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This Carving May Prove Neanderthals Were Artists

Carving dates to 39K years ago; Neanderthals disappeared around that time

(Newser) - An ancient etching inside a cave in Gibraltar may mean that Neanderthals' knuckles weren't dragging quite as much as we believed, reports the BBC . The design suggests Neanderthals were capable of symbolic thinking, a trait once believed to be unique to modern humans, anthropologist Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar... More »

Va. College Finds On-Campus Brewery —From 1700s

College of William and Mary stumbles across remains while widening sidewalk

(Newser) - Beer may or may not be proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, but the College of William and Mary thinks it has proof that college kids' deep and abiding love of all things related to hops and barley goes all the way back to the... More »

This Tiny Copper Awl Is Rewriting History

Awl is oldest metal object ever found in Middle East

(Newser) - A small copper awl found in a woman's ancient grave in Israel is rewriting history. It's the oldest metal object ever found in the Middle East, and was probably owned by the apparently important 40-year-old woman buried with it in an extravagant Tel Tsaf grave, LiveScience reports. The... More »

Explorer Finds Lost 'Monster Mouth' City

Slovenian archaeologist finds Mayan city of Lagunita

(Newser) - Archaeologists have long known of a "lost" Mayan city boasting an incredible "earth monster" facade—and now someone has found it. Slovenian explorer Ivan Sprajc came out of the Yucatan jungle in Mexico with photos of the city, Lagunita, and a second, previously unknown city he's calling... More »

Shipwreck Yields 200-Year-Old Booze You Can Drink

Bottle may contain mix of gin and Selters mineral water

(Newser) - A 200-year-old bottle of alcohol found in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea is still suitable for drinking—if you can get past its stink. The stoneware bottle, emblazoned with the name of a mineral water named Selters, was found off the Polish coast in the Gulf... More »

Greeks Unearth Biggest Ancient Tomb

Amphipolis site dates to time of Alexander the Great

(Newser) - Archaeologists in Greece are nearly ready to enter what they say is the biggest ancient tomb ever unearthed in the country. The tomb at the ancient site of Amphipolis in the Macedonia region, around 65 miles northeast of Thessaloniki, dates from around 300 BC—the time of Alexander the Great,... More »

'Evil Eye' Box Uncovered in Ancient Cemetery

Archaeologists excavate tombs from Kush kingdom in Sudan

(Newser) - People in the ancient kingdom of Kush not only believed in the afterlife, they apparently feared the evil eye—in the afterlife, LiveScience reports. Archaeologists excavating a 2,000-year-old cemetery near the Nile River in Sudan say that among many artifacts, they found a box decorated with eyes likely thought... More »

6.5K-Year-Old 'Noah' Found in Museum Basement

It had been uncatalogued since 1930 expedition in modern-day Iraq

(Newser) - An ancient skeleton gathering dust in the basement of the Penn Museum in Philadelphia for 85 years finally has an ID: It's a 6,500-year-old man newly nicknamed Noah, reports Philly.com . Historians didn't figure it out until a project to digitize the museum’s collection revealed that... More »

Sandstorms Reveal Ancient Designs in Peru Desert

Pilot spots newly exposed Nazca lines

(Newser) - Sandstorms in Peru have revealed mysterious designs believed to have been etched into the desert thousands of years ago. The newly exposed geoglyphs, discovered last week by a pilot flying over the region, include a snake nearly 200 feet long as well as a bird and some llama-like creatures, reports... More »

Mystery of China's Terracotta Army Solved

Scientists finally figure out what binding material was used

(Newser) - Every member of First Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Terracotta Army—thousands of replicas of Chinese imperial guards rendered in clay around 221 BC—is unique and incredibly realistic, which is why they've fascinated researchers since they were discovered in 1974. Now, scientists in China say they’ve peeled back... More »

Tree Rings Solve Mystery of Old World Trade Center Ship

Study shows it got built in Philadelphia about 1773

(Newser) - A mystery ship unearthed during construction of the new World Trade Center site isn't so much of a mystery anymore. A new study based on analysis of tree rings in its wood reveals that the ship likely got built in 1773 in Philadelphia—and with the same white oak... More »

Who Needs Dentists? Early Humans Ate This Weed

Ancients who snacked on purple nut sedge had few cavities

(Newser) - The purple nut sedge, or nut grass, is generally considered a nasty, fast-spreading, and hard-to-kill nuisance weed today. But for our ancestors, it not only served as a nutritious meal, it cleaned their teeth, according to a new study on PLoS ONE . An analysis of hardened bits of plaque from... More »

Elephant Ancestor's Bones Alter Our Continent's History

Gomphotheres appear to have roamed North America as recently as 13,400 years ago

(Newser) - North America's prehistoric Clovis people were known hunters of large mammoths and mastodons. But another elephant ancestor, the smaller gomphothere, may also have fallen prey to the ambitious hunter-gatherers. An archaeological dig begun in 2007 in northwestern Mexico now carbon dates that site—which has given up Clovis spear... More »

Some People Ignored Writing for Thousands of Years

Ancient Assyrians still used clay markers, 2K years later

(Newser) - What if people still used typewriters in the year 4,000? Or wrote with a stone and chisel today? That's roughly the equivalent of what archaeologists discovered in Turkey, where a dig dating to 600 to 900 BC turned up clay tokens alongside cuneiform tablets, the Smithsonian reports. The... More »

Mysterious Coin Stash Unearthed—After 2K Years

26 Roman and Late Iron Age coins found in Derbyshire

(Newser) - A cave in Britain may have been the perfect hiding place for a stash of coins … because 2,000 years passed before anyone found them. A climber sheltering from the rain happened upon four coins in Dovedale, Derbyshire, reports the Ashbourne News Telegraph , which led to a National Trust... More »

In Iraq, Clues to Long-Lost Temple Emerge

Doctoral student works amid threat of ISIS attack in Kurdistan

(Newser) - An archaeologist is closing in on the location of an ancient temple so venerated that when it was sacked in 714 BC, its king tore off his crown, "pulled out his hair, pounded his chest with both hands"—then killed himself, according to an early account. The long-lost... More »

Medieval Skeleton May Be Oldest Down Syndrome Case

Child buried 1.5K years ago had the common characteristics

(Newser) - Archaeologists in France have unearthed what they say is the earliest known case of Down Syndrome, reports New Scientist . A child buried about 1,500 years ago in what is now Chalon-sur-Saone has the short, broad skull and other features characteristic of the syndrome. "This case represents the earliest... More »

Rome's Colosseum Was Once a 'Condo'

Amphitheater functioned as a 'condo' for centuries

(Newser) - If only these walls could talk. Rome's iconic Colosseum, built nearly 20 centuries ago in 72 AD, has long been known as the site of gory gladiator battles and animal slaughter. Now, archaeologists who spent three weeks studying an excavated area beneath some 80 arched entrances that opened up... More »

Archaeologists' Puzzle: Where Was Plymouth Colony?

Researchers conducting major dig to find site of original settlement

(Newser) - It's one of the most important sites in the history of the United States—but we still don't know where, exactly, it was. That's why University of Massachusetts archaeologists are digging for signs of the original Plymouth colony, the Boston Globe reports. The borders of today's... More »

Historian: Stonehenge Builders Botched the Job

Ronald Hutton says they were careless 'cowboys'

(Newser) - Stonehenge: Monumental human achievement, or total screwup? It's pretty much both, professor Ronald Hutton argued this week at a Daily Mail history festival , saying the structure was built by incompetent builders and left unfinished. For example, he said, one of the stones had clearly broken in half. "If... More »

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