Archaeology news

Farms in the Sahara

At ... researchers from Huddersfield and Italy have been in the Libyan desert and they have discovered people in the Sahara were cultivating and storing wild cereals 10,000 years ago. This was the period of the Green Sahara - and early agriculture was being practised. Hunter gatherers, it would seem, were collecting wild cereal seeds rather than farming them - but they didn't only harvest them, they also stored them. They were made into a sort of soup or porridge.

Chinese touch ups

At ... 115,000 years old bone tools found in China -quite sophisticated in technique. They were used to modify stone tools. These are known as soft hammers and were primarily used to retouch or re-sharpen stone tools.

At ... confirmation St Albans abbey church was built by the Normans in the 11th century ADF. Remains of the original apse, going back to 1077, have been unearthed during construction work on a new visitor centre.

Red Star

William sent in the link ... evidence that a red star disturbed the prehistoric solar system is the premise of a paper in Monthly Notes of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters (March 2018). It is somewhat like the Rupert Holms Star Core Zeus hypothesis (he is giving a talk at the 2018 SIS AGM and speaker meeting in April) but in this instance, rather than a remnant fragment of a supernova we have a dim red star (which is also binary with a brown dwarf) that brushed our solar system - back in the day.

James Mellaart

At ... we are told that James Mellaart faked several of his finds at Catal Huyuk and may even have had a forgers workshop (of a kind). He created some of the ancient murals and went on to forge documents recording inscriptions found at Beybag, a nearby Turkish village. The story  came about as a result of Eberhard Zangger, himself a somewhat controversial figure, who had apparently been duped into accepting as genuine some documents passed to him by Mellaart (and written in the Luwian tongue).

Canaanite Tomb

At ... an undisturbed tomb near a Bronze Age palace has been unearthed at Megiddo. The city dominated a strategic pass on a major trade route from 3000BC to the 20th century AD. It overlooks the Jezreel Valley and various military clashes have occurred in the vicinity - not least that of Thutmose III. Megiddo is currently being excavated by Finkelstein and Mario Martin (with Matthew Adams from the US). Palaces, temples, walls etc from both the Bronze and Iron ages have been uncovered.

IE language conundrum

Jovan sent in the link ... which concerns the destruction layer of Late Bronze Age Gezer, Human bones have been found in the fiery debris. Archaeologists attribute it to a military campagin by pharao Merenptah - ignoring the elephant in the room. This is that multiple cities and towns in the Levant, Anatolia, and the Aegean were destroyed at exactly the same point in time - and Merenpth could not have been responsible for them all.

Stalagmite Circle

At ... we have already dealt, last week, with the cave paintings ascribed to Neanderthals, but we now have something just as remarkable - Neanderthals constructing a concentric ring of stalagmites deep inside a cave. In the cave of Bruniquel in France (Tarn et Garonne) they built a circular structure made out of 400 sawn off pieces of stalagmite (but what they used as a cutting tool is as yet unknown). They form two concentric circles - a design we usually associate with modern  humans in the Neolothic megalithic era.

Giant Hand Axes

At ... a high density of giant hand axes has been dated 200,000 to 300,000 years ago and was uncovered in NW Spain. The discovery appears to show alternative stone tool technologies existed alongside each other - indicating different human populations co-existed in the same general localities. The fossil record appears to support the idea as far as SW Europe was concerned. The tools in question are Acheulian which were widespread in North Africa as much as in southern Europe.

Orion at Stonehenge

At ... in the 1960s a portion of ditch excavated from the chalk bedrock was discovered west of Stonehenge during construction of the pedestrian tunnel by the old visitor centre that was in use up to a couple of years ago (now replaced by a new visitor centre and walk way as the road has been closed). Geophys has sinced revealed the ditch extended for 900m (or nearly 3000 feet) from SW of the henge to a point close to the Greater Cursus monument, NW of Stonehenge.

Rainforest Disappears

Gary sent in this one. Go to ... this is just up the street for catastrophists so brave a little read up on what is being implied. The central African rainforest vanished for a period of around 600 years - and then bounced back again. Why? A new study claims humans caused a rainforest crisis as a result of migrating southwards from northern Africa (presumably what is now the Sudan) 3000 years ago.