Archaeology news


Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli are bright blue minerals. For some reason they have been highly prized by historical communities - whether it was ancient Britons and their woad or the Hindu god Krishna depicted as a bright blue manifestation. Lapiz lazuli was mined in Afghanistan and exported into Mesopotamia and Egyptian blue faience (glass) was also exported far and wide even ending up in northern Europe. What was the fascination with the colour of blue? At ....

Gates on Volcanoes

Gary also sent in this link - ... 400 stone structures have been found on the edge of volcanoes in Saudi Arabia - first spotted by Google Earth. Archaeologists have no idea why they were built, we are told ...

Sea Peoples

At ... and at the link sent in by Gary, ... and also in the current issue of Popular Archaeology, we have a story about a 29m long slab of rock with a Luwian hieroglyphic inscription that is said to describe some of the events taking place at the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean ...

Elbe Estuary

At ... apparently, mainstream hasn't been looking or thinking of Romans ensconced in the wetlands around the mouth of the Elbe River so it has been somewhat of a surprise to find a settlement there, from the Roman period right up to around 1000AD. At the latter date the site was abandoned - did it have anything to do with the tsunami wave that ran up the English Channel in 1014AD?

Rice cultivation

Rice was grown 11,000 years ago along the Yangtze River in China (at the very start of the Holocene) and 2000 years ago in West Africa. Presumably different strains or varieties of rice. Now, University of Exeter scientists in collaboration with Brazilian scientists, have found evidence of domesticated rice being grown in the vast wetlands of the Guapore River in the Amazon basin, 4000 years ago. This implie rice was developed in three separate geographical locations, at widely different times.


Sorghum is a native sub-Sahara grass that has been utilised for thousands  of years by hunter gatherers as well as farming communities. It emerged as an important cereal crop along with rice, wheat, barley and maize and it is thought Africans may have domesticated sorghum in areas south of Egypt (where wheat and barley cereals dominated). The discovery, in modern Sudan, that people in the 4th millennium BC (3500 to 3000BC) had domesticated sorghum is the earliest archaeological evidence so far. The evidence comes from pottery residues of the Butana culture people of eastern Sudan.

DNA Mutation

Chris Gatling in Current World Archaeology 85 (October 2017) ... page 85 ... looks at human DNA mutation. People argued that modern humans evolved 100,000 years ago and move Out of Africa 60,000 years ago - reaching Australia 40,000 years ago. Martine James in Molecule Hunt, raised the ante to 150,000 years ago, and Clive Gamble in Timewalkers was in favour of 200,000 years ago. He said humans reached Australia 80,000 years ago - which turns out to be a pretty good prediction - on current evidence.

More Puzzles

At ... some sixty ancient ship wrecks have been discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea - including galleys from the Roman empire period, Byzantine and Ottoman empires too. They were found by robotic submarines along the Bulgarian coastline - preserved intact by anoxic conditions (which is why robotic craft were used in the first instance as the deep water is lethal to humans). Many of the boats have features only known from drawings or written descriptions but never seen until now.


At ... archaeologists digging on Chapelle Dom Hue off the coast of Guernsey found a grave - of a porpoise. The island was used by monks and archaeologists were looking for evidence of a monastery and its inhabitants in the medieval period (including the burial of devotees). The porpoise was buried in a grave amongst the graves of deceased monks - the question is why?