Archaeology news

Spy satellites and archaeology

At ... US spy satellites data from the Cold War period has been released and it displays images that can be used by archaeologists as it shows up clear as daylight numerous ancient settlements (citeis, towns, villages) in fine detail, some of which were unknown to scholars. In this instance, it the Near and Middle East (modern Turkey, Syria, and Iraq) that is of interest - many of the sites are now stranded in the desert and far away from human habitation. Other sites are big, really big.

The domestication horizon

A press release by the University of Washington has been taken up at ... where the issue of domestication of plants and animals is raised, something that is normally thought to have happened early in the Holocene. However, this may be something of a misnomer as human activity in the Pleistocene is not easily found - and can be buried deep under sediments and encountered accidentally.


At ... we learn the Roman port of Ostia, on the Tiber and the port of call for all trade to Rome was much bigger than imagined.

Copper Age in western Britain

At ... the Neolithic in western Britain, or that part close to the Great Orme copper mines, has come up with evidence of copper artefacts as early as 3500BC. Does this warrant redefining a large tract of what is now the Neolithic (stone using) as Copper Age (even when such objects are rare in an archaeological context)?

Wet and Green in Arabia

At ... a team led by the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities has discovered a giant tusk from an extinct elephant - out in the desert. The species is known as Palaeoloxoden and was twice the size of modern elephants - but most Pleistocene animals were much larger than their Holocene descendants. It has been dated 325,000 years ago (by the geology in which it was found).

Humans in South America

At ... which is a piece on discoveries at Serra da Capuara National Park in Brazil (in the NE of the country). Rock art depicts people and animals in various activities - paintings numbered in their thousands. When excavations began, in a rock shelter associated with rock art, they unearthed stone tools going back 22,000 years ago.

Archaeology newsbites March 2014

At ... which concerns an early Pueblo village site - and talking about sites (of the web variety) Western Digs is very good.

Bones in Egypt, bones in London

At ... a tomb at Abydos has yielded up a vaulted burial chamber, a sandstone sarcophagus painted red and a small pyramid near the entrance that is 23 feet high. It belonged to a scribe, Horemhab - but the body was missing as the grave had been ransacked on at least two occasions in the past.

The Tempest Stela

At ... the so called Tempest Stela is causing a bit of a stir. It was originally found at the Temple of Karnak in Thebes by French archaeologists 60 + years ago, and it dated to the reign of Ahmose, first pharaoh of dynasty 18 (credited with driving out the Hyksos foreigners). A new translation of part of the text is at the centre of a new theory.