Archaeology news


At ... William sent in this one. A Roman city off the NE coast of Tunisia with streets, monuments, and tanks used to produce garum (a fermented fish based condiment) has been found by archaeologists - submerged. The suggestion is that it was overwhelmed by a tsunami - which begs the question, then why did it remain submerged? Earthquakes in the Mediterranean are common and many classical Greek and Roman towns and cities on the coast were subject to tectonic subsidence - a more likely explanation than a tsunami wave.

Seeds and Pollen

Seeds and pollen collected by archaeologists in Ohio are turning out to be quite important. Maize was domesticated in Mexico and did not become an important crop in Ohio until about AD90. The first farmers in the region go back 5000 years and they relied on local plants such as sumpweed, goosefoot, may grass and little barley etc. These plants are clearly associated with the mound builders (Adena and Hopewell cultures) - see

Wild Sheep

At ... wild sheep lived and thrived in the Black Desert region of eastern Jordan in the Late Pleistocene. To be exact, during the warm period separating the end of the Late Glacial Maximum and the onset of the cold Younger Dryas climatic period, known in Europe as the Bolling and Alleroed warm periods. The research is published in the Royal Society's Open Science journal and the field evidence was recovered by the University of Copenhagen.

Lida Ajer

At ... human teeth from a cave on Sumatra has been analysed and it seems they date back over 60,000 years ago. This date supports recent findings that Aborigines were in Australia at least as early as 65,000 years ago. The evidence that modern humans, or people identified as modern humans by their teeth, has led to a revision of when these same people would have left Africa, their assumed place of origin. There are, however, some oddities in the report. The Lida Ajer cave is in the highland zone of Sumatra, a long way from the coast.

Forest Gardening

When climate change, as in catastrophic global warming, holds hands with archaeology, the latter always comes out the loser and the results are worse than useless. So many assumptions are built into the text at ... on the subject of forest gardening by stone age humans. The lead author of the study was one Dr Patrick Roberts of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Neanderthals in the Levant

At ... Israeli archaeologists have been excavating a site that disproves the idea Neanderthals lives in caves is the headline, a piece of journalistic license it would seem. The site currently being investigated is far from being a cave - see image below, an aerial view of an excavation in open country ....

Prehistoric Remains

An archaeological excavation at a Shrewsbury church has revealed it was built on a former Neolithic and Bronze Age site - including a burial mound with slots for standing stones and two rows of Neolithic post holes around a ditch (and presumably at one time a bank). The church appears to have deliberately been sited and built on ancient remains - that may have had some kind of superstition attached to them, or even a cult of some kind. A wooden post that was found has been dated by C14 to 2033BC (in the British Early Bronze Age).

Susan Oosthuisen

At ... archaeologist Susan Oosthuizen is well known for her research into the historicity of Britain's common land - which she claims goes back at least 1500 years. She was quoted by Steve Mitchell in one of his articles in SIS Review and has popped up in conversation with him, at one time or another. She specialises in the Anglo Saxon period and in particular, Cambridgeshire and the Fen country. The Fens were flooded in the Late Roman period - between 300 and 600AD, following the dry Roman Warm Period.

Cats Brain Barrow

At ... it seems the axe Otzi the Iceman was carrying was made of copper - and it has been traced back to a copper deposit in central Italy. This is interesting as it shows metal was in use in Europe in the 4th millennium BC (contemporary with its use in the Near East during the Chalcolithic).

Hancock on Gobekli

Gobekli Tepe in modern SE Turkey is an impressive megalithic structure - or series of structures. They date back to the early Holocene period - some distance after the so called Younger Dryas Boundary event. After it was deemed past its shelf life the stone circles were buried in soil and and debris to form a hill - a very large mound. The current view of archaeologists is that the megaliths were build by hunter gatherers.