Archaeology news

Gobekli Tepe

Klaus Schmidt, the archaeologist in charge of the excavations at Gobekli Tepe over the last 20 years or so, has recently died. He was based at the Deutsches Archeologisches Institut in Berlin and wrote an article in 2010 outlining the discoveries at this most important ancient site, which goes back to 10,000BC (or thereabouts). It was published in 'Documata Praehistorica 37 (2010) and you can read it in English at http://arheologija.ff.uni-lj.si/documenta/authors37/37_21.pdf

Sittaford Tor

On a high point of Dartmoor an undiscovered, until now, stone circle has been found and is being excavated - see www.guardian.co.uk/science/2015/may/11/highest-stone-circle-in-southern-...

the dark side of the Mississippi

Roughly where the city of St Louis is now situated, or not too far short, there was a major native American settlement with monumental architecture and the famous mounds. Is is now known as Cahokia - and was at its apogee between 1000 and 1200AD the biggest community in North America, with trade connections over a wide area.

Ohio Circle

At http://apps.ohiohistory.org/ohioarchaeology/the-moorehead-circle-a-cerem... .... the Moorehead Circle is situated at the head of a major ravine on the Little Miami River. It is a triple ring of large wooden posts surround a central pit filled with red earth. There was also a rectangular structure and other features. It is possible people were seated in the circle to watch cermonies taking place in the centre - something like a modern stadium. However, how much this is the imagination of the archaeologists rather than the facts on the ground is open to question.

Tree rings and History

At http://news.sciencemag.org/paleontology/2011/01/fall-rome-recorded-trees ... an analysis of European tree ring data suggests that a series of mild summers may have been the key to the rise of the Roman Empire - and prolonged droughts, cold snaps, and the like played a part in historical upheavals, from the barbarian incursions to the Black Death (plague). Ulf Buntgen, a palaeoclimatologist from Zurich had his paper published in the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6017/578.short ... in January of 2011).

Circling the Wagons

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/uom-ato042715.php ... a classic case of circling the wagons and shutting down an upstart theory. This time, it is the idea that Solutrean Points (from Iberia) are similar to Clovis Points (common in SE N America) and the idea that the Americas might have been colonised by humans not just from across the Bering Straits but also people from Ice Age Europe may also have reached the Americas. The problem is that people from Siberia are assumed, in the mainstream straitjacket, to have colonised America after the Ice Age.

Armenians

The New York Times, March 11th (sent in by a US member) had a short piece on DNA studies of the Armenian people of the Transcaucasus region. In Armenian tradition, or rather, according to an Armenian historian, ones Moses Khorenatsi, the Armenians established their homeland as long ago as 2492BC. We don't know how he arrived at that date but modern  genetic studies show he was not that far out.

cremated bones

At www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art523965-archaeol... ... and see also www.oxfordarchaeology.com/news/oaeast-news/369-archaeologists-uncover-ol... ... during a pre-construction survey of a pipeline project in Essex archaeologists came across cremated (burnt) bones dating back to 5600BC. This date is firmly within the Mesolithic period and is interesting as cremation is normally associated with later periods in Britain - such as the Bronze and Iron ages.

wetland Utah

At http://westerndigs.org/over-1000-ancient-stone-tools-left-by-great-basin... .... some really cracking stone tools can be seen at this link, including a spear head known as a Hackett Point, dating back 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. This appears to be a misprint or mistake as they are referring to a time prior to the Younger Dryas event, which occurred around 12,900 years ago. Perhaps it should read BC rather than 'years ago' -  or some anomaly has crept into the text.