• Flood-Damaged Books Frozen in Italy

    BOLOGNA, ITALY—The Guardian reports that ancient books and manuscripts damaged by recent deadly flooding in northern Italy’s region of Emilia-Romagna are being stored in industrial freezers provided by a frozen food company. So far, books have been salvaged by volunteers and the carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection Unit of Bologna from the basement of a seminary in Cava, the Trisi Library in Lugo, and the archives of the Forlì town hall. Freezing could draw water ou
  • Risk of Flintknapping Injury Tabulated

    KENT, OHIO—According to a statement released by Kent State University, the process of breaking, flaking, and shaping stones to create tools may have been a life-threatening undertaking for early humans. Metin I. Eren of Kent State University and Stephen Lycett of the University of Buffalo and their colleagues, Nicholas Gala and Michelle Bebber, surveyed 173 modern flintknappers, and determined that knapping is more dangerous than they had realized from their own experiences. The reported i
  • Medieval Settlement Mapped in Northern Germany’s Mudflats

    MAINZ, GERMANY—According to a statement released by Mainz University, traces of a large church have been found at Rungholt, a medieval trading center located on Germany’s northern coast that was submerged by storm surge in 1362. Research team member Dennis Wilken of Kiel University said that magnetic gradiometry, electromagnetic induction, and seismics were used to map the settlement’s remains, which are now hidden by mudflats in the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. Sedim
  • 2,700-Year-Old Saddle Found in China

    YANGHAI, CHINA—A leather saddle dated to between 700 and 400 B.C. has been recovered from a woman’s grave in the arid desert of northwestern China’s Turpan Basin, according to a Live Science report. Saddles for horseback riding are thought to have originated in Central Asia around the middle of the first millennium B.C. “This places the Yanghai saddle at the beginning of the history of saddle making,” said Patrick Wertmann of the University of Zurich. The woman is t
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  • Sculpted Roman Heads Discovered in Cumbria

    CARLISLE, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that excavation of a Roman bathhouse on the grounds of the Carlisle Cricket Club in northwestern England uncovered the sculpted heads of two Roman gods. The site, located not far from Hadrian’s Wall, was situated along a cobbled Roman road. Archaeologist Frank Giecco said the sandstone carvings have been dated to around A.D. 200, and likely topped full-figure statues that stood between 12 and 15 feet tall. “You can probably count on one hand e
  • Paddle Recovered From Chancay Culture Tomb in Peru

    LIMA, PERU—BBC News Mundo reports that a tomb belonging to the Chancay culture has been discovered at the site of the Matacón cemetery, which is located on the coast of central Peru. The tomb is thought to be between 1,200 and 1,400 years old, making it the oldest to be unearthed in the cemetery. Five relatives or servants had been sacrificed and buried in the tomb alongside its high-ranking owner. The remains of four llamas, 25 vessels, and a paddle were also recovered. Although th
  • Late Roman Watchtower Discovered in Switzerland

    SCHLATT, SWITZERLAND—Traces of a fourth-century A.D. Roman watchtower, including bricks, stones, mortar, roof tiles, and a foundation ditch, have been discovered by the Rhine River in northern Switzerland, according to a Live Science report. Archaeologist Hansjörg Brem of the Canton of Thurgau said that the base of the tower measured 23 feet square and had walls measuring three feet thick. Five to 15 people, perhaps soldiers and their families, may have lived in the tower, which was s
  • 7,000-Year-Old Skeleton Uncovered in Poland

    KRAKÓW, POLAND—Live Science reports that a well-preserved skeleton that may have belonged to an early Neolithic farmer was discovered in southern Poland ahead of a construction project. Flint and pottery fragments from the Linear Pottery culture were found near the bones, suggesting that they are about 7,000 years old. Archaeologist Paweł Micyk said that the non-acidic nature of the soil helped to preserve the human remains. Radiocarbon dating and an analysis of the bones by an
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  • Possible Early Cyrillic Text Found in Bulgaria

    SOFIA, BULGARIA—A 1,100-year-old inscription written in Cyrillic has been found on a breastplate unearthed at a fortress site located on what is now the border between Greece and Bulgaria, according to a Live Science report. “The text was written on a lead plate worn on the chest to protect the wearer from trouble and evil,” said Ivailo Kanev of Bulgaria’s National Museum of History. The text mentions Pavel and Dimitar—Pavel is believed to have been a relative of Di
  • Wine Residues Detected on 15th-Century Pottery in the Caribbean

    CRANFIELD, ENGLAND—According to a statement released by Cranfield University, evidence of wine has been detected on late fifteenth-century A.D. fragments of a Spanish olive jar unearthed on Mona, a small Caribbean Island situated between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The residues were analyzed with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry by a team of researchers led by Lisa Briggs of the British Museum and Cranfield University. She and her colleagues explained that the evidence
  • 3,000-Year-Old Flour Storage Site Found in Armenia

    YEREVAN, ARMENIA—According to a Science in Poland report, a layer of 3,000-year-old flour has been found in Armenia at the fortified site of Metsamor by researchers from the University of Warsaw and Armenia’s Service for the Protection of Historical Environment and Cultural Museums. The residue was found in the remains of a large building made of wooden columns on stone bases with a reed roof. “At first glance, [the flour] looked like lightly burnt ash. With froth flotation, we
  • Audio News for May 14th through the 20th, 2023

    News items read by Laura Kennedy include:Megalith tomb in Spain uses rippled rock to reflect summer solstice light(details)Scoreboard for Maya ballgame found with late ninth-century hieroglyphics(details)Germany's oldest human footprints found in lakeshore silt(details)First large-scale survey of early Roman sites in Scotland shows intensive conquest efforts(details)
  • Medieval “King’s Wharf” Uncovered in Norway

    OSLO, NORWAY—Science Norway reports that excavations ahead of a construction project in Bjørvika, an area that had been the harbor of medieval Oslo, unearthed a section of wharf measuring more than 25 feet long. Håvard Hegdal of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) said that sections of this wharf were first discovered in the 1990s, but he did not expect to find such a large section of the structure during the current investigation. “The dimensio
  • Amber Beads From Iraq’s Ziggurat of Assur Identified

    HALLE, GERMANY—According to a statement released by the Saxony-Anhalt State Museum of Prehistory, two disc-shaped beads discovered under Iraq’s ziggurat of Assur in 1914 by researchers from the Royal Museums in Berlin and the German Orient Society have been analyzed with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) by a team of researchers from the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt, the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenburg, and the Berlin S
  • Use of Fire in Europe Pushed Back 50,000 Years

    EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—According to a statement released by Heriot-Watt University, hominins living in what is now Europe some 250,000 years ago used fire for cooking, heating, and defense, pushing back the controlled use of fire by some 50,000 years. A team of researchers led by geochemist Clayton Magill of Heriot-Watt University and archaeologists Susana Rubio-Jara and Joaquín Panera of Complutense University analyzed the remains of a fire from Valdocarros II, an archaeological site
  • Remains of Child Mill Workers Examined in Northern England

    DURHAM, ENGLAND—According to a Surrey Comet report, an examination of the remains of more than 150 people recovered from a churchyard cemetery in North Yorkshire has detected evidence of child labor in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rebecca Gowland of Durham University and her colleagues found that many of the remains belonged to young people who died between the ages of eight and 20. Their bones show signs of stunted growth, malnutrition, rickets, and tuberculosis. “This i
  • Was Kissing a Universal Practice in the Ancient World?

    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—According to a report in The Guardian, Troels Pank Arbøll of the University of Copenhagen and his colleagues suggest that kissing was considered part of romantic intimacy in Mesopotamia some 4,500 years ago, based upon texts written in cuneiform script on clay tablets recovered from archaeological sites. It had been previously suggested that romantic kissing originated in what is now India around 1500 B.C. “Therefore, kissing should not be regarded as a cus
  • 3-D Digital Model of RMS Titanic Created

    SAN DIMAS, CALIFORNIA—Submersibles named “Romeo” and “Juliet” were used to gather more than 715,000 sonar images and 4K video footage to create a full-scall digital 3-D model of RMS Titanic, according to a Live Science report. More than 1,500 of the 2,240 passengers and crew died when the liner struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. The shipwreck, discovered in 1985, rests under 12,500 feet of water some 370 nautical miles south of Newfo
  • Remains of Ritual Meal Found at Pompeii’s Temple of Isis

    ROME, ITALY—Live Science reports that traces of a ritual banquet have been uncovered at the site of the Temple of Isis in the ancient Roman resort city of Pompeii. Analysis of the remains has identified at least eight chickens, a goose, a turtle dove, a pig, and two clams. Some of the meat would have been eaten by the priests of the Egyptian cult, while the rest would have been placed on the floor as an offering to the goddess, who was sometimes portrayed with bird wings. Birds are thought
  • Rock-Cut Images May Be Scaled Drawings of Desert Kites

    LYON, FRANCE—According to a Science News report, carvings discovered in different locations in the Middle East may have been scaled drawings of desert kites, which are enclosures made of stone walls that were used by hunters to capture herds of animals. One drawing on a rectangular stone in Jordan is estimated to be 9,000 years old, while two others on a boulder in Saudi Arabia have been dated to 8,000 years ago. Rémy Crassard and his colleagues at the French National Center for Sci
  • Funerary Bundle Discovered in Peru

    LIMA, PERU—Andina reports that a 500-year-old funerary bundle and pottery were discovered by archaeologists during work on a natural gas line near Lima’s central coastline. The bundle, which had been wrapped in mats and tied with ropes arranged in a geometric pattern, is thought to belong to the Ychsma culture. For more on the Ychsma, go to "Idol of the Painted Temple."
  • Signs of Anemia Detected in Ancient Egyptian Mummies

    MURNAU, GERMANY—Computed tomography scans of the mummified remains of 21 ancient Egyptian children between the ages of one and 14 revealed that seven of them showed signs of anemia, according to a Live Science report. All of the mummies in the study date from the third millennium B.C. to the fourth century A.D. and are currently held in European museums. Study team members Stephanie Panzer of the BG Hospital in Murnau, Karl O. Schneider of LMU Munich, and their colleagues explained that an
  • Researchers Use AI to Read Ancient Mesopotamian Texts

    TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—Artnet News reports that artificial intelligence (AI) has been used by researchers from Tel Aviv University and Ariel University to translate ancient cuneiform texts from Mesopotamia into English. Luis Sáenz of Ariel University said that the use of AI is not intended to replace human scholarship, but could speed the process of translating the vast quantity of fragmentary texts in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages that have been recovered from archaeological sites.
  • Two Skeletons Uncovered at Pompeii

    ROME, ITALY—The Guardian reports that the skeletons of two people have been found in Pompeii, at the Insula dei Casti Amanti, which is located in an area where a bakery and homes have been uncovered. Pompeii was destroyed in A.D. 79 by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The skeletons, found beneath a collapsed wall, have been identified as two men in their 50s. One of the men had raised his arm, perhaps in an attempt to protect himself. The building where the remains were discovered is though
  • South Africa’s Ice Age Landscape Reevaluated

    ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN—According to a statement released by the University of Michigan, interior areas of South Africa that are now arid and inhospitable were more fertile and temperate for longer periods of time during the Ice Ages than previously thought. Archaeologist Brian Stewart and his international team of colleagues analyzed and dated layers of soil cores from inland ancient lake beds surrounded by higher ground left behind by their shorelines. The presence of lakes indicates that th
  • Megalithic Tomb Explored in Southern Spain

    ANTEQUERA, SPAIN—According to a Live Science report, a 5,400-year-old megalithic tomb containing stone tools, pieces of pottery, and human remains has been found in southern Spain by Leonardo García Sanjuán of the University of Seville and his colleagues. Situated near the Matacabras rock shelter at La Peña de los Enamorados, or the Rock of the Lovers, light from sunrise on the summer solstice travels along a passage and onto a rock with distinctive ripples on its surf
  • Unusual Bronze Dagger Discovered in Poland

    LUBLIN, POLAND—Science in Poland reports that a 3,500-year-old bronze dagger was discovered near the surface of the soil in a forest in southeastern Poland by a metal detectorist. Paweł Wira of the Chełm Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments said it is the first such weapon to be found in the region. He thinks it may have been lost by a traveler. “It is not a local product, the item most likely came here from today’s Hungary, Czechia, Austria or Slovakia&m
  • New Thoughts on Migration in Ancient Mexico

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—Phys.org reports that Viridiana Villa-Islas of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and her colleagues analyzed genomes and mitochondrial DNA samples from 27 individuals whose remains were recovered from eight different archaeological sites in Mexico dating back some 2,300 years, in order to investigate the possible movements of ancient peoples. Study of archaeological evidence had suggested that during periods of drought, hunter-gatherers from the north of Mexi
  • 2,300-Year-Old Celtic Tomb Discovered in Germany

    MUNICH, GERMANY—A folded sword that may have been used in battle, a five-inch-long pair of scissors, a portion of a shield, a razor, a fibula, a belt chain, and a spearhead have been recovered from a 2,300-year-old Celtic cremation tomb in Germany, according to a Live Science report. The items were discovered during a search for lost World War II–era explosives. “The scissors in particular are in exceptionally good condition,” said archaeologist Martina Pauli of the Bavar
  • Roman Architectural Elements Recovered in the Mediterranean Sea

    NETANYA, ISRAEL—According to an I24 News report, a swimmer spotted some worked marble at a shipwreck site located off the Mediterranean coast of central Israel and reported his discovery to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Recent storms are thought to have shifted the sands that had buried the wreckage. The marble cargo, dated to the Roman period, includes Corinthian capitals, partially carved capitals, and marble columns measuring up to 20 feet long. IAA researchers think the cargo
  • 4,000-Year-Old Temple Unearthed in Western Peru

    LIMA, PERU—ABC News Australia reports that a U-shaped temple has been uncovered in western Peru’s lower Chancay River Valley, at the Miraflores archaeological site. A cross-shaped symbol known as a chacana has been found carved into a frieze in the temple, which has been dated to 4,000 years ago. “This chacana or southern cross is the oldest complete representation that has been found in the Andes,” said archaeologist Pieter Van Dalen of the National University of San Mar
  • Neolithic Copper Trading Networks Identified in Europe

    KIEL, GERMANY—According to a statement released by PLOS, researchers led by archaeologist Jan Piet Brozio of Kiel University have studied the geochemistry of 45 Neolithic copper artifacts from northern central Europe and southern Scandinavia to determine where the ores used to make the objects originated. The artifacts included axes and chisels dating to the fourth through third millennium B.C. The team found that artifacts dating to before 3500 B.C. were fashioned from copper ores th
  • Early Colonist Found in Maryland

    ST. MARY'S CITY, MARYLAND—The 400-year-old grave of one of the New World’s earliest colonists has been found in Historic St. Mary’s City near Washington, D.C., according to a Live Science report. While excavating in a field near the location of Historic St. Mary’s, which was Maryland’s original colonial capital, archaeologists found the remains of a boy between the ages of 15 and 16 who probably arrived in the area in about 1630. The boy had broken his right leg bad
  • Audio News for May 7th through the 13th, 2023.

    News items read by Laura Kennedy include:Mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests early Asian migrations to the Americas and Japan(details)400-year-old-skeleton unearthed in Maryland believed to be discarded remains of teenaged indentured servant(details)Decline of the Indus Civilization megacities likely due to long periods of drought(details)Preserved 7,000-year-old road discovered beneath the Adriatic Sea(details)(details)
  • 300,000-Year-Old Footprints Uncovered in Germany

    SCHÖNINGEN, GERMANY—An international team of researchers found the oldest known human footprints from Germany at the Schöningen Paleolithic site complex in Lower Saxony, according to a statement released by the University of Tübingen. The fossilized hominin footprints, which date to some 300,000 years ago, were probably left by members of the species Homo heidelbergensis. Two of the three prints appear to belong to young individuals. University of Tübingen archaeol
  • Objects from a Lost Ancient Collection Found

    KLUCZKOWICE, POLAND—In 1942, the Kleniewski family fled their home in the town of Kluczkowice in central Poland when the Nazis confiscated their palace and turned it over to the SS. But while the family themselves left, they appear to have left some of their precious belongings behind. According to a report in The First News, during a recent government-sanctioned metal detecting survey, a detectorist found two 3,000-year-old bronze figurines depicting Osiris, the Egyptian god of death, and
  • Neolithic Ritual Cache Discovered in Ukrainian Cave

    BORSHCHIV, UKRAINE—Haaretz reports that archaeologists excavating in Verteba Cave in western Ukraine have discovered a trove of five female ceramic figurines made some 5,000 years ago by the Neolithic and Copper Age people known to scholars as the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture. These people, known for their massive settlements that rivaled the earliest cities in Mesopotamia in size, flourished in what is now Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova from roughly 6,000 to 4,600 years ago. The la
  • Roman Incense Container Unearthed in Northern England

    COCKERMOUTH, ENGLAND—Times & Star reports that archaeologists from Ecus Ltd. uncovered traces of a Roman village and foundry on privately owned land in Cumbria. Among the artifacts found at the site are coins, pottery, a polished stone nude male figurine, and a stone sculpture of a seated woman identified as Fortuna, the Roman goddess of luck. The team also unearthed a copper alloy balsamarium, or incense and oil container, that was fashioned in the form of a bust of Bacchus, the Roman
  • New Thoughts on the First Migrants to the Americas

    KUNMING, CHINA—According to an AFP report, a new genetic study of a mitochondrial DNA lineage suggests that people from northern coastal China were among the first migrants to arrive in the Americas. Molecular anthropologist Yu-Chun Li of the Kunming Institute of Zoology and his colleagues analyzed modern and ancient genomes from across Eurasia, searching for D4h, an ancient mitochondrial lineage found in populations in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and California. They identifi
  • Neolithic Flint Tool Found in Norway

    VESTLAND COUNTY, NORWAY—According to a Live Science report, a young girl playing near her school in western Norway started to pick up a piece of glass when she spotted a stone that turned out to be a 3,700-year-old flint tool. She showed it to her teacher, who contacted the Vestland County council. Vestland County archaeologist Louise Bjerre Petersen explained that the five-inch tool is rare because flint does not occur naturally in Norway. Petersen and her colleagues did not find any othe
  • Excavations Continue in Middle Egypt’s Meir Necropolis

    CAIRO, EGYPT—Excavations at the necropolis of Meir, which is located in Middle Egypt, have uncovered traces of a large structure made up of Christian monks’ cells dated to the Byzantine period on an upper level and Late Perod burials on a lower level, according to an Ahram Online report. “The discovery highlights the significance of Meir during the Old and Middle Kingdoms as well as the Later Period,” said Mostafa Waziry of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Pr
  • Chimpanzee Study Offers Glimpse of Early Language

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND—According to a statement released by the University of Zurich, the ability to combine vocalizations into sequences to convey meaning may date back some six million years ago, to the last common ancestor of modern humans and chimpanzees. Maël Leroux of the University of Zurich and his colleagues exposed wild chimpanzees in Uganda to model snakes. “Chimpanzees produce ‘alarm-huus’ when surprised and ‘waa-barks’ when potentially recruitin
  • Stable Ecology Linked to Cultural Continuity in West Africa

    DAKAR, SENEGAL—According to a statement released by the Max Planck Society, an international team of researchers led by Khady Niang of the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar has studied toolkits recovered from Bargny 1, an archaeological site located near West Africa’s modern coastline. The toolkits at the site, which feature characteristic technologies of the Mesolithic, date back some 150,000 years. “The assemblage from Bargny 1 is closely comparable to those of a si
  • Bone Fragment in Storage Belonged to Ancient Alaska Woman

    BUFFALO, NEW YORK—A bone fragment recovered from southeastern Alaska’s Lawyer’s Cave in the 1990s has been identified as 3,000-year-old human remains, according to a Live Science report. Shell beads and a bone awl also found in the cave suggest the space had been inhabited. It had been previously thought that the bone came from a bear, but recent analysis conducted by Alber Aqil of the University of Buffalo and his colleagues has shown that the bone is a fragment of a human hum
  • Subsurface Imaging Reveals Australia’s Ancient Landscape

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—According to a statement released by Flinders University, a new survey of the Red Lily Lagoon area in Northern Australia’s West Arnhem Land with electric resistivity tomography (ERT) has revealed that some 8,000 years ago, the ocean’s coastline stretched across what is now an inland region. The area is known for Madjedbebe, a 60,000-year-old archaeological site, and its distinctive ancient rock art. Environmental changes at the lagoon are reflected in this r
  • 7,000-Year-Old Tomb Excavated in Oman

    AL WUSTA, OMAN—Live Science reports that the remains of dozens of people have been found in a unique tomb in central Oman by a team of researchers led by Alžběta Danielisová of the Czech Republic’s Institute of Archaeology in Prague. Constructed with walls and a roof made of rows of thin stone slabs called ashlars, the tomb had been covered with a mound of earth. Inside, it was divided into two circular burial chambers that had been further separated into individual
  • Traces of a Neolithic Road Discovered in the Adriatic Sea

    ZADAR, CROATIA—Total Croatia News reports that traces of a 7,000-year-old road have been found at Soline, a Neolithic site submerged in the Adriatic Sea near Croatia’s coastline, by a team of researchers led by Mate Parica of the University of Zadar and his colleagues. The road, which was made of stacked stone slabs, connected the prehistoric settlement to the man-made island of Korčula. Flint blades, stone axes, and fragments of millstones were also uncovered. For more on Neoli
  • Audio News for April 30th through May 6th, 2023

    News items read by Laura Kennedy include:Recently unearthed Romano-Egyptian Buddha was the product of an interlinked ancient world(details)(details)Underwater survey finds old military cemetery and hospital near Florida islands(details)(details)Artificial intelligence model learns to translate ancient Akkadian texts(details)Study of 150,000 year old Senegalese site gives evidence of cultural and climatic continuity(details)
  • New Thoughts on the Populating of Europe

    TOULOUSE, FRANCE—Live Science reports that archaeologist Ludovic Slimak of the University of Toulouse and his colleagues suggest that three waves of modern humans migrated from the Levant into Europe between 54,000 and 42,000 years ago. It had been previously thought that modern humans first entered Europe 42,000 years ago, based upon the analysis of teeth unearthed in Italy and Bulgaria. These people are considered to be the ancestors of Europe’s hunter-gatherer Aurignacian culture.
  • Ancient Settlement Explored in Western Anatolia

    MUĞLA, TURKEY—Hurriyet Daily News reports that excavations in western Anatolia at the 4,500-year-old site of Mobolla have uncovered a city gate, walls, and rock-cut tombs. “The settlement is on the hill, and it was built for protection purposes,” explained Adnan Diler of Muğla Sitki Koçman University. “There are tombs outside this settlement and there are civil structures, castle houses, dwellings, cisterns and sanctuaries inside the settlement,” he

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