Archaeology news

Wet and Green in Arabia

At ... a team led by the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities has discovered a giant tusk from an extinct elephant - out in the desert. The species is known as Palaeoloxoden and was twice the size of modern elephants - but most Pleistocene animals were much larger than their Holocene descendants. It has been dated 325,000 years ago (by the geology in which it was found).

Humans in South America

At ... which is a piece on discoveries at Serra da Capuara National Park in Brazil (in the NE of the country). Rock art depicts people and animals in various activities - paintings numbered in their thousands. When excavations began, in a rock shelter associated with rock art, they unearthed stone tools going back 22,000 years ago.

Archaeology newsbites March 2014

At ... which concerns an early Pueblo village site - and talking about sites (of the web variety) Western Digs is very good.

Bones in Egypt, bones in London

At ... a tomb at Abydos has yielded up a vaulted burial chamber, a sandstone sarcophagus painted red and a small pyramid near the entrance that is 23 feet high. It belonged to a scribe, Horemhab - but the body was missing as the grave had been ransacked on at least two occasions in the past.

The Tempest Stela

At ... the so called Tempest Stela is causing a bit of a stir. It was originally found at the Temple of Karnak in Thebes by French archaeologists 60 + years ago, and it dated to the reign of Ahmose, first pharaoh of dynasty 18 (credited with driving out the Hyksos foreigners). A new translation of part of the text is at the centre of a new theory.

Viking navigation

At .... a fresh look at Viking methods of navigating without a magnetic compass. They were able to reach Greenland, Newfoundland and Baffin Island on a regular basis, long distances that appear impossible with their rudimentary gear. The discovery of a sun compass fragment some time ago led to several theories being developed. We now have another one. They were able to use the sun to find north with the sun compass - but how did they navigate in the twilight (or in moonlight).

Human footprints on the beach at Happisburgh

The Current Archaeology piece on human footprints at Happisburgh in Norfolk can now be read (part thereof) online - go to (see the earlier post on 19th February).

Language evolution and American migrants

Here, the idea of language evolution is said to perhaps be a means to plotting prehistoric migrations of people. In this instance, the theory is applied to migrations between Siberia and Alaska - and finds the traffic has been two ways (or on a number of occasions). Go to

Orion in Yorkshire

Jan Harding, 'Cult, Religion, and Pilgrimage: archaeological investigations of the Neolithic and Bronze Age monument complex at Thornborough, North Yorkshire' CBA Research Report 174 (2013) ISBN 978 190277 1977 ... see also

Solar alignments at Petra

At ... a monastery at Petra in Jordan is aligned to the winter Sun, which illuminates the position of a deity. At that same moment in time the silhouette of a mountain opposite, displays the shape of the head of a lion (or an outline resembling a lion). The Sun influenced the orientations of the Nabateans - who were extent in first century BC and first century AD.