Archaeology news

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.

Siberia's Robin Hood

At ... it seems the Altai region is turning up a lot of archaeology - and is disseminating it through this excellent web site. In this post we have the find of an archer of renown - supplied in the afterlife with his arrows, and quiver ... 

Ezekiel's Wheel

I like this story - a nice conclusion after four years of research. It derives from an archaeological exploration in Maryland, at the site of a former plantation which used African slaves - see (see also The Biblical figure of Ezekiel seems to have appealed to pagan Africans proselytised by Christians. Why? The conclusion here is that the wheel has a parallel in African myth - and we may note Native Americans had their medicine wheels too.


At ... which is a reference to the arrival of paleo-Eskimo culture in Greenland. How they got there is unknown but when they got there provides a clue - between 4500 and 4000 years ago. At this time there was widespread and large scale migrations of different human groups in diverse parts of the world. The movement of the Eskimo culture is just one of those movements (as explored by Moe Mandelkehr in SIS publications).

Rum Goings On

At ... an ancient stone with concentric circles, one inside the other, has been unearthed in the Dublin area. The stone is thought to go back, at least, to around 3000BC, and probably before that as it seems to have been a robbed stone from a nearby megalithic tomb. This desecration occurred in the 18th century - by the great and the good, impervious of the concerns of the little people. Lodge Hall was built in 1725 and made use of stone from two passage graves/ tombs.

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.