Archaeology news

Angkor Demise

This story was sent in by William - go to ... the headline of which puts it into context - what contributed to the downfall of the city of Angkor in modern Cambodia? A new study claims that monsoon flooding weakened the water infrastructural network of canals, reservoirs, moats and ponds, and led to the collapse of the system (and abandonment of the city). Angkor was one of the world's largest cities back in the 13th century AD.

Palaeolithic burials

At ... an Ice Age necropolis found in a cave in NW Italy. There was a massive 300 feet deep sand dune in front of the cave - but it has now been quarried away. The cave has ten Palaeolithic burials and seven clusters of bones. A thick rocky layer in the cave separates the Palaeolithic burials from Neolithic burials (mid Holocene).

Neanderthal Glue

At ... experiment reveals the secret behind Neanderthal glue. Most human societies used glue in one form or another to fix bone and stone to shafts of wood - in combination with other measures such as joints and bindings. In Europe the Neanderthals occupied a large part of prehistory - deep into Middle Pleistocene. They became extinct, for unknown reasons, around 40,000 years ago.

Holding Back the Desert

In this story humans are not the environmental bad guys it would seem. The preaching bit takes a back seat as they are exonerated of blame. Indeed, they managed to hold back the onslaught of desertification in the Sahara (and presumably also in Arabia) even though we are talking about cattle herding pastoralists. Does this mean that the farting of cows in the proto desert environment  was not as awfully bad as has been made out in temperate parts of the world? At ... we have a study into how humans impacted the global desertification of the Sahara.


Evidence of people living in western Australia 50,000 years ago has been discovered in the remote Carnavon Ranges. They lived in the region during a long part of the so called Ice Age - see ... and a similar, but longer report can be found at ... where it adds, '.. more than 50,000 years ago). The findings are published in PLOS One, an online journal, and the excavations are taking place in a rock shelter (with some deep diggings into the floor area).

A Beery Tale

At ... a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science suggests beer brewing existed in the Levant (and Eastern Mediterranean) 500 years prior to its earliest human evidence fron northern China. Indeed, the Natufians lived in the period prior to the Younger Dryas event and so we are talking about a time prior to the establishment of farming (and people living in one place and not moving around). Three stone mortars from a 13,000 year old Natufian burial cave complex have been analysed.

Cheese in Croatia

Aty ... fatty residue on pottery from the Dalmation coast of Croatia has revealed the presence of fermented dairy products - soft cheeses and yoghurt. They datge back 7200 years ago.

3000-2300BC Kenya

At ... more evidence that migrations of people coincide with major low growth tree ring events. The Lothagum Pillar Site is near Lake Turkana in Kenya, and was built and used between 3000 and 2300BC. This is the pyramid age. It was constructed and used by new comers who brought with them a pastoral economy (sheep, goats and cattle) into what had always been a region dominated by hunter gatherers. Lothogum pillar site was a communal cemetery. Megaliths, stone circles, and cairns flank the 30m high platform.

Discovering Sodom

The book, 'Discovering the City of Sodom' is now listed as a number 1 best seller on Amazon. The author's are Steve Collins and Latayne C Scott. It is published by Howard Books ( a subdivision of Simon and Schuster) : 2013. I purchased my copy a couple of years ago and was impressed by the claims made in it - more or less blowing away the idea Babh ed-Dhra could have been Sodom. The Kikkar region is full of ruin mounds - much like most of the Near East. It is the roundish plain where the river Jordan meets the Dead Sea (in a delta formation).