin to think and behave in ways we would see as fundamentally modern?

One index of ‘behavioral modernity’ is in the appearance of objects used purely as decoration or ornaments. Such items are widely regarded as having symbolic rather than practical value. By displaying them on the body as necklaces, pendants or bracelets or attached to clothing this also greatly increased their visual impact. The appearance of ornaments may be linked to a growing sense of self-awareness and identity amongst humans and any symbolic meanings would have been shared by members of the same group.

Neanderthal man was not as stupid as has been made out says a new study published by a University of Leicester archaeologist.

In fact Neanderthals were far removed from their stereotypical image and were innovators, says Dr Terry Hopkinson of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History in a paper published in Antiquity.

Neanderthals were the sister species of Homo sapiens, our own species, and inhabited Europe in the Middle Palaeolithic period which began some 300,000 years ago. This period has widely been thought to have been unremarkable and undramatic in cultural or evolutionary terms.

Ancient records always referred to a vast powerful "Kingdom of Kush." Robert E. Howard had his barbarian hero, Conan, run into 'Kushites' a number of times. The New Testament referred to all of Nubia as Kush, because Kush was the name of one of the sons of Ham who settled northeast Africa.

As it turns out, not only has there been more evidence discovered about those ancient people in Sudan, there's even enough gold to make a Cimmerian warrior take notice.

At sites like Kerma, evidence of a sophisticated culture still exists. This Nubian land, long dominated by Egypt, is being discovered still today.

Conan The Barbarian. Copyright: Robert E. Howard Estate.


The discovery of small perforated sea shells, in the Cave of Pigeons in Taforalt, eastern Morocco, has shown that the use of bead adornments in North Africa is older than thought. Dating from 82 000 years ago, the beads are thought to be the oldest in the world.

As adornments, together with art, burial and the use of pigments, are considered to be among the most conclusive signs of the acquisition of symbolic thought and of modern cognitive abilities, this study is leading researchers to question their ideas about the origins of modern humans.

For the first time, a text has been found in Old Persian language that shows the written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

The text is inscribed on a damaged clay tablet from the Persepolis Fortification Archive, now at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. The tablet is an administrative record of the payout of at least 600 quarts of an as-yet unidentified commodity at five villages near Persepolis in about 500 B.C.

“Now we can see that Persians living in Persia at the high point of the Persian Empire wrote down ordinary day-to-day matters in Persian language and Persian script,” said Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute.