Sunday, July 24, 2016

Archaeologists find arm bone on dig

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found a human arm bone during an excavation of Neolithic buildings at Ness of Brodgar on Orkney.
The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, leading the dig, believe the bone was deliberately placed and could be the remains of a respected original founder of the large complex.
Ness of Brodgar site director Nick Card described it as an important and exciting find.
He said there were several theories as to who the arm belonged to which would be explored further.
The Ness of Brodgar is a new archaeological discovery in Orkney located between the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness.
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What The World's Oldest Calculator Tells Us About The Ancient Greeks' View Of The Universe

When we talk of the history of computers, most of us will refer to the evolution of the modern digital desktop PC, charting the decades-long developments by the likes of Apple and Microsoft. What many don't consider, however, is that computers have been around much longer. In fact, they date back millennia, to a time when they were analogue creations.

The fragmented remains of the Antikythera mechanism 
[Credit: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis]

Today, the world's oldest known "computer" is the Antikythera mechanism, a severely corroded bronze artefact which was found at the beginning of the 20th Century, in the remains of a shipwreck near the Mediterranean island of Antikythera. It wasn't until the 1970s that the importance of the Antikythera mechanism was discovered, when radiography revealed that the device is in fact a complex mechanism of at least 30 gear wheels.

The mechanism has since been established as the first known astronomical calendar, a complex system which can track and predict the cycles of the solar system. Technically, it is a sophisticated mechanical "calculator" rather than a true "computer", since it cannot be reprogrammed, but nonetheless an impressive artefact.

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Menschen nutzten schon vor 40.000 Jahren spezielles Werkzeug zur Seilherstellung

Archäologen der Universität Tübingen präsentieren gut erhaltenen Fund aus Mammutelfenbein – Test an der Universität Lüttich bestätigt Funktion

Schon vor 40.000 Jahren haben Menschen ein spezielles Werkzeug zur Herstellung von Seilen genutzt. Wie Professor Nicholas Conard und seine Grabungsmannschaft von der Universität Tübingen am Freitag berichteten, wurde bei Ausgrabungen im »Hohe Fels« auf der Schwäbischen Alb ein gut erhaltenes Exemplar dieses Werkzeugs gefunden. Das sorgfältig geschnitzte Stück aus Mammutelfenbein ist 20«4 Zentimeter lang und diente dazu, Pflanzenfasern zu Seilen zu drehen, wie Tests an der Universität Lüttich in Belgien zeigten.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

South Downs pre-Roman 'farming collective' discovered

The survey revealed the extent of farming on the South Downs before the Romans arrived

Evidence of a prehistoric "farming collective" has been discovered after aerial laser scanning was carried out in the South Downs National Park.
Large-scale farming from before the Roman invasion suggests a high level of civilisation, archaeologists said.
The survey also revealed the route of a long-suspected Roman road between Chichester and Brighton.
It covered an area between the Arun river valley in West Sussex and Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire.

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Neandertaler im Kreis Olpe

Heimatforscher findet den ersten Nachweis für den Neandertaler
Für ungeübte Augen sieht er aus wie ein schlichter dunkelgrauer Stein. Bei den Archäologen des Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) sorgt er jetzt für mehr als bloße Begeisterung. Das gerade einmal acht Zentimeter lange Stück Kieselschiefer trägt eine kleine Sensation in sich, ist es doch ein Werkzeug des Neandertalers. Damit ist dieser Stein, den die Fachleute als »Levallois-Kern« bezeichnen, der erste Nachweis für den Neandertaler im Kreis Olpe. Entdeckt haben ihn weder hochmoderne Techniken noch die bei »Schatzjägern« aktuell besonders gefragten Metallsonden, sondern schlicht die geübten Augen von Heimatforscher Gilbert Schmelter.
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

'Britain's Pompeii' was 'Bronze Age new build' site

The beads found at Whittlesey show this Bronze Age village of the ancient Fens was nevertheless tied into a trade network that may have stretched to the Middle East
An ancient village dubbed "Britain's Pompeii" was just a few months old when it burnt down, it has emerged.
Analysis of wood used to build the settlement suggests it was only lived in for a short time before it was destroyed.
Despite this, archaeologists said the site gives an "exquisitely detailed" insight into everyday Bronze Age life.
Evidence of fine fabric-making, varied diets and vast trading networks has been found during the 10-month dig.
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Earliest Known Village In Cyprus Discovered

Recent archaeological digs have uncovered more than 20 round buildings in what is believed to be Cyprus' earliest known village, dating as as the 9th millennium BC, the east Mediterranean island's Department of Antiquities said Tuesday.

The excavation team at the site of Ayios Tychonas-Klimonas 
[Credit: Department of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus]

The department said in a statement that excavations, which concluded last month in the Ayios Tychonas-Klimonas area near Cyprus' southern coast, also found domestic dogs and cats had already been introduced to Cyprus when the village was active 11,200 to 10,600 years ago. It said villagers hunted small wild boar and birds, but didn't produce pottery.

Excavations directed by Francois Briois from France's School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and Jean-Denis Vigne from France's National Center for Scientific Research-National Museum of Natural History found most buildings had built-in fireplaces as well as a 30- to 50-kilogram (66- to 110-pound) millstone.

Large quantities of stone tools, stone vessels, stone and shell beads or pendants were also discovered.

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Treasure trove proves we have been keeping up with the Joneses since the Bronze Age

Cambridge archaeologists examine a 'pristine' Bronze Age bowl

From pristine gardens to the latest home extensions, trying to outdo one's neighbours has become something of a quintessential British pastime.
But keeping up the Joneses is not a new phenomenon, according to archaeologists.
A 3,000-year-old settlement in Cambridgeshire has revealed howBronze Age people also had the latest must-haves in homeware, fashion, and beauty techniques.
The Must Farm Quarry, which has been nicknamed Britain’s answer to Pompeii after being preserved in remarkable detail, shows how Bronze Age society was far more sophisticated than previously thought.
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Major Danish museum returns looted antiquities to Italy

The Glyptotek is due to send artefacts from the tomb of an Etruscan prince back to Italy between December and the end of 2017. Photo: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, which holds the largest collection of antiquities in northern Europe, has agreed to restitute illegally excavated artefacts to the Italian government. In an historic agreement under negotiation since 2012, the Danish museum will return the eighth-century BC bronze chariot, shield, weapons, incense burners and tableware from the tomb of an Etruscan prince, among other archaeological objects, to Italy between December and the end of 2017. 

The pieces, believed to have come from the Sabine necropolis at Colle del Forno near Rome, could be sent to the Museo Civico Archeologico di Fara in Sabina, where additional material from the tomb—an unusually large structure indicating the special status of the deceased—is on display. A statement issued by the Glyptotek acknowledged that: "investigations have shown that the objects had been unearthed in illegal excavations in Italy and exported without licence".

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23 More Wrecks Found at Greek Hotspot for Sunken Ships

Fourni, which is a collection of small islands near Turkey, was a popular anchorage and navigational point for Aegean crossing routes. Usually it was safe for ships, but over thousands of years, storms inevitably claimed some vessels, like this wooden ship resting on the seaflood.
Credit: Vasilis Mentogianis
A cluster of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea is giving up some of its deep secrets, as archaeologists have now found 45 shipwrecks there in less than a year's time.
Back in September 2015, a team of Greek and American divers located an astonishing 22 shipwrecks over the course of a 13-day survey around Fourni, which is composed of 13 small islands, some too tiny to show up on maps. The team went back to the eastern Aegean islands in June to expand the search. By the time the three-and-a-half-week survey was finished, the researchers bested their first effort: They documented another 23 shipwrecks, bringing the total to 45.
"Fourni is a constant surprise," said Peter Campbell, co-director of the project from the U.S.-based RPM Nautical Foundation. [See Photos from the Fourni Shipwrecks]
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Evidence of Scotlands earliest farmers uncovered in Perthshire

An archaeological dig next to the Perthshire village of Dunning has revealed traces of human activity dating back 10,000 years.

This included evidence of what experts believe is the earliest farming activity recorded in Scotland, and also remains of hunter-gathering activity dating back thousands of years before farming began.
The discoveries were made by archaeologists from the University of Glasgow as part of the ten year Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) project.
This year the project received an archaeology grant of £100,000 from Historic Environment Scotland to carry out geophysical survey, excavation, archival research and reporting.
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Au lieu-dit Parc al Lann à Ergué-Gabéric, les archéologues de l’Inrap mènent une fouille préventive sur 6 hectares, en amont d’un projet d’aménagement par Quimper communauté. Le site occupe une situation privilégiée avec une vue à 180 degrés sur un fond de vallée et les hommes s’y sont naturellement installé depuis des millénaires.

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Homo erectus ging wie wir

1,5 Millionen Jahre alte Fußabdrücke geben Einblicke in das Leben von Frühmenschen
Fossile Knochen und Steinwerkzeuge verraten uns viel über die menschliche Evolution. Doch wie sich unsere Vorfahren zum Beispiel fortbewegten oder miteinander interagierten lässt sich daraus kaum ableiten. Unter der Leitung des Max-Planck-Instituts für evolutionäre Anthropologie in Leipzig und der University of Washington entdeckte ein internationales Forscherteam im Norden Kenias Fußspuren von Homo erectus, die die Fortbewegungsmuster und Gruppenstrukturen dieser Urmenschen hervorragend dokumentieren. So fanden die Forscher mithilfe neuester Analysemethoden heraus, dass die Gangart vom Homo erectus der des modernen Menschen stark ähnelt. Darüber hinaus belegen die Forscher anhand der Fußabdrücke ein Sozialverhalten, das mit dem moderner Menschen vergleichbar ist.
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Monkeys used stone tools 700 years ago

Primate archaeology is a new and unusual-sounding field, but it has revealed ancient evidence of some clever and dextrous monkey culture.
Researchers from Oxford University, working in Brazil, found ancient "nut-cracking tools" - 700-year-old stone hammers that capuchin monkeys used to open cashew nuts.
One of the researchers, Dr Lydia Luncz, explains how the team found evidence of these "Stone Age monkeys".

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Belgian Neanderthals 'were eating each other 40,000 years ago'

Members of human subspecies also appear to have fashioned tools out of bones of their own kind, researchers say

 The Goyet caves near Namur, where scientists found bones bearing marks left by intentional butchering. Photograph: YouTube

Belgian Neanderthals were eating each other 40,000 years ago, new research has shown.
The grisly discovery was made in a cave where scientists found bones bearing marks left by intentional butchering.
Not only were they cannibals, but the Neanderthals appear to have fashioned tools out of the bones of their own kind.
Neanderthals were a human subspecies that lived in Europe and western Asia for hundreds of thousands of years before becoming extinct between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago.
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Monday, July 4, 2016

Prehistoric Tombs Enhanced Astronomical Viewing

Astronomers are exploring what might be described as the first astronomical observing tool, potentially used by prehistoric humans 6,000 years ago. They suggest that the long, narrow entrance passages to ancient stone, or 'megalithic', tombs may have enhanced what early human cultures could see in the night sky, an effect that could have been interpreted as the ancestors granting special power to the initiated. The team present their study at the National Astronomy Meeting, being held this week in Nottingham.

View of the passage and entrance while standing within the dolmens' chamber: the 'window of visibility' 
[Credit: F. Silva]

The team's idea is to investigate how a simple aperture, for example an opening or doorway, affects the observation of slightly fainter stars. They focus this study on passage graves, which are a type of megalithic tomb composed of a chamber of large interlocking stones and a long narrow entrance. These spaces are thought to have been sacred, and the sites may have been used for rites of passage, where the initiate would spend the night inside the tomb, with no natural light apart from that shining down the narrow entrance lined with the remains of the tribe's ancestors.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Ancient Theatre Of Larissa Opens To Public After 20 Centuries

One of the largest and well-preserved theatres of Greek antiquity opened to the public for the first time after 2,000 years last week in the city of Larissa in Thessaly, Greece.

Dating back to the early third century BC, the ancient theatre of Larissa lies on the south slope of the Medieval fortress at the city's heart, archaeologist Stavroula Sdrolia, head of the seventh Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities said.

In antiquity, apart from theatrical performances, it also hosted the assemblies of the senior regional authority, while at the end of the first century BC, it was turned into a Roman arena, she explained.

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