Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Archaeologists have discovered a sunken village from millennia ago


The first Stone Age settlement identified in Polish waters has been discovered in the lake Gil Wielki, Iława Lake District (Warmia and Mazury) by underwater archaeologists led by Dr. Andrzej Pydyn from the Department of Underwater Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.
The discovery was made in the project carried out in cooperation with the Warsaw branch of the Scientific Association of Polish Archaeologists.

"In shallow water in the reservoir we found a large amount of animal bones, remains of tools made of antler and numerous fragments of pottery, used at various times by ancient communities. Among them, the fragments that caught our attention relate to the tradition of late Neolithic, probably associated with the so-called Corded Ware culture" - told PAP Dr. Andrzej Pydyn.

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Decrypting the enigmatic Phaistos Disk


The decoding of the Phaistos Disk has puzzled specialists for over a century, however new findings describe the disk as “the first Minoan CD-ROM’ featuring a prayer to a mother. Gareth Owens, Erasmus coordinator at the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, speaking at the TEI of Western Macedonia on Monday, said the disk is dedicated to a “mother”. 


Discovered in 1907 in the Minoan palace of Phaistos in Crete, the disk has been the  subject of many an interpretation attempt. However, the small total body of text - it consists  of only 241 signs on both sides, based on 45 individual signs - defies any  decisive conclusion [Credit: Yves Brise/Flickr] 

“The most stable word and value is ‘mother’, and in particular the mother goddess of the Minoan era,” said Dr. Owens. He says there is one complex of signs found in three parts of one side of the disk spelling I-QE-KU-RJA, with I-QE meaning “great lady of importance” while a key word appears to be AKKA, or “pregnant mother,” according to the researcher. One side is devoted to a pregnant woman and the other to a woman giving birth.

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Forscherteam identifiziert 3500 Jahre alte Königsstadt


Marburger Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler haben die Identität einer 3500 Jahre alten Königsstadt enthüllt. Bei Ausgrabungen des Vorgeschichtlichen Seminars der Philipps-Universität in Kayalıpınar (Türkei) entdeckten sie Keilschrifttafeln, die erstmalig den hethitischen Namen des Ortes nennen: Samuha. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt Professorin Dr. Elisabeth Rieken vom Marburger Fachgebiet Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft und Keltologie bei ihrer kürzlich abgeschlossenen Bearbeitung der neuen Textfunde.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Stunning new finds from Antikythera


A Greek and international team of divers and archaeologists has retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote island of Antikythera. The rescued antiquities include tableware, ship components, and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized warrior statue. 


WHOI Diving Safety Officer Edward O'Brien "spacewalks" in the Exosuit, suspended  from the Hellenic Navy vessel THETIS during the 2014 Return to Antikythera project  [Credit: Brett Seymour, Copyright: Return to Antikythera 2014] 

The Antikythera wreck was first discovered in 1900 by sponge divers who were blown off course by a storm. They subsequently recovered a spectacular haul of ancient treasure including bronze and marble statues, jewellery, furniture, luxury glassware, and the surprisingly complex Antikythera Mechanism. But they were forced to end their mission at the 55-meter-deep site after one diver died of the bends and two were paralyzed. Ever since, archaeologists have wondered if more treasure remains buried beneath the sea bed.

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Découverte d’un nouveau pré-Néandertalien en France : l’homme de Tourville-la-Rivière


Une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap a mis au jour, sur le site préhistorique de Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime), les vestiges d’un pré-Néandertalien. Cette découverte fait aujourd’hui l’objet d’une publication dans la revue internationale PLOS ONE par un groupe de chercheurs du CNRS, de l’Inrap, de l’université nationale australienne, du Centre national de recherche sur l’évolution de l’Homme à Burgos (Espagne) et du département d’Anthropologie de l’université Washington à Saint Louis.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Neolithic finds unearthed at Scilly Isles site


Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest hauls of Neolithic pottery in the south west on St Martin's in the Isles of Scilly. 


The Old Quay site on the edge of the sea at St Martin's  [Credit: The Cornishman] 

Thousands of pottery shards, dating back between 3,500 and 3,000 BC, have been uncovered thanks to a project run by volunteers. 

Reading University lecturer and archaeologist Dr Duncan Garrow headed the Stepping Stones project with Fraser Sturt, of Southampton University. 

Dr Garrow called the find of an age that preceded the Bronze Age "significant and intriguing ".

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Sardinian archaeologists find Bronze Age 'giant'


Archeologists working in Sardinia's southwestern region have uncovered a new 'giant', officials reported on Thursday. 


The newly discovered Bronze Age stone figure at the Monte Prama excavation site in Oristano [Credit: ANSA] 

Archaeologists from the Superintendency of Cagliari and Oristano and Cagliari and Sassari universities dug up another monumental sandstone giant at the Monte Prama excavation site in Oristano on Thursday morning. 

The Monte Prama site is home to the Giants of Monte Prama, ancient stone figures from the Bronze-age Nuragic civilization that were discovered en masse in the early 1970s.

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Prehistoric Stone Tools Evolved Independently Within Local Populations, Say Researchers


Suggestion challenges the traditional Out-of-Africa human migration theory for new stone tool introduction into Eurasia.


It wasn’t exclusively the arrival of new people from Africa with new technology that changed the stone tool repertoire of early humans in Eurasia a few hundred thousand years ago—it was local populations in different places and times gradually and independently wising up to a better industry on their own.

So suggests Daniel Adler, associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, and colleagues based on a recently completed study in which the researchers examined thousands of stone artifacts recovered from Nor Geghi 1, an Armenian Southern Caucasus archaeological site that features preserved lava flows and artifact-bearing sediments dated to between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago.  The artifacts, dated at 325,000 – 335,000 years old, were a mix of two distinct stone tool technology traditions—bifacial tools, such as hand axes, which were common among early human populations during the Lower Paleolithic, andLevallois, a stone tool production method typically attributed to the Middle Stone Age in Africa and the Middle Paleolithic in Eurasia. The researchers argue that the coexistence of two technologies at Nor Geghi 1 provides the first clear evidence that local populations developed Levallois technology out of existing biface technology.
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Study shows early modern human settlement in Central Europe over 43,000 years ago



Early modern humans inhabited the region of what is today known as Austria around 43,500 years ago, living in an environment that was cold and steppe-like, according to a recent study. 

Philip Nigst and colleagues of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and other institutions analyzed stone tools and their context after a re-excavation of the famous Willendorf site in Austria, the site best known for the discovery in 1908 of the Venus of Willendorf figurine. Between 2006 and 2011 archaeologists uncovered an assemblage of 32 lithic artifacts and 23 faunal remains. The authors identified the tools as belonging to the Aurignacian culture, generally accepted as associated with modern humans. The researchers determined this through systematic morphological and technological analysis. They assign the artifacts to a very early archaeological horizon of modern human occupation.
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They weren’t wimps: how modern humans, like Neanderthals, braved the northern cold


Recent finds at Willendorf in Austria reveal that modern humans were living in cool steppe-like conditions some 43,500 years ago – and that their presence overlapped with that of Neanderthals for far longer than we thought. 

In 1908 the famously plump Venus of Willendorf, thought to be a symbol of fecundity, was discovered during an excavation near the Austrian town of Melk. The statuette, on display at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, has been dated to 30,000 years ago and is one of the world’s earliest examples of figurative art.
Now a team of archaeologists has dated a number of stone tools, excavated recently from the same site at the village of Willendorf, to 43,500 years ago. The multinational team, led by Dr Philip Nigst of the University of Cambridge, has identified the tools as belonging to the Aurignacian culture, generally accepted as indicative of modern human presence. 
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Divers sure of new finds from 'ancient computer' wreck


Athens - Archaeologists began on Monday using a revolutionary new deep sea diving suit to explore the ancient shipwreck where one of the most remarkable scientific objects of antiquity was found.
The so-called Antikythera Mechanism, a 2nd-century BC device known as the world's oldest computer, was discovered by sponge divers in 1900 off a remote Greek island in the Aegean.
The highly complex mechanism of up to 40 bronze cogs and gears was used by the ancient Greeks to track the cycles of the solar system. It took another 1 500 years for an astrological clock of similar sophistication to be made in Europe.
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Roadworks reveal ancient city in Western Greece


The construction works for the new motorway Ionia Odos, in Messolonghi, western Greece, led to an important archaeological discovery. 


The recently discovered archaeological site of Alikyrna near Missolonghi  in western Greece [Credit: Protothema] The archaeological site of Alikyrnas stretches to many acres and includes an entire ancient city near Aghios Thomas in Messolonghi. 

The Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Michael Chryssochoides visited the area and expressed his admiration for this great discovery. 

According to sources in the Greek media, the first findings suggest an ancient urban center which crosses over to the Ionia Odos construction site.

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New photos of Amphipolis Caryatids released


The two caryatids found at the Kasta Tomb in ancient Amphipolis were uncovered entirely by excavators, the ministry of Culture announced on Sunday. 


The Caryatids wear a long chiton and long fringed robe with rich folds  [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture] 

The full height of each caryatid is 2.27 metres and they are wearing chitons - or full-length draped dresses, tied in the middle - and a long himation, or a shawl-like cover over their dress, with fringes and several folds. 

They are wearing kothornoi, resembling platform boots or shoes and best known for being worn by ancient Greek actors. Their shoes preserve traces of red and yellow pigments, while their toes are depicted in very fine detail.

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Naturfreunde schmelzen für Eisenzeit dahin: In Lehrte bald historisch-ökologische Bildung

DBU-Kurator Matthias Miersch überreichte den Bewilligungsbescheid über 150.000 Euro an den ersten Vorsitzenden der Naturfreunde Lehrte, Wilfried Helmreich. (© Anette Helmreich)

In der Eisenzeit stand die Eisenerz-Verhüttung auch in und um Hannover hoch im Kurs – und produzierte schon früh erste ökologische Krisen. Was diese historische Epoche mit der Gegenwart in Sachen nachhaltige Landwirtschaft, Imkerei und Forstwirtschaft trennt oder verbindet, wollen die Naturfreunde Lehrte in einem "Miniatur-Freilichtmuseum" aufzeigen und so ein "differenziertes Nachhaltigkeitsverständnis für Schüler der Sekundarstufen I und II wie für Jugendgruppen befördern".

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2,000 year old boomerang unearthed in France


The Gauls used boomerangs 2,000 years ago, according to archaeologists who have found a wooden curved stick on a beach in the northern French town of Cotentin. 


The Gallic "throwing stick" found at the site of Urville-Nacqueville  [Credit: Cyril Damourette] 

Boomerangs are usually associated with Australian aborigines but these amazing wooden weapons have been found in Egypt, apparently dating back 2,000 years, and in Europe - the oldest one, which was found in a cave in Poland, being 30,000 years old. 

They were apparently toys but now archaelogists have found what sems to be a 2,000-year-old boomerang on the beach at Cotentin and it was not used for play, Le Monde newspaper reports. 

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Fourth chamber likely at Amphipolis tomb


A high-ranking Ministry of Culture official told Greek news sources that the archaeologists who are currently clearing out the dirt from the third chamber in the Amphipolis tomb believe that a fourth chamber may exist. 


Meanwhile, the head of the excavation Katerina Peristeri told journalists that based on the findings so far, she believes the enigmatic tomb definitely dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century B.C.

 Mrs. Peristeri complained about colleagues who appear in the media claiming that the tomb may have been constructed in the Roman era. 

“The tomb is Macedonian. We have all the proof for that." said Mrs. Peristeri. "It’s futile for some people to say that it is Roman. I feel indignation against some colleagues of mine that speak to the TV channels, just for 5 minutes on prime time TV without knowing anything about the excavation.” 

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Greeks captivated by Alexander-era tomb at Amphipolis

Two sphinxes guard the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis

The discovery of an enormous tomb in northern Greece, dating to the time of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, has enthused Greeks, distracting them from a dire economic crisis.
Who, they are asking, is buried within.
In early August, a team of Greek archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri unearthed what officials say is the largest burial site ever to be discovered in the country. The mound is in ancient Amphipolis, a major city of the Macedonian kingdom, 100km (62 miles) east of Thessaloniki, Greece's second city.
The structure dates back to the late 4th Century BC and is 500m (1,600ft) wide, dwarfing the burial site of Alexander's father, Philip II, in Vergina, west of Thessaloniki.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Prehistoric pit discovered on Coney Island beach


A box-like structure built from large stone slabs may have been used for bathing or cooking during the Bronze Age

Volunteers excavate the box-like archeological structure on Coney Island. The site may date back 4,000 years
Archaeologists have discovered signs of human habitation, possibly dating back 4,000 years, on Sligo’s Coney Island.
A box-like structure built from large stone slabs found on the island may have been used for bathing or cooking during the Bronze Age, experts believe. It has been excavated by a team led by Eamonn Kelly, director of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum.
The structure is thought to be part of a fulacht fiadh, a prehistoric trough or pit that was dug into the ground and filled with water. Stones, heated separated on an outdoor hearth, would be added to bring the water to boil.
Measuring about a metre long and 80cm wide, the structure was recently identified as an archaeological site by Ciaran Davis, an archaeology student at IT Sligo, and native of nearby Rosses Point, who alerted the museum.
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Letter from Ireland: Mystery of the Fulacht Fiadh


Versions of the same Bronze Age structure pop up all around Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom. Archaeologists, however, still have not agreed on their purpose.

On a typically misty morning in the west of Ireland, just outside the medieval town of Athenry, County Galway, archaeologist Declan Moore opens the trunk of his car and invites me to pull on a pair of Wellingtons. “Believe me, you’ll need them,” he assures me as we cross the parking lot and hop a fence into a nearby field.

Moore is taking me to visit an unexcavated fulacht fiadh (pronounced FULL-ahk FEE-add), or fulachtaí fia in plural, the most common type of prehistoric archaeological site in Ireland. Better known as a “burnt mound” in the neighboring United Kingdom, where they are also found, there are nearly 6,000 recorded fulacht fiadh sites dotted around Ireland alone. As we trudge through the wet and soggy field, Moore points out a small stream. “They are usually found near water or in marshy areas, so this is a prime location,” he explains.


When we arrive at the site, Moore shows me the basic features of a fulacht fiadh—a horseshoe-shaped mound of soil and rocks surrounding a depression big enough to park a small car in. Moore climbs the four-and-a-half-foot mound and quickly wipes away some of the soil to expose the layer of stones. He then points to the depression. “If we were to excavate, we’d find a trough dug into the ground there,” he says. It takes us only 15 minutes to fully explore the still-buried site.

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