Ancient news stories

Study finds Neanderthals manufactured synthetic material with underground distillation
31st May 2023 | Ancient, Humans

Researchers at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and colleagues in Germany have taken a closer look at the birch tar used to affix Neanderthal tools and found a much more complex technique for creating the adhesive than previously considered. See the paper here.

Oldest evidence of plague in Britain found in 4,000-year-old human remains
31st May 2023 | | Ancient, Humans

Traces of Yersinia pestis bacteria were found in the teeth of people buried at bronze age sites in Cumbria and Somerset.

153,000-year-old footprints from South Africa are the oldest Homo sapiens tracks on record
30th May 2023 | | Ancient, Humans

In an article published April 25 in the journal Ichnos, an international team of researchers used optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL) to figure out when the impressions were made.

Archeologists Map Hidden Landscape Where The First Australians Emerged
30th May 2023 | | Ancient, Humans

Archaeologists have mapped a hidden landscape where Australia’s first people made inroads more than 60,000 years ago. The study was published in PLOS One.

Saddle unearthed in China may be oldest ever found
25th May 2023 | Ancient, Animal Life, Humans

An international team of archaeologists has found what may be the earliest known saddle at a dig site in China. In their paper published in the journal Archaeological Research in Asia, the group describes where the ancient saddle was found, its condition and how it was made.

Mushrooms Seem to Be Able to Regulate Their Own Temperature
25th May 2023 | | Ancient, Humans

New research reveals that mushrooms and other fungi can keep themselves cooler than their surroundings. The discovery could tell us more about these organisms’ evolution and how they might respond to continued global warming.

Betelgeuse Is Being Weird Again. What Gives?
23rd May 2023 | | Ancient, Space, Weird

Since what has come to be known as the Great Dimming that took place in the latter half of 2019 and early 2020, the red giant star Betelgeuse just will not stop with the wackiness.

Humanity’s earliest recorded kiss occurred in Mesopotamia 4,500 years ago, claims new study
22nd May 2023 | Ancient, Humans

Dr. Sophie Lund Rasmussen, who in a new article in the journal Science, draws on a range of written sources from the earliest Mesopotamian societies, kissing was already a well-established practice 4,500 years ago in the Middle East. And probably much earlier, moving the earliest documentation for kissing back 1,000 years compared to what was previously acknowledged in the scientific community.

Humans were using fire in Europe 50,000 years earlier than we thought – new research
22nd May 2023 | Ancient, Humans

A team has found evidence of the controlled use of fire by direct human ancestors – or hominins – at a site in Spain dating to 250,000 years ago. This pushes the earliest evidence of fire control in Europe back by 50,000 years. The findings have been published in Nature Scientific Reports.

The First Humans Out of Africa Weren’t Quite Who We Thought
20th May 2023 | | Ancient, Humans

The classic out-of-Africa hypothesis suggests that Homo sapiens evolved from a distinct lineage of early humans that evolved around 150,000 years ago before setting off to spread through Europe and beyond. But there is another story…See the study here.

Murujuga’s rock art is being destroyed – where is the outrage?
17th May 2023 | Ancient, Humans

Three rock art panels were this month removed from Murujuga/Burrup in Western Australia to make way for a new A$6.4 billion fertiliser factory. Moving Indigenous rock art anywhere in the world is controversial. In this case, a journalist photographing the removal was stopped by police. Later, her home was raided, and her camera’s memory card temporarily seized.

300,000-year-old footprints reveal extinct humans went on a lakeside family outing among giant elephants and rhinos
17th May 2023 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

In a forest clearing of birch and pine trees in what is today central Europe, herds of long-extinct beasts once gathered to drink on the shores of an ancient lake. Now, researchers have confirmed that early human relatives and their children foraged and bathed among them. See the study here.

Study of ancient meteorites ‘reveal secrets of Jupiter’s formation’
16th May 2023 | Ancient, Space

A ground-breaking study of ancient meteorites has provided the first evidence to suggest that Jupiter was once much closer to the sun before it shifted position.

5,400-year-old tomb discovered in Spain perfectly captures the summer solstice
15th May 2023 | | Ancient, Humans

Archaeologists have discovered a 5,400-year-old megalithic tomb near a prominent lone mountain in southern Spain, suggesting the peak may have been meaningful to prehistoric people there.

DNA study shows migration patterns of ancient Mexican civilizations much more complex than expected
15th May 2023 | Ancient, Humans

An international team of biologists, geneticists, anthropologists and biochemists has found, through genetic analysis, that the migration patterns of ancient Mexican civilizations were much more complex than previously thought. See the studies here and here.

It Took Waves of Modern Humans to Claim Europe From Neanderthals
15th May 2023 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Scientists are rewriting the story of how modern humans first spread out of Africa, and it might contain more run-ins with Europe’s Neanderthals than previously recognized. See the study here.

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