Archaeology news

The femur bone that caused a ripple

In Current World Archaeology 67 (Oct., 2014) - or go to ... there is an article by Tom Higham on Denisova Cave which famously produced the finger bone from which a genome was produced of an entirely new human species. It is located in the remote Altai Mountains at the far side of central Asia. Clearly, it could not have been so remote in the past as it has produced remains of Homo erectus, Denisovans, Neanderthals, and Modern Humans.

Another One Bites the Dust

The consensus turned upside down and a wriggling in the aisles. This time it is the consensus view on how to read ancient stone tools found in sediments such as river gravels and fossil soils. When archaeologists look at stone tools (assuming they are tools rather than bits of fractured and broken stone that look like tools) as used by early Palaeolithic peoples they look at them through the lens of an assumed Darwinian evolution in the technology. This view is fostered at university and in text books and even in examples of tools found in museums, and so on.

Seems like the Late Roman period is alive and kicking

Gunnar Heinsohn has been using his scissors to telescope AD chronology which included axing the Late Roman period (after 250BC) and making the 6th century AD event the same as the 3rd century AD setback which befell the Romans and threatened their frontiers (far and wide). This is said tongue in cheek by the way as Heinsohn's theory appeals to a very small minority.

Vanuatu and Florida

At ... we have Polynesians (the Lapita culture) arriving in Vanuatu around 3000 years ago. Was this migration spurred on by events in the sky - the events that brought Late Bronze civilisation to an end in the Near East, Anatolia, and the Aegean. The thrust of the research in Vanuatu is on the switch towards a diet that relied mostly on cultivated plants such as taro, jams, and bananas.

Stonehenge - white as objects in the night sky

Channel 4's TV show on 'The Hidden Landscape Project' at Stonehenge (part two) came up with some fascinating insights today - plus a lot of speculative thinking. That the outward facing sides of the stones were dressed by stonemasons is pretty common knowledge - but the fresh news is that when pounded and worked the surface whitens. These are blocks of sandstone (sarsen) that nowadays look dull and grey. In their heyday they were dressed in order not just to smooth their outlines, but to produce a white colour.

Stone monument in Galilee

At ... located 8 miles north of the Sea of Galilee a massive structure, compose of 500.000 cubic feet of stone and at a length of 492 feet, is said to be shaped in a crescent formation - or a serpent. It has been dated by pottery to between 3050 and 2650BC. It was previously thought it was a normal kind of city wall - common in the Levant. However, no city has been found associated with it - it is entirely stand alone (or that is the way it seems at the moment).

Fossils and Things

At ... concerns insect fossils found in rocks in the Rhone Valley, in limestone outcrops. A new species has been found, a water treader - the kind of aquatic bug you might find in a garden pond. Now, limestone is consider to have an origin in shallow sea locations such as lagoons and the Rhone Valley limestone has lots of fish and marine shells and even plants that are assumed to have been washed into the tropical sea.

Parch marks in the grass

Sophisticated technology fails - human acumen wins out. Perhaps the technology is not sophisticated enough - and with geophysics that is probably a fact. These machines cost big money and all archaeological departments have them - and most amateur archaeology groups do too. The point to consider - is too much reliance and faith put in their results. At ... an English Heritage worker spotted parch marks in the grass at Stonehenge.


At ... it seems archaeologists are trying to make sense of various Arctic migration patterns across the top of N America. We are told, a culture known as Palaeo-Eskimo, lived in the region between 5000 years ago and 700 years ago. These appear to be the people catalogued by Moe Mandelkehr in one of his SIS articles, bringing our attention to geographically long migrations in the wake of his 2300BC event.


At ... we have some nice pictures of Ani, an ancient 5000 year old Armenian settlement. At a recent symposium historian Sezai Yazici said a lot of underground features had been found such as secret water channels, monk's cells, meditation rooms, corridors, tunnels with traps and corners designed to thwart intruders, and various other underground structures more difficult to tie down.