Archaeology news


At ... archaeologists digging on Chapelle Dom Hue off the coast of Guernsey found a grave - of a porpoise. The island was used by monks and archaeologists were looking for evidence of a monastery and its inhabitants in the medieval period (including the burial of devotees). The porpoise was buried in a grave amongst the graves of deceased monks - the question is why?

Easter Island Population

At ... Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, have been a mystery ever since Europeans first landed there in 1722. Early visitors estimated the p[opulation at around 1500 to 3000 souls. However, there are about 900 giant statues around the island ....

Easter Island Script

This is the first of two posts on Easter Island. At,459670,polish-researcher-... ... the rongorongo writing on Easter Island is thought to be a fairly recent invention - but this theory may be erroneous. Attempts to read it (by others) have proved difficult. Dr Rafael Wieczoreklu tried his hand to decypher the glyphs and thinks there may be an astronomical connection. It seems no other Polynesians used writing (or if they did it has not survived).

Denisova Australia

Robert sent in this link - go to .... where we have the idea that Australian Aborigines are descendants of Denisovans. I can't see anything particularly controversial about this as Europeans are thought to be descended from Neanderthals (who were contemporaries of the Denisovans). In both cases there is around 4 per cent of Denisova or Neanderthal DNA in modern populations - the rest of it has probably been diluted due to bottlenecks and mass die-offs during catastrophic events in the past.

Norwegian Iron

At ... Norwegians made top quality iron products but where did they get the knowhow? For centuries people in the middle of Norway made huge amounts of first class iron out of bog ore. Presumably this is where the bogs were located - and the same situation prevailed in Sweden. They made tools and weapons, more than the needs of the locals as Norway is a pretty low populated country. This indicates much of the production was exported - but to where?

Greek EQs

At ... we hear that the ancient Greeks may have built sacred and treasured sites deliberately on land previously affected by earthquake activity. This is according to a new study by the University of Plymouth. Iain Stewart, professor of geoscience and author of 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth: how geology shaped civilisation' (Century Books:2005) (also a BBC television Discovery series of the same name but with the title 'Hot Rocks' in the US version).

early humans

It has been something of an anomaly that some Neanderthal remains have been dated less than 30,000 years ago - as far as a catastrophist explanation for their demise is concerned. At ... revised dating, using a new methodology making use of bone collagen, has now placed Neanderthal remains in a Croatian cave as occurring prior to 30,000 years ago. The problem at this point in time, as said on other occasions, is that between 40 and 30,000 years ago there was a massive plateau in C14, which is what has been causing the conflicting dates.

Famine and ill weather

Geoffrey Parker, in 'Global Crisis:Wars, Climate Change and Catastrophism in the 17th Century' on page 480, turns his attention to Australia - and the Aborigines coping with drought and lack of food. Australia had one of the lowest population densities in the world as it is predominantly dry. Only in the SE and SW corners is there a temperate climate with fertile soils. Desert and semi arid outback covers two thirds of Australia.


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