Archaeology news

Bigging the Hole

At ... humans settled in Australia around 50,000 years ago (and possibly even earlier). This applies to the interior outback as much as the coastal zone. The Flinders Range in South Australia, 280 mile adrift of Adelaide, display evidence of human occupation - and the sediments have been dated according to a paper in Nature this month. The discovery of bone tools and the use of pigments such as ochre appear to cement the findings.

Michigan Mammoth

At ... the remains of a mammoth have been pulled out of a farm field in Michigan and is now residing in the university museum. It was hauled out of the field just a few weeks ago but now it has pride of place and the museum is expecting a bumper number of visitors as the news spreads. However, there is a strange thing that has happened - one to make you wonder. After a brief analysis it is claimed that the animal displays certain evidence of being killed and butchered by humans - even though the mammoth dates from prior to the Clovis period.

Pacific Migrations.

At ... modelling and statistical data have been used to explore how the colonisation of the Pacific islands took place and what role wind systems might have in the process. It was shown that Hawaii and New Zealand may have been found as a result of La Nina conditions existing in the Pacific whereas colonisation eastwards, they think, was a result of El Nino conditions. The problem with this study is obvious - they have limited their modelling to known wind systems and weather changes that occur in the modern world.

Siberian Faces

   At ... it seems stone faces in Siberia underwent facial adjustments in the early Middle Ages as a result of new people moving into the area.

China refutes BBC slant

At ... a BBC television programme came out with the claim Greek sculpture directly influenced the rendition of the terracotta army in the tomb of the First emperor a week of so ago (see ). The archaeologist has retorted by saying she has been quoted out of context - which is not surprising as the BBC have a habit of selectively editing material.

Is it a map

At ... we have a stone age map (one of several in fact) going back to the Neolithic in Denmark ...

     ... scientists at the National Museum of Denmark are reasonably certain the image does not portray the sun or its rays but display the topographical details of the island of Bornholm as it was in the first half of the 3rd millennium BC.

What's in a name

Perusing the summer 2016 newsletter of the Prehistoric Society (see I came across the reason why and how the name of Doggerland was applied to the watery former habitat below the southern North Sea basin by archaeologists. It came about as the result of a paper by Bryony Coles on wetland environments in Europe in 1998. She applied the term from the Dogger Bank, the area that is most shallow in that basin and from which evidence of Mesolithic activity has been dredged.

Terracotta Warriors

At ...archaeologists are suggesting that inspiration for the terracotta warriors in the Tomb of the First Emperor may have come from ancient Greece (and trade during the 3rd century BC). In this respect the trade route will have been with the Middle East zone subject to Achaemenid culture (post Alexander). This news story culminated in a BBC 2 programme on October 16th, 'The Greatest Tomb on Earth: Secrets of Ancient China - which is available on i-player.

footprints in mud

At ... we learn of the discovery of footprints near the volcanic mountain the Maasai call the Mountain of God. They are preserved in mud dating between 19,000 and 5,000 years ago (which is a large margin of error). There are some 400 footprints in an area the size of a tennis court, situated on the shore of a lake in Tanzania. The current view is that the mud dried out as quickly as a couple of hours.

Black Sea Flood

We would not expect mainstream to endorse the idea of a catastrophic flood in the Black Sea as envisaged by the two Americans, Ryan and Pitman (1996) but they have gone to the bother of setting up the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (carried out by the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at Southampton University and the Bulgarian Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Sofia (see ).