“An archaeological excavation in Marawah Island has revealed the first use of stone-built architecture in the United Arab Emirates, dating back 7,500 years.
Located 100 km west of Abu Dhabi, this dig is part of excavations carried out by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority that have been ongoing since 2012, and have found over 20 sites dating back to the late Stone Age.
On this site, more than 200 flint arrowheads were discovered, along with a 7,500-year old house, which could be one of the first stone built architectural sites in the Gulf region, said Mohammed Amer Al Neyadi, the director of the Historic Environment department at TCA, according to The Khaleej Times.
Archaeologists also found shell and stone beads, a large flint spear, and many stone tools.”
[Recent discoveries over the past 5-10 years have shown great promise in this area. The Persian Gulf region was mostly dry land sveral millennia ago, with a few rivers and lakes. It does make you wonder what archaeologists might dig up? Mesopotamian architechture didn’t simply spring up suddenly out of nowhere. Follow this dig and read the full story for links – Ed.]
“Investigating the use and expansion of hunter-gatherer pottery in Japan, home to some of the earliest pottery in the world, researchers analysed 143 ceramic vessels from Torihama, an ancient site in western Japan.
Pottery is thought to have originated in Japan around 16,000 years ago, but the numbers produced vastly increased 11,500 years ago, coinciding with a shift to a warmer climate.
As resurgence in forests took place, an increase in vegetation and animals led to new food sources becoming available.
Previous thinking suggested that pottery use and production increased to accommodate different cooking and storage techniques for the wider variety of foodstuffs available at this time.
However, new analysis reveals this not to be the case.”
[Interesting discovery that pots were mainly used for cooking seafood and freshwater fish. A few years ago Jomon pottery was said to have been discovered in Ecuador, South America, painting a very different picture of ancient trans-pacific contact. Well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“When the shoreline receded during the 2004 tsunami, tourists in Mamallapuram swore they saw a long row of granite boulders emerge from the sea, before it was swallowed again as the water hurtled forward.
More than a decade later, a team of scientists and divers have uncovered what eyewitnesses saw on that fateful day -vestiges of an ancient port.
In a discovery that could lead to more underwater explorations off the historic town of Mamallapuram, a group from National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) has found the remains of a port or ruins of one of the six shore temples which, according to legend, went under water.
The 10-member team, comprising divers, geologists and archaeologists, found a 10m-long wall, a short flight of stairs, and chiselled stone blocks scattered on the seabed.
They were found 800m from the shoreline at a depth of nearly 27ft.
Rajiv Nigam, head of the marine archaeology unit of NIO, said the divers found it difficult to identify many of the structures as they were covered with thick aquatic growth.
‘We also found some brick structures, which were sighted more during the Sangam period (300 BC – 200 AD)’, said Nigam, who also pitched in with research after a team in 2001 stumbled upon a 9,000-yearold underwater town in the Gulf of Cambay near Gujarat.”
[It is surprising that more marine archaeology hasn’t been done in this area given that legends tell of lands sunk beneath the sea in ancient and not so ancient times. This is an important discovery and well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“In a discovery that appeared to be timed perfectly for International Women’s Day last Tuesday, a 2,500-year-old artefact belonging to an “exceptional” woman was unearthed in Israel.
Archaeologists who were excavating a site outside Jerusalem’s Old City found a seal made from semi-precious stone and bearing the name, ‘Elihana bat Gael’.
It is the first such item to be found from the First Temple era when it was rare for women to be allowed to possess their own seals.
A spokesperson for the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: ‘Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon.'”
“Some of Europe’s earliest inhabitants mysteriously vanished toward the end of the last ice age and were largely replaced by others, a new genetic analysis finds.
The finds come from an analysis of dozens of ancient fossil remains collected across Europe.
The genetic turnover was likely the result of a rapidly changing climate, which the earlier inhabitants of Europe couldn’t adapt to quickly enough, said the study’s co-author, Cosimo Posth, an archaeogenetics doctoral candidate at the University of Tübingen in Germany.
The temperature change around that time was ‘enormous compared to the climactic changes that are happening in our century’, Posth told Live Science. ‘You have to imagine that also the environment changed pretty drastically.'”
“Remains of a Neanderthal woman who lived around 100,000 years ago in the Altai Mountains of Siberia reveal that human and Neanderthals mated much earlier than previously thought.
One or more of her relatives were actually humans, a new study shows.
It has been known that Neanderthals contributed DNA to modern humans, so people today of European and Asian descent retain Neanderthal DNA in their genomes, but the Neanderthal woman offers the first evidence that gene flow from interbreeding went from modern humans into Neanderthals as well.
The study, published in the journal Nature, ‘is also the first to provide genetic evidence of modern humans outside Africa as early as 100,000 years ago’, said the study’s co-author Dr Sergi Castellano, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Given the now closely intertwined histories of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, Dr Castellano added that ‘it is better to refer to Neanderthals and modern humans as two different human groups, one archaic and one modern, and not different species.'”
[Another great story from Australia’s ABC Science News. Neanderthals have been badly portrayed since they were discovered as ignorant and grunting, living from hand to mouth. Nothing could be further from the truth. The level of interaction shown by this DNA analysis suggests they must also have been able to easily communicate – verbally. Well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“A vast cache of prehistoric artifacts and human remains have been unearthed at an archaeological site in the Tainan Science Park, but none offer concrete evidence explaining an age-old mystery: how ancient settlers from China actually reached Taiwan.
Several million cultural artifacts and faunal and botanic remains have been excavated from over 2,000 burial sites in the science park since the archaeological project kicked off in December 1996, according to Academia Sinica, which is overseeing the work.
The artifacts unearthed have been highly similar to those excavated from archaeological sites along the coasts of southeastern China, said Academia Sinica academician Tsang Cheng-hwa when speaking of the award-winning project with local media last month.
Few clues exist, however, to definitively answer the question of how people in the Neolithic Era crossed the Taiwan Strait, known for its nasty waves and currents, with tools suspected of being simple and crude.
Tsang has theories to answer that question and why so little evidence exists, some of them based on outside research, but finding conclusive proof remains elusive.
According to Tsang, the island of Taiwan was attached to the mainland during the ice age some 12,000 years ago.”
“DNA evidence lifted from the ancient bones and teeth of people who lived in Europe from the Late Pleistocene to the early Holocene-spanning almost 30,000 years of European prehistory-has offered some surprises, according to researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Feb. 4, 2016.
Perhaps most notably, the evidence shows a major shift in the population around 14,500 years ago, during a period of severe climatic instability.
‘We uncovered a completely unknown chapter of human history: a major population turnover in Europe at the end of the last Ice Age’, says leading author Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.
The researchers pieced this missing history together by reconstructing the mitochondrial genomes of 35 hunter-gatherer individuals who lived in Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, and Romania from 35,000 to 7,000 years ago.”
“In August of 2012, an 11-year-old boy made a gruesome discovery in a frozen bluff overlooking the Arctic Ocean. While exploring the foggy coast of Yenisei Bay, about 2000 kilometers south of the North Pole, he came upon the leg bones of a woolly mammoth eroding out of frozen sediments.
Scientists excavating the well-preserved creature determined that it had been killed by humans: Its eye sockets, ribs, and jaw had been battered, apparently by spears, and one spear-point had left a dent in its cheekbone-perhaps a missed blow aimed at the base of its trunk.
When they dated the remains, the researchers got another surprise: The mammoth died 45,000 years ago. That means that humans lived in the Arctic more than 10,000 years earlier than scientists believed, according to a new study.
The find suggests that even at this early stage, humans were traversing the most frigid parts of the globe and had the adaptive ability to migrate almost everywhere.”
[Read The Full Story]
[Wow! What an amazing discovery. It seems that climate change is a much more common phenomenon that many people currently believe, and that humans were living in the Arctic regions many millennia ago – Ed.]
“The Minister of Antiquities announced today a new discovery of an Old Kingdom tomb in Abusir for a Queen who wasn’t known before called ‘Khentkaus III’ during the excavations of the Czech Institute of Egyptology directed by Dr. Miroslav Barta.
The mission unearthed 23 limestone pots as well as 4 copper tools as a part of the funerary furniture for the tomb owner.
The side rooms of the discovered tomb have inscriptions mention titles of the tomb owner includes ‘Wife of the King’ and ‘Mother of the King’
Dr. Miroslav Barta said ‘This discovery reveals an unknown part of the 5th Dynasty history which opens the door for more future studies on the family tree of this previously unknown Queen.'”
[Read The Full Story]
[This is a great story with some good pictures of the tomb and artifact finds – Ed.]
“Scientists are continually unearthing new facts about Homo sapiens from the mummified remains of Ötzi, the Copper Age man, who was discovered in a glacier in 1991.
Five years ago, after Ötzi’s genome was completely deciphered, it seemed that the wellspring of spectacular discoveries about the past would soon dry up.
An international team of scientists working with paleopathologist Albert Zink and microbiologist Frank Maixner from the European Academy (EURAC) in Bozen/Bolzano have now succeeded in demonstrating the presence of Helicobacter pylori in Ötzi’s stomach contents, a bacterium found in half of all humans today.
The theory that humans were already infected with this stomach bacterium at the very beginning of their history could well be true.
The scientists succeeded in decoding the complete genome of the bacterium.”
[Read The Full Story]
[This is a really good story about what can be discovered about ancient people using DNA. Well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“Honduras said Thursday it was starting a major archeological dig for a mysterious, ancient “White City” supposedly hidden in jungle in its northeast that explorers and legends have spoken of for centuries.
‘Today a group of archeologists and scientists is traveling to the White City to start excavations in coming days’, President Juan Orlando Hernandez said in a speech to private universities.
The hope is that they will uncover incontrovertible proof of the existence of the fabled site, which has also been called ‘the City of the Monkey God’ and, in Spanish, ‘la Ciudad Blanca’.”
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.
The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2006 the journal “Nature” published a letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon – as seen from the Earth: – Ed]
Part of the Antikythera Mechanism
Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
2000-year-old analog computer recreated
More Antikythera Mechanism Information & Comments: