Archaeology news

understanding the past 2

One influence that Marxist and Socialist historians have had, in league with the idea of Gradualist Evolution of society, has been in our understanding of the past, in the way we view early humans (or any kind of past human endeavour). By default our prehistoric forebears must be inferior to modern humans - in every way (apart from brute strength). This means humans living 300,000 years ago were inordinately less practical than humans living after 50,000 years ago - the era defined as the beginning of the dominance of modern human groups (in Europe if at nowhere else in the world).

Gilgal Refaim

The Times (December 2015) has a piece on Gilgal Refaim, the 'Wheel of the Giants' which is situated on the Golan Heights (and currently on land assigned as a firing range for Israeli military manoevres). It consists of piled rocks set in concentric circles up to 5000 feet wide and has a burial chamber at its heart - the bull's eye. In Arabic it is known as the 'stone heap of the wild cat' for some reason but it is on semi wild land in a high position. It consists of 42,000 tonnes of stone piled some 30 feet high.

shifting sands

At     we hear that a group of archaeologists walking along the coastline of Sanday, one of the Orkney islands, were on the way to visit an archaeological site when they stopped to investigate a mound uncovered by shifting sand dunes at Tresness. It seems this excursion off the route has come up trumps as further investigation has revealed some 14 houses dating back to the Bronze Age - with certain similarities with Skara Brae (Neolithic houses elsewhere in the Orkneys).

Mike Parker Pearson

At ... we learn that Mike Parker Pearson is involved in a new project, also with an impact on Stonehenge, in Pembrokeshire on the western side of Wales. Parker Pearson is best known for his involvement in the recent Stonehenge invesigation of the surrounding landscape which culminated in the book 'Stonehenge:exploring the greatest stone age mystery' Simon and Schuster:2012, which can be picked up quite cheaply nowadays (especially second hand copies).

Dogger in Lincoln

At  ... excavations for a new building in the grounds of Lincoln University have turned up a Mesolithic camp site dating back up to 11,000 years ago. It appears to have been a place where flint microlithic blades were being made, over several generations. Hundreds of microliths - and flakes of flint from cores (nodules) have been dug up, dating from the early Holocene. Lincoln is not far from the Fens and at one time was virtually an island.

works of the old men

The works of the old men is a bedouin term referring to thousands of stone structures in the Jordanian and Arabian deserts. Two wheels, or circular stone structures with what look like spokes, have been dated 8500 years ago (very close to the 6200BC event). Massive meandering walls appear to go nowhere - see

Hezekiah's Seal

The BBC has finally caught up with the news that a seal of King Hezekiah has been found by Israeli archaeologists.

underground city

The ancient Cappadocian city with a labyrinnth of underground tunnels and chambers serving as living quarters and storage facilities, a mess of hidey holes, is back in the news. Don't expect much information as the newspaper isn't really an archaeological forum. Go to ... the big question remains unanswered. Why did people want to be underground - what was falling out of the sky, or who were they hiding from.

Upper Tibet

Upper Tibet is basically the northern and western end of the plateau. We all know that Buddhism took fairly deep roots in Tibet - but what went on before as far as beliefs are concerned? At ... it seems the pre Buddha gods of Tibet were not a lot different than elsewhere, a pantheon associated with the stars, moon, sun, planets - and celestial dragons.