Archaeology news

Newgrange Roof Box

At ... where we are told the roof box or sun trap in the passage tomb of Newgrange may only be 50 or so years old as the tomb was subject to some Ministry of Works restoration, kind of thing. It also goes back to one archaeologist, we are told, who happened to be the tutor of the complainant, Michael Gibbons. Martin Brennan is not mentioned - but you would not expect an archaeologist to mention him in any case.

Walls and Plants

At ... archaeologists from the University of Birmingham and the Egypt Exploration Society, along with Egyptian comrades, have discovered a wall dating back to the Old Kingdom. The wall protects a number of OK tombs - yet to be explored. The tombs are of pharaohs and pharaohs provincial officials, from the MK as well as the OK, and are situated near modern Aswan.

Chinese Flood

At ... we have a story sent in by Gary. Chinese archaeologists begin to excavate a 2600 year old city wiped out by floods in central China. The city began life in 624BC and was overwhelmed by water, muds, and silts in AD742. The ruins are surrounded by a 5 mile long wall, 61 feet in width and 13 feet high. It is hoped it will be a time capsule of the Tang dynasty.

Beaker Folk

It seems the Amesbury Archer may not have hailed from the Alps as the media and archaeologists have been trumpeting for the last few years. According to research on a new project using isotopes, teeth enamel and bone callogen he could have come from Scotland, a sort of prehistoric drover. The Neolithic in Britain, it has been found, was an extremely mobile society, quite unlike the Bronze Age. It seems to have been primarily a pastoral society.

'World's Oldest Alphabet'

This si the title of a new book by Douglas Petrovich, a Canadian archaeologist. He has, or is about to, invite a lot of criticism - especially from the politically correct brand of academia - see He claims he has found proof that Hebrew is the root of the world's oldest alphabet - which may cause goose bumps on some people but cause others to go red in the face. He says he has found evidence of the Israelites in Egypt and they converted 22 hieroglyphs into a Hebrew alphabet more than 3800 years ago.

Tall el-Hammam

On our home page we have a Face Book link to Phil Silvia who has been taking part in excavations at Tall el-Hammam in the Kikkar region of Jordan (the plain at the northern end of the Dead Sea). This is thought to be a contender for Biblical Sodom as it displays evidence of a catastrophic destruction. This is not to say sodomy has anything to do with the demise as that appears to be a later embellishment, a means of explaining the ruins in a later era. This coming season Phil Silvia will be specifically looking for evidence of the manner of its destruction.

Red Sea harbour

At ... a harbour going back to the Old Kingdom of Egypt, 4600 years ago (specifically to the reign of Khufu (Cheops), and the pyramid building period). It was used to import various materials, products of the Sinai and further afield. It was discovered by divers at Wadi al Jauf ...

Roots we Like

Potatoes - who set the growing of potatoes into motion? How did they develop them from a wild species that is toxic? Even in modern potatoes, when tubers go green it is advised not to eat them as they possess dreaded toxins (and the same goes for the small fruitlets that form after flowering). Somebody first grew and ate the ancestors of our King Edwards (good mashers) and Charlottes (good firm salad variety) and many other modern varieties (different favourites in different countries).

Stonehenge neighbourhood

At .... the military base at Larkfield, part of what is called the Stonehenge landscape (within walking distance of the stones), has been hiding a Neolithic 'causewayed enclosure' provisionally dated to 3650BC. These enclosures garnered that name as the circle is really a series of ditches laid out in concentric circles with gaps between them. The gaps were supposed to be causeways but their function or purpose is unknown.

Rounding Up

At     ... a piece of kangaroo bone dating back as early as 44,000 years ago is being presented as the oldest bone jewellery belonging to Homo sapiens. For some reason they do not say Homo sapiens sapiens (modern man) but presumably this is an error. It is just 13 cm in length and was designed to pierce the front of the nose and was found in a rock shelter in the Kimberleys.