• Shackled Roman-Era Skeleton Unearthed in England

    LONDON, ENGLAND—According to a CNN report, construction workers in central England discovered the skeletal remains of a man with iron fetters around his ankles. The bones have been radiocarbon dated to between A.D. 226 and 427. “We do know that the Roman Empire relied quite heavily on slave labor,” said osteologist Chris Chinnock of the Museum of London Archaeology. Chinnock and his colleagues suspect that this man, who was found on his right side with his left side and arm on
  • New Dates for Canterbury Cathedral’s Medieval Stained Glass

    CANTERBURY, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that stained glass windows over the south entrance of Canterbury Cathedral, which depict the ancestors of Christ, have been re-dated to the mid-twelfth century using a new, non-destructive technique. Conservator Léonie Seliger and her colleagues used a device called a windolyser to shine a beam on the surface of the glass. Spectrometry was then used to analyze the chemical fingerprint of the glass and calculate its age. The new dates indicate tha
  • Smuggled Old Kingdom Statue Returned to Egypt

    CAIRO, EGYPT—According to an Ahram Online report, an Old Kingdom statue depicting the priest Nikau-Ptah has been returned to Egypt from an art gallery in the Netherlands. Nikau-Ptah is shown standing and wearing a short skirt, although the statue’s legs are missing. The priest’s name was engraved on the sculpture’s right hand. Shaaban Abdel-Gawad of Egypt’s Antiquities Repatriation Department said the statue had been illegally excavated and smuggled out of Egypt. To
  • Audio News July 18th through the 24th, 2021


    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:Researchers discover ancient cuneiform inscription and image of Babylon’s last king(details)Clues from the final meal of a 2,400-year-old bog body found in Denmark(details)Remnants of an ancient Roman road found submerged in Venice lagoon(details)Interdisciplinary team focuses on the archaeological history of climate changes(details)
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  • Inscription With Image of Babylonian King Found in Saudi Arabia

    RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA—Live Science reports that a 2,550-year-old inscription has been discovered on a piece of basalt in the Hail region of northern Saudia Arabia. Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon, is shown holding a scepter at the top of the engraving, along with a snake, a flower, and the moon. These images are thought to have been used as symbols with religious meaning. The lines of cuneiform text following the images are being translated and may offer new information about the king.
  • New Thoughts on Early Human Dentition

    DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND—According to a statement released by the University of Otago, biological anthropologist Ian Towle and dentist Carolina Loch examined more than 20,000 teeth from fossils and living primates and noted the position and size of any tooth fractures for clues to the diets of early humans. The researchers found that extreme tooth wear and high rates of tooth fractures were normal within the Homo genus, similar to the rate of tooth fracture found in living primates who eat a d
  • Rock-Cut Chambers Unearthed in Turkey’s House of the Muses

    GAZIANTEP, TURKEY—Hurriyet Daily News reports that two rock-cut chambers thought to have been used as dining rooms have been discovered in the so-called “House of the Muses,” which is located in southeastern Anatolia’s ancient city of Zeugma. The building is known for its decorative mosaic floors, and named for one consisting of portraits of the nine muses. Archaeologist Kutalmiş Görkay said work to reinforce the chambers after they were emptied of earthen fill
  • Artifact Found in Germany Hints at Neanderthal Hunting Practices

    TÜBINGEN, GERMANY—According to a statement released by the University of Tübingen, a leaf-shaped point dated to at least 65,000 years ago has been unearthed in southern Germany’s Hohle Fels Cave by a team led by Nicholas Conard of the University of Tübingen. Microscopic analysis of the Neanderthal artifact by Veerle Rots of the University of Liège revealed damage to the tip that suggests it had been mounted on a wooden shaft and used as a thrusting spear during
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  • Sonar Survey Detects Underwater Roman Structures in Venice

    VENICE, ITALY—ANSA reports that possible traces of a Roman road and dock were found during a survey of Venice conducted by researchers from Italy’s National Research Center and IUAV University. “We carried out the mapping with sonar because we wanted to study the morphology of the canals in 3-D,” said geophysicist Fantina Madricardo of the National Research Center. The remains of the dock were found in an area of the lagoon known as the Treporti Channel. The Roman road, t
  • Tollund Man’s Last Meal Re-Examined

    SILKEBORG, DENMARK—NBC News reports that Nina Nielsen of Silkeborg Museum and her colleagues have re-examined the intestinal contents of Tollund Man, whose 2,400-year-old, naturally preserved remains were recovered from a bog in central Denmark in the 1950s. Previous research has shown that Tolland Man was killed by hanging—a noose of braided animal hide remains around his neck. Yet his body was placed on one side with closed eyes and a faint smile, as if asleep. The new study found
  • New Thoughts on Early Fire Builders

    LEIDEN, NETHERLANDS—According to a statement released by Leiden University, a new study of fire-building techniques employed by hominins in Israel, Africa, Europe, and China claims that early humans exchanged knowledge and skills via social networks some 400,000 years ago. Team member Katharine MacDonald explained that similar combinations of charcoal, carbonized bones, and stones subjected to heat were found at the various sites, and suggested that hominins may have transferred fire-build
  • Shipwreck Found at Egypt’s Submerged Site of Thonis-Heracleion

    CAIRO, EGYPT—According to a Reuters report, a team of Egyptian and French researchers found the wreckage of an ancient military vessel at the site of Thonis-Heracleion, a now-submerged city along Egypt’s Mediterranean coastline that once controlled the mouth of a western branch of the Nile River. The 80-foot ship had a flat bottom, oars, and a large sail. When the city’s huge temple of Amun collapsed in the second century B.C., it sank the vessel, which was moored nearby. The r
  • Audio News for July 11th through the 17th, 2021


    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:Lakota shirt returned after a century in German museums(details)Tomb of Hellenistic poet-astronomer uncovered in southern Turkey(details)New Easter Island research finds population increase, not collapse(details)Ancient Greek feasting grounds found on island of Cyprus(details)
  • Study Analyzes Imprints of Fabrics on Bronze Age Seals

    HEIDELBERG, GERMANY—Science in Poland reports that Agata Ulanowska of Warsaw University examined a University of Heidelberg collection of casts and imprints of the bottoms of thousands of Bronze Age seals from Lerna and Phaistos, two administrative centers in Greece separated by about 750 years. On about 1,600 of them, she identified imprints of textiles and other materials, including tree phloem, club-rush, wicker, leathers with hair, smooth leathers, and parchment, and changes in how the
  • Rare Boundary Stone Uncovered in Rome

    ROME, ITALY—The Associated Press reports that a pomerium stone was discovered in Rome’s historic city center during excavations for a new sewage system. An engraving on the slab of marble dated it to A.D. 49 and the reign of the emperor Claudius (r. A.D. 41–54), when the area of the pomerium, a consecrated piece of land along the city’s walls, was expanded to accommodate the city’s new limits. Claudio Parisi Presicce of the Archaeological Museums of Rome said t
  • Medieval Cave House Surveyed in Central England

    DERBYSHIRE, ENGLAND—CNN reports that a cave house in central England may date to the early ninth century. Researchers from the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) and Wessex Archaeology surveyed the Anchor Church Caves and found that the rooms cut from the sandstone have narrow doorways and windows resembling those found in Saxon architecture. Edmund Simons of RAU said that one of the rock-cut pillars is similar to one in a nearby Saxon crypt, making the cave one of the country’s old
  • Viking-Era Coins Discovered on Isle of Man

    DOUGLAS, ISLE OF MAN—BBC News reports that a cache of silver coins and pieces of arm bands were discovered by a metal detectorists in a field on the northern side of the Isle of Man. The 87 coins are about 1,000 years old and were minted in England, Dublin, Germany, and the Isle of Man. Coin specialist Kristin Bornholdt-Collins suggested that the coins’ owner may have added to the hoard over time. The 13 pieces of arm rings were also used as currency, she explained. To read about a 4
  • 1,600-Year-Old Sheep Mummy from Iran Analyzed

    DUBLIN, IRELAND—According to a statement released by Trinity College Dublin, DNA collected from the 1,600-year-old remains of a sheep recovered from Chehrabad, a salt mine in Iran, has been sequenced by an international team of geneticists and archaeologists. The salt-rich environment preserved its skin and hair fibers, which were examined with scanning electron microscopy. The animal’s well-preserved DNA revealed that it was genetically similar to sheep breeds living in the region t
  • 19th-Century Road Found at Civil War Battlefield Cemetery

    FREDRICKSBURG, VIRGINIA—A road and a brick-lined culvert have been discovered in northern Virginia’s Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields National Military Park by researchers from Northeast Archaeological Resources Program, according to a Charlotte Observer report. The archaeologists had been looking for unmarked graves at a Civil War battlefield cemetery with ground-penetrating radar when they detected the structures. The road, or large path, may have been intended t
  • Ancient Child’s Burial Uncovered in Estonia

    LÄÄNERANNA, ESTONIA—ERR News reports that the intact grave of a young child has been unearthed in western Estonia by a team of researchers led by Mati Mandel of the Estonian History Museum. The discovery was made in an agricultural field where spearheads, knives, and bracelets have been recovered. “What is significant is that when we are talking about burial places in late antiquity, we are talking about stone graves, where burials are covered with rocks,” he said. &l
  • Balkan Bottles May Have Held Skin Ointments 6,000 Years Ago

    ZGORNJE RADVANJE, SLOVENIA—According to a Phys.org report, Bine Kramberger of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, and Christoph Berthold and Cynthianne Spiteri of Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen analyzed the contents of small ceramic bottles unearthed in northeastern Slovenia in 2014. They detected traces of animal fat, beeswax, plant oils, and cerussite, or “white lead,” in the residues. Some of the bottles, which have been dated to be
  • Çatalhöyük’s Early Farmers Processed Wild Plants

    BARCELONA, SPAIN—According to a statement released by Pompeu Fabra University, evidence for the processing of wild plants at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük has been found by a team of researchers from Pompeu Fabra University and the University of Leicester. The researchers analyzed microscopic traces of plant residues trapped in pits and crevices on stone tools. In addition to wheat, oats, peas, and vegetables grown by the early farmers, the researchers found traces of w
  • Two Statues and an Inscription Discovered in Turkey

    MUĞLA, TURKEY—Hurriyet Daily News reports that two 2,500-year-old free-standing statues and an inscription have been discovered in western Anatolia’s ancient city of Euromos, at the site of the Roman temple of Zeus Lepsynos. “One of the two kouroi unearthed at Euromos is naked while the other is wearing armor and a short skirt,” said Abuzer Kizil of Muğla Sitki Koçman University. “The armor [appears to be] made of leather, and it is remarkable to se
  • New Photographs Reveal Colors of 2,400-Year-Old Sculpture

    MADRID, SPAIN—El País reports that Teresa Chapa Brunet and Pedro Saura of Complutense University of Madrid and their colleagues used photographic filters to eliminate nearly 100 percent of reflected light in new digital images of the so-called Lady of Baza, a 2,400-year-old painted sculpture of a seated woman unearthed in southern Spain in the 1970s, along with weapons and other burial goods. The statue is thought to be a portrait of an actual wealthy Bastetani woman. The new photog
  • 3,000-Year-Old Inscription Found in Israel

    KIRYAT GAT, ISRAEL—According to a statement released by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a fragment of an inscription thought to be related to the biblical book of Judges has been found at the site of Khirbat er-Ra’i, which is located in southern Israel, by a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Macquarie University. The alphabetic script inscription, written in ink on a fragment of a pottery jug, includes the name
  • World War II-Era Bunker Unearthed in Poland

    LUBLIN, POLAND—The First News reports that traces of a bunker built by German forces during World War II were unearthed in central Poland during a construction project. A wooden staircase and three underground corridors lined with wood survive, according to Dariusz Kopciowski, the Lublin Conservator of Monuments. Nazi and Soviet-made bullets were recovered from inside the structure, which suggest it may have been the site of a battle when the occupying Germany army was driven out by the Re
  • Roman Coins Found on Riverbank in the Netherlands

    LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS—According to a Live Science article, metal detectorists reported their 2017 discovery of more than 100 Roman coins along the banks of the Aa River in the southern Netherlands to the Portable Antiquities of the Netherlands. When Liesbeth Claes of Leiden University and her colleagues went to the site to investigate, they recovered two coins and a bronze pendant from a horse harness to add to the four silver denarii, 103 bronze sesterces, and several axes. Claes said t
  • Audio News for July 4th through the 10th, 2021


    News items read by Laura Pettigrew include:Burials from Gabonese cave show unique pattern of tooth removal(details)Paleolithic carved bone from Germany shows Neanderthal use of symbols(details)Mississippi dig shows how victorious Chickasaws put Spanish loot to use(details)New expedition seeks Shackleton’s sunken Antarctic expedition ship(details)
  • Scientists Investigate Climate’s Impact on Human Evolution

    CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—Temperature may have been the main driver of the evolution of human body size over the past million years, according to a Cosmos Magazine report. Andrea Manica of the University of Cambridge and Manuel Will of the University of Tübingen and their colleagues analyzed the body and brain size of more than 300 Homo fossils, including bones from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, Homo habilis, and Homo erectus, and compared the measurements of the fossils to regional climate re
  • Statistical Analysis Applied to Tombs in Eastern Sudan

    NAPLES, ITALY—According to a Live Science report, Stefano Costanzo of the University of Naples L’Orientale and his colleagues mapped more than 10,000 funerary monuments spotted in satellite imagery of the Kassala region of eastern Sudan. The structures include simple raised tumuli, which are widely found in Africa, and qubbas, an Islamic-style tomb or shrine. “To the naked eye, it was clear that the clustered tombs were conditioned by the environment, but deeper meaning may hav

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