Archaeology news

farming in Galilee

At ... the consensus view is that farming began in the Fertile Crescent around 12,000 years ago (at the beginning of the Holocene). However, Stephen Mithen, in his opus, 'After the Ice' (Phoenix, 2003) did suggest agriculture was being practised before the start of the Younger Dryas 13,000 years ago (but suffered a temporary relapse) and took off afterwards. The relapse may have been due to a decline in population associated with the Younger Dryas event which altered climate around the world for a thousand years.

Amazonia (2)

  David Reich, Harvard Medical School professor of genetics, is the author of a study that show a link between Amazon people and Australasia. The study, in Nature (July 23rd, 2015) says that according to Reich the findings were surprising as there is a strong working model in archaeology and genetics that Native Americans were derived from a single pulse of expansion south of the ice sheets.


New Scientist has published new information on the human imprint discovered along the Amazon river and its tributaries

Gobekli pictograph

At ... at Gobekli Tepe, the iconic site with the T shaped uprights in the highlands overlooking the North Syrian plain, a scene on one of those uprights is reputed to be the world's oldest pictograph. This is because it depicts an event thematically, a human head in the wing of a vulture and a headless body beneath. There are other beasties around these two characters, such as cranes and scorpions. Is it a portrayal of a moment in time - a scene captured by the human eye of the artist?

Heligoland curiosity

At ... the North Sea island of Heligoland, a remnant of Doggerland, has something that is claimed to exist nowhere else, red silex (flint). It is the colour of blood and was used, it is further claimed, to imitate copper axes and tools, a sort of poor man's version of the latest fashion gizmo (when copper was a new and rare introduction into western Europe).

plague and iron working

An interesting deduction is made about iron production in central Norway at ... iron was exported from central Norway south into Europe and further north (in Norway) between 300BC and 600AD. Production came to a temporary halt in the 6th century AD and the researchers have made a connection with the Plague of Justinian, when the population of Europe went into a rapid decline. The trade picked up again in the 7th century AD onwards, and thrived during the Viking era.

Roman concrete

Most of us have had the opportunity to look at, even touch, Roman mortar. At ... Roman concrete closely resembles rock found in the depths of a dormant volcano in Italy and researchers say they tried to reproduce the rock artificially as it was so strong and durable.

Tall al-Hammam

Publication of the 'The Tall al-Hammam Excavations' (volume one)  is now complete. The report is by Collins, Kobs and Luddeni, Eisenbraums of Winona Lake, and concerns the excavations undertaken between 2005 and 2011 (ISBN ... 9781575063690), 362 pages in length with lots of colour pictures.


At .... in Shanxi Province, it is being suggested, was the place where China began, around 2200BC. The capital of the Yao period has been found, it is thought, in the middle reaches of the Yellow River. Palaces, royal tombs, ceremonial buildings, storage areas, fortifications, as well as copperware and porcelain, have been dug out of the ground. The site is thought to be Pingyang, capital of the Yao emperors.