Archaeology news

IE language conundrum

Jovan sent in the link ... which concerns the destruction layer of Late Bronze Age Gezer, Human bones have been found in the fiery debris. Archaeologists attribute it to a military campagin by pharao Merenptah - ignoring the elephant in the room. This is that multiple cities and towns in the Levant, Anatolia, and the Aegean were destroyed at exactly the same point in time - and Merenpth could not have been responsible for them all.

Stalagmite Circle

At ... we have already dealt, last week, with the cave paintings ascribed to Neanderthals, but we now have something just as remarkable - Neanderthals constructing a concentric ring of stalagmites deep inside a cave. In the cave of Bruniquel in France (Tarn et Garonne) they built a circular structure made out of 400 sawn off pieces of stalagmite (but what they used as a cutting tool is as yet unknown). They form two concentric circles - a design we usually associate with modern  humans in the Neolothic megalithic era.

Giant Hand Axes

At ... a high density of giant hand axes has been dated 200,000 to 300,000 years ago and was uncovered in NW Spain. The discovery appears to show alternative stone tool technologies existed alongside each other - indicating different human populations co-existed in the same general localities. The fossil record appears to support the idea as far as SW Europe was concerned. The tools in question are Acheulian which were widespread in North Africa as much as in southern Europe.

Orion at Stonehenge

At ... in the 1960s a portion of ditch excavated from the chalk bedrock was discovered west of Stonehenge during construction of the pedestrian tunnel by the old visitor centre that was in use up to a couple of years ago (now replaced by a new visitor centre and walk way as the road has been closed). Geophys has sinced revealed the ditch extended for 900m (or nearly 3000 feet) from SW of the henge to a point close to the Greater Cursus monument, NW of Stonehenge.

Rainforest Disappears

Gary sent in this one. Go to ... this is just up the street for catastrophists so brave a little read up on what is being implied. The central African rainforest vanished for a period of around 600 years - and then bounced back again. Why? A new study claims humans caused a rainforest crisis as a result of migrating southwards from northern Africa (presumably what is now the Sudan) 3000 years ago.

Palaeolithic Calendar

At ... a Palaeolithic camp site found in the Ukraine in the 20th century is perhaps the oldest known human settlement site known - or is not too far from that status. It dates back 18 to 20,000 years ago. Finds included 2 intricately carved mammoth bones bracelets - which led to an amazing line of research.

Neanderthal Art

At .... we have the full story of cave art found in Spain that has been dated 64,000 years ago - prior to the arrival of modern humans. A couple of weeks ago we were assured the Neanderthals did not do art. The more advanced modern humans introduced it to Europe - and now this. The date is the basis of the claim it was the work of Neanderthals.


A clay seal with the name of Isaiah has been found on a dig in Jerusalem - just 10 feet from another clay seal of Hezekiah. Eilat Mazar speculates that it is a seal of the Biblical prophet Isaiah, a contemporary of Hezekiah and the seige of Jerusalem by the Assyrian king Sennacherib. See for example ...

Beaker Folk

Late last year we had an article in PNAS that claimed the Bell Beaker folk movement was an actual migration event as far as Britain was concerned, a movement of people from Frisia into Britain which overwhelmed the Neolithic inhabitants. It gave rise to the Bronze Age which in Britain is closely associated with the adoption of field systems and farms of the kind we see in the modern landscape.

Negev Rock Art

Javan sent in the link ... rock art in the Negev - has it anything to do with the Exodus story? A chain of holy mountains with painted rock art on them has led to Yehuda Rotblum, author of 'Rock Art in Israel', to suggest this region was where the Exodus tribes wandered 40 years in the Wilderness (or something like that).