Monday, February 19, 2024

These Ancient Remains and Relics Reveal Poland’s Bronze Age Rituals

Though the lake near Papowo Biskupie is now drained and dry, nearby lakes (including Lake Starogrodzkie in Poland’s Chełmno County) provide a picture of what the ancient waters could’ve looked like when bodies and bronze treasures were deposited beneath the surface.
(Credit: Mrugas PHOTOgraphy/Shutterstock)

There’s no better place to put bodies and bronze treasures than in the bed of a small, shallow lake. At least, that’s what the Bronze Age people of Poland believed, according to a new article in Antiquity.

Published in the journal in January, the article reports that researchers recently found a stash of Bronze Age remains and relics that trace as far back as 1000 B.C.E. Recovered from an ancient, long-lost lake in an archaeological area near Papowo Biskupie in Poland, the stash challenges common conceptions about Poland’s past and suggests that the site possessed some sort of ancient, sacrificial significance.

Stone Age 'megastructure' under Baltic Sea sheds light on strategy used by Paleolithic hunters over 10,000 years ago


Northern and Central Europe in the Late Upper Palaeolithic (white areas = ice-co

Archaeologists have identified what may be Europe's oldest human-made megastructure, submerged 21 meters below the Baltic Sea in the Bay of Mecklenburg, Germany. This structure—which has been named the Blinkerwall—is a continuous low wall made from over 1,500 granite stones that runs for almost a kilometer. The evidence suggests it was constructed by Paleolithic people between 11,700 and 9,900 years ago, probably as an aid for hunting reindeer.

The archaeologists investigating the Bay of Mecklenburg used a range of submarine equipment, sampling methods and modeling techniques to reconstruct the ancient lake bed and its surrounding landscape. This revealed that the Blinkerwall stands on a ridge running east to west, with a 5km-wide lake basin a few meters below the ridge to the south.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Archaeology Classes on the Oxford Experience summer school 2024

Tom Quad, Christ Church, Oxford University – image David Beard

The Oxford Experience summer school is held at Christ Church, Oxford. 
Participants stay in Christ Church and eat in the famous Dining Hall, that was the model for the Hall in the Harry Potter movies.

This year there are twelve classes offered in archaeology.


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Ice Age Hunters in Europe Weren't One People but Multiple Cultures, Study Discovers

The Venus of Brassempouy: One of the earliest known realistic representations of a human face. From the Gravettian, probably made 26,000 to 24,000 years ago
Credit: Jean-Gilles Berizzi

From our earliest days, humans have split off into cultures: large groups that share beliefs, customs and behaviors. Culture is a powerful social tool that can create a sense of common purpose, help us accomplish great projects, or survive in the toughest conditions. It is also a concept that can easily move us to hate and attack those we perceive as being different from us.

Just how far back in human (pre)history this fragmentation goes is now highlighted by a study that looks at cultural differences between European hunter gatherers living just before the peak of the last Ice Age.

The research, published Monday in Nature Human Behaviour, analyzed statistical differences between the ornaments used by the Gravettians, an Upper Paleolithic culture that spanned from Iberia to modern-day Russia from roughly 34,000 to 24,000 years ago.

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Excavated dolmen in Sweden one of the oldest in Scandinavia

The chamber under excavation. East side mold removed. The plastic tubes are samples for environmental DNA.
Credit: Karl-Göran Sjögren

Last summer, archaeologists from Gothenburg University and Kiel University excavated a dolmen, a stone burial chamber, in Tiarp near Falköping in Sweden. The archaeologists judge that the grave has remained untouched since the Stone Age. First analysis results now confirm that the grave in Tiarp is one of the oldest stone burial chambers in Sweden.

"It's an early grave which dates to the Early Neolithic period, about 3500 BCE," says archaeologist Karl-Göran Sjögren. However, the odd thing is that parts of the skeletons of the people buried are missing.

Enormous Storegga Tsunami Wiped Out Communities In Stone Age Britain

 




A research team from the University of York has discovered there was a large population decline in northern Britain at the same time when the Storegga slide occurred between 6,225 and 6,170 B.C. The Storegga Slide is the largest known exposed submarine landslide in the world, which triggered a tsunami that inundated the coasts of northern Europe. Scientists think the number of deaths was so high that it may have led to a massive dip in Stone Age Britain's population.

Northern Britain had a small population of about 1,000 people at this time. Still, according to Dr. Jon Hill, an environmental scientist at the University of York who led the research, the tsunami caused a tragedy, and the consequences were severe.

"A giant tsunami of this size would have devastated Stone Age coastal communities as it occurred in the autumn, when they would have been gathering resources for the winter. The scale of the waves coming in would have been completely different to anything experienced by the people living there—a truly terrifying experience," Dr. Hill said.

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3000-Year-Old Shipwreck Emerges From Bottom of Mediterranean Sea

Ancient shipwreck from the Mediterranean Sea.
Credit: Philippe Groscaux / Mission Adriboats / CNRS / CCJ

The Zambratija, the oldest boat in the Mediterranean built entirely by hand, is about to begin a new phase in its long history. This ancient shipwreck, lying on the Adriatic seafloor in Croatia for thousands of years, is now getting ready for a special trip to France.

There, experts will work to preserve and study it. This historic boat was found in the Bay of Zambratija close to Umag on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula.

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Thursday, January 25, 2024

Hoard of Bronze Age jewelry discovered in Poland was part of ancient water burial ritual, study finds

A selection of Bronze Age jewelry found at a dry lake bed in Poland.
(Image credit: A. Piasecka; Antiquity Publications Ltd.)

Archaeologists in Poland have discovered a collection of more than 550 pieces of Bronze Age jewelry that were once part of an ancient burial ritual.

Known as Papowo Biskupie, the dried-out lake bed site was occupied from roughly 1200 to 450 B.C. by the Chełmno group, a community from the larger Lusatian culture that lived in northern Europe during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, according to a study published Wednesday (Jan. 24) in the journal Antiquity.

The Lusatians are best known for their ritual depositions of metal hoards in bodies of water. However, the Chełmno group was not known for engaging in this practice.

But the new jewelry finding, made by metal detectorists in 2023, upends that perception.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Stonehenge ‘risks losing world heritage status because of road project’


Stonehenge faces the risk of being “de-listed” as a Unesco world heritage site if plans for a nearby road project featuring a tunnel go ahead, the High Court has been told. Campaigners, who are bringing a second legal bid to block the plans, claim the Government was “irrational to give no weight” to the UN agency warning that approval of the £1.7 billion scheme warranted its inclusion on the “list of world heritage in danger”.

Lawyers for Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS) say this would mark “the first step being taken towards de-listing” and would be “the direct result” of the Government’s decision. SSWHS is challenging Transport Secretary Mark Harper’s backing of plans, which include the two-mile tunnel, to overhaul eight miles of the A303.

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Environmental stress rather than genetics influenced height differences in early Neolithic people: Study

Migrations of early farmers into Europe.
Credit: Nature Human Behaviour (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41562-023-01756-w

The difference in height between female and male individuals in northern Europe during the Early Neolithic (8,000–6,000 years before present, bp) may have been influenced by cultural factors, a paper published in Nature Human Behaviour suggests. The findings indicate that height differences during this period cannot be explained by genetic and dietary factors alone.

Culture and health are linked in the modern world; however, how this relationship evolved is unclear. Height is one indicator of health and being of a shorter height than expected based on genetics may indicate adverse environmental and/or dietary factors. Previous research has suggested that humans in the Neolithic did not reach their genetic height potential, but how this differed between regions and between sexes is unknown.

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Monday, December 11, 2023

Who Were the First Modern Humans To Settle in Europe? Scientists Shed New Light

A new study examines the early migration of humans to Europe, focusing on a study of 36,000-year-old skull fragments from Crimea. These findings connect these early settlers to the Gravettian culture, demonstrating their significant role in shaping early European civilization.

Before the permanent settlement of modern humans in Europe, other human populations migrated from Africa to Europe around 60,000 years ago. However, they did not establish long-term settlements. Around 40,000 years ago, a significant climate crisis, along with a super-eruption from the Phlegraean Fields volcanic region near present-day Naples, led to a decrease in the early European populations.

Discovering Europe’s First Modern Human Settlers

To determine who the first modern humans to settle definitively in Europe were, a team led by CNRS scientists analyzed the genome of two skull fragments from the Buran Kaya III site in Crimea dating to 36,000 and 37,000 years ago.

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'Beautifully made' Bronze Age gold torc fragment found at Erpingham


A tiny, twisted fragment of a gold torc made thousands of years ago has been uncovered by a metal detectorist.

The "beautifully made" Bronze Age piece was made from a twisted gold rod just 0.09in (2.4mm) thick and had been bent into an 0.43in (11mm) loop.

The piece was found in a field near Erpingham, Norfolk, in September and dates to between 1400-1100BC.

It could have been intended for reuse, or as "a neat little offering to the gods", said historian Helen Geake.

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Friday, December 8, 2023

Ancient finds at Wisley interchange


Archaeologists have been having a field day on Balfour Beatty’s £317m M25 junction improvement project in Surrey.

For more than a year now Balfour Beatty has been working with Oxford Archaeology, casing the site of its new junction 10 on the M25 at Wisley, where it intersects with the A3.

Remains discovered include a late Bronze Age / early Iron Age settlement believed to date from around 1,000 to 500 BC and evidence of post-medieval agricultural practices.

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