Ancient news stories

A wooden toe: Swiss Egyptologists study 3000-year-old prosthesis
26th June 2017 | | Ancient

It is likely to be one of the oldest prosthetic devices in human history: Together with other experts, Egyptologists have reexamined an artificial wooden big toe. The find is almost 3000 years old and was discovered in a female burial from the necropolis of Sheikh ´Abd el-Qurna close to Luxor. This area is currently being studied using state-of-the-art methods.

Is this ‘Temple of Fertility’ in Peru Really a Giant Collection of Stone Penises, or is it a Phallic Fallacy?
26th June 2017 | | Ancient

The megalithic Fertility Temple also known as “Chucuito” on the edge of Lake Titicaca in Peru is special and at the same time controversial basically for a single reason: its “sexuality”. Whether the upright stones are supposed to be phallic or represent magic mushrooms has caused much debate between historians for many years now.

This Volcano-Shaped Pyramid in Peru Has Experts Stumped
26th June 2017 | | Ancient

From far away, El Volcán in the Nepeña Valley of coastal Peru might look like a natural feature in the landscape.

But this volcano is artificial, a mound or pyramid built by human hands with a crater dug out of the top. And some archaeologists are trying to figure out what it was used for.

Volcanic eruptions triggered dawn of the dinosaurs
26th June 2017 | | Ancient

Huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a key role in triggering the end-Triassic mass extinction, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, new Oxford University research has found.

Life won’t find a way: how an ostrich halted plans for a real-life Jurassic Park
26th June 2017 | | Ancient

There are some ideas that just won’t die. Like the villain in a movie, even when they’ve been shot with the bullets of refutation, scalded by heated discourse, and pushed off into the pool of disproven theories, these ideas still claw their way back, bedraggled and screaming, to attack us one more time.

Amazon Rain Forest May Have Once Been a Giant Marine Lake
26th June 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

For decades scientists have grappled with one of our planet’s greatest biogeographical mysteries: how the geologic history of the Amazon River basin has shaped its magnificent ecosystem. Now new research describes sedimentary evidence from eastern Colombia and northwestern Brazil that suggests the enormous basin was covered by ocean water at least twice in the past.

Hidden trove of suspected Nazi artifacts found in Argentina
25th June 2017 | Ancient

In a hidden room in a house near Argentina’s capital, police believe they have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in the country’s history, including a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas and what authorities say is a medical device used to measure head size.

Bone-Sniffing Dogs to Hunt for Amelia Earhart’s Remains
25th June 2017 | Ancient

In what may be the best chance yet to learn the famous aviator’s fate, forensic dogs are headed to a Pacific island to search for her bones.

How cats conquered the ancient world
25th June 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

The domestic cat is descended from wild cats that were tamed twice – in the Near East and then Egypt, according to the largest study of its kind.

Farmers in the Near East were probably the first people to successfully tame wild cats about 9,000 years ago.

Alt: Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows

Plastic Water Bottles Might Have Poisoned Ancient Californians
24th June 2017 | | Ancient

This not evidence of time travel. These bottles aren’t clear, and they don’t have labels. They’re pitch black—made by indigenous tribes who coated large, woven bulbs with a tar-like substance called bitumen. Scientists have known about these bottles for years. But what they hadn’t considered was whether these plastic bottles contributed to the declining health in some old societies

Alt: Ancient Manufacturing Technique Exposed Indigenous Peoples to Dangerous Toxins

Couple find the largest ever intact Native American canoe measuring 33 feet and dating back 1,000 years after noticing it poking out of the mud on a Louisiana riverbank
24th June 2017 | | Ancient

Two people walking along a riverbank stumbled across an ancient Native American dugout canoe thought to be up to 1,000 years old.

Robert Cornett and Jeanna Bradle noticed the 33-foot-long craft sticking out of the mud on the Red River north of Shreveport in Louisiana two weeks ago.

Scientists piece together the exploded skull of a 50-year-old man, who died in 500°C heat from the Mount Vesuvius eruption 2,000 years ago, to reveal his face for the first time
24th June 2017 | | Ancient, Tech

The exploded skull of a man who died in the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago has been pieced together giving scientists a unique opportunity to capture the ancient face using 3D imaging.

Archaeologists discover that Montem Mound is “Prestigious” Saxon monument
24th June 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists have found that a 20-foot high mound in Slough, thought to be a Norman castle motte and for centuries the centrepiece of a bizarre Eton College ceremony, is actually a rare Saxon monument, built 1,500 years ago.

Related: Medieval Sword Pulled From Polish Bog

Looking for Man’s origins in a Bulgarian savannah
23rd June 2017 | Ancient

Seven million years ago the sunflower and corn fields in parts of southern Bulgaria were like an African savannah, roamed by gazelles and giraffes.

And perhaps also, amazingly, by the oldest known human ancestor—which most scientists have hitherto believed came from Africa.

A Century-Old Tech Is Making a Comeback Thanks to Renewables
23rd June 2017 | Ancient, Tech

DC power lines are being used again thanks to their ability to outperform AC lines over long distances and directly connect with renewable power sources. This makes bringing green energy from distant rural locations to urban centers possible.

Related: Flushing fallopian tubes with poppy seed oil boosts fertility

New evidence reveals source of 1586 Sanriku, Japan tsunami
21st June 2017 | | Ancient

A team of researchers re-examined historical evidence around the Pacific and discovered the origin of the tsunami that hit Sanriku, Japan in 1586 — a mega-earthquake from the Aleutian Islands that broadly impacted the north Pacific. Until now, this was considered an orphan tsunami, a historical tsunami without an obvious local earthquake source, likely originating far away.

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