Friday, August 22, 2014

Archaeologists Find Humans Were Eating Snails 30,000 Years Ago

Paleolithic humans of present-day Spain may have eaten snails as much as 30,000 years ago, or 10,000 years earlier than inhabitants of Mediterranean regions, according to research by Javier Fernández-López de Pablo from Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social and colleagues.
The researchers discovered land snail shell remains dated to about 30,000 years ago at the site of Cova de la Barriada, Spain. Groupings of complete shells from a large land snail species were found in three areas of the site, corresponding to different time points. They studied these remains by investigating patterns indicating likley land snail selection, consumption, and accumulation at the site, and then analyzed the shells' decay, fossilization process, composition, and age at death by measuring the shell sizes.
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Humans Did Not Wipe Out the Neanderthals, New Research Suggests

Neanderthals went extinct in Europe about 40,000 years ago, giving them millennia to coexist with modern humans culturally and sexually, new findings suggest.

This research also suggests that modern humans did not cause Neanderthals to rapidly go extinct, as some researchers have previously suggested, scientists added.

Neanderthals are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans, and lived in Europe and Asia. Recent findings suggest that Neanderthals were closely related enough to interbreed with ancestors of modern humans — about 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone outside Africa is Neanderthal in origin.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

New dates rewrite Neanderthal story

Our ancestors may have passed on technological innovations to the Neanderthals

Modern humans and Neanderthals co-existed in Europe 10 times longer than previously thought, a study suggests.
The most comprehensive dating of Neanderthal bones and tools ever carried out suggests that the two species lived side-by-side for up to 5,000 years.
The new evidence suggests that the two groups may even have exchanged ideas and culture, say the researchers.
The study has been published in the journal Nature.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Before they left Africa, early modern humans were 'culturally diverse'

A new study provides fresh insights into the life of early modern humans before they left Africa following a massive comparative study of stone tools.

Researchers have carried out the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago found in the region between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia. They have discovered there are marked differences in the way stone tools were made, reflecting a diversity of cultural traditions. The study has also identified at least four distinct populations, each relatively isolated from each other with their own different cultural characteristics.

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Archaeologists compare Neolithic Kent site to Stonehenge, find Bronze Age funerary monument

A Neolithic ditch which became a huge funerary monument when it was enlarged with an outer ring during the Bronze Age has been found on housing development grounds in Kent

Archaeologists suspect a “sacred way” could have led to a henge 6,000 years ago at Iwade Meadows, to the west of the Kent industrial town of Sittingbourne.

Positioned on a north-west slope, the 30-metre diameter structure is one of several prehistoric monuments on a north-west slope above the Ridham fleet stream running through the centre of the site.

“Its purpose is not known,” says Dr Paul Wilkinson, of excavators SWAT Archaeology.

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Remains of at least two bodies found in ancient grave

Archaeologist Paul Murtagh excavating the Bronze Age burial cist in which the remains of at least two bodies were found

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of at least two bodies in a Bronze Age burial cist in a remote area of the west Highlands.

They were previously aware of one body in the ancient grave on the Ardnamurchan peninsula but they have now found more bones than could belong to another person.

A skull found during an earlier archaeological dig at Swordle in 2010 was dated as being from around 1700BC.

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Mystery of the ancient Gauls found dumped in a pit

Eight skeletons including two of children dating back to the Iron Age have been found in good condition in France. 

Eight skeletons dating back to about 500BC have been found in an ancient  grain silo near a Celtic salt mining site in Marsal, eastern France  [Credit: AFP/Getty Images] 

The extraordinary archaeological discovery was made in Marsal, in the east of the country, in the Lorraine region, close to the border with Germany. 

Dating back to around 500BC, all were exhumed from a wet, boggy area which was once the site of extensive salt mines, but is now surrounded by an industrial estate. 

It is excavated most summers by a team led by Laurent Olivier, curator of the National Archaeological Museum at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris.

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Découverte d’une occupation néandertalienne en bord de Saône

Une séquence stratigraphique exceptionnelle

Ce site préhistorique est implanté sur une butte lœssique dominant l’ancien lit de la Saône. Unique en Rhône-Alpes, cette séquence sédimentaire qui associe des dépôts d’origines fluviatile et éolienne, renseigne sur l’évolution de la Saône durant le Pléistocène supérieur (128 000-11 000 ans). Initialement haute de 8 m, elle est constituée d’une succession de paléosols et de lœss : le plus ancien, épais de plus de 2 m, est daté entre 55 000 
et 35 000 ans, c’est-à-dire durant la fin du Paléolithique moyen. La fouille révèle une faune riche répartie sur trois niveaux et associée à des silex taillés abandonnés par les Néandertaliens.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Major finds unearthed on Hinkley bypass dig

Important finds dating back to the Iron Age and Roman period have been uncovered at the site of a new bypass to be built as part of the Hinkley C project. 

Archaeologists working at the site of the Cannington bypass  [Credit: Latitude Photography] 

Archaeologists working at the site of the Cannington bypass revealed their discoveries to local residents on Thursday when EDF Energy and Somerset County Council invited local stakeholders to take a look. 

The dig is being carried out at the site of a planned Cannington bypass which will be built to help serve the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. 

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Greek tomb at Amphipolis is 'important discovery'

Archaeologists know that major events took place in the area in the years after Alexander's death

Archaeologists unearthing a burial site at Amphipolis in northern Greece have made an "extremely important find", says Greek PM Antonis Samaras.
Experts believe the tomb belonged to an important figure dating back to the last quarter of the Fourth Century BC.
A large mound complex has been unearthed at the Kasta hill site in the past two years.
Lead archaeologist Katerina Peristeri said it certainly dated from after the death of Alexander the Great.
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Europe's oldest village sought under Greek bay

PlanetSolar press officer Julia Tames walks across the deck of the MS Turanor PlanetSolar,

The world's largest solar-powered boat has arrived in southern Greece to participate in an ambitious underwater survey that will seek traces of what could be one of the oldest human settlements in Europe.
The Swiss-Greek project starts next week and archaeologists hope it will shed new light on how the first farming communities spread through the continent.
Working near a major prehistoric site, they will investigate a bay aptly called Kiladha — Greek for valley. The area was once dry land and archaeologists operating off the MS Turanor PlanetSolar hope it may contain sunken remains of buildings from Neolithic times, when farming started, about 9,000 years ago.
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Fowl play: Neanderthals were first bird eaters (Update)

Cut-marked bone (ulna) of Rock Dove specimens from Gorham’s Cave 
Credit: Ruth Blasco et al., Scientific Reports

Neanderthals may have caught, butchered and cooked wild pigeons long before modern humans became regular consumers of bird meat, a study revealed on Thursday.
Close examination of 1,724 bones from rock doves, found in a cave in Gibraltar and dated to between 67,000 and 28,000 years ago, revealed cuts, human tooth marks and burns, said a paper in the journal Scientific Reports.
This suggested the doves may have been butchered and then roasted, wrote the researchers—the first evidence of hominids eating birds.
And the evidence suggested Neanderthals ate much like a latter-day Homo sapiens would tuck into a roast chicken, pulling the bones apart to get at the soft flesh
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Schoolboys unearth golden hair tress more than 4,000 years old

A GOLDEN hair tress dating back 4,300 years has been unearthed by a group of children taking part in a summertime archaeological dig.

Experts say the pre-Bronze Age ornament is one of the most significant recent archaeological finds ever discovered in the UK.
Mini-archaeologists Joseph and Aidan Bell and their friends Luca and Sebastian Alderson were taking part in a community excavation at Kirkhaugh, Northumberland, when they saw a glint of gold in the soil.
To their astonishment it turned out to be an ancient hair tress which is one of the earliest pieces of metal work dug up in the UK.
The schoolchildren, aged between seven and ten, had been on a dig arranged by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership's Altogether Archaeology project, when they stumbled across the treasure.
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More on Gallic chariot tomb discovered in France

A combined team composed of archaeologists from the Ardennes departmental archaeology unit and from Inrap has just finished excavating the aristocratic Gallic grave at Warcq (Ardennes). 

The chariot tomb at Warcq in the process of excavation  [Credit: © Denis Gliksman/Inrap] 

Curated by the State (Drac Champagne-Ardenne), this site was part of the investigation of the route of the A304 motorway being constructed by the Dreal between Charleville-Mézières and Rocroi. 

This type of aristocratic grave, containing a ceremonial or war chariot, emerges in the 7th century B.C. and disappears with the end of the Gallic period. 

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Produktion von Salz und Pökelfleisch in der Bronzezeit

Ausgrabung bei Wörbzig: Großer bronzezeitlicher Grubenkomplex mit drei rechteckigen Herdgruben. Foto: Klaus Bentele © LDA Sachsen-Anhalt

Schon in der Bronzezeit war die Salzgewinnung ein bedeutender Wirtschaftsfaktor im südlichen Sachsen-Anhalt. Das zeigen die zahlreichen Funde von Salzsiedekeramik aus dieser Epoche. Auch bei den aktuellen Ausgrabungen bei Wörbzig im Landkreis Anhalt-Bitterfeld fanden die Archäologen des Landesamts für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt zahlreiche Bruchstücke von Briquetage. Daneben fanden sich zahlreiche Herd- oder Gargruben, in denen vermutlich Schweinefleisch gepökelt und so haltbarer gemacht wurde.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014


Lyngsmose og Hover viewed from the north in 1993.  Image: Palle Eriksen

Situated in a Danish cornfield on a crossroads between Ølstrup and Hover lies the remains of Lyngsmose, an Iron Age village of international importance now buried beneath the soil. However an exciting collaboration means that Lyngsmose will spring to life again after 2000 years.

A joint steering committee between the various parish organisations is to administer a large renewable energy grant from the Environment and Technology Committee to facilitate the realisation of a common dream to “re-visualise” the 2000 year old space into the present.

Currently, acquisition of the land is in progress along with building permits and the creation of a joint Lyngsmose Association.

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Lindow Man: Gruesome discovery who became 'international celebrity'

Lindow Man is the best preserved peat bog body to be found in Britain

Thirty years ago, a peat cutter working in the Cheshire countryside spotted what he thought was a piece of wood trundling along a conveyor belt.
Tasked with the job of keeping the belt free of debris, he threw it away, but as it hit the ground, the dirt fell from it and the remains of a human leg lay in the summer sun.
That gruesome discovery on 1 August 1984 led to Rick Turner, the newly-appointed county archaeologist, being called to the site on Lindow Moss.
He says what followed were "the most exciting days of my archaeological career".
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