Archaeology news

Donkeys and the Royal Society

At there is a report from a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society on the domestication of donkeys which claims mobile pastoral peoples required animals that could survive the dry landscape of the Sahara over 5000 years ago.

Marden Henge update

The Guardian says archaeologists peeled back a thin layer of turf covering the henge which has miraculously escaped being ploughed up over the last 4,500 years and were astounded to find the undisturbed original surface just as it had been left when the people had tidied up after the ceremonial or community meal described a couple of days ago.

The Romans in Wales

We know the Romans had a big presence in South Wales as the Welsh inherited a number of loan words from Latin but the discovery of a villa near Aberystwyth has come as a surprise to archaeologists according to the Daily Telegraph. As Aberystwyth sits on a nice estuary with a flat hinterland and was an ideal location for contact with Ireland the surprise is somewhat puzzling - but there you are.

Law Code July 26th ... press release by the Hebrew University. A Law Code with parallels to the Code of Hammurabi has been found written on fragments of a cuneiform tablet dating back to the Middle Bronze Age. They were found in a new excavation taking place at Hazor which will be interesting to keep an eye on. The latest discovery, it is said, opens an interesting avenue for possible further investigation of a connection between Biblical Law and the Code of Hammurabi.

The Dark Age Illuminated ? July 26th ... reports on Canadian excavations at Tell Tayinat in SE Anatolia (previously mentioned on In the News). This story is all about a temple uncovered on the tell which has yielded lots of artifacts and a distinct layering suggesting continuous occupation over a long period of time. The oldest occupation is dated to the 12th and 11th centuries BC - it doesn't elaborate on why this is so, and the project has now reached the late 8th and early 7th centuries BC (again, no reason why is given).

Ancient America

The Guardian July 24th .... a study of the remains of a woman who lived on Mexico's Caribbean coast in the early Holocene period is causing a change of attitude among prehistorians. Anthropologists were sure humans initially migrated to the Americas in a short window of time after the end of the Ice Age and came from a limited region in NE Asia. The reconstruction of the woman's face and body have thrown this idea up in the air as she resembles in many details a person akin to modern people in SE Asia - particularly, Indonesia.

Marden Henge Hog Roast

The Independent July 24th ... David Keys reports on the latest find at Marden Henge near Devizes - the remains of dozens of pigs that had been consumed in what is thought to have been a ceremonial or seasonal feast. Also, the remains of a large timber structure, possibly a temporary affair in which the ceremonial meal was eaten as the pig bones were found in the ground around the building. The building overlooked the river Avon which may be significant as the Avon continued south towards Durrington and the Stonehenge avenue.

News: archaeological stories hot from the press

At we learn that Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered the palace of the ruler of the Odysian federation of Thracian tribes in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. A fortress and sanctuary in the mountains.

A virtual Stonehenge

BBC News July 19th ... archaeologists intend to 'virtually' excavate Stonehenge and its surrounding environs in a mult-million poun mapping of the terrain and what may lie bured under the ground - with pinpoint accuracy. Millions of measurements will be taken and will then be incorporated into 'gaming' technology to produce 2D and 3D images. Equipment will explore over 14km within the next 3 years, led by Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham. Large banks of sensors will be pulled by a quad bike and GPS will the plot the measurements precisely.

Peru - monumental architecture

At which is part three of a series on the archaeology of Peru - between 3000 and 500BC.