Sunday, January 31, 2021


À Saint-Doulchard, l'Inrap a mis au jour une sépulture collective du Néolithique récent contenant une quarantaine de défunts, un type de structure jusqu’alors inconnu dans le département.

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Earth used to be cooler than we thought, which changes our math on global warming

Earth was cooler than we thought 6,000 years ago.Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

A long-standing mystery about the Holocene has a potential solution.

The last 12,000 years have been much cooler than previously thought, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Nature. And in contrast, human-caused warming of the atmosphere is even more anomalous than we’d realized. That’s because the study’s authors have found a new way to estimate historical temperatures which they say filters out seasonal shifts that had made past millennia seem warmer than they really were.

The findings offer a possible solution to an outstanding riddle about the recent history of climate change. The problem, called the Holocene warming conundrum, is that previous reconstructions of the historical climate showed a warm period from 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, followed by a period of cooling. Climate models of the same period, however, suggest that the planet would have been warming steadily.

By fine-tuning how we interpret the physical evidence of the changing climate, explains Samantha Bova, a paleoclimate researcher at Rutgers University and one of the study authors, “[the data] do show a warming that’s highly consistent with what is predicted by climate models.”

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Seahenge, Norfolk: The ancient Bronze Age circle that lay hidden for 4,000 years

The sacred 4000 year old site of Seahenge exposed briefly by the shifting sands on the Norfolk coast near Hunstanton. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Seanhenge lay beneath the shifting sands of the north Norfolk coast almost until the dawn of the 21st century.

In 1998, a man named John Lorimer was walking along the beach at Holme-next-the-Sea when he stumbled upon an extraordinary Bronze Age timber circle that had emerged overnight from East Anglia’s shifting sands.

Archaeologists and druids flocked to see the 55 posts circling an upside-down tree, roots in the air, a relic from 2050 BC.

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Early Bronze Age Necropolis Unearthed In Brittany

View of the necropolis of rue du Plateau [Credit: S. Blanchet, Inrap]

From October 2020, a team from Inrap has been carrying out an excavation in the commune of Plougonvelin (Finistère) on westernmost tip of Brittany, as part of a future property project. The archaeologists have unearthed an important necropolis dating from the Early Bronze Age (between 2000 and 1600 BC). To date, some fifty burials have been excavated over nearly 1800 square metres. Although other funerary complexes of this type most probably exist in Brittany, this is the first time that the opportunity has been given to study a site of this scale. 

It is worth recalling that, at the regional level, work on Early Bronze funerary practices and architectural structures has, since the 19th century, focused mainly on the innumerable Armorican tumuli. Alongside these funerary monuments, burial tombs such as those at Bono in Morbihan (L. Juhel excavation) or Santec in Finistère (Y. Lecerf excavation) are nevertheless known but remain, in the current state of research, less frequent and less documented.

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Ancient Greek Statues Unearthed from Tomb East of Athens

Two ancient Greek statues depicting female figures were uncovered from inside a burial tomb east of Athens, the Greek Ministry of Culture announced on Sunday.

The discovery was made during the construction of the new City Hall of Paiania.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Culture, the tomb is preserved in fragments, and the full-sized female figures were uncovered with their heads missing.

One of the statues, presumably belonging to a wealthy and prominent individual, sits in an elaborate seat and rests her legs on a low footrest.

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How many early human species existed on Earth?

(Image: © Jose A. Bernat Bacete via Getty Images)

We Homo sapiens didn't used to be alone. Long ago, there was a lot more human diversity; Homo sapiens lived alongside an estimated eight now-extinct species of human about 300,000 years ago. As recently as 15,000 years ago, we were sharing caves with another human species known as the Denisovans. And fossilized remains indicate an even higher number of early human species once populated Earth before our species came along.

"We have one human species right now, and historically, that's really weird," said Nick Longrich, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. "Not that far back, we weren't that special, but now we're the only ones left."

So, how many early human species were there?

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Exploring the Stonehenge Landscape

The Stonehenge Landscape is an estate managed by the National Trust in Wiltshire, England, covering 2100 acres within UNESCO’s Stonehenge, Avebury, and Associated Sites designation.
The Stonehenge Landscape contains over 400 ancient sites, that includes burial mounds known as barrows, Woodhenge, the Durrington Walls, the Stonehenge Cursus, the Avenue, and surrounds the monument of Stonehenge which is managed by English Heritage.

DNA studies of the ancestors who built many of the monuments, suggests they originated in Anatolia on the Aegean coast of modern Turkey, and migrated west across the Mediterranean before reaching Britain around 4,000 BC (details of the studies were published in 2019 in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution). During this period, Britain was already inhabited by small groups of hunter gatherers, that were almost completely supplanted by the migrations.

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

New Stone Age: Discovery of massive island ritual site where people gathered 5,500 years ago

The previously unknown large Neolithic ritual site has been found on the Isle of Arran. 

The discovery of a cursus monument site at Tormore on the Isle of Arran, which is more than a kilometre long, is helping to reshape Neolithic history in Scotland with such landmarks usually associated with the east coast.

Cursus monuments were often defined by long lines of timber posts, forming a long rectangle, and were amongst the most spectacular features in the Neolithic landscape. The posts may have served as a procession route, perhaps to honour the dead. Some were burned to the ground in an almighty display which is believed to have been part of the ceremonies associated with these huge monuments.

Dave Cowley, Rapid Archaeological Mapping Programme Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, who discovered the site following a laser scan of Arran, described the cursus monument as a “cathedral of the day”.

Rare 5,000-year-old crystal dagger is uncovered in Prehistoric Iberian megalithic tomb that may have been used by a high-ranking person to gain 'magical powers'

Ancient tools that once belonged to prehistoric civilizations have been found all over the world, but a discovery in Spain is unlike those traditionally made of stone or flint.

A team excavating the megalithic tomb of Montelirio tholos in 2007 through 2010 uncovered a dagger formed from rock crystal that experts say is the ‘most technically sophisticated’ ever to be uncovered in Prehistoric Iberia and would have taken enormous skill to carve.

The artifact, which is about 5,000 years old, is nearly 8.5 inches long and was found along with 10 arrowheads, four blades and a core for making weapons, all of which were rock crystal.

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Objects suggest Europeans used standardized money 4,000 years ago

Bronze ribs, pictured, as well as rings, axe blades and other objects, suggest people in Central Europe were using standardized currency at the end of the Early Bronze Age.
Photo by M.H.G. Kuijpers

New research suggests groups of farmers living in Central Europe were exchanging standardized money -- in the form of bronze rings and ribs -- during the early Bronze Age, nearly 4,000 years ago.

According to the latest archaeological analysis, described Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, the use of standardized money in Central Europe may have developed independently from money systems that emerged in the Far East and Mediterranean. 

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Iron Age Village Discovered In Essex

Aerial view of the site showing the roundhouses [Credit: Oxford Archaeology East]

The remains of an Iron Age village have been found at Tye Green. Members of Oxford Archaeology East have been investigating the four hectare area for Countryside Properties and RPS Consulting, ahead of work to create new housing.

Their fieldwork suggests the site was important in the late Iron Age and early Roman periods, but could have come to harm - possibly as a result of Boudiccan reprisals

The site has a large defensive enclosure dug in the late 1st century BC, with 17 roundhouses and 17 semi-circular shapes which could have been screens or windbreaks. Smaller semi-circular structures are also associated with hearths.

The depth of the roundhouse gullies has suggested that the buildings were up to 15m in diameter. Archaeologists said the enclosure had an avenue-like entrance and aligned with the central roundhouse. Structures similar to medieval granary stores could have been stored grain taxes.

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Iron Age skeletons uncovered during Navenby dig

 Two Iron Age skeletons have been discovered during excavation works in Lincolnshire.

The bones were uncovered at separate archaeological sites near Navenby, as part of preparation work for a water pipeline project.

Other finds included parts of small buildings and fragments of pottery.

Anglian Water's heritage assessor Jo Everitt said the finds would help archaeologists understand more about the region's past.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Searching for the people of Doggerland


This hammerstone was recently found off the coast of Norfolk. CREDIT: University of Bradford

Around 8,150 years ago, a sudden shift in the seabed created the Storegga tsunami in the North Sea. With all known evidence pointing towards this event greatly affecting, but not completely inundating, Doggerland (the strip of land that once connected Britain to continental Europe – see CA 367), the search is now on for evidence of human occupation. While it is thought that there must have been significant Mesolithic groups living here during the period, without knowing just how populated the area was likely to be it cannot be determined how catastrophic the tsunami may have been. 

As part of the ‘Europe’s Lost Frontiers’ project, researchers from the University of Bradford have been analysing the evolution of Doggerland, tracing its gradual inundation. At the end of the last Ice Age, c.11,700 years ago, Doggerland probably stretched all the way from Yorkshire to Denmark, but by 9000 cal BC the North Sea had begun to flood in, creating an archipelago that predominately included ‘Dogger Island’ (an upland area in the northern reaches of Doggerland) and Dogger Bank off the eastern coast of Great Britain. By the time of the Storegga tsunami, this landmass had shrunk even more, greatly reducing the size of both areas to shallow sandbanks. (More information on this process, along with the full impact of the tsunami, was recently published in Antiquity journal:

A warty pig painted on a cave wall 45,500 years ago is the world's oldest depiction of an animal


The world's oldest known figurative artwork has been discovered in a cave in Indonesia -- an endearing image of a warty pig.

Archaeologists working on the site on the island of Sulawesi said the cave art was at least 45,500 years old. It is also thought to be the oldest surviving image of an animal. Painted using red ocher pigment, the animal appears to be observing a fight or social interaction between two other warty pigs.

This region is home to many intriguing limestone caves where other discoveries have been made. Cave art depicting a hunting scene dating to 43,900 years ago was also found in Sulawesi in late 2019. The same team of archaeologists in 2014 found human hand stencils, which were dated to 40,000 years ago. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Iron Age Settlement With Large Roundhouses and Roman Trinkets Found in the UK


The footprints of some of the Iron Age roundhouses (vans at top for scale).
Photo: Oxford Archaeology East

Over the course of 2020, a patchwork of circles were dug out from below the topsoil of Tye Green, Cressing in England. The circles—each a ring of polygonal depressions—were the footprints of large structures, all that remained of a settlement that began in the late Iron Age and lasted through the Roman conquest of Britain. The site was recently excavated by Oxford Archaeology East for Countryside Properties with RPS Consulting in advance of residential development there.

The archaeological work, carried out with social distancing and other measures to avoid the spread of covid-19, turned up the remains of at least 17 wattle-and-daub roundhouses, some nearly 50 feet (15 meters) across, and semi-circular structures that the archaeological team say may have served as windbreaks, which would have protected hearths, furnaces, or other fiery elements of life at the time.