Archaeology news

Antikythera Mechanism

At ... the ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism, known as the world's first computer, salvaged from an ancient ship wreck, may be older than scientists first thought. It seems it might go back as far as 205BC according to recent calculations. It is thought to be an eclipse calculator rather than a computer - but why the Greeks would want to predict eclipses is another matter. It may be that eclipses are the least controversial explanation of the mechanism. The latest research brings the date nearer Archimedes.

Steve Mitchell vindicated by Irish sea level changes in post Roman period

At .... red deer antlers shed by young animals and horse bones dating back to between 430 and 548AD appear to suggest pagan practises were still in vogue even after the introduction of Christianity to Ireland by St Patrick. I suppose that is one way of looking at it if you suppose there is a ritual angle. However, the author does not pick up the fact that the low growth tree ring events between 536-45AD are smack bang in the mix of the C14 margins.


Humans have been present on the high Tibetan plateau for at least 20,000 years and permanent villages have been there since 3200BC. Solid evidence of growing crops such as millet, barley and wheat is found from 1600BC onwards, which is remarkable as the plateau is between 2500m (8200feet) and 3400m (11,154 feet) in altitude. Even more remarkable is the fact that wheat and barley are crops more usually identified with western Asia rather than eastern Asia. Is this evidence of migration? (see

vitrified forts in Scotland

Euan Mackie in an article, 'Can European Prehistory Detect Large Scale Natural Disasters?' came up with an interesting solution to the mystery of the vitrified forts of Scotland. Various strange ideas have been aired to account for them but the simplest solution is very often the most likely. For example, archaeologists were fond of suggesting that the wood was set alight at the point of building them, supposing they were a sort of design feature. The idea was mostly ditched when it became clear vitrification involved actually weakening the structure.

Solent archaeology washing away in the tides

The Mesolithic community discovered by a team of divers off Bouldnor Cliff on the Isle of Wight is being eroded away - by the actions of the tide. Previously it had been a buried and unknown feature on what is now the sea bed. In the Mesolithic period, or rather, prior to 6000BC, the Solent was dry land - through which a river flowed on its way to the sea at an undisclosed location deep in the English Channell. The story can be found at

The humble shrew foxes climate change modellers

This story is at ... a professor of geological science at the University of Oregon has said that the fossil record of five mammal species contradicts climate research as embodies in the models. These include shrews and flying squirrels. This is a reference to climate models that placed these animals in niche locations during the height of the Late Glacial Maximum. It was done by computer simulation of the climate and deduced where those animals should have survived the low temperature regime.

Dark Age foxes Climate Change modellers

At ... and ... does not concern the end of the Bronze Age in the Aegean and Western Asia but concerns the end of the Bronze Age in Europe which occurred somewhat later. Hence, they are not foxed by the Dark Age of Greece and the Levant, for example, which was my first reading, but by a piece of stretched chronology, between a 100 and 200 years, evident in the first millennium BC and an artifact of the calibration method.

A summer palace in Siberia

At .... we lean that a palace complex on an island in a lake in southern Siberia dates back 1300 years. Known as Por-Bajin it was constructed around 757AD on a high altitude lake in Tura. It seems to go back to the Uigur Khaganate (AD745-820)  who were nomads. Another puzzle is that it resembles Chinese architecture - yet is many hundreds of miles from the Chinese. It is situated on a lake near the border between Russia and Mongolia, to the north of the Altai Mountains.

Roman era god in stone

At ... a Roman relief depicts an unknown deity at a sanctuary in Asia Minor.......

Frozen Bison

At ... a steppe bison has been found in eastern Siberia, in a frozen state. It is almost intact and has a complete brain, heart, blood vessels, and a digestive system - although some of the internal organs have shrunk over time. There was no obvious cause of death but some researchers are already explaining the unusual nature of the find away as the animal dying of starvation - yet was was it frozen intact. The same story can be found at ...