Archaeology news

Chinese Pigs

This is one of those stories that seems to show that anything in print (books, written documents etc) but not published online has in some way become sidelined. For example, Hubert Lamb wrote a number of very thick books about climate over the last thousand years and more and yet he is rarely if ever quoted by your average modern climate scientist - who appears to be more a computer geek than somebody that actually does field research.  

Indus Script April 16th ... an interview with Professor Asko Parpola, an Indologist from the University of Helsinki, is the subject of this article. He has done sustained work on the Indus script and although it is yet to be decyphered he thinks it is written in a Dravidian language that may be fairly close to Old Tamil. Problems in  decypherment are in part due to the fact that only short and terse pieces of the script have survived.

The Nine Stones of Cut Hill

At 2756 April 14th ... the story of the Nine recumbent stones found on Cut Hill in a remote area of Dartmoor, as mentioned a few days ago, is worth revisiting. They point out that Cut Hill is the most spectacular promontory in the area and when the stones were laid down it was open heath surrounded by woodland - quite unlike the modern wet and miserable climate. It rains an awful lot on Darmoor - and is famed for it's quickly descending mist and fog.

Abraham's Covenant

Science Daily April 13th (see also ) ... Canadian archaeologists have unearthed an ancient treaty that could have served as a model for the Biblical description of God's covenant with the Israelites. The tablet dates to 670BC - roughly  just prior to the time the Bible is supposed to have been written.

New Megalithic site on Dartmoor

Discovery News April 9th ( ) ... nine large stones found on a remote moorland exposure on Dartmoor, a two hour yomp from the nearest road, have been dated to the 4th millennium BC. The C14 dates came from plant material in peat above and below one of the stones. They were aligned in a row but at some stage fell over, were blown over, or were toppled by people - and eventually buried under peat on Cut Hill (during the cold spell and very wet spell of climate 3200-3000BC).


The Hindu April 8th Indus like inscriptions have been found on South Indian pottery from Thailand (dated between the 2nd century BC and the 3rd century AD) long after the demise of the Indus civilisation.

commercial archaeology

Nature 464 p826-7 (2010) April 8th ... an explosion in commercial archaeology in Britain, ahead of construction projects, has led to a wealth of information that is not necessarily in the public view. Richard Bradley, a professor at Reading University and the author of various books on British prehistory, travelled around the country visiting the offices of contract archaeological teams and local planning officials.

Tell Zeidan

Science Daily April 6th ( ) is all about the mound of Tell Zeidan near Raqqa in Syria, close to where the Euphrates branches into two. The site has been abandoned for 6000 years, it is claimed, and as such preserves a society rich in detail as far as trade, copper metallurgy (it dates prior to the Bronze Age) and pottery production is concerned.

Cows Milk

The Observer April 4th (see has a story about cows being the key to human success in Europe. A study of the remains of 20,000 people from the 8th century BC to the 18th century AD has found that during the Roman Empire period our level of nutrition declined - but increased again in the 'dark ages' and the reintroduction of traditional northern European farming with it's emphasis on dairying.

Green Axe

The New York Times ( March 29th ) has a story taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'. It is striking, it notes, how many objects discussed by the series were symbolic rather than functional. For example, the famous 'gold cape' that was equisitely impractible, or an elaborate bronze bell from 5th century China that could hardly have been used in a practical way. An axe found near Canterbury and roughly 6000 years old was made of polished green jade (or jadeite).