• 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
  • DNA Study Suggests Small Patch of Wild Forest Grew in Tikal

    CINCINNATI, OHIO—According to a statement released by the University of Cincinnati, analysis of DNA remnants in soil samples collected from reservoirs in the Maya city of Tikal, which is located in northern Guatemala, suggests the water supply was lined with vegetation, including more than 30 species of trees, grasses, vines, and flowering plants. Paleoethnobotanist David Lentz said this area of natural beauty was situated among the city’s temples and palaces, and may have provided t
  • Iron Age Survivors May Have Kept Mementos of the Dead

    YORK, ENGLAND—According to a CNN report, researchers led by Lindsey Büster of the University of York recovered bone spoons, quern stones, and gaming pieces that had been incorporated into the walls of roundhouses at the hillfort settlement of Broxmouth, which is located in southeastern Scotland. The settlement dates from 640 B.C. to A.D. 210. The items may have been placed in the walls as reminders of the people who had used them during their lives, Büster explained. Having such
  • Rare “Slave Badge” Unearthed in South Carolina

    CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA—The Post and Courier reports that a small copper “slave badge” was discovered at the site of a mid-nineteenth-century kitchen on the campus of the College of Charleston during excavations conducted ahead of a construction project. Such badges signified that a slave holder had paid a fee to the city of Charleston, which then issued a badge stamped with a date, occupation, and registration number to be worn around the neck of an enslaved person whose la
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  • Scientists Search for Archaic DNA With Machine Learning

    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—According to a statement released by the University of Copenhagen, a team of researchers including Graham Gower and Fernando Racimo has developed a new method to search the modern human genome for genetic material inherited from Neanderthals and Denisovans. The researchers trained a convolutional neural network (CNN), a kind of deep learning framework, to identify patterns in images of known beneficial mutations in modern human genomes. These mutations are thought to ha
  • Hundreds of Looted Artifacts Handed Over to Italy

    ROME, ITALY—Hundreds of plundered artifacts have been handed over to Italian police by a Belgian collector, according to an AFP report. The artifacts date from between the sixth and the third century B.C. and are thought to have been illegally removed from sites in southeastern Italy. The objects came to light when a researcher at a state archaeology lab in Apulia noticed a funerary stela depicting a warrior on horseback carrying a shield in an art catalog. The shield was missing a fragmen
  • Audio News for June 13th through the 19th, 2021


    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:German henge found to be both a residential space and ritual space for human sacrifices(details)Researchers use Google Earth to identify large geoglyph in India(details)Florida island shows evidence of a long-lost native settlement(details)Sudanese pyramids face degradation as sand invades(details)
  • Did Early Medieval Europeans Interact With the Dead?

    STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN—According to a Live Science report, Alison Klevnäs of Stockholm University and her colleagues reviewed excavation records of European cemeteries ranging from England to Transylvania, and found that graves were frequently opened and objects removed between the sixth and eighth centuries A.D. Brooches were often taken from women’s graves, and swords were taken from men’s graves, but other valuables were left behind, including items made of gold and silver.
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  • 26th-Dynasty Stela Unearthed in Egypt

    ISMAILIA, EGYPT—Live Science reports that a farmer discovered a 2,600-year-old stela in a field in northeastern Egypt. The stela, which measures about 91 inches long, 41 inches wide, and 18 inches thick, is thought to have been erected by Pharaoh Apries, who ruled from 589 to 570 B.C. Some 100 years later, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Apries lost a war with the Phoenicians in which many Egyptians were killed. The resulting civil war in Egypt lead to the death of Apries. The top
  • German Citizens Repatriate Artifacts to Mexico

    BERLIN, GERMANY—DW reports that more than 30 pre-Columbian artifacts have been handed over to Mexico’s embassy in Germany. “Two German citizens approached our embassy in Berlin to express their interest in returning archaeological pieces that were in the possession of their families,” said Alejandro Celorio, legal consultant to Mexico’s foreign minister. According to a statement released by Mexico’s Culture Ministry, the items include a three-legged Maya vesse
  • 2,800-Year-Old Castle Found in Eastern Turkey

    VAN, TURKEY—According to a Hurriyet Daily News report, traces of a 2,800-year-old castle have been uncovered on a mountain in eastern Turkey by a team of researchers led by Rafet Çavușoǧlu of Van Yüzüncü University. Ceramics at the site and limestone and sandstone used to construct the walls helped Çavușoǧlu and his team date the castle, which was used into the medieval period. “This castle is a very important discovery for us,”
  • How Did Paleolithic People Light Up Their Caves?

    SANTANDER, SPAIN—According to a statement released by the Public Library of Science, a team of researchers led by Mª Ángeles Medina-Alcaide of the University of Cantabria tested possible sources of light employed by Paleolithic peoples to reach the deepest, darkest areas of caves. The lights, including torches made of sticks from five different trees, two stone lamps fueled with animal fat, and oak and juniper burned in a small fireplace, were based upon archaeological evidence
  • Plague Victims Identified in Individual Graves in England

    CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—According to a statement released by the University of Cambridge, researchers have detected DNA from Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes Black Death, in the teeth of people buried in a parish cemetery and friary in Cambridge and in the nearby village of Clopton. Plague victims can die quickly, leaving no visible trace on their skeletal remains, and scientists had previously only been able to identify individuals killed by the Black Death when they were buried in m
  • Two Historic Shipwrecks Discovered Off Coast of Singapore

    SINGAPORE—The AFP reports that the site of two shipwrecks has been investigated off Singapore’s easternmost point by researchers from Singapore’s National Heritage Board and the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. The first ship, which had been loaded with Chinese ceramics, was found in 2015 and has been dated to the fourteenth century. “Many of the pieces [of Yuan dynasty blue-and-white porcelain] are rare, and one is believed to be unique,” said Michael Flecker of the IS
  • Study Suggests Neanderthals and Modern Humans Met in Israel

    REHOVOT, ISRAEL—According to a statement released by The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Elisabetta Boaretto of the Weizmann Institute of Science and Omry Barzilai of the Israel Antiquities Authority have developed a new chronology for the occupation of the Boker Tachtit site, which is located in southern Israel’s Negev Desert. The study suggests that modern humans, as represented by the Emiran culture, and Neanderthals, as represented by the late Mousterian culture, cro
  • Genetic Study Suggests Neanderthal Society Was Patrilocal

    LEIPZIG, GERMANY—Science Magazine reports that 14 Neanderthal genomes have been sequenced from remains recovered from two caves in Siberia’s Altai Mountains. The remains of seven males and five females came from Chagyrskaya Cave, and the remains of one male and one female came from Okladnikov Cave. All of the individuals are thought to have lived within 100 years of each other, based upon an analysis of shared mitochondrial DNA, between 49,000 and 59,000 years ago. Two of the individ
  • 1,000-Year-Old Chicken Egg Found in Israel

    YAVNE, ISRAEL—According to a statement released by The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a chicken egg was recovered from a cesspit in central Israel by a team of researchers led by Elie Haddad, Liat Nadav-Ziv, and Jon Seligman. The human waste in the cesspit, which has been dated to the Islamic period, some 1,000 years ago, is thought to have cushioned and preserved the egg. Poultry expert Lee Perry Gal said much of the contents of the egg had leaked out of a crack in its botto
  • 9,000-Year-Old Obsidian Tools Recovered from Great Lake

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS—According to a statement released by the University of Texas at Arlington, 9,000-year-old tools made from obsidian quarried in central Oregon have been found some 2,000 miles away at an undisturbed archaeological site now submerged in Lake Huron. Researcher Ashley Lemke said the sharp edges on the small pieces of volcanic glass may have been used by caribou hunters at the end of the last Ice Age, when water levels were much lower. These flakes are the farthest east that we
  • Beaver Castoreum Detected on 6,000-Year-Old Dart in Canada

    YUKON, CANADA—Yukon News reports that beaver castoreum has been detected on a 6,000-year-old atlatl throwing dart recovered in 2018 from melting alpine ice in the traditional territories of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation and the Kwalin Dün First Nation in northwestern Canada. The yellowish-brown fluid is produced in the castor sacs of mature beavers. Valery Monahan of Yukon Museums said the substance looks like orange residue coating the binding sinews on the wood artifact. It is no
  • 1,800-Year-Old Statue Discovered in Turkey

    İZMİR, TURKEY—Hurriyet Daily News reports that an 1,800-year-old statue of a woman has been unearthed in western Turkey, at the site of the ancient city of Metropolis. The city, which is near ancient Ephesus, was occupied during the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods. Ongoing excavations are being conducted by archaeologists from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry and Celal Bayar University. To read about a Roman amphitheater unearthed at the anci
  • Seals Used by Prehistoric Traders Unearthed in Israel

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL—According to a statement released by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a 7,000-year-old piece of clay bearing impressions made by two different geometric stamps has been identified among the more than 150 bullae unearthed at Tel Tsaf, a prehistoric village site in northern Israel’s Beit She’an Valley. Archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel said the use of two different stamps on the same seal suggests that two individuals may have placed their mark on a shipment of g
  • 5,000-Year-Old Fingerprints Analyzed

    ORKNEY, SCOTLAND—BBC News reports that archaeologists have analyzed fingerprints found on a piece of pottery uncovered at the Ness of Brodgar, a Neolithic ceremonial site on the island of Orkney. Kent Fowler of the University of Manitoba said that the researchers measured the density and breadth of the fingerprint ridges, accounting for the shrinkage produced when clay is dried and fired. They then determined that the prints were left behind by two young men, who tend to have broader ridge
  • Audio News for June 6th through the 12th, 2021


    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:Rare early coins found in Polish field(details)New evidence shows prehistoric Amazonians protected the rainforest(details)Native American tribe buys back ancestral home in Maine(details)COVID-19 gives cover to increased looting of Italy’s antiquities(details)
  • Rare Viking Textiles Recovered in Norway

    TRONDHEIM, NORWAY—According to a statement released by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, six pieces of wool and two pieces of linen have been recovered from a Viking woman’s grave in central Norway dated to between A.D. 850 and 950. Some of the textiles were found in layers in the pins of the woman’s brooches, and may represent inner and outer garments. One of the pieces of fabric, found with an oval brooch, measures about four inches long. Archaeologist Raymo
  • 18th-Century Wooden Road Unearthed in Poland

    JAROSŁAW, POLAND—Science in Poland reports that a 100-foot-long segment of a three-foot-wide wooden road dated to the eighteenth century has been discovered in southeastern Poland, in the center of the town of Jarosław, where fabric, leather, and wine merchants gathered for fairs that may have attracted as many as 30,000 people. Archaeologist Katarzyna Oleszek said she has found additional, shorter sections of the road while excavating other areas of the town. The wood, thought t
  • Medieval Shoe Fashion May Have Left Marks on Wearers’ Feet

    CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—According to a Gizmodo report, a team of archaeologists led by Piers Mitchell of the University of Cambridge suggests that a rise in the occurrence of hallux valgus, or bunions, could be attributed to the late-fifteenth century fashion for wearing poulaines, a type of shoe with a long pointy toe. An examination of skeletons from a charity hospital cemetery, a friary, a parish graveyard, and a rural burial ground all located near Cambridge, England, revealed that overall,
  • Study Reviews Evidence of Māori Voyages to the Antarctic

    SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND—A review of literary accounts, oral history, and carvings and weavings conducted by Priscilla Wehi of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research and her colleagues suggests that Māori explorers sailed from New Zealand into Antarctic waters as early as the seventh century A.D., according to a Gizmodo report. One Māori narrative records a southward journey taken by Polynesian chief Hui Te Rangiora and his crew aboard the TeI vi o Atea some 1,320 years ago. Hui
  • Diet of Siberia’s Neanderthals Studied

    VALENCIA, SPAIN—Neanderthals whose remains were recovered in Siberia’s Altai Mountains consumed large and medium-sized game and a wide range of plants, according to a statement released by Asociacion RUVID, the Network of Valencian Universities for the Promotion of Research, Development, and Innovation. An international team of scientists, including Robert Power of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Domingo Carlos Salazar García of the University of Valenc
  • DNA Analysis Reunites Viking Relatives 1,000 Years Later

    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—The AFP reports that DNA analysis has linked the remains of two men who died some 1,000 years ago. The remains of one man, who was in his early 20s when he died from head wounds, were found in a mass grave in Oxford, England. His relative, whose remains were unearthed in Denmark, died in his 50s. These bones bear the marks of healed wounds. “This is a big discovery because now you can trace movements across space and time through a family,” said Jeanette Var
  • Hoard of Medieval Silver Coins Unearthed in Poland

    WARSAW, POLAND—Live Science reports that a hoard of more than 100 silver coins has been discovered in a farmer’s field in northeastern Poland. Mateusz Bogucki of the University of Warsaw said the 1,200-year-old coins, which bear Latin inscriptions and a central cross, were minted in the Carolingian Empire—an area that covered much of what are now France, Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy. Only three such coins had previously been found in Poland, at the Norse trading cen

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