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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 »

Neanderthals Expertly Made Tools Still in Use Today

These were no dummies, say researchers in Italy

(Newser) - Modern hunter-gatherers used "digging sticks," crafted from wood, to search for edible roots and tubers, as well as to hunt. It's a tradition that stretches back at least 171,000 years, according to a new PNAS study. Digging in Italy, scientists have uncovered 58 wooden tools—including... More »

'It's a Whodunit, and We Don't have the Answer'

Stone tools in India suggest earlier human exit from Africa, maybe

(Newser) - Just a week after scientists reported evidence that our species left Africa earlier than we thought, another discovery is suggesting the date might be pushed back further. Homo sapiens arose in Africa at least 300,000 years ago and left to colonize the globe. Scientists think there were several dispersals... More »

Researchers May Finally Settle King Tut Tomb Mystery

Third scan will look for a hidden chamber

(Newser) - The theory that King Tut's tomb also holds the remains of his stepmother, the legendary Queen Nefertiti, has tantalized Egyptian archaeology for nearly three years. But after two scans with ground-penetrating radar proved inconclusive, National Geographic reports that third major scan is underway at the tomb in Luxor's... More »

Mayan Civilization Has Been 'Grossly Underestimated'

60K structures, including a pyramid, revealed in Guatemala

(Newser) - Only a handful of ancient Mayan temples rise above a dense jungle of trees in Guatemala. But what's obscured by the thick foliage, revealed for the first time, is evidence of a sprawling civilization to rival ancient Greece or China. Using LiDAR technology (Light Detection And Ranging), which measures... More »

In Collapsed Cave, Remarkably Old Human Fossil Discovered

2002 find suggests modern humans may have left Africa 100K years earlier than thought

(Newser) - A fossil found in Israel indicates modern humans may have left Africa as much as 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. Scientists say that an ancient upper jawbone and associated stone tools could also mean that Homo sapiens—modern humans—arose in Africa far earlier than fossils now show.... More »

Reporter May Have Found the Last American Slave Ship

Ben Raines of thinks he's uncovered the Clotilda in Alabama

(Newser) - Russell Ladd remembers seeing the shipwreck as a boy fishing with his father at low tide. His father told him it was the Clotilda, the last American slave ship, though Ladd wasn't sure he believed him. He might now. Using Ladd's account and historical records, including the journal... More »

King Tut's Wife Disappeared From History. She May Soon Be Found

The dig for Ankhesenamun is on in Egypt's Valley of the Kings

(Newser) - The dig for King Tut's wife is officially on. Last July, archaeologist Zahi Hawass announced his team had located a possible tomb 16 feet underground in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Due to its location in the Valley of the Monkeys near the tomb of Ay, the pharaoh... More »

Ancient Greek Monument Just Got Even More Impressive

It houses one of the world's oldest plumbing networks: scientists

(Newser) - The Greek island of Keros surely impressed ancient visitors, with terraces and buildings made of gleaming white stone jutting out of the Aegean Sea. As it turns out, what couldn't be seen may have been even more impressive, reports the Guardian . An international team has uncovered a sophisticated plumbing... More »

Surprising Find in Blackbeard's Cannon: Reading Material

Researchers find scraps of paper, figure out book they came from

(Newser) - Pirates of yore plundered, but they also read books, apparently. While cleaning sludge out of a cannon recovered from Blackbeard's flagship, scientists discovered bits of paper and were able to figure out the name of a book kept on board. The 16 fragments, each no bigger than a quarter,... More »

A Queen Died 1.2K Years Ago. Now, See Her Face

Archaeologist spent 220 hours reconstructing Wari queen's appearance

(Newser) - The gold ornaments in her ears stand out among the dark hair, sprinkled with gray. Like the lined face, the corners of the mouth drooping slightly; it's a sign of her age—the roughly 60 years she spent on Earth, as opposed to the 1,200 years that have... More »

Grave Found on Shipwreck Island: 'Lord of the Flies Stuff'

Beacon Island, site of 1629 massacre, gives up more bodies

(Newser) - Beacon Island off the western coast of Australia is better known as Murder Island or Batavia's Graveyard. The reason is simple: After the Dutch East India ship Batavia ran aground on a nearby reef in 1629, 282 survivors made it to Beacon Island, where at least 115 of them... More »

Prehistoric Women Had Muscular Arms to Die For

Stronger than those of today's elite female rowers

(Newser) - Pummeling grains for up to five hours a day gave prehistoric women the kind of muscular arms a girl only dreams of today. That's according to researchers at Cambridge University, who used CT scans to compare the upper arm and shinbones of 83 modern women with those of 94... More »

Key Site Described by Julius Caesar May Finally Be Found

British invasion point believed to be Pegwell Bay in Kent

(Newser) - The Roman invasion of Britain signified an empire at its peak. Now, archaeologists believe they've identified the very spot where the Romans began their assault more than 2,000 years ago and more than a century before Britain was won. For millennia, historians have had little more than Julius... More »

Searching for a Foundation, They Found Treasure Instead

'I thought how I'd never again see something like it'

(Newser) - They were searching for an old infirmary. What they uncovered was an "exceptional and extremely rare treasure": 2,200 silver coins, 21 gold coins, a gold signet ring, gold foil, and a circular object also made of gold. It's a collection unlike any ever found, according to French... More »

More than 2K Pieces of the 'Buddha' Found in Box in China

Also 260 statues and pieces of an ancient temple

(Newser) - When Siddhartha Gautama, aka the Buddha, died 2,600 years ago, legend has it that he was cremated and his remains split up among eight royal families, then eventually dispersed to several different countries. Now scientists in Jingchuan County, China, say they've found a box with thousands of pieces... More »

On 8K-Year-Old Shards, Proof of Ancient 'Social Lubricant'

Scientists believe they've found proof of production of 'world's oldest' grape wine in nation of Georgia

(Newser) - Wine has been used as a "social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity" throughout the ages. Now, a discovery just south of Tbilisi details just how far back through the ages the beverage has existed, the BBC reports. Per a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy ... More »

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