Archaeology news

Stone of Destiny

A complication has arisen to the Stone of Destiny identification - the piece of red sandstone that is incorporated into the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey. Rosalind Jones in Deposits magazine 27 (summer of 2011) says the Stone of Scone, used to crown the kings of Scotland in Perthshire, and apprehended by Edward I after his conquest of the Scots, may not have been the genuine article. In other words, it may have been switched to a local stone - the red sandstone of Perthshire.

Gold Prospectors

The lure of gold in the 19th century (gold fever) seems to have affected the Russians as much as any other Europeans - and they had the vast wilderness of Siberia in which to explore. In 1894 gold seekers dug out part of a peat bog near Yekaternburg and unearthed a beautifully preserved wooden idol, five metres in length (yes, 5 metres). The wood was first transformed into a flat plank and then was covered back to front with human faces and hands, zigzag lines, and various other symbols. It also had a human head at the top - with its mouth open.


How a bit of practical knowledge can reshape archaeological views. At ... archaeologists unearth all kinds of objects during excavations and some of them feel propelled to guess as to identify them simply because some people do not like loose ends. The finds tray, particularly in days gone by, had to have an explanation - even when it comes to the discovery of black soapstone pebbles.

Amazon Peoples

At ... parts of the Amazon rainforest previously thought virtually uninhabited were really the home of a population of a million people - according to new research. There were actually hundreds of villages dotting the rainforest, with clearings, far away from the major rivers. Huge areas of the Amazon jungle are still unexplored by archaeologists.



Houghton in Cambridgeshire. The Guardian has a story about archaeological finds during construction of a 21 mile stretch of the Huntingdon by-pass on the A14  (see ...). Beware - all Guardian online articles end by asking for a donation. Do not fall for this trick as they are serial tax avoiders using an offshore account. Like some other newspapers the Guardian has a good archaeology section.

Farms in the Sahara

At ... researchers from Huddersfield and Italy have been in the Libyan desert and they have discovered people in the Sahara were cultivating and storing wild cereals 10,000 years ago. This was the period of the Green Sahara - and early agriculture was being practised. Hunter gatherers, it would seem, were collecting wild cereal seeds rather than farming them - but they didn't only harvest them, they also stored them. They were made into a sort of soup or porridge.

Chinese touch ups

At ... 115,000 years old bone tools found in China -quite sophisticated in technique. They were used to modify stone tools. These are known as soft hammers and were primarily used to retouch or re-sharpen stone tools.

At ... confirmation St Albans abbey church was built by the Normans in the 11th century ADF. Remains of the original apse, going back to 1077, have been unearthed during construction work on a new visitor centre.

Red Star

William sent in the link ... evidence that a red star disturbed the prehistoric solar system is the premise of a paper in Monthly Notes of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters (March 2018). It is somewhat like the Rupert Holms Star Core Zeus hypothesis (he is giving a talk at the 2018 SIS AGM and speaker meeting in April) but in this instance, rather than a remnant fragment of a supernova we have a dim red star (which is also binary with a brown dwarf) that brushed our solar system - back in the day.

James Mellaart

At ... we are told that James Mellaart faked several of his finds at Catal Huyuk and may even have had a forgers workshop (of a kind). He created some of the ancient murals and went on to forge documents recording inscriptions found at Beybag, a nearby Turkish village. The story  came about as a result of Eberhard Zangger, himself a somewhat controversial figure, who had apparently been duped into accepting as genuine some documents passed to him by Mellaart (and written in the Luwian tongue).

Canaanite Tomb

At ... an undisturbed tomb near a Bronze Age palace has been unearthed at Megiddo. The city dominated a strategic pass on a major trade route from 3000BC to the 20th century AD. It overlooks the Jezreel Valley and various military clashes have occurred in the vicinity - not least that of Thutmose III. Megiddo is currently being excavated by Finkelstein and Mario Martin (with Matthew Adams from the US). Palaces, temples, walls etc from both the Bronze and Iron ages have been uncovered.