Archaeology

In the early part of the 20th century, after we had entered the Age of Flight, a strange phenomenon in Arabia was sighted. 

Air travel had become more common and thus so did air delivery. British pilots flying from Cairo to Baghdad reported seeing ruins that no one had ever noticed before.
It's believed that humans discovered fire over a million years ago but when it became something controlled and used for daily needs is unknown.

Fire is central to the rise of human culture and a discovery by archeologists at Qesem Cave, a site near present-day Rosh Ha’ayin in the Central District of Israel, has pushed the date for  unequivocal repeated fire building over a continuous period back a little farther - back to around 300,000 years ago.

Archaeologists working at  Abydos in southern Egypt have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown pharaoh named Woseribre Senebkay — and found the first material proof of a forgotten Abydos Dynasty from around 1650-1600 B.C. 

The tomb of the previously unknown pharaoh Senebkay was discovered close to a larger royal tomb, recently identified as belonging to a king Sobekhotep, probably Sobekhotep I, circa. 1780 B.C. of the 13th Dynasty.


Volcanic rock textures and ages suggest that the painting of a mural by residents of Çatalhöyük was recording an explosive eruption of the Hasan Dagi volcano. 

Scientists analyzed rocks from the nearby Hasan Dagi volcano in order to determine whether it was the volcano depicted in the mural from ~6600 BC in the Catalhöyük Neolithic site in central Turkey.

To determine if Hasan Dagi was active during that time, scientists collected and analyzed volcanic rock samples from the summit and flanks of the Hasan Dagi volcano using (U-Th)/He zircon geochronology. These ages were then compared to the archeological date of the mural.


Learning about ancient civilizations used to mean hand-drawn maps and clunky tomes; now anyone can do it, using Google Earth and some idea of where to look and what to look for.

And Google Earth has helped create a map of an ancient Syrian trade route that shows how one city's political sway extended farther than believed. It still takes old-fashioned digging by others to have found the artifacts in the first place, but for visualization and understanding, the future is here.


Zaballa (Iruña de Oca) was a medieval settlement abandoned in the 15th century due to urban flight. Prior to that it had a manor monastery and later became something of a specialized factory location before its demise. 

Zaballa is one of the more than 300 deserted settlements known in Alava-Araba - rural spaces abandoned in historical times but now being studied by the UPV/EHU's Cultural Heritage and Landscapes Research Group.  


Cranial surgery is tricky business today. Patients will need an aseptic environment, specialized surgical instruments and copious amounts of pain medication both during and afterward.

In ancient Peru, trepanation  - removing a section of the cranial vault using a hand drill or a scraping tool - was a lot more dangerous, and yet more common. They used it to treat a variety of ailments, from head injuries to heartsickness. 

Excavating burial caves in the south-central Andean province of Andahuaylas in Peru, U.C. Santa Barbara archaeologist Danielle Kurin and colleagues unearthed the remains of 32 individuals that date back to the Late Intermediate Period (ca. AD 1000-1250). Among them, 45 separate trepanation procedures were in evidence. 


Over five-thousand years, cats began living alongside farmers in the ancient Chinese village of Quanhucun, according to a new paper. Probably because of rodents attracted to food. 

Cat remains rarely are found in ancient archaeological sites, and little is known about how they were domesticated. Cats were thought to have first been domesticated in ancient Egypt, where they were kept some 4,000 years ago, but more recent research suggests close relations with humans may have occurred much earlier, including the discovery of a wild cat buried with a human nearly 10,000 years ago in Cyprus.


Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating to the sixth century B.C., the first archaeological material linking the life of the Buddha and the movement he founded to a specific century.

The Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini, Nepal, has long been considered the birthplace of the Buddha and now excavations have uncovered the remains of a previously unknown sixth-century B.C. timber structure under a series of brick temples. Laid out on the same design as those above it, the timber structure contains an open space in the center that links to the nativity story of the Buddha himself. 


Would you drink wine flavored with mint, honey and a dash of psychotropic resins? Ancient Canaanites did more than 3,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have unearthed what may be the oldest, and largest,ancient wine cellar in the Near East, containing forty jars, each of which held up to fifty liters of strong, sweet wine flavored with mint, honey and a dash of psychotropic resins.  The cellar was discovered in the ruined palace of a sprawling Canaanite city in northern Israel, called Tel Kabri, far from many of Israel's modern-day wineries, and dates to about 1,700 B.C.