Archaeology news

Tower of Skulls

A tower of human skulls has been found in Mexico City, going back to the Aztec era. See ... where archaeologists have unearthed 675 skull of men, women, and children at Huey Tzompantli. The Spanish conquistadores recorded thousands of skulls they came across - so the archaeologists have some way to go before reaching the bottom of the tower. The structure lies close to the Templo Major, which was used for human sacrifices in the capital, Tenochtitlan.

Skull Cult

At ... Gobekli Tepe pillars have carvings of headless humans, and animals ...


Avebury stone circle is far the more visitor friendly than Stonehenge. It is so large a village encroaches within it - but a lot of the stones are missing. There are some good stories abroad concerning the fate of the stones but clearly some were simply buried. Others were broken up and used in walls and houses in the village and on nearby farms. A somewhat zealous cleric was involved in the destruction of some of the stones - but that is a story for another day. All this took place in the 17th and 18th centuries and it is thought the circle was fairly intact up until then.

Fire Use

At ... is an interesting read - if only to illustrate how difficult it is to establish between natural fire (such as lightning and landscape blazes), and human induced fire (such as camp and hearth fires). It is thought by some archaeologists that fire use may go back to Homo erectus. Strangely, there appears to be a lot of scepticism towards an early date for making fires - some archaeologists even think Neanderthals could not light their own fires.

El Khawy

      A newly discovered panel of rock art is thought to contribute to an understanding on how heiroglyphic signs developed. A modicum of scepticism is in order - although one might think old ideas contributed to the new idea of sign language (or writing in the Egyptian style) - see In this instance, a bull's head on a pole and a back to back saddleback stork and a bald iris are depicted.

Jerusalem Tower

At ...  (June 19th 2017) we have a story, 'carbon dating undermines biblical narrative for ancient Jerusalem tower ...' ... which concerns a defensive tower that was previously dated around 1700BC but has now been re-dated to the 9th century BC. This will concern revisionist chronologists - and SIS has many members interested in that subject.

Challenging GIS

This is an interesting article - go to ... Canadian archaeologists challenge the credibility of GIS methods to accurately predict weather on shoreline erosion. Computer models of archaeological sites are ideal software tools for managing referenced data and are commonly used to yield information used for protecting heritage - but some scientists are questioning the credibility of the models. They want long term trends to be 'ground truthed' in order to substantiate rates of change that 'reflect' observed phenomena 'in the field'.

Viking War Camp

William sent in this link at ... a large war camp of a Viking army has been uncovered at Torksey, on the banks of the Trent in Lincolnshire. It included boat repair facilities and a smelter to melt looted gold and silver and convert it into ingots. It was a base for operations - defended during the winter months (laying up in wait of spring and a new campaign season). Thousands of men, women, and children, lived there, and the site was bigger than any nearby town in the region.

Verulamium discovery

Excavations to renew and re-lay a gas pipe across the southern portion of Verulamium, Roman St Albans, has unearthed another pottery kiln - see ... four pottery kilns were unearthed in the 1980s and it seems the pipeline excavation has unearthed a fifth kiln. This makes sense as there is a Roman period clay pit on the other side of the river Ver, within reach of the southern side of the Roman town. You would not want to transport clay by wagon too far - and the route is downhill all the way.

Burning Houses

At ... From the Bronze Age to the Viking Age, roughly a period of almost 3000 years, burial mounds were sometimes placed on top of the remains of burnt long houses. It was a way of getting rid of a house that had grown old and weary, and sometimes internal posts that supported the roof were removed for re-use elsewhere, but generally, it was an act of closure. Why was fire involved - and why was the same period associated with a rise in cremation as a means of disposing of bodies?