Ancient news stories

Earliest evidence of Aboriginal occupation of Australian coast discovered
25th May 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists find artefacts in a cave on Western Australia’s Barrow Island dating back more than 50,000 years, providing one of the earliest age brackets for the settlement of Australia

Alt: 50,000-year-old ‘Atlantis of the South’ discovered in Australia

How RNA formed at the origins of life
24th May 2017 | Ancient

A single process for how a group of molecules called nucleotides were made on the early Earth, before life began, has been suggested by a UCL-led team of researchers.

Nucleotides are essential to all life on Earth as they form the building blocks of DNA or RNA, and understanding how they were first made is a long-standing challenge that must be resolved to elucidate the origins of life.

Life in the Precambrian may have been much livelier than previously thought
24th May 2017 | Ancient

The Garden of the Ediacaran was a period in the ancient past when Earth’s shallow seas were populated with a bewildering variety of enigmatic, soft-bodied creatures. Scientists have pictured it as a tranquil, almost idyllic interlude that lasted from 635 to 540 million years ago. But a new interdisciplinary study suggests that the organisms living at the time may have been much more dynamic than experts have thought.

The Triassic’s Mystery Creature
24th May 2017 | Ancient

A tooth from Petrified Forest represents an unknown species that has baffled paleontologists for decades

Dinosaurs are our ambassadors to the deep past. There’s hardly a better example of this fact than the Triassic. This stretch of time, the first chapter of the three-part Mesozoic epic, is often referred to as the Dawn of the Dinosaurs and ran from about 250 to 200 million years ago. This is despite the fact that dinosaurs were minor players in the Triassic drama.

Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find
23rd May 2017 | | Ancient

The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa.

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield.

But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.

Alt: 7.2 million-year-old hominin remains discovered in the Balkans

3.3 million-year-old fossil reveals origins of the human spine
23rd May 2017 | Ancient

Analysis of a 3.3 million-year-old fossil skeleton reveals the most complete spinal column of any early human relative, including vertebrae, neck and rib cage. The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that portions of the human spinal structure that enable efficient walking motions were established millions of years earlier than previously thought.

Returning large Alaskan archaeological haul found ‘frozen in time’
23rd May 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists from the Scottish University have spent more than seven years painstakingly recovering and preserving everyday objects that indigenous Yup’ik people used to survive and to celebrate life – in a race against the clock before melting ice and raging winter storms reclaim the Nunalleq archaeological site.

Viking army camp uncovered by archaeologists
23rd May 2017 | Ancient

A huge camp which was home to thousands of Vikings as they prepared to conquer England in the late ninth century has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Jumping genes play a big role in what makes us human
23rd May 2017 | | Ancient, Humans

Face-to-face, a human and a chimpanzee are easy to tell apart. The two species share a common primate ancestor, but over millions of years, their characteristics have morphed into easily distinguishable features.

Comets contributed to Earth’s atmosphere, says study of 3 billion-year-old minerals
22nd May 2017 | Ancient, Earth, Space

Scientists have revealed that some of Earth’s atmosphere may have been brought to the planet by comets billions of years ago.

The mystery of how the Earth’s atmosphere was formed has long baffled scientists.

Ordovician Mass Extinction May Have Been Triggered by Volcanic Eruptions
22nd May 2017 | | Ancient

Geologists from Tohoku University, Japan, Amherst College and Washington University in Saint Louis, the United States, say they may have found the cause of the end-Ordovician mass extinction, the first of the world’s five known mass extinctions.

What Really Felled the Hindenburg?
22nd May 2017 | | Ancient

On the 80th anniversary of the conflagration, mysteries still remain

“In the 20th century, there are events that cut across all our private lives,” says Tom Crouch, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “If you were alive on May 6, the day of the Hindenburg disaster, you remember where you were.”

Metal detectorist rewarded with nearly £2m after unearthing Britain’s biggest Viking treasure
21st May 2017 | | Ancient

A metal detectorist has learned he has hit a £2m jackpot after uncovering Britain’s biggest ever Viking treasure.

Derek McLennan unearthed the 10th-century collection of rare Viking artefacts in a field in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland’s south-west in 2014.

Terahertz spectroscopy—the new tool to detect art fraud
21st May 2017 | Ancient, Tech

When we look at a painting, how do we know it’s a genuine piece of art?

Everything we see with the unaided eye in a painting – from the Australian outback images of Albert Namatjira or Russell Drysdale, to the vibrant works of Pro Hart – is thanks to the mix of colours that form part of the visible spectrum.

Iraqi priest protects ancient Christian manuscripts from ISIS
21st May 2017 | Ancient

At an undisclosed location, Dominican priest Fr. Najeeb Michaeel is painstakingly digitizing his collection of ancient manuscripts documenting Iraq’s cultural heritage, including its Christian history

Saving Pakistan’s lost city of Mohenjo Daro
21st May 2017 | Ancient

The centre of a powerful ancient civilisation, Mohenjo Daro was one of the world’s earliest cities—a Bronze Age metropolis boasting flush toilets and a water and waste system to rival many in modern Pakistan.

Inside Rhinocolura, The City Of Noseless Criminals
21st May 2017 | | Ancient

Near the city of Gaza, 3,000 years ago, laid a city unlike any other in the world. The Greeks called it Rhinocolura, named for strange faces of the people who lived there – because every person there had no nose.

News stories covering history, archaeology, ancient Egypt, and mysteries of the past.