Wednesday, October 26, 2016

‘Ancient Passage Tomb’ Found Beneath Dublin’s Hellfire Club

An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club - the popular Dublin viewing spot on Montpelier Hill in the Dublin mountains - has uncovered what is believed to be an ancient passage tomb.

An archaeological excavation at the Hellfire Club in the Dublin mountains has uncovered what is
believed to be an ancient passage tomb [Credit:Abarta Heritage]

Archaeologists working at the site near Tallaght in South County Dublin believe the large tomb discovered beneath the remains of the former lodge was once a large passage tomb similar to the tomb at Newgrange.

It is believed the passage tomb, which was destroyed by workmen building the Hellfire Club shooting lodge in 1725, would have once been a large circular mound with a stone line passageway that led to a burial chamber. This type of tomb generally dates to around 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic period.

Archaeologists taking part in the dig believe the tomb is part of an extended cemetery of tombs that top a number of mountains in south Dublin and Wicklow.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stone Age people 'roasted rodents for food' - archaeologists

The vole may have been a food source 5,000 years ago
Rodents appear to have been roasted for food by Stone Age people as early as 5,000 years ago, archaeological evidence suggests.
Bones from archaeological sites in Orkney show voles were cooked or boiled for food, or possibly for pest control.
This is the first evidence for the exploitation of rodents by Neolithic people in Europe, say scientists.
Rodents were consumed later in history, with the dormouse regarded as a delicacy during Roman times.
The Orkney vole - found only on the archipelago - is thought to be a subspecies of the European common vole.

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5,000 years ago, rodents were apparently considered food in part of Europe

New evidence including this ancient, charred vole mandible suggests that 5,000 years ago, rodents were on the menu in Europe. (Courtesy of Jeremy Herman)
The European palate may not always have been so sophisticated.
This week, researchers report the first evidence of ancient Europeans snacking on rodents at least 5,000 years ago.
The discovery suggests that rodents like mice and voles have not always been mere pests hellbent on annoying humanity throughout its history: They may have been a food source as well. 
“Rodents are frequently excavated from older archaeological sites in Europe, but people haven’t examined why they are there,” said Jeremy Herman, a biologist at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. “Maybe because they are not currently a food source in Europe, no one ever thought to ask if they had been in the past.”
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Spectacular archaeological find in Denmark

More and more Stone Age maps are turning up on Bornholm (photo: National Museum)

A mysterious stone found in a ditch on Bornholm by archaeology students during the summer has proven to be a 5,000 years old map.
According to the magazine Skalk, the stone was discovered during  archaeological excavation work at the Neolithic shrine Vasagård.
The stone has been studied by researchers at the National Museum of Denmark. Unlike previous and similar findings, archaeologist and senior researcher at the National Museum, Flemming Kaul, is reasonably certain that the stone does not show the sun and the sun’s rays, but displays the topographic details of a piece of nature on the island as it appeared between the years 2700 and 2900 BC.
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Earth Wobbles May Have Driven Ancient Humans Out of Africa

A computer model simulated human density 80,000 years ago, showing the arrival of humans in eastern China and southern Europe as well as migrations out of Africa along vegetated paths in Sinai and the Arabian Peninsula.
Credit: Tobias Friedrich

Ancient human migrations out of Africa may have been driven by wobbles in Earth's orbit and tilt that led to dramatic swings in climate, a new study finds.
Modern humans first appeared in Africa about 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. It remains a mystery as to why it then took many millennia for people to disperse across the globe. Recent archaeological and genetic findingssuggest that migrations of modern humans out of Africa began at least 100,000 years ago, but most humans outside of Africa most likely descended from groups who left the continent more recently — between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago.
Previous research suggested that shifts in climate might help explain why modern human migrations out of Africa happened when they did. For instance, about every 21,000 years, Earth experiences slight changes to its orbit and tilt. These series of wobbles, known as Milankovitch cycles, alter how much sunlight hits different parts of the planet, which in turn influences rainfall levels and the number of people any given region can support. [See Photos of Our Closest Human Ancestor]
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New broch site excites archaeologists

A first photo of the possible broch on the Holms of Hogaland 

THE REMAINS of what could be an Iron Age broch have been identified in a loch near Whiteness by a researcher from the University of Aberdeen.
Michael Stratigos found the site on one of the three Holms of Hogaland islets in the Loch of Strom.
He said the majority of the islet, which is the smallest of the three, is covered by a large mound around 3m high and 16x14m across.
It is unclear at the moment whether the find is the remains of a broch or of a roundhouse.
A small circular depression in the centre is believed to be the "internal space" of the structure.
There are also the potential remains of orthostats, or piers, while coursed stonework was noted.
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Internationaler Mumienkongress mit neuen Erkenntnissen zu Ötzi

Das Kupfer von Ötzis Beilklinge stammt nicht – wie bisher angenommen ‐ aus dem Alpenraum, sondern wurde aus südtoskanischem Erz gewonnen. Ötzi war wahrscheinlich nicht in den Prozess der Metallverarbeitung eingebunden, wie es erhöhte Arsen‐ und Kupferwerte in seinen Haaren bislang vermuten ließen. Seine Ermordung vor über 5.000 Jahren scheint auf eine persönliche Konfliktsituation Tage vor seinem Tod zurückzugehen, und der Mann aus dem Eis litt trotz Normalgewichts und viel Bewegung unter etlichen Gefäßverkalkungen. Diese und andere neue Erkenntnisse präsentieren Wissenschaftler aus aller Welt in diesen Tagen auf dem internationalen Mumienkongresses in Bozen. Zum 25. Jubiläum von Ötzis Entdeckung waren alle drei Kongresstage, vom 19. ‐ 21.9.2016, dem Mann aus dem Eis gewidmet.

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Indigenous Australians most ancient civilisation on Earth, extensive DNA study confirms

The first extensive study of Indigenous Australians' DNA dates their origin to more than 50,000 years ago, backing the claim that they are the most ancient continuous civilisation on Earth. 

Scientists used the genetic traces of the mysterious early humans that are left in the DNA of modern populations in Papua New Guinea and Australia to recontruct their journey from Africa around 72,000 years ago.

Experts disagree on whether present-day non-African people are descended from explorers who left Africa in a single exodus or a series of distinct waves of travelling migrants.

The new study supports the single migration hypothesis. It indicates that Australian aboriginal and Papuan people both originated from the same out-of Africa migration event some 72,000 years ago, along with ancestors of all other non-African populations alive today.

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Friday, September 16, 2016


Work resumed at the site of Smerquoy, on the Orkney Mainland, at the start of this month, involving a team of archaeologists from the UHI Orkney College, the University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire, as well as volunteers.
Excavations in previous years uncovered the remains of early Neolithic houses, alongside more ephemeral remains and structures.
In this final year we hope to understand the sequence of house construction across the site and definitively date the different phases of use.
Progress has been slowed by some mixed weather in the first week, including heavy rain, thick mist and strong gales. Nevertheless there have been some very exciting finds.
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Burnt cheese casts light on 3,000 year-old family drama

When someone in Bronze Age Denmark quickly disposed of a burnt pot, they unintentionally provided archaeologists with a unique find.

A moment of carelessness, 3,000 years ago has given Danish archaeologists an unexpected gift.
A clay pot unearthed during an archaeological excavation in central Jutland, Denmark, contains the possible remains of a failed attempt of cheese making.
Something went wrong during the process and the cheese maker most likely threw the pot away into the street, only to show up again thousands of years later.
“We found the clay pot in what was once a pit. Quite unusually, it was in near mint condition and this is itself is an exciting find,” says curator and archaeologist Kaj F. Rasmussen from Museum Silkeborg, Denmark.
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World's Oldest Snowshoe Found In Italy's Dolomites

Scientists in Italy’s Dolomite mountains have unveiled what they believe to be the world’s oldest snowshoe.

The snowshoe was discovered by chance on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier, close to Italy’s border with Austria 
[Credit: ANSA-USP]

Carbon-dating has shown that the rudimentary snow shoe, made of birch wood and twine, was made in the late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC.

“It is the oldest snowshoe in the world so far discovered, dating to around 5,800 years ago,” scientists said in a statement.

It was discovered by chance at an altitude of 3,134 metres (10,280ft) on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier, close to Italy’s border with Austria.

The ice and freezing temperatures of the glacier had provided “ideal conditions for the preservation of organic material,” the researchers said.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Prehistoric Cochno Stone unearthed near housing estate

A prehistoric stone panel said to be the "most important in Europe" is being unearthed for the first time in more than 50 years in Clydebank.
The Cochno Stone dates to 3000BC and is described as one of the best examples of Neolithic or Bronze Age cup and ring markings in Europe.
Located next to a housing estate, the stone was buried in 1965 to protect it from damage.
Excavation work started on Monday and is expected to last three weeks.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Danish archaeologists find mysterious well

The mysterious site was found near Aars west of the Limfjord in northeastern Jutland (photo: Google Maps)

Danish archaeologists have discovered a mysterious New Stone Age construction near the town of Aars in northeastern Jutland.
“I never use the word sensation, but I must admit this is as close as it gets,” Bjarne Nielsen, the leader of the research team and curator at Vesthimmerlands Museum, told newspaper Nordjyske Stiftstidende.
“We have not seen anything like it before.”
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Archaeological Finds In Bulgaria: July 2016 Highlights

The month of July 2016 saw the traditional archaeological season in Bulgaria in full swing, with finds at digs in various parts of the country – from an 8000-year-old settlement in Sofia to the rock tomb of a Thracian princess near Benkovski to the long-awaited unearthing of the eastern gate of Perperikon – producing headlines.

An aerial shot showing the excavated section of the prehistoric, ancient, and medieval rock city of Perperikon  in Southern Bulgaria, i.e. almost fully excavated acropolis 
[Credit: Nikolay Ovcharov]

At the beginning of July, it was announced that a team of Bulgarian archaeologists had uncovered the remains of an early Neolithic settlement, dating back 8000 years, in the Slatina neighbourhood of Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

It has long been known by archaeologists that the oldest human settlement in Sofia was in Slatina.

In recent days, archaeologists had come across the remains of two burnt houses, of an impressive size for the age. The head of research, Professor Vassil Nikolov, said that the structures were 150 square metres, with three rooms and two additional business premises.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Gibraltar caves reveal Neanderthals' secrets

The cave systems at the base of the rock of Gibraltar have just received Unesco world heritage status, in recognition of the rich insights they bring to the study of Neanderthals.
They reveal that modern humans share a little more than you might expect with the extinct species, as Melissa Hogenboom explains.
Video courtesy of BBC Earth.

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