The Prehistoric Archaeology Blog is concerned with news reports featuring Prehistoric period archaeology. If you wish to see news reports for general European archaeology, please go to The Archaeology of Europe Weblog.
Five thousand years ago, as now, it may be that the solstice marked the passing of time – the death of the old year and the birth of the new one. In the dark depths of an Orkney winter today, the solstice remains a welcome indicator that the sun is returning. Read the rest of this article...
STENLØSE, DENMARK—Live Science reports that human and animal bones, as well as an unpolished flint ax head, were recovered from what was once a bog on Denmark’s island of Zealand during an investigation conducted before a construction project. The style of the ax suggests that the bones date to the early Neolithic period, more than 5,000 years ago, according to Emil Struve of the ROMU museums. “We know that traditions of human sacrifices date back that far—we have other examples of it,” he said. The human remains include leg bones, a pelvis, and part of a lower jaw with some teeth still attached. The rest of the body probably lay outside the protective layer of peat and was not preserved.
Archaeologists at the University of Leicester have just re-examined five 4,000-year-old tools like flint cups and Neolithic axes that have puzzled experts since their discovery 220 years ago in a Bronze-Age burial near Stonehenge. Four were examined for the first time.
Based on the bones, cups, and cobbles surrounding two bodies at the grave—most recently dated 1850–1700 B.C.E.—researchers have hypothesized over the past century that these grave goods belonged to a costumed shaman, or a goldsmith of status.
Applying contemporary technologies including microwear analysis and scanning electron microscopy to the tools’ surfaces, researchers have revealed their owner was more likely a gold worker who coaxed the precious metal into sheets to gild other items.