Archaeology news

snails, humans, and wheat DNA

Snails are often collected during archaeological excavations as they can provide evidence of the environment - species variety by species variety. For example, they were a useful source of data in the recent Stonehenge Riverside Project. However, there is evidence some human groups ate snails as part of their regular diet. Eating snails may have a link with catastrophes - such as landscape fires. It seems that people living in SW France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, may have reared snails as a delicacy.

Jewish fortunes in the Exile and beyond

   This is an image of a clay tablet with cuneiform writing, as practised in ancient Babylonia. The said tablet is one of over a hundred in the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. They document the lives and religious continuity of Jews in the Exile. Although many returned to Judah after the Persian king gave them permission many of them did not - not until modern times.

climate change and out of africa

Seems like two consensus theories are now in a head lock, being used as a battering ram in support of each other. Gary Gilligan forwarded the link - ... and is the result of research being done in Oman in SE Arabia where Out of Africa folk have been desperate to find evidence of early human movement. Most of the Arabian peninsular is out of bounds to archaeologists.

Tall el-Hammam

This is a photograph of the tell, Tall el-Hamman, which may be identified with Biblical Sodom, destroyed by a cosmic event of some kind. It is huge. Apparently, this year's dig is proceeding well but news releases will follow towards the end of the digging season. This site is a potential bomb shell. If actual evidence of destruction by bolide is found it will open up a can of worms. Catastrophism will rear its ugly head and leer over the shoulders of the uniformitarians and laugh heartily.

Lenborough Hoard

The British Museum now have the hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins found in a field in the UK (at Lenborough). Go to or the same thing at See also

Indo European roots

This is one of those subjects where one side has the upper hand for a while and then another point of view prevails. At ... an anthropology blog which looks interesting, reviews a new paper that claims Indo European roots were on the steppes from around 4500BC - moving into the  Balkans and subsequently into Anatolia. The blog author obviously favours the alternative view that Indo European languages were disseminated by early farmers - which moved through Anatolia into the Balkans (the opposite route of migration).

The White Cliff of Belize

In an article available in pdf format to download, 'A Place for Pilgrimage: the ancient Maya sacred landscape of Cara Blanca in Belize' by Lucero and Kinkella (go to describes an interesting piece of geology as it has 23 pools or small lakes but is backed by a white limestone ridge directly overlooking the watery places where offerings were made to the Mayan gods. It is also a region of poor soils so was not developed by the Maya as an agricultural resource. The agriculture took place away from Cara Blanca.

architecture and the solstices

At ... the Taj Mahal in India, built by a Moghul emperor following the death of one of his wives, is aligned to sun rise on midsummer day. It rises above a pavilion in the garden and the sun sets on the same day behind another pavilion. The mausoleum and minarets of the Taj Mahal are located between these two pavilions.

slowly getting there

Mainstream is slowly getting its head around the idea that something peculiar happened at the end of the Bronze Age. Claude Schaeffer was making the point 70 years ago - but his work was largely ignored as too daring to contemplate. At ... we learn that a salt lake at Larnaca on Cyprus has revealed evidence of a long drought from an analysis of pollen grains in lake sediments which coincides with the end of the Late Bronze Age.


At ... we have the discovery in a cave in SW Germany of four flutes, one of which is made from the bones of a vulture. The others are fashioned from ivory tusks. They date from 35,000 years ago and were made by people of the Aurignacian culture.

The vulture bone flute is a foot long - so no mean affair. Music, it seems, has been with us for a long time, and music also suggests dance has been with us equally as long.