Where do the Jewish people come from? This is a question that anthropologists, historians and theologists have studied for millennia.
According to mythology, the Judaeans descended from three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs (Cave of Machpelah) in Hebron – a city in the Palestine region and a world heritage site located in the southern West Bank, 19 miles south of Jerusalem.
A mummy dating from 3700-3500 B.C. housed in the Egyptian Museum in Turin since 1901 has never undergone any conservation treatments - and that provided a unique opportunity for some science.
And the results were a surprise. It was assumed the Turin mummy had been naturally mummified by the desiccating action of the hot, dry desert sand but chemical analysis showed that the mummy had undergone an embalming process, with a plant oil, heated conifer resin, an aromatic plant extract and a plant gum/sugar mixed together and used to impregnate the funerary textiles in which the body was wrapped.
Some 4,000 years before domesticated agriculture, hunter-gatherers baked their own bread, according to a discovery at an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan.
Researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked around 14,400 years ago
, the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.
The oldest colors in the geological record have been discovered. At 1.1 billion-years-old, the bright pink pigments extracted from marine black shales of the Taoudeni Basin in Mauritania, West Africa, are actually molecular fossils of chlorophyll that were produced by ancient photosynthetic organisms - cyanobacteria.
The fossils range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted and are more than half a billion years older than previous pigment discoveries. The rocks deep beneath the Sahara desert in Africa, remnants of an ancient ocean that has long since vanished, were rocks to powder (yes, you read that right, but nature has a lot more) before extracting and analyzing molecules of ancient organisms from them.
The 'Two Brothers' mummies, discovered by the modern world in 1907, reside in the Manchester Museum and are the mummies of, unsurprisingly, two elite men (they didn't mummify peasants), Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ank.
The remains date to around 1800 B.C. but there has always been argument about whether or not the two are actually related even though they share a joint burial site at Deir Rifeh, a village 250 miles south of Cairo. Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the coffins indicated that both men were the sons of an unnamed local governor and had mothers with the same name, Khnum-aa. It was then the tomb and the men became known as the Two Brothers.
Vampires, ghouls, zombies, they have become part of Western burial imagery even though they originated elsewhere. Yet concern about the dead rising from their graves was evident long before tales arrived from Romania or Haiti. From the 11th to 14th centuries AD, medieval people in England likely believed strongly enough in animated corpses they actually took measures to prevent it.
The bones come from the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy, North Yorkshire, a site managed by English Heritage. There were a total of 137 bones representing the mixed remains of at least ten individuals. They were buried in a pit in the settlement part of the site.
The Dead Sea scrolls used to be revered as holding some special insight, perhaps we were only now mature enough to understand it. More recently, it's clear these were errors and cast-offs that were given a proper burial, but have no real benefit.
To archaeologists, it's instead just science, another way to understand the past. A new cave has been found, though scientists didn't get their first, they were clearly looted in the middle of the 20th Century, but the scholars still suggest the cave should be numbered as Cave 12, along with the 11 caves previously known to have housed hidden Dead Sea scrolls, even though this one has no scrolls.
Researchers from the University of York have helped to solve an archaeological dispute - confirming that Neanderthals were responsible for producing tools and artifacts previously argued by some to be exclusively in the realm of modern human cognitive abilities.
Using ancient protein analysis, the team took part in an international research project to confirm the disputed origins of bone fragments in Châtelperron, France.
Led by the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, researchers set out to settle the debate as to whether hominin remains in the Grotte du Renne, an archaeological site in Arcy-sur-Cure, France, date to Neanderthal ancestry or whether they indicate the first evidence of modern humans in Europe.
The Grolier Codex, an ancient document that is among the rarest books in the world, has been regarded with skepticism since it was reportedly unearthed by looters from a cave in Chiapas, Mexico, in the 1960s, but a new study claims it is both genuine and likely the most ancient of all surviving manuscripts from ancient America.
For years, academics and specialists have argued about the legitimacy of the Grolier Codex, a legacy the authors trace in the paper. Some asserted that it must have been a forgery, speculating that modern forgers had enough knowledge of Maya writing and materials to create a fake codex at the time the Grolier came to light.
You shouldn't believe everything you read. The CDC insists salt is a problem, and the FDA asked for voluntary warning labels after the sue-and-settle lawyer group Center for Science in the Public Interest kept harassing them. Yet the evidence shows salt in a normal diet is no problem. And no quote on Facebook that has a picture of Einstein included is any more accurate. The US government promotes a prediabetes designation that has the rest of the world scratching their heads.
Even textbooks are often wrong. That is the problem with voting on science.