Friday, July 31, 2015

First glimpse inside the Siberian cave that holds the key to man's origins

The significance of the cave is immense, and the experts are convinced it has more secrets to give up on human origins. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya

These exclusive pictures show the world famous Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains from which a series of stunning scientific discoveries on man's origins have been made in recent years.
More are expected as a result of a hive of archeological activity - overseen by the specialists from Novosibirsk State University -  underway at this unique site inhabited continuously from the deep past.
Scientist Maksim Kozlikin said: 'We are working with Oxford University in the UK, they help us with radiocarbon and other dating and also conduct studies of ancient DNA. Currently, we continue cooperation and there can be new joint scientific articles.' 
The significance of the cave is immense, and the experts are convinced it has more secrets to give up on human origins. Here in 2008 was discovered a finger bone fragment of 'X woman', a juvenile female who lived around 41,000 years ago, analysis of which indicated that she was genetically distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans.
This previously unknown and long extinct hominin species or subspecies was christened Denisovan after this cave. In 2010 analysis on an upper molar from a young adult, found in the cave ten years previously, was also from a Denisovan.
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Fragments of new female figurine found at Hohle Fels

Archaeologists, Prof. Nicholas Conard and his team member Maria Malina, present the discovery of two fragments of a new female figurine in today's edition of the journal: Archäologische Ausgrabungen Baden-Württemberg. The figurine shows similarities with the well-known Venus from Hohle Fels that Prof. Conard published in 2009. 

Fragments of a female figurine from Hohle Fels in southwestern Germany  dating to the Aurignacian period roughly 40,000 years ago  [Credit: J. Lipták/University of Tübingen] 

The two pieces of carved mammoth ivory fit together to form a find with dimensions of 23 x 22 x 13 mm. The find does not appear to be part of a depiction of an animal or lionman, both frequent motifs from the caves of the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany. 

Instead, the find shows strong affinities with the only other female figurine known from the region. The find will be exhibited as part of a small research exhibit at the Museum of Prehistory in Blaubeuren.

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French student finds tooth dating back 560,000 years

 Valentin Loescher, left, holding the tooth, and Camille Jacquey were working together on the dig. Photograph: Denis Dainat/EPA

A French student has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in south-western France, in what researchers are hailing as a major discovery.
Valentin Loescher, 20, was volunteering alongside Camille Jacquey, 16, on his first summer archaeological dig at the Arago cave near Tautavel, when he discovered the tooth.
The tooth could be the oldest human remains found in France. It predates by 100,000 years the famous Tautavel man, a 20-year-old prehistoric hunter and ancestor of Neanderthal man, who was discovered at the site in 1971 and whose remains dated back about 450,000 years.
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5,000-year-old fort found in Monmouth

Archaeologists in Monmouth have discovered the remains of an ancient wooden building that dates back 5,000 years. 

An artist impression of what the fort looked like nearly 5,000 years ago  [Credit: Monmouth Archaeological Society] 

Steve Clarke, who two years ago uncovered the remains of a huge post-glacial lake at the Parc Glyndwr building site, said the timber remains found under the new Rockfield estate were once part of a crannog, an ancient fortified dwelling built into a lake. 

Part of the wooden building set into the bed of what was once Monmouth’s prehistoric lake, pre-dates the only other known crannog in England and Wales by 2,000 years. 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Neolithic house discovery at Avebury stone circle dig

Archaeologists believe they may have found the remains of a house where people who built Avebury stone circle may have lived.
The three-week Between the Monuments project is researching the daily lives of Neolithic and Bronze Age residents at the Wiltshire site.
The dig is being led by The National Trust and Southampton and Leicester University archaeologists.
The National Trust said if it is a house they will have "hit the jackpot".
Spokesman Dr Nick Snashall said: "I could count the number of middle Neolithic houses that have been found on the fingers of one hand.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ancient carriage way discovered near Athens

A 300-metre section of an ancient carriage way dated to the 4th century BC was discovered by archaeologists at the Megalo Kavouri beach in the southern suburb of Vouliagmeni, the ministry of Culture announced on Monday. 

Section of the ancient carriage road discovered in Vouliagmeni 
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture] 

The road, paved with small stones placed close to one another, varies in width from 1.90 metres to 6.10 metres. It is delineated by retaining walls on either side that also serve to keep the pavement stable, as the earth underneath is soft and sandy.

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Bronze Age skeleton unearthed in Wiltshire

A 4,000-year-old Bronze Age skeleton, believed to be that of an adolescent child, has been unearthed by archaeologists.
The rare discovery was made by a team from the University of Reading, who are excavating Wilsford henge in the Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire.
It is believed the skeleton will help shed light on the lives of those who lived and worshipped at nearby Stonehenge.
The body, around 1.5m in length, was found in a foetal position and was wearing an amber necklace. Efforts will now be made to determine the age and gender of the child and where they were from after the find was made on Tuesday.
The Vale of Pewsey, situated between Stonehenge and Avebury, is the subject of a three-year dig but over the last six weeks, archaeologists have focused on Marden henge and Wilsford henge.
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Fortress older than the pyramids is uncovered in Monmouth

Archaeologists have unearthed a wooden island old enough to have been built by the Flintstones under a modern Barratt estate.
The fortified farmhouse on stilts in the middle of an ice age lake is so old it could have even been built before Stonehenge was created.
At 4,900 years old it's probably even older than the Pyramids and was probably built to provide a natural moat to protect the rich inhabitants from attackers in an area that is now on the Welsh borders.
It was around the time early man started to live communally and archaeologist Steve Clarke says it is only the second "crannog" to be found in England and Wales and much older than the first.
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Irish motorway dig reveals finds dating back to 3500BC

A ‘mound’ used as a gathering point for rituals dating back to 3500 BC, evidence of medieval treasure-hunting and remains of Famine cottages are among the ancient finds along the M17 motorway. 

The excavation at Kilskeagh, which found, where a gathering point dating  back to 3500C was uncovered [Credit: Connacht Tribune] 

The finds at 26 excavated sites on the 30km stretch from Rathmorrissy (near Athenry) to Tuam have been recorded in a book entitled ‘Through the Lands of the Auteri and St Jarlath’, which will be launched next week. 

The book takes its title from the Auteri tribe which controlled large tracts of land in the second century AD in what is now Athenry, and 300 years later, where according to legend, St Jarlath founded Tuam.

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Eine weitere Frauenstatuette aus dem Hohle Fels?

Ein neu entdecktes Elfenbeinfragment aus dem Hohle Fels in Baden-Württemberg gehört möglicherweise zu einer zweiten weiblichen Figurine. Der im letzten Jahr gemachte Fund aus der Altsteinzeit ist derzeit in einer Sonderpräsenation in Blaubeuren zu sehen.

Bei Ausgrabungen in der Höhle Hohle Fels auf der Schwäbischen Alb nahe Schelklingen hat das Team von Professor Nicholas Conard aus der Abteilung Urgeschichte und Quartärökologie der Universität Tübingen einen rätselhaften Fund gemacht: ein aus zwei Teilen zusammengesetztes Bruchstück aus Mammutelfenbein. Von Menschenhand bearbeitet, weist das Fragment deutliche, tief eingebrachte Rillen in musterhafter Anordnung auf.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark

Archaeologists have discovered about 2,000 little gold spirals from the Bronze Age in a field near Boeslunde in Zealand.

Bronze Age gold spirals found in Boeslund, 900-700 BC  
[Credit: Morten Petersen/Zealand Museum]

The longest of the many spirals are around 3 cm in length and are all produced from thin and flat golden thread dating from 700-900 BC.

The find, in an area of Zealand considered one of northern Europe’s best places to find gold artefacts from the Bronze Age, remains as mysterious as it is sensational.

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The boneyard of the bizarre that rewrites our Celtic past to include hybrid-animal monster myths

Cow with horse's legs among finds that throw light on the ancient mind

Ancient Mediterranean cultures thought nothing of splicing different animals together to form fantastical mythical beasts, such as the half-lion, half-goat chimera or the half-lion, half-eagle griffin.

Until now, however, ancient Britons were not credited with such imagination. That is all about to change following the discovery of a series of animal skeletons near Winterborne Kingston in Dorset, which raises the possibility that Britain’s ancient Celtic population had hybrid-animal monster myths similar to those of the ancient Greeks, Mesopotamians and Egyptians.

The bones, discovered in Dorset by archaeologists, appear to have been deliberately rearranged by Iron Age Britons in order to create hybrid beasts, half one creature and half another.

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Human presence in Scotland earlier than thought

Archaeologists working on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge Estate in Aberdeenshire have uncovered evidence that people were active in this mountainous landscape thousands of years earlier than previously thought. 

Excavations of an 8,000 year-old hunter-gatherer site in remote Glen Geldie,  on the National Trust for Scotland’s mountainous Mar Lodge Estate  [Credit: National Trust for Scotland] 

Archaeologists working on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge Estate in Aberdeenshire have uncovered evidence that people were active in this mountainous landscape thousands of years earlier than previously thought. 

Excavations at sites deep in the Cairngorm glens have produced radiocarbon dates which demonstrate a human presence as far back as 8,100 BC, with some places being revisited over many thousands of years.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

You(r) Archaeology – portraying the past

“You(r) Archaeology – portraying the past” - A European competition to express your view.

What is archaeology? An adventure? A pain in the neck? The appeal of the past, the magic of marvellous sites, the boredom of a dusty museum? Probably all of these together, and still more.

Up until July 31st 2015, all European citizens can answer the question and tell us about their idea of archaeology by entering a drawing, painting, photo or video in the European competition “You(r) Archaeology”.

Further details...