Archaeology news

more important than Stonehenge

In 'The Scotsman' of 27th July 2014 prehistorians are on record as saying that discoveries made at the Ness of Brodgar on Orkney are more important than Stonehenge, describing it as an 'Egypt of the North' - all good stuff but the site is hard to access from the main population centres of the UK. Ceremonial mace heads, polished stone axes, flint knives, human figurines, remarkable pottery, and those Neolithic buildings that seem to dwarf the stone circles of the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness (also part of the complex).

milking ways

At ... milking cows has been going on in Ireland for 6000 years. Traces of dairy fats have been discovered on pottery dating from 4000 to 2000BC. This is no surprise, as it stands, as that is the date early farmers arrived in Ireland, and in Britain. However, it shows they managed to ship their animals in at a fairly rapid pace, presumably by sea - but from where?

Middle Palaeolithic Africa

At .... it seems, not just Neanderthals were being underestimated but Middle Palaeolithic people in Africa as well. People were living in a village of wooden huts with a separate flint workshop and an animal butchering site located at a distance, 70,000 years ago.

not much to choose between them after all

At ... it seems there is less and less, and even less to distinguish between Neanderthal craftsmanship and cognizant ability, and those of modern humans of the Upper Palaeolithic period.

Mirror on the Past

At ... a link between Arizona and central Mexico in pre colonial times has been established by various artefacts. The latest exmaples are some 50 mirrors encrusted with the brillian mineral pyrite - known as Fools Gold (but herewith a gold substitute). They were found in a former settlement of the Hohokum Culture and probably arrived in Arizona by trade rather than migration. However, ceremonial ball courts have also been found, and copper bells and the remains of a macaw (bird).

2300BC and maize migration

At ... we learn that maize was domesticated from wild teosinte grasses in southern Mexico and can be tracked into the American SW, using DNA analysis, to around 4100 years ago - very nearly 2300BC (and within that block of a couple of hundred years encompassing two closely spaced events) the date ascribed by Moe Mandelkehr to an earthwide event involving a heavy meteor bombardment. The study is published in the January 8th issue of Nature Plants.

Black Osiris

At .... a purposely blackened tomb has been found in Egypt. The Daily Mail supplies some useful pictures and drawings. It was apparently dedicated to Osiris. The symbolic burial site was used in rituals to connect the god with pharaoh - at death. The tomb is said to date back to dynasty 25, the Ethiopian line of pharaohs. You could say that is where the black comes in, but why a blackened tomb?

ancient amulet

An interesting amulet has been turned up at excavations at Nea Paphos on Cyprus - see The author of the piece is at pains to demonstrate how pagan ideas had survived into the Byzantine period. However, it could equally demonstrate how quickly pagan ideas had become corrupted because the genuine version of them had vanished as Christianity had expanded.

Cappadocia, Kirbet Kerak, and the mystery of the Tutankhamun mummy

A new underground city has been found in Cappadocia, in the eastern part of what is modern Turkey - see

An early urban centre near the Sea of Galilee is being explored by archaeologists. This is Kirbet Kerak, a city that dates back at least as far as 3000BC. It was contemporary with the Old Kingdom of Egypt, with links even as early as dynasty One.