Monday, October 21, 2019

3000-year-old toolkit suggests skilled warriors crossed Europe to fight an epic battle

This collection of bronze artifacts was contained in a pouch or box and lost on a battlefield 3300 years ago, archaeologists say. 

Bronze Age Europe was a violent place. But only recently have scientists uncovered the scope of the violence, at a 3000-year-old site in northern Germany where thousands of well-armed young men fought with sophisticated weapons in what appears to be an epic battle. Now, a bagful of bronze artifacts and tools found at the bottom of the river in the middle of the battlefield suggests some of these warriors traveled from hundreds of kilometers away to fight. That suggests northern European societies were organized on such a large scale that leaders could call warriors to distant battlefields, long before modern communication systems and roads.

“It’s extremely rare to find a box or pouch [like this],” on an ancient battlefield, says Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist with the Lower Saxony State Office for Cultural Heritage in Hanover, Germany, who describes the find with colleagues in a paper published today in Antiquity. “Somebody lost it there.”

Read the rest of this article...

Havering Hoard: Weapons found on building site to go on show

A group of 453 artefacts are due to go on display at a museum next year

Ancient weapons discovered on a building site will go on display at the Museum of London Docklands.

The group of 453 artefacts found in Havering, east London, is the third largest ever discovered in the UK.

It "adds immensely to our understanding of Bronze Age life", Historic England said.

The find, which dates from between 800BC and 900BC, was officially declared treasure by a coroner earlier this year.

The discovery, dubbed the Havering Hoard, was uncovered last September, and will form the centrepiece of a major exhibition from April.

Read the rest of this article...

Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed

Map of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea showing Naxos in the center (stock image).
Credit: © lesniewski / Adobe Stock

An international research team led by scientists from McMaster University has unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

The findings, published today in the journal Science Advances, are based on years of excavations and challenge current thinking about human movement in the region -- long thought to have been inaccessible and uninhabitable to anyone but modern humans. The new evidence is leading researchers to reconsider the routes our early ancestors took as they moved out of Africa into Europe and demonstrates their ability to adapt to new environmental challenges.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ungewöhnliche Funde vom bronzezeitlichen Schlachtfeld im Tollensetal

Diese Sammlung von Objekten wurde von einer Tauchergruppe im Fluss Tollense gefunden und ist wahrscheinlich der Besitz eines Kriegers, der vor 3.300 Jahren auf dem Schlachtfeld starb. Foto: Volker Minkus

Persönlicher Besitz eines bronzezeitlichen Kriegers auf dem Schlachtfeld im Tollensetal entdeckt
Ein Forschungsteam unter Leitung der Universität Göttingen, des Landesamtes für Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern und der Universität Greifswald hat im Tollensetal 31 ungewöhnliche Objekte entdeckt. Die Forscherinnen und Forscher vermuten, dass die Funde zum persönlichen Besitz eines bronzezeitlichen Kriegers gehören, der vor 3.300 Jahren auf dem Schlachtfeld starb.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Hundreds of archaeological sites uncovered across NI

Hundreds of important archaeological discoveries have been made at excavations across Northern Ireland during the past four years.

The Department for Communities licensed 800 digs, mainly as a requirement of the planning process where developers are required to record important sites.

It has now made details of significant finds available to the public in a booklet entitled Unearthed.

The sites range from Stone Age farms to 19th Century urban industry.

Read the rest of this article...

Soziale Ungleichheit in bronzezeitlichen Haushalten

Hochrangige und nicht-lokale Frauenbestattung aus Kleinaitingen »Gewerbegebiet Nord«. Der Kopfschmuck und der Bestattungsritus spiegeln die lokalen Traditionen wider, aber die Isotopenwerte zeigen die fremde Herkunft. Diese Bestattung einer Frau ist eine der reichsten bekannten Bestattungen Süddeutschlands. Foto: © ABK Süd

Das archäologisch-naturwissenschaftliche Projekt an der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften wurde von Philipp Stockhammer von der LMU in München zusammen mit Johannes Krause und Alissa Mittnik vom Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte in Jena und der Universität Tübingen geleitet. Die Ausgrabungen südlich von Augsburg ermöglichen es den Archäologen, auf bislang ungeahnte Weise tief in die Bronzezeit herein zu zoomen und zu untersuchen, wie sich der Umbruch von der Steinzeit zur Bronzezeit auf die Zusammensetzung der damaligen Haushalte auswirkte. »Reichtum korrelierte entweder mit biologischer Verwandtschaft oder Herkunft aus der Ferne. Die Kernfamilie vererbte ihren Besitz und Status weiter. Aber in jedem Bauernhof haben wir auch arm ausgestattete Personen lokaler Herkunft gefunden«, sagt Philipp Stockhammer, Professor für Prähistorische Archäologie an der LMU und einer der Leiter der Studie. Dieser Befund spricht für eine komplexe Sozialstruktur von Haushalten, wie sie aus dem klassischen Griechenland und Rom bekannt ist. So waren zu römischer Zeit auch die Sklaven Teil der Familie, hatten aber einen anderen sozialen Status. Aber diese Menschen im Lechtal lebten über 1.500 Jahre früher. »Das zeigt erstmals, wie lang die Geschichte sozialer Ungleichheit in Familienstrukturen zurückreicht«, so Stockhammer weiter.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

1,800-year-old head-shaped balsamarium found in Bulgaria

Dating back about 1,800 years, the brass balsamarium shows the head of a man wearing
a cap made from the skin of a feline [Credit: Daniela Agre]

The skeleton of an ancient sports fan was discovered alongside an 1,800-year-old jar shaped like the head of a wrestler or boxer who may have had his nose broken, archaeologists reported

The "spectacular" balsamarium — a jar used to store liquids such as balm or perfumes — was found in a grave in southeastern Bulgaria (ancient Thrace).

It dates to a time when the Roman Empire controlled Thrace — an ancient area that encompassed parts of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

Read the rest of this article...

Israel cave bones: Early humans 'conserved food to eat later'

In experiments, researchers removed skin from stored bones to match cut marks 
found on bone fragments PA MEDIA

Scientists in Israel say they have found evidence that early humans deliberately stored bones from animals to eat the fatty marrow later.

It is the earliest evidence that humans living between 200,000 and 420,000 years ago had the foresight to anticipate future needs, they say.

Early humans had not previously been thought capable of such dietary planning.

Researchers analysed bone specimens at Qesem cave near Tel Aviv.

They identified cut marks on most of the bone surfaces - consistent with preservation and delayed consumption.

The researchers suggest the marks came about because the early humans had to make greater effort to remove skin which had dried on bones which had been kept longer.

Read the rest of this article...


Une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap a mené une opération archéologique à Ittenheim (Bas-Rhin), sur prescription de l’État. Elle permet d’accéder à des vestiges très anciens, dont deux dents de lait d'un mammouth, datant du Paléolithique, soit entre 22 000 et 115 000 ans avant notre ère. Il est très rare d’étudier des vestiges de cette période qui correspond entre autres à celle de l’homme de Néandertal.

Read the rest of this article...

Climate change endangers Scotland's archaeological treasures

FILE PHOTO: Neolithic Buildings are seen at Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands, Scotland Britain September 25, 2019. REUTERS/George Sargent

The Orkney Islands, situated off the north coast of the Scottish mainland, are home to more than 3,000 historical sites.

Evidence has been found of human habitation there going back 8,500 years. Some buildings on the islands date to the Iron Age, Viking rule and medieval times.

But around 1,000 sites are situated on the coastline and are under threat.

One such site is the Iron Age building South Howe Broch on the island of Rousay. Dating from between 600-400AD, the sea has taken much of the site’s western area. Now the broch wall itself is falling into the sea.

Read the rest of this article...

Early humans stored bone marrow like tins of soup 400,000 years ago

The earliest evidence of delayed food consumption: 
pictured is bone marrow after six weeks 

Prehistoric humans stored bone marrow in their caves like tins of soup for up to nine weeks before eating it, a new study has found. 

Previously, scientists thought Paleolithic people lived a hand-to-mouth existence but this research shows they were sophisticated enough to preserve meat using bones like we use modern-day cans. 

The study shows this was happening between 420,000 and 200,000 years ago in Qesem cave near what is now Tel Aviv. It is the earliest evidence of delayed consumption of food in the world, according to the study published in Science Advances. 

“The bones were used as ‘cans’ that preserved the bone marrow for a long period until it was time to take off the dry skin, shatter the bone and eat the marrow,” said Professor Ran Barkai from Tel Aviv University, who was involved in the research.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Ancient asteroid apocalypse destroyed early human civilisations, scientists claim

A map showing the ‘platinum spikes’ found across the world

A cataclysmic asteroid impact caused a global disaster which destroyed early human proto-civilisations in Africa and America, researchers have claimed. 

In a study published in a respected journal, scientists presented evidence which indicates Earth was struck by an asteroid 12,800 years ago. 

This caused a worldwide catastrophe which plunged animal species into extinction and may have caused the abrupt demise of the mysterious Clovis people, although this hypothesis is controversial. 

The Clovis was a prehistoric society that lived in North America but abruptly disappeared. 

Now a team from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg have uncovered evidence of a gigantic impact which preceded a period of massive climate change, spelling doom for the Clovis and potentially other early societies around the world

Read the rest of this article...

Archives, Possible Throne Room Discovered in Ancient Palace on Crete

Source: Ministry of Culture

The Greek Ministry of Culture announced on Thursday that a new storage room for valuables in Zominthos Palace, on the plateau of Mount Psiloritis on Crete, was discovered at the sprawling site during this year’s excavation season.

Supporting evidence for the Palace room being used as a type of archive includes its location and other circumstantial evidence.

Besides the multitude of vessels found throughout the site, discoveries included a hallway with pillars, leading to what could possibly be a throne room. The remains of a seat were found in that room, which was ostensibly used in earlier periods as well, from 1900 BC to Mycenaean times, ca. 1400 BC.

Read the rest of this article...

Zentralismus in den ältesten vorstädtischen Siedlungen Europas

Kupferzeitliches Versammlungshaus nach der Freilegung: In einem offenen Hof und einem angrenzenden, überdachten Gebäudeteil fanden eine Vielzahl unterschiedlicher integrativer Aktivitäten statt. (© SFB 1266)

Ein ukrainisch-deutsches Forschungsteam sieht in undemokratischen Entscheidungsstrukturen und der Bündelung von Macht die vermutliche Ursache für den Zusammenbruch der ältesten vorstädtischen Großsiedlungen Europas um 3.700 vor Christus.

Zwischen 5000 und 2700 vor Christus breitete sich in Osteuropa auf dem heutigen Gebiet der Ukraine, Moldawiens und Rumäniens die sogenannte Tripolye-Kultur aus und schuf die größten bekannten Siedlungen dieser Zeit in Europa: sogenannte Megasiedlungen mit bis zu 15.000 Einwohnern, die sich über Flächen von bis zu 340 Hektar erstreckten.

Staatliche Strukturen waren zu dieser Zeit unbekannt und so wirft die Größe dieser Siedlungen viele Fragen bezüglich ihrer gesellschaftlichen Organisation auf: Wie liefen Entscheidungsprozesse ab? Gab es gesellschaftliche Unterschiede, demokratische Prozesse, Führer? Insbesondere bewegt die Wissenschaft aber die Frage, warum die Siedlungen nach nur wenigen hundert Jahren wieder verschwanden.

Read the rest of this article...