Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sofia will have a Second Archaeological Complex


Sofia will have a second archaeological park, where visitors can see a prehistoric settlement from the first European civilization. In the place of the excavations is revealed a large residential complex with extremely complex architecture, DARIK writes

The prehistoric settlement, discovered in 1985 by the archaeologists, is situated in the territory of the Slatina district. It has a size of 145 square meters and the complex has an unusual construction for its time. According to archaeologist Vasil Nikolov, the settlement is one of the first made by the Mongoloid race in Europe.

"They suddenly experienced some innovative shock and started building in a whole new way, given the new environmental conditions, having ideas that are unbelievable for their time," he explained.

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Orkney Neolithic 'butterfly-like' motifs found by chance


A sketch of the designs found on a block of stone

Neolithic markings carved into a stone in Orkney that were missed for years by archaeologists have been discovered by chance.
The faintly incised "butterfly-like" motifs were revealed on Tuesday as sunlight lit up the rock at the "right moment, at the right angle".
Experts believe the marks were deliberately made to be delicate and to catch light at certain times of day.
The find was made during excavations at Ness of Brogdar.
The incisions are so faint they do not show up in photographs taken so far of the stone.
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Copper in Ötzi the Iceman’s ax came from surprisingly far away BLADE TRADE Copper for Ötzi the Iceman’s ax, or possibly even the finished blade, came from what’s now central Italy, an unexpectedly long way from the ancient man’s home region in northern Italy. Ötzi the Iceman’s copper ax was imported. The mummy’s frozen body and assorted belongings were found in 1991 poking out of an Alpine glacier at Italy’s northern border with Austria. But Ötzi’s ax originated about 500 kilometers to the south in what is now central Italy’s Southern Tuscany region, say geoscientist Gilberto Artioli of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues. It’s unclear whether Ötzi acquired the Tuscan copper as raw material or as a finished blade, the investigators report July 5 in PLOS ONE. While mostly copper, the blade contains small concentrations of lead, arsenic, silver and more than a dozen other chemical elements. Researchers previously suspected the copper came from known ore deposits 100 kilometers or less from the site of the Iceman’s demise. But comparing the mix of different forms of lead, or isotopes, in the ax with that in copper ore from present-day deposits across much of Europe indicated that the ancient man’s blade came from Southern Tuscany. Other chemical components identified in the copper implement also point to a Southern Tuscan origin. Read the rest of this article...

BLADE TRADE  Copper for Ötzi the Iceman’s ax, or possibly even the finished blade, came from what’s now central Italy, an unexpectedly long way from the ancient man’s home region in northern Italy.

Ötzi the Iceman’s copper ax was imported.
The mummy’s frozen body and assorted belongings were found in 1991 poking out of an Alpine glacier at Italy’s northern border with Austria. But Ötzi’s ax originated about 500 kilometers to the south in what is now central Italy’s Southern Tuscany region, say geoscientist Gilberto Artioli of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues. It’s unclear whether Ötzi acquired the Tuscan copper as raw material or as a finished blade, the investigators report July 5 in PLOS ONE.

While mostly copper, the blade contains small concentrations of lead, arsenic, silver and more than a dozen other chemical elements. Researchers previously suspected the copper came from known ore deposits 100 kilometers or less from the site of the Iceman’s demise. But comparing the mix of different forms of lead, or isotopes, in the ax with that in copper ore from present-day deposits across much of Europe indicated that the ancient man’s blade came from Southern Tuscany. Other chemical components identified in the copper implement also point to a Southern Tuscan origin.

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How did dogs become our best friends? New evidence


Dogs most probably evolved from wolves at a single location about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, a study suggests.
Previously, it had been thought that dogs were tamed from two populations of wolves living thousands of miles apart.
Researchers studied DNA from three dogs found at archaeological sites in Germany and Ireland that were between 4,700 and 7,000 years old.
The ancient canines share ancestry with modern European dogs.
By looking at the rates of change to the DNA from the oldest specimen, scientists were able to place the timing of the domestication of dogs to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Archaeologists go high-tech in 2,500-year-old Greek cold case


A conservator of archaeological works on a human skull in a lab at the American School 
of Archaeology in Athens on July 7, 2017 [Credit: Aris Messinis/AFP]

More than 2,500 years ago, an Athenian nobleman named Cylon -- the first recorded Olympic champion -- tried to take over the city of Athens and install himself as its sole ruler.

The discovery of the 80 skeletons of men is "unequalled" in Greece, said site project director Stella Chrysoulaki.

The men, young and well-fed, were found lying in the unmarked grave in three rows, some on their backs while others were tossed facedown on their stomachs.

All of the men had their hands in iron chains and at least 52 of them had their hands tied above their heads.

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Did human women contribute to Neanderthal genomes over 200,000 years ago?

A new Neanderthal mitochondrial genome supports a remarkable hypothesis – that there was interbreeding with an extremely early migration of African hominins

Head and shoulders of a sculpted model of a female Neanderthal.
Photograph: Alamy

Keeping pace with new developments in the field of human evolution these days is a daunting prospect. It seems as though every few weeks there’s an announcement of exciting new findings from hominin fossils, or the recovery of an ancient genome that significantly impacts our understanding of our species’ history.
The best way to keep up is by regularly revisiting and reassessing a few core questions. When and where did our species first appear? How and where did we migrate? What was our relationship to our (now-extinct) hominin relatives? What evolutionary and cultural factors influenced our histories? How do new findings change the answers to these questions? Are they generally accepted by the relevant community of experts, or are they provisional or controversial? 
This month’s challenge is to understand the significance of a recently publishedNeanderthal mitochondrial genome from a femur that was excavated in 1937 from the Hohlenstein-Stadel (HST) cave site in southwestern Germany. This new genome brings the total number of Neanderthals from whom we have genetic information to eighteen. 
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ancestors of Stonehenge people could be buried inside ‘House of the Dead’ discovered in Wiltshire


The site in a farmer's field was identified in aerial photographs 

[Credit: University of Reading]

A ‘House of the Dead’ has been discovered in Wiltshire dating back 5,000 years by University of Reading archaeologists and students, and could contain the ancestors of those who lived around Stonehenge and Avebury.

As part of the University’s final Archaeology Field School in the Pewsey Vale, students and staff, with the support of volunteers from the area, have investigated the site of a Neolithic long barrow burial mound in a place known as Cat’s Brain – the first to be fully investigated in Wiltshire in half a century.

The monument, which predates nearby Marden Henge by over 1,000 years, may contain human remains buried there in around 3,600 BC. The monument was first spotted by aerial photography and followed up by geophysical survey imagery.


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Analysis of Neanderthal teeth grooves uncovers evidence of prehistoric dentistry

Three views of the four articulated teeth making up KDP 20. a. occlusal view showing lingually placed mesial interproximal wear facet on P4 (arrow) and buccal wear on M3; b. lingual view showing a mesially placed interproximal wear facet on P4 (arrow), chips from lingual faces of all teeth and rotated, partially impacted M3; c. buccal view showing rotated buccal face of M3 (arrow) and hypercementosis on its root.
Credit: David Frayer, University of Kansas

Neanderthals treating toothaches?
A discovery of multiple toothpick grooves on teeth and signs of other manipulations by a Neanderthal of 130,000 years ago are evidence of a kind of prehistoric dentistry, according to a new study led by a University of Kansas researcher.
"As a package, this fits together as a dental problem that the Neanderthal was having and was trying to presumably treat itself, with the toothpick grooves, the breaks and also with the scratches on the premolar," said David Frayer, professor emeritus of Anthropology. "It was an interesting connection or collection of phenomena that fit together in a way that we would expect a modern human to do. Everybody has had dental pain, and they know what it's like to have a problem with an impacted tooth."
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Dead heads: Turkish site reveals more evidence of neolithic 'skull cult'

Fragments of three skulls found at Göbekli Tepe have hallmarks of being carved with flint after being scalped and defleshed first


 A carving found on a pillar at Göbekli Tepe, apparently showing a figurine holding a head. Photograph: German Archaeological Institute (DAI)

Wednesday 28 June 2017 20.06 BST Last modified on Wednesday 28 June 2017 20.12 BST
Fragments of carved bone unearthed at an ancient site on a Turkish hillside are evidence that the people who spent time there belonged to a neolithic “skull cult” – a group that embraces rituals around the heads of the dead.

The remains were uncovered during field work at Göbekli Tepe, an 11,000-year-old site in the south-east of the country, where thousands of pieces of human bone were found, including sections of skulls bearing grooves, holes and the occasional dab of ochre.

Pieces of three adult skulls recovered from the sitehave hallmarks of being carved with flint after being scalped and defleshed first. Evidence that the latter was not always an effortless affair is found in multiple scrape marks where the muscles once attached to the bone.

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Roman oil and wine pottery found at Ipplepen dig site

Archaeologists washing evidence of the iron works and pottery

Archaeologists say pre-Roman Britons who lived in a rural location since the 4th Century BC may have enjoyed Mediterranean oil and wine.

Radiocarbon analysis of a dig site showed there was a settlement at Ipplepen, Devon, for about 1200 years longer than previously thought.

The discovery of Roman pottery suggests there was a community trading widely with the Roman world.

University of Exeter archaeologists are digging at the site this month.

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Podkarpackie / Unique figurine from 7 thousand years ago discovered in arable field

Photo by Piotr Alagierski
While walking in a field in one of the villages of Podkarpacie, an archaeologist from Wielkopolska came across a fragment of a clay figurine from around 7 thousand years ago, depicting a man. This is one of the few finds of this type from this period in Poland - believes the finder.
Archaeologist Piotr Alagierski spent his vacation in the village Kosina in Podkarpacie. On a Sunday walk in a cultivated field, he stumbled upon a 7-centimeter fragment of a man figurine made of fired clay. Most of the clearly shaped head, torso and part of the hand have survived to our times - according to the information provided to PAP by the finder.

"There is no doubt that this is a national-level monument - one of the oldest depictions of a human in our country. Similar finds from that period are very rare" - the archaeologist noted in an interview with PAP.

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7,000 year old human remains discovered in Swiss city

The remains of ancient villages dating back to 5,500BC have been discovered on a construction site in Sion in the Valais.

Burial found at the site [Credit: Valais Archaeological Service]

The find was made by archaeologists during building work on the site of the the Arsenaux cultural centre in the city, Sion authorities said in a statement on Thursday. 

The archaeologists uncovered evidence of human habitation, including graves and the remains of houses, which date back as far as the Neolithic period (5,500-4,800 BC). 

Construction work at the site – intended to be a new centre for the city’s archives – has been suspended until in mid-September so archaeologists can carry out their work. 

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Avebury stone circle contains hidden square, archaeologists find

A model of the inner square at the Avebury Neolithic stone circl.
Photograph: Mark Gillings / University of Leicester


Radar technology detects inner stone structure thought to commemorate Neolithic building dating to 3500BC and a focal point for Neolithic communityA mysterious square formation has been discovered within the Neolithic stone circle monument at Avebury, rewriting the narrative of one of the wonders of the prehistoric world.
Archaeologists believe the hidden stones, discovered using radar technology, were one of the earliest structures at the site and may have commemorated a Neolithic building dating to around 3500 BC.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Archaeologists unearth prehistoric ritual area around Bryn Celli Ddu

Bryn Celli Ddu, a Neolithic passage tomb on the Isle of Anglesey. 
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Previously unknown Anglesey landscape possibly includes cairn cemetery in what experts described as ‘really exciting stuff’

Archaeologists have uncovered a prehistoric ritual landscape that possibly includes a cairn cemetery around a 5,000-year-old burial mound aligned with the summer solstice sun on Anglesey.

Though far less famous than Stonehenge, the spectacle of sunlight shining down a long narrow passage to light up the inner chamber of Bryn Celli Ddu on the longest day of the year is unforgettable. Excavation now suggests the site had significance for prehistoric people that lasted for millennia after the earth mound was raised over a stone passage grave.

The monument, whose name translates as the mound in the dark grove, was first excavated in 1865 and heavily reconstructed in the 1920s, but excavations over the last three summers – with members of the public joining archaeologists – are unveiling 5,000 years of human activity in the landscape. 

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lavau Celtic Prince: 2,500-year-old royal tomb starts to reveal its secrets

Objects inside the tomb appear to show the cultural interactions between different worlds in the 5th century BCE.


The bronze cauldron emerges from the earth.Denis Gliksman, Inrap

In 2015, the small village of Lavau in eastern France became famous around the world when archaeologists uncovered the tomb of an ancient Celtic prince, dating back to the 5th century BCE.

The tomb of the Lavau Prince, as he is now known, hides many secrets, which researchers have attempted to unveil in the past two years. Some of the stunning artefacts recovered next to the deceased have now be sent to a French lab for analysis – and the first results are starting to emerge.

A number of objects, including the prince's belt, appear to be extremely valuable as they are unique. Other artefacts bear witness to the cultural exchanges which took place at the time between different civilisations.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Did Dutch hordes kill off the early Britons who started Stonehenge?

A gene study has shown that incomers could have ousted Stone Age Britons

During the building of Stonehenge, around 2500BC, gene records show Sone Age Britons were replaced by Bronze Age Beaker folk. Photograph: Peter Adams/Getty Images

The men and women who built Stonehenge left an indelible mark on the British landscape. However, researchers have discovered that their impact on other aspects of the nation may have been less impressive. In particular, their input into Britain’s gene pool appears to have fizzled out, having been terminated by light-skinned Bronze Age invaders who arrived just as Ancient Britons were midway through their great Stone Age project. In the end, these newcomers may have completely replaced the people who were building Stonehenge.

This startling conclusion is the result of a huge gene study of humans in prehistoric Europe. It shows that around 2500BC – when the main sections of Stonehenge were under construction – a race of people known to archaeologists as the Beaker folk arrived in Britain. Their genetic profiles were similar to individuals who were living in the Netherlands at the time. In just a short period, all genetic traces of early Stone Age Britons were replaced by those from these continental newcomers, although work on Stonehenge continued.

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Dig Finds UK's Oldest Sacred Site

Archaeologists say a sacred burial site uncovered in Shrewsbury in February is over 4,000 years old. They say the site, which was discovered at a Greek Orthodox Church, may be the country's oldest-known continuously used sacred ground.


Archaeologists excavate the site in Shrewsbury 
[Credit: Sarah Hart]

Finds suggest it has been used during every era since the late Neolithic period. Carbon dating of a wooden post extracted during the dig showed it was placed in the ground in 2,033 BC.

Archaeologists expected the post to be Anglo-Saxon. Other finds on the Oteley Road site included a calf, a pig and a dog that died while giving birth.

"The dates have shocked us all," said lead archaeologist Janey Green. "It appears the current Medieval church is built over the site of an ancient pagan burial ground that's been in use from the late Neolithic period through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and through to today. The only other British site of a Christian church that is known to date back to the late Neolithic period is at Cranborne Chase, in Dorset, but it is a Norman ruin."

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