“Remnants of hundreds of rice paddies dating back 2,300 to 2,500 years were found, the first indication that mass cultivation of Japan’s staple existed in Nara long before the ancient capital of Heijokyo was established.
The findings showed that 5,500 square meters of rice paddies had been planted in the early Yayoi Pottery Culture period (300 B.C.-A.D. 300) in what is now central Nara, researchers at the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara of Nara Prefecture said June 23.
The area is near the site where the Heijokyu palace, residence for the emperor and the center of power, stood when Nara was home to the Heijokyo capital between 710 and 784.
‘The recent discovery further corroborates the theory that people had a basis of livelihood here as far as back in the Yayoi period, before Heijokyo was set up’, said Keisuke Morishita, head of the Nara municipal government’s buried cultural property excavation center.”
“Item 15087 wasn’t much to look at, particularly compared to other wonders uncovered from the shipwreck at Antikythera, Greece, in 1901.
The underwater excavation revealed gorgeous bronze sculptures, ropes of decadent jewellery and a treasure trove of antique coins.
Amid all that splendour, who could have guessed that a shoebox-size mangled bronze machine, its inscriptions barely legible, its gears calcified and corroded, could captivate scientists for more than a century?
‘In this very small volume of messed-up corroded metal you have packed in there enough knowledge to fill several books telling us about ancient technology, ancient science and the way these interacted with the broader culture of the time’, said Alexander Jones, a historian of ancient science at New York University.
‘It would be hard to dispute that this is the single most information-rich object that has been uncovered by archeologists from ancient times.’
In its prime, about 2,100 years ago, the Antikythera (an-ti-KEE-thur-a) Mechanism was a whirling, clockwork instrument comprising at least 30 bronze gears bearing thousands of interlocking tiny teeth.
Powered by a single hand crank, the machine modelled the passage of time and the movements of celestial bodies with astonishing precision.”
[This is a great story about recent developments in the 10+ years of investigations into the various practical uses of The Antikythera Mechanism. It was found in Greek waters but no-one really knows which ancient culture inventewd and built this device. It’s still a mystery. Everyone so far feels it is an ancient Greek invention, but the Greeks took much of their knowledge from Egypt during the Ptolemaic period of Greek Pharoahs – so it could well be a copy of a device, or devices, that have an Africian provenance. It really is well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“Before the end of the last ice age, millennia earlier than the area is traditionally believed to have been inhabited, manmade fires could have been burning in South Carolina.
Radio-carbon dating of charcoal remains from Topper has established that they are approximately 50,000 years’ old, significantly older than previous evidence of a human presence.
Additional stone tool artifacts have also been unearthed at the same deep underground level.
Topper, an archaeological site located in South Carolina, United States, is where, almost two decades ago, controversial artifacts were discovered that some archaeologists believed indicated human habitation of North America at least 3,000 years prior to the Clovis culture, previously thought to be the first inhabitants of the continent.
The artifacts from the pre-Clovis stratum date to between 16 and 20 thousand years ago.
Prior to the discoveries at the Topper site, archaeologists typically didn’t excavate deeper than the Clovis layer because of the belief that no human artifacts older than Clovis would be found.”
[This story really does turn the previously accepted view that Clovis was the first culture in North America on its head. The discovery has enormous implications and it is well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“The discovery of Señora de Cao changed the concept of Moche society and now researchers want to know what the relationship of the others buried along with her is.
A group of experts from Harvard University will arrive in Trujillo this week and take samples of the archaeological find known as Señora de Cao, Señora de Cao is a mummy that was found in 2006 and is suspected that she was once a powerful ruler of the Moche people.
The aim of the sample taking is to determine whether there is a level of kinship and of what type with the other mummies buried with Señora de Cao.”
“The oldest fossils of cosmic dust ever discovered provide a glimpse into atmospheric conditions above the Earth more than 2.7 billion years ago and could do the same on other planets.
A group of Australian and British researchers uncovered the micrometeorites — which are barely the width of a human hair — from ancient sedimentary rocks in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The micrometeorites consist of iron oxide minerals, which suggested they formed when dust particles of meteoritic iron metal were exposed to oxygen as they blazed through the Earth’s upper atmosphere, the researchers proposed in a letter published today in the journal Nature.”
“Slovak archaeologists discovered a system of 7th-9th century interior cooling in Kuwait during excavation works at the al-Kusur settlement on the Failaka Island in the Persian Gulf.
The expedition, part of the sixth research campaign of the Kuwaiti-Slovak archaeological mission, was attended by 11 experts – archaeologists, technicians and restorers of the Slovak Academy of Sciences’ (SAV) Archaeological Institute.
‘Our goal was to uncover and document, using modern 3D methodology, the largest inhabitable settlement building’, said SAV Archaeological Institute director Matej Ruttkay, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
As a result, a well-preserved palace dating from the 7th-8th century was discovered, representing an ‘advanced architecture, traditionally built from unfired bricks on stone foundations’, said Ruttkay.”
[Recent discoveries over the past 5-10 years have shown great promise in this area. The Persian Gulf region was mostly dry land several millennia ago, with a few rivers and lakes. It does make you wonder what archaeologists might dig up next? Mesopotamian architecture didn’t simply spring up suddenly out of nowhere. Read the full story and see the great images – Ed.]
“Ancient stone blocks depicting Queen Hatshepsut have been discovered on Egypt’s Elephantine Island, providing insights into the early years of her reign, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced this week.
The blocks may have been part of a building that served as a way station for an ancient Egyptian deity.
On several of the blocks, Queen Hatshepsut was represented as a woman, according to the Ministry, suggesting that the blocks and building it came from were erected during the early part of the first female pharaoh’s reign, which lasted from 1473 B.C. to 1458 B.C.
Later in her reign, the queen was depicted as a male.
Mentions of Queen Hatshepsut were erased and monuments bearing her image were defaced after her death, and her female figure was replaced with images of a male king: her deceased husband Thutmose II.
It is believed that her co-ruler and stepson/nephew Thutmose III ordered the change.”
“Well-preserved human skeletons estimated to be about 4,500-years-old have been unearthed from a graveyard in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the local archaeological department said Sunday.
The graveyard was discovered on the site of a prehistoric city in Zhao’an Village, Dayi County, according to the Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute of Chengdu City, capital of the province.
The numerous tombs are densely distributed and different burial methods are apparent, Zhou Zhiqing, director of the archaeological team working on the ruins, said, noting that it was the earliest and most complete graveyard of its kind found on the Chengdu Plain.”
“When the first prehistoric people trekked into South America toward the end of the Ice Age, they found a wondrous, lush continent inhabited by all manner of strange creatures like giant ground sloths and car-sized armadillos.
But these hunter-gatherers proceeded to behave like an “invasive species” with their population surging then crashing as they relentlessly depleted natural resources.
Only much later did people muster exponential population growth after forming fixed settlements with domesticated crops and animals.
Those are the findings of research published today in the journal Nature that provides the most comprehensive look to date of the peopling of South America, the last habitable continent colonised by humankind.”
“Crowned as the world’s first temple, the pre-historic site of Göbeklitepe, located 15 kilometers from the southeastern city of Sanliurfa, will host a classical music festival in November.
The festival program, albeit not yet released, is expected to bring in enough revenue to support international efforts to promote this iconic site.
Characterized as ‘the ground zero of human history’, Göbeklitepe stands out among other archaeological sites, dating back 12,000 years, circa 10,000 B.C.
The archaeological site features carved stones ornamented with animal figures and 12,000-year-old T-shaped columns, all of which are older than the agrarian age and even the invention of pottery.
Prior to the archaeological discoveries in Göbeklitepe, academic circles believed that man began to build temples after adopting a sedentary life and leaving his hunter-gatherer practices; however, Göbeklitepe, which was built by hunter-gatherer communities before they even began to practice agriculture, completely changed this entire school of thought.”
[The discovery of Göbeklitepe has indeed upset the academic archaeological establishment, and quite rightly so. There are other sites in the region that also appear to have been deliberately buried, likely to protect them from the effects of the bombardments of cometary debris that they could calculate would hit that area. We support all genuine efforts to promote the site and will monitor developments for this proposed concert – Ed.]
[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
The 2000 Year-Old Computer
Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism (2012)
More Antikythera Mechanism Information & Commentary: