Archaeology news

DNA Research

After spending the last couple of days ploughing through David Reich, 'Who We Are and How We Got Here; ancient DNA and the new science of the human past' Oxford University Press:2018, I came upon a press release on an article published in Science journal (March 2019) on the DNA of people in the Iberian peninsular (Spain and Portugal) and found the authors were pre-empted by Reich in his book.

The French and Stonehenge

At ... there are 35,000 megalithic constructs in Europe. A new study claims they were spread by a sea going culture that emerged in NW France 7000 years ago. It is said that the idea of megaliths were taken from Brittany in all directions - north and south, even into the Mediterranean, over a period of one thousand years (eventually reaching Salisbury Plain rather late in the sequence). C14 dates lie at the heart of the study, taken from 2000 sites across Europe.


At ... there are a succession of interesting articles. These cover a variety of subjects but all have a connection with Malta - such as Tectonic Rotation (the movement of land during big earthquakes); ancient remains on Lampeclusa, an island geologically linked to Malta by an extensive series of grabens of neotectonic origin; prehistoric mass burials in Scotland; and the Eddy Cycle. This all hinges on his book reviewed a couple of years ago on the Maltese temples - which appear to go back deep into the 4th or possibly even the 5th millenniums BC.

Dusty First Intermediate

Willliam sent in this link - ... the Akkadian empre was felled by dust reads the media blurb, a meaningless headline. The actual abstract at https:///www.pnas.orgh/content/116/1/67 is little better as the lead author doesn't want to go out on a limb and says something almost daft, the idea that climate affected ancient civilisations is provocative (or words to that effect). Facts must always take priority. If dust played a role that is a fact.

Archaic Human Spread

At ... humans colonised diverse environments in SE Asia and Oceania during the Late Pleistocene. This is just a news release but the actual article should be worth getting hold of. Do we have evidence of humans active in the region during the last Ice Age, and in particular, during the Late Glacial Maximum. What was the vegetation like - and what evidence of migrations have been found.

Ancient Javelins

The Daily Telegraph of 26th January (2019) had a piece by Henry Balkin on Neanderthal spear throwing prowess. As the science correspondent he was citing an article in Science Reports (January 2019). For years, anthropologists and archaeologists, and just about everybody has been of the opinion that Neanderthals were a sixpence short of a shilling (or a dime short of a dollar). However, once scientists had begun to investigate them more completely views have begun to change. They were little different to modern humans in many ways.


At ... a new book, 'Revealing Greater Cahokia, North America's First Native City' which says it had a population between 10 and 30,000 between 1050 and 1200AD (its hey day). Temples, cemeteries, an assortment of houses, storage buildings, mounds and monuments in and around what it is now St Louis and East St Louis. This is the product of a long archaeological investigation in a little known part of Cahokia. It's demise came around 1300AD, during a period of climate change (in Europe as well as in America) and conflict.

Humans in North America

At ... it would seem genetics is out of sync with archaeology according to Jennifer Raff. The early peopling of the Americas is elusive but genetics would suggest the first people arrived much earlier than archaeologists allow. Genetics may not be as reliable as some scientists would claim but then again archaeology requires humans stumbling upon an ancient site. In other words, pot luck.

Drowned Villages

This one comes courtesy of Anne-Marie de Grazia. At ... we are told that around 8000BC sea levels rose enought to re-establish a link between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. By 7000BC the waters of the Persian Gulf were rising - and around 6000BC it rose again. Around 5000BC sea level rounded out to near enough modern levels (followed by minor oscillations). There is something wrong here but it is difficult to pin down as exponential sea level graphs can come up awry.


Sent in by Gary. At ... where we learn that research by Oslo University into an outbreak of bubonic plague in Glasgow back in 1900 was not spread by rats - or fleas on rats. It is suggested that human fleas were to blame - accusing the Glaswegians of the period of poor sanitation. It is of course a theory but one that will probably stick like glue as it involves the occupants of tenements in the Gorbals. Were they Scots fleas - or Irish fleas.