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China's Ancient Terracotta Army May Rewrite History

Researchers say they prove that contact with West occurred far earlier than thought

(Newser) - Marco Polo's travels to China in the 13th century are the first well documented record of a European reaching the empire. But archaeologists studying a famous trove of terracotta figures dug up in China now suggest that the first contact with the West occurred much earlier than thought—some... More »

This Is What an Iceman Sounded Like

Scientists recreate voice of Otzi

(Newser) - He is arguably the world's most famous Iceman, and now we have a general idea of what he sounded like. Italian researchers used a CT scan to measure the vocal tract and vocal chords of a 5,300-year-old mummy known as Otzi the Iceman, and produced this video to... More »

In Ancient Grave, 13 Well-Kept Pot Plants

Man was buried with them about 2.5K years ago

(Newser) - You probably wouldn't want to smoke the stuff, but archaeologists have discovered the most well-preserved cannabis plants one could hope for in an ancient Chinese burial. The first discovery of its kind comes from the grave of a man aged about 35—possibly a shaman, reports Discover —buried... More »

Ancient Bullets Shed Light on Roman Raid in Scotland

Battlefield archaeologists map out 800 lead bullets using special metal detectors

(Newser) - Reading ancient battlefields is no easy task given they so often leave no trace behind—wood disintegrates, iron rusts, and stones aren't detectable. But lead is different, and a cache of hundreds of ancient sling bullets was readily detected thanks to specialized metal detectors in Burnswark Hill in southern... More »

Listen to World's Oldest Known Melody

The music dates back an astonishing 3.5K years

(Newser) - In 1950, a collection of 29 tablets was discovered in the ruins of Ugarit, an ancient city in the northern region of present-day Syria, but only one had survived the intervening centuries well enough to be deciphered. Known as H6, the 3,500-year-old clay tablet revealed a simple hymn specifying... More »

Scientists Virtually Unroll Scroll Turned to Charcoal in Fire

It contains evidence the modern Hebrew Bible may be 2,000 years old

(Newser) - An ancient Jewish scroll reduced to charcoal in a fire 1,500 years ago along the shores of the Dead Sea has finally been read with the help of dedicated researchers and some impressive new technology, National Geographic reports. According to the AP , the so-called Ein Gedi scroll sat in... More »

Rare, Ancient Female Figurine Uncovered

Turkey find is from 6,000BC

(Newser) - Archaeologists have uncovered a rare stone figurine of a woman dating back 8,000 years at a dig in Turkey's central province of Konya that an expert says is one of only a handful of statuettes of the era ever found in one piece. Stanford University professor Ian Hodder... More »

Source of London's Great Plague Is Found in Boneyard

'Yersina pestis' also responsible for the Black Death

(Newser) - Scientists finally know what killed 100,000 people in the Great Plague of London, or a quarter of the population, more than 350 years ago—and it would've been familiar to anyone around 300 years before that. An examination of 20 of the 3,500 skeletons found last year... More »

Archaeologist Says She's Solved the Mystery of Mexico's Teotihuacan

And the answer is water

(Newser) - Water may be the key to understanding the mysterious ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico, according to new research from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History. Teotihuacan—home to some of the world's largest pyramids and 150,000 people at its peak—shut down around the year... More »

Bones May Belong to Teen Sacrificed to Zeus

Giving credence to legends of human sacrifices in ancient Greece

(Newser) - An ancient legend tells of a man sneaking a human boy into an animal sacrifice to Zeus on Greece's Mount Lykaion and being turned into a wolf as punishment, the Washington Post reports. But despite Plato and others writing about ongoing human sacrifices, archaeologists have never been able to... More »

First Americans Didn't Arrive on a Land Bridge

They 'must have taken a different route'

(Newser) - You probably remember the Bering Land Bridge theory from history class: North America's first inhabitants traveled along a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska and discovered an immense new world less than 15,000 years ago. Just like the land bridge did 10,000 years ago, that belief now... More »

Study Names Man Behind One of Great Scientific Hoaxes

Charles Dawson was apparently the sole perpetrator behind Piltdown Man

(Newser) - In 1912, an ambitious lawyer named Charles Dawson discovered a fossilized skeleton with the skull of a man but the jaws of an ape in a British gravel pit, the Telegraph reports. For the next three decades, Eoanthropus dawsoni—better known as Piltdown Man, named for the location it was... More »

China's Great Flood Legend Might Actually Be True

Evidence suggests water covered North China Plain 4K years ago

(Newser) - A great flood at the dawn of Chinese civilization was said to have swept away settlements, the water rising so high that it overran heaven itself. It was the sage King Yu who tamed the waters by building ditches, the legend went, thus earning a mandate to rule and laying... More »

16th Century Spanish Fort Found Under Golf Course

Archaeologists had been searching for Fort San Marcos for decades

(Newser) - After two decades of searching, archaeologists have finally discovered the location of a Spanish fort missing for 450 years: a golf course in South Carolina, the Beaufort Gazette reports. According to the AP , Fort San Marcos—built in 1577 and occupied for five years—was discovered last month under a... More »

In Ancient Scottish Chapel, Evidence of a Witch Prison

Aberdeen church has an iron ring set in stone

(Newser) - The remains of some 2,000 people lie beneath Scotland's East Kirk of St. Nicholas church, but an iron ring set in the stone pillar of the chapel could link directly back to a spookier past: the documented trial and execution of 23 women and one man accused of... More »

Huge Find Could Reveal the Truth About Goliath's People

The 3K-year-old Philistine remains could help solve a biblical mystery

(Newser) - Harvard University archaeologist Lawrence Stager has led the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon since 1985, clocking more than 30 years of excavations in a 150-acre site in the ancient seaport 35 miles south of Tel Aviv, reports the Harvard Gazette . Now, a major find related to the little-known Philistines, some... More »

Neanderthals 'Thoroughly' Butchered Their Own

Researchers excavated 99 bones and fragments from a cavern in Belgium

(Newser) - Neanderthals appear to have had quite the appetite for, well, one another, at least according to findings by researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Reporting in the journal Scientific Reports , they say that an analysis of 99 new Neanderthal remains from a cavern in Belgium that date... More »

Earliest Pay Stub Shows Workers Were Paid in Beer

5K-year-old tablet found in Mesopotamian city of Uruk

(Newser) - Rather be paid in beer than money? You might've enjoyed life in Mesopotamia. Scientists have discovered one of the earliest examples of writing in the form of "the world's oldest known payslip." Dating to around 3300 BC, the clay tablet found in the Mesopotamian city of... More »

Naval Bases Found That Once Guarded World's First Democracy

Archaeologists make huge find in Athens

(Newser) - Archaeologists have discovered massive naval bases that once enabled Athens to fight off the Persian Empire—and develop the world's first democracy. Among the recent finds at the Port of Piraeus, Greece's biggest seaport, are ship-sheds that held hundreds of warships known as triremes, the Smithsonian reports. "... More »

England Searching for Another King Under Parking Lot

King Henry I was buried in Reading Abbey nearly 1,000 years ago

(Newser) - England's King Henry I was a man of many appetites: He usurped the throne from an older brother, fathered two dozen children out of wedlock, and is thought to have died after gorging on lampreys—a jawless, snakelike fish. After his death in 1135, his remains were brought to... More »

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