Archaeology news

SE Asia Humans

At ... SE Asia was crowded with archaic human groups long before modern humans turned up - going back 50,000+ years ago. This is according to a new study in PNAS. The theory is now that the ancestors of modern humans living in the area met and genetically mixed with the various archaic groups by reason they have left behind a small genetic signature. We may note the smallness of that signature is convenient as it allows the Out of Africa mantra to be defended.

Sanctuary at Naxos

This story is at Anne-Marie de Grazia's web site - go to ... an uninhabited island 10km from Naxos in the Aegean has a 4600 structure that is likened by archaeologists to a sanctuary. Quite what that might mean in real life is one of those imponderables as sacntuary and ritual are often used when people don't really know what the function of something might be.


The big archaeology story for some people has been the discovery of what is claimed to be the Biblical settlement of Ziklag - go to ... archaeologists from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority, together with the MacQuarrie University in Sydney, Australia, think they have discovered the Philistine town of Ziklag, near Kiryat Gath, associated with King David in the books of I Samuel and II Samuel.

Maltese Temples

At ... the temple culture on Malta began nearly 6000 years ago (roughly 4000BC). This includes the famous Ggantija temple complex - which endured down to 2350BC. Professor Caroline Malone of Queens University in Belfast wanted to understand how the island ecology was able to sustain so many people over a long period of time - and why in the end it failed. Scientists drilled earth cores from 8 to 30m in depth, dating the sediments extracted by C14 methodology.


German and Kurdish archaeologists have uncovered a Bronze Age palace complex within the ruins of a mud brick city that once thrived on the banks of the river Tigris in what is now Kurdistan (on the Iraq side). It dates back to the time of the empire of Mitanni, a little known kingdom that thrived for several hundred years in the LB age. It is normally dated to the 15th and 14th centuries BC and controlled a large part of northern Mesopotamia. The ruling class were Indic aryan speakers it is thought, with an origin on the steppes. It was the contemporary of dynasty 18 Egypt.


At ... a dna study has been done on skeletons of Bronze and Iron age inhabitants of Ashkelon, one of the 5 Philistine cities. It was found there was an influx of European genes at the transition between the end of the LB age and the beginnings of the Iron Age, thus confirming mainstream historians. There is nothing surprising about this finding, nor the fact that the genes became diluted through admixture during the Iron Age (as a result of inter marraige).


At ... a 2700 year old watchtower was discovered at a military base in southern Israel according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. It dates back to the reign of Hezekiah and was constructed with large stones at a high point with a wide view. There was a network of towers and fortresses used for communications, warnings and signalling. Was this the sort of watchtower manned bny Isaiah?

Conspiracy Theory and the Brother of Jesus

This story is at ... this sounds like a conspiracy theory but is never the less of interest as it is controversial. An ossuary of James the Just was brought to the attention of scholars back in 2002 by one Oden Golen (an Israeli dealer in antiquities who likes to describe himself as a collector of antiquities). He has, so we learn in an off hand manner, also been involved withe forgeries which raised suspicion.

Ivory tools and weapons

At ... this link appears to have got its information from the Siberian Times and concerns an island in the Arctic Ocean. It is being developed as a Russian military base as fossil fuel extraction in the Arctic becomes more probably and expansionary with the passage of time. Paleontologists have been involved in excavating a mammoth skeleton and they found the tusk displayed evence of what is said to be human activity, namely traces of processing.

North Sea Marine Investigations

The first artefacts to emerge from the depths of the North Sea in the current research into what the sediments on the sea bed might be hiding. Not particularly exciting by themselves as they consist of flakes of flint and a splinter from a hammer stone. It is thought they come from a Mesolithic tool making site and must date prior to 6200BC (when the southern basin of the North Sea was drowned). See for example ...