Archaeology news

Natufian Hunters

The Natufian culture was hunter gatherer in nature - but they also exploited edible plants and lived in permanent, or semi permanent, houses. It has become something of a historical fact that Natufian people were halfway on the road towards agriculture - although when you look at it from a longer lens you realise they were doing not a great deal more than Magdalenian people in Europe, stone age people in New Guinea, and the early Maya people exploiting the forest margins in Mexico (prior to the adoption of agriculture).

Sekhmet statues

At ... the Chinese Liangzhu culture (Neolithic) created dams and levees as part of a vast hydraulic engineering exercise 5000 years ago at the Yangtze river delta. The Liangzhu people lived in houses on stilts along the river and its different channels. Chronologically Liangzhu was contemporary the pyramid builders in Egypt and the Stonehenge builders in Britain, dated between 3300 and 2300BC. The areas was attractive as they were growing rice in paddy fields ...

Iron in the Bronze Age

Gary sent in this link to ... (see also ) meteoric iron was in use during the Bronze age is the them of the findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science (December 2017). The Iron Age proper began after 1200BC - after the end of the Late Bronze period. However, as long ago as 3000BC iron artefacts were being made (see image below for example) - but formed out of meteoric iron. The iron arrived from the sky as already made.

Caesar and 54BC

At ... it seems Caesar may have landed at Pegwell Bay in the Isle of Thanet in 54BC and a fort was constructed to protect the 800 ships at anchor in the bay below. The fort was constructed to protect the beach head at a point on the NE coast of Kent, facing the mouth of the Thames. On the other side of the river was the territory of the Trinovantes and the Cassivelauni, important tribes at that time.

Green Axes

In Current Archaeology 333 (December 2017) we learn that one third of Neolithic stone axes in Britain come from greenstone outcrops at the foot of Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle, two mountains overlooking the Langdale Valley in the Lake District. Ireland's equivalent are porcelanite outcrops on Teivebulliagh mountain in Co Antrim. One hundred Langdale axes have been found in Irelan d and 200 from Co Antrim have been found in various parts of Britain. Green stone axes were traded extensively.

Russian Camels

At ... and ... we have a story of a camel painted on the walls of a cave in the southern Urals that is assigned to the Upper Palaeolithic period. A two humped camel that is presumably related to the modern Asian camel. The age of the painting has been provisionally date to somewhere between 14,500 and 37,700 years ago. No camels are thought to have existed in the Urals at this time as the area was assumed to be very cold as a result of the Late Glacial Maximum.

Indus rivers

The Indus civilisation thrived during the third millennium BC and into the 2nd millennium BC (basically it was contemporary with the Bronze age in Egypt, the Levant, Iran and Mesopotamia). It was located in what is now NW India and southern Pakistan and emerged on the back of the earlier Baluchistan Neolithic culture. The people were an advanced society that farmed virtually everything from cotton to dates. They established 5 large cities with plumbing and sewerage systems etc. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro are the most famous sites, situated on Himalaya fed rivers.

Migrations and Climate Change

Researchers are catching up it seems as migrations in the historical past are now being linked to switches in global climate (and tectonic activity) at different times in the Holocene. A paper in PNAS is briefly described at ... but doesn't give much away (unfortunately). No doubt Popular Archaeology will give us a bit more info on the when and how later in the week. However, it is worth pointing out they are still ignoring the bigger factor - catastrophism.


At ... the Guardian wine drinking metropolitan set are pleased to learn that clay pottery dating back 8000 years bear the tell tale traces of wine making. This comes from Georgia, in the Transcaucasus, on the back of the discovery of winemaking in northern Iran 7000 years ago. The Georgian site was a Neolithic village characterised by mud brick housing, stone and bone tools, and the farming of cattle and pigs, and wheat and barley.

Tall el-Hammam Update

The newsletter of TeHPO (the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project) for 14th November 2017. Four senior members of TeHEP are attending the annual meeting of the American School of Oriental Research in Boston and presenting 3 papers. Another 3 papers are being presented by an Italian team that have been working at Jericho. The discovery of a fortified town at Jericho during LBIIA is the object of interest as a tax or custom house from LBIIA has been found at Hammam.