Archaeologists have used stone tools to answer many questions about human ancestors in both the distant and near past and now they are analyzing the origin of obsidian flakes to better understand how people settled and interacted in the inhospitable Kuril Islands.
Using X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, archaeologists from the University of Washington and the Smithsonian Institution have found the origin of 131 flakes of obsidian, a volcanic glass. These small flakes were discarded after stone tools were made from obsidian and were found at 18 sites on eight islands in the Kurils. The flakes were found with other artifacts that were dated over a time period spanning about 1,750 years, from 2500 to 750 years before the present.
The largest artificial underground cav in Israel has been exposed in the Jordan Valley in the course of a survey carried out by the University of Haifa's Department of Archaeology. Prof. Adam Zertal, who headed the excavating team, reckons that this cave was originally a large quarry during the Roman and Byzantine era and was one of its kind. Various engravings were uncovered in the cave, including cross markings, and it is assumed that this could have been an early monastery.
"It is probably the site of "Galgala" from the historical Madaba Map," Prof. Zertal says.
More than 100 feet deep in Lake Huron, on a wide stoney ridge that 9,000 years ago was a land bridge, University of Michigan researchers have found the first archeological evidence of human activity preserved beneath the Great Lakes.
The researchers located what they believe to be caribou-hunting structures and camps used by the early hunters of the period.
"This is the first time we've identified structures like these on the lake bottom," said John O'Shea, curator of Great Lakes Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology and professor in the Department of Anthropology. "Scientifically, it's important because the entire ancient landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development."
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.
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.