Archaeology news

Middle East Milk Drinkers

At www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,druck-723310,0.html a German journalist reports on mainly German research that is now claiming that agriculturalists came to Europe during a wave of migration with origins in the Fertile Crescent (the Middle East, Iran, and Anatolia) that basically swept aside the indigenous Mesolithic peoples. However, in all such blanket assertions, there are some noteable problems - completely ignored by the journalist.

Tayinat Oath Platform in the Holy of Holies

At http://heritage-key.com/blogs/owenjarus/oath-platform-2700-year0old-temple-tayinat/ we have an unusual take on the excavations being currently undertaken at Tayinat, an ancient city of the Amuq Plain, on the banks of the Orontes, and conquered by the Assyrians in 738BC. The Temple in question belongs to the Assyrian era and the oath tablet was discovered on a platform in the most sacred part - the Holy of Holies.

Was the White Horse at Uffington a dog?

No, not so barmy - a vet has suggested it resembles a greyhound or a wolfhound rather than a stylised horse (see www.guardian.co.uk/sciences/2010/oct/12/white-horse-uffington-dog/ ... the argument is based on the long tail and small head, which certainly could be a dog rather than a horse. In addition, it is known that Britain and Ireland were famous for their hunting dogs and they were traded far and wide.

Bronze Age Caucasus

High in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia a previously unknown Bronze Age civilisation has been discovered - dating back to the 16th and 14th centuries BC. The sites are spread over 60 miles between the Kuban River and Nalchik in the east (see www.redorbit.com/modules.news/tools.php?tool=print&id1929825 - and it is probably connected to the Kuban civilisation which was discovered over a hundred years ago - but slightly later in date.

Black Death

At www.physorg.com/print206009200.html ... scientists in Germany have examined the skeletons of plague victims, testing their DNA and analysing protein, and they say they have proved the Black Death was caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis which occurs as pathogens. Skeletons of plague victims were examined in England, France, Germany, Italy and Holland. The next goal is to find the exact route of transmission - how did it get here.

Submerged lands off the coast of Wales

At www.walesonline.co.uk September 25th ... archaeologists are looking for evidence of the prehistoric past - under the water off the coast of Wales. Dry stone walling and willow fencing has been discovered on the seabed - these features are still common on Welsh hills today. Fossil forests and the discovery of drowned peat bogs have surfaced over the years and it is thought they were submerged around 6000 years ago, environmental archaeologists suggest.

Troy is getting bigger ... and a new tomb found in the Orkneys

At http://heritage-key.com/blogs/ann/project-troia-bronze-age-troy-just-keeps-growing/ ... excavations at Hissarlik, the consensus location for the ancient city of Troy, have confirmed Troy VI and VII were much larger than originally thought - the citadel is just one part of the complex. A rock cut ditch Ikm long has been found south of the site and a gate has been unearthed 300m south of the citadel and dated to around 1300BC.

Aborigine rock paintings of extinct animals and Neolithic wood working skills in Europe

Current World Archaeology 43 October 2010 issue ... in the World News section there is a report on rock art found in Arnhem Land which depicts two large flightless birds which are supposed to have become extinct in Australia around 40,000 years ago. Either the paintings are that old or science is wrong and the birds didn't disappear until much later - possibly at the end of the Ice Age.

The riddle of the stones transported by boats

Current World Archaeology October issue, has a news report on the subject of megalithic stones being transported by boat - coracles in fact. Franscesco Benozza of the University of Bologna, whose field of study is the continuity of old words into recent languages as a means of understanding aspects of ancient societies. In the European Archaeologist he reports on research near the Portuguese megalithic site of Almendes where megalithic stones are known as ventrecurgo = belly + boat. In Brittany they are called Bronbag, meaning breast + boat.

Buried in sand in 3500BC

Another very good archaeological story turned up today, a house that was buried by sand in around 3500BC (calibrated date) - see www.newsinenglish.no/2010.10.01/archaeologists-find-mini-pompeii/ and assumed to have been overcome in a sandstorm (of all things). A huge wave of water and sand is more likely, the kind of thing that shifts dunes of sand around the bottom of the North Sea.