Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bronze Age burial near Stonehenge discovered by badger

A Bronze Age cremation burial has been discovered near Stonehenge after being accidentally dug up by a badger.

Objects found in a burial mound at Netheravon, Wiltshire, include a bronze saw, an archer's wrist guard, a copper chisel and cremated human remains.

Experts believe the burial may have been that of an archer or a person who made archery equipment. 

The artefacts date back to 2,200-2,000BC, senior archaeologist Richard Osgood, of the MOD, said.

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9,200-year-old settlement discovered in Sweden

The discovery of the world's oldest storage of fermented fish in southern Sweden could rewrite the Nordic prehistory with findings indicating a far more complex society than previously thought. The unique discovery by osteologist Adam Boethius from Lund University was made when excavating a 9,200 year-old settlement at what was once a lake in Blekinge, Sweden. 9,200-year-old settlement discovered in Sweden 

Excavation team in Blekinge, Sweden [Credit: Lund University] 

"Our findings of large-scale fish fermentation, a traditional way of preserving fish, indicate that not only was this area settled at that time, it was also able to support a large community," says Adam Boethius, whose findings are now being published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. 

The discovery is also an indication that Nordic societies were far more developed 9,200 years ago than what was previously believed. The findings are important as it is usually argued that people in the north lived relatively mobile lives, while people in the Levant -- a large area in the Middle East -- became settled and began to farm and raise cattle much earlier.

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Freilegung des "Herren von Boilstädt" abgeschlossen

Das Highlight der Ausgrabungen im Zuge von Bauarbeiten zur Ortsumfahrung Gotha-Sundhausen in den Jahren 2012 und 2013 waren zwei frühmittelalterliche Bestattungen, die im Block geborgen wurden. Die Freilegung der beiden Bestattungen und die Restaurierung der Funde sind nun abgeschlossen und wurden heute der Öffentlichkeit präsentiert.

Anlässlich der Bauarbeiten zur Ortsumfahrung Gotha-Sundhausen wurden von August 2012 bis November 2013 archäologische Ausgrabungen durch das Thüringische Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie (TLDA) nötig. Bei einer Trassenlänge von rund 3 km wurden insgesamt 2,5 ha ausgegraben. Es konnten dabei Befunde unterschiedlicher Zeitstellung dokumentiert werden, darunter eine Siedlung der jungsteinzeitlichen sog. Linearbandkeramik (ab 5500 v. Chr.), eine Siedlung der frühen Bronzezeit (um 2000 v. Chr.), Grabhügel der späten Bronzezeit (ca. 1000 v. Chr.) sowie Siedlungspuren und Bestattungen aus der Eisenzeit (ca. 500 v. Chr.) bis ins frühe Mittelalter.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Legal bid fails to rebury remains of 2,500 year old tattooed 'ice princess'

After archeologists dug up the ancient mummy - preserved in permafrost - natural disasters were unleashed in Siberia, court told.

A mannequin - an exact replica - is displayed in the museum but on 'special occasions' VIPs would be 'provided the opportunities to see the real mummy'. Picture:

An appeal will be launched after a court this week rejected a demand by the the leader of the Teles ethnic group in the Altai Mountains to order the reburial of the world famous tattooed remains of 'Princess Ukok', dug from her tomb in 1993 by leading Russian archeologists.

A court in Gorno-Altaisk rejected his lawsuit, allowing the relic to remain in the care of the National Museum in the city, capital of the Altai Republic.

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DNA evidence uncovers major upheaval in Europe near end of last Ice Age

A photograph of les Closeaux at Rueil-Malmaison, Paris Basin, France. Credit: L. Lang

DNA evidence lifted from the ancient bones and teeth of people who lived in Europe from the Late Pleistocene to the early Holocene—spanning almost 30,000 years of European prehistory—has offered some surprises, according to researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Feb. 4, 2016. Perhaps most notably, the evidence shows a major shift in the population around 14,500 years ago, during a period of severe climatic instability.

"We uncovered a completely unknown chapter of human history: a major population turnover in Europe at the end of the last Ice Age," says leading author Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

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Humans evolved by sharing technology and culture

Blombos Cave in South Africa has given us vast knowledge about our early ancestors. In 2015, four open access articles, with research finds from Blombos as a starting point, have been published in the journal PLOS ONE. 

Humans evolved by sharing technology and culture This image shows Blombos Cave, South Africa [Credit: University of Bergen] 

"We are looking mainly at the part of South Africa where Blombos Cave is situated. We sought to find out how groups moved across the landscape and how they interacted," says Christopher S. Henshilwood, Professor at the University of Bergen (UiB) and University of the Witwatersrand and one of the authors of the articles.

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Europe’s First Modern Humans May Have Been Replaced

TÜBINGEN, GERMANY—A new genetic study suggests that some 50,000 years ago, all non-Africans dispersed rapidly from a single population, and that around 14,500 years ago, there was a major turnover of the population in Europe. Researchers reconstructed the mitochondrial genomes of 35 hunter-gatherers who lived in Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, and Romania between 35,000 and 7,000 years ago.

The mitochondrial DNA of three of these individuals, who lived in what is now Belgium and France more than 25,000 years ago, belonged to haplogroup M. Haplogroup M is now very common in Asian, Australasian, and Native American populations, but had not been found in Europe, leading to the argument for multiple migrations. “When the Last Glacial Maximum began around 25,000 years ago, hunter-gatherer populations retreated south to a number of putative refugia, and the consequent genetic bottleneck probably resulted in the loss of this haplogroup,” Cosimo Posth of the University of Tübingen said in a press release

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Headteacher mocked on Twitter for claiming evolution is not a fact

Richard Dawkins weighs in on social media debate after Christina Wilkinson said there was ‘more evidence that Bible is true’

Christina Wilkinson, who runs a Church of England school, sparked a social media row with her remarks. Photograph: St Andrew’s C of E primary

A primary school headteacher has been mocked on Twitter after claiming that evolution was “a theory” and there was “more evidence that the Bible is true”.

Christina Wilkinson, of St Andrew’s Church of England school in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, made the remarks in a tweet responding to London headteacher Tom Sherrington, who urged teachers to stick to science when teaching the origins of life.

Wilkinson wrote: “Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory! There’s more evidence that the Bible is true.”

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Kilnwood, Vicarage Hill

This report has been reproduced by TimeTeign to help enhance our understanding of the early occupation and history of Kingsteignton during the early/late Bronze Age and into the Roman occupation around this hill-site. The report itself was made in relation to the construction of forty (40) dwellings on the Kilnwood estate, on Vicarage Hill, Kingsteignton, Devon, has been approved and passed by Steve Reed, at Devon County Council. 

The site is situated to the southeast of the historic core of Kingsteignton within an area that was covered by the former mediaeval field systems. Remnants of these survived as parts of the existing field system and as previously-recorded lynchets to east and southeast of the site.
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Bärenkult und Schamanenzauber

Bärenkult und Schamanenzauber: Rituale Früher Jäger
5.12.2015 - 28.3.2016
Archäologische Museum Frankfurt 

Warum hat man Bären feierlich bestattet?
Weshalb tanzten Schamanen mit einem Hirschgeweih auf dem Kopf?
In welchen Zauberwelten weilten sie bei ihren Séancen?
Und wozu dienten Äxte und Stäbe, die wie Köpfe von Elchkühen gestaltet waren?

Bärenzeremoniell, Hirschtanz sowie Ren- und Elchkult waren religiös-schamanische Rituale zahlreicher indigener Jägervölker im Norden Skandinaviens und Sibiriens. Mit Faszination und Abscheu begegneten Geistliche und Reisende des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts diesen Praktiken. Sie verdammten sie als „erschröcklichen Abgötterej vnnd verehrung der Teuffel". Dahinter stand jedoch eine urtümliche Vorstellungswelt und Religiosität, die in der Lebensform archaischer Jäger-Fischer-Sammler-Kulturen wurzelte.

Staunen erweckt jedoch nicht nur die weite Verbreitung dieser Kulte über die gesamte zirkumpolare Zone, sondern noch mehr ihr unergründliches Alter. Denn die Verehrung von Bären und Geweihträgern, verbunden mit schamanischen Ritualen, ist schon für die Altsteinzeit überliefert, dem Auftreten des modernen Menschen in Europa vor etwa 40 000 Jahren und noch darüber hinaus. In den religiösen Phänomenen neuzeitlicher Ethnien der nördlichen Hemisphäre werden somit Züge einer menschlichen „Urreligion" sichtbar.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Turtle soup, perchance? Prehistoric humans had a penchant for tortoises

New discovery at excavation of Qesem Cave reveals tortoises played a supplementary role in the diets of early humans 400,000 years ago

Grilled, boiled or salted? Turtles, or tortoises, are rarely consumed today, but a select few cultures, primarily those in East Asia, still consider turtle soup, made from the flesh of the turtle, a delicacy.
According to a new discovery at Qesem Cave near Tel Aviv, the site of many major findings from the late Lower Paleolithic period, they are not alone in their penchant for tortoise. Tel Aviv University researchers, in collaboration with scholars from Spain and Germany, have uncovered evidence of turtle specimens at the 400,000-year-old site, indicating that early man enjoyed eating turtles in addition to large game and vegetal material. 
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Study suggests how modern humans drove Neanderthals to extinction

A study* published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests how Neanderthals could have been driven to extinction by competition with modern humans. Archaeologists have hypothesized that competition between Neanderthals and modern humans led to the former’s extinction because modern humans had a more advanced culture than Neanderthals, giving modern humans a competitive edge. Marcus Feldman and colleagues tested the plausibility of this hypothesis using a model of interspecies competition that incorporates differences in the competing species’ levels of cultural development. 

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Hominins of the Lower Paleolithic are much more like modern humans than was previously thought. By 300,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis in Schöningen used highly sophisticated weapons and tools. The hominins at Schöningen lived in social groups that practiced coordinated group hunting, a division of labor, and were able to communication about the past, present and future. These are cultural traits that archaeologists typically attribute to modern humans. The excavations in the open-cast coal mine in Schöningen running from 1994 until today show that we have long underestimated the cultural capacities of Homo heidelbergensis. Schöningen is a key site for documenting both a high resolution record of past climatic change and how hominins lived in northern Europe during the Ice Age. Since 2008 Professor Nicholas Conard and Dr. Jordi Serangeli of the University of Tübingen have led the excavations with a major international research team in close cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Office of Lower Saxony.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sicily the superpower: British Museum revisits island's golden ages

New exhibition will explore periods under Norman and Greek rule when island was one of Europe’s most enlightened cultures

 A gold libation bowl (600-800BC) decorated with bulls, an enamelled casket lid (1250-1300AD) and three ivory chess pieces (1100-1200AD). 
Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

In 1066 the Normans were not just conquering grey, cold England. They were also in sunny, fertile Sicily creating what became one of the most enlightened cultures in Europe.
The little known story of the other Norman conquest is to be told in an exhibition exploring 4,000 years of history on the island of Sicily, the British Museumannounced on Thursday.
More than 200 objects will be brought together to prove there is a lot more to Sicily than lemons and the mafia. The show’s main focus will be on two major eras: Greek rule after the 7th century BC and Norman rule from the end of the 11th century.
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No fairy tale: Origins of some famous stories go back thousands of years

Statistical analysis of language evolution helps estimate storytelling dates

ONCE UPON A TIME  Some folktales such as “Rumpelstiltskin” (left) and “Beauty and the Beast” (right) may have been told in some form for thousands of years, statistical analysis shows.

“Beauty and the Beast” is practically “a tale as old as time.” So are a few other folktales, new research shows.
Statistical ties between a set of folktales and languages from parts of Europe and Asia have helped researchers date the origins of some stories to thousands of years ago. The roots of the oldest one — a folktale called “The Smith and the Devil” — stretch back to the Bronze Age. The findings, reported January 20 in Royal Society Open Science, may dispel the thought that some well-known folktales such as “Rumpelstiltskin” and “Beauty and the Beast” are recent inventions.
“These stories are far older than the first literary evidence for them,” says coauthor Jamie Tehrani, an anthropologist at Durham University in England.  
When linguists study a language’s evolution, they trace grammatical and phonetical structure through time. “What we were interested in doing is seeing if you could do that for other elements of culture,” Tehrani says.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Uncovering the Culture of Bronze Age Logboats

The advent of metal tools created demand for a European trade network—and boats to deliver the goods.

When people first took to the water, it’s likely they did so in boats carved from the trunks of large trees. The first “logboats” are thought to predate both pottery and agriculture by thousands of years. Their invention opened up new lands to settlement and made long distance travel easier, but during the Bronze Age, which lasted from roughly 2000 to 500 BCE in Northern Europe, logboats began to change. According to archaeologist Ole Thirup Kastholm, of Denmark’s Roskilde Museum, the changing boat designs were a symptom—and reflection—of the broader cultural transformations that were sweeping across the continent.  
During the Bronze Age, early European societies were beginning to exchange goods and ideas across the continent. Fueled by a demand for tin and copper—the base metals needed to smelt bronze—massive trade networks began to grow. “Some trading networks went as far as from the North to the Mediterranean,” says Kastholm.
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Monday, January 18, 2016

Walking back in time to the
 Bronze Age

A leading archaeologist has called for Peterborough to become a national bronze age heritage centre after an incredible 3,000 year old settlement was discovered.

Two Bronze Age round houses, dating back to around 1290 BC were discovered in Must Farm Quarry, off Funthams Lane near Whittlesey.

The 3,000 year old houses, which were built on stilts were destroyed by a fire and collapsed into a river - which preserved bowls, tools and even timber in clay.

Now archaeologists have been able to learn more about how our ancestors lived after a £1.1 million project to excavate the site, funded by government heritage agency Historic England and quarry-owners Forterra, was launched.

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New finds at ancient Hephaestia on Limnos

A major temple with finds dating from two main periods – one in the 7th-6th century B.C. and the second in the 3rd-2nd century B.C – was discovered during an archaeological excavation at ancient Hephaestia on the Greek island of Limnos, according to state broadcaster ERT. The finds came to light near the ancient city’s theatre. 

The ancient theatre at Hephaestia on the Greek island of Limnos  [Credit: limnosgreece] 

Lesbos Antiquities Ephorate Pavlos Triantafyllidis stated that the workings on the archaeological site, funded by the General Secretariat for the Aegean and Island Policy, will continue. 

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