Archaeology news

Siberian Faces

   At ... it seems stone faces in Siberia underwent facial adjustments in the early Middle Ages as a result of new people moving into the area.

China refutes BBC slant

At ... a BBC television programme came out with the claim Greek sculpture directly influenced the rendition of the terracotta army in the tomb of the First emperor a week of so ago (see ). The archaeologist has retorted by saying she has been quoted out of context - which is not surprising as the BBC have a habit of selectively editing material.

Is it a map

At ... we have a stone age map (one of several in fact) going back to the Neolithic in Denmark ...

     ... scientists at the National Museum of Denmark are reasonably certain the image does not portray the sun or its rays but display the topographical details of the island of Bornholm as it was in the first half of the 3rd millennium BC.

What's in a name

Perusing the summer 2016 newsletter of the Prehistoric Society (see I came across the reason why and how the name of Doggerland was applied to the watery former habitat below the southern North Sea basin by archaeologists. It came about as the result of a paper by Bryony Coles on wetland environments in Europe in 1998. She applied the term from the Dogger Bank, the area that is most shallow in that basin and from which evidence of Mesolithic activity has been dredged.

Terracotta Warriors

At ...archaeologists are suggesting that inspiration for the terracotta warriors in the Tomb of the First Emperor may have come from ancient Greece (and trade during the 3rd century BC). In this respect the trade route will have been with the Middle East zone subject to Achaemenid culture (post Alexander). This news story culminated in a BBC 2 programme on October 16th, 'The Greatest Tomb on Earth: Secrets of Ancient China - which is available on i-player.

footprints in mud

At ... we learn of the discovery of footprints near the volcanic mountain the Maasai call the Mountain of God. They are preserved in mud dating between 19,000 and 5,000 years ago (which is a large margin of error). There are some 400 footprints in an area the size of a tennis court, situated on the shore of a lake in Tanzania. The current view is that the mud dried out as quickly as a couple of hours.

Black Sea Flood

We would not expect mainstream to endorse the idea of a catastrophic flood in the Black Sea as envisaged by the two Americans, Ryan and Pitman (1996) but they have gone to the bother of setting up the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (carried out by the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at Southampton University and the Bulgarian Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Sofia (see ).

Skipsea Castle

At ... a medieval motte and bailey (topped by a Norman castle) has turned out to be an iron age hill top enclosure. How many other motte and bailey mounds were pre-existing and adapted after the Norman invasion. Why build a high mound if there was one already in a convenient position.


Back in October 2014 The Guardian ( ... the discovery of a hoard of metal in a Staffordshire field led to some forensic science behind the scenes - with a surprising result. The Anglo Saxons of Mercia, it is alleged, reinvented a Roman process that gave lower grade metal with a high silver content the appearance of pure gleaming gold. As similar technology is recorded from Roman accounts this really amounts to a survival of knowledge rather than reinvention of an elaborate technique.

Stone Age Tunnels

The first thought - is this a spoof? The second thought - why would people build tunnels?