• Constantinople’s Ancient Aqueduct Examined

    MAINZ, GERMANY—According to a statement released by Johannes Gutenberg University, a team of researchers led by Gül Sürmelihindi analyzed limescale on the Aqueduct of Valens, which supplied water to the city of Constantinople in modern-day Turkey. Construction on the aqueduct was begun in the fourth century A.D., when the emperor Constantine the Great made the city the new capital of the Roman Empire. The water system was then expanded in the fifth century as the city grew. Along
  • 3,000-Year-Old Drill Bit Workshop Uncovered in Vietnam

    DAK LAK, VIETNAM—Vietnam Plus reports that a 3,000-year-old drill bit workshop has been found at the Thac Hai archaeological site, which is located in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam, by researchers from Vietnam’s National Museum of History and the Dak Lak Museum. The drill bits had meticulously sharpened edges and polished surfaces, and may have been used to make jewelry, the researchers explained. A grave at the site yielded the remains of a man who had been buried with cer
  • Possible Cairn Discovered in Ireland

    COUNTY LAOIS, IRELAND—The Irish Times reports that a cairn has been discovered at the top of a hill in Ireland’s southern Midlands Region by Gerry Moloney and Shane McGrath, two volunteers who spotted the site on Google Earth imagery, hiked up the hill to confirm the presence of the mound of rough stones, and reported it to Ireland’s National Monuments Service. Research at the site is needed to determine the age of the Coolnacarrick Cairn, which is situated in a scrub-covered w
  • Age of England’s Cerne Abbas Giant Confirmed

    DORSET, ENGLAND—According to a BBC News report, the results of optically stimulated luminescence testing of soil samples taken from the Cerne Abbas Giant early last year indicate that the 180-foot figure carved into a chalk hillside in southwest England was created between A.D. 700 and 1100, during the late Anglo-Saxon period. Remains of microscopic snails recovered from the soil were also used to date the creation of the figure to the medieval period. Samples from other areas of the giant
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  • New Thoughts on Early Human Meals

    JENA, GERMANY—According to a Science Magazine report, an international team of researchers analyzed oral bacteria in dental plaque collected from ancient modern humans, Neanderthals, and other primates, including chimpanzees, gorillas, and howler monkeys. The researchers found that the oral microbiome of modern humans who lived some 10,000 years ago strongly resembled that of Neanderthals who lived as early as 100,000 years ago. Both the modern humans and the Neanderthals carried a bacteri
  • Indonesia’s Early Rock Art Damaged by Climate Change

    QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA—Cosmos Magazine reports that climate change is rapidly weathering rock art at the Maros-Pangkep site in Sulawesi, Indonesia, that dates to at least 44,000 years ago. Intergenerational custodians of the artworks and local archaeologists said the images are disappearing faster now than at any other time in living memory. One of the images, of a warty pig, is the oldest known depiction of an animal. The cave also contains hunting scenes and images thought to depict mysti
  • Researchers Test Ancient Historians’ Claims About Himera Battles

    ATHENS, GEORGIA—According to a statement released by PLOS, Katherine Reinberger of the University of Georgia and her colleagues analyzed the chemical composition of the tooth enamel of 62 soldiers who fought in the Battles of Himera, in what is now Sicily. In 480 B.C., soldiers from the Greek city stopped an invading army from Carthage, but in 409 B.C., when Carthage attacked again, Himera fell. Greek historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus wrote that Himera’s soldiers were success
  • Researchers Test Ancient Greek Historians’ Claims About Himera Battles

    ATHENS, GEORGIA—According to a statement released by PLOS, Katherine Reinberger of the University of Georgia and her colleagues analyzed the chemical composition of the tooth enamel of 62 soldiers who fought in the Battles of Himera, in what is now Sicily. In 480 B.C., soldiers from the Greek city stopped an invading army from Carthage, but in 409 B.C., when Carthage attacked again, Himera fell. Greek historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus wrote that Himera’s soldiers were success
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  • Bent Sword Found in 5th-Century Soldier’s Grave in Greece

    THESSALONIKI, GREECE—Live Science reports that Errikos Maniotis of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and his colleagues have uncovered seven graves, including a 1,600-year-old soldier’s arch-shaped grave, in an early Christian basilica discovered in 2010 ahead of subway construction in northern Greece. The soldier was buried with a shield, a spear, and a spatha, a type of long straight sword used from about A.D. 250 to 450, that had been bent. “Usually, these types of swords
  • Novel Bacterial DNA Detected in Ancient Coprolites

    CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS—According to a Science Magazine report, a team of researchers led by microbiologist Aleksandar Kostic of Harvard University analyzed eight coprolites recovered from three rock shelters in Mexico and the southwestern United States to look for traces of the ancient human microbiome. The feces ranged in age from 2,000 to 1,000 years old. First, tiny samples were rehydrated and strands of DNA were recovered by archaeologist Meradeth Snow of the University of Montana, M
  • Early Bronze Age Burials Uncovered in Istanbul

    ISTANBUL, TURKEY—Hurriyet Daily News reports that archaeological investigation in Istanbul ahead of the construction of a subway station near the European shore of the Bosphorus uncovered burials dated to between 3500 and 3000 B.C. Archaeologist Mehmet Ali Polat said some 80 burials were recovered among a series of kurgans and rows of stones. “A total of 75 of these 82 tombs belong to cremation, that is, bodies buried by burning,” he added. “Seven of them were direct buri
  • 18th-Century Monkey Bones Unearthed at Castle Site in England

    NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that the bones of three guenon monkeys, a species from central and western Africa, were unearthed at Nottingham Castle during an investigation carried out ahead of a construction project. The bones have been dated to the late eighteenth century, according to Gareth Davies of the York Archaeological Trust. “At that time, the ducal palace had been converted to apartments and these bones were just found in a levelling layer of rubbish,” he expl
  • Rock-Cut Tombs Discovered in Upper Egypt

    SOHAG, EGYPT—Ahram Online reports that a recent survey revealed a series tombs carved into a mountainside at the Al-Hamidiya necropolis, which is located in southern Egypt near the west bank of the Nile River. People buried here are thought to have been elites in the nearby administrative center of Akhmim. Mostafa Waziri of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said the tombs span a period of about 2,300 years, from the Old Kingdom Period to the end of the Ptolemaic period, and were built in
  • World War II Submarine Identified Near Malta

    MSIDA, MALTA—Live Science reports that maritime archaeologist Timmy Gambin of the University of Malta and his colleagues have identified a wrecked submarine in more than 360 feet of water some six miles off Malta’s eastern coast as the HMS Urge. The vessel’s name was still visible on its conning tower, Gambin explained. A 3-D digital scan of the wreckage, he added, matches the recorded dimensions of the Urge. The submarine went missing in April 1942 after it crippled an Italian
  • Neanderthal Remains Discovered in Italy

    ROME, ITALY—The Guardian reports that the remains of nine Neanderthals, including seven adult males, a female, and a child, have been discovered in Grotta Guattari, a cave near central Italy’s western coastline that was sealed in prehistory by a collapse. One of the sets of remains has been dated to between 90,000 and 100,000 years old, while the rest have been dated to between 50,000 and 68,000 years old. Mario Rolfo of Tor Vergata University said most of them had been killed by hye
  • Ancient Persephone Statue Repatriated to Libya

    LONDON, ENGLAND—According to a report in The Guardian, a sculpture seized by customs officers at London’s Heathrow Airport has been handed over to Libya by British officials. Researchers from the British Museum examined the sculpture and suggested it had been looted from a cemetery in the ancient city of Cyrene during a period of political upheaval in Libya in 2011. Dated to the second century B.C., the sculpture depicts a woman wearing snake bracelets and holding a small doll, and h
  • Audio News for May 2nd through the 8th, 2021

    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:British shilling from 1600s found at colonial fort in Maryland(details)Human activity during Holocene linked to extinction of multiple species(details)New book on Holbein finds clue to portrait of a wife of Henry the Eighth(details)Child’s grave in Kenya thought to be oldest burial in Africa(details)
  • Mesopotamian Artifacts Repatriated to Iraq

    AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS—According to a statement released by the Government of the Netherlands, Dutch officials have handed over seven artifacts recovered from a private collector to Hisham Al Alawi, the ambassador from Iraq. The Mesopotamian artifacts include foundation cones, which are made of clay and inscribed with cuneiform texts, and are usually found in building walls or temple foundations; a figurine depicting a ram that may have been used as an amulet or a seal; a figurine represen
  • Study Estimates Population Growth at Angkor Wat

    LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS—Gizmodo reports that Sarah Klassen of the University of Leiden and Alison Carter of the University of Oregon employed recent lidar surveys, excavation data, radiocarbon dates, historical documents, and a machine learning algorithm to estimate the population of Angkor Wat, the capital of Cambodia’s Khmer Empire from the ninth to the fifteenth century A.D. The lidar survey revealed mounds otherwise concealed by heavy vegetation. The researchers estimated that five p
  • World War I Soldiers’ Artifacts Found in Alpine Cave

    BERGAMO, ITALY—According to a CNN report, continuing glacier melt has revealed additional World War I artifacts in a cave near the peak of Mount Scorluzzo in northern Italy. Twenty Austrian soldiers took shelter in the cave, which is located near the strategic Stelvio Pass, and camouflaged it from aerial view. Stefano Morosini of the University of Bergamo said the recently discovered artifacts include food containers, dishes, straw mattresses, coins, helmets, ammunition, newspapers, and an
  • Mary Rose Crew Members Examined

    CARDIFF, WALES—The Guardian reports that a team of researchers from Cardiff University, the Mary Rose Trust, HM Naval Base, and the British Geological Survey’s National Environmental Isotope Facility examined the remains of eight sailors recovered from the wreckage of Mary Rose, a Tudor warship that sank in the Solent on July 19, 1545, in a battle with French ships. The positions of the remains in the wreckage, and artifacts found near them, suggest they included an officer, an arche
  • Remains of Arctic Explorer Identified Through DNA Analysis

    ONTARIO, CANADA—According to a statement released by the University of Waterloo, skeletal remains of a member of the 1845 Franklin Expedition have been identified through DNA analysis. Sir John Franklin and the 129 members of the expedition set out on the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to explore the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. All were eventually lost. The DNA sample, obtained from tooth and bone recovered on King William Island in 2013, belonged to Warrant Officer John Gregory,
  • Earliest Known Human Burial in Africa Analyzed

    JENA, GERMANY—Researchers have found the oldest burial of a modern human in Africa, according to a statement released by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. First exposed in 2013, the remains of a two-and-a-half to three-year-old child were interred about 78,000 years ago in a circular pit at the entrance to Kenya's Panga ya Saidi cave. Because the bones had so heavily decomposed, archaeologists removed and transported the entire block of soil containing the burial i
  • Study Examines French Soldiers' Remains in 15th-Century Mass Graves

    OTTAWA, CANADA—According to a statement released by the University of Ottawa, two contemporaneous fifteenth-century mass graves unearthed at the Jacobin convent in Rennes, France, likely contain the remains of soldiers killed during the siege of Rennes in 1491. The conflict between the forces of France's King Charles VIII and Anne, Duchess of Brittany, ended a four-year war for control of Brittany. Following the siege, the marriage of the leaders marked the end of the region's independence
  • Earliest Known Human Burial in Africa Identified

    JENA, GERMANY—Researchers have found the oldest burial of a modern human in Africa, according to a statement released by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. First exposed in 2013, the remains of a two-and-a-half to three-year-old child were interred about 78,000 years ago in a circular pit at the entrance to Kenya's Panga ya Saidi cave. Because the bones had so heavily decomposed, archaeologists removed and transported the entire block of soil containing the burial i
  • Cache of 1,500-Year-Old Gold Pendants Found in Norway

    ØSTFOLD, NORWAY—Science Norway reports that seven gold pendants, or bracteates, estimated to be 1,500 years old have been unearthed in southeastern Norway by archaeologists Jessica Leigh McGraw, Margrete Figenschou Simonsen, and Magne Samdal of the University of Oslo Museum of Cultural History. Such pendants, they explained, were inspired by medallions from the Roman Empire. In Scandinavia, the portrait of the emperor was replaced with Norse gods and Germanic-style animal figures. B
  • Child’s Coffin Discovered at the Real Alcázar of Seville

    SEVILLE, SPAIN—El País reports that the remains of a child were discovered under the floor near the main altar in the chapel at the Real Alcázar of Seville, a royal palace in southern Spain. The burial was found during work to restore the palace’s sixteenth-century ceramic tiles. The child, who was approximately five years old at the time of death, was placed in a wooden coffin inside a lead sarcophagus. Pieces of fabric, shoe leather, and two mother-of-pearl buttons we
  • Marble Head of Augustus Unearthed in Southern Italy

    ISERNIA, ITALY—ArtNews reports that a marble head of the Roman emperor Augustus (r. 27 B.C.–A.D. 14) was unearthed in southern Italy’s region of Molise by a team of researchers led by archaeologist Francesca Giancola. The team members were excavating the walls of the town of Isernia, which are located on the Via Occidentale, when they uncovered the sculpture. Giancola noted that the nose of the carving has been damaged. To read about taxation under Augustus, go to "Ancient Tax
  • Evidence of 19th-Century Parasites Found in New Hampshire

    HANOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE—According to a statement released by Dartmouth College, evidence of parasitic infection has been found in a privy that belonged to an affluent, nineteenth-century rural household. The layers of waste in the stone-lined privy contained fine imported ceramics, exotic peanut and coffee remains, mineral water bottles, medicine bottles for digestive ailments, and fecal samples. Jesse Casana of Dartmouth College said the ineffective medicine held in the bottles may have be
  • Audio News for April 25th through the May 1st, 2021

    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:LIDAR surveys provides new details about Maya civilizations in the northern Yucatán(details)X-ray testing reveals Egyptian mummy was a pregnant woman(details)Disruptions in Ancestral Puebloan societies attributed to the intersection of climate challenges with social tensions(details)First settlers in Iceland built boat-shaped stone hearth in a volcanic cave(details)
  • 1,200-Year-Old Children’s Hand Prints Found in Mexican Cave

    MERIDA, MEXICO—Reuters reports that 137 handprints have been found on the walls of a subterranean cave on the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The artworks have been dated to between A.D. 800 and 1000, during a time of severe drought. Many of the red and black prints belong to children who were entering puberty, based upon their size, and may be connected to a Maya coming-of-age ritual, according to archaeologist Sergio Grosjean. “They imprinted their hands on the wa
  • Britain’s Medieval Population Suffered From Cancer

    CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—According to a Gizmodo report, Piers Mitchell of the University of Cambridge and his colleagues used advanced medical imaging equipment to look for tumor lesions on the bones of 143 people who were buried in cemeteries in the city of Cambridge, England, between the sixth and sixteenth centuries A.D. “We think the total proportion of the medieval population that probably suffered with a cancer somewhere in their body was between nine and 14 percent,” Mitchell
  • Lidar Survey Reveals Puuc Region’s Maya Communities

    DAVIDSON, NORTH CAROLINA—According to a Live Science report, a lidar survey of a 90-square mile area in Mexico’s hilly Puuc region, which is located on the northern Yucatan Peninsula, has revealed nearly 8,000 stone housing platforms, more than 1,200 ovens thought to have been used to make lime from sandstone, artificial reservoirs to collect water for residential areas, and several farming terraces built by the Maya as early as 700 B.C. underneath the dense vegetation. “It see
  • Pregnancy Detected in Ancient Egyptian Mummy

    WARSAW, POLAND—The AFP reports that X-rays of a 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy held at Poland’s National Museum since 1917 revealed the remains of a woman with long, curly hair who was between 26 and 30 weeks pregnant at the time of her death. “We do not know why the fetus was not taken out of the belly of the deceased during mummification,” said Wojciech Ejsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences. “That is why this mummy is truly unique. We have not been able to find
  • Bronze Age Cache Discovered in Sweden

    ALINGSAS, SWEDEN—The AFP reports that more than 50 Bronze Age artifacts were discovered in western Sweden by Tomas Karlsson, an orienteering enthusiast. The 2,500-year-old cache of bronze items includes necklaces, chains, needles, and eyelets used to decorate and construct clothing. Johan Ling of the University of Gothenburg said the objects may have belonged to high-status women. The items were reportedly lying on the surface of the ground by some boulders, and may have been dug up by ani
  • 17th-Century Artifacts Recovered at St. Mary’s Fort

    ST. MARY’S CITY, MARYLAND—According to an NPR report, archaeologist Travis Parno announced the discovery of three artifacts dating to the early seventeenth century at the recently discovered site of St. Mary’s Fort, the first colonial settlement in Maryland. The first, a silver shilling, was minted in London between 1633 and 1634, which helps to date the site, Parno explained. The excavation team also uncovered a tinkling cone, an ornament made from a small piece of flattened a
  • Medieval Sword Unearthed in Poland

    OLSZTYN, POLAND—A medieval sword, metal pieces of a scabbard and a belt, and two knives that would have been worn on the belt were discovered in northern Poland by a metal detectorist who donated the artifacts to the Museum of the Battle of Grunwald, according to a Live Science report. The sword may have been used in the battle, which was fought on July 15, 1410 between a Polish-Lithuanian army of 39,000 troops and 27,000 troops of the Knights of the Teutonic Order. The Knights’ loss
  • More Than 100 Burials Uncovered in Egypt’s Nile Delta

    DAKAHLIA, EGYPT—According to an Ahram Online report, 110 burials containing the remains of adults and children have been found at the Koum el-Khulgan archaeological site in the Nile Delta region of northern Egypt. Pottery, amulets, scarabs, stone tools, and flint knives were also recovered. Mostafa Waziri of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said that more than 60 of the graves are oval-shaped and date to the Predynastic period, from about 6000 to 3150 B.C. In these tombs, the bodies were
  • Byzantine-Era Mosaic Discovered in Central Israel

    YAVNE, ISRAEL—According to a CNN report, a mosaic dated to between A.D. 300 and 400 has been unearthed at Tel Yavne, which is located in central Israel. The multicolored, rectangular floor features geometric motifs surrounded by a black frame. “It’s the first time in Yavne that they found a colored mosaic floor,” said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Elie Haddad. Several coins were found under the floor, which is thought to be part of a home situated near an ind
  • Early Roman Settlement Discovered in Bulgaria

    SINAGOVTSI, BULGARIA—Archaeology in Bulgaria reports that a previously unknown Roman settlement dating to the first century B.C. was discovered ahead of highway construction in northwestern Bulgaria by a team of researchers led by archaeologist Zdravko Dimitrov. The site, which is located near the mouth of the Vidbol River, lies midway between the Roman colony of Ratiaria to the southwest and the fortified Roman city of Bononia to the north. Among the earliest Roman buildings, the team unc
  • Boat-Shaped Viking Structure Found in Icelandic Cave

    PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND—Live Science reports that a team of researchers led by Kevin Smith of Brown University has investigated a stone structure in Surtshellir Cave, which is located near a volcano in Iceland. The volcano is known to have erupted about 1,100 years ago, shortly after the island was colonized by Vikings. Smith said that after the lava from the eruption cooled, the Vikings built the boat-shaped structure with rocks. Within the boat’s outline, the researchers unearthed
  • Audio News for April 18th through the 24th, 2021

    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:Turkish archaeologists discover Roman-era gladiator arena(details)Traces of cabin belonging to Harriet Tubman’s father uncovered at Maryland site(details)New study shows how humans have sustainably shaped Earth’s ecology for millennia(details)Famous “Little Foot” fossil gives greater insight into the divergence from apes in human evolutionary history(details)
  • Traces of Bronze Age Village Discovered in Switzerland

    ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND—Swissinfo.ch reports that traces of a Bronze Age village were found under a thick layer of mud and 13 feet of water in central Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne during pipeline construction. Researchers from Zürich’s underwater archaeology department recovered five pieces of pottery and about 30 stilts that would have supported houses positioned on the lake’s edge some 3,000 years ago. The settlement suggests that the area was inhabited about 2,000
  • Fingerprint Found on Neolithic Pottery in Scotland

    ORKNEY, SCOTLAND—BBC News reports that a fingerprint has been found on a 5,000-year-old piece of pottery at the Ness of Brodgar, a Neolithic complex of buildings located in northern Scotland on the island of Orkney. The potter’s print was spotted by ceramics specialist Roy Towers of the University of the Highlands and Islands, and confirmed with reflectance transformation imaging technology, which uses computer software to compile multiple photographs taken with different controlled
  • Improvements in Viking Metalwork Investigated

    AARHUS, DENMARK—According to a statement released by Aarhus University, medieval craftspeople living at the port of Ribe developed their metalworking practices between the eighth and ninth centuries. A team of researchers led by Vana Orfanou examined more than 1,100 crucibles and molds, 24 keys and brooches, and 24 ingots and metal fragments unearthed at two sites in the town of Ribe. Orfanou said that in the eighth century, craftspeople used two or more metals when mixing alloys, but the
  • Dead Sea Scroll Analyzed With Artificial Intelligence

    GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS—According to a statement released by the University of Groningen, Mladen Popović, Lambert Schomaker, and Maruf Dhali used a computer algorithm to analyze the Great Isaiah Scroll, which was discovered in Qumran Cave 1 in 1947. It had been previously suggested that the document was written by at least two scribes, but scholars had not able to detect any specific, identifying traits in the handwriting. To attempt to answer this question, Popović and his collea
  • Study Suggests Hominin Could Walk and Swing Through Trees

    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA—Gizmodo reports that a new study of a human ancestor's shoulder blade and collarbone suggests that Australopithecus prometheus was able to swing through trees some 3.7 million years ago. Discovered in South Africa in the 1990s, the fossilized remains of an individual known as "Little Foot" were carefully excavated from concrete-like rock over a period of 15 years. Previous studies of Little Foot’s anatomy indicate the early hominin was able to walk upright
  • Iron Age Weapons Found at Hillfort Site in Germany

    NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA, GERMANY—Live Science reports that a metal detectorist working with Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe archaeologists has discovered more than 150 objects at Wilzenberg, an Iron Age hillfort site in western Germany. The objects include bent weapons, fragments of shield bosses, tools, belt hooks, parts of a horse’s bridle, three silver coins, and bronze jewelry, according to archaeologist Manuel Zeiler. Most of the artifacts date to about 300 B.C., except
  • 19th-Century Medicine Analyzed With Muons in Japan

    OSAKA, JAPAN—According to a report in The Asahi Shimbun, researchers from Osaka University and their colleagues employed muonic X-ray analysis at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex to identify the contents of a sealed nineteenth-century glass bottle in their collections. The bottle is one of more than 20 in a medicine chest used by Ogata Koan, a physician who established an academy of Western-style technology and medicine in Osaka in the mid-nineteenth century. The bottle’
  • Update on Roman Gladiator Arena Discovered in Turkey

    MASTAURA, TURKEY—Live Science reports that researchers have been investigating the site of a Roman amphitheater discovered in western Anatolia last summer. As many as 20,000 spectators could have been seated in the structure, which was found overgrown with shrubs and trees. Mehmet Umut Tuncer, provincial director of Aydin Culture and Tourism, and archaeologist Sedat Akkurnaz of Adnan Menderes University said their study of the site has revealed that the amphitheater was constructed with gl

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