Archaeology

Ancient Amazonians lived sustainably – and this matters for conservation today

Our colleague, the archaeologist Santiago Rivas, recently made a remarkable discovery. Authors (4) The Conversation On a small plateau above the outskirts of Iquitos, a town in the northern Peruvian Amazon, he found a layer in the soil which contained small pieces of ceramic pottery, that were around 1,800-years-old. Digging deeper, he found another layer of soil, this time containing pottery that was about 2,500 years old. This is the archaeological site at Quistococha which has been occupied for at ... Read More »

Secrets of the sea bed: Hunt for Stone Age site in North Sea

British and Belgian scientists are exploring the sea bed off Norfolk hoping to find evidence that Stone Age people lived there when it was still dry land. Laurence Peter BBC In recent years, some trawler crews and researchers have found prehistoric animal bones and basic stone tools in North Sea sediment. The team on the Belgian ship RV Belgica aims to map the Brown Bank area, a sand ridge about 30km (19 miles) long. Mesolithic people are thought to have ... Read More »

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

Renowned author and archaeologist Jacqueline Karageorghis dies aged 85

Internationally renowned French archaeologist Jacqueline Girard Karageorghis has died, it was announced on Saturday. She was 85. CyprusMail Karageorghis moved to Cyprus in the 1950s after completing her studies at the University of Lyon. She married to the former director of the department of antiquities, Vassos Karageorghis in 1953 and together they had two children, Cleo and Andreas. During her long and multifaceted professional career, she taught French, between 1963 and 1986, and was deputy education attaché at the French ... Read More »

Fall of Troy: the legend and the facts

The legendary ancient city of Troy is very much in the limelight this year: a big budget co-production between the BBC and Netflix: Troy, Fall of a City, recently launched, while Turkey designated 2018 the “Year of Troy” and plans a year of celebration, including the opening of a new museum on the presumed site. Mariacarmela Montesanto The Conversation So what do we know about the city, ruins of which have been painstakingly excavated over the past 150 years? The ... Read More »

Who Owns the Elgin Marbles?

“They were created in a short time for all time. Each one of them, in its beauty, was even then and at once antique, but in the freshness of its vigor it is, even to the present day, recent and newly wrought.” Patricia Vigderman The New York Times Thus Plutarch described the buildings on the Acropolis as a showcase of Periclean Athens. Although he was writing half a millennium after the Parthenon was built, he touched on the essence of ... Read More »

‘Lost’ ancient Mexican city had as many buildings as Manhattan, laser map shows

‘If you do the maths, all of a sudden you are talking about 40,000 building foundations up there’ Jeff Farrell The Independent A “lost” Mexican city built by rivals to the Aztecs has as many buildings as Manhattan and was home to around 100,000 people, according to new research. The sprawling urban centre of Angamuco which was part of the Purépecha empire that peaked in the 16th century was detected by an aerial laser mapping technique called the Lidar system. An aircraft beamed out laser pulses and experts ... Read More »

How China’s first emperor searched for elixir of life

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

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’

‘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

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

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

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

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’

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

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 »