Archaeology

How China’s first emperor searched for elixir of life

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China’s first emperor launched an obsessive search for the elixir of life before dying aged 49 in 210 BCE, new archaeological research has revealed. BBC Qin Shi Huang, who created the world-famous terracotta army, ordered a nationwide hunt for the mythical potion. The quest is mentioned in 2000-year-old texts written on thousands of wooden slats – used in China before paper. They were found in 2002 at the bottom of a well in central Hunan province. The writings contain an ... Read More »

How a DNA revolution has decoded the origins of our humanity

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Mapping the genomes of our ancestors has allowed scientists to uncover secrets and discover new mysteries in our evolution Robin McKie, Observer science editor The Guardian cientists made a remarkable discovery at Trou Al’Wesse in Belgium earlier this year. Inside a cave that overlooks the Hoyoux river they found clear evidence it had been occupied by Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago. Yet the cave contained no skull fragments, no teeth – nor any other skeletal remains of this extinct species ... Read More »

Prehistoric teeth fossils dating back 9.7 million years ‘could rewrite human history’

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‘This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery’ Paleontologists in Germany have discovered 9.7 million-year-old fossilised teeth that a German politician has hailed as potentially “rewriting” human history. Tom Embury-Dennis  The Independent  The dental remains were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine river near the town of Eppelsheim. They resemble those belonging to “Lucy”, a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct primate related to humans and found ... Read More »

As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles

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Now Amal Clooney has reignited the debate over the Parthenon’s crowning glory, it’s time we rectified a historic wrong. Reunite these ancient sculptures with their home Helena Smith The Guardian As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3655c9d83f27ad523e8bc2649f6bf2d4/content.css”/> Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. At the centre of this ... Read More »

Old sites, new visions: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus

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Over the past two decades Australian archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the World Heritage-listed ancient theatre site at Paphos in Cyprus. Craig Barker  Diana Wood Conroy The Conversation The Hellenistic-Roman period theatre was used for performance for over six centuries from around 300 BC to the late fourth century AD. There is also considerable evidence of activity on the site after the theatre was destroyed, particularly during the Crusader era. The excavation of the site, and of the architectural remains ... Read More »

Mathematical secrets of ancient tablet unlocked after nearly a century of study

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Dating from 1,000 years before Pythagoras’s theorem, the Babylonian clay tablet is a trigonometric table more accurate than any today, say researchers Maev Kennedy The Guardian At least 1,000 years before the Greek mathematician Pythagoras looked at a right angled triangle and worked out that the square of the longest side is always equal to the sum of the squares of the other two, an unknown Babylonian genius took a clay tablet and a reed pen and marked out not ... Read More »

Ancient DNA reveals origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans

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The mysterious Minoans descended primarily from local Stone Age farmers, as did their cultural successors, the Mycenaeans — and their descendants still inhabit Greece today. MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN HISTORY EurekAlert! The Minoan Civilization and its counterpart on the Greek Mainland, the Mycenaean Civilization, were Europe’s first literate societies and the cultural ancestors of later Classical Greece. However, the question of the origins of the Minoans and their relationship to the Mycenaeans has long puzzled researchers. ... Read More »

Australia human history ‘rewritten by rock find’

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Archaeologists have found the first evidence to suggest that Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years. BBC The discovery indicates their arrival on the continent was up to 18,000 years earlier than previously thought. It was made after sophisticated artefacts were excavated from a rock shelter in the Northern Territory. Researchers unearthed what they say are the… Australia human history… Read More »

Tasoula Hadjitofi – from refugee to icon hunter

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A refugee’s quest to reclaim her nation’s stolen heritage Tasoula Hadjitofi will discuss her experiences of war and injustice; her ongoing campaign to preserve cultural heritage worldwide and her tireless work to combat art trafficking. In 1974 Tasoula Hadjitofi and her family were forced to flee their home in Famagusta, Cyprus during the Turkish invasion. As a refugee living in the Netherlands, Tasoula devoted her life to infiltrating and exposing the shady underworld of art traffickers. It all began when ... Read More »

Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find

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The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa. Sarah Knapton The Telegraph Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the… But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and… Europe was the… Read More »

DNA of extinct humans found in caves

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The DNA of extinct humans can be retrieved from sediments in caves – even in the absence of skeletal… BBC Researchers found the genetic material in sediment samples collected from seven archaeological… The remains of ancient humans are often scarce, so the new findings could help scientists learn the identity of inhabitants at sites where only artefacts have been… The results are described… DNA of extinct… Read More »

Ancient humans may have reached Americas 100,000 years earlier than previously thought

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Teeth and bones of an elephant-like creature unmistakably modified by human hands were… TheJournal.ie  © AFP 2017  HIGH-TECH DATING of mastodon remains found in southern California has shattered the timeline of human migration to America, pushing the… Teeth and bones of the elephant-like creature unmistakably modified by human hands, along… Ancient humans may… Read More »

The army that conquered the world

DABF1B The Han Dynasty Terra-cotta Soldiers displayed at Xianyang museum in Xianyang City of Shaanxi Province China. Image shot 2012. Exact date unknown.

The martial figures buried with the first Chinese emperor were discovered in 1974. Jonathan Glancey BBC News But the tomb they guard hasn’t even been opened, writes Jonathan Glancey. In March 1974… The army that… Read More »

Archaeologists uncover stunning town built by Greeks in Italy 2,500 years ago read

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Palatial building and luxurious imports signal that the Greek founders of Poseidonia in Italy were living high on the hog from pagan… Philippe Bohstrom Haaretz The discovery of a monumental building and priceless ceramics imported from Greece in excavations at Poseidonia shows for the first time how rich its… The founders hailed from… Archaeologists uncover stunning… Read More »

Yuval Noah Harari: ‘Homo sapiens as we know them will disappear in a century or so’

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The visionary historian, author of two dazzling bestsellers on the state of mankind, takes questions from Lucy Prebble, Arianna Huffington, Esther Rantzen and a selection of our readers Andrew Anthony The Guardian Last week, on his Radio 2 breakfast show, Chris Evans read out the first page of Sapiens, the book by the Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari. Given that radio audiences at that time in the morning are not known for their appetite for intellectual engagement – the previous segment had ... Read More »

Hoard of coins from 1,400-year-old Byzantine site tells story of Persian invasion

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As Jewish and Sassanid troops marched on Jerusalem in 614 CE, Christian residents of village on main pilgrimage route hid their valuables; now, nine copper coins hidden in a niche have been… ILAN BEN ZION The Times of Israel As a Persian army supported by a horde of Jewish rebels marched on Jerusalem in 614 CE, Christians inhabiting a town on the main route inland to the… Hoard of coins… Read More »