Archaeology news

Mesolithic houses in Yorkshire

In Current Archaeology 358 (January 2020) we learn about the discovery of timbered houses in a Yorkshire quarry - at Killerby. They were preserved in peat - one set of timbers dating as far back as 10,000 years ago, and the other set of timbers, to somewhere between 6000 and 3000BC (no exact date at the moment). Peat forms in persistently wet climate - rainfall day after day as if the jet stream had got stuck overhead for year after year (and is known as podzolisation).

Red Ochre

This comes from ... and seems to have its origins at Thunderbolts (but see also .... an interview with Montgomery Childs on the Safire Project). Red ochre, and yellow ochre too, are age old compounds used in rock art and for painting the bones of the dead. It also featured in megalithic art - at Malta's hypogeum for example. It was in use over thousands of years. At Babine Lake ochre was harvested from an aquatic source - iron rich bacteria in a clay sediment.

Is climate change re-writing history?

At ... which is derived from ... a new study shows the historicity of the Justinian pandemic is inconsistent with facts on the ground. That is the claim. It comes courtesy of sociology and environmentalism (a combination of some kind) at the University of Maryland, with others from Princetown's 'Climate Change and History Research Initiative' department.

Galloway Hoard

At ... a painstaking clean-up process of a Viking hoard buried in Scotland over a thousand years ago is unlocking new information on their origin. The Galloway Hoard was found on the Scottish coast opposite the Isle of Man and abutting the Irish Sea. The latter was a Viking sea way with easy access to Dublin as well as the western isles of Scotland, and Cumbria, important areas of Viking settlement.


At ... this appears to be one to accept or to feel a trifle sceptical. An archaeological discovery at Shiloh matches perfectly with the Bible, we are told - which appears to be a corner of a stone altar. Several other recent discoveries at the site point to the same conclusion, the storyline continues. Archaeology appears to be revealing aspects of the Biblical narrative. David Rohl has of course been here already.

Lion Cub Mummies

Gary sent in the link ... Egyptian archaeologists unearthed a cache of 75 wooden and bronze statues and 5 lion cub mummies decorated with hieroglyphics at the Saqqara necropolis near Giza. Mummified cats, cobras, and crocodiles were also unearthed. They are said to date to dynasty 26 (76th century BC) ...

Ibis Mummies

The ancient Egyptians mummified a number of different animals, from bulls to crocodiles. They also mummified the sacred Ibis bird - but did they harvest from the wild or were they domesticated. Rather than read the press release here is the full article in PLoS ONE online journal - go to ... the authors claim to have discovered where they obtained so many Ibis - over the course of hundreds of years. Ibis played an important role in Egyptian religion.


Florida Native American Settlement

At ... a LiDAR survey of Florida has thrown up evidence of a huge Native American settlement on Raleigh Island - going back to between 900 and 1200AD. This  coincides with the Medieval Warm Period and we may suppose it was the changing climate around AD1200 that led to its abandonment - or possibly its capture by a hostile tribe. It was also at ... but the link has now gone. LiDAR once again proving to be an effective archaeological tool, especially in challenging environments.

Mammoth Trap

William sent in the link to ... which concentrates on the fact that scientists, until now, didn't think humans targeted mammoths as a food animal - although among European archaeologists this seems to be a given. At ... the focus is on the trap - or what is thought to be a human prepared trap. It contains 800 bones and is situated at Tultepec, just outside Mexico City.