Thursday, July 11, 2019

A reconstruction of Apidima 2, which was shown to be a Neanderthal skull. A far older skull fragment, Apidima 1, was also assumed to be Neanderthal, but scientists now say it belonged to a modern human.
CreditCreditKaterina Harvati, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

The bone, found in a cave, is the oldest modern human fossil ever discovered in Europe. It hints that humans began leaving Africa far earlier than once thought.
A skull fragment found in the roof of a cave in southern Greece is the oldest fossil of Homo sapiens ever discovered in Europe, scientists reported on Wednesday.

Until now, the earliest remains of modern humans found on the Continent were less than 45,000 years old. The skull bone is more than four times as old, dating back over 210,000 years, researchers reported in the journal Nature.

The finding is likely to reshape the story of how humans spread into Europe, and may revise theories about the history of our species.


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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Cannonballs, skulls and jewellery: Archaeologists discover 'Bronze Age relics' in Edinburgh city centre, delaying Richard Branson’s new hotel

Building of first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed for a year after archaeologists at the Edinburgh site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years ( Jon Savage /SWNS ) 

The opening of Sir Richard Branson‘s first Virgin Hotel in Britain has been delayed by a year after archaeologists at the site unearthed artefacts dating back 1,000 years.

The excavation in Edinburgh has lasted more than a year, three times longer than expected, due to the range of objects and material discovered from the 10th century.

Experts say the remains of buildings found predate Edinburgh Castle and the creation of the town burgh by David I by around 200 years.

The work has also unearthed ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city and some of the discoveries could date as far back as the Bronze Age.


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The first Europeans weren’t who you might think


Genetic tests of ancient settlers' remains show that Europe is a melting pot of bloodlines from Africa, the Middle East, and today's Russia.
The idea that there were once “pure” populations of ancestral Europeans, there since the days of woolly mammoths, has inspired ideologues since well before the Nazis. It has long nourished white racism, and in recent years it has stoked fears about the impact of immigrants: fears that have threatened to rip apart the European Union and roiled politics in the United States.

Now scientists are delivering new answers to the question of who Europeans really are and where they came from. Their findings suggest that the continent has been a melting pot since the Ice Age. Europeans living today, in whatever country, are a varying mix of ancient bloodlines hailing from Africa, the Middle East, and the Russian steppe.

The evidence comes from archaeological artifacts, from the analysis of ancient teeth and bones, and from linguistics. But above all it comes from the new field of paleogenetics. During the past decade it has become possible to sequence the entire genome of humans who lived tens of millennia ago. Technical advances in just the past few years have made it cheap and efficient to do so; a well-preserved bit of skeleton can now be sequenced for around $500.

The result has been an explosion of new information that is transforming archaeology. In 2018 alone, the genomes of more than a thousand prehistoric humans were determined, mostly from bones dug up years ago and preserved in museums and archaeological labs. In the process any notion of European genetic purity has been swept away on a tide of powdered bone.


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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Late Iron Age chariot pieces found in Pembrokeshire

Archaeologists discovered bronze artefacts, the iron tyres of the chariot wheels and an iron sword
MUSEUM WALES

Archaeologists have discovered more artefacts at the first Celtic chariot burial site to be found in southern Britain.

Two iron tyres and a sword from the chariot were retrieved during an excavation in Pembrokeshire.

The exact site remains a secret and follows the discovery of decorative objects by a metal detector enthusiast on the same land in February 2018.

National Museum Wales is conserving the chariot pieces.

Archaeologists had suspected they would uncover more beneath the farmland where metal detectorist Mike Smith found a number of objects associated with a chariot.

Following an initial investigation in June 2018 by archaeologists from National Museum Wales and Dyfed Archaeological Trust, a dig was carried out in March and April, funded by National Museum Wales, Cadw and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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Ancient Humans Dietary Habits Reflected In Bonobo Aquatic Greens Diet


Bonobos have been spotted doing something interesting in the Congo basin. They are scouring the swamp in search of aquatic herbs that are packed with iodine, a nutrient that is very important for advancing the growth of higher cognitive abilities. That could help scientists understand the nutritional needs and practices of ancient humans. The Bonobo consumption of food rich in iodine is the first-ever recorded by a species other than humans.

“Our results have implications for our understanding of the immigration of prehistoric human populations into the Congo basin,” Dr. Gottfried Hohmann, the lead author of the study comments.

“Bonobos as a species can be expected to have similar iodine requirements to humans, so our study offers—for the first time—a possible answer on how pre-industrial human migrants may have survived in the Congo basin without artificial supplementation of iodine,” the researcher added.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Britain’s Atlantis: Evidence of Stone Age human activity found beneath North Sea

Archaeologists have found evidence of ancient human activity on Britain’s very own “Atlantis”. 

Scientists investigating a drowned Stone Age landscape at the bottom of the North Sea have discovered two potential prehistoric settlement sites on the banks of a long-vanished ancient river.


It is the first time that an archaeological expedition has ever found such evidence far offshore under the huge body of water. 


In the past, prehistoric artefacts have on occasions been trawled up by fishermen and found by oil exploration teams – but the seabed contexts they came from were never archaeologically assessed.


This time, the discoveries are part of a systematic archaeological survey.


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Anglesey archaeology: Bronze Age cairn dig at Bryn Celli Ddu

Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber is aligned to the sun and is lit during the summer solstice
AERIAL-CAM

An excavation is under way on the site of a suspected 4,500-year-old burial cairn that lies next to one of Wales' most important prehistoric monuments.

Experts are hoping to learn more about it and its relationship to Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber at Anglesey.

The 5,000-year-old "passage tomb" is aligned to coincide with the rising sun on the summer solstice.

Dr Ffion Reynolds said the cairn showed the site remained a "special location" centuries after the chamber was built.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Archaeologists uncover megalithic monument thought to be unlike any found in Ireland to date

IT Sligo Archaeology students Jazmin Scally Koulak and Eugene Anderson sieving the soil at Carrowmore excavation

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION in Co Sligo has uncovered a megalithic monument thought to be unlike any found in Ireland to date. 

Several prehistoric tools made from a hard stone called chert were discovered and are thought to have been used for activities such as working animal hides, cutting and preparing food, basket food, basket working and bone working. 

The discovery was made by a team of archaeologists from IT Sligo during a two-week excavation of a prehistoric monument in the heart of the Carrowmore megalithic complex in Co Sligo. 

Carrowmore in the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland, with 5,500-year-old passage tombs dating from 3,600 BC. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Artificial islands older than Stonehenge stump scientists

A diver holds a Neolithic (ca. 3,500 B.C) Ustan vessel found near a crannog (artificial island) 
in Loch Arnish, Scotland. PHOTOGRAPH BY C. MURRAY

When it comes to studying Neolithic Britain (4,000-2,500 B.C.), a bit of archaeological mystery is to be expected. Since Neolithic farmers existed long before written language made its way to the British Isles, the only records of their lives are the things they left behind. And while they did leave us a lot of monuments that took, well, monumental effort to build—think Stonehenge or the stone circles of Orkney—the cultural practices and deeper intentions behind these sites are largely unknown.

Now it looks like there may potentially be a whole new type of Neolithic monument for archaeologists to scratch their heads over: crannogs.

Artificial islands commonly known as crannogs dot hundreds of Scottish and Irish lakes and waterways. Until now, researchers thought most were built when people in the Iron Age (800-43 B.C.) created stone causeways and dwellings in the middle of bodies of water. But a new paper published today in the journal Antiquity suggests that at least some of Scotland’s nearly 600 crannogs are much, much older—nearly three thousand years older—putting them firmly in the Neolithic era. What’s more, the artifacts that help push back the date of the crannogs into the far deeper past may also point to a kind of behavior not previously suspected in this prehistoric period.

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Friday, June 7, 2019

DNA from 31,000-year-old milk teeth leads to discovery of new Ice Age population of big game hunters

The DNA was recovered from the only human remains discovered during the era – two tiny milk teeth ( Russian Academy of Sciences )

A new Ice Age population of big game hunters that lived in the depths of Siberia has been discovered using DNA taken from 31,000-year-old human milk teeth. 

Named the ‘Ancient North Siberians’ the hardy population would have hunted lions, wolves, woolly mammoths and bison, according to a study led by Cambridge University.

The find was one aspect of new research into the genetic composition of Native Americans who in part descended from these Siberian hunters. 

The existence of this fierce population, who first evolved 38,000 years ago, forms “a significant part of human history”, according to lead researcher Professor Eske Willerslev.

He told The Independent: “These humans had adapted to an extremely harsh environment in terms of temperatures – it’s a part of the world that is almost completely dark all winter. There are basically no trees and they were living alongside lions, wolves, bison and rhinos.

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