archaeology

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In Ancient Fireplace, an 'Exceptional' Food Find

Researchers find the world's oldest bread

(Newser) - At least 4,000 years before the advent of farming, humans were baking bread. Two dozen charred crumbs found in hearths at an ancient hunter-gatherer site in northeastern Jordan have been identified as the world's oldest samples of bread—specifically, a 14,400-year-old flatbread made from wild cereals. That... More »

At an Egyptian Site Last Excavated in 1900, a Significant Find

Archaeologists hope to learn more about mummification process used 2.5K years ago

(Newser) - "It's only the beginning," is how Egypt's antiquities minister on Saturday described a find made at a site near the country's famed pyramids at an ancient necropolis south of Cairo. The discovery—which includes a mummification workshop and a shaft, used as a communal burial... More »

Pompeii Victim's Death Not What It Seemed

It wasn't decapitation, but it was still pretty awful

(Newser) - In reporting on the discovery of a centuries-old Pompeii victim in May, we wrote that it wasn't hard to figure out what killed the man: Archaeologists found a massive stone block, probably hurled by a volcanic cloud, severing the top part of his body. Now it turns out the... More »

First Civil War 'Limb Pit' Is Excavated

Find at Manassas National Battlefield Park reveals the aftermath of battle

(Newser) - A utility crew working at Virginia's Manassas National Battlefield Park unearthed what at first just seemed like portions of bone. Then came more bones, so far 11 limbs in all, nearly all of them leg bones. Now, thanks to help from forensic anthropologists at the Smithsonian's National Museum... More »

Victim Crushed by Rock Found at Pompeii

Bone infection slowed down his escape

(Newser) - It's not hard to figure out what killed a man whose remains were recently discovered at Pompeii—there is a massive stone block, probably hurled by a volcanic cloud, crushing the top part of his body. Determining why he was there takes more expertise: Archaeologists say there are lesions... More »

Legendary Ancient City Found by Accident

Mardaman in modern-day Iraq is nearly 5K years old

(Newser) - Archaeologists who've spent five years digging up an ancient city in Iraq's Kurdistan region have finally learned its name—and it's legendary. Mardaman, once the capital of a Mesopotamian province and its own independent kingdom, is believed to have begun as early as 4,800 years ago... More »

Couple Finds 'Cow' Remains in Yard—Except It's Not a Cow

Utah skeleton is actually that of a Pleistocene Era horse

(Newser) - When Laura and Bridger Hill started doing yard work at their home in Lehi, Utah, last September to prep for a retaining wall, the last thing they expected was to stumble across Ice Age-era remains. But that's exactly what happened, with the couple telling the New York Times they... More »

'Extraordinary Find' Made in Pompeii Bath House

Child's body is the first uncovered in decades

(Newser) - Almost 2,000 years ago, a child sheltered in Pompeii's central bath house complex as nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted terrifyingly, spewing vast amount of hot ash and pumice. The child's body was undisturbed until this year, when archaeologists using ground-scanning tools were surprised to find it just inches... More »

This Might've Been the Largest Child Sacrifice Ever

Remains of 140 children, 200 young llamas found in Peru

(Newser) - Decades before it was felled by the larger Inca civilization around 1475 AD, the Chimu people in what is now northern Peru gathered more than 140 children on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and slaughtered them all. Archaeologists who've uncovered the remains of boys, girls, and 200 young... More »

After 5th-Century Massacre, Bodies Were Left to Rot

Archaeologists find a grim end at Sandby borg

(Newser) - "In most cases where human remains have been found in connection with … scenes of brutal violence, the bodies have been buried in mass graves. This is not the case at Sandby borg," write the authors of a new study published in the journal Antiquity . The Swedish site,... More »

Teen Stumbles on Treasure Tied to King Bluetooth

Pearls, jewelry, coins unearthed by archaeologists in weekend dig

(Newser) - "Bluetooth" may strike you as an entirely modern word, but it's one found in the pages of history by way of Danish king Harald Gormsson, or "Harry Bluetooth", as he was known—and treasure connected to him has reportedly just been found. The Guardian reports 13-year-old Luca... More »

FBI Solves the Mystery of an Ancient Severed Head

In an Egyptian tomb belonging to Djehutynakht and his wife, there was just one head

(Newser) - It has to rank among the less usual undertakings doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital had attempted: In 2009 they removed a molar from a severed Egyptian mummy's head via an endoscope with grasping forceps they inserted through the neck. The tooth was a hopeful clue in a nearly... More »

29 Ancient Footprints May Upend Long-Held Migration Theory

The Coastal Migration Theory, that is

(Newser) - Twenty-nine human footprints from the end of the last Ice Age are fueling discussion about America's first immigrants, Gizmodo reports. Archaeologists found the prints on an island in British Columbia, Canada, while seeking evidence of the Coastal Migration Theory, which posits that humans traveled down the coast after crossing... More »

In a Medieval Woman's Grave, a 'Coffin Birth'

Italian researchers report on case of partially delivered fetus

(Newser) - A female found buried near Bologna, Italy, in an early Medieval grave got a much deeper examination thanks to the discovery of a second set of bones in the grave: those of what has been determined to be a 38-week-old fetus. Forbes picks up the study, published in the journal... More »

81 Lost Amazon Settlements Are Found

Sites suggest millions might've lived in pre-Columbian rainforest: study

(Newser) - Once it was thought hardly anyone ventured into the Amazon before Europeans arrived in South America, instead keeping close to major rivers. But that was before satellites combed the region. Archaeologists at the University of Exeter who surveyed satellite images in areas of deforestation have uncovered 81 previously unknown Amazon... More »

Egyptian Coffin Is 'Dowdy,' but the Inside Is 'Astonishing'

An Egyptian sarcophagus is found to contain mummified remains

(Newser) - An archaeologist a continent away from Egypt made what he calls an "unbelievably astonishing" discovery: a 2,500-year-old coffin that had always been assumed to be empty actually wasn't. Australian scientists led by Dr. Jamie Fraser of the University of Sydney's Nicholson Museum tells the BBC the... More »

These Stone Tools Are Smashing Theories on Africa

At 320K years old, they push back date of Middle Stone Age

(Newser) - For decades, the human story was one told through signs of modernity—art, tools, burials—found only after Homo sapiens left Africa. Recent discoveries pushing back the date of departure are helping to change that narrative, as are three new studies in Science. Together, they describe the earliest stone tools... More »

Humans Mated Outside Our Species 3 Times

Second instance of human-Denisovan interbreeding discovered

(Newser) - Ancient humans weren't against knocking boots with other species: We know they had sex with Neanderthals . We also know they mated with the mysterious Denisovans, as some Australasians (those from Papua New Guinea in particular) have 5% Denisovan DNA. But a "breakthrough" study shows the interbreeding wasn't... More »

This Could Prove Biblical Prophet's Existence. Or Not

Clay seal reading 'Isaiah' up for debate

(Newser) - A clay seal found in an ancient garbage pit in Jerusalem might have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, who's described as predicting the virgin birth and Jesus' death in the Old Testament. Or, less exciting, it might have belonged to some random guy named Isaiah. At present, it's... More »

A Rod, a Shadow, and a Theory for Egypt's Almost- Perfect Pyramids

Archaeologist thinks it could be tied to the fall equinox

(Newser) - Scientists have long puzzled over how the ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid of Giza (aka the Pyramid of Khufu) with such "extreme precision," per Live Science . This Wonder of the World is lined up with the compass points "with an accuracy of better than four minutes... More »

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