Archaeology news

Tree rings and History

At ... an analysis of European tree ring data suggests that a series of mild summers may have been the key to the rise of the Roman Empire - and prolonged droughts, cold snaps, and the like played a part in historical upheavals, from the barbarian incursions to the Black Death (plague). Ulf Buntgen, a palaeoclimatologist from Zurich had his paper published in the journal Science ( ... in January of 2011).

Circling the Wagons

At ... a classic case of circling the wagons and shutting down an upstart theory. This time, it is the idea that Solutrean Points (from Iberia) are similar to Clovis Points (common in SE N America) and the idea that the Americas might have been colonised by humans not just from across the Bering Straits but also people from Ice Age Europe may also have reached the Americas. The problem is that people from Siberia are assumed, in the mainstream straitjacket, to have colonised America after the Ice Age.


The New York Times, March 11th (sent in by a US member) had a short piece on DNA studies of the Armenian people of the Transcaucasus region. In Armenian tradition, or rather, according to an Armenian historian, ones Moses Khorenatsi, the Armenians established their homeland as long ago as 2492BC. We don't know how he arrived at that date but modern  genetic studies show he was not that far out.

cremated bones

At ... and see also ... during a pre-construction survey of a pipeline project in Essex archaeologists came across cremated (burnt) bones dating back to 5600BC. This date is firmly within the Mesolithic period and is interesting as cremation is normally associated with later periods in Britain - such as the Bronze and Iron ages.

wetland Utah

At .... some really cracking stone tools can be seen at this link, including a spear head known as a Hackett Point, dating back 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. This appears to be a misprint or mistake as they are referring to a time prior to the Younger Dryas event, which occurred around 12,900 years ago. Perhaps it should read BC rather than 'years ago' -  or some anomaly has crept into the text.

circles, ancient texts, and fortifications

At ... strange ritual sites in NW China (spilling over into Mongolia) appear to go back to 2500BC - the same age as Egypt's pyramids and Stonehenge in the UK.


At ... we have all heard of Tiahuanaco, high in the Andes, and its mysterious ruins - now a buried pyramid is thought to have been discovered.

at the cusp of the Ice Age

At ... people were hunting horses and camels 13,300 years ago (in N America) - prior to the Younger Dryas event. For some reason the news release chooses to say they were living in the Ice Age - which isn't true. They were living in a warm period between the end of the Ice Age and the Younger Dryas. However, they were living in the very late Pleistocene - which I suppose is all part of the Ice Age, depending how accurate you might want to be. The horse and camel remains were  found near Calgary in Canada, on the rolling priaires.

Cappadocian safe bolt hole

This is the underground safe house created in Cappadocia. Was it designed in fear of cosmic catastrophism - or was it designed as a safe place for the locals when predatory armies were rampaging through the region. Go to .... where it is inferred local Christians hid there from various Islamic intrusions into the region, from the Seljuk Turks to the Ottomans.

a carpet of stone tools

I like this one as I can remember struggling, years ago, with trying to comprehend stone tool technology, and why the Middle Palaeolithic was so well documented in the Sahara. Okay, it's a desert and dry weather preserves things - but these are stone tools and they would be preserved even in a wet environment. This piece explains it all.