Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sofia will have a Second Archaeological Complex


Sofia will have a second archaeological park, where visitors can see a prehistoric settlement from the first European civilization. In the place of the excavations is revealed a large residential complex with extremely complex architecture, DARIK writes

The prehistoric settlement, discovered in 1985 by the archaeologists, is situated in the territory of the Slatina district. It has a size of 145 square meters and the complex has an unusual construction for its time. According to archaeologist Vasil Nikolov, the settlement is one of the first made by the Mongoloid race in Europe.

"They suddenly experienced some innovative shock and started building in a whole new way, given the new environmental conditions, having ideas that are unbelievable for their time," he explained.

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Orkney Neolithic 'butterfly-like' motifs found by chance


A sketch of the designs found on a block of stone

Neolithic markings carved into a stone in Orkney that were missed for years by archaeologists have been discovered by chance.
The faintly incised "butterfly-like" motifs were revealed on Tuesday as sunlight lit up the rock at the "right moment, at the right angle".
Experts believe the marks were deliberately made to be delicate and to catch light at certain times of day.
The find was made during excavations at Ness of Brogdar.
The incisions are so faint they do not show up in photographs taken so far of the stone.
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Copper in Ötzi the Iceman’s ax came from surprisingly far away BLADE TRADE Copper for Ötzi the Iceman’s ax, or possibly even the finished blade, came from what’s now central Italy, an unexpectedly long way from the ancient man’s home region in northern Italy. Ötzi the Iceman’s copper ax was imported. The mummy’s frozen body and assorted belongings were found in 1991 poking out of an Alpine glacier at Italy’s northern border with Austria. But Ötzi’s ax originated about 500 kilometers to the south in what is now central Italy’s Southern Tuscany region, say geoscientist Gilberto Artioli of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues. It’s unclear whether Ötzi acquired the Tuscan copper as raw material or as a finished blade, the investigators report July 5 in PLOS ONE. While mostly copper, the blade contains small concentrations of lead, arsenic, silver and more than a dozen other chemical elements. Researchers previously suspected the copper came from known ore deposits 100 kilometers or less from the site of the Iceman’s demise. But comparing the mix of different forms of lead, or isotopes, in the ax with that in copper ore from present-day deposits across much of Europe indicated that the ancient man’s blade came from Southern Tuscany. Other chemical components identified in the copper implement also point to a Southern Tuscan origin. Read the rest of this article...

BLADE TRADE  Copper for Ötzi the Iceman’s ax, or possibly even the finished blade, came from what’s now central Italy, an unexpectedly long way from the ancient man’s home region in northern Italy.

Ötzi the Iceman’s copper ax was imported.
The mummy’s frozen body and assorted belongings were found in 1991 poking out of an Alpine glacier at Italy’s northern border with Austria. But Ötzi’s ax originated about 500 kilometers to the south in what is now central Italy’s Southern Tuscany region, say geoscientist Gilberto Artioli of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues. It’s unclear whether Ötzi acquired the Tuscan copper as raw material or as a finished blade, the investigators report July 5 in PLOS ONE.

While mostly copper, the blade contains small concentrations of lead, arsenic, silver and more than a dozen other chemical elements. Researchers previously suspected the copper came from known ore deposits 100 kilometers or less from the site of the Iceman’s demise. But comparing the mix of different forms of lead, or isotopes, in the ax with that in copper ore from present-day deposits across much of Europe indicated that the ancient man’s blade came from Southern Tuscany. Other chemical components identified in the copper implement also point to a Southern Tuscan origin.

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How did dogs become our best friends? New evidence


Dogs most probably evolved from wolves at a single location about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, a study suggests.
Previously, it had been thought that dogs were tamed from two populations of wolves living thousands of miles apart.
Researchers studied DNA from three dogs found at archaeological sites in Germany and Ireland that were between 4,700 and 7,000 years old.
The ancient canines share ancestry with modern European dogs.
By looking at the rates of change to the DNA from the oldest specimen, scientists were able to place the timing of the domestication of dogs to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Archaeologists go high-tech in 2,500-year-old Greek cold case


A conservator of archaeological works on a human skull in a lab at the American School 
of Archaeology in Athens on July 7, 2017 [Credit: Aris Messinis/AFP]

More than 2,500 years ago, an Athenian nobleman named Cylon -- the first recorded Olympic champion -- tried to take over the city of Athens and install himself as its sole ruler.

The discovery of the 80 skeletons of men is "unequalled" in Greece, said site project director Stella Chrysoulaki.

The men, young and well-fed, were found lying in the unmarked grave in three rows, some on their backs while others were tossed facedown on their stomachs.

All of the men had their hands in iron chains and at least 52 of them had their hands tied above their heads.

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Did human women contribute to Neanderthal genomes over 200,000 years ago?

A new Neanderthal mitochondrial genome supports a remarkable hypothesis – that there was interbreeding with an extremely early migration of African hominins

Head and shoulders of a sculpted model of a female Neanderthal.
Photograph: Alamy

Keeping pace with new developments in the field of human evolution these days is a daunting prospect. It seems as though every few weeks there’s an announcement of exciting new findings from hominin fossils, or the recovery of an ancient genome that significantly impacts our understanding of our species’ history.
The best way to keep up is by regularly revisiting and reassessing a few core questions. When and where did our species first appear? How and where did we migrate? What was our relationship to our (now-extinct) hominin relatives? What evolutionary and cultural factors influenced our histories? How do new findings change the answers to these questions? Are they generally accepted by the relevant community of experts, or are they provisional or controversial? 
This month’s challenge is to understand the significance of a recently publishedNeanderthal mitochondrial genome from a femur that was excavated in 1937 from the Hohlenstein-Stadel (HST) cave site in southwestern Germany. This new genome brings the total number of Neanderthals from whom we have genetic information to eighteen. 
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ancestors of Stonehenge people could be buried inside ‘House of the Dead’ discovered in Wiltshire


The site in a farmer's field was identified in aerial photographs 

[Credit: University of Reading]

A ‘House of the Dead’ has been discovered in Wiltshire dating back 5,000 years by University of Reading archaeologists and students, and could contain the ancestors of those who lived around Stonehenge and Avebury.

As part of the University’s final Archaeology Field School in the Pewsey Vale, students and staff, with the support of volunteers from the area, have investigated the site of a Neolithic long barrow burial mound in a place known as Cat’s Brain – the first to be fully investigated in Wiltshire in half a century.

The monument, which predates nearby Marden Henge by over 1,000 years, may contain human remains buried there in around 3,600 BC. The monument was first spotted by aerial photography and followed up by geophysical survey imagery.


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