Ancient news stories

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.

Modern Megaliths: What will the People of 5000 AD Think of These Century-Old Sound Mirrors?
21st June 2017 | | Ancient

Megaliths around the world – from Stonehenge to Sacsayhuaman – have intrigued the modern world, with an air of mystery surrounding their construction, and their function.

So what then do you think people of future millennia might imagine the monolithic ‘sound mirrors’ that haunt the coastline of southern England were used for? Not even a century after their construction, most of the general public would have little idea when, or for what purpose, they were built.

Earlier date for ancient wooden structures
21st June 2017 | | Ancient

Historic England’s Scientific Dating team have been running a project on the dating of the Late Neolithic palisaded enclosures around West Kennet in Wiltshire.

Rare glass spearhead found on Rottnest Island
21st June 2017 | | Ancient

Staff and students from The University of Western Australia’s School of Indigenous Studies have made an exciting discovery during a University excursion on Rottnest Island (Wadjemup).

How Ancient Humans Affected Environment: Society Caused Dead Sea Erosion
21st June 2017 | | Ancient

Scientists say they have found the earliest evidence of humans affecting the environment based on samples taken from the Dead Sea that date back thousands of years.

The researchers went down 1,500 feet below the seafloor and analyzed sediment, giving them a window into what the region looked like as long as 220,000 years ago.

Polynesian canoe welcomed back to Hawaii after three-year 19-country voyage without modern navigation
21st June 2017 | | Ancient

For three years they relied on the stars. Without modern navigational instruments, the ocean swells and birds were used to guide them. Navigators had to memorise the nightly courses of more than 200 stars, along with their precise rising and setting locations on the horizon.

The Norte Chico Civilization: Ancient Peruvian Civilization or Complex Society?
21st June 2017 | | Ancient

The Norte Chico Civilization was an ancient civilization / complex society belonging to the Pre-Columbian era. This civilization flourished in Peru about 5000 years ago, and hence has been considered to be the oldest known civilization to have existed in the Americas. The Norte Chico Civilization is notable today for its monumental constructions, including massive ceremonial pyramids and complex irrigation systems. This ancient civilization lasted until around 1800 BC, after which the settlements were abandoned.

Ancient Art Reveals Biblical Depictions of Jesus
21st June 2017 | Ancient

Ancient frescoes have been rediscovered inside the 1,600-year-old Domitilla catacombs in Rome, Italy.

Italian art experts used laser technology to remove old grit and grime that covered the art that is centuries old.

How the world’s first accountants counted on cuneiform
20th June 2017 | | Ancient

The Egyptians used to believe that literacy was divine, a gift from baboon-faced Thoth, the god of knowledge.

Scholars no longer embrace that theory, but why ancient civilisations developed writing was a mystery for a long time. Was it for religious or artistic reasons? To communicate with distant armies?

Related: Deciphering Cuneiform: Helping Scholars to Get a Handle on Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Multispectral imaging reveals ancient Hebrew inscription undetected for over 50 years
20th June 2017 | Ancient

Using advanced imaging technology, Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered a hitherto invisible inscription on the back of a pottery shard that has been on display at The Israel Museum for more than 50 years.

Jerusalem tower younger than thought
20th June 2017 | Ancient

Gihon Spring, just downhill from the ancient city of Jerusalem, was crucial to the survival of its inhabitants, and archaeologists had uncovered the remains of a massive stone tower built to guard this vital water supply. Based on pottery and other regional findings, the archaeologists had originally assigned it a date of 1,700 BCE. But new research conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science provides conclusive evidence that the stones at the base of the tower were laid nearly 1,000 years later.

Why Sand Covers the Floor of One of the Western Hemisphere’s Oldest Synagogues
20th June 2017 | | Ancient

Like an act of moving meditation, the synagogue attendant smooths over a week’s worth of footprints on the sand floor of Mikvé Israel-Emanuel in Willemstad, Curaçao. He glides a rake in long arcs until the sand resembles freshly poured concrete, occasionally kicking up a swirl of dust that catches the warm light pouring through the windows.

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