Archaeology news

Bronze Age Race Track

Irish Times, February 25th (see id1224265140601) ...a ring fort in Tipperary has been surveyed by archaeologists and they are suggesting it may have been used to stage Bronze Age sporting contests in what was essentially an arena. Ring forts are associated in folk  tale with fairies, but the Rathnadrinna Fort is something special located as it is 3km from the Rock of Cashel - seat of the High Kings of Munster.

Toba February 23rd ... newly found archaeology in India has revealed traces of human activity before the huge Toba eruption at 74,000 years ago. In fact, human activity has been preserved by uncovering the ash laid down by the volcano - in a similar fashion to Pompei. Humans were therefore in India before the Out of Africa theory assumes they left Africa - more and more problems are piling up for the accepted version of the spread of homo sapiens around the world.

Sunlight and Holes in Tombs and Monuments - The National (Arab Emirates) ... has a piece on the period before monotheistic religions took root - an era of different gods with many names, shapes, and sizes. The role of the Sun in the ancient Arab world was apparently very important as inside small ancient beehive shape buildings (tombs) a single ray of sunshine crept in through a smallish opening - and lit the interior for a couple of hours (each day).

Potbelly Hill

Newsweek, February 19th have run an article on the enigmatic monument unearthed in SE Anatolia dating back to 9500BC - the very beginnings of the Holocene (see ). On what is a softly rounded hill in the foothills of the Taurus, the mountains rising at it's rear, it's face towards Syria in the south and the Plain of Harran to the SE.

Golden Bough

Daily Telgraph February 18th (see online at ) ... Italian archaeologists claim to have found a stone enclosure which once protected the legendary 'Golden Bough' of the Aeneas myth. It was discovered while excavating a religious sanctuary built in honour of the goddess Diana near a volcanic lake 20 miles south of Rome. The enclosure, it is claimed, protected a large cypress or oak tree sacred to the Latins. The tree was central to the tale of Aeneas flight from Troy - and it also symbolised the power of the priest-king.

Cosmic Tusk Update

Further posts on the AGU Meeting. WC Mahaney et al, in Geomorphology 116: Issues 1-2, page 48-57, due out on March 15th 2010, says that a new group of scientists have emerged and are about to publish their findings which appear to support the YD boundary impact event hypothesis. Evidence this time comes from the Andes in NW Venezuela.

Ghana, Carthage, and Tutankhamun

BBC News February 17th ... archaeologists have unearthed dozens of clay figures in Ghana that are thought to shed some light on pre-Islamic society (80 sculptures dating between 600-1200AD). The culture appears to have disappeared when Islam arrived - they either converted to the new religion or were the victims of the slave trade.

The Vancouver Sun and archaeology stories

Two stories from the Vancouver Sun (see and click on archaeology stories). On December 29th 2009 it was revealed that a study has found what people were eating a 100,000 years ago in southern Africa. Dozens of stone tools found during excavation are the earliest evidence, so far, of human reliance on grain (Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary). The diet of early humans was much more diverse than archaeologists have previously realised. Grains were as much part of their diet as roots, tubers, fruit and berries.

Bronze Age boats in the Atlantic Daily Telegraph, February 13th ... a trading vessel carrying a cargo of tin and copper ingots was found on the sea bed off the coast of Devon - and dates back to the Late Bronze Age, around 900BC. Copper and tin was used to make bronze used for weapons, tools, jewellery, ornaments and ornamentation.

C14 calibration February 11th ... Gerry McCormac and Paula Reimer of Queens University in Belfast (the '14 Chrono Centre') have created a new archaeological tool, a calibration curve that reaches back 50,000 years ago. The curve is known as INTCAL09 and full details are published in the journal Radiocarbon. It not only extends the C14 calibration curve but also improves earlier parts of the curve - which will prove very interesting. More information is available online at