Archaeology news

Marine Hunting

Gary sent in this link. At ... using harpoons and rafts humans hunted whales off the shore of South America. The hunt was frozen in time - painted on rocks in what is now the Atacama desert. Whales, swordfish, sea lions, and sharks wee depicted - all fearsome creatures if you are stuck on a flimsy raft in the ocean. Were they really hunting for food? What other reason for the rock art might be considered?

Dutch Mesolithic

At .... the oldest Dutch work of art goes back to the Mesolithic era - dating from around 13,500 years ago and consisting of a severed bison bone dredged up from the bottom of the North Sera. The bone was covered in a geometrical design, mostly zig zags. What is more important is the admission by archaeologists they did not record artifacts from the North Sea bed until recently. They were compartmentalised as Out of Context - and archaeologically invalid as a useful item.

Green Desert

Gary sent in this link - ... ancient rock art discovered in Saudi Arabia shows over 6000 depictions of life when the desert was green. Wildlife abounded in northern Arabia up to 6000 years ago. Some of the rock art dates back as far as 10,000 years ago when the desert was teeming with animals, rivers flowed, and there was abundant vegetation.


Archaeological excavations of Tell Edfu, ongoing for the last 16 years, have revealed some interesting information about how people lived in the Old Kingdom - see ... going back to the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. Edfu is in southern Egypt (or what was known as Upper Egypt) and finds  from the 5th century are currently being investigated. Edfu was an important post for expeditions into the Eastern desert in search of metals and stone. The Red Sea coast was just 125 miles to the east.

Greeks in Canada

Robert also sent in this link at ... did ancient Greeks sail to Canada. The idea if is based on something mentioned by the Greek author Plutarch. Did they reach Canada in around AD56? A character in a text of Plutarch is said to have claimed he had recently returned from 'a great continent' - and that is about all the evidence is. What was a great continent in the eyes of the sailor. The newly conquered Britain (by the Romans) is bigger than your average Mediterranean island.

Maya and LIDAR imaging

Robert sent in the link ... which concerns the use of LIDAR technology to peer through the tree canopy and image the ground surface below. We have seen it in action in the UK producing stunning results by looking at the woodland floor. Now the technology has been applied to the tropical forest zone of central America. In this instance, Guatemala - where an astonishing amount of Mayan archaeology has been revealed. All they have to do now is beat a path through the jungle.

Stone Tools India

Javan sent in two links to this story - ... and ... a cache of stone tools from SE India, not far from Chennai, has thrown up a change in tool use at the 200,000 years ago mark. Acheulian hand axes have a long time longevity, it is thought (see belwo) ...

Stone Wall 23,000 years old

At ... I missed this back in 2010 - a 23,000 year old stone wall in front of a cave in Lalambaka in Greece, probably built to protect residents of the cave from cold winds or wild animals. It is apparently the oldest known example of a man made structure. It has all the hall marks of a Mesolithic repertoire but here might be a problem as Mesolithic people elsewhere appear after the end of the  Late Glacial Maximum (but this is slam bang in the middle of it).

More on Keros 2

At ... sent in by William. Dhaskalios, a nearby island but once a promontory of Keros, was at one time almost completely covered in monumental structures of gleaming white marble. Another slant on the same story as in an earlier post.

More on Keros

The full article by Colin Renfrew (which doesn't include the recent discovery of drainage channels under the surface) is available at ... see also DOI:10.5871/jba/001.187 ,Journal of British Archaeology' 17th December 2013 (as published in the same journal pages 187-2120. You can also watch a video of the discoveries on Keros at ... Renfrew is mostly concerned with the sanctuary in this paper which dates to the end of the mid 3rd millennium BC.